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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 02 December 2018 00:00

Fill the Home with Joy and Laughter Again

Written by  Yong Siew Lee, Malacca / Translated by Lim Rui Lin

Tan Sock Peng (Left) and volunteers presenting Christmas gifts to David Raj’s family. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]

David Raj and his family were in a difficult situation after he suffered a stroke. Fortunately, after countless physiotherapy treatments along with the encouragements from Tzu Chi volunteers, church members and loved ones over the course of more than a year, he has regained some of his physical strength and speech abilities. With Christmas around the corner, volunteers brought him a long-anticipated gift…


On the morning of December 2, 2018, volunteer Tan Sock Peng visited David Raj a/l Masalamoney’s house and was greeted with joy by both his 10-year-old son, Ahgazte Raj, and his wife, Pushpam a/p Arigeesamy.

It was a long-anticipated day for the family, as Tzu Chi volunteers brought them a Christmas tree!

Pushpam’s wish

A month ago, when Sock Peng casually mentioned about Christmas decorations with Pushpam, a Catholic, the latter suddenly asked for a used Christmas tree if there was any found at the recycling centre. She talked about their earlier days and remembered that when they were newlyweds more than ten years ago, David could not afford a Christmas tree so he made one for his family using a chopped down little tree. Then, when their children grew up and requested for a Christmas tree, David decided to make their dream a reality. He saved up to purchase a purple Christmas tree. However, the Christmas tree was damaged two years ago and the year after, David was paralysed. Since then, the family has been celebrating Christmas without a Christmas tree.

Knowing that David enjoys decorating a Christmas tree and that a Christmas tree carries significant meanings to her family, Pushpam voiced her wish to the volunteers. Eager to grant Pushpam her wish, Sock Peng requested the volunteers at the Tzu Chi Ayer Keroh Recycling-cum-Educational Centre to be on the lookout for a Christmas tree. However, there was none by the end of November. Then in a conversation with her husband, Wong Fok Nyin, who is also a Tzu Chi volunteer, Sock Peng mentioned about Pushpam’s wish and her husband suggested that the volunteers could share the cost of a tree if it was within budget.

Sock Peng was very pleased with this idea and they, together with a few other volunteers, bought a Christmas tree for the family. A volunteer also sponsored fairy lights for the tree. When Sock Peng’s colleagues learnt about it, they too, chipped in the kind act by buying Christmas gifts for the family of five.

When all were ready, Sock Peng rang Pushpam to convey the good news and invited the family to decorate the Christmas tree together.

“I was just asking casually and did not expect it to come true!” exclaimed a delighted Pushpam.

Reigniting hope and love

The day came for the volunteers and David’s family to decorate the Christmas tree. Everyone was excited but did not know what to do with the decorations. David then advised everyone to wrap the tree with fairy lights before putting on the decorations. It was a delightful experience when the tree was lit up amidst Christmas carols in the background.

Pushpam recollected that there was a year that David stayed up the entire night to decorate the whole house with fairy lights so that he could surprise the family in the morning. This year, the same feeling returned to the family. Now that David is able to move and even decorate the tree, they can go to church together.

Volunteers then presented to each family member a Christmas gift, while Sock Peng presented the family with a handmade Christmas card made by her daughter. Then everyone wished the family well, especially for David’s speedy recovery.

“O…K!” replied David loudly as he hit everyone’s palm, filling the home with an ambience of great motivation.

Healing through love

David used to have high blood pressure and in November 2017, the right side of his body was paralysed following a fall after a stroke. Not only his speech ability and memories were greatly affected, but with him being the sole breadwinner of the household, the family also suffered financially. A close relative then referred his case to Tzu Chi and after visitations and assessments, Tzu Chi began to subsidize the family’s living expenses.

Sock Peng remembered the first time she visited the family, the house was enveloped by an air of sorrow. She informed that Pushpam was physically and mentally exhausted from taking care of her husband, who was lying on the bed aimlessly, unable to speak except to make some vowel sounds. David broke down in front of the volunteers when reflecting on the helplessness and frustrations he faced then.

In March 2018, David started to attend physiotherapy sessions intensively at the Social Security Organization of Malaysia’s Rehabilitation Centre. That, coupled with encouragements and prayers from church members and friends, and subsidies from Tzu Chi plus the volunteers’ companionship and support, he found the strength and his physical and speech abilities improved day by day.

In a recent visit by volunteers to the family, Puspam told Sock Peng that they too, want to help the needy just like what the volunteers did once David’s conditions improved. In fact, before David suffered the stroke, a kind-hearted Pushpam would share rice or other food with the poor and needy.

She also shared that actually, their youngest son, Ahgazte, a Primary 4 student, encountered Tzu Chi even before her. He participated in recycling at the school when he was in Primary 3. He had a good impression of Tzu Chi volunteers and believed that they helped many people. “I am so happy today! Thank you!” he expressed and added that he too, wants to help others just like the volunteers one day.

Gently patting his head, Sock Peng encouraged him to study hard. She also helped him and his two brothers to apply for Tzu Chi Study & Awards Scheme for the next academic year.

To Sock Peng, the little extra efforts by volunteers were all worthwhile, for it gave the family a happy Christmas and in return, also brought much joy to the volunteers.

 

 

Volunteers, David Raj (right) and his family decorating the Christmas tree together. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]   Tan Sock Peng (Left) and volunteers presenting Christmas gifts to David Raj’s family. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]

Volunteers, David Raj (right) and his family decorating the Christmas tree together. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
Tan Sock Peng (Left) and volunteers presenting Christmas gifts to David Raj’s family. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
Tzu Chi volunteers brought a Christmas tree for David Raj’s family. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]   Before bidding goodbye, Pushpam gave Tan Sock Peng a thank you hug. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]

Tzu Chi volunteers brought a Christmas tree for David Raj’s family. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
 
Before bidding goodbye, Pushpam gave Tan Sock Peng a thank you hug. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]