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Koo Kwang-ming to donate half of fortune to Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- New Taiwan Peace Foundation Chairman Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) announced yesterday that he would be donating roughly half of his wealth — NT$3 billion — to Taiwan at a yearly quota of NT$100 million.

As the founder of pan-green think tank Taiwan Brain Trust, independence advocate Koo noted that he will be making the donations as the foundation's major contribution to Taiwanese society. Koo will be transferring the NT$3 billion to a trust fund, and the yearly interest of NT$100 million will be released as prize money through a series of contests and events.

Koo's wife Michelle Wang (王美琇) explained that the foundation's first slated event is the “Taiwan History Novel Awards,” which calls for prospective writers to turn in 100,000 word novels based on a historical event or figure in Taiwan. NT$1.2 million will be awarded to the first place winner.

The Koo couple held a press conference for the launch of the future contests with director Wu Nien-jen (吳念真), pan-green lawyer Wellington Ku (顧立雄) and other members of the foundation.

“The Taiwan Historical Novel contest is slated to be held each year after the first contest in September 2015. Writers may start mailing their work to us from Sept. 1 to Sept. 30, and a three-stage review will begin in October. The winners will be announced in December. We hope this will be continued every year,” said Wang.

The other half of Koo's fortune will be passed on to his wife and sons, while the half in the trust fund and the yearly interest will be donated to three fields. The foundation has established a cultural, educational and social committee to handle the donations.

“The novel award is to encourage more people to dedicate themselves to writing and creating,” said Wang.

“Different rulers have left their mark on this land, from which bloomed many flowers and stories worth taking notice of,” said Wu.

Taiwan Not Ready For Woman President: Koo

As the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is getting ready for its chairman elections in May, local media also asked Koo about his outlook, especially following former Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) official announcement of her bid the position.

Current DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang and former Premier Frank Hsieh are running for the position as well.

“I feel that none of them is qualified for the position, but if I had to chose, Su should be re-elected,” said Koo. “I don't think Tsai has stepped out because she thought the DPP needed a boost in morale; she is using the position as a stepping stone for the presidential elections in 2016 ... Taiwan is not ready to have a woman president yet, maybe in another five or 10 years.”

Koo continued, saying that Su excels at being a magistrate, but he is not skilled enough to be a president. Hsieh's previous records proved that he, too, is not fit to be president, hinted Koo.

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