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Sunday, 06 July 2014 00:00

East Malaysian Volunteers on Exchange and Training Course in KL

Written by  LOW CHOW PING, TAN HIM HION & SIOW LEE KIEN, KL & SELANGOR

About 60 volunteers from Kuching and Bintulu arrived at Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, with the mission to learn how to manage and run a community recycling centre and enhance their understanding on their responsibilities in home visits. [Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]

East and West Malaysia belong to one country separated by the South China Sea. As such, the East Malaysian volunteers have fewer opportunities to organize exchanges or attend training courses in West Malaysia. However, with great blessings, about 60 volunteers from Kuching and Bintulu in East Malaysia managed to make a trip to Kuala Lumpur to visit recycling centres and Tzu Chi’s care recipients, as well as, attend the one-day Charity-cum-Recycling Training Course.


On July 3, 2014, about 60 volunteers from Kuching and Bintulu arrived at Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, with the mission to learn how to manage and run a community recycling centre and enhance their understanding on their responsibilities in home visits. The following morning, they were divided into two groups and transported in two buses to nine community recycling centres in Klang Valley. On July 5, they attended a one-day Charity-cum-Recycling Training Course at KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall; and on July 6, they were divided into 19 groups for visits to Tzu Chi’s care recipients in various communities. In addition, they also attended “The Master’s Global Dharma Lecture at Dawn” via video synchronization each morning.

Head of Tzu Chi Kuching, Lai Yoke Foong, expressed that many of the East Malaysian volunteers were touched by the sharing of KL & Selangor volunteers. They were also amazed by the pictures depicting the charitable work carried out by their KL & Selangor counterparts. She said, “Everyone feels that there are many volunteers in KL & Selangor who often travel to Taiwan to learn from the volunteers there. Thus, I bring the East Malaysian volunteers here to learn.”

“It is inevitable to face challenges in home care cases, but how should we overcome these challenges? This is what we need to learn,” said Echo Chien, CEO of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, as she encouraged everyone to attend to each home care case mindfully and to try and understand the suffering of sentient beings. She also said that at the same time, we must have our wisdom and compassion in unison to keep vexations at bay.

Cultivation centre in the neighborhood

Since 2011, Tzu Chi KL & Selangor has been aiming to establish a recycling centre in each community. To-date, 63 recycling centres had been set up. They were either converted from abandoned wet markets, on lease from the local municipal government, or even using freight containers as makeshift recycling centres that have no water, electrical power and toilet facilities. Despite their different set-ups, all these recycling centres play the same role as a place for the elderly and a neighborhood cultivation centre.

After visiting a few community recycling centres, Hong Kim Heok from Kuching realized that carrying out recycling work in KL & Selangor is much more challenging than in Kuching. This is especially so in the high commercial value districts, where it is difficult to find a proper place for a recycling centre; and volunteers also have to resort to using a small container as recycling centre, where they sort out recyclables in the open air before they are placed back into the container.  

Even with the limited space in the container, the recyclables are neatly arranged. Kim Heok felt fortunate that the Bintawa Recycling Centre in Kuching is a semi-detached house with ample space that enables volunteers to work inside without being exposed to the hot sun and rain.

Kim Heok, leader of the Bintawa Recycling Centre, attended the exchange and training course together with her daughter, Wong Chi Yong. The visit to the recycling centres in KL & Selangor was an eye-opener for Kim Heok. She also reflected and repented for her frequent complaints about the lack of facilities in Bintawa Recycling Centre. She told herself that she should be contented and be grateful that they have such a proper recycling centre in Bintawa. Through the courses, she also learnt that recycling centres are like little Dharma ships of Tzu Chi. Besides getting people in the neighbourhood to partake in environmental protection, they also serve as cultivation grounds for the people to learn Buddhadharma.

Through this West Malaysian journey, Kim Heok has gained a more in-depth knowledge and understanding about environmental protection. She is determined to be more diligent in encouraging and motivating all residents in the neighbourhood to participate in recycling.

Chi Yong was delighted to witness the changes in her mother and was deeply touched by her sharing of joy and repentance. She was surprised that her mother had the courage to go on stage to confess and apologize to fellow volunteers whom she had reproached in the past. Kim Heok, who loves doing recycling, is also hot-tempered. She would get angry easily and complain, especially when there are loads of recyclables to handle. After attending the morning Dharma talks by the Master, she realized her shortcomings and felt regretful.

After listening to her daughter’s remarks, Kim Heok replied with a smile, “We have to treat everyone with gratitude, respect and love; only then can we form good relationship with everyone and get more people to join Tzu Chi.”

A play on environmental protection

“What’s the time now? We almost finish segregating the recyclables, and only now you come.”
“I have to work over-time today, but I guarantee coming tomorrow.”
“Ah! One told me to sort this way, while another told me to sort that way. So, who should I listen to?”

Above were some of the dialogues in a play performed by Tzu Chi KL & Selangor volunteers. The play highlighted the challenges and problems faced at recycling centres, like volunteers being late and station leaders throwing their temper in a humourous manner. After the sketch, everyone openly discussed and exchanged their views and experiences in order to solve the problems and challenges in groups. They found that the best solution is to encourage everyone to learn and take the Dharma to heart, then everyone will naturally become more understanding and tolerant.   

Phang Fah Yun, Leader of Kuching’s Recycling Team, commended KL & Selangor’s Committee Members for working together closely and harmoniously, and shouldering the responsibilities with great will. He also felt the need to put in more efforts to have more than their present two recycling centres out of the 10 Concerted Effort Groups in East Malaysia.

Fah Yun also shared that the local government is supportive of Tzu Chi, and has specially allocated three venues for Tzu Chi to set up recycling stations. After taking into consideration the number of volunteers and other factors, they decided to set up the recycling centres one after another; and from the two-day visit and exchange, he realized that they should not worry too much in setting up the recycling centres. He added, “I finally understood that during the initial stage when a recycling centre is established, even with a small number of committed volunteers, it can still work out. When there is great will, there is a way. Upon our return to East Malaysia, we will be more assertive in reviewing and exploring the possibilities of setting up the recycling centres and points.” Fah Yun further remarked that a small recycling centre can be expanded gradually after its establishment, to include the promotion of Environmental Protection Mission in East Malaysia.  

The importance of home visit reports

Chan Yet Seong from Bintulu joined Tzu Chi about nine years ago, and assumed the role as Charity Team Leader in her community. Initially, she hardly spoke or invited anyone to join the home visits as she always thought that she could just conduct the visits with few fellow volunteers if no one else participated.

At this exchange and training course, which she attended together with 14 volunteers from Bintulu, she gladly expressed, “Now I know that team power is required in the management of charity cases, so that we can provide care in relays.”

Through the sharing by the KL & Selangor’s Charity Team, Yet Seong has gained a better understanding of her roles and responsibilities. In the past, she would only visit her team members and show concern when they faced challenges. Other than that, she had little interaction with them. Now, she finally realized that she should show her care to all her team members and treat everyone equally.  

Another volunteer, Chen Pei Zi specially arranged her flight to Kuala Lumpur on Friday after her class in order to attend this exchange and training course. She exclaimed that she always feels very happy to contribute in Tzu Chi’s activities. She said, “Normally, there is a lack of manpower in report writing. So, I am more than willing to write the reports.” She always feels honoured when she is requested to write a report for the home visits. She fully understands that “being needed” is the most meaningful thing.

She added, “The home visit reports give us a full dossier of each care recipient, and also help us to assess the cases during meetings, so that we can help those who are really in need.”



For the volunteers from Kuching and Bintulu, this was not merely a sightseeing trip. Indeed, they have learnt to manage home visit cases and promote environmental protection through sharing by volunteers from different communities and on field visits. They also eliminated their worries through the stories of others. Hopefully, by having this visit and exchange, the Missions of Charity and Environmental Protection in East and West Malaysia can progress on the same track. The event ended with everyone unanimously agreeing that this Charity-cum-Recycling Exchange and Training Course was wonderful and remarkable!

 

The participants taking down notes diligently. [Photograph by Ong See Lim]   Echo Chien, CEO of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, encouraged everyone to attend to each home care case mindfully and to try to understand the suffering of sentient beings. At the same time, have our wisdom and compassion in unison to keep vexations at bay. [Photograph by Ong See Lim]

The participants taking down notes diligently. [Photograph by Ong See Lim]
 
Echo Chien, CEO of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, encouraged everyone to attend to each home care case mindfully and to try to understand the suffering of sentient beings. At the same time, have our wisdom and compassion in unison to keep vexations at bay. [Photograph by Ong See Lim]
 
In the early morning of July 4, volunteers from East Malaysia visited recycling centres in the Klang Valley in two groups. [Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]   Divided into 19 groups, the volunteers from East Malaysia went for home visits in various communities.  [Photograph by Ch’ng Kooi Tick]

In the early morning of July 4, volunteers from East Malaysia visited recycling centres in the Klang Valley in two groups. [Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]
 
 
Divided into 19 groups, the volunteers from East Malaysia went for home visits in various communities. [Photograph by Ch’ng Kooi Tick]
 
A play by Tzu Chi KL & Selangor volunteers presented the challenges and problems faced at recycling centres, such as, volunteers being late and station leaders throwing their temper in a humourous way. [Photograph by Ong See Lim]   Head of Tzu Chi Kuching, Lai Yoke Foong, expressed that many of the East Malaysian volunteers were touched by the sharing of KL & Selangor volunteers. They were also amazed by the charitable work carried out by their KL & Selangor counterparts. [Photograph by Leng Sow Wai]

A play by Tzu Chi KL & Selangor volunteers presented the challenges and problems faced at recycling centres, such as, volunteers being late and station leaders throwing their temper in a humourous way. [Photograph by Ong See Lim]
 
 
Head of Tzu Chi Kuching, Lai Yoke Foong, expressed that many of the East Malaysian volunteers were touched by the sharing of KL & Selangor volunteers. They were also amazed by the charitable work carried out by their KL & Selangor counterparts. [Photograph by Leng Sow Wai]
 
Fah Yun remarked that a small recycling centre can be expanded gradually after its set-up. [Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]   Through the sharing by the KL & Selangor’s Charity Team, Yue Chang (1st left) gained a deeper understanding of her roles and responsibilities. She gladly expressed, “Now I know that team power is required in the management of charity cases, so that we can provide care in relays.” [Photograph by Ong See Lim]

Fah Yun remarked that a small recycling centre can be expanded gradually after its set-up. [Photograph by Lim Su Nguan]
 
 
Through the sharing by the KL & Selangor’s Charity Team, Yue Chang (1st left) gained a deeper understanding of her roles and responsibilities. She gladly expressed, “Now I know that team power is required in the management of charity cases, so that we can provide care in relays.” [Photograph by Ong See Lim]
 
Kim Heok (right) attended the exchange and training course together with her daughter, Wong Chi Yong (left). The visit to the recycling centres was an eye-opener for her. She also reflected and repented for her frequent complaints about the lack of facilities in Bintawa Recycling Centre. [Photograph by Ong See Lim]  

Kim Heok (right) attended the exchange and training course together with her daughter, Wong Chi Yong (left). The visit to the recycling centres was an eye-opener for her. She also reflected and repented for her frequent complaints about the lack of facilities in Bintawa Recycling Centre. [Photograph by Ong See Lim]