Chen Shu-chu, one of TIME magazine’s top 100 “heroes” this year, received her award at New York’s Lincoln Center on May 4. As a vegetable vendor at a traditional market in Taitung in eastern Taiwan, she has donated up to US$320,000 to various charities in Taiwan. Beside TIME’s honor, Chen is also one of the heroes of philanthropy from Asia named by Forbes Magazine. On her way back to Taiwan, Chen will stop in San Francisco from May 6 to May 7.
Chen, 61 and unmarried, has been working at the Taitung County Central Market since she was 13. Coming from a poor family, the death of Chen’s mother meant that she was not able to complete her elementary school education. To this day, she continues to get up at 3 am to prepare for her workday and her stall is still one of the last to close. From her modest living, she has given US$32,000 to a children’s fund, US$144,000 to help build a library at the school she once attended, and another US$32,000 to a local orphanage. She firmly believes that “money serves its purpose only when it is used for those who are in need.”
Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou lauded Chen as an “ambassador of the country with a loving heart.” Somewhat embarrassed by all this fuss, she said, “There isn’t much to talk about, because I did not enter any competition.” Many feel differently, and among them is Taiwan-born director Ang Lee who wrote an introduction for Chen in TIME. In his article entitled “Small, extraordinary act of kindness,” he said, “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.”
If you would like to read more of Ang Lee’s comments in TIME, please click on the link below:
- The Press Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in San Francisco represents the Government Information Office (GIO), Executive Yuan, Republic of China (Taiwan). GIO maintains nine Press Divisions in the United States, including the San Francisco office. The Press Divisions are in charge of promoting Taiwan's public relations and cultural exchanges. This blog is updated by the Press Division, TECO in San Francisco.
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