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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 14 September 2014 00:00

Tzu Chi Teenagers’ Group Visited Drug Rehabilitation Centre

Written by  Li Xing Lun & Then Hon Keong, Seremban / Translated by Goh Hwe Yong

Tian Chee Ming explained to the children about the danger of drugs. [Photograph by Cho Tiong Chai]

Generally, young people in this IT age are ‘logged’ into the virtual world most of the time, so much so that they are unaware of the happenings in the real world. In order to encourage these young people to go into nature and the real world, the Organizing Committee of Tzu Chi Teenagers’ Group, Seremban, led their teenagers on a visit to a drug rehabilitation centre on September 9, 2014.


It was drizzling when the group embarked on their trip to Pedas, a small town 17 km away from Seremban, to visit a rehabilitation centre, named House of Victory Drug Rehabilitation. The Centre was founded by Mo Shao Nan and several Christian pastors in October 1988, to give a second lease of life for drug addicts. At the Centre, there was a permanent anti-drug use display, showing the grief consequences of drug abuse and addiction, the various types of drugs and sample paraphernalia for drug use.
 
Anti-drug message by former drug addicts
 
At the hall, the young visitors were given a welcome speech by Tian Chee Ming, a Director at the Centre. Following that, they watched a sketch presentation on the story of how innocent people and social outcasts were tempted by evil forces into drug use. Once addicted, these people became puppets on strings held by evil forces. They were involuntarily involved in social ills, and when deeply addicted, death awaited them until they found their religion, turned over a new leaf, and re-entered the normal world. The performers were acting out their past as drug addicts. They were brave to do so because they wanted to warn others not to do what they had done.
 
A sharing by a few helpers at the Centre was also arranged. These helpers were drug addicts, who chose to stay back after rehabilitation to help newcomers in rehabilitation therapies. One shared that he had become a drug user because he felt he was deprived of love and had even contemplated suicide. But, with help from his family members, he finally went into rehabilitation. However, as he was spiritually unfulfilled, he did not succeed in overcoming his drug addiction despite being rehabilitated twice. It was only when he was admitted to the House of Victory for rehabilitation that he succeeded; and this was because he had come to accept a religion that made him spiritually rich. With the teaching of religion as his back-up, he became much stronger against any evil temptations; and there was light at the end of the tunnel for him.
 
Mr Tian led the helpers to sing two songs that they had written, namely “We All Make Mistakes” and “Nagging”. The former reflected their joy of a new life, while the latter was about the love and care hidden behind the naggings of parents.
 
Mr Tian enlightened the children on the common drugs found in Malaysia, including the “give me five” (nimetazepam),amphetamine, ecstasy, ketamine, marijuana, methylbenzene (super glue) and heroin. Each drug has its special property, method of use and side effects. Amphetamine is used for boosting alertness, making the user fully alert for three days without sleep. When addiction sets in, the brain is affected resulting in slow response, short-temperament, rage and sometimes hallucinations. It is possible to combat such addiction via standard therapy. Ketamine addiction causes running nose, nasal bleeding, damage to internal organs and urinary tract infection. Marijuana causes deformity in fetuses and babies.
 
Self-reform for the salvation of self and others
 
Mr Tian also shared his own story as a reformed drug addict. As a drug addict, he was like a rat that needed to hide in the dark, was physically disabled due to the effects of drugs, suffered from degradation of his mental ability and he had nothing but greed on his mind. At this stage, no advice could reach his inner soul.
 
He had contemplated overdosing on drugs and the three times he was put in jail was hell to him. He still had hoped for salvation, but the cold reality of life after jail defeated his will for change.
 
Eighteen years ago, his mother said to him, “Son, it’s time you go to a rehab centre.” So he landed himself at the House of Victory, where a new phase of life awaited him. Initially, he was suspicious and felt negative, wanting only to be left alone at all times. After much effort from the Centre, his attitude softened, and therapy became possible. At the end of the therapy, and as he assisted another helpless addict to take baths, he realized that he was not worthless as he had thought, so he decided to remain at the Centre as a helper.
 
While helping out at the Centre, he disciplined himself with five self-imposed precepts, that is, no smoking, no alcohol, no drugs, no foul words and no display of temper. As a follow-up to the precepts, he practised a set of plus and minus, multiply and divide in his daily life, that is, he increased time spent on meaningful work; reduced time spent on meaningless things like losing his temper and playing electronic games. As for multiplication, he emulated the good examples of others to correct himself; and he leaped forward by helping others. For division, it was none other than getting rid of his bad habits.
 
Realize blessings and spread out love
 
As a token of appreciation, the visitors presented two sign language performances. At the end of the presentation, everyone sang, hand-in-hand, a song entitled, “We are Family”, and a feeling of love filled the air.
 
Tzu Chi Teenagers’ Group member, Ng Yuan Ci, was moved by the courage of those who shared their life stories. She said that the visit enabled her to really understand the destructive effects of drug abuse, and that she would be cautious against any chance of side tracking from the right path.
 
Another member, Chua Ren Yu said that though there had been anti-drug campaigns in school, he did not really feel the danger of drug abuse because it was only words he heard. This visit, however, had made him see the real danger of drug abuse, and the sharing was touching. He realized he was well-blessed, and hopes that all drug addicts will never give up on themselves, but to brave for a new lease of life. He also plans to share what he had experienced on this visit with his friends.
 
A visit to a farm
 
After the talk, the visitors were served a delicious lunch, with dishes prepared by the Centre, as well as, a refreshing Roselle tea.
 
After lunch, Mr Tian took the visitors to a nearby farm, separated from the Centre by a small river. They were brought first to a dog shelter that houses small and large pedigree dogs left behind by a closed-down pet shop or abandoned by owners.
 
At the far end of the farm, there was a double-storey wooden sheep barn, where the children had the opportunity to be close to the sheep. Next, they visited a fenced up chicken coop, which was a wooden building slightly smaller than the former; and the chickens were given a free run of the space. For some of the children, it was the very first time they saw a live chicken; and some had a hard time telling the male from the female.
 
Besides livestocks, there were also many types of plants, vegetables and fruit trees in the farm.The volunteers in charge of the Teenagers’ Group came well-prepared with ten young guava seedlings, and the children were taught the way to plant them. In future, fruits from these trees would become a source of income for the Centre.
 
The trip to the Centre was a good eye-opener for the children. They are now aware of the danger of drugs and are deeply appreciative of the value of life.
 
 
A sketch presentation was held as a means to disseminate the grief consequences of drug abuse. [Photograph by Chan Kai Sian]   Chua Ren Yu (left) plans to share what he learned with his friends. [Photograph by Cho Tiong Chai]

A sketch presentation was held as a means to disseminate the grief consequences of drug abuse. [Photograph by Chan Kai Sian]
 
Chua Ren Yu (left) plans to share what he learned with his friends. [Photograph by Cho Tiong Chai]
 
A sign language presentation of the song “We are Family” led by Tzu Chi volunteers. [Photograph by Cho Tiong Chai]   The children learned how to plant young guava trees. [Photograph by Cho Tiong Chai]

A sign language presentation of the song “We are Family” led by Tzu Chi volunteers. [Photograph by Cho Tiong Chai]
 
 
The children learned how to plant young guava trees. [Photograph by Cho Tiong Chai]

 

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