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Sunday, 01 July 2018 00:00

Muslim Care Recipients Joined Gawai Dayak Celebration

Written by  Tu Li Syan, Kuching / Translated by Ong Yoke Ching

Tzu Chi Kuching held a joint celebration of Gawai Dayak and Eid al-Fitr on July 1, 2018. At the event, Tzu Chi volunteers led the children to perform sign language interpretation of the song, “We Are Family”. [Photograph by Ng Hsiung Hsiung]

On July 1, 2018, Tzu Chi Kuching centre was merry with volunteers busily preparing for the Gawai Dayak celebration and Eid al-Fitr gathering, before welcoming the care recipients from 26 households.


The Gawai Dayak is an annual harvest festival celebrated by the Dayak tribe on June 1 each year. For the past several years, Tzu Chi had been organizing get-togethers for its Dayak care recipients on this special occasion. This year, it is even more meaningful with the Muslim care recipients invited to join the get-together and at the same time, celebrate the Eid al-Fitr. Although it was a belated Eid al-Fitr celebration, the Muslim care recipients still dressed up for the event.

Like previous years, on site were hairdressers giving the care recipients hair trims, while TIMA members performed their health check-ups on the first floor. The dentists were also there to teach the children the proper way to take care of their teeth.

After the health check-ups, volunteers directed all present to the main event hall located on the second floor. The event started with a short introduction video of Tzu Chi’s missions and the Bamboo Bank Era. The Master of Ceremony also shared about environmental protection and encouraged everyone to participate in recycling activity.

Seated at 12 tables, the care recipients enjoyed six vegetarian dishes, including a curry dish that is well-loved by the Malays and some Chinese dishes, prepared by the culinary group.

Most of the care recipients suffer from health issues. For those with restricted mobility, it is challenging for them to manage their daily life, let alone work. There were also some care recipients who suffered from kidney failure, and as a result, their families fell into financial difficulties.

Extending aid regardless of religion

Hariyati bte Mohamad Wasil was diagnosed with diabetes during her fourth pregnancy. With little knowledge of the illness, she neglected her diet intake, and ended up with kidney failure. She learnt from the medical staff of the dialysis centre that Tzu Chi offers aid to dialysis patients living in poverty. Hence, she approached Tzu Chi for help and became a care recipient.

She said, “It moved me deeply that Tzu Chi extends aid to all who are in need regardless of race and religion.”

Her husband, Mohd Sulaiman Desmond Abdullah, a bulldozer operator said, “I had applied for financial assistance from many organizations but to no avail. I felt helpless. But Tzu Chi approved my first application.”

Amaen Anak Ameu, who has undergone dialysis treatment for five years, lost his vision due to the illness. He used to be the breadwinner of the family before he fell sick six years ago. He attended the event together with his wife, daughter and son-in-law for the first time.

He said, “I am satisfied with the assistance from Tzu Chi, especially when I have lost my ability to work.”

Vowed to reciprocate the kindness received

Hasanah bte Saruji, a 64-year-old Muslim care recipient, walked up to the venue with her walking stick and assistance from volunteers. Although it was inconvenient for her to move around, she was happy to attend the event nevertheless.

She has suffered from kidney failure for nine years. Besides the physical pain, she and her spouse also struggled to cope with the hefty medical bill.

Her husband, Awang Tajudin bin Awang Morshidi, is a retired army personnel. However, he was not eligible for pension fund as his tenure of army service was short. The couple also did not have any savings, and their five children could not help much as they had their own families to take care of.

They had sought help from many other charitable organizations but they were all unsuccessful. It was not until they received help from Tzu Chi in 2017 that their burden was eased.

Hasanah said, “We are of different races but Tzu Chi is willing to help us. We could not even afford to pay for the medications without assistance from Tzu Chi.”

Having felt the importance of mutual help, and upon learning that a small amount of money when accumulated can accomplish great deeds, the couple adopted a bamboo bank early this year and have been saving in it daily to help others. Hasanah shared, “I am very happy. We have received help from others, so we should also do what we can to help others. We should help one another.” She informed that she will return the bamboo bank to Tzu Chi once it is filled.

Another care recipient, Arifin, and his wife have six children. His wife had undergone seven surgeries for her heart disease. His brother, on the other hand, lost his hearing after suffering from an incurable illness more than 20 years ago.

Arifin had sought help from SOCSO Department. Unfortunately, there was no response from them. However, he said, “I am thankful to Tzu Chi from the bottom of my heart, for helping to re-submit my application to SOSCO. Now, I receive RM500 per month from SOCSO.”

He added, “I will always pray for Tzu Chi’s sustainability to help more needy people.”

The care recipients were invited to dance along during the cultural dance performances. Those with mobility difficulty also shared the joy by clapping along with the music. It was indeed a simple and warm celebration.

 

Ninety care recipients who attended the event watched an introduction video about Tzu Chi’s missions and the Bamboo Bank Era. [Photograph by Fu Oi Jong]   Volunteers caringly served the care recipients. [Photograph by Fu Oi Jong]

Ninety care recipients who attended the event watched an introduction video about Tzu Chi’s missions and the Bamboo Bank Era. [Photograph by Fu Oi Jong]
 
Volunteers caringly served the care recipients. [Photograph by Fu Oi Jong]
 
Students from a dance college gave two cultural dance performances. [Photograph by Fu Oi Jong]
  On site, TIMA members offered health check-ups to the care recipients. [Photograph by Fu Oi Jong]

Students from a dance college gave two cultural dance performances. [Photograph by Fu Oi Jong]
 
 
On site, TIMA members offered health check-ups to the care recipients. [Photograph by Fu Oi Jong]
 
Care recipient, Hasanah and her husband, Awang Tajudin adopted a bamboo bank early this year and have been saving in it for a good cause daily. [Photograph by Ng Hsiung Hsiung]   Arifin thanked Tzu Chi for the assistance rendered. He hoped that Tzu Chi will be sustainable, to help more people in need. [Photograph by Fu Oi Jong]

Care recipient, Hasanah and her husband, Awang Tajudin adopted a bamboo bank early this year and have been saving in it for a good cause daily. [Photograph by Ng Hsiung Hsiung]
 
 
Arifin thanked Tzu Chi for the assistance rendered. He hoped that Tzu Chi will be sustainable, to help more people in need. [Photograph by Fu Oi Jong]
 
Hariyati was touched by Tzu Chi’s assistance regardless of race and religion. [Photograph by Ng Hsiung Hsiung]  

Hariyati was touched by Tzu Chi’s assistance regardless of race and religion. [Photograph by Ng Hsiung Hsiung]