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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Friday, 30 October 2015 00:00

Stand Up Youngsters!

Written by  Low Xin Ying, Jacqueline Khoo & Chong Xin Yee, KL & Selangor / Translated by Long Shun Lynn, Derek Goh & Jacqueline Khoo

Participants from 47 varsities familiarized themselves with one another through the ice-breaking game. [Photograph by Soh Woei Jye]

We are now living in an era full of possibilities. Just when we are busily chasing after the lifestyle we wanted, the importance of humanity is slowly disappearing out of our life. To restore the value of humanity among youngsters, the Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth Association (Tzu Ching) of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor organized a three-day camp from October 30, 2015, at KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall. It attracted participation from 160 students from 47 universities and colleges in Klang Valley and other places.


The right attitude to life

On the first day of camp, an ice-breaking session was held to bond everyone together. It worked effectively, filling the Gratitude Hall with joy and laughter. The following day, a session named “SUDOKU of Life”, led by Tzu Ching alumni, Low Ying Fan and Chong Chuan Yit, brought the participants even closer together. Every participant had a number that was unknown to him/her stuck behind his/her back. They had to find themselves a partner to pair up with their number, and by adding both their numbers would give the highest number possible; and they were not allowed to talk or use hand gestures throughout the game.

When the game started, everyone was desperate to get the largest number. Low Jin Xing, a student from Melaka Manipal Medical College, got the highest number, making her the most demanded person in the hall. She was shocked when Ngooi Pek Wah, a Tzu Chi mother, hugged her excitedly upon seeing her. When she got the chance to look at her own number, Jin Xing was surprised. Despite having the largest number, she said she would not mind pairing up with someone who had a smaller number (in the game, the largest to the smallest pair of numbers are about 80 marks apart).

Likewise, although Zheng Xiao Hui from UCSI University was holding one of the larger numbers in the hall, she did not mind at all to pair up with someone who had an obvious smaller number. She believed that no one is perfect. Everyone has his/her strength and weaknesses, and deserved to be treated fairly and equally.

After everyone had gotten their partners, they had to add both their numbers. The total of the two numbers became their “bargaining chips” in the game. The speakers then threw some dilemma questions with several options on the participants. They were expected to make a decision within the given time frame and every decision had a cost tagged to it. Thus, they had to use their “bargaining chips” to “buy” their selections. Some students were happy with their decisions, while others regretted theirs. At the end of the session, the speakers concluded that life is unpredictable; we do not know how long we will live. Thus, we should appreciate whatever we have and live life to its fullest.

Eradicate egoism with gratefulness

“Many people around me see me as the black sheep in my family from the day I was born,” said Chong Sok Fong, a lecturer, who developed a very competitive personality since young. Her family had not been very supportive of her, but she did not just give up on herself. Instead, she worked even harder to prove her worth. She strived for higher education and involved herself in politics. Soon, she became a self-centred person, showing no consideration for the feelings of others. However, just when she thought she was at the peak of her life, she realized she was unhappy. Hence, she started to question herself if this was what she wanted to achieve in her life.

Sok Fong is a person of numerous abilities but being a committed member of Tzu Chi is out of many people’s expectation. It took her quite some time to understand and accept the humanistic culture of Tzu Chi, like bowing to aid recipients and thanking them for receiving the aid from Tzu Chi. After participating in a camp specially organized for volunteers in the education field in Hualien, Taiwan, she was deeply inspired and started to commit herself to Tzu Chi with a new outlook. During a trip to teach Jing Si Aphorisms in the Philippines, she was shocked to see the unconducive learning environment. Upon reflection, she felt deeply ashamed of herself for calling off her classes for just some minor facility malfunctions.

In the course of time, Tzu Chi has brought out a different side of her. She is not as hot-headed as she used to be and has learnt to be more humble. She also often reminds herself to be moderate in her speech despite being strict to her students. In recollection, Teacher Sok Fong has built many good relationships with others now because she has learnt to be considerate of other people’s feelings.

The dilemma between studies and family

Xiao Wen Chian, who has just graduated from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman this year, was one of the group mentors in this camp. (Coincidently, Sok Fong was her lecturer two years ago.) Wen Chian recalled that on one occasion, she was penalized and had to write an essay based on a Jing Si Aphorism for handing in her assignment late. Comparing then and now, she felt that Teacher Sok Fong has become gentler in her words. The latter’s idea that the purpose of life is to bring happiness to others has left a deep impression in her.

Lee Kang Nee from Sunway University found many resemblances between Sok Fong and her. Like Sok Fong, she is very competitive and demands highly of herself. She has always been a recipient of scholarships thanks to her outstanding academic performance. However, a day before her final examination during her second year in the university, she was informed that her father had a stroke. She fell into a dilemma, wondering whether she should return home to take care of her hemiplegic father, or continue to strive for excellent results. Finally, she decided to return home because she said, “I could secure a job even without outstanding results, but I only have a father.” After listening to Sok Fong’s sharing, she started to reconsider the value of life. What is more important: family, academic performance or scholarship? She realized that it is important to make a wise decision.

Language is not a barrier

Other than probing into the value of life, there were also sharing on the global view of Tzu Chi and environmental protection. A station game was designed to raise the participants’ awareness on the importance of environmental protection. At each station, Tzu Chi’s concepts on recycling were imparted. A vegetarian cooking session was also held to allow them a hands-on experience in preparing a simple vegetarian meal, and encourage them to consume less meat and eat more vegetables.

Master Cheng Yen always mentions that one cannot wait to do kind deeds and fulfil filial piety. Indeed, filial piety is the fundamental value of humanity. From the moment we were born, our parents sacrificed their time and made all the efforts to raise us up, but never once did they think of getting anything in return. Nevertheless, as our society becomes more technologically advanced, the younger generations slowly overlooked the virtue of filial piety. A short footage, “Lighthouse” was screened in the “Filial Piety” session to remind the participants of their parents back home. A Tzu Ching, Tan Xin Yee’s sharing on her childhood experiences moved the audience and some were seen weeping.

Parameswary, the only Indian participant, was happy that she could roughly understand the lessons although they were all conducted in Chinese. She revealed that she was reluctant to join this camp initially as she felt uneasy and did not even want to enter the Jing Si Hall. However, after spending three days in the camp, her perceptions had changed. Her group mates were very nice to her. They would patiently translate and explain contents of the programme that she did not understand.

Parameswary comes from a single-parent family. Her father had passed away and her mother does not live with her. She is now living with her grandparents, who are Tzu Chi care recipients. She was deeply moved by the “Filial Piety” session. The Tzu Ching members’ sharing about their past struck a chord with her and she felt remorseful. She repented for arguing with her grandparents often, and sometimes, she would even feel annoyed and looked down on them because of their low education. Through this session, she learnt of her filial duties, and hopes that she could show greater respect for her aged grandparents, care and cherish them, and not to make them worry about her any more.



Kindness cannot be measured. Sometimes, a random act of kindness that seems insignificant to oneself, could be the best thing that has ever happened to another person. An activity named “Little Angel and Little Master” was carried out throughout the camp, where the participants were encouraged to show their care for others. Their small acts of kindness slowly spread to become a cycle of kindness. When they are brought together and with everyone chipping in their love, the youth can truly change the world!

 

Chong Sok Fong’s involvement in Tzu Chi’s activities has helped her to be more humble and mild-temper. [Photograph by Long Qu Lin]   Xiao Wen Qian was impressed with her former lecturer, Chong Sok Fong’s idea that the purpose of life is to bring happiness to others. [Photograph by Soh Woei Jye]

Chong Sok Fong’s involvement in Tzu Chi’s activities has helped her to be more humble and mild-temper. [Photograph by Long Qu Lin]
 
Xiao Wen Qian was impressed with her former lecturer, Chong Sok Fong’s idea that the purpose of life is to bring happiness to others. [Photograph by Soh Woei Jye]
 
Lee Kang Nee started to reconsider the value of life after listening to Chong Sok Fong’s sharing. [Photograph by Wu Qi Lun]   Tan Xin Yee’s sharing of her personal experiences moved some participants to tears. [Photograph by Soh Woei Jye]

Lee Kang Nee started to reconsider the value of life after listening to Chong Sok Fong’s sharing. [Photograph by Wu Qi Lun]
 
 
Tan Xin Yee’s sharing of her personal experiences moved some participants to tears. [Photograph by Soh Woei Jye]
 
Parameswary repented for her past mistakes and hopes to fulfil her filial duties from now on. [Photograph by Liu Yu Qian]   The session “SUDOKU of Life” required the participants to look for a partner and form a pair with the largest possible sum, without knowing the number on their backs. [Photograph by Huang Zhao Xiang]

Parameswary repented for her past mistakes and hopes to fulfil her filial duties from now on. [Photograph by Liu Yu Qian]
 
 
The session “SUDOKU of Life” required the participants to look for a partner and form a pair with the largest possible sum, without knowing the number on their backs. [Photograph by Huang Zhao Xiang]
 
Low Jin Xing, who got the largest number became everyone’s most wanted partner. [Photograph by Wu Qi Lun]   Zheng Xiao Hui did not mind pairing with someone with a smaller number. To her, we should accept the shortcomings of others instead of seeking for perfection. [Photograph by Wu Qi Lun]

Low Jin Xing, who got the largest number became everyone’s most wanted partner. [Photograph by Wu Qi Lun]
 
 
Zheng Xiao Hui did not mind pairing with someone with a smaller number. To her, we should accept the shortcomings of others instead of seeking for perfection. [Photograph by Wu Qi Lun]
 
The pair of “Little Angel and Little Master” introduced themselves to each other. Through the activity, they learnt that every little kindness counts. [Photograph by Long Qu Lin]  

The pair of “Little Angel and Little Master” introduced themselves to each other. Through the activity, they learnt that every little kindness counts. [Photograph by Long Qu Lin]