Chuang Wen Hsuan
How’s everyone? I’m Victoria.
I wonder if you often come to speeches.
Everyone always starts with “how’s everyone?”
Yet, as I walked inside the room,
obviously I found that
some participants appeared
not so well today in fact.
More and more of my friends and family
went to mental health clinic.
Later, I found these people share similarities.
Either they don’t know what they want
or know what they want,
but don’t know how to get it.
We’re here to talk about success.
Before we start, I’d like to give you an idea first.
That is, don’t think about…
…that I claim that I want to succeed
or that I need success
makes me a greedy person.
Don’t ever think like that.
The world is ever-complicating.
Only those who know what they want
and how to get what they want,
that is, the successful individuals,
can maintain their balance of body and mind
while saving the fees for clinics and medicine.
The topic the Organizer set for me is
When Did the Merlion Become Extinct?
The Narrative to Succeed in the 21st Century
I thank them for that.
Yet, let’s talk more precisely about
the national success narratology in the 21st century.
Why is it the national successology
instead of individual successology?
Why is it the success narratology
instead of success psychology?
When I was at my teens or twenties,
it was of last century already.
Back then, I was also a fan
for books about successology.
I bought many…
…books that teach you to be active,
optimistic, aspiring, positive.
When I was an individual being managed,
these books did help more or less.
Yet, as I became the one that manage,
I found these books not helping at all.
What time are we in now?
When we turn on TV or browse newspaper every day,
different people take to the streets for different reasons.
Such era tells us
it’s not enough to just manage yourself.
Managing only yourself won’t make you successful.
You need to learn how to manage others at the same time.
However, to manage yourself is easy,
but to manage others is not that easy.
That’s why we ought to learn from countries
about how they manage a collective.
The national narratology to succeed.
This is something over my bumpy course of 10, 20 years,
with the Four Asian Tigers as the models,
I invented as the methodology to succeed.
This methodology will teach you how,
with the storytelling techniques,
to manage a collective and get the success you want.
Many friends down stage might grumble silently,
thinking that how is it possible?
Is that so?
Even with my Little Loving Hand,
I could hardly manage my one kid.
Is it possible for me to talk my way through
and manage a group of adults?
Let me share this proof with you.
If you can learn it today,
everything is possible.
Have you heard of the Merlion?
The Merlion of Singapore.
Those who don’t know,
raise your hand for me.
You all know it.
The video you just saw
was in the Miss Singapore World 2009.
It’s a clip of several participants
interviewed by an online TV channel.
They asked various question.
Yet, I find this question particularly interesting.
The answer gave by the second lady is especially inspiring.
When the second lady answered the question of
when did the Merlion become extinct.
She gave it a serious thought.
Is it 1965?
Was it 1965 especially significant to this lady,
so she gave that year as her answer?
I think not.
1965 is an especially significant year to Singapore.
In this year, it was expelled from the Federation of Malaysia.
It was also this year they became independent.
Though this lady had never learned it in the history class,
the Merlion is a symbol not invented until 1964.
Therefore, it is not a real creature,
so there’s no extinction or not for it.
Nevertheless, it marked the year 1965 anyway
for its nationals,
when drawing a blank,
to recall the year of independence, nevertheless.
That’s the result of Singapore
leveraging their national success narratology.
I’ll share the national success narratology
in four interlocking points.
and democratic story.
Although I’ve spoken on this topic countless times,
when I came to think of it at times,
I found myself a bit embarrassed in talking on successology.
Compared to this handsome lad,
my family background was not of use.
Or, compared to this lady with quality temperament,
it’s a bit shameful for me to claim success academically.
Not to mention this gent appearing more suitable
than I am to talk on successology on stage.
If I were to succeed,
I was born with a wrong sex right from the start.
So, what qualified me
to stand before you today anyway
to talk on successology?
Then, it occurred to me that
it was precisely that I lost at the starting point
and that if I can alter my fate
with the national success narratology,
I’m sure it will be helpful to you as well.
Why I chose the Four Asian Tigers
the great powers like Japan, Germany, or USA
was based on the same ground.
I’ve browsed the list of registered participants.
Among the following qualities to succeed,
which one(s) do you think you don’t have? (Optional)
The right sex.
A positive mindset.
Others defined by yourself.
Of these qualities to succeed,
we can see plenty of personal ability,
and many good networks,
and many personal charisma.
What about the qualities people consider lack of?
What gets the most votes?
It’s family background,
followed by eloquence.
We’re here to learn this, right?
Then, it’s followed by dominant nationality
and then good networks.
If we think it through,
we’ll find the Four Asian Tigers are like us.
Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong
in the duration between 1960 and 1990,
thanks to their outstanding economic performances,
they were hailed as the Four Asian Tigers.
Yet, they were pretty much like us.
They were not advantageous in terms of race, resources,
nor international relations.
If such small countries
could utilize some effective, useful storytelling techniques
to alter their fates,
we can surely learn something out of it.
Now that we’re going to talk about effective,
useful storytelling techniques,
I want you to adjust your mindset today.
The storytelling today is not about literature.
It’s more about politics, economics, and psychology.
Now, let’s dive into the first point of
the national narratology to succeed.
Everyone knows the world is complicated,
while preferring to simplify the world for comprehension.
It’s the same with stories.
We all like to simplify events
not necessarily with causal relationships to each other
into a story with a clear start and end.
The benefit of a simple story is that audience
can be infected faster emotively,
while it is much easier to spread the words.
Though there are infinite combinations of stories,
either the scholars in psychoanalysis
or those in comparative mythology will tell us
that in fact people are drawn to a singular story model.
The most popular one is what you see now
the Hero’s Journey proposed by Campbell,
also known as the monomyth model.
In this linear circumplex model,
the journey is divided into three acts.
Our hero starts out at the starting point.
That’s the cutie with a little backpack there.
After the first act, Departure,
the hero arrives at the second act, Initiation.
In the Initiation of the second act,
the hero encounters tests, allies and enemies
Then, the Return of the hero in the third act.
After returning to the status quo,
the hero becomes a better version of himself/herself.
So, how did our Four Asian Tigers
employ such model for storytelling?
Once upon a time,
four heroes were born at the edges of the world.
They were born into desolation.
They had nothing.
They were quite remote.
But, they worked very hard.
And, they were talented.
Through the guides’ help,
they managed to stand on the grand stage of the world.
However, they faced lots of issues right away.
The communists within and the colonial powers without
tormented the heroes.
the heroes overcame obstacles, nonetheless,
and became better, more democratic,
and richer versions of themselves.
But, here’s a catch.
When we learn the Four Asian Tigers’ storytelling
using the monomyth model,
one thing is very important.
That is, never return the hero to the status quo.
Why can’t we return the hero to the status quo?
Why can’t we put an end to the story at all?
That’s where the second point of
the national narratology to succeed is involved.
An affective story refers not to a sensational story,
nor is it a cliché story.
It’s a story that arouses specific emotions.
Since the early 1970s,
some psychological anthropologists found that
when we are still little babies,
our emotions are indeed innate.
Yet, as we grow into adulthood,
our emotions are half innate and half acquired.
In other words,
the emotions of adults can actually be learned
and be planted.
We the pupils of the national narratology to succeed
have to leverage this very trait,
affecting audience’s emotions via stories
and allowing emotions to affect their actions.
In an affective story,
the emotions we aim to affect are two.
One is excitement.
The other is anxiety.
But, I want to start with fear.
Fear is one of our most primitive emotions as a creature.
When sensing the presence of a threat,
The amygdala in our brain releases neurotransmitters
for us to determine whether to fight or flight.
Even though fear is similar to anxiety,
scholars made distinction between the two emotions.
They found that
fear emerges when danger is at close and clear,
whereas anxiety rises when threat
is relatively remote and unclear.
So, these two emotions
are different in the distance of a threat relative to us.
These two emotions are associated
with our animal instinct for survival.
Both can bring out our activation.
This is very important.
So, we have to leave some emotions
appearing to be negative somehow.
Then, why will we say
in an affective story,
we ought to arouse excitement and anxiety?
a Harvard research team found in their studies that
the physiological reactions that excitement
and anxiety arouse are in fact similar
So, we can also say these two
emotions are interchangeable
We the storytellers
employ the storytelling techniques
to put audience in a state
that are both exciting and anxious.
This brings us back to the previous point.
Why we can’t return the hero to the status quo?
Only when the hero stops at one step before the starting point.
Only when we refuse a true ending to the story,
can the audience have the sense that
the days of happy ever after is near,
while the evil witch, or the bad guy,
we encountered previously is not finished yet.
Under such circumstances,
the audience will submit themselves to storyteller’s authority
and maintain their activation.
In this circumplex model of emotion,
we can see that
both anxious and excited
are on the side of high activation.
That’s what we need.
We can try to
compared the storytelling by a country
with that of a diner for instance.
When we go to a diner,
we often see a large printout on the wall,
telling us the history of this diner from scratch.
The owner was in a tough situation,
starting out as a vendor by the street.
He then experienced the economic recession.
Despite the hardship,
the owner served his customers with quality dishes still.
the third generation gave up
his decent salary at the Hsinchu Science Park
to return home for the family business.
He’s determined to carry on the traditional flavor.
Have you noticed that in the diner’s story,
it puts an end to the story.
It returns the hero back to the status quo.
either the listeners or the teller of the story
no longer have activation for themselves.
In contrast, how does a country tell its story?
這令人驚豔的一切 And amazing as it seems
And amazing as it seems,
都是由做夢開始的it all started with a dream
it all started with a dream.
但是夢境還沒有完成 But the dreaming isn’t done
But the dreaming isn’t done.
因為最好的還沒有來臨 ‘Cos the best is yet to come
‘Cos the best is yet to come.
Previously, I’ve said much about myself
and the poor backgrounds of the Four Asian Tigers.
Some people might consider a poor background fine.
Despite a poor background, let’s work harder, right?
Let your strength speak for you, right?
I thought so, too.
Let me tell you a story.
I had a chance to be
an executive of a transnational company.
At that time,
I thought to myself of course
it’s a rare opportunity
that I should seize it in my hand.
that I had to
prove that to everyone as a Taiwanese female.
So, I worked very hard.
Nevertheless, my colleague at the same level.
He was a Caucasian.
He was a man and an American.
I found that it was truly unfair.
For the same thing we did,
Our subordinates would still judge us with double standard.
Let’s say he made a decision.
The subordinates would say…
Wow, you’re a true leader.
Yet, if it’s me that made the decision.
The subordinates would say I’m bossy and autocratic.
But, if he asked the subordinates
what do you think of it?
They would think of him as nice and democratic.
However, if that was me asking the same question,
the subordinates would say
do you really know what you want or not?
I found that it was precisely due to my poor background
that the subordinates often wanted
to pull me down anyhow
because they thought that
they were more capable than I was
and that they could do what I did and be where I was.
For that very reason,
I had to seize power tighter than the Caucasian male
while understanding better the public opinion than he did.
Authoritarianism and democracy
are two words vastly distinct from each other, right?
However, if we observe the Four Asian Tigers,
we could see in them actually
strongman leadership, economic miracle,
happen about the same time.
They demonstrated for us that
if you manage to explain the relationship between
authority, democracy, and economy,
you can turn the tide to your advantage
and prevent your subordinates’ revolt.
Did CHIANG Ching-kuo destroy many individuals?
Do the people in Taiwan miss Chiang Ching-kuo?
Did PARK Chung-hee destroy many individuals?
Do the people in South Korea miss Park Chung-hee?
Did LEE Kuan Yew destroy many individuals?
Do the people in Singapore miss Lee Kuan Yew?
The issue with Hong Kong is rather interesting.
We shall leave it to the end for exercise.
They could make their citizenry, even to date,
miss the days of strongman politics.
That’s exactly yet another proof of Four Asian Tigers
successfully leveraged the national narratology to succeed.
Previously, we learned that
the simple story and affective story can arouse audience’s
sympathy for the stories and the values behind the scenes
while maintain their activation.
However, these two can’t account for
the fact of people’s inclination for rebellion.
That’s why we need the third and fourth points as follows.
The infectious story
and democratic story help us seize power.
The infectious story tells us
that does the truthfulness of a story matter?
It’s the scale of a story’s circulation that counts.
A story as prevalent as COVID-19 epidemic
can turn into a true story.
the laureate of the 2013 Nobel Prize
in Economic Sciences, Robert Shiller,
published a book last year titled
Narrative Economics, in which he suggested
in anthropology, history, politics, psychology, and sociology,
the term “narrative” is receiving more and more attention,
it is not the case in economics and finance.
The scholars in those fields
still believe in number,
but ignore the influences of
narrative and story on human behaviors.
They think we will check out the market
before deciding which company’s stock to buy.
What they don’t know is that
all we have is a word from a friend working in a bank
that the huge clients around me and of mine
are buying this company
and that it’s a guarantee to a steady profit.
In plain words,
they believe that only number is rational
and that only rational thing can serve as evidence.
But they fail to see that
beneath the rational evidence in their eyes
are nothing more than piles of irrational hearsay.
That’s why the pattern of epidemic
resembles to that of the popular economic narrative.
That’s also why they always fail to
accurately predict the major economic events,
be that a surge or a plunge.
The Four Asian Tigers successfully turned
two stories into super epidemics.
One is economic miracle
The other is individual successology.
Some young friends here
might experience such dialogue at your home.
When it comes to elections,
you and your parents will argue
over whom you should vote for.
When your parents can’t argue with you,
they will give the ultimatum,
saying that how can you be so rude with your parents.
And, you will get angry as well,
replying to them
you didn’t have freedom back then.
Your parents reply coldly
at least our economy was good then.
Then, you’re silenced
because what they say makes sense somehow.
Even though the two arguments are incongruous.
One talks about freedom; the other talks about money.
“At least our economy was good then”
implies that everyone got their opportunity.
Every gets their opportunity
is the very narrative basis of individual successology.
The people today still miss the old days
because the era of strongman gave people a sense that
as long as you worked hard,
as long as you wanted something,
you would succeed.
My father used to be
an apprentice at a super small quilt shop.
He worked his way up
and became a manager for an ultra-big textile factory.
Chiang Ching-kuo worked his way up
and brought Taiwan up with his Ten Major Construction Projects.
Park Chung-hee worked his way up
and brought South Korea up with his Miracle on the Han River.
In stories like these,
to accelerate the dissemination of stories,
they would be simplified.
The too complicated international contexts would be omitted.
Like the issues with the Cold War,
or the U.S. pulling strings behind the scenes.
These would not be touched upon.
All the achievements
and all the successes
were accomplished solely by the strongmen.
So, we can see it that way
that the era of economic miracle
also marks the pinnacle of individual successology.
The political strongman is also a super spreader.
Yet, it’s just that when the super spreaders spread the stories,
there would be a catch.
Everyone has their opportunity.
But, only when I stay in power
that you have your opportunities.
Here, the infectious story is superimposed
with the affective story.
On one hand, the audience gets extremely excited
by the individual successology.
On the other, they feel extremely anxious
owing to the potential loss of opportunity.
Situated in the dual circumstances,
the audience will work very hard.
But, they won’t want to revolt.
So, we get a group of active yet conservative subordinates.
The most common thing associated with
the Four Asian Tiger is their economic miracles.
Nevertheless, one thing matters the most
for us the pupil of the national narratology to succeed
is the democratic miracle.
The democratic in the democratic miracle
follows not the universal definition.
Instead, it’s been redefined locally in Asia
as in charge by the people.
The “people” we define remains as the people.
The “in charge by” in our definition is by me for you.
When we manage our subordinates,
the best practice is not through intimidation.
Intimidation is rather useless.
The best practice
is to find a way for them
to surrender their power willingly,
persuading them to give up freedom or equality
either for money, vision, or anything else.
The political scientist Huntington
divided regime legitimacy in two.
One is procedural legitimacy.
The other is performance legitimacy.
The procedural legitimacy is associated with rule stipulation.
This is a way that results in an increased resistance
instead of decreased resistance.
We should never touch that.
The performance legitimacy is the way
the Asian Tigers employed.
That’s also the way we ought to learn.
I prefer to interpret the “performance” in performance legitimacy
into theatric performance.
To interpret it as theatric performance
allows us a better access to the essence
of the national narratology to succeed.
That means as long as you have a good script,
good performances by actors,
the people will automatically put you in charge.
Now that it’s them that put you in charge,
there won’t be much dissidence.
As we take in charge for the people, know that
the people watching our performance
come from both internally and externally.
through the Four Asian Tigers, we learn that
they highlight their roles in the global division of labor
and their indispensable roles in the international politics.
This way, they allow the powers to put each other in check
while they survive in between as smaller countries.
Besides the cultivation of a group of active yet conservative people
by means of the individual successology,
the more important key is…
Aside from educating talent to maintain economic performances
it’s more importantly to cultivate the values leaders need.
When you have a story to spread,
to make it an ultra epidemic,
what will you do?
Will you write a novel?
Will you put it in a theater?
Or an exhibition?
I think neither.
The better way is
the “I tell you, but tell no others” gossip
This is something you know, and I know
and Hobsbawm knows.
Hobsbawm once said that
school education is the best weapon for nation-building.
That is why scholars have found that
in fact, at the cores of the Four Asian Tigers,
what they worked hard in
were the policies not just for economy,
but also for education.
In their classrooms,
moral education and social education are highly stressed
Let’s have a simple quiz
to allow you aiming for success to see your moral status.
These questions came from the test paper
distributed in all elementary schools in Taipei City in the 1980s.
There are five questions in total.
Each question rewards 20 points
with 100 points as the full score.
After each question, I will announce the right answer.
I want you to memorize how many points you get.
After all the questions,
I will check the scores of the participants today.
Alright, let’s start.
The first question.
The evolution of creatures is driven by mutual benefit;
the evolution of society is by competition.
Raise your hand if you think it is true.
True or false.
I think we’ve answered true-or-false questions all our lives.
Alright. I see some hands.
Don’t worry about what if I’m wrong.
What if I got zero?
You should be brave enough to face it.
It’s the first thing we are here to learn.
Raise your hand if you think it is false.
The answer is…
Let’s keep up the good work.
The second question.
Girls grow slower than boys,
while being quieter, tenderer, and more thoughtful.
The friends here today
are all quite impressive.
Please remember your points, OK?
The third question.
Friends will influence each other
and are contagious.
The infectious story.
So, be mindful of the friends you make.
We have disagreement at last.
The answer is true.
The fourth question.
When the country is under enemy’s attack,
rising up to fight the enemy
is a brave and patriotic act.
It’s essentially a tie this time.
Let’s check the answer.
In the 1980s.
The last question is exceedingly difficult.
It’s a multiple-choice question
with four options.
Throughout the history,
the true loyal officials come from
1. Families of poverty.
2. Families of filial piety.
3. Family of literati.
4. Family of wealth.
Raise your hand if you think it’s families of poverty.
There are no loyal officials from families of poverty?
Great. I will go back and tell my parents.
Raise your hand if you think it’s families of filial piety.
Some people raised their hands.
But we’re at this level.
Raise your hand if you think it’s families of literati.
There are quite some intellectuals here.
If you think it’s families of wealth,
the ones we want to be…?
There are a few, but there are hands raised.
What’s the answer then?
I think many people don’t know yet.
It’s families of filial piety.
Don’t ask me why because I don’t know, either.
if there are friends scoring full points in morality.
Raise your hand if you obtained full points in morality.
Let me see.
Give them a round of applause.
Are there friends scoring
60 points in morality?
That’s also nice.
Keep up the good work.
Keep improving your morality.
Does anyone get zero point in morality?
The friends here today are brilliant.
From the little quiz we can see clearly that
when it comes to education, the Four Asian Tigers
stress on recitation
rather than contemplation.
Through this approach,
they can cultivate a group of depoliticized citizens
while maintaining a highly consistency in identity.
If I were asked
regarding the recent development in Hong Kong,
I’d tell you that
for us who want to succeed
via the national narratology to succeed,
the most important thing is
to believe in that time is on our side.
So, don’t haste it.
Good storytelling is all that matters the most.
If it were up to me,
in the short term,
I would focus on the effort of the affective story.
I would amplify the anxiety of the imminent suppression
by the People’s Liberation Army
and that of the Asian financial hub
is about to be replaced by Singapore.
I will emphasize…
the excitement of the imminent improvement of distribution issue.
I will emphasize the excitement that in the Sino-US showdown,
China shall prevail.
In the longer-term,
I will emphasize the effort of the democratic story.
Depend on my needs…
Depend on the leader’s needs,
I will redefine what kind of people
and which mean to take charge
serve the best interest of Hong Kong.
In a much longer term,
out of the…
the needs for tourism,
it’s not impossible
to launch projects like Singapore’s historical memory project.
It’s just that we should learn from them
that all memories are directed to memories of the past
while rejecting any version of Hong Kong history
that is different from the China’s version.
If such tough issue can be resolved
through the national narratology to succeed,
what else is difficult?
Issues with family, with political party, with business
are no longer issues anymore.
In the end of the speech today,
I’d like to share with you a story I just heard yesterday.
It’s an inspiring story to me.
It goes like this…
At a film set,
there was an act requiring a group of dogs and a pig.
Originally, the pig’s condition was fine.
But when they were going to shoot in the next week,
they found the original pig fell ill.
So, the crew found another pig to replace it in haste.
The pig was identical to its predecessor.
It’s just that it lacked streaks.
The makeup artist was quite clever, using cosmetics
to create streaks identical to the predecessor on the pig.
Everyone was very happy.
The director was also very happy of course.
The act was meant to have the dogs to bark at the pig.
To bark fiercely.
Upon action called by the director,
to everyone’s surprise,
all the dogs started to wag their tails to the pig
all of them were trying to please the pig.
It turned out that
from the perspective of the dogs,
the animal in their eyes was no longer a pig,
but a woman with makeup.
This is an inspiring story to me
and perfectly echoes with the core of
That’s because in the end,
the basis for a national narratology to succeed
to work effectively is that
all that audience believes in
is not the actor,
but the role itself.