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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 01 January 2017 00:00

Where There Is Love, There Is Strength to Accomplish Mission

Written by  Kang Miew Tiang, Muar / Translated by Lim Wen Xin

The event sponsors cutting ribbons on stage, doing whatever they could for Muar Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall. [Photograph by Lin Mei Fu]

Tzu Chi volunteers’ grand vision of building a Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall in Muar remains strong. On New Year’s Day 2017, Tzu Chi Muar held a 104-table ‘Loving Vegetarian Banquet’ at Restaurant Tong Fook in Segamat.


“Happy New Year! Have a progressive year. Welcome to the vegetarian feast… Thank you for coming.” Everyone was smiling joyfully as they greeted each other warmly to celebrate the big occasion; and they attended the event as if it was their own family’s joyous event.

New Year represents new hope. Volunteers in Muar worked diligently towards their vision of building a Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall in Muar. On January 1, 2017, Tzu Chi Muar organized a “Loving Vegetarian Banquet” at Restaurant Tong Fook in Segamat.

Volunteers placed on each of the 104 tables a little pack of cookie, gratitude cards and Tzu Chi’s 50th Anniversary ornaments. They also used Tzu Chi Oolong tea to serve the guests and took the opportunity to introduce Jing Si products to the public.

To welcome the New Year’s first grand event, all volunteers in Segamat contributed their efforts. The three-month preparations included planning, manpower resourcing, promoting the dinner’s coupons, searching for event sponsors, venue setting, programme planning and others; everyone did whatever they could, contributing financially and physically.

Where there is love, there is no unattainable mission; where there is a will, there is no unachievable task. Kind-hearted guests from all walks of life and from all places were warmly welcomed; it was a warm and loving atmosphere.

Volunteers in Muar presented a sign language on song, “From Vow to Action” to inaugurate the feast. The rising momentum of the performing team interpreted the difficulty of turning vows into actions and the determination of fulfilling them. They called on all to contribute a piece of love and strength for the Jing Si Hall building project.

Major flood brought bodhisattvas together

A video clip was used to show the volunteers’ footprints and their presence in serving others. Then stories on charity cases were shared and sign language performances of songs, “Worlds of Thousands Hands” and “Love Illuminates the World”, were presented, sending Dharma messages through body movements, whilst Tzu Chi’s Four Major Missions were introduced to the public.

Another clip – Flashback of Tzu Chi Segamat – showed the massive flood a decade ago, and many still felt it deeply as if it was yesterday. The 2006 flood had inspired countless kind hearts; and Tzu Chi Segamat began to sprout from the original five to the current number.

The safe ones are the most fortunate. The original five volunteers – Chong Fee Sen, Tang Tong Peh, Chua Cho Koon, Chua Hoe Koong and Tan Chor Ken – were either old schoolmates, friends or spouses. Together, they witnessed and shared their stories about how they started with Tzu Chi.

After ten years, these volunteers paved and walked roads built on love, accumulating continuous waves of the energy of love. They encouraged locals to join them in the ranks of Great Love, using love as the basis in building a peaceful and friendly community.

Event coordinator, volunteer Tey Yee Pin, wished the locals would get to know Tzu Chi better through this get-together, and also to have a better understanding on how Tzu Chi volunteers promoted the missions locally. Volunteers also called out for all to support the Jing Si Hall building project.

He shared that he had received positive and encouraging feedbacks from the public that the programme was touching and that the sign language performances were not just regular performances but rather a way of spreading the Dharma. Some of them had just realized how much Tzu Chi has done for the society.

Inspire kindness, gather love

Entrepreneur Yap Kok Seng is kind and generous. He always does good deeds within his means. Last year, he donated towards Tzu Chi Muar’s vegetarian banquet; and at this event, he donated RM5,000 on behalf of his company, to become the sponsor of the “Great Love Wisdom Beam” that night.

Whether it was on local grounds or on Da Ai TV, he has seen how Tzu Chi worked in a disaster – being the first to arrive, the last to leave – irrespective of race or religion; and they helped them wholeheartedly and sincerely. He recalled the disastrous floods that hit Segamat at the end of 2006 and 2011, and was touched by the volunteers’ selflessness.

Love is the greatest medicine in purifying hearts. He lamented the deteriorating morality in today’s society where utilitarian prevails. He thought that Tzu Chi has contributed positively by assisting the underprivileged and promoting kindness, whilst at the same time, inspiring people to love, to do good deeds and to speak good words. A kindness-focused society that serves the public, and an equality-focused society that encourages peace are great missions. Thus, he intends to send his children to learn from Tzu Chi.

Kindness and filial piety enrich life

Two things should never wait: doing good deeds and being filial to our parents. Because entrepreneur Lee Kar Watt is confident of Tzu Chi, he vowed to support the Foundation with all he could. On behalf of his company, he donated RM50,000 to become the sponsor of “Great Love Field of Blessings” for the dinner. In addition, he helped his mother to become a Tzu Chi Honorary Board Member by donating TWD1,000,000 to do good deeds and cultivate her blessings.

That day, he turned up at the dinner with his mother, wife, children and some staff members. He watched the programme intently. From the clip, when he saw Grandma Zhen Jin going everywhere and doing all she could to get donations for the Jing Si Hall and calling on everyone to “work together like ants” despite her old age, he sighed, feeling that what he did was incomparable to those of the volunteers.

He said, “Tzu Chi does everything diligently, and pays attention to the slightest details.” He witnessed how volunteers bent and worked regardless of age to serve the guests and thought that this banquet was not the same as the others. Alongside with the harmonic atmosphere and friendly volunteers, he was deeply moved.

Kar Watt was also deeply impressed with the story about Gwee Poh, an ex-care recipient’s wife, on how she was recommended to seek help from Tzu Chi when her family faced financial difficulty due to her husband’s need for regular dialysis. After a home visit, volunteers offered dialysis support, cared for them and visited them every month. He pointed out that these volunteers are not only helping others but have also used their personal time to care for others. This has deepened his recognition for Tzu Chi.

In March 2016, there was a fire at the company. Workers’ hostel and part of the garage were burnt to ashes. Volunteers got there in time to offer supplies and care for them. When his sister, Lee You Ken, witnessed how the volunteers had arranged the clothing and relief materials for distribution, she was touched; she understood how complicated the procedure was. On this day, she turned up at the banquet and was so touched that no words could describe her feelings. She wished Tzu Chi volunteers would motivate the people in Jementah soon.

Do your best and do good

Nor Hasnani, a Malay, was invited to the event by volunteer, Gwee Soo Kian. She thought Tzu Chi was a group worth joining, praising that on top of being unaffected by race, religion and colour, Tzu Chi’s main objective was to assist those in need. Hasnani hoped that the future Jing Si Hall would nurture more volunteers to help more people, hence benefitting the society.

Kam Lay Mui travelled all the way from Klang to attend this event. To her, other than doing charitable deeds, it was also a gathering of old friends; and that is killing two birds with one stone, so why not? She frequently listened to Soo Kian’s sharing and messages, so she understood Tzu Chi rather well.

She said, “Only when you have experienced it yourself could you really understand Tzu Chi. Don’t listen to unjustified rumours and repeat them blindly.” She noted that Tzu Chi is an organization that focuses on character building, aiming to instil good character morally in the next generation. Because of this, she recognized Tzu Chi’s efforts and is willing to do whatever she could within her means.



The curtain call music began: We welcome all kind-hearted people to cultivate the field of blessings and co-create the world of Tzu Chi. Volunteers on stage gave a deep bow to all guests, despatching their immeasurable gratitude.

Following the song, “Love Illuminates the World”, volunteers stood in line to bid the guests goodbye, thanking each and everyone. With the conclusion of a successful banquet, the goal of building Muar Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall is a step closer.

 

On January 1, 2017, Tzu Chi Muar held a 104-table vegetarian banquet at Restaurant Tong Fook in Segamat, Johor. [Photograph by Lin Mei Fu]   The major flood in 2006 sprouted the seeds of love amongst the locals; and Tzu Chi has grown stronger in Segamat since then. From left: Chua Hoe Koong, Tang Tong Peh, Chong Fee Sen, Chua Cho Koon and Tan Chor Ken sharing their stories about how they started with Tzu Chi. [Photograph by Low Choon Hui]

On January 1, 2017, Tzu Chi Muar held a 104-table vegetarian banquet at Restaurant Tong Fook in Segamat, Johor. [Photograph by Lin Mei Fu]
 
The major flood in 2006 sprouted the seeds of love amongst the locals; and Tzu Chi has grown stronger in Segamat since then. From left: Chua Hoe Koong, Tang Tong Peh, Chong Fee Sen, Chua Cho Koon and Tan Chor Ken sharing their stories about how they started with Tzu Chi. [Photograph by Low Choon Hui]
 
A Jing Si stall where volunteers introduced Jing Si products to the public was set up outside the venue. [Photograph by Low Choon Hui]   The Jing Si Hall building committee showcasing the model of Muar Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall to the interested public. [Photograph by Low Choon Hui]

A Jing Si stall where volunteers introduced Jing Si products to the public was set up outside the venue. [Photograph by Low Choon Hui]
 
 
The Jing Si Hall building committee showcasing the model of Muar Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall to the interested public. [Photograph by Low Choon Hui]
 
Lee Kar Watt (3rd right) and family dressed up for the event, and contributed to the construction funds of Muar Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall. [Photograph by Lin Mei Fu]  

Lee Kar Watt (3rd right) and family dressed up for the event, and contributed to the construction funds of Muar Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall. [Photograph by Lin Mei Fu]