Problems arise anywhere, anytime, many of which are often overcome by good deeds, whether invisible or not. The act of donation is a good example of such good deeds. Regrettably, it is ashamed that such well-intended donations are misunderstood as the opposite.
As the French rich have donated a large amount of money to restore the partly fire gutted Notre Dame, “yellow vest” protesters have criticized that their money should be spent on the poor and that their donation activity is only a trick to gain tax breaks. The same happens in Korea. Top Korean singer IU made a donation worth 100 million won to residents victimized by a forest fire in Gangwon Province, followed by a series of donations by businesses and celebrities. Meanwhile, some raised question that IU has often made a donation via a particular foundation, suspecting that she aims at enjoying certain benefits. Afterwards, such suspicion has been resolved by the foundation in question explaining that IU has engaged in various charity activities through multiple organizations. Following a 50-million-won-worth donation by famous South Korean comedian Yoo Jae-suk, criticism was heard that he should have done spent more given his fortune. It is not rare that businesses worry about criticism over the amount of donation money even when they engage in charity activity in good faith. For example, a large company in Korea was hesitant to make it public that it donated money to the victims of the forest fire in Gangwon Province for fear of criticism that the amount is rather “small” compared to its corporate scale. The company even donated the maximum as long as it does not have to hold a board meeting to execute an amount, to respond to public demand for transparent corporate funds.
Such a phenomenon is due largely to doubt that donation is a method to gain improper benefits disguised as a good deed. Then, will it be unfair if compliments or tax benefits are given to those who donate their money? As it has not been long since the act of donation was promoted across Korean society, many may consider that only the richer are supposed to donate their fortune while such a charitable act is not “a thing for them.”
Donation is not all about giving out money. It is more about any kind of good-intentioned acts, which are based on the thought that you would not have been able to make it without people around you and that you feel morally obliged to return to them in any manner. Some seniors chose a new path at late age including former Director Hwang Ha-soo at the Special Office for Inter-Korean Dialogue of the Ministry of Unification, a 64-year-old resident trainee of family medicine at Chonbuk National University, and a 55-year-old librarian in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province who would teach students at a cram school. They say in one voice that they want to repay the help that they have been offered. Hwang aspires to volunteer in small cities while the former cram school lecturer is willing to help students to study in a way he can. Both of them deserve to be called donators. Hopefully, there will be an increasing awareness that anyone can make a donation and it is not exclusive to only the few. Then, we will find donation natural across society and express gratitude for such a good deed, not giving a suspicious look to the intention behind it.