The new Assistant Professor Frank Ho-Ting Wong joined the Department of Business Management, College of Management, National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU) just this year. Being a Hongkonger, he voluntarily asked to be interviewed in Taiwanese, piquing one’s interest even before the interview. Assistant Professor Wong said that he had hardly ever left Hong Kong ever since he was a child. Apart from visiting relatives in China and the Philippines several times, his impression of Taiwan prior to moving here was extremely minimal. “I visited Taiwan twice in 2016 and 2018. During both times, I tried to start a new life here. This year, I finally made it and began my new chapter at NSYSU”. Weekdays are usually very busy. “I like to do activities that help relax my body and mind such as running, meditation, and looking for Made in Taiwan products”. It appears that Assistant Professor Wong maintains a unique sense of humor under his seemingly serious façade.
Assistant Professor Wong obtained bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physics and a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Hong Kong, a post-graduate diploma in epidemiology and biostatistics from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, a post-graduate diploma in geographic information system from the University of Hong Kong, and a Ph.D. in health geography from the University of Hong Kong. With such diverse academic experiences, many people are curious about how he smoothly switched from one academic discipline to another. Assistant Professor Wong explained that he had no problems when switching between different academic fields, “In fact, all disciplines use mathematical methods to solve different problems”. The differences in academic fields are often the jargons assigned by people. Different fields explore different areas of expertise, but there are overlaps.
During his time in Hong Kong, Assistant Professor Wong has served as a contract research assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong. In that track, he was expected to perform other faculty’s research. There were very few opportunities for him to be listed as the lead author or the corresponding author when publishing a paper. “I was worried that I would have too few papers published when I was older and it would then be difficult for me to stand out from the crowd,” he said with a smile. In comparison with Hong Kong, he explained that the salary offered in Taiwan is not as lucrative, but in terms of academic research, “I can be my own master”. At the moment, Assistant Professor Wong especially wants to do research on demand forecasting for ambulance services. The idea of this study was conceived when Assistant Professor Wong volunteered at Hong Kong St. John Ambulance as a first-aider. He observed that the paramedics of the Fire Services Department had a lot of work and often did not even have time to eat. Therefore, he wants to develop an ambulance service demand forecasting system that allows the fire brigade to dispatch the available ambulance more effectively, optimizing the provision of emergency medical care to the injured by paramedics. Now, he is also preparing to use the same kind of forecasting tool in Taiwanese studies. Assistant Professor Wong pointed out that it was often said that Taiwanese would disappear in 30 years, but he is surrounded by native Taiwanese speakers in Kaohsiung. He thinks such a statement would only be convincing with the support of empirical evidence. Therefore, he wants to use scientific methods to project the Taiwanese-speaking population in the next 30 years.
Assistant Professor Wong once again joked that the reason he chose to work at the National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU) was because of the name “National”. In Hong Kong in the past, there was only the British “Royal” charter granted by the Queen. Hence, he finds “National” particularly appealing. In terms of teaching, Assistant Professor Wong is only teaching evidence-based medicine research methods, advanced quantitative methods and advanced statistical analysis this semester. In addition to those classes, he will be teaching management information system as well as Hong Kong and Macao business culture and other classes in the next school year. Besides spending a lot of time to prepare for the classes, Assistant Professor Wong also needs to take more time than others to understand the style of teaching in Taiwan. Nevertheless, the freedom he is allowed in the choice of research makes all the hard work worthwhile. Assistant Professor Wong has plans to carry out researches based on all the ideas he has previously conceived one by one. As an international faculty, he also hopes to do his part in helping the College of Management to become even more internationalized. Other than that, he is very pleased with the work environment that includes “free air-conditioning, coffee and food”. The only things he is still trying to adapt to in Taiwan are road safety and the numerous cockroaches seen on the street (laughs).