Taiwanesisk filantrop en av Time Magazines 100 hjältar
Government Information Office
May 4, 2010
Taiwanese vegetable seller among TIME 100 heroes
“There’s a kind of joy that I can’t express in words. I don’t know where it comes from. But every time I help others, I feel very happy and certainly will sleep well that night. Nothing else makes me feel this way, and words cannot do justice to what a joyful thing it is to help others.” So said vegetable seller Chen Shu-chu, a resident of eastern Taiwan’s Taitung County, while sharing her feelings on helping those in need.
Chen’s regular donations have helped to build a school library and support orphans. Over the years, she has donated a total of NT$10 million. Forbes Asia put her on its “Heroes of Philanthropy” list in its March 5 issue. On April 29, she was named one of Time magazine’s “Heroes” in its 2010 Time 100 list of the world’s most influential people. The vendor attended the publication’s awards ceremony on May 4.
Leading a simple, modest life, Chen has been selling vegetables in Taitung City’s central market since age 13. She never had the opportunity to travel abroad. At first, she considered not attending the ceremony. “I don’t think it’s worth all the fuss,” she said. “I never thought such a common little thing would be treated this way.” She agreed to travel to the United States to receive her award only after being encouraged to do so via telephone by President Ma Ying-jeou.
As per its usual practice, Time invited celebrities to write introductions for each person honored. In his write-up for Chen, director Ang Lee emphasized that “what’s so wonderful about Chen’s achievement is not its extraordinariness but that it is so simple and matter of fact in its generosity.”
Lee quoted the prizewinner as saying, “Money serves its purpose only when it is used for those who need it.” But “rather than bask in her celebrity,” the acclaimed filmmaker continued, “Chen seems to dismiss the whole thing with a wave of her hand, perhaps even with a hint of irritation.”
To drive home his conviction of this greengrocer’s humility, Lee again used Chen’s own words. “There isn’t much to talk about, because I didn’t enter any competition,” she said. “I haven’t really made any huge donations.” Saving his highest praise for last, Lee closed by opining of Chen that “of all she has given away, her greatest gift is her example.”
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