Goya Lan
Literature Reporter

Q & A

Q:How do you start your day?
A:When I wake up every day, I like to open the window, look at the sky and say “good morning” to the city I live in. If a pedestrian hears me shouting, I will wink to him or her. I also love to listen to the vital sound of hot water boiling in the kettle. While drinking a cup of coffee or mango-flavored South African Rooibos tea, I play music by Sibelius, Antonín Leopold Dvorak or Johannes Brahms. Music flares up the fire of my soul.

Q:Where do you visit the most?
A:The high-speed rail station. I think it is a hub for avid travelers to move in and out.

Q:Which restaurant do you often visit?
A:Theater Café on the first floor of the National Theater. People tend to order the Braised Half and Half Noodle Soup (Brisket/Tendon) for its high CP value, but I prefer the Pork and Vegetable Wonton Soup. I usually order two braised dishes and a cup of plum juice to go with it.

Q:What do you do for leisure after work?
A:Reading: I especially enjoy novels written by Nobel Prize winners and the works of Taiwanese writers.
Watching movies: I prefer topics that lead to introspection and reflection, like Norman, Manchester by the Sea, and so on.

Q:What book have you recently read? Do you have any realizations or feelings about the book?
A:"The Remains of the Day," one of the most important works by Kazuo Ishiguro, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2017. The book narrates the life of a butler, who upheld his professional dignity for his entire career at the expense of personal preferences, only to find out that he became an accomplice to an unjust Nazi. During his twilight years, his proud memories were so debased that he felt extremely remorseful and his dignity collapsed for the rest of his life!

This novel convinced me that people should not sacrifice their conscience for the pursuit of professionalism. This is true for any trade you are engaged in. You should be a good person first, before you become a good butler, a good reporter, a good physician, a good councilor, a good chef, etc. Anyway, conscience should be your first criterion in life, so that you will not be submerged by professionalism.

Q:You gave up a good job in your early thirties and went to New Zealand to learn how to make wine. What motivated you to make such a decision?
A:At the time, I thought that working hard to reach the goals of the organization was a very important attitude to have in the workplace. However, my devotion to work took up all my time and energy and resulted in an imbalance in my life, but I still stayed the course due to fear of change, until my revered teacher died of cancer. He was also a perfectionist and a workaholic. His death was a stark reminder that tomorrow would not always come. So I asked myself: “While it is important to pursue the goals of the organization, where is my own dream?” Therefore, I kicked off to the wine regions of New Zealand to search for my own self. (See "Stop Working but Start Wine Making")

Q:What advice do you offer to those who want to change but are afraid of change?
A:Pick up a large piece of paper (A4 or A3, as large as possible) and write down the following questions:
(A) Why do I want to change?
(B) What do I want to change?
(C) What positive effects will the changes have?
(D) What will be the negative consequences?
(E) Check your answers for (C) and (D) and ask yourself “What will I lose?” If (D)> (C), then why not do it? If (C)> (D), then there is no need to make major changes. In that case, just make some minor changes to relieve yourself from the routines of life's inertia. Draw a 3X3 grid on a piece of paper, draw your favorite things, and put those favorite things, one by one, into the trajectory of your life inertia. For example, change to riding your bicycle to work or get off the MRT one stop ahead of your destination or learn a new French sentence every day. When you change the landscape of life, you can create some positive results.

Q:What do you do when you get stressed or depressed?
A:Read. In particular, those novels by the laureates of the Nobel Prize in Literature. By so doing, I reflect on my own life and do not feel alone.

Q:What do you find the most interesting or appealing in Taiwan?
A:Taitung. Have you ever tried to drive a car or ride a bicycle along Provincial Highway No. 9 as you wander along the East Coast? That's the best route to embrace the Pacific Ocean, to feel a simple human touch, and to enjoy fresh air and the healing power of nature. On one section of the highway, you will enter the East Rift Valley, where you can also enjoy the beauty of the land. I especially like to slide down the grass in Luye Highland while overlooking the green land between valley plains.

Q:What are your expectations of staying at the Hotel?
A:A friendly reception that makes me feel at home.

Q:What is your impression of the hotels of Taipei Inn Group?
A:I have been to Ambience Hotel (Chang-an East Road). The staff at the lobby are professional and cordial. The overall design style of the hotel is mainly based on the most interesting illustrations drawn by children with intellectual disabilities under the guidance of the Dian Dian Goodness team. You feel so cheerful when you are surrounded by paintings depicting as window grilles and pillows on the wall.
In terms of business hotels, the breakfast at Ambience Hotel was far beyond my expectations. A diverse selection of oriental flavors is offered that also fits the eating habits of Westerners.