Tue, Jun 10, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Charity concerts to raise funds for disaster victims

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

A series of charity concerts organized by the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation began yesterday to help raise funds for victims of the Sichuan earthquake and the cyclone that hit Myanmar last month.

Sichuan was hit by a magnitude-8 earthquake on May 12 that had claimed 69,136 lives as of Sunday, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said, with 374,061 injured and 17,686 still missing. Cyclone Nargis, which hit Myanmar on May 2, caused some 78,000 deaths with more than 56,000 people still missing.

Featuring Israeli vocalist David D’or and his six-member band, the concert started in Kaohsiung and will make several stops around the nation, including Tainan, Changhua, Taoyuan, Taipei City and Sanchong during the coming week.

“The concerts are parts of our relief efforts to assist Sichuan and Myanmar,” Lee Yi-huei (李怡慧), a Tzu Chi Foundation spokeswoman, said.

Noting that prayers will be held alongside the concerts, Lee said that “We at Tzu Chi hope that through such events we can raise funds for the victims and raise awareness.”

D’or, who has performed for Tzu Chi three times since 2006, said singing for the foundation is really meaningful, especially while helping to raise funds for the victims in China and Myanmar.

“For me it’s amazing to see people that are choosing love because Israel is surrounded by hatred,” D’or said. “Sometimes, helping people we don’t know sounds a little bit naive, but this is the essence of life.”

Encouraged by the spirit of Master Cheng Yen (證嚴), founder of the Tzu Chi Foundation, D’or has also produced an English-language CD, the first especially produced for the Tzu Chi Foundation by a foreign musician, comprising 13 songs written according to Cheng Yen’s teachings.

“I am inspired by people who choose love as a way of life ... I am inspired by people that understand that human beings are connected to each other,” D’or said.

Emphasizing that no one can “just be a bystander” in the catastrophes of Sichuan and Myanmar, Raphael Gamzou, Israel’s representative to Taiwan, expressed hope that the public can join Tzu Chi’s efforts to help the victims.

“This concert will be a collective prayer for the victims and survivors to wish no more disasters for humanity,” Gamzou said.

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