We’ve seen the phenomenon of masks getting swiped off the shelves, daily necessities being cleared out at supermarkets. It’s almost instinctual to be selfishly survivalist during the spread of an epidemic. But it’s also during the times of fear we see real kindness in the acts of those who care not only for themselves, but for others too.
Many are standing up to pitch in their efforts to help curb the effects brought on by the worsening Covid-19 situation as the need for more funds and resources grow. Amongst them are Asian celebrities who’ve gone the extra mile with their fame and fortune, from local personalities like Kim Lim and Rui En to Crash Landing On You‘s Son Ye-jin, who hails from the afflicted city of Daegu.
Find out how these famous faces are pitching in to help Covid-19 relief efforts:
In light of the intensifying coronavirus situation in South Korea, where the number of cases has spiked to over 5,000, celebrities are helping to fight the outbreak.
According to South Korean news reports, actress Son Ye-jin of Crash Landing On You fame donated 100 million won (S$115,000) to Community Chest of Korea’s Daegu branch.
Son was born and raised in Daegu, the hardest-hit city in South Korea with the most number of infections and the epicentre of the country’s outbreak.
Oscar-winning Parasite director Bong Joon-ho gave 100 million won to the Hope Bridge-Korea Disaster Relief Association.
The association said it would use the funds to purchase face masks and hand sanitisers, which are currently in short supply, for the city’s residents.
Bong was born in Daegu and moved to Seoul when he was in third grade.
Other celebrities who also donated 100 million to Hope Bridge include Arthdal Chronicles actor Song Joong-ki…
… comedian and variety show host Yoo Jae-suk…
…as well as rapper Suga of globally popular boyband BTS. Suga, whose real name is Min Yoon-gi, is a Daegu native.
Gong Yoo, the star of zombie film Train To Busan (2016) and hit K-drama Goblin (2016), has also donated 100 million won to the Community Chest under his real name, Gong Ji-cheol. The 40-year-old has reportedly asked for his donation to be used to support medical staff and low-income families affected by the outbreak.
Singer-actress Suzy Bae contributed 100 million won to non-governmental organisation Good Neighbours.
Another Goblin star, actress Kim Go-eun, also donated 100 million won to Good Neighbours, to help provide approximately 40,000 masks to aid low-income families.
Actor Lee Byung-hun, who is known for his role in Hollywood movie G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013) and recently starred in the Korean political film The Man Standing Next, donated 100 million won (S$115,000) to the Community Chest of Korea.
“I deeply sympathise with the seriousness of… the Covid-19 epidemic, so I decided to donate in the hope that everyone will contribute,” the 49-year-old was quoted as saying by South Korean media outlet Osen.
Singer-songwriter IU also donated 100 million won each to non-profit organisation Good Neighbours and the Korean Medical Association.
Rapper B.I., the former leader of Korean boyband iKon, donated 100,000 masks as they have become one of the most sought-after items in the country.
Homegrown stars have also tried to do their part. When Singaporean socialite Kim Lim spoke to fellow volunteers from a local charity group, she was dismayed by the number of scammers using the coronavirus outbreak to exploit others. Several volunteers had ordered hand sanitisers and masks online only to receive packages of “liquids with no anti-bacterial functions” and “pieces of paper”.
As Kim knew that senior citizens were especially vulnerable to illness yet may not be able to obtain such protective items, she began thinking of ways to help.
The 28-year-old managed to secure some 1,000 hand sanitisers from suppliers of her healthcare company Illumia Medical and Therapeutics.
She gathered a team of around 30 staff members and close friends to pack the hand sanitisers with wet wipes, Dettol soap bottles, biscuits and a pamphlet containing useful information on the coronavirus and hygiene tips.
They rose early on Sunday (Feb 23) to distribute the packages to senior citizens living in the south and eastern parts of Singapore, covering about 900 Housing Board units in neighbourhoods such as Redhill, Telok Blangah and Jalan Besar, from 7am to 6pm.
“Most were appreciative and happy to see a friendly face,” said Kim, adding that she was just glad to be doing something for the elderly, whom she has a “soft spot” for.
For more than 15 years, she has volunteered with different organisations to distribute food hampers and other essentials to them every few months.
“Usually, we ask charity groups what they need most before going, and visit the units they identify for us,” she said. As a precautionary measure, the distribution was “contactless”, with the volunteers geared up in safety goggles, masks and gloves.
Actress Rui En also did her part by mobilising her fanclub RBKD to send 2,150 care packages to healthcare workers in Singapore, thanking them for their efforts to fight the virus.
The packages included bottles of water, muesli bars, hand cream, gel pads for their feet, and revitalising face and eye masks. The items cost $88,000 in total and were sponsored by brands like cosmetics maker L’Oreal Paris Singapore and Kyusoku Jikan, which specialises in leg care products, from Lion Corporation Singapore, according to a Facebook post by the fanclub on Friday (Feb 21).
Besides medical personnel, cleaners working at Singapore General Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital and the National Centre for Infectious Diseases also received the care packages.
The Chinese billionaire co-founder of Alibaba Group reportedly donated one million face masks to Japan. The 55-year-old quoted an old Chinese poem on his Weibo account, which says: “Like the mountain range that stretches before you and me, let’s share the same trials and hardships together. We hope everything will get better soon.”
The masks arrived in Tokyo on March 3 and weighed 49.4 tons, or over 40,000 kg.
38-year-old Chinese actress Fan Bingbing donated US$72,000 (S$100,646) to Wuhan Benevolent General Association on Jan 26, according to the New Straits Times.
The actress, who leapt to international fame when she starred in the Iron Man and X-Men franchises, was involved in a tax evasion scandal in 2019 and has since kept a low profile.
During this period of fear and panic, many have stocked up on face masks, leaving the shelves empty and masks were unavailable for those who need them.
Barbie Hsu, a Taiwanese actress, and her husband Wang Xiaofei helped with the shortage issue and donated 10,000 masks which were bought in Japan to the city of Wuhan.
They also donated one million yuan (over S$200,000) to help aid relief efforts in Wuhan, after being criticised for donating only a “mere 200,000 yuan”.
Zhu Yilong, a Chinese actor who is from Wuhan, also chipped in US$86,000 (S$120,000) to the Wuhan Benevolent General Association.
His role as Chi Rui in Chinese drama Love for Three Lifetimes was one of the most prominent roles the actor had in his career.
The Chinese power couple donated 300,000 yuan (S$60,000) to Jet Li’s One Foundation to show their support to those battling the Coronavirus. On top of that, they donated items needed by hospitals in the Jiangxi province – Deng’s home province.
Deng Chao rose to fame in his acting gig with movies such as American Dreams in China (2013) and Shadow (2018). His wife, Sun Li, is a well-known actress with many Chinese drama shows such as Empresses in the Palace (2011) under her belt.