Friday, Feb 23rd

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Saturday, 30 December 2017 00:00

Sharing My Journey and Joy with You

Written by  Tan Kim Hion, KL & Selangor / Translated by Wong Mun Heng

Pang Woo Kiong and wife treasure Master’s red envelopes very much. They could both feel the Master’s love and blessings in the red envelopes. [Photograph by Ng Min Hui]

Every year, Tzu Chi volunteer Pang Woo Kiong and wife, Cheng Tim Yang, would look forward to the Year-end Blessing Ceremony. It is not just the time for them together with fellow Tzu Chi volunteers to reflect on the past year’s happenings and future undertakings, but also the moment to receive red envelopes from Master Cheng Yen. To both of them, the red envelopes come with blessings and love.


“This is the sixth red envelope from Master,” said Pang Woo Kiong, who was beaming with joy holding the red envelopes he received over the years. He kept telling others that those were family treasures from the Master, which he wished to keep for his descendants.

Woo Kiong and wife had never failed to attend the Year-end Blessing Ceremony for six consecutive years. However, the Ceremony held at the KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall on December 30, 2017, was especially significant to them as Woo Kiong, who had just recovered from a stroke and needed to walk with crutches, realized that life is precious. Thanks to the support and love given by fellow volunteers, the couple managed to overcome the obstacles and are now prepared to face the challenges in the coming year.

Sixty-year-old Woo Kiong and wife are a loving couple blessed with a son. For years, the family of three had led a decent and happy life. Three years ago, Woo Kiong withdrew his Employee Provident Fund (EPF) to send his son to Tzu Chi University in Taiwan to study radiology. The couple discussed that after the son completes his studies, their burden will be relieved and they could both then lead their choice of life thereafter.

“I want to do Tzu Chi’s work, including recycling!” said Woo Kiong. He recalled how he had spent the first half of his life working hard to support the family, with little regards to pursuing his own dreams. It was only after joining Tzu Chi that he found a place of his own.

In 2012, at the market near his house, he and his wife met a volunteer, who was then promoting environmental protection, and they were invited to partake in recycling activity. That was how they later joined as volunteers. In January 2013, both of them attended the Year-end Blessing Ceremony and received the red envelope from the Master for the first time. They could feel the Master’s blessings that came with the red envelopes. It was their first time joining a big crowd of volunteers and they felt very much at home. Since then, they have never failed to attend the yearly event.

Due to their high regard of Tzu Chi, Woo Kiong and wife subsequently became active in Tzu Chi’s activities. Woo Kiong, who would never skip Recycling Day, also took on duties in the logistic team, traffic team, and others. Both of them also planned to commit more of their time in Tzu Chi after their son’s graduation.

Unfortunately, impermanence came when Woo Kiong had a stroke half a year ago. He exhausted his EPF money and there was little savings left. To compound matters, his wife had to stop her sewing jobs at home because of the need to shuttle her husband to hospital. They found themselves in a dilemma.

Woo Kiong was glad to have met Tzu Chi and for the aid rendered in times of need. His son achieved excellent academic results and managed to secure a scholarship from Tzu Chi University, where he was exempted from tuition fees and full board and lodging expenses. Together with the financial assistance from Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, all of Woo Kiong’s concerns were overcome and he could focus and work hard on his rehabilitation; and Tim Yang could take care of her husband without distractions.

Three months later, he was back home for recuperation and volunteers from his community, together with staff of Tzu Chi, visited him to provide moral support and care. He was particularly moved when Echo Chien, CEO of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor visited him. Her kind words: “Strive hard for the better, do not stop just because you had a stroke. Don’t look back. There is no point looking back,” touched his heart and gave him a lot of confidence.

In recalling the time when Woo Kiong was struck by the stroke, bedridden, could hardly talk and his memory had deteriorated, Tim Yang said, “Without Tzu Chi, we can’t possibly cross the hurdle.” She related that she was so worried about her husband’s condition and felt helpless about how to take care of him that her weight plummeted to 43 kg.

One day, while reading Tzu Chi’s monthly magazine, Tim Yang came across an article describing how a stroke patient, with the support of Tzu Chi volunteers, worked hard on rehabilitation and with a never-give-up attitude, the patient managed to recover. Like a ray of light in darkness, the article brought a ray of hope to the much anxious Tim Yang. She immediately put aside all her worries and adopted a positive attitude when interacting with Woo Kiong. She frequently said to her husband: “You must get well. There is a lot more for us to do in Tzu Chi. You said before that you want to walk this Tzu Chi path diligently, and you want to do recycling.”

Tough road to recovery

Probably because these words had etched in Woo Kiong’s mind, or probably because of the visits and words of encouragement by fellow volunteers, he gradually regained his memories, his limbs started to move a bit and his speech ability was improving. Although the recovery was slow and tough, Tim Yang was relieved.

She shared, “The doctor advised me to teach him nursery rhymes, write simple alphabets and numbers, and train him on speech; all starting from the basics. It was tough going. But in order to help him recover his memory, I even taught him to write the names of fellow volunteers and asked him to recognize their faces.”

Tim Yang was grateful that the volunteers have been keeping her company all this while. She shared that when Woo Kiong was first discharged from hospital, and knowing that she would not be able to carry Woo Kiong, volunteer Tan Choon Beng would go to their home on alternate days to carry Woo Kiong to the bathroom and help bathe him. When he saw the sad face of Tim Yang, he consoled her and said, “I will definitely help Brother Woo Kiong to stand up again.”

Besides Choon Beng, the community volunteers would also take turns to drive Woo Kiong for acupuncture treatment, physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Thanks to the volunteers’ concerted efforts, within two months, Woo Kiong experienced marked improvement. He regained his memory fully, was able to stand, walk with crutches and copy sutra verses by hand.

Actually, volunteers encouraged him to copy the sutra verses with the intention of helping him to calm his mind and at the same time, write more often. That was how he started to copy the Sutra of Innumerable Meanings and the Sutra of the Medicine Buddha. Woo Kiong discovered that by copying the sutras, he has learnt more about the Dharma and his mind is peaceful. Most of all, he realized that the past is past, the future is too distant and seizing the present moment is the most practical thing to do. Having copied five rounds of the Sutra of Innumerable Meanings and six rounds of the Sutra of the Medicine Buddha, Woo Kiong could feel the Dharma joy and has been copying the sutras everyday persistently.

Woo Kiong understood that he could not possibly go back to the good old days and should face the future with a positive outlook. Therefore, he would walk with crutches to the recycling centre with his wife to contribute. Despite not being as agile as before, he always felt happy just helping to sort out the stacks of papers and listening to volunteers’ sharing about their lives. The positive mood helped speed up his recovery.

Love is invisible and intangible, yet it can heal the pain and bring positive energy, courage and hope to many. Woo Kiong and wife hoped that they too can contribute in spreading love around.

 

 

It was Pang Woo Kiong’s sixth attendance at the Year-end Blessing Ceremony. Holding the red envelopes, he kept telling others that they were family treasures from the Master, which he wished to keep for his descendants. [Photograph by Yong Mun Fei]   Accompanied by his wife, Cheng Tim Yang (right), Pang Woo Kiong (left) contributed at the recycling centre weekly. [Photograph by Yong Mun Fei]

It was Pang Woo Kiong’s sixth attendance at the Year-end Blessing Ceremony. Holding the red envelopes, he kept telling others that they were family treasures from the Master, which he wished to keep for his descendants. [Photograph by Yong Mun Fei]
 
Accompanied by his wife, Cheng Tim Yang (right), Pang Woo Kiong (left) contributed at the recycling centre weekly. [Photograph by Yong Mun Fei]
 
Volunteers Tan Choon Beng and Pang Woo Kiong used to do recycling at the same recycling centre. After Woo Kiong had a stroke, Choon Beng offered him encouragement and support, until he could stand up and walk again. [Photograph by Yong Mun Fei]   Pang Woo Kiong discovered that by copying the sutras, he got to learn more on the Dharma and have a peaceful mind. [Photograph by Yong Mun Fei]

Volunteers Tan Choon Beng and Pang Woo Kiong used to do recycling at the same recycling centre. After Woo Kiong had a stroke, Choon Beng offered him encouragement and support, until he could stand up and walk again. [Photograph by Yong Mun Fei]
 
 
Pang Woo Kiong discovered that by copying the sutras, he got to learn more on the Dharma and have a peaceful mind. [Photograph by Yong Mun Fei]