Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Generosity should start at home

A residence in Huaguang that will get razed eventually
There are plenty of extraordinarily rich people in Taiwan who could help, but who are not raising a finger

As you read this, 85-year-old Chiang Bei-bei’s (蔣伯伯) ramshackle house in Taipei’s Huaguang Community (華光社區) will have been pulverized by bulldozers sent by the central government. Like many other residents of the community, Chiang barely ekes out a living and the government’s decision to raze the community to erect a glitzy neighborhood condemns him to destitution. While business tycoons and the central government pour millions of dollars into China’s Sichuan Province following Saturday’s earthquake, the fate of Chiang and others is ignored.

No sooner had the magnitude 6.6 quake hit Yaan City than the Executive Yuan, along with tycoons like Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘) and Want Want China Times Group chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明), announced they would make donations to help with relief efforts and reconstruction. Gou and Tsai alone donated more than US$10.5 million, with actors, singers and other business leaders also making contributions.

While this outpouring of generosity is commendable, it raises serious questions about those people’s priorities.

My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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