Saturday, Nov 17th

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Thursday, 15 March 2018 00:00

Thank You for Being There

Written by  Low Siew Lian, Malacca / Translated by Ong Mooi Lin

Chin Chee Shong attended the Year-end Blessing Ceremony held on December 31, 2017, with assistance from volunteers. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]

Chin Chee Shong, a recycling volunteer in Malacca, met with a road accident. When he was discharged from the hospital, Tzu Chi volunteers brought him home, and thereafter, carried him up and down the stairs from his home on the first floor of a flat and send him to the hospital for follow-up visits, until his wounds healed. Such attentive and loving care touched his daughter so much that she produced a video footage about this to share on the Internet.


It was near the roundabout along the busy main road in Malim Jaya, Malacca, where the 72-year-old recycling volunteer, Chin Chee Shong, met with a hit and run accident by a motorcyclist.

In the evening of November 4, 2017, Chee Shong, despite his family’s advice, insisted on going to the sundry shop across the street to buy something. When he was about to cross the main road, a motorcycle sped from the roundabout and knocked him unconscious. Even though some kind-hearted passers-by tended to him at the scene, he only managed to regain consciousness at the hospital.

His wife, Ngow Moh Noy, who had been waiting anxiously for his return, received a call from the general hospital, informing her that her husband was involved in an accident and was suffering from a fractured leg which required immediate surgery. On hearing this, both she and her eldest daughter, Cheng Wah, immediately rushed to the hospital.

Discharged finally

Tzu Chi learnt about this incident four days later when Moh Noy approached her husband’s good friend Tong Yong Soo, a volunteer, about borrowing a wheelchair and walking aid. Arrangements were quickly done and the news got to the ears of volunteer Ng Kim Pohg, who had been concerned about Chee Shong, as it was untypical of him to be absent from the Tzu Chi recycling-cum-educational centre.

When he and fellow volunteer Tan Kwan Fok visited Chee Shong at the hospital, they found him sleeping soundly with his left calf bandaged and supported by an external fixture.

For Chee Shong, the stay at the hospital was an eye opener. While his experience was torturous, he felt blessed when he realized that there were other patients in the same ward suffering from even more severe injuries compared to his and were constantly moaning with pain throughout the nights

The volunteers were constant companions and he was particularly pleased and grateful when Kim Pohg and volunteer Tay Heng Hee were present on the day he was discharged as both his wife and daughter happened to be unavailable.

Encountering difficulties

They assisted him in the discharging procedures, paid the deposit for the external fixture for his leg and brought him home. Upon reaching his flat, they realized that more manpower was needed to overcome the difficulty of getting him up through the narrow staircase and corridor to his first floor apartment.

Poh Kee Sen and Yong Soo, who were fellow volunteers living nearby, were enlisted for the task. Heng Hee recalled that it was tough and taxing as they had to coordinate their movements carefully as any missteps would have disastrous consequences.

Moh Noy and Cheng Wah were both grateful and concerned at the same time as they realized the immense task of getting Chee Shong up and down the stairs for subsequent visits to the hospital under his current condition. Before Cheng Wah could voice their concern out, Kim Pohg told them that he had already worked out a logistical plan to address this. Imagine their relief!

“Only his wife and a working eldest daughter were here, while his youngest daughter was outstation. Out-patient treatment at the hospital were needed on a regular basis and his family would face problems carrying him up and down the stairs and transporting him to the hospital. Therefore, I approached Heng Hee and some others for help. Volunteer Tan Chin Seng, whose working hours were flexible, agreed readily to send Chee Shong to the hospital before going to work. I would then fetch Chee Shong from the hospital after his treatment, and get people in the shops nearby to help carrying him up to his home.”

Glad to have you

Initially, the family members were reluctant to unduly trouble the volunteers, and they had only requested volunteers’ assistance once every few days. As they did not have proper wound nursing knowledge, Chee Shong’s wound quickly became inflamed with pustules. Only then, did they realize that professional hospital dressing care was needed daily. Hence, volunteers began to arrive at their doorstep every day at 7 am, came rain or shine. A month later, when his wound was healing well, the routine was reduced gradually to once every two days to eventually once a month now.

Cheng Wah was quietly grateful for the volunteers’ assistance, but unlike her mother, she was too shy to express it verbally. Deep in her heart, she knew that she would have been truly helpless without Tzu Chi. In order to satisfy her desire to show her gratitude, she decided to show it on the social media by producing a 1-minute clip of the volunteers lifting her father up and down the stairs with the attached words:

“Since my father met with the accident, it was Tzu Chi volunteers who helped to send him for follow-up hospital visits. From going to the hospital daily, to alternate days, and finally twice weekly. We relied on them to lift my father up and down the flight of stairs, and not to forget, the assistance from our neighbours. We are really grateful for everyone’s help. My father’s wound has almost fully healed. Thank you.”

Although Cheng Wah later told the volunteers that she could manage it herself, out of concern, volunteers would still go to her house when it was time for her father’s follow-up visit, and would only leave when they were certain that there were sufficient help.

Spiritual rehabilitation

As Chee Shong’s spirit was low during recuperation at home, volunteers extended their care and love tirelessly during this period. Apart from bringing him for Tzu Chi’s activities, Yong Soo would also visit him every Sunday and bring him Tzu Chi’s monthly journals. Volunteer Goh Kwee Wah, who is in charge of the recycling-cum-educational centre, would also visit Chee Shong regularly to help boost his spirit.

In the evening of March 15, 2018, Kim Pohg and wife, Voon Kuwi Moi, together with Heng Hee, paid Chee Shong another visit. He was recovering well and had begun doing some simple physiotherapy exercises as instructed by the doctor. Volunteers encouraged him to use crutches instead of a walker and led him to walk slowly.

While chatting with his family members, volunteers learnt that he had fallen in the bathroom the night before, due to his refusal to heed his family’s advice. Fortunately, he was not injured. Knowing that Chee Shong was going through a period of mental strain and anxiety being cooped up at home, which affected the mood around his close family, they tried mollifying him with an advice, “Life is precious and you are lucky this time. There are many people who care for you. Have you any idea who you should thank, for your quick recovery?”

Chee Shong replied, “This was an accident. I am treating this as a chance to repay my karmic debts. It reminded me to do good deeds and create good affinities with others.” Kim Pohg seized the opportunity to give him a question on how to create good affinities with others, to which he responded promptly, “Get rid of all my bad habits, seize the opportunities to contribute, and love all sentient beings.” Hearing that, his wife asked doubtfully, “Are you serious?” and everyone broke out laughing.

Kim Pohg pointed to him that the volunteers’ contribution was small compared to his wife’s constant and dedicated care, which he should be grateful for. They subsequently led the wife to sit beside him, got him to hold hands and apologize to her sincerely. Although Chee Shong did exactly as requested, he did not make any eye contact with his wife. Nonetheless, such a momentous gesture which Chee Shong has never displayed before, convinced Moh Noy that he was willing to make a change.

Volunteers gently reminded him to cherish the affinity with his wife and daughter, who had been taking good care of him. They also reminded him to practise “gratitude, respect and love”, and to foster good relationships with his family before extending it to others.

Chee Shong was thankful for his participation in Tzu Chi’s recycling activities, through which he met many people. He appreciated the volunteers’ help, but at the same time, felt sorry to have troubled them. He promised to return to his role as the leader of the Glass section at the recycling centre upon recovery to relieve Kwan Fok, who is in charge of the Plastics section and has been doubling up for him.

Chee Shong has been dearly missed by volunteers at the recycling centre. With their care and well wishes, the volunteers believe that Chee Shong will be back with them soon.

 

 

Chin Chee Shong is in charge of the Glass section at the Tzu Chi Ayer Keroh Recycling-cum-Educational Centre. Volunteer Goh Kwee Wah (right) visited him to extend her care and encouragement after the accident. [Photograph by Ng Woan Chi]   At one point, volunteers carried Chin Chee Shong through the narrow corridor and flight of stairs daily, for follow-up visit at the hospital. [Photograph by Loo Chia Chia]

Chin Chee Shong is in charge of the Glass section at the Tzu Chi Ayer Keroh Recycling-cum-Educational Centre. Volunteer Goh Kwee Wah (right) visited him to extend her care and encouragement after the accident. [Photograph by Ng Woan Chi]
 
At one point, volunteers carried Chin Chee Shong through the narrow corridor and flight of stairs daily, for follow-up visit at the hospital. [Photograph by Loo Chia Chia]
 
Volunteers helped Chin Chee Shong to learn to walk with crutches instead of a walker. [Photograph by Low Siew Lian]   Chin Chee Shong held his wife’s hands and apologized to her. [Photograph by Low Siew Lian]

Volunteers helped Chin Chee Shong to learn to walk with crutches instead of a walker. [Photograph by Low Siew Lian]
 
 
Chin Chee Shong held his wife’s hands and apologized to her. [Photograph by Low Siew Lian]