Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Woman donates S$1m to Japan quake victims

Woman donates S$1m to Japan quake victims
By Sara Grosse | Posted: 16 March 2011 1620 hrs

Japanese survivors stand on the remains of a dead relative's home after the house was washed away by the tsunami in Ofunato, Japan

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SINGAPORE : A 24-year-old Singaporean woman has donated S$1 million to the victims of the earthquake in Japan.

The Japanese Embassy in Singapore said this is the largest donation it has received so far.

The S$1 million cheque was presented to the Japanese Ambassador at the Embassy.

Accompanying Elaine Low was her father, who heads the company she works for - PT Bayan Resources.

The company has long business ties with Japan and imports heavy equipment from the country.

The Bayan Group owns and operates one of the largest coal terminals in Indonesia.

The Low family also has friends and relatives who visit Japan often.

Ms Low said she and her family felt the earthquake in Japan was unfortunate and wanted to donate as soon as possible.

Ms Low, who is head of business development at PT Bayan Resources, said: "We wanted to make a donation during the weekend, but during that time, the Japanese Association was not in touch with the Red Cross Society yet. So we made a phone call to them after that."

The family has previously donated to crises in China and Indonesia, but said this is their largest donation yet.

Yoichi Suzuki, Ambassador of Japan, said: "We have been receiving so many expressions of support from all over Singapore - the people, the government, different organisations - but this is, as a single act of support, the strongest expression...of supporting our people.

"And we were very grateful. This would be a tremendous boost of morale for all the people back in Japan who are affected by this terrible disaster."

The Japanese Ambassador said the money will be channelled to the Red Cross Society in Japan.

It will either be used to support the rescue and recovery operations or be directed to victims themselves.

The Singapore Red Cross has also received other donations for the Japan disaster.

To date, it says it has received a total of S$235,000 for its first two days of collection.

Singaporeans may make a cash, cheque or SMS donation to the Singapore Red Cross for victims of this disaster.

For walk-in donations, the Singapore Red Cross is open from 9.30am to 9pm from Mondays to Fridays, and from 9.30am to 6pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

For cheque donations, cheques should be made payable to the "Singapore Red Cross Society".

Donors may also donate via their mobile phones to 75772. For every SMS, S$50 will be donated to the "Japan Disaster" fund.

- CNA/wk/ms

SINGAPORE - A SINGAPOREAN woman has generously donated S$1 million to help the Japan quake victims.

Ever since the massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake shook northeast Japan last Friday, Singaporeans have been showing empathy and pouring in support for the battered nation through donation drives, practical help and so on.

Philanthropists are doing their part too, reported Lianhe Wanbao.

At a donation ceremony held yesterday afternoon at the Embassy of Japan in Singapore, Ms Elaine Low, 24, presented the cheque to Ambassador Yoichi Suzuki.

Ms Low is the daughter of Datuk Low Tuck Kwong, 63, who is the founder of Indonesia-based coal mining company Bayan Resources. Mr Low is the third richest man in Indonesia, according to Forbes magazine.

Mr Low said his company has business ties with Japan, and added that his family has friends and relatives in Japan. The family also has fond memories of Japan's Tohoku region, one of the regions worst hit by the earthquake and tsunami.

Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: ST)

The Straits Times reported that the $1 million donation came from Ms Low's own pocket. Ms Low, who is in charge of business development at her family's company, is leaving it to the Japanese to decide how to use her donation. The same report said that the donation would most likely go to the Japanese Red Cross.

The spokesman of the Japanese embassy told the Chinese evening daily that the embassy only received a call from the Japanese Association here yesterday evening, informing them of the donation. At short notice, they had to organise a ceremony to host Ms Low.

Ambassdor Suzuki said this is the largest donation received for the tsunami victims so far.

Contributions to date

So far, $235,000 has been raised by the Singapore Red Cross Society, excluding the $500,000 pledged by the Singapore Government, reported The Straits Times today.

World Vision Singapore and Mercy Relief have raised over $190,000 and $43,280 respectively.

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) will also be collecting donations from tomorrow onwards.

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