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Taiwanese-American beauty queens hope to be inspirations for kindness

03/30/2024 09:02 PM
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2023 Miss Taiwanese American MimiQ Soong (left) and 2024 Miss Asia USA Tiffany Chang (right) pose for a photo in Taipei on Saturday. CNA Photo March 30, 2024
2023 Miss Taiwanese American MimiQ Soong (left) and 2024 Miss Asia USA Tiffany Chang (right) pose for a photo in Taipei on Saturday. CNA Photo March 30, 2024

Taipei, March 30 (CNA) Taiwanese-American beauty queens Tiffany Chang (張芳瑜) and MimiQ Soong (宋依珊) said on Saturday that they would like to use their status to inspire more young women to become engaged in philanthropic work, during a trip to Taiwan.

The two are currently studying for their bachelor's degree in the United States and are visiting Taiwan during spring break.

At a press event in Taipei, Chang, who is 2024 Miss Asia USA, discussed her non-profit organization Madhatter Knits. Founded in 2014, it makes free hand-knitted hats to give to premature babies at medical institutions.

Chang said she hit on the idea for the project when she was a sixth grader because her family had often emphasized the importance of giving back to the community.

Today, what started out as a tiny outfit run by Chang, her sisters and her cousins has become a multinational NGO with over 50 chapters internationally, including one in Taiwan.

Soong, the 2023 Miss Taiwanese American, said she participated in the Dance for Parkinson's program from 2022 to 2023 and worked at the non-profit Urbanity Dance in Boston as a teaching assistant.

During her time there, Soong said, she learned through her talks with her students, who were suffering from Parkinson's disease and mostly in their 70s, that they attended concerts or parades together.

It was heartwarming witnessing the positive impact of dance, Soong added.

On March 26, she visited a rehabilitation center for people with spinal injuries, and after learning that it was short of funding, she donated all of the money her grandmother had given her in a "red envelope," or "Hongbao," for Lunar New Year to the institution.

As she saw it, Soong said, being a Taiwanese American means being resilient and compassionate, and she hoped that her status as Miss Taiwanese American would inspire more young women to also value these traits and become actively engaged in philanthropic work.

Chang on March 25 met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), whom she said is one of her "biggest role models." She said Tsai has "done so much to continue to protect our country."

Chang said she had thought that Tsai would only talk to her for no more than 30 minutes, but the president spoke to her for 1.5 hours about Taiwan's current situation in the international community, how to improve it, and her pets.

Soong emphasized that the purpose of their trip was not for pleasure, but to learn more about Taiwanese culture and history, so that they can better introduce Taiwan to people after they return to the U.S.

The two also visited Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and other Taiwanese technology corporations on Friday.

(By Sean Lin)

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