Wednesday, Dec 13th

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Tuesday, 06 June 2017 00:00

Mr ‘Yes’ Who Is Ever Ready to Shoulder Responsibilities

Written by  Julie Yen Yu Chu, Malacca / Translated by Goh Hwe Yong

Yong Teck Pey enjoyed volunteering in Tzu Chi’s missions, and Tzu Chi has been the focus of his life since he joined seven years ago. [Photograph by Ngow Judy]

He is dearly referred to as “Yes Man”, for he is always ready to help, no matter how busy he is; and the best thing is, he never fails in his missions. In a way, he is like Superman but unlike Superman, he is never in the limelight, and no applause accompanies him. He assumes any task given without complaints, and completes mission after mission quietly. The glow on his face never fades despite all that.


Fifty-year-old Yong Teck Pey is tall, with a tanned face that wears the smile of one who is simple and honest. He describes himself thus: “I may look ugly, but I am gentle; do not be deceived by my look. In actual fact, my heart is soft and gentle.”

Back in his younger days, he was hot-tempered indeed. After finishing his Form 3, he discontinued his studies and was engaged in his family’s wholesale bicycle business. He was involved in bicycle assembly, and often worked for 12 hours a day. The long hours and laborious task of the early years left their marks on him. The hard work made him short-tempered at the slightest displeasure. He would throw whatever he had in his hands, or argue with his co-workers. He was so harsh that even customers avoided him.

Watching TV was his only entertainment after a hard day’s work. But TV did not give him any peace of mind. He found himself not having much social connection, felt bored with his work and life, and envied others for what they had. He grew more and more upset and became hot- tempered.

His second elder brother, Yong Teck Chong, who is also a Tzu Chi volunteer, revealed that family members always let him be, and they cared for themselves quietly, lest a row were to stir up.

Enjoying spiritual cultivation amidst stillness and actions

In 2009, Teck Pey joined a Tzu Chi monthly recycling activity held near his house. One of the Tzu Chi volunteers at the recycling point, Tan Meow Hong, persistently invited him to join a training course to know more about Tzu Chi. He refused initially, but eventually accepted the sincere invitation. “No harm taking a look,” he told himself. What he did not know was that this acceptance would bring a change to his life.

He recounted happily his first experience with Tzu Chi: “I noticed each and every volunteer was busy with heavy tasks, and sweated much, yet they all seemed to enjoy what they did. I realized for the first time that to be of service could be such joy, and I appreciated the beautiful spirit of Tzu Chi as a team.”

He was moved, and he acted by becoming a volunteer. As a volunteer, he upholds the mentality of “I will serve wherever there is a need.”

With such positive mentality, he is often seen engaging in various tasks, from recycling, giving a hand in tough jobs, making charity home visits, taking part on stage to perform sign language presentation, to directing traffic under the blazing sun. He said, “I am basically unskilled. Work that requires fine skills are beyond my capability. Therefore, I just do whatever I can whenever I have the chance.”

Initially, he found that catering to his business and doing voluntary work at the same time proved too hard. He started to have doubts and worries, and even thought of backing out from Tzu Chi. As he recalled, he was thankful that Meow Hong had helped boost his moral all along, shed light on him using the Dharma, and gave him hope by teaching him the Buddhist principles of Right Mindfulness and Right Thought.

They became as close as sister and brother. Meow Hong also reminded him time and again that taking part in activities was not all. As a Tzu Chi volunteer, he should, at the same time, participate in the book club, and join volunteer training classes. The aim was to achieve a better understanding of theDharma, so as to persevere on the path of spiritual cultivation. Teck Pey took her advice seriously. Thus, since 2010, he has never been absent from the monthly training for volunteers on probation. To him, each training session provided him with new ideas. He was able to learn from other volunteers, be they better than him or not. Self-correction became possible, and he grew more confident on the Tzu Chi path.

Meow Hong appreciated deeply the positive transformation she saw in Teck Pey. She observed that he had turned away from being negative in outlook, and enjoyed so much as a volunteer. Obviously with his increasing knowledge of the Dharma, Teck Pey was able to put it into practice to resolve various daily situations.

At this point, Teck Pey responded to Meow Hong’s comment, saying that compilations of Master Cheng Yen’s teachings were readily available in his home, and that he always kept one near his bed. These served as his source of inspiration and reference for solving problems that came by.

Through his participation as a volunteer, Teck Pey started to embrace a more open outlook, and wisdom was garnered. If he had always admired others for their wealth, he has now learnt that spiritual fulfilment was much more satisfying than material wealth. His learnt much from observing how fellow volunteers carry themselves and the way they carried out voluntary tasks. He became more skilful in managing both human relations and voluntary tasks.

There were times when work in the shop was delayed because he put too much time in doing recycling work. Complaints from the employees were heard. Teck Pey took steps to rectify the situation by reallocating his schedule for business and volunteering. He shared his view: “What I witnessed in the world of Tzu Chi helps me to develop empathy for others. I am able to look at things from the standpoint of others; I don’t lose temper easily now.”

Hence, no matter how much voluntary task awaited him, he would make it a point to return to his workplace at 11 am daily, and did his best to reach production targets that he set for himself, even at the expense of breaks.

Mr ‘Yes’ never fails in his missions

His personality has changed for the better. He would proactively greet any customer who came to the shop. When a business deal was reached, he would delegate related work to his team members. His workplace, unlike before, is often filled with laughter, with him talking happily about his involvement in Tzu Chi. He said openly that by involving himself in Tzu Chi’s charity work, he had learnt the necessary skills in managing work and human relations, and realized the importance of teamwork.

Loo Mei Fong, who always co-partner with Teck Pey in making charity home visits, admired him for his zealous co-operation in all ways, and he was always humble and never complained. Other volunteers, who had worked with Teck Pey, also gave him a thumbs-up. They commented: “There may be endless chores, and he may be dead tired, yet he is all accommodating”, “As long as it is a voluntary task assigned to him, he would ensure he gets it done regardless of the hours”, “He is so much into recycling that he always happily sends a full load of recyclables before he goes to work in his business”, “He is a ‘Yes’ man, who never says no to any voluntary task!”

As a brother to Teck Pey, Teck Chong said fondly of him that family members have grown used to his deep involvement in Tzu Chi’s charity work. His making use of the time before attending to the family business, or leaving work earlier to take up voluntary tasks is never a big issue to the family members. In fact, they are all supportive. The only worry for him is that Teck Pey might physically tax himself to the point of exhaustion.

Teck Chong felt happy to see his brother mingle so well among the Tzu Chi volunteers, treating one another as brothers and sisters. He could feel that he is full of joy doing what he is doing single-mindedly. He expressed that he admired him for his high spirit.

At times, Teck Pey returned home only at midnight, after a voluntary activity. When this happened time after time, his wife, Tan Bee Yow, who had yet to join him as a volunteer then, was displeased. She was worried because her husband had a previous medical emergency of cerebral vascular haemorrhage when they were newly-wed. For this reason, she would nag a bit about his late hours. Teck Pey would just keep quiet at such moments.

For the sake of peace in the family, Teck Pey decided that it was only good that his wife knew what he was doing, and how his life was transformed by his involvement as a Tzu Chi volunteer. It would be better if she could join him to really share his joy. So, he started to tell her the good and beauty about Tzu Chi as an organization. As reading books was not her habit, he even read the Tzu Chi Monthly Journal to her. Incidentally, he found deeper meaning in what he read to her.

As time went by, Bee Yow realized that her husband’s life was actually revolved around Tzu Chi’s missions. His involvement gave him a purpose in life; and he practised the teachings of Master Cheng Yen, which proved to bring colours and joy in his life. Thus, Bee Yow dispelled her worries, wished him well, and she joined him as a volunteer later. She said thus, “Having learnt from Master, things changed.There is now less arguments at home, and family relationship has become more harmonious.”

She said sweetly about her husband: “Deep down he is gentle. Although he is huge and rough from outside, he actually likes the gentle movements of the Tzu Chi sign language!” However, whenever he needs to, he would always choose the tough task that required physical strength. He said he did so because normally there was a shortage of manpower for such tasks. He did not mind at all as long as every volunteer had responsibility to shoulder, and every task was being shouldered by someone. He is happy to assume any position to make any related event a success.

It has been seven long years since he volunteered. All these years, Tzu Chi has become the centre of his life. His wife shared that he could not live without Tzu Chi, and he felt true happiness.

Now that his temper is cool and calm, he appears much gentler as a person. His family relationship has grown fonder. In 2013, the couple went over to Taiwan to be certified by the Master to become the first generation of Jing Si disciples.

 

 

Yong Teck Pey is seen here performing the sign language presentation. His gentle movements are a contrast to his huge stature. [Photograph by Hong Geok Hui]   Yong Teck Pey made use of his time before or after work to attend to matters related to care recipients. He is seen here with Loo Mei Fong (1st right), taking two care recipients to a government office to settle some matters. [Photograph by Julie Yen Yu Chu]

Yong Teck Pey is seen here performing the sign language presentation. His gentle movements are a contrast to his huge stature. [Photograph by Hong Geok Hui]
 
Yong Teck Pey made use of his time before or after work to attend to matters related to care recipients. He is seen here with Loo Mei Fong (1st right), taking two care recipients to a government office to settle some matters. [Photograph by Julie Yen Yu Chu]
 
Where he is needed, Yong Teck Pey would always give his best to help. He never refuses any tasks assigned to him. [Photograph by Lee Kin Chee]   Under the influence of volunteer Tan Meow Hong (2nd left), Yong Teck Pey joined Tzu Chi as a volunteer, followed by his wife, Tan Bee Yeow (centre). [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]

Where he is needed, Yong Teck Pey would always give his best to help. He never refuses any tasks assigned to him. [Photograph by Lee Kin Chee]
 
 
Under the influence of volunteer Tan Meow Hong (2nd left), Yong Teck Pey joined Tzu Chi as a volunteer, followed by his wife, Tan Bee Yeow (centre). [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
After volunteering with Tzu Chi, Yong Teck Pey acquired a broader view in life, opened up his heart that had been locked for long, and learnt to be grateful and contented with all around him. His personality has also become more and more accommodating. [Photograph by Chin Fook Chuen]   After middle school, Yong Teck Pey started work in the family business, concerning himself mainly in assembling bicycles. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]

After volunteering with Tzu Chi, Yong Teck Pey acquired a broader view in life, opened up his heart that had been locked for long, and learnt to be grateful and contented with all around him. His personality has also become more and more accommodating. [Photograph by Chin Fook Chuen]
 
 
After middle school, Yong Teck Pey started work in the family business, concerning himself mainly in assembling bicycles. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]
 
The compilations of Master Cheng Yen’s teachings serve as the source of inspiration for Yong Teck Pey in times of difficulty. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]  

The compilations of Master Cheng Yen’s teachings serve as the source of inspiration for Yong Teck Pey in times of difficulty. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]