DANIEL, EL MONO*
Even if I cannot transform myself into 72 different categories of creatures as the Monkey King does, I love to re-invent myself and be ready to changes and open for opportunities. Although I am not as prepared as Sun Wu Kung, who always has a cunning plan to get himself out of my problems, I work hard on my resilience, spirit of struggle, and self-improvement. As the Monkey King, I can be irreverent, especially in the face of earthly and heavenly (if any) power and those who hold power obtained by inheritance, blind (and self-interested) obedience to superiors or corruption, not by their own merits and honest work.
As Sun Wu Kung, I have virtues and flaws while trying to find my place in a world of immortals (those that are always in power no matter what changes in the rest of the world) and magic (or superstition). I am indeed a mischievous, curious, and, sometimes, misguided fellow, but unlike Sun Wu Kung, you can trust me (as far as you are one not one of those immortals…).
Like the Monkey King, I try to create my road in a constant search for self-improvement. As Sun Wu Kung discovers at the end of the journey, I sincerely believe that there is no single religion or universal ethical values, but different cultural ways of making sense of this life, which I deeply respect as long as the respect is mutual. I like to look for common ground points and collaboration rather than disagreements and conflict issues. I always try to learn from the «other» to understand better, acknowledge, and collaborate with him/her.
Sun Wu Kung is always loyal to the monk Hsuan Tsang. I am devoted to my family, my true friends, to the people who trust me and who work to make this world a little better and to free us from the clutches of the immortals that, out of ambition and greed, make this world often so cruel and unjust. I considered myself optimistic and, unlike the Monkey King, a not always self-confident person. I have as great a sense of humour as my uncertainties are great and I am particularly suspicious of people who have too many certainties (It was me who, thanks to a dear friend, discovered that myself had too many certainties…).
*El Mono is the Spanish translation for The Monkey
Back in 2017, I had a discussion about the United States and China with a dear colleague who was working with me on a project for the internationalization of Spanish companies to China. She kindly told me that she was surprised that I had so many certainties about the Asian world and wisely recommended that I read «Has the west lost it?» from Kishore Mahbubani. The book made an impact on me.
I thought I had read enough to understand reasonably the contemporary world, but this book broke all my certainties. Then I read «Can Asians Think?», «The Great Convergence», «Beyond the age of innocence», «The ASEAN Miracle», «The New Asian Hemisphere,» and «Has China Won? And I realized I had a clear west-centered vision of the world.
This discovery led me, after more than 25-30 years (I came to earth before man stepped on the moon…) working in strategy and project management consultancy in international companies and multicultural environments, commercial diplomacy, global missions, and trade fairs, to get to know better Asia, an immense world unknown to me.
All this led me to do the MA in Global Diplomacy: East Asia at the School of African and Oriental Studies (University of London) and to learn Chinese (not an easy thing…) – I hope to have the HSK4 in June 2021 and, it will be much harder…(but as The Monkey King… I will do my best… the HSK5 (C1) by the end of 2022.
My interest in learning and working has focused on Asia and how to build bridges of mutual knowledge, understanding, and respect in the relationship between Europe and Asia, trying to integrate Asian «平安» and western «freedom» working in the academic field, international NGOs, Think Tanks, international organizations and, why not, the internationalization of green/inclusive/socially responsible (not just #greenwashing) companies.
I hope to always bear in mind that another (and much better) world is possible and that after this pandemia, we should not back to normal because normal was the problem.