For almost two decades, Tai Chun-po (戴春波) quietly donated about NT$3 million (US$101,000) to charity and performed good deeds, so quietly that his family only discovered what he had done when they found donation receipts after he passed away recently at the age of 96.
The father of Tai Sheng-hsiung (戴勝雄), former mayor of Tanzih Township (潭子), Taichung County, Tai Chun-po ran a brick factory in his younger years and served as the sixth chairman of the Tanshui Pavilion’s Guanyin Temple Management Committee. He used the name of Tanshui Pavilion in his donations to the poor.
According to his granddaughters, Tai Pei-han (戴珮涵) and Tai Pei-ling (戴佩玲), they found about 20 notebooks that itemized their grandfather’s donations starting from 1971, adding that he would donate to poor people he read about in newspapers.
The notebooks were very detailed, including the source of the newspaper clippings, the dates, the people the money was for and the amount donated, while the receipts were fastidiously glued to the books, they said.
“Seeing these notebooks make us feel that grandfather is like the Guanyin Bodhisattva, who saves the poor and the needy,” they said.
As he got older, his record-keeping became less meticulous, they said, with the receipts and newspaper clippings from 1988 to 1998 not attached to notebooks, while he apparently stopped making donations after 1998 because of his advancing age.
“We came across the notebooks locked in desk drawers when we were arranging grandfather’s affairs,” the granddaughters said, adding that they were very impressed with his charitable activities since in his personal life he was quite frugal, wearing the same few articles of clothing for two decades.
In keeping with Tai Chun-po’s thrifty lifestyle, his memorial ceremony on Wednesday was kept simple and cost a little more than NT$100,000, the granddaughters said.
The additional NT$60,000 they had planned to spend was instead donated to the Social Affairs Bureau, they said.
Meanwhile, Greater Taichung Councilor Hsiao Lung-tse (蕭隆澤), who worked at Tai Shun-po’s factory in 1974, said he only learned of his death because he happened to pass by the funeral.
“Back when I was working at the factory, I thought that my boss was very thrifty because he swept up the bits of iron on the ground and said that we can’t waste resources,” Hsiao recalled, adding that now that he looked back on that period of time, his former boss “was very thrifty with himself, but the money he saved he used to help the poor.”
Tai Shun-po had also told the township office’s civil administration division that he would pay for the burial of all unidentified corpses, Hsiao said, adding that Tai Shun-po had donated more than NT$10 million to building temples.
Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer