[LETTERS]Nurturing culture of giving
I was inspired by a Dec. 4 editorial, “Exemplary charity”, which is about the kung fu film star Jackie Chan’s great example of philanthropy.
In one survey on charitable giving conducted by The Beautiful Foundation in 2001, 52.6 percent of respondents stated that they had given to charity, but the average amount of donation was less than 50,000 won [$37.10 in today’s dollars], which is much lower than the average levels reported in surveys - $1,075 by Americans in 1998 and $240 by Japanese donors in 1996.
Even though there are a lot of Korean celebrities who have donate generously to charity, it’s obvious that philanthropy is not common in Korea.
Some people think that only the rich have the responsibility of donating to society, under the concept of noblesse oblige.
However, I think that donating is an issue for not only the rich but also all the people.
That’s why we should make people realize that donating doesn’t require a large amount of money.
For children in particular, education in philanthropy is essential. They are the next generation who will lead our society.
However, some people are concerned only about themselves; their self-centeredness might come from being over-protected by parents and being used to doing everything, even playing, by themselves.
Therefore, we should be responsible for enlightening them to become aware of the joy of giving, not just out of sympathy.
A few years ago, one nonprofit organization that had collected contributions by citizens was reprimanded by the government on account of having failed to obtain official permission in advance of its fundraising.
A lot of similar organizations complained about the complicated procedure of seeking and giving donations.
It is sheer nonsense for administrative procedures to block giving out of pure [charitable intent]. The government should simplify the administrative procedure in order to encourage people to donate to charity.
Charity should not be a special occasion. The charitable acts of a celebrity shouldn’t be fodder for sensational gossip passed by word of mouth.
Government should build up philanthropy education for children and support voluntary donors by abolishing or reforming unnecessary laws so that a charitable culture develops in our society as soon as possible. I hope all people realize that a small step of sharing helps others make huge strides in our society.
Shin Hye-ra, an elementary school teacher
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