Friday, Jul 21st

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Wednesday, 31 August 2016 00:00

Blessing on Me

Written by  Tan Kim Hion & Ng Chai Hoon, KL & Selangor / Translated by Chong Pei Fen & Lim Wen Xin

Chew Kooi Gaik of 70 (wheelchair bound) joyfully received recognition from Song Quek Khian (right), Deputy CEO of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor. She felt blessed with the opportunity to be Master’s disciples and join in the ranks of volunteerism. [Photograph by Kevin Tan Kok Sieong]

“Blessing! This is blessing! I am not dreaming, am I? Am I really ‘wearing’ the blessing? This is great, thank you Master for giving me such blessing!” uttered a 70-year-old Chew Kooi Gaik, grinning from ear to ear.


On August 31, 2016, which coincided with Malaysia’s National Day, 354 people gathered at the KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall to attend the new volunteer training. Special arrangements were also made to present name badges to 122 recycling volunteers from Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, in recognition of their contributions to environmental protection throughout the years.

Donned in eco-friendly grey shirts (produced by Da Ai Technology* using recycled plastic bottles) and with a corsage pinned to it, the recycling volunteers were beaming with joy as they joined the new volunteers in their training programme. To them, it was an exceptionally meaningful and memorable training because at the end of the session, they would receive their name badges from the Deputy CEO of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, Song Quek Khian, acknowledging them as Tzu Chi recycling volunteers officially.

The simple and solemn badge giving ceremony was similar to a certification ceremony for Tzu Chi Commissioners. The badge recipients were those who identified with Tzu Chi’s philosophies and have been dedicating themselves to recycling. It is hoped that the acknowledgement would make it convenient for them to carry out recycling work in their respective communities, as well as offer them an opportunity to partake in volunteers’ training, thereby cultivating both wisdom and blessings. Besides local volunteers, there were also a few volunteers of Burmese and Vietnamese nationalities.

Happier old age with recycling

To a question, “Can a person with physical disabilities contribute to recycling?”, volunteer Wong Tong Kiew, whose grey hair was kept neat and short, shared with the audience that despite having had a stroke, she has been collecting recyclables from the streets and involving herself in recycling activities for almost four years now.

She was grateful that she had made recycling part of her rehabilitation activity, as that has not only improved her health, but also made her a happier person. Besides health benefits, she also developed better awareness towards environmental protection, and understood the pressing need for everyone to do recycling and protect the Earth. She asked everyone to care for Mother Earth through concrete actions and vowed that, “I will keep on doing recycling until the day I can’t!”

Her heartfelt sharing captivated the attention of 84-year-old recycling volunteer, Lau Lun, who could totally feel her joy because she too, had experienced the joy of recycling.

A reserved Granny Lau, who came from Rawang, had always requested volunteer Lim Chow Yoke to fetch recyclables from her home since she came to know the latter two years ago. However, she was reluctant to join Chow Yoke in recycling despite numerous invitations from her. Then, one fine day as Granny Lau was watching Da Ai TV programme, she was fascinated with the images of some elderly volunteers at the recycling centre. That prompted her to tell Chow Yoke, “I saw on Da Ai TV that the recycling volunteers were totally enjoying themselves in recycling work. They looked so happy! I wish I could take a look at a recycling centre.”

On her visit to the recycling centre, Granny Lau observed that the volunteers were all friendly and always smiling, just like the images she saw on Da Ai TV! It seemed like everyone was happy doing what he/she was doing. Enthralled by the pleasant atmosphere, she has since joined the volunteers in recycling. Now, she would visit the recycling centre twice a week and would no longer idle away her time in boredom.

On this day, she dressed herself in the grey uniform for recycling volunteer and received her name badge. Pleased to be a recycling volunteer, she hoped that she could engage in recycling work forever.

Riding happily to recycling centre every day

Grandma Chew Kooi Gaik could not stop smiling after receiving her name card on a wheelchair. She found out that the grey uniform she was wearing was made from PET bottles and she also thought of Tzu Chi volunteers’ repeated message of collecting blessings through recycling. It had never crossed her mind that the PET bottles picked up could be turned into warm clothing, and eventually put on her. Is that akin to ‘wearing’ blessing?

This is Grandma Kooi Gaik’s fifth year doing recycling. She would ride a motorbike to the recycling centre every day and work for two hours before returning home. She considered that as if she was attending a daily two-hour class at school diligently, never missing a session.

She said, “My children have their own families and jobs. My grandchildren go to school, too, so I am often left alone at home, wondering how to spend my time. Thankfully, Master Cheng Yen promoted recycling otherwise I would never have the chance to recycle.”

Grandma Kooi Gaik has been suffering from knee pain for over a decade. Her legs are no longer as strong, and she needs a walking aid for her outing as she cannot walk or stand for long. Despite the pain, she has never given up on recycling. Instead of walking, she rides and this has effectively reduced the stress on her knees.

She is extremely grateful to have met Tzu Chi volunteers. Through them she has the opportunity to help out at the recycling centre, and that was the happiest thing in her life. Once, when she saw the Master’s compassionate look and heard her repeated words of wisdom on the screen, she wept instantly. She thought the Master was full of love and cared for nature and all beings.

Since then, she has insisted on recycling. She could not travel all the way to Taiwan to follow the Master’s footsteps due to the distance, but she could respond to the Master’s call. She could use her hands to contribute her minute strength so that the Earth would not be turned into a garbage land, and that future generations would not have to live in a polluted world.

“I could not do more even if I wanted to. All I could do was to sort out the recyclables. Working every day albeit little is considered as doing a good deed. Capable of doing a good deed is a blessing! Look, I have earned my uniform today!” remarked the Grandma.

Grandma Kooi Gaik caressed her grey uniform with a smile, happily promoting it to those around her, telling everyone how soft, how beautiful and how comfortable it was. She thanked Master Cheng Yen for encouraging the volunteers to set up so many recycling centres for abled senior citizens like her, who have nothing to do, to help out with recycling. She exclaimed, “This is such a rare affinity, such a blessing!”

Inviting all to join in the noble act

Indian recycling volunteer, Chentamil a/p Muthu from Kajang, was also present at the training and badge giving ceremony. She could not help but smile heartily upon receiving her name badge. She also shared that donning that uniform had made her feel like she is now officially a member of Tzu Chi’s family!

Chentamil, a single mother with a son under her care, sought financial assistance from Tzu Chi seven years ago. As she was unable to repay Tzu Chi’s kindness in cash, she has chosen to reciprocate the love she had received through recycling. Come rain or shine, she would walk to the recycling centre to help in recyclable sorting every Wednesday and on the monthly Recycling Day. She is also ever ready to offer her help in recycling whenever requested for by a volunteer. Her participation in recycling always frees her mind from worries and brings her a moment of peace.

About two months ago, when her son managed to secure a job to support the family’s livelihood, she requested Tzu Chi to stop their financial aid. Today, at the training session conducted in Mandarin, she was able to comprehend what was communicated with the on-site English interpretation provided. She gained a better understanding of Tzu Chi’s missions and was deeply moved by the volunteers’ sharing. She said smilingly that she would share what she has learnt with others and take active initiatives in encouraging others to join the ranks of recycling and Great Love.



“…Folks, let’s invite one another to do recycling and share the joy…” As the song, “Everyone Does Recycling”, was played, recycling volunteers of different races, religions and age groups sang their hearts out passionately and gestured to the audience to join them in recycling with bright smiles on their faces.

* Da Ai Technology Co Ltd, the first green social enterprise in Taiwan, was established on December 10, 2008. In accordance with Master Cheng Yen’s philosophy to “coexist with Earth”, it has been committed to research and develop eco-friendly products from recycled plastic bottles.

Recycling volunteers donned in their grey uniforms produced by Da Ai Technology were gratified that their hard work was recognized and valued. [Photograph by Kevin Tan Kok Sieong]   Undeterred by her severe hunchback, 81-year-old Tan Wee has done recycling happily for years. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]

Recycling volunteers donned in their grey uniforms produced by Da Ai Technology were gratified that their hard work was recognized and valued. [Photograph by Kevin Tan Kok Sieong]
 
Undeterred by her severe hunchback, 81-year-old Tan Wee has done recycling happily for years. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]
 
Eighty-four-year-old Lau Lun (right) participates in recycling activity despite her old age. She is seen here learning the Buddhist etiquette mindfully in the volunteers’ training. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]   Wong Tong Kiew (left), who had a stroke, had taken recycling as part of her rehabilitation activity. Through the process, she has not only restored her health but also understood better the pressing need for environmental protection. [Photograph by Lim Kar Guan]

Eighty-four-year-old Lau Lun (right) participates in recycling activity despite her old age. She is seen here learning the Buddhist etiquette mindfully in the volunteers’ training. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]
 
 
Wong Tong Kiew (left), who had a stroke, had taken recycling as part of her rehabilitation activity. Through the process, she has not only restored her health but also understood better the pressing need for environmental protection. [Photograph by Lim Kar Guan]
 
Indian recycling volunteer, Chentamil, was deeply touched by the volunteers’ sharing, which she grasped through the on-site interpretation in English. She hoped to share about Tzu Chi with people around her. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]   Through the sign language interpretation of the song, “Everyone Does Recycling”, the recycling volunteers called upon everyone to join them in recycling. The new volunteers on the floor stood up and sang in response to their calls. [Photograph by Lim Kar Guan]

Indian recycling volunteer, Chentamil, was deeply touched by the volunteers’ sharing, which she grasped through the on-site interpretation in English. She hoped to share about Tzu Chi with people around her. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]
 
 
Through the sign language interpretation of the song, “Everyone Does Recycling”, the recycling volunteers called upon everyone to join them in recycling. The new volunteers on the floor stood up and sang in response to their calls. [Photograph by Lim Kar Guan]