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Sunday, 18 May 2014 00:00

e-Generation Care-for-Environment Youth Camp

Written by  BY TZU CHI KL & SELANGOR DOCUMENTING TEAM / TRANSLATED BY JACQUELINE KHOO

A volunteer guiding the participants in trash segregation during the 3D2N e-Generation Care-for-Environment Youth Camp. [Photograph by Ong Siew Geok]

Tzu Chi Collegiate Youths (Tzu Chings) worldwide made a promise to join force on May 18, 2014 and engage in environmental protection related activities – unleashing the power of youths to propagate the importance of environmental protection to the world, encouraging everyone to walk amongst the community, to serve mankind, and ushering many to join the ranks of an environmentalist.


Tzu Chi KL & Selangor Tzu Chings, along with 313 Tzu Chi volunteers, organized an “e-Generation Care-for-Environment Youth Camp” from May 16 to 18, 2014. Other than wakening participants to the effects of climate change, the 3D2N camp served for the youngsters to be proactive and planting the seeds of goodness in their hearts.

In the 2013 Global Tzu Ching Day, Tzu Chings from over 14 countries gathered at Hualien Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall, Taiwan and made a promise to actively use their fingers that “Like” on Facebook, to do environmental-related activities, advocating zero-littering on May 18, 2014. Tzu Chings worldwide organized activities; from beach cleaning and path sweeping, to sorting recyclables; effortlessly encouraging youths to love the Earth through actions.

KL & Selangor Tzu Chings also contributed by bringing along peers to chip in their efforts. Through various methods, about 537 youths from 82 universities and colleges around Malaysia embraced the beauty of nature, and poured in their youthful energy. The camp also served to introduce the Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth Association to the undergraduates, guiding on giving of themselves for the well-being of others and own self.

Other than awareness on environmental-related issues, arranged activities included sharing sessions, inspirational games, video screenings, and sign language performances. One of the highlights on May 18 included an outdoor recycling relay alongside with Tzu Chings of other countries, namely Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, United States, Australia and South Africa. The idea is to create a butterfly effect from this event “518 It’s a Date”, to exhibit youths’ great love for Mother Earth.

Practising environmental protection concepts in daily life

After breakfast on May 18, 2014, 12 big groups of campers at KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall watched video recordings produced by Tzu Chings worldwide in support of the event “518 It’s a Date”. Each group then used both recyclable and non-recyclable items to create posters for an awareness campaign on the streets.

All participants read aloud the declaration of the “Earth Protectors”, before being ferried to various Tzu Chi recycling centres around Klang Valley. Upon arrival, they were divided into two groups; one stayed at the centres for trash segregation whilst the other went to the nearby markets and shops to publicize the importance of recycling.

“Earth Protectors” leading by example

At the Jinjang recycling centre, participants were busy sorting papers and carefully dismantling electronic items, and so was Tang Tee Hwai. It was his first time doing recycling work. He discovered that segregating trash was no simple task. Previously he used to reject his mother’s call for him to join the neighbourhood recycling activities. He would now unselfishly share these valuable experiences with peers, and invite them to recycling activities.

This was not the first try for Wong Zhenpo, an accounting student of Tunku Abdul Rahman University (UTAR). Zhenpo finds environmental protection concept simple. Other than segregating recyclable items, more importantly is to practise environmental protection in daily life – he uses water and electricity wisely, and uses public transportations for classes and work. He believes in practising it habitually before influencing others.

Sutan Nair Muniandy, an Indian participant from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT) sweated profusely while crushing the aluminium and metal cans. His first visit to a recycling centre, he commented that the Petaling Jaya Old Town recycling centre was surprisingly clean and organized. It changed his perception of recycling centres being dirty.

Normally, Sutan would sort out recyclables in support of his university’s environmentalist club, but he has found joy in in the true process of segregating recyclable items. Sutan vowed to incorporate environmental protection concepts in his daily life.

Upon knowing about this camp, Lau Geok Wee from Sarawak, immediately booked her flight tickets. Although she has classes and examinations the following day after the camp, still she chose to utilize her weekend in joining hands with Tzu Chings worldwide. Instead of giving up when rejected while promoting recycling to the public, she felt more passionate about it. She shared that when faced with rejection, we should put ourselves in other person’s shoes and contemplate to find ways of persuading others.

Scientific evidences on vegetarianism in saving lives

“Vegetarianism is the fastest and most effective way to battle global warming.”

Dr. Eddie Chan, a Tzu Chi KL & Selangor TIMA member, used scientific perspective to explain how vegetarianism could save lives and the Earth. He pointed that industrial sewage contains very high level of heavy metal and chemicals, contaminating waters, marine life and threatening our health. Humans that consume such marine food will face difficulty in removing the contaminant from the body. Over time, many diseases will arise. Dr. Eddie also compared that carbon dioxide released by livestock are much more than all private cars in the world. To produce 1 kilogram of beef, 100,000 litres of water and 16 kilograms of grains are required. Undoubtedly, meat-based diet causes a heavy burden on our Earth.

Participant Goh Vi Vian vowed to be a vegetarian for at least once a week. With scientific proofs and data, she agreed that vegetarianism is a way of eating, not just confined to religious practices as thought previously. Dr. Eddie added, “If you love your family, you should invite them to stop eating meat as well,” this convinced Vi Vian to introduce vegetarianism to her family.

A letter to say “I love you”

“In our parents’ eyes, we are forever their little ones, whenever we need them, they will be there for us. Do you all remember your parents’ age? What their shoe sizes are? What is their favourite delicacy? Or do they also enjoy the food that we love?”

Tzu Chi volunteer Chong Siew Fah was invited to speak on the topic “Voice of the Heart”. She encouraged participants to boldly express their love for their parents.

Acts of filial piety cannot wait

A human life does not come easily. Siew Fah guided the participants into how a child is formed, with verses from the Filial Piety Sutra to depict the greatness of parental kindness. Thus, a child has to utilize his or her body given by the parents wisely, as doing good deeds and practising filial piety to pay back all kindness should not wait.

“Traditional Chinese families are usually conservative and shy to express love verbally.” She shared her own experience and encouraged everybody to translate their deep feelings of utmost love and gratitude for their parents into words. A letter writing session was introduced, and the letters were posted by volunteers on campers’ behalf.

Neo Shi Hao from UCSI University expressed that letter writing may seem old fashioned, yet it can deliver emotions. The already emotional camper shared on his grandmother with dementia. All these times, he felt annoyed when she repeated what she had said, and displayed an unpleasant facial expression; but back then when he was young, he would coax her into buying him sweets. He could not wait to call home and chat with his family members right after the camp. Eager is he to find out their feelings towards the letter.

Repenting from the heart

“I wished I was not so disrespectful and hurt my mother’s feelings!” Ong Moon Lim from UTAR Setapak campus, sobbed. She was in Form 6, when she had a cold war with her mother that lasted almost a month. She confessed that she was really rebellious, and broke out a big argument with her mother after being nagged at.

Still being resentful the day after, she refused to communicate even though her mother spoke to her in a calming tone. In the camp, she repented for being unfilial. She heartily wrote the letter while weeping, including the three hard-to-deliver words – “I love you”.

Lee Wei Cheng from UTAR Kampar campus stated that he was a rebellious child and always uses his angry tone of voice on his parents. Siew Fah’s sharing made him wept and repented over his ignorance. He understood impermanence and that doing good deeds and filial piety are essential.

Environmental protection is no longer just a slogan. For the sake of saving Mother Earth, Tzu Chings unleashed the power of youths to propagate the importance of environmental protection to the public – using their sweat to lower the rising temperature of the Earth, utilize their bodies given by their parents to do good deeds and practise filial piety, live life to the fullest, and contributing in saving the Earth.

 

All participants read aloud the declaration of the “Earth Protectors”, before being ferried to various Tzu Chi recycling centres. [Photograph by Ng Eu Jinn]   Other than awareness on environmental-related issues, the participants also experienced an outdoor recycling activity. [Photograph by Lai Jih Chuan]

All participants read aloud the declaration of the “Earth Protectors”, before being ferried to various Tzu Chi recycling centres. [Photograph by Ng Eu Jinn]
 
Other than awareness on environmental-related issues, the participants also experienced an outdoor recycling activity. [Photograph by Lai Jih Chuan]
 
The participants approached members of the public to advocate the importance of environmental protection. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]  

The participants approached members of the public to advocate the importance of environmental protection. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]