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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Wednesday, 27 August 2014 00:00

Sprouting Seeds of Love following a Windstorm

Written by  BY KOH POO LENG, KLANG / TRANSLATED BY LEE MARN FONG

Murugan (in yellow shirt) delivering recyclables to the recycling point. [Photograph by Tan Kim Chew]

Tzu Chi volunteers’ continuous love and care to the residents of Taman Juta, Klang, after it was ravaged by a windstorm, had led to the establishment of the first recycling point within the community this July. It is the residents’ way of reciprocating the love they received and protecting Mother Earth.


There is a philosophical saying that “Everything happens for a reason.” There is also a Chinese proverb that says, “When the old man on the frontier lost his mare, who could have guessed it was a blessing in disguise?” No one could predict that Taman Juta could be struck by a strong windstorm that ripped the roof tiles, causing rainwater to leak through and soak the furniture, dampening the hearts of the residents. No one could predict if Tzu Chi volunteers’ love and care would motivate the residents to bend down to pick up recyclables on the ground and become protectors of Mother Earth.

 
A pure and simple heart
 
 
On August 17, 2014, as the warm morning sun was shining through the swaying coconut palms, a group of Indian and Chinese volunteers were seen busily sorting recyclables underneath the trees. This simple basic recycling point was set up from scratch following a windstorm, which created a wonderful affinity for Tzu Chi volunteers and the local Indian residents to join hands in conserving the environment.
 
 
March 17, 2014, was the day an unexpected windstorm ripped the roofs off a row of low-cost double-storey houses in Taman Juta. Upon receiving the news, Tzu Chi volunteers were mobilized to visit each of the 15 affected families to assess the damage and provide care, followed by the delivery of hot meals and cash relief to the affected families. The presence of Tzu Chi volunteers had brought peace and comfort to the residents.
 
 
While busily guiding the volunteers in sorting recyclables, Tzu Chi volunteer, Yip Kam Seng said, “Because of the windstorm, the roofs of the houses here were damaged, and volunteers came to provide assistance. That’s how our karmic connection was formed.” 
 
 
The small recycling point has become the best place for the residents to reciprocate the kindness they received.
 
 
With two small bandages on his forehead, seven-year-old Thurgaswaran struggled to push a wheelbarrow full of recyclables. Nevertheless, he worked happily and enthusiastically at the recycling point, ignoring his father’s call for him to go home. It was wonderful sight to behold in the early morning!
 
 
When asked by a volunteer, “Why do you have two bandages on your forehead? Are you sick?” Thurgaswaran responded, while busily sorting out recyclables, “My head is no longer painful. Nothing, nothing... I like to do recycling here.” His love for recycling was obvious, and with this, a little seed of loving-kindness was planted in his heart.
 
 
After the windstorm incident, volunteers kept in touch with the residents. They invited the latter to participate in the Buddha Bathing Ceremony, and ferried them to a tea party specially organized for the Indian community. Step by step, volunteers sowed and propagated the seeds of kindness, hoping that they will be in full bloom one day.
 
 
“After the tea party, the residents felt that it is possible for them to do recycling and hence, started to collect recyclables. When we saw the amount of recyclables collected, we realized that it was time to set up this recycling point,” said Kam Seng. Thus, he and his team seized the opportunity to establish this recycling point, which started operations in July, adding more force to protect the environment.
 
 
The petite Intarani A/P Munisamy still remembers the windstorm disaster well. Her husband, a dialysis patient, has not been able to work to provide for the family, resulting in financial difficulties. They collected bottles and tin cans to subsidize the household expenses. Their financial predicament was discovered when volunteers visited the windstorm victims. Thus, in addition to the cash relief for the windstorm victims, Tzu Chi also started to provide the family with school transport subsidy. The little contribution from the volunteers had deeply touched Intarani. After learning that the proceeds from recycling are channeled to charitable causes, she generously donated all her collected recyclables with these words, “When the roof was blown off by the strong wind, you provided us help and food. You helped us a lot, and I only helped a little.” Then she suddenly uttered in a serious mood, “Is this not right? Can’t I do it?”
 
 
Touched by her serious sincerity, everyone smiled from their hearts. The benevolent heart is so simple, yet touching.
 
 
Recycling to save Mother Earth
 
 
Murugan, who transported a big bag of recyclables on his motorbike to the recycling point, is the father of a recipient of Tzu Chi Study & Awards Scheme. Since receiving assistance from Tzu Chi, and having gained some knowledge in environmental protection, he has cultivated the recycling habit. For the past two years, he had consistently transported the recyclables he collected to the recycling point not too far from his home. The opening of this recycling station in Taman Juta has not only reduced his travelling time, but also allowed his wife and four daughters to contribute their efforts in saving Mother Earth.
 
 
With the set-up of the recycling point, Murugan started inviting his relatives and friends in the community to participate in recycling, hoping that loving-kindness could propagate far and endlessly, like the ripple effect of a water drop.
 
 
“Firstly, I called and asked my sisters not to throw away plastics and newspapers, and that I could collect those recyclables on my motorbike,” shared Murugan. Despite his financial constraints, he has contributed without reservations, as he felt that Tzu Chi has provided his family more than he could repay.
 
 
Muneewary A/P Muniandy, wife of Murugan informed, “I attended a prayer session in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, and by the time I reached home, it was already 2 am. But I still got up early this morning as I was told by my daughters that it’s Recycling Day today, thus I must come.” She hurried to the recycling point upon completing her house chores.
 
 
Muneewary is grateful to Tzu Chi for the help rendered in the education of her children, including the school transport subsidies for her two elder daughters, who no longer need to walk to school. This has lessened her financial burden and her worries on their safety. In appreciation, she took up the responsibility as person-in-charge of the recycling point. She hopes to motivate more residents to join in environmental protection and reduce destruction to Mother Earth.
 
 
At the tea party, Muneewary learnt that recycled PET bottles can be turned into garments. She said, “I realized that we have made a lot of mistakes. We throw away plastics and even burn them, and the smoke from burning pollutes the environment. Now I feel that recycling helps protect Mother Earth, which is our home.”
 
 
Muneewary was leading a carefree life until four years ago, when an unexpected financial crisis brought hardships to the family. But, she had no complaints. She took on a job as a part-time cleaner to provide for her family when her husband was unemployed. Through their hardships, the family has learnt to better appreciate what they have. They were fully aware that all their misfortunes would pass, as long as, they seize the present to do good deeds. Likewise, we should not wait until Mother Earth is severely threatened to realize it is too late to save it.
 
 
 
 
Actually, environmental protection is closely related to all of us. The Indian residents of Taman Juta have been awakened to Mother Nature’s warnings in March. The continuous support and care from Tzu Chi volunteers have touched their hearts, and they translated their feelings of gratitude into actions. They have set examples for others to do recycling and pool together their concerted efforts to bring about a peaceful and clean planet. Hopefully, this stream of driving force will forever encircle Taman Juta.

 

 

Tzu Chi volunteers and residents of Taman Juta were bonded by the windstorm in March. The residents have become willing protectors of Mother Earth. [Photograph by Tan Kim Chew]   In reciprocating Tzu Chi’s kindness, and having realized the importance of environmental protection, Muneewary started to contribute at the recycling point together with her daughters. [Photograph by Tan Kim Chew]

Tzu Chi volunteers and residents of Taman Juta were bonded by the windstorm in March. The residents have become willing protectors of Mother Earth. [Photograph by Tan Kim Chew]
 
In reciprocating Tzu Chi’s kindness, and having realized the importance of environmental protection, Muneewary started to contribute at the recycling point together with her daughters. [Photograph by Tan Kim Chew]
 
Volunteer Yip Kam Seng is delighted to see the establishment of the recycling point. He hopes to lead the residents in protecting the environment, and hence, reducing the occurrences of natural disasters. [Photograph by Tan Kim Chew]   Intarani received financial assistance from Tzu Chi after the windstorm disaster, including her son’s school transport subsidy. With gratitude, she donated the recyclables she had collected to help the less fortunate. [Photograph by Tan Kim Chew]

Volunteer Yip Kam Seng is delighted to see the establishment of the recycling point. He hopes to lead the residents in protecting the environment, and hence, reducing the occurrences of natural disasters. [Photograph by Tan Kim Chew]
 
 
Intarani received financial assistance from Tzu Chi after the windstorm disaster, including her son’s school transport subsidy. With gratitude, she donated the recyclables she had collected to help the less fortunate. [Photograph by Tan Kim Chew]
 
The establishment of a recycling point at Taman Juta has provided an opportunity for seven-year-old Thurgaswaran to be a recycling crusader. [Photograph by Tan Kim Chew]   Tzu Chi volunteers and the residents posed for a group photo at the recycling station. Hopefully, the seeds planted would eventually flourish into hardy trees. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]

The establishment of a recycling point at Taman Juta has provided an opportunity for seven-year-old Thurgaswaran to be a recycling crusader. [Photograph by Tan Kim Chew]
 
 
Tzu Chi volunteers and the residents posed for a group photo at the recycling station. Hopefully, the seeds planted would eventually flourish into hardy trees. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]
 

 

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