Ma to raise funds for Japan quake victims

The China Post news staff

President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that he and his wife Chow Me-ching will join a call-in television show tonight to raise funds for earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan.

Ma made the remark when receiving delegates of the Lions Club International, Taiwan yesterday morning.

Chow, now in New Zealand, will cut short her visit to join the fund-raising campaign to be held on Friday night by Taiwan’ Red Cross Society, CTV, CTS, and PTS, according to Ma. Ma called for the public to call in during the TV program to offer donations for the Japanese earthquake victims. “I hope everyone will show compassion and help Japan during this time of difficulty,” he said.

Taiwan offered to send a rescue team to disaster areas and to donate NT$100 million immediately after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami ravaged the northeastern Japan on March 11, making it the second country to offer assistance to Japan, next only to the United States.

In response to the nuclear crisis seen after the explosion of Fukushima nuclear power plant caused by the quake and tsunami, Ma said that Taiwan must exercise extra caution, although assessments based on weather information show that Taiwan is not at risk of radioactive contamination.

He said the government must work out measures to prevent a similar calamity in quake prone Taiwan, since the country has three nuclear power plants and more than 10 reactors. Hundreds of Celebrities Also Participating

Besides President Ma and First Lady Chow, hundreds of Taiwanese musicians, TV hosts and actors will participate in tonight’s call-in television fund-raising activity, which will last four hours and start at 8:00 p.m., according to organizers of the event.

Tonight’s call-in TV show, called “Fight and Smile,” will feature at least 100 singers from home and abroad. Big name singers such as A-mei, Jody Chiang, Lin Yu-chun, Wu Bai, Singaporean pop diva Stephanie Sun, Judy Ongg and Chie Tanaka will take part in the event.

The call-in TV show will be broadcast live via major television channels, and people can donate money by calling the donation lines. There will be 120 donation lines, with 100 available for domestic donators and the remaining 20 for international donators.

At a press conference held yesterday to promote the call-in TV show, veteran entertainer Pai Ping-ping said many elderly Japanese are in need of help. “Japanese do not shout or scream when they are hit by disaster. They prefer to suffer in silence,” she said. “It’s very difficult for humankind to fight against nature’s power, so I guess what we can do is help each other and pray that no more disasters will come,” Pai said.

Taiwan-based Japanese singer Senda Aisa, from Okinawa, said she is thankful for what the Taiwanese people have done for Japan. “Many of my friends have asked me to say thank you to Taiwan,” she said. In fact, a similar call-in television fund-raising show was already launched last night, bringing together names such as Chu Ge-liang, Li Ching, Hu Qua and dozens of soap opera actors and actresses in a single venue to raise funds for the quake victims.

In related news, Chairman Rock Hsu of the Kinpo Group said yesterday that his group will donate US$2 million to the relief effort, and he hoped the move would inspire more local enterprises to make donations.