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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 08 January 2017 00:00

New Year Celebration with Care Recipients

Written by  Tzu Chi Documenting Team, Kl & Selangor / Translated by Yi Qin

Tzu Chi volunteers had an early Lunar New Year celebration with Tzu Chi’s care recipients at KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]

It is pretty common that people miss their loved ones during the festive season, which is all about family-togetherness. Each year around the Lunar New Year, Tzu Chi volunteers would prepare scrumptious vegetarian dishes and various programmes to welcome the care recipients “home” for a joyous reunion and celebration. Indeed, years of genuine companionship and care have brought volunteers and care recipients closer together, forming family-like bonds.


With red lanterns hung high up and Chinese New Year songs enveloping its premises, the usually serene and solemn KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall was bursting with festive mood, ready to usher in the Lunar New Year.

On January 8, 2017 morning, Tzu Chi’s care recipients and their families arrived at the Jing Si Hall, full of anticipation for the annual event. After registering themselves, they were led to the bamboo bank corner, where they could donate their bamboo bank savings to support the building of Tzu Chi School KL. Over the years, besides providing them with financial aid, volunteers have been inspiring them to realize their spiritual wealth and imparting the concept that “Giving is not the privilege of the rich, it is the privilege of the sincere.”

Lai Tze Shing, mother of care recipient, Thui Jian Cheun, attended Tzu Chi’s New Year celebration for care recipients for the first time. To her, it is meaningful to contribute towards the building of Tzu Chi School KL because our children’s future lies in education. Although not well off herself, she will continue to save money in her bamboo bank to keep the cycle of love going.

Save the Earth through vegetarianism

This year, to raise public awareness on global warming and other environmental issues to protect our living environment and Mother Earth, an exhibition with three inter-related themes, namely, “Vegetarian & Health”, “Impartial Compassion” and “Ecological Footprint”, was set up. A variety of fresh and colourful vegetables, fruits and nuts were on display along with information on their nutritional values. Volunteers also mindfully created a “Happy Farm”, which portrayed a harmonious world with models of animals made from recyclables living peacefully in a lush green environment, to convey the message that like humans, animals are also sentient beings and should be treated with compassion.

The process from farms to tables prompted everyone to muse over the impact of a meat-based diet on environment; and the cruel scenes of livestock farming and slaughtering shed light on how animals are being treated inhumanely just to satisfy humans’ palates.

Holding a photo frame specially designed for the “111 Ethical Eating Day”, care recipient Dai Qing Fa and his Indonesian wife, Mona, and their children, Guo Xing and En Qi, smiled brightly at the photographer. Guo Xing was shocked when volunteers encouraged the family to observe a vegetarian diet on January 11, in support of Ethical Eating Day. However, at the thought that the parents of the livestock served on the table would be as sad as his parents if he was eaten by a tiger, he said sweetly, “1 person observes a vegetarian diet for 1 day to save 1 Planet Earth, shouldn’t we save animals too?”

While a pure-hearted En Qi expressed that she will encourage her three buddies in school to support the Ethical Eating Day, her brother said, “I will ask my friends in the whole world to respond to the Ethical Eating Day!”

Qing Fa was grateful for the timely financial assistance and care from Tzu Chi, which alleviated the family’s worries for daily necessities and the children’s school fees, following his temporary disability to work due to an accident at his workplace. “I don’t have to worry about New Year celebration now,” said Qing Fa.

Little giving great kindness

Around 9.45 am, the attendees took their seats in the Gratitude Hall. Through a video footage, they witnessed the charitable work carried out by the local volunteers, reaching out not only to the needy in Malaysia, but also overseas, such as, Cambodia, Serbia, and other countries.

Care recipient Loh Mee Ping shared about her life’s journey, manifesting to the audience that everyone, including the sick, can do good deeds. Mee Ping, who suffers from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, an auto-immune disease, has restricted mobility due to her festering feet. Tzu Chi volunteers came into her life when she was helpless, showering her with caring love and became her pillars of support. To reciprocate kindness from Tzu Chi and society, she has been actively involving herself in recycling work. She also saves money in her bamboo bank to help the poor and needy through Tzu Chi.

Mee Ping recollected the time when she had to stay in a nursing home for two months as she was unable to walk, let alone do recycling. She felt sad and realized that, “Blessed are those who have healthy limbs. One should endure the pain so long as one could still move freely, to partake in recycling and help others no matter how small the strength may seem.”

A positive Mee Ping called on all present to do recycling and save money in bamboo banks, because when we help others, we are also helping ourselves. Her sincere and inspiring sharing won her a warm round of applause from the floor.

Another care recipient, Law Chee Wai, has received financial aid for his medical expenses from Tzu Chi for several years. His mother, who is in her 70s and has deteriorating vision due to diabetes, was recently diagnosed with blockage in the heart and is on medication. Despite her illnesses, and the need to care for her children with physical and mental disabilities, she has been actively volunteering herself in Tzu Chi’s environmental mission.

Before she met Tzu Chi, Madam Law was once depressed and contemplated suicide together with her children. She often wept silently, feeling that she had been forgotten by the world. Now, she has become more positive and would make time for Tzu Chi’s activities, through which she has learnt to let go of attachments and stop getting into a dead end. She hopes that her life will become brighter as she involves herself in Tzu Chi’s missions, and she will continue her journey with Tzu Chi for as long as she could.

Her fortitude and perseverance in the face of adversity made her an example Chien Soo Teng looked up to. Soo Teng, a diabetic patient, attended the event accompanied by his wife and children. He lost his ability to work and direction in life following his right leg amputation and blurry vision. The overwhelming sense of worthlessness of not only being unable to protect his family but instead had become a burden to them, made him feel very depressed that he even contemplated suicide. After listening to Madam Law’s sharing, he decided to overcome difficulties and undergo rehabilitation diligently. He was also motivated to emulate Madam Law to partake in recycling and help others through his savings in the bamboo bank.

Health and vegetarianism

Dr Chern Phei Ming from TIMA explained the relationships between health and vegetarianism. Like the saying, “We are what we eat,” the three highs in the modern days (high blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol) and cancers are killer diseases, and the risk could only be reduced by observing a vegetarian diet. Dr Chern shared with the audience the right way to a healthy diet, and a comparison in nutritional values between animal and plant-based food. She stressed that a well-planned vegetarian diet will be able to provide adequate nutrients, which make our bodies healthy, and could prevent and heal certain diseases.

Through a video footage that showed the tough life of the refugee children in Turkey and Syria, where the children were deprived of the right to education and forced to work, the audience gained a better insight into the plight of refugees. The Master of Ceremony then called on everyone to contribute to the Menahel Primary School to make a difference in the lives of the poor children with collective efforts and kindness. Despite living a difficult life themselves, many attendees felt for the pain of the refugee children and were happy to contribute.

Escorted by lion dancers to lunch

A sudden sounding of drums and gongs caught the audience’s curiosity to turn their heads towards the entrance. Everyone clapped as two vivid “lions” ran into the hall, to escort them down from the Gratitude Hall on the first floor to the cultural foyer on the ground floor through the Dharma ramp, for a lion dance performance. The entertaining and lively performance captivated everyone’s attention and won rounds of applause.

Following that, everyone proceeded to the dining area for a reunion lunch, escorted by the “lions”. Everyone enjoyed the delicious food mindfully prepared by volunteers. Each of the dishes was also given a name that signifies auspiciousness.

A loving heart is the greatest wealth. While volunteers caringly fed some care recipients who needed help with their meals, some attendees were also seen serving those sitting next to them. The mutual care for one another was a warm and moving scene to behold.

Another climax of the day was when four volunteers dressed as the Gods of Prosperity made their appearance at the dining area. After receiving a red packet containing a Jing Si Aphorism from the Gods of Prosperity, some care recipients joyfully took a photo with them for remembrance.

Receiving a Jing Si Aphorism that read, “Only by being understanding can one turn anger into kindness,” Zhi Wei claimed that he likes the aphorism because he seldom gets angry. Thankful for his mother’s hard work and care, Zhi Wei would help the latter with house chores and to help carry things she bought at the market.

Untiring motherly love

A cheerful and optimistic Shamsui Lim bin Abdullah fell from a height of 1.5-storey in May 2009 when he was installing glass panels, causing him to be bedridden. As he did not wish to burden his wife to take care of him, he offered her his blessings to leave him together with their son. However, that turned him into a different person. He became a recluse, was irritable, allowed his imagination to run wild, and even had suicidal thoughts. Fortunately, such episodic depression only lasted for a year.

Shamsui Lim, who has difficulties moving his hands, would use a specially-designed mouse that he could scroll using his mouth, to watch programmes on his computer. Although he has spent the past seven years on his computer and sleeping, he managed to repose his mind and was gradually healed emotionally to become more cheerful. He said, “Days go by whether we are happy or not. My mum has been putting in a lot of efforts to take care of me, so why should I throw my temper on her and make her sad?”

Shamsui Lim was happy to attend the Lunar New Year celebration and loved the food. He usually has two meals a day, and would only drink water for lunch as he was worried that it would be a burden on his mother to care for him if he had grown fat. He felt sorry that his conditions have caused much trouble to his family, especially his aged mother. Deeply grateful for his mother’s tender love in every possible way, he expressed his love shyly, “Mum, I love you!”

True enough, motherly love is so great that no matter how unreasonable a child is, or how a child throws his/her temper and hurts the feelings of the mother, she is always forgiving. Shamsui Lim’s mother has been taking care of him and never gave up on him no matter how tired she was physically and mentally. A gratified smile spread across her face as she talked about how her son would sometimes make her happy. She said understandingly, “It is not tiring taking care of him. It is natural that he loses his temper when he feels uncomfortable. I hope he will recover soon.”



After having their stomachs filled, the attendees from 223 households (473 persons) were led by volunteers to have free health check-up and haircut, and to get their necessities from the second-hand goods corner. The care recipients left for home beaming with joy, carrying with them a spring couplet written for them on the spot and a festive gift pack each.

 

Care recipients brought their bamboo banks and donated their savings to help the less fortunate. [Photograph by Chua Teck Ching]   Grateful of Tzu Chi’s help when she was sick and helpless, Loh Mee Ping promised to appreciate her life and dedicate herself to recycling. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]

Care recipients brought their bamboo banks and donated their savings to help the less fortunate. [Photograph by Chua Teck Ching]
 
Grateful of Tzu Chi’s help when she was sick and helpless, Loh Mee Ping promised to appreciate her life and dedicate herself to recycling. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]
 
Madam Law, who has to take care of her two children with physical and mental disabilities despite not in the best of health herself, faces the ordeal with fortitude and actively participates in recycling. His son, Law Chee Wai (1st left) kept her in company as she shared her life’s journey with the audience. [Photograph by Ch’ng Kooi Tick]   Tzu Chi’s care recipients enjoyed a reunion lunch with volunteers. [Photograph by How Siew Heok]

Madam Law, who has to take care of her two children with physical and mental disabilities despite not in the best of health herself, faces the ordeal with fortitude and actively participates in recycling. His son, Law Chee Wai (1st left) kept her in company as she shared her life’s journey with the audience. [Photograph by Ch’ng Kooi Tick]
 
 
Tzu Chi’s care recipients enjoyed a reunion lunch with volunteers. [Photograph by How Siew Heok]
 
Shamsui Lim felt sorry to burden his family and contemplated suicide. The tireless love and care from his mother has been his source of strength to live on bravely. [Photograph by Fu Wing Hoong]   Empathized with the pain of the Syrian refugee children, many attendees donated to convey their love and blessings. [Photograph by Ch’ng Kooi Tick]

Shamsui Lim felt sorry to burden his family and contemplated suicide. The tireless love and care from his mother has been his source of strength to live on bravely. [Photograph by Fu Wing Hoong]
 
 
Empathized with the pain of the Syrian refugee children, many attendees donated to convey their love and blessings. [Photograph by Ch’ng Kooi Tick]
 
Volunteers presented a festive gift pack to each care recipient before they left for home. [Photograph by Lee Chi Sean]  

Volunteers presented a festive gift pack to each care recipient before they left for home. [Photograph by Lee Chi Sean]