By Forrest Wang
At the age of 66, my grandfather was the second Chinese person to be appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). This was for his services in promoting commerce between Taiwan and Britain.
This impressive feat seemed astronomical. I foolishly thought that there had to be some secret way, some shortcut, to become so successful. I wanted to be like my grandfather who, despite his age, seemed to accomplish everything with ease. I did not understand what made my grandfather so remarkable, but I would soon find out as my mother told his story.
At the age of 13, while the bombs began to rain down on China, marking the onset of the Japanese invasion, my grandfather set out for the Philippines.
For nine years, my grandfather lived on his own; he fought against the bitter realities of being isolated from his family; he made the transition from a boy to a man alone.
He stayed there until he graduated from the University of the Philippines, and eventually made his journey back to China.
At the age of 24, when the Communist Party of China gained power, my grandfather fled to Hong Kong with his new wife; a year later he moved to Taiwan, where he continues to live.
Even though he escaped a Communist regime, he still could not escape the obstacles he had to overcome.
My grandfather worked at the British Consulate as the senior local representative and undertook his work with great diligence, effort, and perseverance.
In 1976, after formal diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Britain were cut and the consulate was subsequently changed into the Anglo-Taiwan Trade Committee, my grandfather continued to work in the commercial section and acted as a consul in all but name.
For his work and persistent effort, he met the Queen of England who bestowed upon him the MBE.
I understand that there is no shortcut, no secret, no magical way to success.
I cannot simply wish for something to happen and hope that my shortcomings dissolve into obscurity.
I understand from my grandfather’s example that there are no magic words in this world; in order to achieve success, there is only diligence and good fortune.
I know that no matter what age I am or how many years pass, I need to commit my entire efforts to be great, to be successful, and to be like my grandfather.