Compared with the government, Taiwan's private sector is dynamic, flexible and confident. Taiwan's kind and generous people have become the country's most valuable assets.
Four Taiwanese have just been included in Forbes' list of 48 Heroes of Philanthropy from Asia.
Three of the four are wealthy entrepreneurs -- Evergreen Group founder Chang Yung-fa, Wowprime Group Chairman Steve Day and Chimei Group founder Shi Wen-long, but the fourth is a 68-year-old cleaner, Chao Wen-cheng.
Despite a meager income, Chao has donated over NT$4 million (US$133,585) to underpriviledged people over the past three decades.
Chao has even been dubbed the "male version of Chen Shu-chu," referring to the Taiwanese vegetable vendor who has been recognized by Time magazine for her philanthropy.
Goto Shimpei (1857-1929), a Japanese official during Japan's colonial period in Taiwan, once described Taiwanese as "money loving people who are concerned about saving face and who are afraid to die."
While there may be some truth in his words, we think the force behind the progress of history lies not with a few rich and famous people, but with good and kind individuals.
Examples of people like Chen and Chao are numerous in Taiwan. Many elderly veterans have left behind their savings to benefit the country.
We feel that the kindness found in every corner of our society is a reassuring force that we can depend on to overcome any potential difficulties that lie ahead. (editorial abstract -- June 23, 2012)
(By Lilian Wu)