27 Jun 2006

Giving

I remember watching this television show a couple of years back. The name of the show and the channel have long since faded from my memory.

But what I do remember was a particular interviewer really cornering a higher level executive from Berkshire Hathaway, asking him why Warren Buffet has not donated as much as Bill Gates has (through the Melinda Gates Foundation). The excecutive was at first baffled, and then tried to cover it up (or so I thought) by saying that Mr.Buffet had made provisions to give away almost his entire wealth for philanthropic purposes after his death. I was not convinced, neither was the interviewer, but he let it pass.

Two years on, I realise that what the guy said was not exactly false.

Warren Buffet is going to Donate about 85% of his fortune to charity.

When I was a kid, I was highly skeptical of all these people on the the Forbes list. I thought, if I were them, I would donate far more for charity purposes than these guys did. But that was until I learnt that their fortune is mostly liquified stock assets, which complicated things, because selling your share just like that (when you hold stocks worth billions of dollars) is not easy.

Yet, Mr.Buffet has done it. Hats off.

When Bill Gates announced last week that he is going to slowly step down from his day-to-day activities in Microsoft and concentrate on the Melinda Gates Foundation, there were certain people riduculing him by saying he is running away from the impending failure of Windows Vista.

It’s not funny. Some people just try too hard.

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