Hou Hsiao-Hsien Awarded Honorary Doctorate of Literature from National Taiwan University of the Arts
Internationally renowned film director Hou Hsiao-Hsien, who has been involved in cinema for nearly 40 years, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Literature at graduation ceremonies held at National Taiwan University of the Arts on June 19. Education Minister Wu Ching-ji, former Vice Premier Eric LiLuan Chu, Director of the Government Information Office's Motion Picture Affairs Department Frank Chen, a number of Hou's university classmates, and Mrs. Hou were in attendance to watch as Hou received the honor.
In prepared remarks, Hou stated that in fact other schools in the past have sought to present him with honorary degrees. However, he said he has always thought of himself as quite ordinary, and has never had much interest in overly elaborate formalities. He said that the feeling he has today wearing the cap to mark his doctorate is quite unusual, adding that he senses a great responsibility accepting this degree. He remarked that he feels he has a duty to share his experiences to both the university and the students. Hou said that he graduated from the school 38 years ago. Except for an eight-month period when he worked as a salesman of electronic calculators, he has spent the rest of his adult life involved in the movie circle. He commented that he has never given second thought to his decision, and that he never has considered leaving the film community. Hou cited a statement made by Huang Kuang-Nan, president of the university, that if one wants to be successful one must establish a goal for himself or herself. Hou remarked that film and television departments many years ago did not have a good reputation. He recalled that his decision to study film did have consequences for his personal life. He said that a girl who liked him at the time started to cry and told him that her family forbid her to date students studying film or TV. Hou, however, said that he does not regret his decision at all, adding that he is pleased to see that today many students fill in arts-related departments as their first choice when seeking to enter university.
Hou encouraged the graduating students to rely on themselves after they leave the campus. He said that when one has unwavering determination, he or she will naturally attract others who are likeminded to work together. Hou remarked that people need to pool their efforts in making films. Otherwise, it is quite difficult to be successful.