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12/19(Tue)We thinking about charity dead wrong (Host:Wenhan)

文章發表於 : 週五 12月 15, 2017 12:16 am
Dear All,

It's me again to be the host for the gathering on 12/19. There are two different topics I like to discuss for this gathering. Please spare some time to watch the short video and article below prior to the meeting. I am hoping to see you all then.

SESSION I: The Way We Think About Charity Is Dead Wrong by Dan Pallotta


SESSION II: Extreme Marriage Experiment Suggests It’s Better to Be Right Than Happy


A New Zealand man who was asked by scientists to agree with everything his wife said had to call off the experiment after 12 days because it was proving so harmful to his mental health.

The study was set up to examine the old marriage advice about whether it’s more important to be happy or to be right. Couples therapists sometimes suggest that in a bid to avoid constant arguments, spouses weigh up whether pressing the point is worth the misery of marital discord. The researchers, who are doctors and professors at the University of Auckland, noticed that many of their patients were adding stress to their lives by insisting on being right, even when it worked against their well-being.

So they found a couple who were willing to record their quality of life on a scale of 1 to 10. They told the man, who wanted to be happy more than right, about the purpose of the study and asked him to agree with every opinion and request his wife had without complaint, even when he profoundly didn’t agree. The wife was not informed of the purpose of the study and just asked to record her quality of life. The results were published in BMJ, albeit in the esteemed publication’s lighthearted Christmas issue.

Things went rapidly downhill for the couple. The man’s quality-of-life scores fell, from 7 to 3, over the course of the experiment. The wife’s scores rose modestly, from 8 to 8.5, before she became hostile to the idea of recording the scores. Rather than causing harmony, the husband’s agreeableness led to the wife becoming increasingly critical of what he did and said (in the husband’s opinion). After 12 days he broke down, made his wife a cup of tea (New Zealand is, after all, a Commonwealth country), and explained the experiment. At this point the Data Safety Monitoring Committee, as the researchers called it, stopped the study because of “severe adverse outcomes.”

“This was a genuine piece of research where we hoped that both parties would be happy as part of one person agreeing with everything the other said,” says the study’s chief author, Dr. Bruce Arroll, who seems to have a pretty well-developed sense of humor. “We thought that we would find a method of creating marital bliss (and probably a Nobel Prize if we had succeeded).”

The researchers concluded, shockingly, that humans need to be right and acknowledged as right, at least some of the time, to be happy. In politics, people often note that there can be no peace without justice, and that’s true of the domestic sphere as well. The researchers also noted that this was further proof that if given too much power, humans tend to “assume the alpha position and, as with chimpanzees, they become very aggressive and dangerous.”

Obviously the results are to be taken with extreme caution, since this was just one couple with who-knows-what underlying issues beforehand. But Arroll maintains that the question of happiness vs. rightness, theoretically, could be settled by scientific inquiry with a wider sample. “This would include a randomized controlled trial,” he says. “However we would be reluctant to do the definitive study because of the concern about divorce or homicide.”

The couple, whose identity is confidential, have reconciled and are even now hopefully having healthy and constructive arguments about whether the husband was right to agree to the experiment.



1a. Did/Do you ever support any non-profit organizations for either the environmental, educational, humanity, religious or political causes in a long-term basis( say, more than 6 months)? What is it/are they? And your reasoning to support it/them?
1b. As stated in the video, most of the donators would expect their donations to go mostly to the needy, after having watched this video, would you agree sometimes it could maximize the dollar by advertising or marketing? Would you agree to donate if 40% of it goes to “overhead”? Why? Or why not?

2. YoYo, as a world class (yet...) English club is also non-profit, let's brainstorm how we may grow it bigger
2a. Did you ever attend any private English institutes to learn or practice English? What was it/were them? How did you like it/them? (Global village, for an example, as a for-profit language institute, comes with thriving business with fancy buildings all around Taiwan) Do you consider any traits for their success to apply on YoYo to help YoYo grow?
2b. If, after having reached a consensus, paying “overhead” helps YoYo’s growth, instead of running by merely volunteers, would you personally agree to this policy? Why? Or why not? If you do, What kind of "overhead” would you agree to pay first? (Reward for president, officers, or hosts, advertisement ...and so on).

3. Tse-chi ( 慈濟) is allegedly the non-profit/charity organization with the most resources in Taiwan ( richest, to make it short). Would you know a bit about its story to make it so big? Could any of the factors building its success be applied on YoYo?
3a. Controversially, Master Miao series ( Miao tian, Miao zen) also successfully attracted thousands of followers to worship them and to even create their societies. Would you happen to know any of their recipes to help apply on YoYo to grow?


4. Do you agree what the research concluded that being right is more important than simply being happy in a marriage? Is this against the saying popular in Taiwan that “Home is a place for emotional not rational “? How about the real situation between you and your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend regarding being right v.s.being happy? Would you frequently agree to the other’s opinions or requests for the sake of harmony/happiness?

5. For the similar psychological reactions, how about applying the conclusion to parents/children relation? Would you consider the relation healthy if the children are asked to always submit to their parents?( as it goes “ parents are always right” ) What are your stands to this argument, being right or happy, as a parent and as a child? (Or please imagine if you have a child in case you don’t )

6. In your workplace, is being right critical for you? To prove you being right helps your promotion or makes you an alien there? Why? If your opinion is different from your supervisor’s, how would you manage it?

6:45 ~ 7:00pm Greetings & Free Talk / Ordering Beverage or Meal / Getting Newcomer’s Information
7:00 ~ 7:10pm Opening Remarks / Newcomer’s Self-introduction / Grouping
(Session I)
7:10 ~ 7:50pm Discussion Session (40 mins)
7:50 ~ 8:10pm Summarization (20 mins)
8:10 ~ 8:25pm Regrouping / Instruction Giving / Taking a 10 Minutes Break (Intermission)
(Session II)
8:25 ~ 9:05pm Discussion Session (40 mins)
9:05 ~ 9:25pm Summarization (20 mins)
9:25 ~ 9:30pm Concluding Remarks / Announcements ********************************************************************************************************************************************
聚會時間:當天請準時於 6:45 pm 到達 ~ 約 9:30 pm 左右結束
地址、電話:台北市濟南路三段25號 地圖 (02) 2740-2350
捷運站:板南線 忠孝新生站 3 號出口
走法:出忠孝新生站 3 號出口後,沿著巷子(忠孝東路三段10巷)走約 2 分鐘,到了濟南路口,左轉走約 2 分鐘即可看到。
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Re: 12/19(Tue)We thinking about charity dead wrong (Host:Wen

文章發表於 : 週二 12月 19, 2017 6:47 pm
Iris Wu
It is very disturbing after listening the first TED Talk. I am not so sure what I should be thinking.

My first question would be when watchdog charity organizations (such as Charity Navigator) started using overhead cost to rate charity groups and why they began with this measurement. That might answer why many charity donors are so concerned about how their money is used.
Secondly, the risk, one of the “discrimination areas” that the speaker mentioned, he compared the social entrepreneurship with Google, Apple, and Amazon-scale dreams. He thinks they should be given the same level of risk tolerance. I am not so sure I can agree with that. First, in regular business world, probably 90% the so-called “entrepreneurship” failed and 80% disappeared in the first 5 years. Google, Apple, Amazon are the only 1% (or less than 1%) of the successful regular enterprises. If a regular business fails, the impact is only the shareholders, but if a charity goes bankrupt, it affects the basic living needs of the disadvantaged.

It will take me some time to digest all the arguments that the speaker brought up. The nature of social entrepreneurship is very different from a regular enterprise. At this moment, I just cannot totally agree that they should be treated the same way for the purpose of innovation and growth, but it is a very good subject to think further because I do rely on the "overhead rating" to decide which charity for my donation. I need to study more to see if I was wrong about that.

Re: 12/19(Tue)We thinking about charity dead wrong (Host:Wen

文章發表於 : 週二 12月 19, 2017 10:49 pm
I also don't agree with the speaker, but I was the only one who held a different opinion at my table this evening in the meeting.

My opinion is nerdy-- I just don't think charity, which is based on altruism, should be run in a for-profit way. It just doesn't seem right.

But my contention is weak. Common sense tells us, all those rich, famous charities are run, more or less, capitalistically. Many people hate it. But they cannot deny the fact that Tzu Chi raised the biggest fund in Taiwan, and that big money did help a lot of people.

Gotta think more and harder about it. Would someone please get me out of this misery of stupidity?

Re: 12/19(Tue)We thinking about charity dead wrong (Host:Wen

文章發表於 : 週二 12月 19, 2017 11:00 pm
Dear Iris,

Thanks for your comments, it's a shame that we didn't have you tonight. For the questions you raised about the nature of charity/non-profit business, it was exactly one of the points that the speaker was arguing on. Very much do we assume the charity/non-profit business should be run by charitable persons or volunteers, and it could in a way comfort us that by so our money goes mostly to the needy, not the overhead. However, stated as a popular modern Taiwanese saying " you can only recruit monkeys if the pay is merely bananas". This may decide how far the non-profit business could go and how long it could sustain.

Dear members,

Thanks for attending the gathering tonight. We have, Anne, Janice, David Jr., Ryu, Christine, Yvonne, Alex, Rock, Amizi, Tina, Steve, Light, Ken, Luis, Momo, Wenhan, Lulu, and Georgia for joining the discussions. (Sorry that I didn't jot down the talking points of each table as Momo suggested, I am really a lazy monkey......)

Re: 12/19(Tue)We thinking about charity dead wrong (Host:Wen

文章發表於 : 週三 12月 20, 2017 9:35 am
Iris Wu
I had visitors last night, so sorry to miss the meeting! Thanks, Wenhan, for the summary! (It’s great to read your writing!)

The more I think about this, the more I maintain my original “gut feelings” for the charity talk. For-profit and non-profit are two types of business. Maybe you can call those successful executives/entrepreneurs in the for-profit world “tigers”, but I am sorry, they are just not “Mother Teresa” and some of them may never be. People with for-profit mentality is very dangerous to manage the big non-profit funds. There have been too many examples in the past and I am pretty sure it will happen in the future.

Helping the poor and victims of any disasters is “banana” business. Do you think you just need to pay million annual salary and a golden parachute exit package, then you will get a genius to passionately care for the people who are suffering? I am sorry to say that most people with for-profit mindset (including you and me) are just mostly less caring.

Charity is a “banana” business, would you trust “wolves of Wall Street” to meddle with the big donation asset pool? Personally, I would prefer hire a monkey (or even a retarded monkey but with right attitude) to run the charity rather than give the money to the profit-oriented “tigers or wolves”!

I am sure there are many aspects in this subject that we can discuss further. Again, YoYo is such a great group that we don’t just practice English but we can exchange our thoughts and opinions in depth.
(Rock, I wish I were there last night. At least, for this topic, I could have stood behind you. :)  )

Re: 12/19(Tue)We thinking about charity dead wrong (Host:Wen

文章發表於 : 週三 12月 20, 2017 11:33 pm
Janice Wang
This Ted talk seems like quite a compelling argument and appealing pitch; deploying higher overhead to make a bigger pie for niche charity to maximize the resources for the people in need. The new approach sounds like a silver lining for nonprofits, a golden opportunity for ambitious executives, but still a pinky promise for all of us! As we have experienced too many costly lessons from Wall Street, governments, and corporations...etc., and such incidents seem unlikely to cease permanently.

Donors make donations for various causes and to align ourselves with the nonprofits that share the same sentiments. In return, we can experience righteousness, the personal feeling of having an impact, and contribute directly to the causes. We probably care more about how we feel when we give than how the organizations spend our money. No wonder such a simple thought and pure mind offers a loophole for some greedy organizations to cook the books. Moreover, since most of the Wall Street “wolves” were able to get away with a great deal of money , how can we expect that history won’t repeat itself with the nonprofits. If it does happen, the magnitude of the problem could not only crush the hopes of the people in need, but also completely destroy the established trust of humanity!

To wrap it up, in our group discussion, I vaguely remember two last words “……..go sour”from one of David’s sentences, and I boldly interpret it as “ money can make things work, but too much money can also make things go sour”. So, I stand the same side with Iris and Rock to fend off the for-profits’ mode for charity works.

PS. David, Please correct it as I’m sure your sentence was so much shorter than mine. Sorry for not being able to catch up with your Ferrari-like talking speed.

Re: 12/19(Tue)We thinking about charity dead wrong (Host:Wen

文章發表於 : 週五 12月 22, 2017 7:54 pm
Yeah, Janice, welcome to the discussion. We surely need you to brainstorm more.

Capitalism is good for many things, but not everything. What "commodity" does a charity sell? Can it be sold like Nike shoes or Coca Cola, with tons of TV commercials and cunningly designed marketing strategies? Not to mention the dead-or-alive competition between the business rivalries. Can you imagine a charity going bankrupt and being merged by another one, or a manager being fired for failing to meet the yearly quota in a charity? It's just weird to me.

But, in the real world, charities run in a for-profit way do make bigger money. Besides, do the causes-- the poor people who are in need of money-- care about how it is collected and where it is from? Is it possible that Cheng Yen actually knows that her huge charity is suffering from some bad names, but is willing to take the blame because it's a necessary evil?

I don't know.

Re: 12/19(Tue)We thinking about charity dead wrong (Host:Wen

文章發表於 : 週六 12月 23, 2017 8:38 am
Iris Wu
Janice' writing is elegant and with precise viewpoints; Rock's comments are always intriguing. For an English learning forum, I feel we are lucky to have good topics to discuss intelligently and fearless minds to express the thoughts.