Out­go­ing Hun­gar­ian en­voy says Tai­wan post was a ‘gift’

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Hungary’s out­go­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Tai­wan de­scribed his post­ing in Tai­wan as “a gift” in his ca­reer, say­ing that he will never for­get the three years he spent here.

Levente Szekely, who is sched­uled to leave Tai­wan next week, said that Tai­wan was his first as­sign­ment in Asia since he be­came a ca­reer diplo­mat 25 years ago.

“Tai­wan is by far the best post I’ve got,” he told CNA in a re­cent in­ter­view.

Re­call­ing his three years in Tai­wan, he said he was im­pressed by the green­ness of Taipei when he first ar­rived and the friend­li­ness of the lo­cal peo­ple. He made many Tai­wanese friends, in­clud­ing those in the diplo­matic com­mu­nity and from dif­fer­ent sec­tors.

One of the friends he made is Shi Wen-Lung, the founder of Tai­wan’s Chi Mei Group, said the vi­o­lin­ist-turned-diplo­mat.

They once played a

clas­sic Man­darin song “The Moon Rep­re­sents My Heart” to­gether, on vi­o­lins col­lected by Shi, Szekely said, laud­ing Shi as hav­ing the big­gest pri­vate col­lec­tion of the world’s most fa­mous vi­o­lins.

He also took the op­por­tu­nity to thank the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs for sup­port­ing projects ini­ti­ated by him to pro­mote bi­lat­eral ex­changes.

One of his achieve­ments was that he ini­ti­ated a se­ries of events to pro­mote cul­tural ex­changes with Tai­wan last year, in part­ner­ship with three other Cen­tral Euro­pean coun­tries — the Czech Re­pub­lic, Hungary, Poland and Slo­vakia.

Mean­while, he said Tai­wan has demon­strated that “Chi­nese cul­ture and democ­racy work per­fectly to­gether,” not­ing that Tai­wan pre­serves tra­di­tional Chi­nese cul­ture and is also a vi­brant democ­racy.

Asked about the Sun­flower Move­ment last year in Tai­wan, he said it was a pos­i­tive thing that “the younger gen­er­a­tion is will­ing to take the fu­ture in their hands be­cause it is about their fu­ture.”

On a more per­sonal level, Szekely said he loves the seafood and fruit in Tai­wan.

Lob­sters, oys­ters and shrimps are among his fa­vorites when it comes to seafood in Tai­wan, said the diplo­mat who is from a land­locked coun­try where there is not much fresh seafood.

He also gave the thumbs up to Tai­wanese fruit, es­pe­cially man­goes.

His ex­pe­ri­ence in Tai­wan has been mostly pos­i­tive, but if he has to name one neg­a­tive thing, that would be the crazy traf­fic and scooter riders.

“They look like they want to die,” he said, adding that he was lucky to have an ex­cel­lent driver from Tai­wan, who has good driv­ing skills and would never curse and honk his horns at the scooter riders.

Over the past three years, Szekely has been de­voted to pro­mot­ing bi­lat­eral re­la­tions in sev­eral ar­eas. For ex­am­ple, the two coun­tries have signed agree­ments on agri­cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion and on a re­cip­ro­cal work­ing hol­i­day pro­gram.

He was also the driv­ing force be­hind the im­por­ta­tion of Hungary’s “low-choles­terol pork” and Hun­gar­ian wine to Tai­wan.

Af­ter CNA re­ported on his coun­try’s curly haired Man­gal­ica swine in 2012, a com­pany ex­pressed in­ter­est and has since be­gun im­port­ing the meat, he said.

Af­ter three years in Tai­wan, he said he will leave with “a very sad heart.”

“We were sup­posed to stay four years. Now it was cut short,” he said. “It’s very sad that I have to leave. My only hope is that I will be able to re­turn.”

Tai­wan has left a deep im­pres­sion on him and his wife, he said, promis­ing that he will al­ways be a spokesper­son for Tai­wan.

“We will never for­get these three years. This is a gift, the best part of my ca­reer, of our lives gen­er­ally,” he said.

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