[EDITORIALS]A noble, selfless idea

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[EDITORIALS]A noble, selfless idea

The chairman of Samyoung Chemical, Lee Chong-hwan, has decided to reach deep into his pockets and give 300 billion won ($230 million) of his personal wealth to create the largest scholarship foundation in the country. The gesture is a pleasant shock to a society that has been marred by unending tangles of "dirty money."

The Gwan Jeong Educational Foundation established by Mr. Lee will grant the first batch of scholarships Tuesday. The scale of the foundation's operation is astonishing. It will be offering 10 million won each to more than 300 students studying here, and up to $50,000 to more than 100 students who decide to go abroad to pursue academic work. The foundation brings scholarship to an entirely new level.

Our middle-class has been riddled since the days of the financial crisis. There is sufficient analysis to show that polarization of income has deepened at the same time. Education is the only social remedy to sever the cycle of poverty in the lower-income class. And it is for that reason that the need for adequate financial assistance to talented, gifted and eager lower-income students is urgent. Mr. Lee's deed is something that casts a ray of hope for lower-income families, and it also reflects the possibility that ours may be a society that can after all reach out to one another.

Mr. Lee reportedly said, "I started out with only my bare hands. I will leave the bare minimum to my own children, just enough for them to get started." When we look at all the corruption in our society today, much of the cause can be traced to the desire to leave as much wealth as possible to our children. Mr. Lee's act makes us look back on our selfishness, whether in the country's leadership or among the ordinary private citizens, that puts the immediate family above anything else. And it encourages us to follow in his noble idea that it is more important to work for the education of all children, not just our own blood relations, if we are to make this a better place to live.
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