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From the President

会长

Why I Became a Philanthropist

Susana Chou ? ?17 September, 2015

 

Brief Introduction : Madam Susana Chou was board member of Macao Basic Law Drafting Committee, Vice Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the Macao Special Administrative Region, and President of the first, second and third Legislative Assembly of the Macao Special Administrative Region. Now, Madam Chou is the Vice Chairperson of the Macao Special Administrative Region Basic Law,under the Standing Commitee of the National People’s Congress, and member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee.

 

I grew up in a wealthy family that provided me with everything I needed and more. Living in such comfort, I never thought there were people who struggled with poverty and couldn’t afford food or warm clothes.

I received my education from elementary school to college in mainland China. Life was peaceful until the Natural Calamity hit China. I was in college from 1959 to 1963 when famine prevailed in the country. I didn’t have enough to eat and neither did anybody around me. The magnitude of this catastrophe made me believe that this was a once-in-a-century disaster, and as long as we kept fighting together as one, good days would finally come along. Although, for the first time in my life, food became a concern, I lived a happy life during those difficult years. I had no desire to make money, nor did I thought it was important.

In 1967, I moved to Paris. Being young and ignorant, I thought supporting myself would be easy. Therefore, I refused to take my father’s money, and started my adventure of survival by working my way through that one year of study. From that moment, I earned every penny myself to become financially independent. Though I learned it the hard way, I had finally found out that poverty could make one’s life so miserable. And it had, for the first time, occurred to me that world is not fair.

In the fall of 1968, I came to Macao and took over a failing company, and started my new adventure in the business world. In order to survive, I began to think big and bury myself in work. Years later, I had expanded my business, increased my personal wealth, and eventually lived a life of affluence.However, I felt sorry for the people working for me, because although they had a secured job by that time, there was a huge gap between their lives and mine. And again, that feeling that society is unfair came to strike me again.

After I began my career in politics, I had the opportunity to learn more about the lives of ordinary citizens. ?I discovered that there were more people affected by poverty than I had originally thought, and I felt so urgent to help those in need.? I was in my 60’s when I resigned from the Legislative Assembly of?Macao as its president. At that time, I had already saved a lot more than I needed, and I felt so strongly about using my personal wealth to support those people in poverty. Though I knew that I was only one person and my abilities were limited, I had made my decision to serve as many people as I can.

This is how I became involved in philanthropy. I didn’t have big dreams. I just want to do what I can to help those in need.

 

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