Saturday, Oct 21st

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 07 May 2017 00:00

Sending Love to Home

Written by  Siow Lee Kien, KL & Selangor / Translated by Woon Xiao Rui

With her parents’ guidance, Lim Mei Ching touched the water with her fingertips and completed her first Buddha bathing in the call for the “blessings of auspiciousness”. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]

Tzu Chi volunteers brought a Buddha statue and blessings to the Lim family. When Lim Mei Ching presented a bouquet of little flowers to her mother, the latter gave her a warm embrace with tears in her eyes. Volunteers also assisted Mei Ching as she offered tea to her parents. All three of them embraced one another, emotionally and joyfully.


On May 7, 2017, a group of 11 persons, comprising volunteers, and parents and children from the Parent-child Bonding Class (PCBC), gathered and sang the well-known classic, “The Moon Represents My Heart”, with the lyrics: “You asked how deep my love for you runs. My feeling is genuine and my love is sincere, as the moon could tell…”

Twenty-seven-year-old care recipient Lim Mei Ching, who has an angelic smile despite being bedridden for four years, softly hummed and clapped along to the rhythm of the song, which was one of her favourite. Her mother, Winnie Lee, stood beside her while holding her hand, drawing smiles back to her face, shining brighter than ever. The song seemed to reflect the love between the mother and daughter that no words could describe.

At one corner of the living room stood the Lucite Buddha statue and rosy orchids that the volunteers brought with them. The bright yet modest flowers bloomed like warm sunshine in the winter. Volunteers Teo Swee See and Yip Sau Chuen busily prepared the water and Bodhi leaves for the Buddha bathing ritual. The fragrance from the flowers in a small plate on the table permeated through the air.

Monthly visits from Tzu Chi volunteers have been the moments when Mei Ching’s laughter chimes the loudest. Back in April, volunteers had shown her the publicity video of the Buddha bathing ceremony. She was fascinated by the solemn visuals – the gleam in her eyes reflected her anticipation. The volunteers understood her mother’s concern hence they arranged a small-scale Buddha bathing ceremony for the family in advance.

Doused in Dharma joy

Mei Ching’s parents carried her onto her wheelchair, and a volunteer pushed her to the front of the Buddha statue. Her parents, two elder sisters and two nieces then joined her. Before the ritual, Swee See explained the steps and their meanings: “‘Bowing at the Buddha’s feet’ is to think of the Buddha with utmost reverence and to bow in respect; ‘receiving the fragrant flower’ is to touch the water with your fingers and fold your palms together piously. The fragrance of flowers represents the redolence of the Buddha’s virtue.”

Putting palms together, everyone sang “Praises of the Buddha” while walking slowly towards the Buddha bathing table. Gazing at the Lucite Buddha statue in front of her, Mei Ching touched the water with her fingertips, with help from her parents. After “receiving the fragrant flower”, her mother placed a small chrysanthemum in between her palms. She completed her first Buddha bathing in the call of the “blessings of auspiciousness”.

Each family member subsequently followed to bathe the Buddha with sincere piousness. The volunteers led the singing of the “Buddha Bathing Chant”, and dedicated the merits to the family.

Expressed gratitude to parents

Many have viewed it as the parents’ duty to nurture and take care of their children. At 73 years of age, a retired Lim Kwong On, father of Mei Ching, has to take care of her daily life, and chauffeur his visually-impaired second daughter, Amy Lim, around. All household matters, no matter how big or small, are handled by the father with no complaints. While the mother, at 63 years old, still works to support the family’s livelihood.

When Mei Ching presented a bouquet of little flowers to her mother, the latter gave her a warm embrace with tears in her eyes. Volunteers also assisted Mei Ching as she offered tea to her parents. All three of them embraced one another, emotionally and joyfully.

Amy offered tea to her mother respectfully with both hands and said, “Mum, thank you for your love throughout the years.” Then, she turned to her father and uttered, “Dad, thank you for being my driver, my ‘private pilot’.” Upon hearing these words, her father struggled to fight back tears in his eyes.

After drinking the cups of tea from his daughters and grandchildren, he could not stop himself from shedding tears. His wife exclaimed thankfully, “Such a celebration brings peace and happiness to my heart.”

Rich in the heart

Mei Ching was born with Down’s syndrome. In 2010, she underwent a spinal surgery that affected her respiratory tract. Thereon, she has to rely on an oxygen concentrator to breathe. In 2015, the apparatus malfunctioned and stopped working. After a trip to the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC), the hospital referred her case to Tzu Chi. Volunteers then visited her and after assessments, decided to subsidize the costs of purchasing a new oxygen concentrator for her.

Often during volunteers’ visit, the father would say, “I am sorry to have to obtain assistance from Tzu Chi.” Amy would also echoed, “We would not cause you trouble if we could manage our finance well.”

Volunteers also brought with them a “Project Hope” bamboo bank, for the construction of Tzu Chi International School KL. They briefed the family on the origin of Tzu Chi’s Bamboo Bank Era before Sau Chuen handed a few coins for Mei Ching to deposit into the bamboo bank. The jingling sound of the falling coins echoed the richness in Mei Ching’s heart.

“Mei Ching is now one of the contributors to the construction of Tzu Chi International School!” exclaimed the volunteers, putting a smile on everyone’s face. Volunteers then sang the song, “We Are Family” accompanied by hand gestures, bringing closer the heart of everyone present – the togetherness resembling that of a family.

 

 

Volunteers Teo Swee See (right) and Yip Sau Chuen played Lim Mei Ching’s favourite songs through a mobile phone. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]   The mother, Winnie Lee, held her daughter, Lim Mei Ching’s hand while singing “We Are Family” along with volunteers. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]

Volunteers Teo Swee See (right) and Yip Sau Chuen played Lim Mei Ching’s favourite songs through a mobile phone. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]
 
The mother, Winnie Lee, held her daughter, Lim Mei Ching’s hand while singing “We Are Family” along with volunteers. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]
 
Lim Mei Ching presented to her mother a bouquet of little flowers in gratitude of her love and care throughout the years. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]   Volunteer Teo Swee See assisted Lim Mei Ching as she offered tea to her father, Lim Kwong On. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]

Lim Mei Ching presented to her mother a bouquet of little flowers in gratitude of her love and care throughout the years. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]
 
 
Volunteer Teo Swee See assisted Lim Mei Ching as she offered tea to her father, Lim Kwong On. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]
 
Lim Mei Ching happily accepted the bamboo bank for the construction of Tzu Chi International School after learning about the origin of the Bamboo Bank Era. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]  

Lim Mei Ching happily accepted the bamboo bank for the construction of Tzu Chi International School after learning about the origin of the Bamboo Bank Era. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]