A petition to replace Republic of China founder Sun Yat-sen’s (孫中山) image on the NT$10 coin with that of philanthropist Chuang Chu Yu-nu (莊朱玉女) had collected more than 5,000 online signatures on the National Development Council’s Public Policy Network Participation Platform as of Saturday.
Until Thursday, the petition had received little attention since its June 20 launch, with just 28 people signing it.
However, after the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) on Thursday published a story about the petition, the number of signatures rose by 3,000 in one day and reached 5,000 on Saturday.
Photo: Hung Jui-chin, Taipei Times
The council’s platform allows the public to propose policies. A proposal must obtain 5,000 signatures within 60 days of its launch to warrant a response from the government, which means the government must respond to the coin petition by Sept. 29.
Chuang Chu was born in 1920 in Penghu County’s Baisha Township (白沙). After moving to Kaohsiung, she met a group of people from Baisha who worked at the docks unloading cargo. She allowed them to live in her warehouse and offered them free meals.
However, the expenses of preparing meals and accommodating the workers began to overwhelm her and she began charging each worker NT$1. The fee later rose to NT$3, then NT$10.
Over the course of more than 50 years, Chuang Chu sold seven houses to cover the expenses of caring for the dock workers and homeless people.
After she died in 2015, her relatives established the Chuang Chu Yu-nu Charity Foundation so that her philanthropic efforts could continue.
Platform user “Kueiku” (歸谷), who launched the petition, said Chuang Chu’s charitable work and philanthropy set an example for all Taiwanese and that people would likely be reminded to emulate her if her portrait were on the NT$10 coin.
Another netizen said Chuang Chu’s kind and earnest character made her a more fitting representative of Taiwanese spirit than Sun or Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), whose portrait was on earlier coins.
However, one netizen cited the expense of minting new coins and said the government should put Chuang Chu’s portrait on the NT$10 coin when it issues new coins.
Others suggested that the coin with her image be minted as a commemorative piece whose value could rise with time.
The central bank said it does not have any rules on the design of coins, but that if new coins are to be minted, they should be conducive to promoting social harmony.
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