[EDITORIALS]Christmas charityWe are having an unusually cold winter. Freezing wind has been at its peak over the past three weeks and some say it is colder in Seoul than Moscow this year. In addition, Jeolla provinces, the Honam area, have been hit by unprecedented heavy snowstorms, inflicting severe damage. Greenhouse farmers have given up their repair work and are nursing grudges against the heavens. One essayist wrote, “However beautiful the snowfall may be, I won’t produce any writing on snow this year, because I feel so sorry for the farmers afflicted by the weather.”
The sensory temperature that the nation’s common folk feel is lower than the actual measurement. Even though the stock prices have surpassed the 1,350-point level and international trade volume has hit $500 billion, the purchasing power of this nation has been flat over the past three quarters. When earnings polarization is considered, commoners are facing an even worse financial situation. Earners of monthly salaries, whether small or big, are fortunate enough. There are so many neighbors that are in dire straits, in which they worry about whether they can get through this cold spell alive.
Koreans are people who have never overlooked their neighbors in difficulties, and that is one of our proud traditions. This year we also hear heart-warming stories about people helping the needy.
In Gwangju, South Jeolla province, there is an anonymous benefactor who contributed 60 million won ($58,900) for childhood cancer patients, while Goyang city in Gyeonggi province heard of an unidentified angel who disappeared after throwing 30 million won into the Salvation Army’s pot. There has also been a company worker in his 50s who sent 98 million won to the Community Chest of Korea without revealing his name. Anonymous “Good Samaritans” must be helping others somewhere even at this moment. Community Chest of Korea said it had accumulated 66.5 billion won in donations as of yesterday, making the “Love Temperature Tower” that measures the total donations climb to the 55 “degree” mark. Although the amount of donations is bigger than last year, the actual “love temperature” of the general public is still lower than expected, according to workers at the charity organization. They mean that those in need of aid this year have also increased in number compared with last year.
On Sunday, we will celebrate Christmas. Let us take a look around to see if any of our lonely and sad neighbors are having a good time on this annual holiday.