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Sunday, 27 August 2017 00:00

Putting Hands Together for Education

Written by  Tzu Chi Documenting Team, KL & Selangor / Translated by Wong Mun Heng

At three venues but one common goal, the charity fair aimed to raise funds for Tzu Chi International School Kuala Lumpur building project. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]

On August 27, 2017, Tzu Chi KL & Selangor held a charity fair concurrently at three venues (KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall, One City Shopping Centre in Subang Jaya and SJK(C) Taman Connaught) to raise funds for the Tzu Chi International School Kuala Lumpur building project.


Held at three venues, the charity fair, which attracted some 30,000 visitors, had a common goal. Besides the charity sales, the volunteers on duty were busily explaining to visitors the concept of Tzu Chi’s school, and recruitment of teachers and students as part of the planning effort to get ready for the new school, which is targeted for completion in 2020.

The Organizing Committee, who had been working very hard for the last three months, was relieved to see the huge turnout at the Jing Si Hall charity fair. It had been quite challenging but there were also many touching stories.

This April, when volunteer Lee Lian Kian was in Hualien, Taiwan, attending the progress meeting by overseas Tzu Chi Chapters, she took the opportunity to share with a volunteer from Penang on the fundraising plan for Tzu Chi International School Kuala Lumpur (TCISKL) by the KL & Selangor Chapter. Just a week before the charity fair, volunteers in Penang donated 20 “Lotus Flowers” (RM20,000) in support of the TCISKL. This is a clear reflection of the team spirit of the Malaysian Chapters in spreading Great Love. Besides, when the tent supplier realized that there were not enough tents, they mobilized resources and worked through the night to erect two additional tents.

Early that morning, even when it was still dark, many volunteers were seen busily preparing and setting up for the charity event at the Jing Si Hall square. To them, it was a joyous occasion and everyone was full of joy and laughter.

To launch the commencement of the charity fair, the Organizing Committee had a simple ceremony whereby the CEO of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, Echo Chien, was invited to beat the gong, a signal that reverberated the power of love and compassion; and with the blessing of everyone, the TCISKL will be completed in time to benefit many students.

Loving-kindness is invaluable

At the square, there were many food-stalls selling various types of vegetarian food, like Hakka “lei cha”, Beijing dumplings, “nasi lemak”, curry noodles, vegetarian chicken rice, handmade biscuits, and so on. In addition, some stall owners put in extra efforts to decorate their stalls with the hope of attracting visitors. Some even had creative ways of soliciting for business with the volunteers recording the preparatory efforts and posting promotional video on the Internet.

“I can donate 100 coconuts.” Volunteer Lee Chooi Fong was pleasantly surprised when the kind-hearted coconut merchant said this to her. Chooi Fong then realized it was too ordinary to sell just coconut and wanted to find ways to “add value” to the coconuts. After discussing with her team, they decided they should learn from a master in Malacca on how to make coconut shake. When the boss learnt that the intention was to raise funds for TCISKL, he taught the team without any reservation.

Initially, Chooi Fong found that the ice-cream taste was too strong and had less coconut. After making two adjustments with higher coconut content, the taste was more palatable. But, with the adjustment, more coconuts were needed. Upon hearing this, he willingly donated another 50 coconuts to meet the demand.

On the event day, the weather was hot and there was a long queue of people waiting to buy the tasty coconut shake to quench their thirst. Chooi Fong was happy that the mindfulness of the team did make a difference in adding value to the coconuts.

Led by their teachers, the Da Ai Kindergarten kids had a stall in front of the kindergarten. The kids from different classes made different types of cookies, “kueh” (Malaysian delicacies) and handicrafts, like cyanotype prints and handmade soaps. Their kind deeds so touched the hearts of their mothers that they joined in subsequently.

A mother, Jiang Yan Li, brought her twins, Zhong Xin Yu and Zhong Yan Shen, to participate in the event. Yan Li informed that the mothers and children from that class made many bookmarks and key chains, and 50 pieces were given to her two kids to sell.

Yan Shen said he was rather reluctant to part with the key chains he made. However, when visitors came to look at the items, he would still politely promote the products. As for the shy Xin Yu, she still made an effort to engage visitors and promote the key chains.

Yan Li hopes that from the charity fair, her two kids of diverse characters have learnt to contribute, engage with the public and improve their confidence in interacting with others, in addition to experiencing what a fundraising is like.

Immeasurable blessing and life

On the right hand side of the Jing Si Hall entrance, there was a tent with a few tables and chairs. This was the “Da Ai Cafe” set up by volunteers from Tzu Chi Entrepreneurs’ Group. They offered birthday party packages for those born in August to invite their friends and family members to celebrate their birthdays at the stall, and volunteer would give them surprises.

Other than savouring the lovely complimentary cakes, volunteers played the “Happy Birthday” song for the birthday boy or girl, and bless them with the ever earnest Tzu Chi song, “Immeasurable Blessing and Life”. Besides celebrating birthdays, it was a double joy in doing charity and protecting the environment with vegetarian meals.

Right outside the door of Jing Si Hall was the gong-beating area. At the spacious foyer, a mock-up model of TCISKL was displayed so that the public could gain an insight of the school and its concept. Next to it were two motorcycles donated by the Motorcycle Dealers’ Association for the charity fair. At the further end, there was a “Joyous Photo Studio” set up by photography volunteers to raise funds with their skills. Some volunteers came from Malacca to help take portrait photos of visitors for sweet remembrance.

“Over here! Over here! We have tasty herbal packs and ginger tea, good for the stomach. Limited stock, hurry!” Volunteer Tee Chee Guan was ringing a bell and shouting away with his powerful voice; and he managed to attract some customers. At the dining area, there were many stalls selling all sorts of things, including stationery, toys, foodstuff, household items, vegetarian ingredients, clothing, and arts and crafts – practically all that one could find in a mini market.

On the first floor, the education team designed a “Fun Land” with brain games and games suitable for parents and child; an excellent opportunity for them to interact and improve bonding.

To make the occasion livelier, the “Da Ai Radio Station” allowed visitors to send messages and blessings to friends and relatives with song requests, besides making announcements and broadcasting product promotions.

Contribute without any expectation

Volunteer Soong Kok Yeow managed to convince five visually-impaired friends to provide massage on foot, neck and shoulders at the event. They had to forgo their weekend appointments to help Tzu Chi raise funds for TCISKL, as a way of contributing back to society. Kok Yeow believes education is very important and therefore we must, for the sake of future generations, support the sound education system from Tzu Chi. Masseur Ang Kong Seng felt that it was an honour for him to contribute a bit for the English medium school.

Visitor Kong Poh Kuan, a teacher from Rawang, felt that despite the distance, she should still seize the opportunity to do charity as it does not happen often. As a teacher, she has to lift her head to face the whiteboard and frequently, she is troubled by neck pain. She came for the massage and hoped it would relieve her neck pain.

Volunteer Liew Mei Ling works in the advertising industry and through her job, she got acquainted with the owner of Good Morning Global, Dato’ Lim Sin Boon. Knowing that the latter is very supportive of education and medical missions, she seized the opportunity to explain to him the concept of Tzu Chi’s school. Dato’ Lim then generously offered RM10,000 worth of products to volunteers for the charity fair. His assistant also chipped in and added 12 cans of multigrain health drink powder for the event.

On the event day, Dato’ Lim came to witness the charity fair and upon learning about the purpose of constructing TCISKL, he pledged to donate for one Tzu Chi Honorary Board member (about RM120,000) in support of the project. He said, “From the Da Ai TV, I have heard Master saying that being able to give is a blessing. I had just listened without much action. But, with action and making it happen is a totally different experience. I am glad I have the opportunity to contribute to TCISKL today.” Dato’ Lim felt that while contributing to society, one must also know how to be appreciative, for spiritual wealth is not something that can be purchased with money.

The cycle of love

“Three years ago, my wife died of cancer, leaving behind seven children and no one to manage the house. Just when I was feeling helpless, Tzu Chi people appeared…,” said Tzu Chi care recipient, S. Navasantar from Petaling Jaya. He came with his seven children to help out at the “Living Team”, an example of “as long as one is willing, ability to donate is not the sole privilege of the rich”.

At the cutlery washing area, the children, while holding the sponge in one hand and plates on the other, washed the plates first with soap and then rinsed with water. For this Jing Si Hall visit, Navasantar’s aim was to teach the children to be one whose palms face downwards. He frankly said that his late wife used to emphasize a lot on education and would personally guide the kids. Though life was tough, it was, however, comforting to see that the kids are performing well in school.

Because of good guidance, the children know what is right and what is wrong. The goal of education is not confined to achieving excellent academic results, but more in helping the kids to grow up with good character and manners, as well as, respect for the elders. At the time of receiving love, one must also strive to offer love to others.

Navasantar expressed that he frequently reminds his children to be grateful and to remember to contribute back to society whenever and wherever possible. He said, “God is aware of the kind deeds and would not overlook the kind people. Good blessing will come in the future…”

The charity fair venue was packed with people, loving-kindness and bountiful blessings. With everyone’s support for TCIS KL, it is hoped that this spirit of school construction will continue to consolidate further and make the school a model school, producing much hope for society.

 

 

The many stalls selling vegetarian food had attracted many visitors, making the place very crowded. [Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]   Inside the Jing Si Hall, there were many stalls selling a great variety of things. [Photograph by Lai Jih Chuan]

The many stalls selling vegetarian food had attracted many visitors, making the place very crowded. [Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]
 
Inside the Jing Si Hall, there were many stalls selling a great variety of things. [Photograph by Lai Jih Chuan]
 
Led by their teachers, the Da Ai Kindergarten kids had a stall in front of the kindergarten. [Photograph by Lai Jih Chuan]   Jiang Yan Li brought her twins, Zhong Xin Yu and Zhong Yan Shen, to promote handmade bookmarks and key chains to visitors. [Photograph by Thin Ket Yong]

Led by their teachers, the Da Ai Kindergarten kids had a stall in front of the kindergarten. [Photograph by Lai Jih Chuan]
 
 
Jiang Yan Li brought her twins, Zhong Xin Yu and Zhong Yan Shen, to promote handmade bookmarks and key chains to visitors. [Photograph by Thin Ket Yong]
 
The “Da Ai Café” set up by volunteers from the Entrepreneurs’ Group offered birthday celebration packages for visitors to contribute to a good cause while celebrating their birthdays with friends and families. [Photograph by Lee Kok Keong]   At the spacious foyer, a mock-up model of Tzu Chi International School Kuala Lumpur was displayed so that the public could gain an insight of the school and its concept. [Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]

The “Da Ai Café” set up by volunteers from the Entrepreneurs’ Group offered birthday celebration packages for visitors to contribute to a good cause while celebrating their birthdays with friends and families. [Photograph by Lee Kok Keong]
 
 
At the spacious foyer, a mock-up model of Tzu Chi International School Kuala Lumpur was displayed so that the public could gain an insight of the school and its concept. [Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]
 
A “Joyous Photo Studio” was set up by photography volunteers to raise funds with their skills. Volunteers from Malacca helped to take portrait photos of visitors for their sweet remembrance. [Photograph by Look Foot Seong]   The education team designed a “Fun Land” with brain games and games suitable for parents and child; an excellent opportunity for them to interact and improve bonding. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]

A “Joyous Photo Studio” was set up by photography volunteers to raise funds with their skills. Volunteers from Malacca helped to take portrait photos of visitors for their sweet remembrance. [Photograph by Look Foot Seong]
 
 
The education team designed a “Fun Land” with brain games and games suitable for parents and child; an excellent opportunity for them to interact and improve bonding. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]
 
Volunteer Soong Kok Yeow managed to convince five visually-impaired friends to provide massage on foot, neck and shoulders at the charity fair. [Photograph by Lee Siew Kuan]   Tzu Chi care recipient, Navasantar came with his seven children to help out at the “Living Team”, an example of “as long as one is willing, ability to donate is not the sole privilege of the rich”. [Photograph by Yip Kong Wai]

Volunteer Soong Kok Yeow managed to convince five visually-impaired friends to provide massage on foot, neck and shoulders at the charity fair. [Photograph by Lee Siew Kuan]
 
 
Tzu Chi care recipient, Navasantar came with his seven children to help out at the “Living Team”, an example of “as long as one is willing, ability to donate is not the sole privilege of the rich”. [Photograph by Yip Kong Wai]