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Friday, 07 June 2013 00:00

Sister, We Love You Dearly

Written by  By Yong Siew Lee, Melaka / Translated by Hew Kwee Heong

Kota Kinabalu's volunteers, Connie Cheong (right) and Lim Sat Chu (left) visiting Sister Ah Lan.【Photograph by Yong Siew Lee】

Senior Tzu Chi volunteer, Wong Ah Lan was very ill for the past one month. Fellow volunteers took turns to take care of her in appreciation of her 20 years of dedication in Tzu Chi's missions. Our beloved Sister Ah Lan passed on peacefully on June 7, 2013, with abundant blessings from friends and relatives.


Wong Ah Lan joined Tzu Chi in 1993 and was certified as a Tzu Chi Commissioner in 1995. Two years later, when she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, she panicked and felt very lost. With encouragement from Master Cheng Yen and fellow volunteers, she calmed down and accepted intensive treatments. After regaining good health, she became very involved in the Charity Mission; and at 50, became a fulltime staff of Tzu Chi in charge of Charity Mission.

In 2009, she had a relapse; but this time round, she accepted her sickness calmly and thankfully. To her, she had "gained" 12 fulfilling years. With a sense of urgency, Ah Lan never stopped doing her Tzu Chi work while undergoing treatment.

5-star service from volunteers

Last month, Ah Lan became very sick and could no longer take care of herself. Being single, she decided to move in and stay with her sister, Wong Boi Moi, whose children are not staying with her. Tzu Chi staff and volunteers then took turns to help her with the daily caring work, hoping to lessen Sister Ah Lan's discomfort.

Lim Buay Eng, a staff at Melaka's Jing-Si Books & Cafe, got acquainted with Sister Ah Lan after the former joined Tzu Chi in 2000. Her children, who were former Tzu Chi Teenagers and Collegiate Youth members, are also very close to Sister Ah Lan. As such, the whole family decided to take turns to care for her.

Seventy-five year old Ng Saw Hua, who had just returned from an overseas trip two weeks earlier, immediately took up the responsibility of caring for her Tzu Chi sister, whom she has known for 20 years. Ah Lan was very satisfied with the care given by Saw Hua as the latter has experience in palliative care.

Sister Ah Lan was very thankful to all the volunteers who had cared for her and praised that the service could be rated 5-star.

Sister Ah Lan had made many good friends throughout her 20-year involvement in Tzu Chi. Friends and relatives also came from everywhere to visit and give encouragement to her.

Life's education

Tzu Chi staff and volunteer, Hong Lee Sear said, "I regretted not paying much attention to Brother Tan Peng Hong (who passed away due to cancer in January 2012). This time, I don't want any regrets." Lee Sear took upon herself to take charge of the scheduling of volunteers taking care of Ah Lan.

Lee Sear found that Ah Lan had only physical suffering because she had Master Cheng Yen as her mentor. Her own mother, however, suffers physically and mentally since being diagnosed with cancer last year.

Another Tzu Chi staff and volunteer, Yong Siew Lee concurred with Lee Sear's opinion as her own mother also suffers from cancer. In the past two years, she has been travelling back and forth from Melaka to her hometown in Sarawak to care for her mother. She said, "I am taking this opportunity to attend to 'Shigu' (address used by young volunteers to senior female volunteers) as a training for me. I will be more experienced in helping my mother and other people in need in future. Thank you Shigu for teaching me how to help people with sickness."

Lee Sear and Siew Lee encouraged each other to emulate Ah Lan's spirit in serving the suffering. Lee Sear said, "In her, I realized that no other suffering can surpass the suffering of being sick. We just can't imagine the pain she suffered in carrying out Tzu Chi's work while being so sick. Many may forget this quickly, but we must remember it for life."



Wong Ah Lan had served selflessly and without expecting anything in return for the past 20 years. During her final stage of life, she had received so much love and care. She said, "I am so blessed. In life, it is most important to have done meaningful things; and because they are everlasting, they are history. Looking back on my life, I have no regrets."

 

Volunteers taking turns to care for Sister Ah Lan.【Photograph by Yong Siew Lee】   Even though suffering from unspeakable pain, Sister Ah Lan could still smile.【Photograph by Yong Siew Lee】

Volunteers taking turns to care for Sister Ah Lan.【Photograph by Yong Siew Lee】
 
Even though suffering from unspeakable pain, Sister Ah Lan could still smile.【Photograph by Yong Siew Lee】
 
Despite her busy schedules, Sister Echo Chien, CEO of Tzu Chi Kuala Lumpur & Selangor paid a visit on Sister Ah Lan.【Photograph by Yong Siew Lee】   Through giving care to Sister Ah Lan, Hong Lee Sear (in orange shirt) has learnt a life's lesson that she must be more diligent in forming good affinities with others.【Photograph by Yong Siew Lee】

Despite her busy schedules, Sister Echo Chien, CEO of Tzu Chi Kuala Lumpur & Selangor paid a visit on Sister Ah Lan.【Photograph by Yong Siew Lee】
 
 
Through giving care to Sister Ah Lan, Hong Lee Sear (in orange shirt) has learnt a life's lesson that she must be more diligent in forming good affinities with others.【Photograph by Yong Siew Lee】

 

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