Susana Chou 17 September, 2015
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.
Brief Introduction :
President Susana Chou is currently the President of Macao Tong Chai Charity Association and Vice-Chairman of the Hong Kong Novel Group.
She is a former board member of the 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. She served as the member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee for 25 years and was elected as a member of Standing Committee of the CPPCC National Committee at the eleventh and twelfth sessions of CPPCC National Committee. She is also former Vice-Chairperson of the Macao Special Administrative Region Basic Law Committee, under the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
President Susana Chou has been awarded eight medals altogether by the government of Portugal, France, the Macao Portuguese government and Macao SAR.