Sunday, February 28, 2010


It’s a good sign that as people get more affluent they tend to be more charitable.  It’s a general statement that may not hold true for everyone but it’s an observation I’ve made.

Look at the celebrities donating to all different causes and becoming sponsors to different non-profit organizations.  The skeptics may say it’s all for publicity.  Whatever the motive is not for us to judge but the outcome is positive.  Aside from helping the needy, it increases awareness for the different causes.

I respect the wealthy who spend the money and effort to help those in needs.  In Asia, in recent years increasing number of wealthy families have invested time and effort for philanthropic causes.  Many of my friends for example benefit from the scholarship the Sampoerna family has sponsored. These are young intelligent people who have so much to contribute to the country after they finished the higher education paid for by the scholarships.

With increasing affluence in Asia, many has picked philanthropy as a way to show-case their wealth.  It has become an “in-thing” amongst many of the rich.  It’s a new hobby.  As long as the support to the cause is sustainable, I have no qualms over anyone’s motives.  If one of the main purposes to support a charity event is to appear in Tattler, I’ve nothing against it as long as some poor kids get to go to school.

What I have an issue with are people who demonstrate their charitable support in public but are mean and petty to the household staff who work for them.  There are countless of people who pay their maids meager salary and have no second thoughts deducting their salary to pay for something they broke while cleaning up the house.  Others will not give their maids day-off.  I’ve also seen many who bring their nannies to look after kids in restaurants without offering the nannies anything to eat or even drink.  Do we even feed our domestic staff properly at home?  Do we care if our driver is making enough to send his kids to school?  Do we help pay for the medical bills when his kids are sick. 

So often, we ignore those around us who are most in needs.   I know many people treat their household staff like their family.  To those people, my deepest respect.  For the others, it’s not too late to start.  Charity starts at home.

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