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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 10 July 2016 00:00

Learn from Nature and Reduce Desires to Protect It

Written by  Low Siew Lian, Lim Hui Chu & Zhu Yi Chun, Melaka / Translated by Lilian Chew

Participants from Batu Berendam and Durian Tunggal came to Batu Beremdam Recycling-cum-Education centre to learn sorting of recyclables. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]


“Next time, do not ask to buy toys as it would be a waste of money if you do not play with them.” The Parent-child Bonding Class from different communities went outdoors to recycling centres to do sorting or to the beach to clear rubbish. This taught them contentment and the reduction of desires.


The topic for Tzu Chi Melaka’s Parent-child Bonding Class in June was Diligence. Members were guided on contentment by reducing desires and materialism, as well as facing life with confidence, wisdom, perseverance and generosity.

Quoting a Jing Si Aphorism, “A wasted day is worth less than a meaningful second”, members were given a feel of Tzu Chi’s mission for environmental protection at the Tzu Chi’s recycling centres.

On a sunny morning of July 10, 2016, members of Parent-child Bonding Class from various communities set out to the Tzu Chi recycling centres at Bukit Cheng, Garden City, Batu Beremdam, Air Keroh, Sri Bayan and Bemban, as well as Puteri Beach, for lessons on recycling outside the classroom.

Recycling begins with me

Volunteers from Batu Berendam and Durian Tunggal had thoughtfully planned indoor lessons and experiential activities to raise awareness of our polluted Mother Earth and ways to save it. As many of the children had attended Da Ai kindergarten, recycling was not strange to them. With a bit of guidance, they were quick to pick up the five ways to apply and save Mother Earth (i.e. conservation of time, electricity, water, gasoline and money).

After a short briefing, members arrived at the Batu Beremdam Recycling-cum-Education Centre to learn to sort recyclables. Both parents and children applied themselves vigorously on sorting of paper/plastic and/or crushing of aluminium cans. A parent disclosed that when the children found a pencil or a book, they could not resist asking: “These pencil and book are so new, can I bring them home?”

Fu Xiao Li has two children who have been through Da Ai kindergarten. Though the elder child has completed pre-school, she continued the both of them in the Parent-child Bonding Class in order to carry on what they have learnt.

Every time she visits a recycling centre, she would be shocked with the great amount of recyclables and garbage, especially the preloved area being piled high with unwanted new clothes. Some people would treat the recycling centre as a dump site. She felt that the public needed to be educated in order for them to bring in only recyclables and manage the non-recyclables differently on their own.

One of her recycling friends would deliver sorted recyclables to her for another round of sorting at home before sending them on to the recyclers. This would minimize damages to the recycling machines had different materials were thrown in together.

Following the government’s implementation of the mandatory resource classification rule, many would find the extra work a hassle as they are not conscious of the importance of environmental protection for future generations. In her opinion, children are more reachable than adults and if we were to instil upon them, the concept of environmental protection from young, they could in return influence the adults!

Our needs and wants

“The continuous logging has resulted in frequent natural disasters and caused changes in the weather. Coupled with the rise in human desires, more garbage was being piled up.” At the Garden City Recycling Centre, volunteers explained to the families on the extreme weather conditions and other consequences as a result of humans’ unlimited desires.

“I have learnt that plastics cannot be discarded into drains because they would flow into the sea and be eaten by fishes. Fishes could not digest the plastics and may even die,” said Vivien. After hearing this from her daughter, Mandy was grateful for the opportunity to attend this type of activity with her child to learn.

It was the second year for both mother and daughter attending the Parent-child Bonding Class. Mandy was very happy with the transformation in her child on seeing her listening attentively to the explanation on resource classification, responding earnestly to questions and even did the sorting.

When Cheoo Poh Yu saw a box full of discarded stuff mingled with toys, she recalled the reminder given by volunteers on the difference between “needs” and “wants”. “Next time, do not ask to buy toys anymore as it would be a waste of money if you do not play with them.” She seemed to have gained realization by murmuring the statement.

“Other children are not doing this, why should I? Are they not rubbish?” expressed Cecilia. Her mother Angeline, had constantly talked to her about frugality and recycling but she was always perfunctory and was tired of her constant nagging.

Participating in the sorting for the first time and seeing the pile of garbage, Cecilia finally understood that recycling is the right thing to do and shared with her mum that she was very happy to have taken part in this activity. Both of them agreed that environmental protection requires the effort of all to save Mother Earth.

Besides recycling, Leow Mee Huwa, sitting on a thick cardboard under the shade of trees, demonstrated a creative flower arrangement using natural materials. Everyone around was surprised to see the usage of root-like materials meant to be thrown away. Mee Huwa explained that these represented nature and requested the families to extend their imagination in using these to arrange a flower bouquet.

“By doing so, we are making good use of discarded materials and at the same time, helped calm our hearts. We learnt also to appreciate and preserve the beauty of flora by not picking them indiscriminately,” remarked Vivien, who was very satisfied with the creation.

Maintain beach cleanliness

A separate group of 63 members took buses to Pantai Puteri together with their cleaning equipment, food, games, floor mats and food utensils, ready to begin a series of activities.

Tan Chui Ing led the participants in warming-up exercises, standing on soft sand with their backs facing the sea. Emcee Wang Shu-Chuan said, “Empathy is about putting ourselves in other’s situation. Love the people around us as well as our surroundings, our society will then be peaceful. A beach is a public place, so let us all work together to maintain its cleanliness.”

Last year, Lin Su Lan attended the Parent-child Bonding Class with her child. This year, she decided to join the ranks of Great Love Mothers, telling stories to the children in schools. She has done recycling at home and sent recyclables to the recycling centre in Bukit Beruang. She felt that meeting up with others for beach activities was very meaningful.



At the end of the activities, all present had experienced closer bonding, understood better about environmental protection and realized that caring of the Earth is everyone’s responsibility.

 

Families playing some games at Pantai Puteri. [Photograph by Choo Tee Seng]   Besides Parent-child Bonding Class, Lin Su Lan has joined the trainings for Great Love Mothers and performed recycling at home. [Photograph by Choo Tee Seng]

Families playing some games at Pantai Puteri. [Photograph by Choo Tee Seng]
 
Besides Parent-child Bonding Class, Lin Su Lan has joined the trainings for Great Love Mothers and performed recycling at home. [Photograph by Choo Tee Seng]
 
Volunteers shared with family members on recycling at Garden City Recycling Centre. [Photograph by Ngow Yoon Yoon]   Under the shade of bamboos at Garden City Recycling Centre, Leow Mee Huwa showed all how to do creative flower arrangement using natural materials. [Photograph by Lee Kin Chee]

Volunteers shared with family members on recycling at Garden City Recycling Centre. [Photograph by Ngow Yoon Yoon]
 
 
Under the shade of bamboos at Garden City Recycling Centre, Leow Mee Huwa showed all how to do creative flower arrangement using natural materials. [Photograph by Lee Kin Chee]
 
At Bemban Recycling Centre, families experienced sorting of recyclables. [Photograph by Teng Swee Ueng]   Having witnessed the voluminous garbage, Cecilia (right) finally understood the importance of sorting. [Photograph by Ngow Judy]

At Bemban Recycling Centre, families experienced sorting of recyclables. [Photograph by Teng Swee Ueng]
 
 
Having witnessed the voluminous garbage, Cecilia (right) finally understood the importance of sorting. [Photograph by Ngow Judy]
 
Fu Xiao Li guided her child to be mindful in sorting the resources. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]  

Fu Xiao Li guided her child to be mindful in sorting the resources. [Photograph by Tan Lian Hee]