by Mai Hien
HA NOI (VNS) — I was so surprised to hear that welcoming his first child, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, recently pledged to donate 99 per cent of his shares (worth around $45 billion) to charity throughout his lifetime to make a better world for her.
"We believe all lives have equal value, and that includes the many more people who will live in future generations than live today. Our society has an obligation to invest now to improve the lives of all those coming into this world, not just those already here," he wrote in a letter to his daughter.
People have various ways to celebrate their joy but what he did is different from Vietnamese people's point of view.
Well-off families in the country often declare that they give most of their wealth to their heir when a child is born.
Like many other Vietnamese parents, I am willing to sacrifice my life and work hard so that my children can finish their education and have a happier life than their parents.
Zuckerberg is not the first billionaire in the world to give away the majority of their money.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda use their foundation to fund initiatives and programmes around the world that support agricultural development, emergency relief, urban poverty, global health, and education. As one of the creators of The Giving Pledge charity programme, the couple have already donated US$27 billion.
While some people accused Zuckerberg of using his pledge as a tactic for tax exemption, or consider it is a PR opportunity, his announcement was praised by social networks with more than 27,000 likes.
"As for your decision to give back so generously, and to deepen your commitment now, the first word that comes to mind is: Wow. The example you're setting today is an inspiration to us and the world," Bill and Melinda Gates wrote in a press release.
For young Vietnamese businessmen like Bui Quang Minh, Founder and CEO Beta Media, Zuckerberg's pledge acted as an inspiration for them to follow.
"I really admire Mark", he quoted as saying by news.zing.vn.
"Zuckerberg's action is in conformity with what he has been doing. He really affirmed himself while delivering such a decision. It will be a driving force for young people like me," said Nguyen Anh Van, owner of 19 mobile phones shops in Ha Noi and HCM City.
He said he got more enthusiasm for work and wants to contribute more to the society.
According to Dang Chau Anh,well-known music lecturer, Western people and Vietnamese people differ in the way they take care for children.
Trinh Hoa Binh, a psychologist from the Institute of Sociology, agreed. He said the difference in cultures were the main reason.
He said favouring boys over girls is deeply rooted in Asian society, including Viet Nam. In many countries, men often receive the inheritance, carry on the family name and take care of their parents in old age.
Western people, meanwhile, attached much importance to individualism so they want their children to be independent, he said.
However, many Vietnamese parents have recently changed their view point by letting their children learn living skills to help them better integrate into the community, Anh said.
These parents knew that if they gave property to their children, it might lead to a waste of money and their children couldn't succeed in their lives, she said.
Ho Thi Hai Au, a writer, said there were many people in the US and Viet Nam who thought that they received a lot of love and compassion when they gave money away.
Like planting a tree, if you grow it carefully, your work will bear fruits for many decades to come, she told The thao va Van hoa (Culture and Sports).
What Mark Zuckerberg and other philanthropists have done showed us that it didn't matter how much money they earn but their responsibility to the society. They wanted to bring real value to the society.
It should be a wake-up call for Vietnamese people because according a report from British property consultant firm Knight Frank, the country will witness the fastest growth rate — 159 percent — in the world in the number of "ultra-high net worth individuals" (UHNWIs) in the next 10 years, meaning that it will have 300 super rich by that time. It now has 116.
As defined by Knight Frank in the report, UHNWIs are those with assets of US$30 million or more.
A World Bank report released in mid-2014 showed that the number of super-rich in Vietnam had tripled over the past decade.
Psychologist Trinh Hoa Binh said in the past, the topic of money was often avoided as many parents thought that money would spoil their children.
It's time for parents to talk about money to their children and teach them how to spend it efficiently, he said. — VNS