Dear Editors,

Festive season is here again. We will be celebrating Christmas, New Year and then Chinese New Year too. However, it is this very season that always sadden me.

On one hand, I do appreciate the many Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects towards the end of the year. On the other hand, I pity the children from welfare homes and orphanages who are forced to perform in the public in return for donations to their homes.

I thank all corporate which would think of the underprivileged. However, there are companies who donate money in return for something – one thing they always do is to ask children to perform during their annual dinners, celebration dinners and many other events. More insulting to these children was when the public relation officers at times demand the children to make thank you cards for the donation they have made. While these companies save on money to hire professional performers, they do not pass 100% of these savings to the children’s homes. Only part of the savings were given as token of appreciation to the homes as donation. Ask these children if they are happy to perform or are they forced to do so. Most of them will answer the latter. This does not only violate human rights but further hurt the dignity of these children and also shows advocacy to child labour.

I feel that such CSR is not appropriate unless of course if the children are really proud and happy to perform for them. I hope that this festive season will be merry and joyful for all parties involved. For those giving sincerely without expecting anything in return, rest assure the returns will be more abundant in the future. For those who would like to ask children to perform, please do ask these children if they really want to do it.

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