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Friday, 26 February 2016 00:00

Sharing the Spirit of Tzu Chi beyond Religious Boundaries

Written by  Loh Siew Chien, Melaka / Translated by Lee Marn Fong

Members from Pembantu Kebajikan JKKK Kawasan DUN Machap were brought for a tour of the premise by Tzu Chi volunteers. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]

“I thought Tzu Chi is a small organization for Buddhists to perform chants and prayers…”


After stepping into the world of Tzu Chi, this group of visitors’ interaction with Tzu Chi volunteers opened their hearts and they hope to learn more of the selfless spirit to apply within their own community.

Along the Dharma ramps at Melaka Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall, there are posters showing:

Volunteers bowing 90 degrees while handing out aid during disaster relief; volunteers giving gentle hugs to victims to heal broken hearts; volunteers’ efforts to rebuild schools after disaster and children happily attending schools thereafter; volunteers providing hot food and eco-blankets for flood relief; volunteers caring the elderly and the care recipients reciprocated with donations; volunteers helping needy students with awards of scholarships; volunteers with bamboo banks spreading the spirit of daily charitable acts; volunteers turning waste into gold and gold into love...

On February 26, 2016, Tzu Chi volunteers played host to nine visitors from Pembantu Kebajikan JKKK Kawasan DUN Machap and gave them a tour of the premise while briefing them on Tzu Chi’s missions.

“I felt deeply touched just by looking at the photos,” expressed one of the guests, Datuk Hasnah bte Salam.

Volunteers have been paving the path of love in the past 50 years: the free clinic for the poor; the numerous equipment and infrastructure available for such assistance; the presence of generations of well-mannered children at Da Ai Kindergarten are all such evidence. The video on “Tzu Chi 2015 in Review” showing Tzu Chi’s charity missions in 92 countries across five continents further captured this.

Volunteer Tai Kim Loong informed the visitors of Tzu Chi’s major missions in charity, medicine, and education, explaining that in addition to providing food and basic necessities, other forms of aid would also be considered depending on needs and circumstances. It was also elaborated that during the monthly home visits, volunteers would offer care and emotional support to encourage the care recipients to face challenges with courage. Scholarships and study awards are also given to students with good results and potentials in order to motivate them.

The visit lasted for two hours, with the guests seen discussing quietly among themselves and nodding in agreement at times, and the occasional punctuations of their praises and hearty applause. It had been a productive and fruitful visit for all who attended.

Learning the spirit of volunteering

The visit was made possible by the effort of Juwara bin Dolah from Pembantu Kebajikan ADUN Machap. On January 17 this year, Juwara attended the Year-end Blessing Ceremony together with some members from MAIM. He was very impressed with how the care recipients were tended to by the volunteers, as well as the discipline and effectiveness of the volunteering system.

Upon his return to work, he immediately invited members of the social welfare from ten other villages to pay a visit to Tzu Chi with hope that they could provide better services to the community.

“We too are providing services to the community, except that we are appointed to do so. But Tzu Chi volunteers contribute from the bottom of their hearts, not by force nor rewards. This is the mindset that we must develop. We thank Tzu Chi for broadening our views, and we look forward to future cooperation,” said Juwara.

Abdul Rahman bin Abu Bakar, Special Assistant to Melaka ADUN, has very little knowledge about the organization though he has passed by the Tzu Chi premises previously. He remarked, “I thought that Tzu Chi is a small organization for Buddhists to perform chants and prayers. This visit has really opened my eyes to their magnitude and capabilities in reaching out to the poor and destitute beyond religion and race.”

Datuk Hasinah was hesitant initially on the visit, “I am touched after your sharing session. I realized that to provide services to the community, it must come from the hearts, just like Tzu Chi volunteers who bear their own costs without getting any pay in serving the humanity. Although we are of different religion, charitable values have no borders. I hope to serve in the community alongside Tzu Chi volunteers.”



Different religion bears different names, but the spirit of humanity share the same values. It is hoped that through an open interaction and a common goal to help the people, peace and prosperity will prevail in the community.

 

Volunteer Tai Kim Loong explained to the guests on the charity missions of Tzu Chi. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]   
Juwara bin Dolah (centre) and Datuk Hasnah bte Salam (right) were in awe of the volunteers’ selfless contribution. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]

Volunteer Tai Kim Loong explained to the guests on the charity missions of Tzu Chi. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]
 
Juwara bin Dolah (centre) and Datuk Hasnah bte Salam (right) were in awe of the volunteers’ selfless contribution. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]
 
A group photo to commemorate the visit. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]  

A group photo to commemorate the visit. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]