March 7, 2010

I am so ashamed...

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This story has had a deep impact on me over the last 2 days, so I'm putting it up here as well as my Chinese blog and Facebook page.  It's one of the few things that I've ever seen fit to post on multiple sites.

Forbes Asia recently came out with their "48 Heroes of Philanthropy", and one of the people on the list is Chen Shu-chu (陳樹菊), a 59-year old woman from Taiwan.  There is no smiling picture accompanying her entry.  The name is unfamiliar to the world, even to those of us from Taiwan.

Who is she, and what has she done to deserve being listed alongside well-known Asian tycoons such as Francis Yeoh (Chairman of YTL, Malaysia), Dhanin Chearavanont (Chairman of CP Group, Thailand), Tsai Hong-Tu (蔡宏圖, Chairman of Cathay Financial, Taiwan), George Ty (Chairman of Metrobank, Philippines) and Eka Tjipta Widjaja (Sinar Mas Group, Indonesia)?

She is a vegetable vendor in the Central Market in Taitung (台東).  In comparison with the others on that list, she's a nobody.

Since 2004, she has donated over USD 200,000 to various charitable causes.  And she plans to donate a further USD 300,000 in the near future.  That is no small sum of money.

In terms of earnings, I am pretty sure that my income far outstrips hers.

So why is it that a common citizen like her can (and has) find it in her to give so much to the needy, but I haven't?

Over the last year or so, I have increasingly felt the need to give back more to society.  Yes, it's nice to have a comfortable lifestyle, and I still want one.  At the same time, I am sure that I can do without a few luxuries and use the resources for a better cause.  But I wasn't thinking of anything that even came close to the numbers that Chen Shu-chu has come up with.

What does that say about the kind of person she is, and more importantly, how does it reflect on me?


Lambda said...

It's not just money. You can also give time and talent to help those who are less fortunate. If you can bake, you can deliver breads to orphanage. You can teach Chinese and English to new immigrants or kids who cant afford private tutor. You want to go for the charity walk for Hao Xue Action?

Anonymous said...

hmmm... yes, does make one rethink what's the point of blogging about the 5-star restaurants you eat at 5 times a week!

Anonymous 2 said...

To anonymous: maybe he should start blogging about food from street vendors instead!


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