Township in E. Taiwan offers half-price columbarium spaces to reward volunteers

A columbarium space is worth NT$20,000 (about US$650), and half price means volunteers can save up to NT$10,000 when they need it

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(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A township in Taiwan’s eastern county of Taitung is offering a bizarre and ghastly way to reward its citizens who volunteer their time and services in the township: public columbarium spaces for their burial at half-price, Central News Agency (CNA ) reported on Wednesday.

Chihshang Township Council (池上鄉) on Wednesday passed an ordinance to offer rewards to citizens who volunteer to help with public services in the township. The ordinance is designed not only to reward volunteers, but also to encourage citizens, especially retirees, to participate in volunteering, CNA reported.

The ordinance provides that volunteers with 1,000 accumulated hours of service will be given a “Chihshang honorable volunteer card,” with which they are eligible to receive 50% discounts on commodities sold by the township office, including public columbarium spaces, as well as township-organized activities.

Township council chairman Jiang Xin-gui (江鑫貴) said that the township really needs volunteers to help with assisting government agencies, cleaning the environment, helping run activities, participating in rescue efforts, and assisting in traffic control, to make the township administration more efficient.

A farmer surnamed Chang said that the offer of half-price public columbarium spaces “feels kind of creepy,” but it is a very favorable and popular offer among fellow farmers, the news outlet reported. Chiang said that the offer will be of no use to him, as he will opt for scattering his bone ash on his field. However, he said that he will still serve as a volunteer for the township.

Chihshang Township Mayor Chang Jao-cheng (張堯城) said that citizens are very happy to learn that the township is offering eligible volunteers half-price public columbarium spaces, praising the ordinance as a beneficial policy .

There are 10,000 spaces in the new public columbarium built by the township, and each space is worth NT$20,000 (about US$650), the mayor said, adding that half price means that notable volunteers can save up to NT$10,000 whenever they might wish to purchase a final resting place.

A newly built public columbarium in Chihshang Township, Taitung County (CNA)