The devastation wrought by Typhoon Morakot has spurred people from all walks of life to ask what they can do to help.
Dancers are no different and yesterday two dance groups announced plans to raise funds for victims.
Ballet dancer Wang Tzer-shing (王澤馨) is the organizer behind the 2009 International Ballet Star Gala at the National Theater next Saturday. She has 14 dancers from around the world arriving in Taipei, starting tomorrow, and they contacted her as soon as news of the disaster spread.
“The dancers wrote to me immediately to ask how things were in Taiwan. They all want to do something. In a short amount of time they came up with the idea of donating items like point shoes, something ballet fans would like to buy,” Wang said in a telephone interview.
“I contacted the Taiwan Red Cross and asked them to send someone to the performance, so that people will know the money is going to the Red Cross right away,” she said.
There will be tables set up in the National Theater lobby the night of the show with signed point shoes, photographs and other items donated by the dancers for sale, as well as a collection box if people just want to make a donation.
Famed dancer Sheu Fang-yi’s (?y) company, LAFA (拉芳), has decided to donate a performance, with all the proceeds going to help the people of Jialan Village (嘉蘭), Jinfeng Township (金峰), in Taitung County.
The company has a personal connection with the area — it is the home town of choreographer Bulareyaung Pagarlava (Bula, 布拉瑞揚), Sheu’s partner.
“My family are all safe, but their homes are all gone, so they are staying in different places. We didn’t find out until last night that my elder brother was alive,” Bula said. “I’m from the same village as [Aboriginal folksinger] Kimbo (胡德夫). Everyone is family in a small village. We want to let the people there know ‘you are not alone.’”
Company manager Nellie Liu (劉菡元) said the company decided to add an extra show of Ode to Joy (快樂頌) on Sunday evening, Sept. 6, at the Taipei Cultural Center, Wenshan Branch (台北市立社會教育館文山分館), where they will be performing as part of the Taipei Arts Festival.
After the shows the company will travel to Taitung to volunteer.
Meanwhile, although school hasn’t even resumed yet, Ian Chang, president of the Taipei American School (TAS) Student Government, was yesterday busy mobilizing forces to do something about the catastrophe in southern Taiwan.
On Wednesday, Chang convened 40 members of the student senate and launched an appeal to students and parents to help.
About 48 hours later, four truckloads, or about 600 boxes, of emergency material — blankets, sleeping bags, instant noodles, toiletries, sanitary equipment and scouring powder — had been gathered and was ready to be shipped south. All donations came from parents, the community and schools.
By 5pm yesterday, the 600 boxes were on their way to Kaohsiung American School, whose superintendent will personally take the donations to Namasiya Township (那瑪夏) , Kaohsiung County.
Donors ranged from small children bringing a couple of blankets or stuffed animals, to parents, who brought truckloads of items.
While the corporate sector did not participate in the TAS relief program, Chang told the Taipei Times that many TAS parents are in senior positions at big corporations, and many of them made sure that their firms donated toward relief efforts.
Chang said yesterday’s effort was just a short-term initiative, adding that plans are being made for TAS to foster schools destroyed in the south and help with reconstruction.
TAS has a long tradition of helping out in poor countries, Chang said.
“However, it’s not often that we get to help out at home,” he added.
Meanwhile, Taiwan TV stations were scheduled to hold a concert last night to raise funds for typhoon victims.
The Hualien District Prosecutors’ Office has listed six people as suspects in a judicial investigation into a fatal train crash on Friday last week. Fifty people were killed and more than 200 were injured when the Taroko Express No. 408 train slammed into a crane truck that had slid onto the tracks near the entrance of Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林). The office also summoned six officials at the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) Hualien Engineering Section for questioning about alleged illegal business operations and unsafe work conditions by Yi Hsiang Industry Co and Tung Hsin Construction Co, the two
The navy’s new 10,600-tonne warship is on Tuesday to be christened the ROCN Yushan (玉山), as the nation’s indigenous shipbuilding program reaches a milestone, sources said yesterday. The vessel, previously referred to as the “new landing platform dock,” was at a shipyard with its name freshly painted on the hull with the number 1401, the Liberty Times (the sister paper of the Taipei Times) reported yesterday, citing an unnamed observer. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), a member of the legislature’s National Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, confirmed the report in a Facebook post. The NT$4.635 billion (US$163 million) ship is designed
SUPPORTING DEMOCRACY IN ASIA: Twitter aims to ‘play a unique role in enabling the public conversation around important social movements,’ the US company said Twitter has thrown its support behind the “Milk Tea Alliance” of democracy movements in Taiwan, Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia, defying China at a time when Beijing is punishing Western companies for commenting on what it considers internal matters. The social media company yesterday prominently displayed flags of Taiwan, Hong Kong, Myanmar and Thailand while unveiling an emoji to support democracy advocates in places that have in the past few years seen historic protests and share a love for the beverage. The emoji will automatically show up when users post the #MilkTeaAlliance hashtag, which was posted been 11 million times
DIALOGUE SOUGHT: Washington said it was concerned about the pattern of ongoing attempts to intimidate Taiwan after the 10th day of PLA activity in the region The US on Monday urged Beijing to stop its multifaceted pressure campaign against Taiwan after China sent 25 military jets into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. “The United States notes with concern the pattern of ongoing PRC [People’s Republic of China] attempts to intimidate the region, including Taiwan,” a US Department of State spokesperson said in an e-mail response to questions. “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan, and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan.” The Ministry of National Defense said that 25 Chinese military aircraft entered the zone on Monday. It was the 10th straight