Sunday, May 28th

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Saturday, 24 September 2016 00:00

Advocating Environmental Protection through Mural Paintings

Written by  Hu Jia Li & Siow Lee Kien, KL & Selangor / Translated by Tan Heang Shin

Selangor State Assemblywoman, Elizabeth Wong was present to grace the opening ceremony of the mural at Bukit Jelutong Recycling Centre[Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]

Eleven guests witnessed the opening of a 5 ft by 25 ft long mural in the “Jom! Kitar Semula” ceremony. The mural depicted scenes of forest, being the home for butterflies, humming birds and various insects living in the ecosystem. It also promotes care for our environment, planet and resources.


On September 24, 2016, Selangor State Assemblywoman, Elizabeth Wong; Deputy CEO of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, Sio Kee Hong; President of Bukit Jelutong Resident Association, Datin Sivamani, together with some 150 Tzu Chi volunteers, representatives from State Government agencies, local residents and Tzu Chi care recipients, graced the opening ceremony of the mural at Bukit Jelutong Recycling Centre.

More than ten senior citizens from Bukit Jelutong Tai Chi group joined 12 multiracial children from care recipient families and Parent-child Bonding Class in performing sign language to promote the values of environmental protection and leave a clean river, blue sky and green Earth behind.

A video clip was aired to take a trip down memory lane. It featured Tan Soon Hock leading four volunteers in establishing the recycling mission by collecting recyclables once a month at the Jalan Kubah recycling point.

After four years of hard work, and with support from the Residents’ Association and Municipal Council, the recycling point was relocated to the Jalan Pelapik commercial area. In order to create awareness and to capture public attention, a mural on nature was painted on the vacant wall next to the recycling centre.

The making of the mural received assistance from the many parties. The Fire Brigade Department cleaned up the wall and Tzu Chi volunteers came up with ideas for the mural, which was painted by residents from all walks of life.

As a token of appreciation for the 40 children involved in the mural painting, Bukit Jelutong’s property developer (Sime Darby Property Bhd), together with Shah Alam Section 19 Municipal Council, Tzu Chi volunteers and the Residents’ Association, jointly awarded certificates of merit to these young volunteers.

A role model to emulate

According to Elizabeth, Selangor has a population of six million, and if everyone produces one kg of garbage a day, that would mean six million kg of garbage per day. With the increasing cost of managing garbage, the State Government is planning to launch various programmes to manage solid waste and to implement recycling at homes.

The State Government would also ban the usage of styrofoam completely commencing 2017. Elizabeth said, “These styrofoam utensils have become the necessities in today’s world. In the olden days, we never heard of styrofoam or plastic containers. We really need to start educating the younger generations that these materials are unhealthy and not environmentally-friendly.” She hopes that the suppliers, restaurants, cafes and individuals would support the new legislation and avoid using disposable utensils.

“I hope that everyone will also be more contented and reduce unnecessary wants. What we need is actually not much and we must remember that materials cannot bring happiness. I don’t mind telling you that the clothing I am wearing today was purchased eight years ago,” Elizabeth added.

She also indicated that the State Government would work with more non-governmental organizations to run programmes in educating the younger generations in particular. She admired the group of children who came forward to help complete the mural.

She was extremely delighted when she saw the various animals on the wall. Many poachers would try to kill snakes, birds, bees, butterflies, foxes and so on, but in fact these animals are just part of nature like the humans. She remarked, “I hope Bukit Jelutong not only serves as a role model for Shah Alam but also the State of Selangor.”

A mission to promote green initiatives

Kee Hong praised the upgrade of the recycling point into a recycling centre, which saw a turnout of 50 volunteers at times. He said, “Credit must be given to the strong determination and perseverance of all to educate the community on the philosophy of environmental protection.”

There are currently over 1,000 Tzu Chi recycling points operating in open spaces with no water and electricity supply. Residents have often mistaken a recycling centre as dumping ground for garbage and scraps, which result in volunteers being issued summonses by the Municipal Council.

Although some recycling volunteers are professionals and even big bosses for public listed companies, they have humbled themselves and personally sorted the recyclables. Kee Hong commended, “In helping others, they are materially and spiritually wealthy. We also thank the Government in providing a platform for everyone to contribute to the community.”

These non-profit recycling centres are meant to raise environmental awareness in the community. With abnormal climate changes bringing about frequent natural disasters, there is a pressing need for environmental protection. The recycling centres also serve as the platform for volunteers to contribute and the proceeds from sale of recyclables are channelled to help the poor and needy families.

Datin Sivamani emphasized that educating the public members must not wait, and schools play a vital role in instilling the right concept into the young minds.

A mural that preach the Dharma silently

When the recycling point was first opened, Yip Sau Chuen purely wanted to help his mother-in-law, Gan Sew Geok @ Gan Si Yok and send over the recyclables at home to Tzu Chi. But when he began to join as a recycling volunteer in December 2015, the recycling centre has since become his second home. His whole family would visit the recycling centre few times a week.

Having a passion in recycling, the creative Sau Chuen was the mastermind behind the mural paintings. The forest theme was aimed at appealing to the public to protect the environment. In order to encourage public members from all social strata to join in, a simple drawing and colour selection was opted.

On September 6, volunteers were mobilized to start the painting work and on September 11, the drawing was projected onto the wall for further painting. “We were racing against time as we need to accommodate the 4-in-1 Cadre Camp schedule and the opening ceremony on September 24. Taking the bad weather into consideration, the team decided to perform the final painting from September 13 to 15, from 7 am to 9 pm,” Sau Chuen shared.

The project attracted much public attention. Some rolled up their sleeves and joined in while some showed more concerns about environmental protection after learning more.

On one side of the mural, children had their hand prints stamped on the wall to make up a big tree drawing. Sau Chuen elaborated, “The big and small hands represent people from all walks of life working hard to protect Mother Earth. No matter who you are, everyone has a responsibility in this mission.”

He hopes the young ones would be inspired through their participation in the project. Close to 40 children participated during the three days, leaving a rich legacy behind. It is also hoped that parents would be inspired to start driving environmental protection in daily life.

Malay resident, Aisha brought her three children for full participation throughout the three days. It was usually hard to wake them up early during holidays but they were thrilled to bits with the project. She said, “They had a good time thinking about contributing their efforts for the community.”

Indeed it was an opportunity hard to come by for the young ones, especially when they are always busy with school work on normal days. Not only were they able to contribute, they could also share proudly with their friends.

Aisha continued, “It serves as a life education for the children to learn to love our nature. We need to treasure every tree and leave and what we have. Let’s not go after new products and unnecessary packaging.” She used to naively think that garbage would dissolve by itself; environmental protection used to be alien to her.



A volunteer wearing a “recycling outfit” walked towards the crowd. This human robot successfully drew the kids’ attention while the adults gazed in admiration. Everyone took turns to take photo with the robot.

Volunteers’ creativity in turning recyclables into handicrafts, torn jeans into handbags, old socks into soft toys, fabrics into pillows, and PET bottles into garments and eco-blankets were simply awe-inspiring.

The mural’s preaching of the Dharma in silence has played a key role in advocating environmental protection and urging everyone to play their part in reducing carbon emission.

 

Volunteers from all social strata presented a sign language of Tzu Chi’s song, “A Clean Planet”. [Photograph by Chua Teck Ching]   Selangor State Assemblywoman, Elizabeth Wong presented certificates of merit to students, who volunteered in the mural paintings. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]

Volunteers from all social strata presented a sign language of Tzu Chi’s song, “A Clean Planet”. [Photograph by Chua Teck Ching]
 
Selangor State Assemblywoman, Elizabeth Wong presented certificates of merit to students, who volunteered in the mural paintings. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]
 
In his speech, Deputy CEO of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, Sio Kee Hong shared the multi-purpose of a Tzu Chi recycling centre.[Photograph by Chua Teck Ching]   Volunteers from all walks of life hope to convey the message on environmental protection to the public through the mural. [Photograph by Chua Teck Ching]

In his speech, Deputy CEO of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, Sio Kee Hong shared the multi-purpose of a Tzu Chi recycling centre.[Photograph by Chua Teck Ching]
 
 
Volunteers from all walks of life hope to convey the message on environmental protection to the public through the mural. [Photograph by Chua Teck Ching]
 
Volunteer Yip Sau Chuen creatively designed a “corner of fame” for children to have their hand prints stamped on the wall to form a big tree. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]   Aisha brought her three children for the community service throughout the three days. [Photograph by Chua Teck Ching]

Volunteer Yip Sau Chuen creatively designed a “corner of fame” for children to have their hand prints stamped on the wall to form a big tree. [Photograph by Ng Shie Yuh]
 
 
Aisha brought her three children for the community service throughout the three days. [Photograph by Chua Teck Ching]
 
A turnout of 70 volunteers had participated in the painting of the 5 ft by 25 ft long mural. [Photograph by Chan Tuck Meng]  

A turnout of 70 volunteers had participated in the painting of the 5 ft by 25 ft long mural. [Photograph by Chan Tuck Meng]