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Taiwan telethon raises US$26 million more for Japan quake relief

2011/03/19 00:47:50

Taipei, March 18 (CNA) A legion of Taiwanese celebrities, singersand politicians attending a televised fund-raising show Friday tohelp the people affected by the disasters in Japan has collected morethan NT$ 788 million (US$ 26.63 million) as of midnight, according tothe organizers.

Celebrities including Chow Mei-ching, Taiwan's first lady, wereon hand to man 120 phone lines as viewers called in to make donationsthat began at 8PM and would run until 1AM Saturday.

One of the largest sums of donation came from an anonymousentrepreneur, who pledged NT$50 million for the families of theJapanese workers who have tried to prevent a catastrophic meltdown atthe Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Earlier in the telethon, President Ma Ying-jeou said that of allthe reports he had read about the disaster, the story about theemergency workers, who are likely sacrificing their lives to preventmassive leaks of radiation, was one of those that moved him the most.

Ma contributed NT$200,000 to the relief effort.

Several of Taiwan’s famed companies also lent their support. HonHai Group pledged NT$200 million, Chimei Innolux Corp. promised tooffer US$2 million, Formosa Plastics Corp. NT$50 million, FubonFinancial Holding Co. NT$36 million, Yulon Group NT$20 million.

Victims of Taiwan’s 921 Earthquake of 1999 donated NT$110,000.

Jody Chiang, the diva of Taiwanese music sang“Hometown at Dusk,"a Taiwanese tune written by a Japanese musician, to open the“Fightand Smile”telethon, which was broadcast live via 20 local televisionand radio channels.

“I have a very special relationship with the people of Japan, ”she said.“I had released records in Japan before, and I am deeplyconcerned for the Japanese people. Mother Nature is brutal but wehave each other,”said the 49-year-old singer.

Model-actress-singer Vivian Hsu, whose career expands into Japan,recited the dramatic experience of her Japanese friends, saying manypeople in Japan found it very difficult to believe what had actuallyhappened.

“Things will change for the better in Japan if every one of uspitches in to help,”she said.

A piece of work donated by famed Taiwanese sculptor Ju Ming wassold at NT$26 million on the show.

Japanese soccer player Hidetoshi Nakata, who joined the telethonand offered his sneakers for charity sale, said he was very touchedto see so many Taiwanese showing support for Japan, adding that hewill bring back the love to his countrymen.

Friday’s show, organized by Chinese Television, the TaiwanPublic Television Service and the Red Cross Society, featured atleast 100 singers from home and abroad.

President Ma, the first lady, Premier Wu Den-yih, Taipei MayorHau Lung-bin, Tainan Mayor William Lai also took part in the charitydrive working as phone operators.

Yahoo! Taiwan also launched an Internet fund-raising event underthe same name of“Fight and Smile.”By midnight, more than NT$16million has been pledged.

On Thursday, a similar telethon raised over NT$114 million.

(By Hermia Lin)