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Saturday, 23 June 2018 00:00

Homecoming for Da Ai Kindergarten Graduates

Written by  Tan Kim Hion, KL & Selangor / Translated by Zhang Yi Qin

A group photo of the first batch of the Da Ai Kindergarten graduates and their teacher. Everyone looked forward to more of such reunion in the future. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]

The lapse of ten years has seen the earliest batches of Da Ai Kindergarten graduates growing into teenagers. On this day, they returned to the Kindergarten together with their parents for a warm reunion with their former teachers and classmates.


On June 23, 2018, Da Ai Kindergarten in Pandan Indah, Kuala Lumpur, was filled with joy as its batches of graduates and their parents returned to the Kindergarten for a reunion. Everyone was excited to spot themselves on the old photographs hung on the screen partitions.

Sitting together with their teacher, Chia San Mui, and their parents, the 2008 batch of students introduced themselves and everyone felt connected again when they recalled those unforgettable moments during their Kindergarten days. Everyone broke into laughter to recall the time when some of them used the water allocated for their classmates instead of their own in an activity where they were supposed to learn to save water; and they also remembered their visits to the wet market and leprosy centre in the company of their teachers.

The good, old memories came flooding back as they watched the throwback video. A student father, Choi Lim Fatt, expressed that he was grateful to have made the right choice of sending his son, Choi Yu Xiang, to the Kindergarten. He was glad that his son upholds vegetarianism until today, out of compassion for the animals. In fact, it was his son who influenced him and his wife to be vegetarians.

Lim Fatt was also grateful that with the teacher’s patient guidance, his son’s talkative nature turned out to be his strength, which won him the first place in a national speech competition among Chinese primary schools. He believed that the compassion, kindness and love in the heart of his son will continue to grow, and that to him, is the greatest treasure for Yu Xiang.

The positive influence of Jing Si Aphorisms

Chiah Guat Hoo, former Principal of Da Ai Kindergarten, also returned to the Kindergarten to meet her former students. She joined the 2013 batch of students, who are now in primary school, in a Jing Si Aphorism game, where they were required to complete the Jing Si Aphorisms mentioned. She could not help but give a thumbs-up to the students for remembering the Jing Si Aphorisms well.

A mother, Lau Chin Yee, attended the gathering with two of her sons, who graduated from the Kindergarten five and seven years ago respectively. She had chosen to send her sons to the Kindergarten because of its happy learning environment and its emphasis on character education. She believed that children are able to learn fast, and the wise words of Jing Si Aphorisms that her sons picked up from the Kindergarten have not only left an impact in their lives but also that of their family. She cited an example that the Aphorism, “Always be content, grateful, understanding and accepting” has become a commonly used quote in her family, which reminds them to appreciate one another.

She was happy to learn that there are actually Parent-child Bonding Class and Tzu Chi Teenagers’ Class at various communities, and that the young ones can actually volunteer themselves at Jing-Si Books & Café, recycling centre and other areas. She immediately registered her sons for the classes and as Café volunteers. She looks forward to her sons continuing to learn in an environment full of kindness and love.

Always do the right things

Seventeen-year-old Chan Xing Yuan was among the first batch of graduates from the Da Ai Kindergarten in Pandan Indah. Although he was only enrolled in the Kindergarten at six years old and graduated a year later, he was happy that all the values he learnt during this kindergarten year were deeply planted in his mind, and became his habits.

He said, “Our teacher explained to us the need to save water and electricity. I understood and remember this, so I always ensure that I do not waste any water and electricity. I believe that conservation is a way to love the Earth.” Until today, Xing Yuan holds the view that knowledge and moral values learnt become useful only when one puts them into practice.

The reunion gathering ten years after the graduation from the Kindergarten was rather meaningful to Xing Yuan. Not only did he meet his former classmates, but he also felt happy that his teachers are still dedicating themselves to education. It was fun viewing a video of his batch of students when they first attended class ten years ago. They were nervous and some were crying, but their teacher’s warm embrace calmed them down.

He revealed that as a young child, he was always crying, and lacked self-confidence. One incident that helped build up his confidence was, as he recounted, one where he gathered his courage to ask his disorderly peers to queue and take turns to go to the washroom. He set an example by going in line.

Unexpectedly, the children followed, queued up and orderly took their turns. Xing Yuan was thrilled, but it did not stay for long on his mind. Yet after a few days, he was being publicly praised for his exemplary action.

He shared, “Since then, I was full of confidence with myself. When I went up to primary level, I was never afraid of speaking up, and I always insisted on doing the right thing.”

From his own experience, Xing Yuan could tell that praises from teachers can be a source of strength that give the children a sense of self-worth, boost their self-esteem and teach them not to give up easily. He said smilingly that since he himself had benefitted tremendously from the kind and loving environment of Da Ai Kindergarten, he would definitely send his children to the Tzu Chi International School to study, if he ever get married and has children. He would very much want his children to receive education in an environment filled with love and care.

Xing Yuan is currently studying in the upper middle form, and has very heavy school work. Yet, when he learnt that he can join the voluntary work during his free time or school holidays, he registered himself without hesitation. He aspires to stay in Tzu Chi family, and learn to give and be of service to others.

Through the homecoming, the former students and their parents who have lost touch with Tzu Chi are reconnected with the big family. They also offered their support to the charity sale to raise funds for the building of Tzu Chi International School KL so that more students can benefit from Tzu Chi’s holistic education.

 

The graduates of Da Ai Kindergarten and their parents returned to the Kindergarten and reconnect with Tzu Chi. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]   The teacher was glad to see that the playful kids have now grown into teenagers. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]

The graduates of Da Ai Kindergarten and their parents returned to the Kindergarten and reconnect with Tzu Chi. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]
 
The teacher was glad to see that the playful kids have now grown into teenagers. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]
 
Looking at the photos, the parents and children reminisced the good, old times. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]   The throwback video brought back memories still vivid in the minds of the Da Ai Kindergarten graduates. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]

Looking at the photos, the parents and children reminisced the good, old times. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]
 
 
The throwback video brought back memories still vivid in the minds of the Da Ai Kindergarten graduates. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]
 
Teacher Chiah Guat Hoo (3rd right) and Teacher Yong Mei Teng (2nd right) conducted a game to help their former students recall the Jing Si Aphorisms they had learnt. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]   Choi Yu Xiang (middle) posed for a photo with his teacher, Chia San Mui (left), and his father, Choi Lim Fatt (right). While San Mui is grateful that her former students have taught her to teach with motherly love, Lim Fatt appreciates the teacher’s efforts in nurturing the kindness and love in the children. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]

Teacher Chiah Guat Hoo (3rd right) and Teacher Yong Mei Teng (2nd right) conducted a game to help their former students recall the Jing Si Aphorisms they had learnt. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]
 
 
Choi Yu Xiang (middle) posed for a photo with his teacher, Chia San Mui (left), and his father, Choi Lim Fatt (right). While San Mui is grateful that her former students have taught her to teach with motherly love, Lim Fatt appreciates the teacher’s efforts in nurturing the kindness and love in the children. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]
 
Seventeen-year-old Chan Xing Yuan (left) was among the first batch of graduates from the Da Ai Kindergarten in Pandan Indah. Though ten years have passed since he left the Kindergarten, he continues to practise what he learnt at the Kindergarten, and always cherishes Earth’s resources. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]   Lau Chin Yee, a mother of two Da Ai Kindergarten graduates, find the teaching of Jing Si Aphorisms effective in shaping the students’ character. She looked forward to the completion of the Tzu Chi International School KL as an institution to produce future pillars of society. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]

Seventeen-year-old Chan Xing Yuan (left) was among the first batch of graduates from the Da Ai Kindergarten in Pandan Indah. Though ten years have passed since he left the Kindergarten, he continues to practise what he learnt at the Kindergarten, and always cherishes Earth’s resources. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]
 
 
Lau Chin Yee, a mother of two Da Ai Kindergarten graduates, find the teaching of Jing Si Aphorisms effective in shaping the students’ character. She looked forward to the completion of the Tzu Chi International School KL as an institution to produce future pillars of society. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]