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Taiwan Church News
3158 Edition
September 3-9, 2012
Headline News

Christians join fellow citizens in protest against Want-Want monopoly

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

Written by Lydia Ma

In the wake of Want-Want China Time’s Group merger with China Network Systems (CNS) and the National Communication’s Commission’s (NCC) conditional approval of this merger, many academics and students have voiced their opposition to the monopolization of the media in Taiwan. Their concerns are not baseless because not only is CNS already the largest cable TV service provider in Taiwan, Want-Want China Times Group already owns several media outlets, including newspapers, a magazine, TV channels and a radio station. Want-Want’s response to these concerns has been to strike back at individual dissenters through false media reports to scare off anyone who dares to oppose the merger. There was a lot of public criticism once these reports were proven to be false.

In response to this chain of events, crowds assembled on September 1, also known as Reporter’s Day, to protest against the monopolization of the media in Taiwan. Organizations advocating for reform of the media and the Association of Taiwan Journalists led the crowd in a protest rally. The protest route began at China Time’s main office and culminated at the front steps of the NCC office.

Many Christians took part in this protest because they believed that their participation was a part of living out their Christian convictions. One PCT member, Lien Mei-man, said that protesters were active in opposing such a monopoly because everyone felt that the fourth estate in Taiwan had not evolved with the times and seemed stuck in Martial Law era mentality. Lien added that the PCT greatly values Taiwan’s sovereignty and therefore it also values freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The church will not allow any political party to take these freedoms away.

Lien Min-shu, a member of Shih-Lin Bread of Life Church, took part in this rally too and brought along his wife and children. When interviewed, he said that he decided to take a stand and join protesters because he believes that, as a member of Taiwanese society, he must care about social issues. He underscored that it had never crossed his mind to consider whether his religious beliefs had any impact when he made this decision. He simply believes that every citizen, regardless of religious beliefs, should care about social justice.

Lien went on to say that life and Christian beliefs should not be compartmentalized in a Christian’s life. For this reason, he does not agree with evangelical churches that advocate relying on prayer alone to overcome unjust governments. He thinks such a mentality merely gives Christians an excuse to avoid taking action and confronting structural injustices in the government. He further noted that Jesus Christ actively ministered and traveled for 3 years instead of locking himself in a room to pray for 3 years. However, he also acknowledged that those who chose to stay home do not necessarily feel indifferent about freedom of the press and Taiwan has indeed become a diverse society.

Mass media communication scholar and Holiness Church member, Kuan Chung-hsiang told Taiwan Church News that Christians ought to be very concerned about social justice issues and issues pertaining to justice, equality, and democracy. He underscored that it is very regrettable that Taiwanese media is not evolving into a more democratic state and added that Want-Want’s merger and imminent monopoly of the media is merely the tip of the iceberg. He explained that underneath this merger lies greater problems that have to do with the nation’s media structure and political structure. For this reason, mass media and communication scholars have vehemently opposed Want-Want’s monopoly. At the end of the day, Kuan believes that the NCC ought to pass regulations to fend off similar incidents in the future.

 
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Taiwan Church News
3158 Edition
September 3-9, 2012
Editorial

Editorial: A reflection on Auntie Shu-chu

Chen Shu-chu is a petite woman with a big heart. Though her life revolves around a vegetable cart, her influence is immense. After being lauded by Reader’s Digest, Time, and Forbes for her heart of gold, she was awarded the Magsaysay Award last month. The award has been dubbed as Asia’s Nobel Prize and it comes with a cash prize of US$50,000. Auntie Shu-chu donated all of it to Taitung Mackay Hospital to help it finance the building of a new intensive care facility. She hopes such a gesture will prompt others to donate to the hospital as well.

Auntie Shu-chu is a very ordinary woman who is not very good with words when speaking to the media. Not much has changed in her life since receiving this prestigious award. She still works as a vegetable vendor who sells 3 fistfuls of vegetables for NT$50. She believes that there are plenty of good folks in every corner of the world who are willing to do good deeds. For this reason, she thinks that her actions are so ordinary that they are not worth mentioning. She still believes that anyone can do good deeds as long as their hearts are open to the idea.

Auntie Shu-chu is not only a philanthropist in her own right, she is also an educator because of the example she has set for us. Looking at her achievements, you would never guess that she sells vegetables for a living and only graduated from elementary school. Her childhood was marked by the death of her mother because her family didn’t have enough time to scramble together NT$5,000 to pay for her medical treatment and the death of her younger brother because her family couldn’t get him to the big hospital in Taipei on time. She took over the family’s business of selling vegetables at the age of 13. This meant that she had to get up in the wee hours of the morning every day, go to a wholesale store to get vegetables, and then proceed to the market to sell them.

Auntie Shu-chu’s life was captured through a poem written by Taiwanese poet Lin Shen-mo in 2005. Lin ended his poem by remarking that Auntie Shu-chu’s life was the epitome of a generation of Taiwanese women who were hard-working and persistent. In contrast to politicians who love to tout about their love for Taiwan with empty talk, her ordinariness merely highlights how much greater she is compared to them because she walks the talk.

All of this reminds me of the opening chapter in the book of Genesis. It is written that God said “Let there be light,” and there was light. God also said, ”let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God’s words carry authority and they are true and they are always fulfilled. In contrast, we often say that we will walk justly and love mercy in God’s name but lack the will and the strength to follow through.

Auntie Shu-chu’s donation has been received by Mackay Memorial Hospital. In spite of her donation, the hospital still has a long road ahead in terms of raising enough funds to cover the cost of building a new intensive care facility. However, we are confident that as long as cabbage caterpillars don’t come to wreak havoc, Auntie Shu-chu will continue to donate money to build libraries and hospitals for years to come and bless her community in the process. It is our hope that this dear and tiny woman, who is not a Christian and yet gave so much to a PCT institution, may, through her example, prompt some people within the PCT to stop eating away at the church’s resources like cabbage caterpillars, and get moving and be of some use.

 
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Taiwan Church News
3158 Edition
September 3-9, 2012
Headline News

Fruit vendor donates US$50,000 prize money to Taitung Mackay Memorial Hospital

Reported by Lin Yi-ying

Written by Lydia Ma

Taiwanese fruit and vegetable vendor Chen Shu-chu, who recently won the Ramon Magsaysay Award, donated her entire prize money to Taitung Mackay Memorial Hospital on September 3, 2012. The Magsaysay Award has been dubbed as the “Nobel Prize of Asia” and it comes with a US$50,000 in prize money. “For me, the prize money is like a gift that fell down from heaven. I’m very glad to be able to donate it. My life is quite simple – I have a business and I can make money and I have food to eat. This is extra. Since medical care in Taitung is scarce, and I wanted to do this, I went ahead and did it.” She hopes that her gesture will inspire others to donate as well, so that Taitung Mackay Memorial Hospital can soon finish building an intensive care facility and serve more people.

Recalling her childhood, Chen said that her mother became ill at one point and needed to be hospitalized. Her mother needed NT$5,000 to be hospitalized but died before her family had time to get the money ready. Years later, her younger brother caught the flu and was transferred to National Taiwan University Hospital. He also died before the family could secure enough money to pay for his treatment. Because of these experiences, Chen has had a burden for Taitung Mackay Hospital. She stressed that many patients in critical condition have been forced to transfer to bigger hospitals in Taipei, but some have not been able to make it there in time.

Reader’s Digest called her “Asia’s champion”, Time named her among one of the most influential people in the world, Forbes nominated her as a “humanitarian champion”. Her small vegetable cart is her whole world, and yet, her love is infinitely big,” said Mackay Memorial Hospital Superintendent Yang Yu-cheng after meeting Chen. He noted that her fingertips were raw and her joints were deformed because of doing so much heavy lifting over the years. However, the money she has made through her labor, she has given to those in need.

“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done,” Yang said, citing Proverbs 19:17, and thanking Chen for her donation. The hospital’s Taitung branch needs NT$1 billion to build this intensive care facility. Though the hospital is paying 80% of this sum, it still needs donations from people like Chen to raise funds for the remaining 20%.

Chen Shu-chu picks up her prize and donates it. Photo by Lin Yi-ying

 


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