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Saturday, 20 May 2006 08:00

To Extract Joy from Daily Life

Written by  By Lim Chwee Lian / Translated by Hew Kwee Heong

【Caring Case/Singapore.An-an】

An-an, although born with deformation and retarded, he still bears a child's simple and innocent smile.【Photograph provided by Singapore Branch】

Mrs.Chen's face shone with joyous smile after signing up as a donor. This action made her realized the joy of giving and also brought her out from the darkness.

"Sister, thank you for being so nice and caring. We wish to donate money to Tzu Chi to help others." Mrs. Chen said shyly.

"Good! You have such a good heart, our gratitude to you!" Sister Wu Ying-ying replied.

"It is just a small donation of 5 dollars per month."

"The amount does not matter, it is the intention that counts. Monthly donation means continuous charity with loving kindness and it is an act to cultivate merits for oneself."

Life with resentment

A 54 year-old Mrs. Chen whose husband is a gardener has two boys a girl; a family of seven including both grandmothers live in a four- room apartment.

Their eldest son and daughter are healthy. However, the youngest son, An-an was born with severe deformation. His spinal cord is in S-shape, chest bone is protruded, both hands and legs are thin and uneven in length. Hence, he is not able to move properly. Moreover, An-an fingers are crooked and twisted which cannot be straightened. His heart has a hole and he finds difficulty swallowing down the food properly because his throat passage has a hole, the size of a fifty cent coin. Although An-an is sixteen now, he is physically and mentally retarded. With a height of 127cm and weights 20 kg, his mentality is of a 5 year old kid.

In order to take care of An-an, Mrs. Chen had to leave her job after he was born. So, the family depends solely on her husband limited income. Due to An-an's condition, they need to spend a lot on medical fees; their financial position becomes critical. When Mrs. Chen came to know Tzu Chi Foundation through a newspaper, she approached Tzu Chi for help. Since 2003, Tzu Chi branch of Singapore has been subsidizing their food ration and An-an's transport fee to school.

Initially, when volunteers visited her, Mrs. Chen kept complaining about her problem in taking care of An-an and her family financial problem. She always blamed god and man like the rain flourishes the plants and the drought causes the plants to wither. Consequently, her husband's income is also unstable. On top of it, her eldest son's job is insecure. He has been changing job frequently. She felt that life is hard and cruel to her.

Moreover, one of their elderly grandmothers has eye problem. Luckily, both are in good health but not happy.

Harbouring thoughts of gratitude  

Visiting volunteers posted a few questions on Tzu Chi to Mrs. Chen. What type of organization is Tzu Chi? Why do volunteers visit her every month? At first, Mrs. Chen thought Tzu Chi is a temple and the fund is donated from devotees who come to pray .She does not know much about the organization of Tzu Chi and that the fund actually comes from Tzu Chi.

During a few home visits, volunteers gradually imparted knowledge about the history of Tzu Chi, Master's aim in forming Tzu Chi and Tzu Chi's four missions and the eight foot-prints such as international relief and charity work. The volunteers also enlightened her with "Still Thought" quotations and some touching stories in Tzu Chi magazines.

In addition, volunteers shared their experiences and the sufferings they saw during international relief in Sri Lanka. They encouraged members of Chen's family to always have good thoughts, say good words and bless themselves. Gradually, every one in Chen's family starts to understand that the rice given represents love and blessings from the warm-hearted public. For this, they need to be grateful.

Since then, we see great improvement in the attitude of Mrs. Chen and her family members. Mrs. Chen begins to show her gratitude, she becomes more optimistic and also looks forward to the volunteers' visits.

Becoming a giving person

Once, Mrs. Chen told Sister Ying-Ying, "Through our conversation, I gradually realize that we have to face our own karma. This retarded child is a test to me, I must accept my faith sincerely and repay it with gratitude.

One day, Mrs. Chen told Tzu Chi to stop the subsidies given to her. The branch office had made the evaluation and decided to close this case but with additional 3 months post-caring to ensure that they are fully independent.

Seeing Mrs. Chen's cheerful smile after signing the donation form and hearing An-an's murmur, we could see their sense of happiness.
    
"It is good to see you. I hope to be like you one day"

Sister Ying-ying said, " I am sure you can! We shall learn together. Congratulation to you, you are now a giver instead of a recipient."

20 July 2005 was the post-caring visiting day. Recalling the time spent with Mrs. Chen for the last one and half years and seeing her walking out from the darkness, volunteers felt gratified.

Under the roof, a touching sight of grandmother and her grandson. Mrs.Chen decided to become a donating member. Volunteers were busy helping her to fill in the donation form.

Under the roof, a touching sight of grandmother and her grandson.

Mrs.Chen decided to become a donating member. Volunteers were busy helping her to fill in the donation form.

 

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