Monday, May 27th

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Wednesday, 28 November 2018 00:00

Merciless Fire Gutted Restoran Limbok but Not Love

Written by  Yap Poh Chan & Lee Heng Lun, Seremban / Translated by Wong Mun Heng

Tzu Chi volunteers handed out relief cash to the affected stall-owners. [Photograph by Siow Yau Chu]

Fifteen hawker stalls at Restoran Limbok in Seremban were gutted by a big fire, affecting the livelihood of the stall-owners. Tzu Chi volunteers distributed relief cash on November 29, after assessing the damages.


Restoran Limbok in Seremban has been in operation for some years and has become a popular breakfast venue for the locals. On November 27, 2018, a fire gutted the place destroying 80% of the property there. Although none was injured, 15 hawker stalls were destroyed and the owners could not operate their business for the moment. The fire brigade arrived within a short time and managed to extinguish the fire.

The following day, Tzu Chi volunteer, Then Hon Keong learnt from social media about the fire and reported the matter to volunteers of the Emergency Relief Team for further action. With the humanitarian spirit of “I feel your pain and I share your sadness” in mind, the volunteers went to evaluate the situation and arrange to compile the listing of affected victims.

On the compilation day, the victims had overcome the initial shock. Playing the role of a NGO, the volunteers came to offer their care and concern to the affected stall-owners while not forgetting to inspire them with story of Tzu Chi’s humble beginning. Temiang State Assemblyman, Ng Chin Tsai, was also there to comfort the victims and later announced that the MP of Seremban would provide fund allocation to help the stall-owners.

Volunteers later held a meeting and decided to distribute relief cash, offering tangible support together with intangible blessings to the victims.

On November 29, the affected stall-owners and Ng Chin Tsai went to Tzu Chi Seremban Liaison Office. The volunteers gave a sign language performance of the song, “Love in the World” to welcome the visitors. Then, Wong Chiew Yoke, the person-in-charge of Tzu Chi Seremban read out Master Cheng Yen’s consolation letter.

Following that, volunteers introduced the humble beginning of Tzu Chi and the Four Major Missions so that the victims would have a better knowledge of Tzu Chi and be inspired to do good deeds.

Love touches the hearts of many

Ding Siew Eng, a stall-owner, had been running her business at Restaurant Limbok for ten years. As she likes to chat and joke with her customers, she thought it was a joke when she first heard about the fire. She was shocked to discover that it was real and could not believe that the food court could just vanish within ten minutes or so. “After the fire, my husband’s phone rang non-stop with caring calls from many customers. I am glad that many people do care for us.” She was grateful to Tzu Chi for rendering help in times of need. For her, she appreciated the love and care she felt more than the cash assistance.

Ehsan bin Mahayudin, the only Malay stall-owner in the food court, had to rest for two months to take care of his sick mother barely four to five months into his business. He expressed, “The cash aid means a lot to us. Although I am not sure how much money is in the envelope, I am certain this money will help me to start my business all over again.”

Great compassion starts the cycle of love

At the relief distribution ceremony, volunteers with utmost respect and sincerity, bowed and with both hands raised handed the envelopes with the phrase, “Best Wishes” (in Chinese), to the recipients; touching their hearts.

Towards the end, there was a prayer and a stall operator, Yang Tong Chay, was overwhelmed with tears. She shared, “I was shocked when I saw the stall totally burnt. I was very scared and sad. I was loss for words.” Still choking tearfully, she expressed her gratitude to Tzu Chi for the help rendered. “Thanks to you all. Although you all don’t know us, yet you all came to help us. I really appreciate it. In future, if others need help, I will definitely help them too.”

Loo Kim Thai had been selling economy rice for more than nine years. She was totally devastated when the fire gutted her stall. This relief distribution had brought her to a Tzu Chi office for the first time. Upon seeing the bamboo coin banks on the table, she immediately wanted to adopt some. She said, “I want to save some money for Tzu Chi and I want to take one for my child too. I can see and am glad that you all really do help others. I want to be like you, helping others too.”

Everyone is born with love and kindness. The fire may be merciless, but with the loving-kindness of living bodhisattvas and blessings of society, the stall-owners affected by the fire have rekindled the love from within, putting it into actions and starting the cycle of love, which will make society more harmonious.

 

 

On November 27, 2018, a fire gutted Restoran Limbok and destroyed 15 hawker stalls in the food court. [Photograph by Lee Heng Lun]   Tzu Chi volunteers consoled the affected stall- owners. [Photograph by Lee Heng Lun]

On November 27, 2018, a fire gutted Restoran Limbok and destroyed 15 hawker stalls in the food court. [Photograph by Lee Heng Lun]
 
Tzu Chi volunteers consoled the affected stall- owners. [Photograph by Lee Heng Lun]
 
Yang Tong Chay, an affected stall-owner, hopes to help others when she is able to do so in the future. [Photograph by Siow Yau Chu]  

Yang Tong Chay, an affected stall-owner, hopes to help others when she is able to do so in the future. [Photograph by Siow Yau Chu]