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Saturday, 30 September 2017 00:00

Tzu Ching – 20th Anniversary Celebration

Written by  Zhang Yi Qin / KL & Selangor

The song, “Remembrance”, reminded everyone of the beautiful memories in their younger days. [Photograph by Lai Jih Chuan]

September 30, 2017, was a homecoming day for over 400 Tzu Ching members and alumni, to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth Association (Tzu Ching) in Central, Southern and East Malaysia. Despite the progress of time, the bonds remain strong for many, as deep in everyone’s heart, they are, forever, a part of the Tzu Ching family.


The 20-year journey has seen Tzu Ching members graduating from college/university batch after batch, and embarking on a new chapter in life. Some members continue to volunteer with Tzu Chi or have become Tzu Chi staff, while some have lost touch with Tzu Chi due to other commitments. Regardless, on this day, everyone had returned to their spiritual home and it felt like time had transported them back to when they were still in college/university, sharing the same aspiration to serve humanity selflessly.

When the theme songs of the past Tzu Ching camps were played, everyone felt connected again and some even shed tears of emotions. Memories came flooding back as everyone sang the familiar Tzu Ching Anthem and performed the hand gestures according to the song.

Live a purposeful life

The seeds of Great Love that were planted in their hearts had driven Dr Foo Seay Liang and Chong Chuan Yit, both Tzu Ching alumni, to give up their high-paying jobs to join Tzu Chi KL & Selangor as full-time staff, heading the Medical Department and Humanistic Cultural Development Department respectively.

Dr Foo, who was a Tzu Ching during his undergraduate years in Taiwan, lost touch with Tzu Chi upon returning to Malaysia. It was not until a few years ago that he had the affinity to reconnect with Tzu Chi and volunteer at Tzu-Chi Free Clinic in KL. There, he came across a young refugee woman who was so kind that she brought home more than a dozen homeless refugees and supported their needs with her meagre income. Her compassion moved Dr Foo deeply and he eventually decided to become a Tzu Chi staff to serve the underprivileged groups with his professional skills.

In addition to health care, Dr Foo is also the Coordinator for UNHCR Tzu-Chi projects and has been working on education for refugee children. Together with a group of retired school principals and teachers, he introduced some changes to the syllabi of UNHCR Tzu-Chi Education Centre. He was delighted to see that the access to education has given hope to the refugee children to visualize themselves as future doctors, engineers, and so on.

Chuan Yit, on the other hand, shared that he mused over the value of life when he was 30, and decided that he should spend the prime time of his life on what he deemed was the most important thing in life. With that aspiration, he resigned from a dream job of many in the finance industry and ventured into mass media, which he was unfamiliar with. It was certainly not an easy switch to make, but with a firm faith in the Dharma and the sense of mission to purify minds through the power of media, he strived on step by step resolutely.

“The goal of Tzu Chi’s Mission of Humanistic Culture, which comprises print media and broadcasting, is to create positive social impacts through education.” To him, the role of mass media should go beyond leaving behind the history of events and happenings around the world to testify the truth and beauty of humanity.

Due to the nature of his job, he had the opportunities to be with the frontline teams in several events, including the MH370 air tragedy and the East Coast flood in 2014. The mental distress and emotional pain of the affected people evoked the empathy in him, and he also witnessed how love gave solace to the broken hearts. While the reality of impermanence reminded him to cherish every moment in life, the power of love reaffirmed his aspiration to do what he could to bring positive changes to the world.

Overcome challenges with steadfastness

Three Tzu Ching alumni, Lu Chee Leong, Leong Hao Qiang and Low Ying Fan, who are in their 40s, 30s and 20s respectively, shared their personal experiences in juggling their family, work and voluntary work.

Chee Leong and Hao Qiang admitted that it became more challenging with the arrivals of new members into their families. However, thanks to the support of their spouses, who are also Tzu Ching alumni, they are able to coordinate and make time for Tzu Chi activities. Sometimes, when they and their spouses wished to attend the same activities, they would bring their children along.

Ying Fan, on the other hand, made it clear to her employer of her commitment to voluntary services during her job interview. She has also opted for the earliest work shift so that she could leave her workplace earlier for Tzu Chi activities in the evening.

Volunteer Ng Cheng Wee was also invited to share with the Tzu Ching alumni his journey in educating his children. His eldest child had little interest in his studies; second child has learning disability; third child has autism; and the youngest child is smart, yet annoyed her teacher with her curious questions. His patience and wisdom in transforming his children by first changing himself proved to be successful. Through his sincere, humorous, and at times emotional sharing, it was evident that understanding and encouragement work better than scolding and blame.

We shall keep it up

The celebration closed with a drum-and-bell performance of the “Song of Diligence” presented by volunteers from Tzu Chi Mum and Dad Association (see Note) and Tzu Ching alumni; sign language interpretation of the song, “Remembrance”; singing of the song, “On the Way Home”, specially composed by a Tzu Ching alumna; and sharing by past and present leaders of Tzu Chi Mum and Dad Association, as well as, a few Tzu Ching alumni.

“Be like a compass; the adjustable leg must move to inscribe a circle but the centre point should stay put. Seize the opportunities to perform good deeds and keep it up diligently and unwaveringly,” advised Echo Chien, CEO of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, further strengthening everyone’s spirit to walk the Tzu Chi path.

It was a day when all present rejoiced in the love of Tzu Ching family and had their initial aspiration revived.

Note: Tzu Chi Mums and Dads are volunteers who play a role in accompanying and guiding the students in their daily life, thinking, attitude and behaviour through setting examples. They hope to help the students grow and succeed in their studies in an environment away from home. At the same time, they also bring peace of mind to the parents of students, knowing that their children are well taken care of.

 

 

The drum-and-bell performance of “Song of Diligence” filled the hall with positive vibes. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]   Cheah Chen Yee, the first Tzu Ching member of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, is determined to continue walking the Tzu Chi Path.[Photograph by Long Yan Teng]

The drum-and-bell performance of “Song of Diligence” filled the hall with positive vibes. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]
 
Cheah Chen Yee, the first Tzu Ching member of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, is determined to continue walking the Tzu Chi Path.[Photograph by Long Yan Teng]
 
Lu Chee Leong (2nd left), Leong Hao Qiang (2nd right) and Low Ying Fan (1st right) of different age groups shared their experience in striking a balance between family, work and voluntary work. [Photograph by Lai Jih Chuan]   Former and present leaders of Tzu Chi Mum and Dad Association, Tan Lay Choo (from left), Ngooi Pek Wah, Lim Ah Chong and Siow Lee Yuen, hoped that all Tzu Ching members and alumni can walk the Bodhisattva Path perseveringly. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]

Lu Chee Leong (2nd left), Leong Hao Qiang (2nd right) and Low Ying Fan (1st right) of different age groups shared their experience in striking a balance between family, work and voluntary work. [Photograph by Lai Jih Chuan]
 
 
Former and present leaders of Tzu Chi Mum and Dad Association, Tan Lay Choo (from left), Ngooi Pek Wah, Lim Ah Chong and Siow Lee Yuen, hoped that all Tzu Ching members and alumni can walk the Bodhisattva Path perseveringly. [Photograph by Sam Pin Fook]
 
A captured memory of the joyous and warm reunion. [Photograph by Roy Ng Wei Jian]   Over 400 Tzu Ching members and alumni, and over 50 Tzu Chi Mums and Dads, gathered at KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall for the 20th Anniversary celebration. [Photograph by Lai Jih Chuan]

A captured memory of the joyous and warm reunion. [Photograph by Roy Ng Wei Jian]
 
 
Over 400 Tzu Ching members and alumni, and over 50 Tzu Chi Mums and Dads, gathered at KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall for the 20th Anniversary celebration. [Photograph by Lai Jih Chuan]