Taitung County vegetable vendor and philanthropist Chen Shu-chu (陳
樹菊) reopened her business early yesterday after a week-long visit
to the Philippines, where she was awarded a Ramon Magsaysay Award.
Chen began work at her stall in the traditional market shortly
after 3am. She declined requests for interviews, saying she wanted
to return to her normal life as a vegetable vendor.
However, what Chen has done over the years is anything but normal.
She leads a frugal life in Taitung and gives away nearly everything
she earns from selling vegetables. She has previously donated about
NT$10 million (US$334,400) to help local children receive education
and improve their lives.
On Monday, she donated another US$50,000, the prize money she
received with her Ramon Magsaysay Award, also called the “Nobel
Prize of Asia,” on Aug. 31 in Manila. The money was given to
Mackay Memorial Hospital’s Taitung branch to build an intensive
Chen said that before her trip to the Philippines, she had taken
only three “vacations” from her business since she started
selling vegetables at the age of 13.
The first two times were when she was sick and admitted to
hospitals in Taipei and Hualien. The third time was when she
visited New York to attend a dinner after being named by Time
magazine one of the 100 most influential people in the world in
2010 because of her philanthropy.