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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Wednesday, 01 October 2014 00:00

Nine Emperor Gods Festival: Volunteers Picking Up “Treasures” as Form of Worship

Written by  Tzu Chi Documenting Team, Muar / Translated by Goh Hong Wee

Volunteer Hou Chun Hui utilized the information on the board to share with the public the “Five good deeds a day”, that is, adopting a vegetarian diet, saving water, saving power, using portable tableware and changing modes of transportation. [Photograph by Ng Pei Sze]

It is a typical outcome for the streets to be cluttered with rubbish after the parade of the Nine Emperor Gods Festival. Tzu Chi volunteers took to the streets to lead by example, taking the initiative to bend down to pick up recyclables.


The Nine Emperor Gods Festival is celebrated in the 9th Lunar Month each year with a parade procession. On this day, many worshippers will also visit the temples to pray. On October 1, 2014, more than 10,000 people lined up along the roads to witness this 5 km long annual procession organized by the Muar Doumu Gong. Various participants in the procession came up with different ideas, such as, flower car decorations, drummers, dragon and lion dances, lanterns, and so on.
 
On August 24, the Muar Doumu Gong members forwarded a letter to Tzu Chi Muar with an invitation for Tzu Chi volunteers to assist in maintaining an environmentally-clean procession and to promote environmental awareness.
 
After a meeting, Tzu Chi volunteers agreed to the proposal and the Environmental Group began planning and coordinating the available human resources, with each zone inviting volunteers and planning the recyclable collection points accordingly. Volunteers, Sen Ah Wat, Lee Yuan Wen and Yu Zhen Guo attended the temple’s Board Meeting to explain the collection plan. However, when the parade route was shortened, volunteers had to make changes from the original 37 recyclable collection points to 26 points. They then set up recycling bins, advocating environmental protection. Around 180 volunteers participated in this activity.
 
“That day was a working day, so volunteers had to rush to the venue after work. Some volunteers did not arrive on time due to road blocks and traffic congestion; and the volunteer in charge of one collection point had not arrived in time to receive the food sent to his venue,” said Coordinator, Li Yuan Wen.
 
Despite the various challenges, volunteers were cooperative enough to allay Yuan Wen’s concerns. The temple’s Committee Members had also worked very closely with the volunteers to ensure the activity ran smoothly.
 
Promoting environmental awareness in the crowd
 
Despite her physical discomfort, volunteer Xiao Xiu Ping still grasped this opportunity to contribute. She thought that if she could do more she would do more, hoping that her action would help to instill environmental protection awareness in the public. When she was tired, she would sit in the wheelchair to rest, while her hands were still holding the green placard promoting environmental awareness to passersby.
 
She had also invited the community volunteers to participate in this activity. One of them was Zheng Zheng Ming, who applied for a half-day leave from his company to participate in this event. Since joining the recycling movement and realizing its importance, he has personally taken the initiative to carry out recycling activity by staying back in his company after work each day to reorganize the recyclables resources. “At first I’m a bit embarrassed, but I’m more comfortable now,” he said.
 
Before the parade arrived, volunteer Hou Chun Hui walked into the crowd holding a placard promoting environmental protection. She hopes people will stop littering and learn to classify recyclables. She used placards and posters to share with the public the “Five good deeds a day”, that is, adopting a vegetarian diet, saving water, saving power, using portable tableware and changing modes of transportation.
 
Not allowing garbage to be littered on the ground
 
Ye Ai Lian will watch the parade each year, and she has witnessed the garbage produced by the crowd. She said, “You throw, I also throw; and as a result, there were many garbage on the streets.” She fully agreed with Tzu Chi establishing recyclable collection points along the street, as they do not only educate people not to litter, but also let everyone know that protecting the environment is everyone’s responsibility.
 
Sun Xiao Hui informed that in previous years, there were lots of garbage, including recyclables, such as, plastic bottles, aluminium cans, paper, and so on, littered on the roads after the parade; and she had mixed feelings then. This year, she was very happy to see volunteers setting up recycling points to assist in the collection of recyclables.
 
Lin Yi Zhi, who brought her 3-year-old son to watch the parade, was deeply impressed with the establishment of the Tzu Chi’s recycling points along the route. She believes that it is important to educate the public on environmental protection and instill in the children to cherish resources and care for the Earth.
 
 
“The Earth is my home, and environmental protection is everyone’s responsibility” was the slogan that was chanted in the parade. Some people took the initiative to bend down to pick up plastic cups and plastic bottles to pass on to volunteers. Ten-year-old Chen Jia Yi and parents were holding garbage bags together and picking up recyclables on the ground. She relaxed and said, “Must get involved in environmental protection activities and care for the Earth.”
 
 
 
On October 1, 2014, Tzu Chi Muar participated for the first time in Doumu Gong’s annual parade of the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, taking this opportunity to promote environmental protection and enhance the public awareness towards environmental protection. [Photograph by Huang Mei Zhen]   Coordinator Lee Yuan Wen (right) and volunteers making the promotional boards together, hoping this could remind the public to keep the environment clean. [Photograph by Kang Miew Tiang]

On October 1, 2014, Tzu Chi Muar participated for the first time in Doumu Gong’s annual parade of the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, taking this opportunity to promote environmental protection and enhance the public awareness towards environmental protection. [Photograph by Huang Mei Zhen]
 
Coordinator Lee Yuan Wen (right) and volunteers making the promotional boards together, hoping this could remind the public to keep the environment clean. [Photograph by Kang Miew Tiang]
 
Volunteer Seow Hui Ping was not feeling well to move around, but she still took this opportunity to contribute, holding the information cards to promote environmental protection to the public. [Photograph by Kang Miew Tiang]   Sun Xiao Hui felt very sad to see so much garbage on the streets after the parade in previous years. This year, she was happy that Tzu Chi had set up recycling points to help in recycling resources. [Photograph by Huang Mei Zhen]

Volunteer Seow Hui Ping was not feeling well to move around, but she still took this opportunity to contribute, holding the information cards to promote environmental protection to the public. [Photograph by Kang Miew Tiang]
 
 
Sun Xiao Hui felt very sad to see so much garbage on the streets after the parade in previous years. This year, she was happy that Tzu Chi had set up recycling points to help in recycling resources. [Photograph by Huang Mei Zhen]

 

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