On a sunny afternoon, sounds of laughter filled SJK(T) Lanadrom, Panchor, as students from SJK(T) Jalan Khalidi performed an environmental sketch entitled, “Dragon and Tortoise”. The sketch, which highlighted how styrofoams are destroying the marine ecosystems, sent a direct message to the audience to stop using styrofoams for the sake of the environment. The educational and funny sketch, coupled with the students’ lively acting, had successfully caught the attention of the audience.
On October 2, 2016, Tzu Chi Muar organized a Deepavali distribution, which benefitted 83 families of care recipients, as well as, beneficiaries of Tzu Chi Happy Schooling Scheme. The event was attended by 196 students, parents, School Principals and teachers. Students from two schools that benefitted from the Happy Schooling Scheme also presented entertaining shows for the audience.
A celebration thoughtfully planned
When preparing the Indian dishes and goodie bags, volunteers from the home visit team had dressed themselves up in Indian traditional costumes to warm up the atmosphere.
Prior to the aid distribution, they even took turns to make the purchase, keep a tally and do the packing. The entire preparation was done with thoughtfulness. Due to the limited Indian food ingredients in Muar, volunteers drove all the way to the Little India in Melaka to purchase the necessary items like rice, cooking oil, noodles, baking flour, spices, beans and so on.
According to volunteer, Tan Su Lee, “These are all the necessary ingredients for Deepavali celebration. We just want them to have a wonderful Deepavali.”
Volunteers also worked with an Indian restaurant to prepare the food. The restaurant owner, C. Rengasamy, even gave Tzu Chi a special discount and felt happy to be able to help his own race.
Tzu Chi a good friend indeed
Krisnavali, Headmistress from SJK(T) Jalan Khalidi, joined the distribution ceremony for the first time. She was truly amazed and deeply touched with the volunteers’ thoughtfulness as everything was prepared in accordance with the Indian tradition. “I am very grateful for this opportunity to work with Tzu Chi volunteers and to celebrate Deepavali with the students and parents. It is so heart-warming,” she said smilingly.
In her speech, she acknowledged the friendly attitude of Tzu Chi volunteers, who always serve with a big smile and humility. She remarked, “Tzu Chi is our good friend and they are always there when we need help.” She also urged everyone to learn Tzu Chi’s Great Love spirit to build a harmonious community with mutual respect so that the future generations could grow up in a loving and caring environment.
An occasion for the family
Although financially unstable, care recipient, Maheswari a/p Matchap had volunteered to bake cookies. To fulfil her wish, volunteers prepared the necessary ingredients and utensils. Due to her poor health, volunteers asked her to bake two types of cookies but Maheswari had instead prepared five types for the occasion, including the famous Indian snack “muruku”, and chocolate and pineapple cookies. She even used her own money to purchase the ingredients.
“Seeing everyone enjoying my cookies, I feel so contented,” she said with a big grin. She could feel the friendship and mutual respect even though the volunteers were all Chinese.
Single mother, Janagi a/p Ramasamy, brought her aged mother and daughter to the event. “This is the first time I am celebrating Deepavali with so many people. What’s more, it is organized by our Chinese friends. I am so touched and happy!” Janagi expressed with excitement.
Janagi was deeply moved by the thoughtfulness of volunteers when looking at the various items in the goodie bag. She said joyfully, “All these items could alleviate my burden. I am so grateful.”
She invited the volunteers to her house during Deepavali as she would prepare some dishes for them to show her gratitude towards the long-term assistance for her family. She informed, “The volunteers are like family members as they care about how we are doing whenever they pay us a visit.”
A timely support
Rames a/l Kaliapervmal is a lorry driver with three children, who are receiving aid from Tzu Chi’s Happy Schooling Scheme. Due to the uncertain hours of his work, he could not send his kids to school at times and could not afford the bus fare.
Nonetheless, he knew it is important for the children to be educated especially in a Tamil school to learn their mother tongue. Fortunately with Tzu Chi subsidizing the transportation fees, the kids could now attend school every day. Seeing their good progress on studies, he felt blessed.
He said, “The subsistence from Tzu Chi has eased the financial burden on the family.” He was very grateful with volunteers’ thoughtfulness. Besides subsidizing his children, they even distributed a goodie bag to the family. He continued, “These are the ingredients needed for the festive celebration and will reduce our spending on the festival.”
On that day, Rames brought back the bamboo bank together with his wife. He hopes to reciprocate the kindness shown to his family by saving up to help others within his means.
There was also a group photo taken. The photos were made into souvenirs for all the care recipients. Everyone could not help but look for their portrait in the group photo.
Volunteers’ care and aid have indeed lighted up the hearts of care recipients. In the true Deepavali spirt, it is hoped that they could get over the darkness and despair in their lives.
Upon learning about the Deepavali distribution, restaurant owner, C. Rengasamy (2nd right), offered discounts on the meals. [Photograph by Low Choon Hui]
Rames a/l Kaliapervmal (2nd right) reciprocated the kindness shown to his children by donating the savings in the bamboo bank. [Photograph by Low Choon Hui]
A total of 196 students, parents, School Principals and teachers attended the Deepavali distribution. [Photograph by Ng Pei Sze]
School Principal of SJK(T) Jalan Khalidi, Krisnavali appealed to the audience to emulate Tzu Chi’s Great Love spirit so as to build a harmonious and loving society for our next generation. [Photograph by Low Choon Hui]
Photo shows volunteers cleaning each banana leaf carefully in preparation for food serving. [Photograph by Ng Pei Sze]
Attendees were served with a scrumptious feast prepared by the volunteers. [Photograph by Ng Pei Sze]
A group photo was taken and presented to each guest as souvenir. [Photograph by Ng Pei Sze]