Tue, Oct 03, 2017 - Page 4 News List

New Mexican representative has special encounter

By William Hetherington  /  Staff writer

Taiwanese artist Liang Dan-feng (梁丹丰) last month met with Mexican Representative to Taiwan Martin Torres, who she met and sketched a portrait of 42 years ago in Copenhagen while she was traveling in her youth.

The two were reunited after Liang was invited to a banquet held by the Mexican Trade Services Documentation and Cultural Office to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day, the Chinese-language United Daily News reported on Sept. 22, adding that Torres had been a sullen 19-year-old when they first met in Denmark.

Torres, who in July arrived in Taiwan to take up his post heading the office, contacted Liang on Aug. 28 to invite her to the banquet. Torres, accompanied by his family, greeted Liang, 83, at the banquet, where the two warmly embraced.

Torres recalled that he had just graduated from high school when the two first met, saying he had received a scholarship from the Swedish government and was on a trip to Denmark before his studies in Sweden began.

He recalled having a long conversation with Liang, after which she drew his portrait.

“That day and that portrait left a strong impression on me,” the United Daily News quoted Torres as saying, adding that he had held on to the portrait and treasured it ever since, taking it with him whenever he moved.

Torres said it was only a few years ago when he did an online search of Liang’s name, which was written on the portrait in Hanyu pinyin, that he discovered she is a famous Taiwanese artist.

Before coming to the country, he enlisted the aid of the former Mexican representative, who helped Torres’ wife track down Liang.

Liang said she recalls that on the morning they met, she walked into the hotel restaurant and was warmly greeted by everyone except Torres, who kept to himself.

After everyone had left the restaurant, he remained there by himself, prompting her to invite him to sit together and have tea, she said.

He told her at the time that he was from a middle-income family and heading to Sweden to study on a scholarship, she said, adding that the two then joined a day trip with the hotel.

She drew his portrait that evening while they had dinner together at a noodle shop.

Liang said she had asked Torres why he appeared despondent, to which he replied that he was disappointed in young people who, despite their responsibility as the “pillars of society,” always just wanted to have fun.

“You need to establish yourself first before you can influence others,” she said she had told him in reply, adding that he finally smiled upon hearing this.

Torres said his wife came to him one day saying: “I have a great surprise for you!”

She had found Liang and arranged a meeting with her.

Torres said that he immediately recognized Liang when he saw her.

He was very happy to tell her that he had kept the portrait all those years, he said.

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