Time for companies to go out of their way for holidays
The China Post news staffThe economy is in bad shape, and everybody has to make do with less, according to pundits. It appears that no one knows when the economy will pick up again. In the West, some people may look forward to seven fat years after seven lean ones, but in China, believers in the 12-year cycle will have to wait longer. “Fortune reverses every 12 years (天道周星) ,” they say.
February 3, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
But the dying and the destitute cannot wait, and hungry but growing young people cannot wait if we really want them to be future “pillars of the community,” future leaders and, perhaps, future taxpayers we can milk, especially during the run-up to the eve of the Lunar New Year, when luxury and even extravagance are taken for granted and condoned in some quarters, and when people by and large are preoccupied with thoughts about what delicacies to expect at the Lunar New Year dinner table.
Meanwhile, some people are forced by circumstances to forgo the dinner that is as important, if not more important, than the Thanksgiving dinner in America.
Deeply aware of this, some charitable businesses, and their generous employees, have decided to let less fortunate people partake in their relatively better fortune, although they may not be the most profitable businesses or the top earners in town.
In Chiayi County, President Chain Store Corp., which runs the 7-Eleven convenience stores, recently shut down 10 stores for half an hour so that low-income families could choose the items they needed to celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday.
Tsai Ming-hung, general manager of the chain stores in Chiayi, said this was the fourth year his company decided to help low-income families or those that had met with unexpected difficulties. “We understand the Lunar New Year holiday is tough for them. Therefore, we arranged a time for them to select items that their families needed in the hope that they will have a good time, just like the rest of us,” Tsai added.
Also among the many private businesses that were doing what they could to help those in need as Chinese New Year approached was Jinray Construction Co. in Taichung, which cut its year-end banquet budget by NT$1 million to do so. With another NT$1 million from its employees, it donated NT$2 million to 12 disadvantaged groups.
The company also donated a commuter vehicle to a local center for the mentally challenged, in addition to preparing sumptuous box dinners for children at two local orphanages.
NT$2 million is not a large sum by corporate standards. And many corporations made more money than these two businesses over the past year despite the downturn in the economy. A recent thank-you banquet a profitable bank hosted to thank its employees was a scene of revelry. The country's top performers were there to entertain the employees and their family, and wine flowed like water. Asked about her year-end bonuses, a bank employee said hers was something like six times her monthly salary.
Banks are expected to give out handsome bonuses this year after making huge profits, according to a China Post report.
Government data show that banks made earnings of NT$200 billion over the first 10 months, and the figure can easily reach NT$230 billion, a record high, by the end of the year.
As a result, banks are expected to distribute an average three to four months worth of bonuses, higher than the 1.11-month average for other sectors.
Among financial firms, Fubon Financial has announced it will issue bonuses of “two to three months all the way to over 10 months.” Mega, the most profitable quasi-state bank, will hand out 7.7 months' worth of bonuses.
While we commend the two business and their employees for their philanthropy, we also expect other, more profitable businesses, especially banks, to follow in their footsteps, when they can better afford it. Let's call it the holiday spirit.