Newsletter No. 431

10 No. 431, 19.1.2014 Please tell us about your birthplace. I was born in Portoviejo, the capital of Manabi, a beautiful province located on the coast of Ecuador. It is famous for its straw hats, delicious seafood, and pretty women. Could you tell us about your experiences outside Ecuador. I spent a year in Germany as an exchange student when I was 18. Later I spent two years on the London campus of the University of Wales, Lampeter, where I studied Business Management, while working part-time at many hotels and luxury residences in London. How did you get from a foreign student to a beauty queen in London? I won the title of Miss Ecuador UK in April 2011. The purpose of the contest was that the winner should mobilize Ecuadorian migrants to work on projects for the improvement of their human rights and relationships with the international community, as well as to promote the tourism of Ecuador and to do social work. But I felt my mission was not only to assist Ecuadorians in England, but also to help vulnerable groups in Ecuador whose needs exceeded those of the former. Could you tell us how you fulfilled your missions? Among other things, I took a 10-day trip, paid out of my own pocket, to Ecuador during which about 30 beauty queens from all the provinces of Ecuador and I attended festivities for Quito’s Independence Day to promote the country’s products, heritage and culture. I also visited Quito’s most dangerous prison which runs a school and workshops for inmates. I sang two songs for the inmates. They showed their appreciation through poems dedicated to me and Ecuadorian souvenirs made by themselves. Is it true you barged into the office of the President of Ecuador without an appointment? I had wanted to meet President Rafael Correa and give him a half-year report of my activities as Miss Ecuador UK. I went to the Palace of Carondelet in Quito, approached security and explained my purpose. They said I needed an official invitation which I didn’t have. But I kept insisting and eventually they let me pass through the first security door. At the second door, I talked to everyone there whom I thought would know the President. A man, who turned out to be one of the President’s personal assistants, said he would help me because he could see how much I loved my country. After waiting for more than three hours, he informed me that the President would like to invite me to an event that evening. A few hours later, I found myself sitting in the first row next to the beauty queen of Quito and the city mayor. When President Correa arrived, he approached me and asked if I was living in London with my family. I said I was living and working there alone, but I would come back to Ecuador one day. The President had stayed in Belgium and the US as a student, so he understands how migrants feel. He hugged me and gave me a beautiful orchid inside a transparent box with his business card. I was speechless. Yet the dream did not finish there. What happened next? The President then went to the balcony of the palace to greet the people, and we went with him. I saw my family 談談你的出生地。 我在厄瓜多爾沿海的一個美麗省份—馬納維省的首府波 托維耶霍出生,那裏以草帽、美味海鮮和美女馳名。 說說你在厄瓜多爾以外的經歷。 我十八歲時在德國當了一年交換生,其後又花兩年時間到蘭 彼得威爾斯大學倫敦分校修讀工商管理,並在那裏不同的 酒店和豪宅當兼職。 如何從留學倫敦的學生成為選美冠軍? 我在2011年4月贏得厄瓜多爾小姐(英國)銜,那選美的目 的是讓得獎人推動厄國移民參與更多關於改善人權和建立 國際關係的工作,並推廣厄國旅遊業、服務社會。但我覺得 我的使命不應單是協助居英的厄國移民,更應該幫助厄國 弱勢社群,他們較前者更需援手。 你如何實踐抱負? 我自掏腰包回國十天,與約三十位來自當地各省的選美冠 軍出席厄國首都基多的獨立日慶典,推廣國家的產品、傳統 和文化。我又探訪基多最危險的監獄,那裏為囚犯開辦了學 校和工作坊,我獻唱了兩首歌。為表謝意,他們贈詩予我,又 送我自製的厄瓜多爾紀念品。 你沒有預約便闖進厄國總統辦公室,這可是真的? 我一直很想與 科雷亞 總統見面,向他報告當選厄瓜多爾小姐 (英國)後這半年的活動。我到基多的總統府,向保安道明 來意。他們說要出示正式邀請,但我沒有。我繼續堅持,最 後他們讓我穿過第一道保安門;到達第二道門,我與那裏每 位我認為會認識總統的人談話,竟然遇上總統的其中一名 私人助手,他說看得出我有愛國之心,願意協助。 等了三個多小時後,他通知我總統邀我出席當晚活動。幾小 時後,我與基多的選美冠軍和市長並列坐在首排。當總統 來到,他趨前問我在倫敦是否與家人同住,我答是獨自在當 地生活和工作,但將來定會返國。總統曾在比利時和美國 留學,所以很理解留學生的感受,他擁抱我,送我一枝以玻 璃盒盛載的蘭花,又給我名片。夢想成真,我高興得說不出 話來,但這還只是個開始。 跟着怎樣? 我們陪同總統站在總統府陽台向國民致意。我看到家 人在下面向我揮手,我很感激科雷亞總統讓我有這機 會,給他報告和送他倫敦的紀念品。及後,他邀請我同往 Chimbacalle,即基多首個火車站的所在地,並與總統、其 他嘉賓如國會議員、基多市長等在台上高歌。他又着我代表 居英的厄國僑民向群眾說話。隨後,眾人翩翩起舞,這天可 謂永世難忘。 為甚麼選擇在中大修讀可持續旅遊? 為令厄國學生有機會到全球首屈一指的大學升學,科雷亞 總統設立了卓越成績獎學金計劃,我希望繼續進修,於是申 請了。中大社會科學碩士是唯一入選世界首二十五位的香港 院校課程,是我心儀之選。而且,以旅遊為專業的,到各洲 看看是很重要的,而亞洲是我從未踏足的地方。 對香港印象如何? 熱﹗我在8月抵港,留意到溫度很高。這裏靠填海來增加用 地,也令我佩服。我喜歡島嶼和新界,東平洲、大帽山、長 洲、沙頭角等,各有特色。我來港僅數個月,發現這城市除了 是廣為人知的購物天堂,其實還有更多。 Lisset Jaramillo Centeno 2011年厄瓜多爾小姐(英國)冠軍 可持續旅遊碩士課程學生 Miss Ecuador UK 2011 Postgraduate Student in Sustainable Tourism down there. They waved at me. I thanked President Correa for the opportunity to be there and gave him my report and a little souvenir from London. After that, I was invited to go with him to Chimbacalle where the first train station of Quito was built. I ended up singing on stage with him, and the VIPs such as congressmen of the National Assembly of Ecuador and the mayor of Quito. He also asked me to give a message to the people on behalf of the Ecuadorian migrants in the UK. Then we all danced. I will never forget this day. Why did you choose to study Sustainable Tourism at CUHK? Since I wanted to continue my studies, I decided to apply to the Universities of Academic Excellence Scholarship Programme, an initiative of President Correa’s to enable Ecuadorian students to study at the best universities of the world. CUHK was the only university from Hong Kong that was in the top 25 best universities for social science master’s programmes and it has what I was looking for. Moreover, as a tourism professional, I consider it very important to visit all the continents and Asia was one I had not yet set foot on. What are your impressions of Hong Kong? Hot! I came in August and took due note of the temperature. I’m also impressed by how people have created land for themselves through land reclamation. I love the islands and the New Territories. Tung Ping Chau, Tai Mo Shan, Cheung Chau, Sha Tau Kok…. So much variety in those places. I have only been here a few months yet I have seen much more than the shopping paradise that everyone thinks Hong Kong is. 厄瓜多爾總統科雷亞(左) Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa (left)