Businesses, individuals and organizations are joining forces to answer the humanitarian call in Japan, in the aftermath of the March 11 tsunami.
Contributed By Yong Yung Shin
As the headlines of global dailies give way to other newsmakers, Japan is just beginning to embark on the long and arduous task of rebuilding its country, three weeks after a deadly 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck its east coast near Sendai. The death toll has crossed the 10,000 mark, and has been projected to reach 15,000.
On home front, City Harvest Church has stepped up with a S$20,000 donation, while its network churches in Japan, namely Fukuoka Harvest Church and Kumamoto Harvest Church, are working hand-in-hand with other churches in the Kyushu region and Miyagi Prefecture to deliver relief goods such as fresh water, cooking appliances, bicycles and washing machines to evacuation centers and temporary shelters. The items are aimed at helping the evacuees mitigate hygiene concerns as many roads are still inaccessible to vehicles, a problem compounded by a severe shortage of fuel.
Celebrity members from New Life Church in Taipei, an affiliate church to CHC, started a new campaign under singer-actor Liu Geng Hong’s Rainbow Heaven initiative, called “Pray For Japan: Save The World”. A fundraising collaboration between Rainbow Heaven and NY Bagels Café in Taiwan was organized: 20 celebrities turned up at the café to help sell cakes for this cause. Over 5,000 cakes were sold, with proceeds of about TWD1 million going to Japan aid. Liu and his wife also donated the profits of one day’s sales of their new book to the cause.
Various business owners and organizations locally are also answering the call for help in their own way—the owners of Song Fa Ba Kut Teh restaurant, for example, set off to raise S$10,000 in one day by pledging a full day’s revenue to help Japan. “The plan was to donate S$10,000 to the fund, regardless of whether we managed to raise the amount that day,” said Chen Zhiyong, one of the restaurant’s co-owners.
Upon hearing of their fundraising campaign, Song Fa’s Japanese customers, who form 15 percent of the restaurant’s usual patronage, spread the word among their community. Soon enough, many Japanese customers came to support the campaign on that day, and they were able to raise the targeted amount of S$10,000. Moved by the concern they had for their countrymen, one of them even wanted to pay above and beyond his bill for the cause. As the restaurant was not a charity organization, however, the generous gesture had to be rejected.
The percussion group The Strikeforce also came out in full force with their snare and bass drums on March 27 at Boat Quay in support of *Ganbatte! Japan*, a fundraising event organized by BITZ Entertainment. Proceeds of the event, collected via donation tin cans, sales and auctions of products will go toward Mercy Relief’s efforts in helping the Japanese. The Strikeforce performed two 15-minute sets, one at 2:45 p.m. and another at 6:30 p.m. Despite a short preparation time of one week, the team succeeded in putting together an energetic and crowd-drawing performance.
Passionate about supporting worthy, non-commercial causes, The Strikeforce has also performed in national and community events like the National Day Parade 2009 and Singapore’s Biggest Easter Egg Hunt in 2009.
In the pipeline, local talent agency and event organizer Flyer Entertainment is collaborating with World Vision to produce a music video to raise funds for Japan as well as other countries in need of aid. The project will involve artistes from Taiwan and Hong Kong.
HOW TO HELP
If you would like to help, you may donate at one of the following organizations:
Japan Embassy in Singapore