Farewell Chou!

Dame Pearlette Louisy with Ambassador Tom Chou.

“Time flies. Five years are like the blink of an eye.”
That line was straight off the lips of Taiwanese Ambassador Tom Chou on Thursday, June 21 at a farewell occasion held on his behalf at the Bay Gardens Beach Resort.
Before Chou would address the gathering at the gala event, Master of Ceremonies Judy Deterville suggested that someone walk around with tissues “on the off chance that anyone had to dry an eye .”
“It seems like only yesterday, but if I said that I would also have to say that yesterday was five years young,” Deterville expressed in her welcome remarks. “In that short time we’ve come to know Ambassador Chou and his capacity for hard work and service to country.”
During his tenure as Taiwanese ambassador in St Lucia Chou paid special attention to areas including agriculture, education, health, sports, disaster relief and cultural exchanges. At Thursday’s ceremony appreciation was shown for his efforts as the much talked about ambassador prepares to leave St Lucian shores.
“He’s very shy,” Judy Deterville remarked. “He was describing what touched his heart, so I felt the need to share that with you. In his own words he said today that he and his wife would go to the supermarket or anywhere in St Lucia and the local people were very appreciative. Even his hairdresser today, when he told her he was having his final hair cut she would not let him pay her. He was visibly moved by that.
“He went on to say that almost every day he’d drive past a lady who looked like his grandmother and he always wanted to stop and say something to her but he was too shy,” the master of ceremonies added with a smile. “So the lady will never know that every day he got the strength from her because she looked just like his grandmother!
“Those who knew him well or worked closely with him would agree wholeheartedly that Chou certainly is probably the most high profile ambassador we have in St Lucia!
“There probably isn’t another ambassador whose name will be sang about in Calypsos, so truly he is high profile in St Lucia!” Deterville said to the highly entertained audience. “He’s so well recognized and appreciated. I thought surely he should be visibly disturbed by the pressure he received. Well, the ambassador acknowledges that pressure is a good thing and this should make one stronger and smarter. I think I can safely say his time spent here was challenging on a number of fronts, but there is a wisdom I see in his eyes and an earnestness that goes deep. He’s not as naïve about us as a people. More importantly, he does not regret the time he spent here.”
Ambassador Tom Chou has served in Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, New York, St Vincent and St Lucia. When he got to the podium Chou welcomed all to the occasion stating: “So many beautiful memories have filled in our hearts during this period.
“It will be nice to go home to see our families and friends again after service overseas for such a long time,” he told friends and well-wishers in attendance.                 “However, it is also hard for us to say goodbye to good friends and leave a place where we have devoted our energies, hearts and souls.”
Some people have asked me “what are you doing here?” As an ambassador of Taiwan, I think, I am here to join with you to make St Lucia a better place for all,” he said. “In this regard, I think, I have done my best.”
Chou spoke fondly about some of the areas he’d had the opportunity to contribute to during his tenure.
In education he noted St Lucia now had the most advanced computer education system for primary schools in the Caribbean. In agriculture, tissue cultural lab and a hatchery for aquaculture. In grass root projects the Taiwan government has contributed more than EC$60 million on footpaths, drainage, water connections, community centers, sport fields, small bridges and roads since 2007. Another project, the National Tennis Centre is one of the best tennis facilities in the Caribbean. As the list of projects the Taiwanese had invested in went on, the absence of PM Kenny Anthony at the event was glaring. Reports were that Dr Anthony was invited to the event.
“On this special occasion, I would like to express my heart-felt appreciation to you all for the kind support and encouragement
extended to me and the Embassy in the past five years,” Chou said. “Without you, my life here would have been very different.”
What would he miss most about St Lucia?
“I guess, I am going to miss my friends, especially the true ones,” he answered. “And, the development of agriculture, education and tennis of this country will also always be in my
thoughts, because I have emotional investments and interests here. Other people may be interested in political questions. Frankly speaking,
I know politics, but I don’t like it, because politics is a non-productive industry. I wish St Lucia all the best. I have so many friends attending my party this evening, I am very touched.”

Former prime minister Stephenson King, Rosella King, Tina Chou, Tom Chou, Richard Frederick and Perlina Faucher.

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