5/21/2008

Sichuan Earthquake Donation

The tragedy and death toll of the massive Sichuan earthquake have touched the hearts of many people both in China and elsewhere, including Singaporeans. Many people are donating very generously to help the victims. Hawkers voluntarily put up signs that they will donate their day's earnings to the victims. People queued up at the Chinese Embassy to donate in thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, in cash or by cheques. While many people spontaneously gave to help, there is always the question whether the money will get to the victims. The fund raising is voluntary and haphazard and depends on the goodwill and honesty of the people collecting the fund. Under such circumstances, scams or cheats will appear to take advantage of the people's generosities. The Charities Acts require anyone raising funds to submit an audited account. But in this case, it is not necessary at the request of the Chinese govt. In the case of small individual efforts like the hawkers, it may be cumbersome to manage the fund raising and a bit of give and take may be acceptable. But when the amount is big, proper accounting and auditing must be in place. I find it very unsatisfactory at the way the Chinese Embassy handles the fund collection. The procedure is totally unacceptable. People going there and handing over cash in the thousands and all they received was a piece of photocopy paper with a chop from the Embassy saying they have donated such a sum of money. That is the only piece of paper given to the donor. On the part of the Embassy, they did not keep any copy nor did they record it anywhere that the sum is received. Money were just shafted into a box. Presumably they will count it themselves and aggregate the sum collected. But such a procedure gives rise to uncertainties and possibilities of misconduct. The Embassy must do something quickly to assure the public/donors that the money is properly accounted for with a proper accounting procedure. Even the collection of money in a funeral wake is more credible with the donor signed a book against the amount he contributed. In this case, the Embassy will not know who donated and how much were donated.

6 comments:

Matilah_Singapura said...

You can't stop people from acting in stupid ways. If they want to give up their cash so they can "feel good" about themselves, let them.

The Chinese Embassy is not set up to receive money donated by people -- therefore it is ludicrous to expect them to conform to any form of "good accounting standards".

As for myself, I'm very cautious about donating to charity. Everytime there is a disaster, the grifters come out of the woodwork to work their magic on the hightened emotions of silly people.

And as always it is important to bear in mind, the truism:

You can't cheat an honest man.

Anonymous said...

Those people who sign/ send in their condolences, I wonder whether they are the biggest or the smallest donors.

Anonymous said...

People can get away with murder, but heaven has eyes and buddhist believe in 'Karma'.

Strangely, the sins of Joseph Kennedy and his retribution has now fallen onto his children and grandchildren who inherited his ill-gotten wealth, a kind of curse. Not one of his children has a good ending, and now Ted Kennedy is suffering from brain tumor. Even his grandchildren are slowly suffering a kind of retribution.

So, people, heaven really has eyes and those who think they can get away with it, again buddhist have a saying 'it is just not time yet'.

redbean said...

i too believe that there is some kind f retributions in what we do. and karma is another way to put it. in its absence, then evil begets well being. it cannot be.

this is different from survival of the fittest. the fit and strong need not be evil and selfish.

why would someone be born so lucky or so small and others with chains on their legs and dumb as well? chance of nature? i doubt so.

Anonymous said...

Why would someone be born so lucky etc? If you really think about it, the effect of karma makes sense.

Why are some people born in America or some other rich countries and others born in dirt poor Africa to suffer? Why are some born pretty or handsome and others plain ugly etc etc.

redbean said...

random order in apparent disorder.

sadhu, sadhu, sadhu.