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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 04 November 2018 00:00

The Next Blessed Journey Awaits

Written by  Tzu Chi Documenting Team, KL & Selangor / Translated by Goh Hwe Yong

The important ceremony of tassel turning at the graduation. [Photograph by Gan Wee Meng]

It was a special morning on November 4, 2018. Coupled with a light drizzle, the morning air around the KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall smelt clean and fresh; same with the flowers and plants. New shoots on the branches silently crept out to take their first look at the world around. It was graduation day for the Da Ai Kindergarten. Seventy-one little ones will be continuing their next phase of their journey after this special day.


“It is a happy small world of ours. We sing and play, we enjoy the blue sky and the green field…”

Inside the hall, a group of tiny tots was cutely performing a lyrical sign language on stage, to celebrate the graduation of their elder peers. Parents were lovingly watching these angels from the audience seats.

Little stars of kindness and beauty

The next performance came from the graduating classes. The naive little ones portrayed housewives, doctors, elderly people, patients, and other roles, to convey that there is “Love in the World”. The play was the fruitful result of a 2-month-long practice and rehearsal. Their performance was very true to life and earned the warm applause from the audience.

“Good morning, I would like to buy a little less vegetables today.”

The “housewife” was at the market, requesting the vegetable sellers to get her less vegetables so that she could save 50 cents for donation. Upon learning the reason for her request, the sellers were too happy to join her in saving 50 cents a day for the purpose of charity.

The little actors and actresses were presenting a play relating how Tzu Chi founder, Master Cheng Yen, formed the Foundation under a very challenging condition financially. In those days, the Master and her disciples worked hard to make an extra pair of baby shoes daily for sale, while the housewives saved 50 cents daily from their grocery expenses. They did so for no other reason than to build up a charity fund to start aiding the poor and educating the rich.

A change of scene transported the audience to Kampung Titingan in Tawau of Sabah. On stage was a group of poverty-stricken and stateless people. They were so poor that they had no means of sending their children to school, and neither did they have the means to get medical care when needed.

Then little starlets, who played the part of Tzu Chi volunteers, appeared on stage, braving obstacles to extend help and care to the poor folks of Kampung Titingan. From then on, love became the bright light of hope for the village people.

One scene showed a teacher and the stateless children in a class lesson, while another group on stage presented a scene of a free clinic session with doctors attending to the sick villagers.

At the end of the stage play, the little ones sang “Days of the Bamboo Bank” while performing the sign language. Meanwhile, another group went round collecting donations from the audience. Naturally, the play touched the hearts of the audience, and they made generous donations.

Pleased to witness the children’s growth

Four groups of parents were next on stage to share their joy of seeing the growth of their children, and the consequential changes in themselves in the course of three years.

Tao Mi Xuan, the mother of Yan Ge Zeng, shared that her child became more independent after she turned six. She cited an incident where they were happy to see that their child had learnt to be considerate and pious.

Ge Zeng expressed as his graduation testimonial: Thanks to my teachers for guiding me and thanks to my dad and mum for looking after me.”

As a parent, Wong Ching Tee was touched and in tears. She said that she gained a better understanding of what made the Da Ai Kindergarten special, and what it actually meant by education for character building and humanities development.

Ching Tee thanked the teachers for their guidance given to her child, who has become independent, helpful and filial. Now, her child is quick to offer help in house chores. From the teachers, she has learnt to be an exemplary for her child to become good and kind.

Little Ye Zhuo Huan became much more sociable after attending the Da Ai Kindergarten. She used to prefer being left alone even at home. The mother was worried about how her daughter was going to cope with going to class. Sure enough, she threw tantrums every day when going to class. But under the patient care of Tzu Chi volunteers serving at the Kindergarten, change took place gradually. The mother was grateful.

When Zhuo Huan was five years old, her class teacher advised her mother, Puah Hwei Thuei, to trust her child in learning her way up.

The mother concluded that she realized in the course that parents should give their children a free hand when the situation arises. She saw for herself how her child had changed for the better, became independent, and participated actively in activities.

Zhuo Huan said she was thankful to her parents for the chance to attend Da Ai Kindergarten. She said, “Thanks to my teachers and my friends here. I love my Da Ai Kindergarten.”

Little Chong Kai Xi went and took his parents to the stage. His mother, Wong Sheau Bih, shared her thoughts: “We are so happy to see how our child has become so self-disciplined in whatever he is doing. I am very touched to see his improvements. I learnt from the teachers by using positive measures of rewarding him for his efforts made.”

This particular mother admitted that she had been very short-tempered and was always nagging. But by adopting the encouraging and rewarding method, she found herself more at ease in temperament, and the change has its positive effects on her child. This proved what the Master said: “Parents are the moulds of their child” is very true.

Sheau Bih said she could not hold back her tears right from the start, with scenes of her beloved child at Da Ai Kindergarten classes playing in her mind. She felt sad that her child was leaving a loving environment after this special day. But she consoled herself with the thought that she can enrol her child for the Tzu Chi Parent-child Bonding Class (PCBC) next year, so that her child would not be too distant from the caring atmosphere of Tzu Chi.

Kai Xi’s father, Choi Sin, revealed that he had adjusted his daily schedule to fit in with his child’s schooling schedule. The time together has bonded the father and son. The fact that his child has become well-behaved was a great consolation to him. Now, the child is not only more polite, but also more open and likes to share about his life, be it happy or not, with the family.

Cute little Kai Xi told the audience that he is considerate to his parents. He said that he would help out in house chores like cleaning up, because his father told him that helping out is in a way, giving a gift to his mother. He said by following his mother to the Jing Si Hall and taking part in cleaning the washrooms, which he could do extremely well, he has made his mother very happy, and she would no longer be angry.

Grateful towards parents and teachers

Next on the programme was a ceremony of showing gratitude. The tiny graduates in their graduation attire entered the hall orderly to lead their teachers to the stage. Then, each graduate served tea to the teachers as a show of thankfulness. “Please have tea, teacher,” and at that point, tears were rolling down the cheeks of many teachers. It was a mixed feeling of happiness and sadness to know that these angels were leaving for their next journey in life.

After the tea serving ceremony, the main event of the day began. Graduates went up the stage one after another to have their tassels turned, and to receive their certificates. While it was going on, parents were busy taking photographs or videos of this important moment in a child’s journey in life.

“Do not wait to fulfil filial duties. My heart is filled with gratitude…”

Parental love is always selfless; parents are always the pillars for their offspring. All graduates performed the lyrical sign language of “Do Not Wait to Fulfil Filial Duties” to express their gratitude and love for their parents.

The young graduates were then led by their respective teachers to their parents. They gave a deep bow to their parents, many of whom could not help but feel deeply touched and emotional. They hugged their child tightly and a warm ambience prevailed at that very moment.

In his speech, the Deputy CEO of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, Sio Kee Hong, encouraged the parents to continue guiding their child with kindness and care, so that they will grow to become strong.

An exemplary for younger siblings

As a parent, Jennifer Lim was touched and tearful as she watched her child, Felicia Poh, performing the lyrical sign language.

She said that she strongly agreed with Tzu Chi’s projection of education that character building is the key to self-management, and only then could one do well in whatever jobs entrusted onto one’s shoulders.

Jennifer was thankful that her child had received good training in the Da Ai Kindergarten. She said that her child is always a good example for her younger siblings. She is also a good help in the kitchen.

Tan Chee Teong, who lives within close proximity to the Jing Si Hall, pointed out that he was always particular about giving humanistic and character education to his children. Due to that, he preferred to send his three children to Da Ai Kindergarten. On this occasion, his second child, Shou De, was graduating. The child became independent and well-disciplined in carrying out his daily routines after studying at the Da Ai Kindergarten.

Shou De has also become a vegetarian out of love for other forms of life. He kept requesting his parents to be vegetarians, and he was successful when his father turned vegetarian six months ago.

The graduation ceremony ended with the teachers performing a lyrical sign language of “Gentle Reminder”, to remind the little ones that life could only be lived once. So, live life to the fullest by spreading love and kindness, and Tzu Chi will always welcome their return to this home.

 

The housewives in the play asked the seller to get them less vegetables so that they could save for donation. [Photograph by Chan Tuck Meng]   The little ones went round collecting donations from the parents. [Photograph by Chan Tuck Meng]

The housewives in the play asked the seller to get them less vegetables so that they could save for donation. [Photograph by Chan Tuck Meng]
 
The little ones went round collecting donations from the parents. [Photograph by Chan Tuck Meng]
 
Wong Ching Tee thanked the teachers for training her little girl into an independent, well-behaved and very filial child. [Photograph by Gan Wee Meng]   Wong Sheau Bih (left), who used to be short-tempered, has learnt that encouraging and rewarding is better than scolding and nagging when educating her child. [Photograph by Chan Tuck Meng]

Wong Ching Tee thanked the teachers for training her little girl into an independent, well-behaved and very filial child. [Photograph by Gan Wee Meng]
 
 
Wong Sheau Bih (left), who used to be short-tempered, has learnt that encouraging and rewarding is better than scolding and nagging when educating her child. [Photograph by Chan Tuck Meng]
 
A loving reminder to the graduates from the teachers through the sign language interpretation of the song, “Gentle Reminder”. [Photograph by Chan Tuck Meng]  

A loving reminder to the graduates from the teachers through the sign language interpretation of the song, “Gentle Reminder”. [Photograph by Chan Tuck Meng]