When 13-year-old Taiwanese American MeiJade Hsu saw television reports of the devastation caused in the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan, she was determined to help.
MeiJade began fundraising in the Taiwanese American community and made a stirring speech appealing for donations at the Thanksgiving banquet of the Taiwanese Association of America’s Greater Washington Chapter last month.
She visited the Philippine embassy in Washington on Monday to present a check for the money she had raised — US$17,430 — to Philippine Ambassador Jose Cuisia.
Photo: William Lowther, Taipei Times
“I cannot thank you enough for what you are doing to help our suffering countrymen in the Philippines,” Cuisia said.
A small delegation of Taiwanese Americans led by Formosan Association for Public Affairs president Mark Kao (高龍榮) accompanied MeiJade to the embassy.
“When the super typhoon hit the Philippines, Taiwanese Americans knew they had to do something and MeiJade led the way,” Kao said.
“Our whole community knew that the Philippines needed help and we wanted to work with you as an ally,” he said. “We hope this will be the first step to building a cooperative relationship between Taiwanese Americans and the Philippines,” he said.
“If there is ever any obstacle to the relationship between the Philippines and Taiwan, we are here to help you remove it,” he said.
Speaking to the ambassador with all the confidence of a seasoned diplomat, MeiJade said: “A few weeks ago when Super Typhoon Haiyan smacked into the Philippines, I saw so many images of total destruction on the news.”
“I was so shocked when I saw children with no home or food. It was a massive and ferocious storm,” she said.
MeiJade, who lives in suburban Washington, said it was “terrifying” just to imagine the suffering.
“I started to think what I could do to help the relief effort,” she said. “I decided to campaign in my own local Taiwanese American community so that we could all help and donate together.”
“Here in the capital of the US, where many people of all ethnicities have all they want and never experience natural disasters like a super typhoon, it is our job to support those who are not as fortunate,” she said. “I talked it over with my parents. Taiwan is a neighbor of the Philippines and as good neighbors we should help each other.”
MeiJade said she had also discovered that Taiwan’s Aborigines had ancient links with some people in the Philippines and shared cultural traditions.
“My mom is of Taiwanese Aboriginal ancestry and so I feel even more connected to the Philippines,” she said. “I hope to give the children in the disaster zone a ray of hope and love.
“As a member of the younger generation I know that in 10 or 20 years it will be our job to take care of this world and bring more peace and prosperity to it,” she said.
Cuisia praised MeiJade’s eloquence and poise.
“The enormity of the devastation caused by the typhoon is unimaginable,” he said.
“The biggest challenge would be to reconstruct and rebuild, and not just buildings, but also lives because many farmers and fishermen had lost everything,” he said.
“Many will suffer for years ahead, but the Philippine people are resilient,” he said. “It is very important that people like MeiJade are giving them hope. She is an intelligent girl and her parents can be very proud.”
The Taipei Grand Mosque yesterday said its earlier decision to cancel Eid al-Fitr celebrations on Sunday to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would stand, even though there have been no new domestic cases of COVID-19 in more than a month. It will be the first time in 60 years that the event has not be held at the mosque. The Ministry of Labor had asked all mosques to suspend Eid al-Fitr celebrations and prayers this year, due to COVID-19 concerns, and encouraged Muslims to pray at home. This year Ramadan began on April 23 and is to
KAOHSIUNG VOTE: A city official allegedly wrote a message calling on supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu not to participate in the vote next month Prosecutors on Wednesday initiated an investigation of Kaohsiung Civil Affairs Bureau Director-General Tsao Huan-jung (曹桓榮) for allegedly telling supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to interfere with a recall vote against Han, while pan-green politicians denounced the mayor and his team for devising ways to obstruct voting. After receiving complaints from residents, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office launched its probe of Tsao for alleged breaches of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法). Complainants provided evidence that Tsao on Saturday last week wrote on messaging app Line that Han supporters should not vote in the June 6 recall vote, saying:
BILINGUAL ASSISTANCE: The center launched a chat bot that features Chinese and English interfaces to provide foreigners with instant information about the pandemic The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that it would discuss with other nations the possibility of allowing businesspeople to visit on a case-by-case basis. Asked about loosening border restrictions, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said at the daily CECC news briefing that while the center is cautious about opening the nation’s borders, it would aim to diminish obstacles for important trade interactions without risking transmission of the novel coronavirus. Several foreign representatives in Taiwan have expressed an interest in the matter and the center would conduct related negotiations with the help of the
DELUSIONAL: The male patient said he did not know that the woman had mental problems, but the court said that her being restrained in isolation should have given him pause The Taiwan High Court has ordered the Jhudong branch of the Taiwan National University Hospital and a male patient to jointly pay a former female patient’s family NT$400,000 in compensation after the man had sex with the woman, who has mental problems, while hospitalized. The 26-year-old woman has been diagnosed with a mental disorder, a symptom of which is that she obsessively seeks to have sex, her mother said. The mother filed a formal complaint and sought damages from the hospital and the male patient surnamed Chen (陳) after finding out that her daughter had sex with the man while