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Saturday, 14 July 2018 00:00

Indonesian Volunteers’ Visit for Exchange on Environmental Mission

Written by  Koh Poo Leng, Klang / Translated by Lee Hui Yieng

The Indonesian volunteers were attracted to the baskets used in multiple ways at the recycling centre. They felt that they could apply the same at their recycling centres to save space. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]

Nine months after coming to Malaysia for the Indonesian-Malaysian Entrepreneur Interactive Camp, over 100 Indonesian Tzu Chi volunteers were in Kuala Lumpur again for an exchange on environmental protection mission with local volunteers. During the visit, they visited Tzu Chi recycling centres at different communities, including the Tzu Chi Taman Meru Recycling-cum-Educational Centre in Klang.


As soon as the 39 Indonesian volunteers landed in Kuala Lumpur on July 14, 2018, they were greeted by volunteer Lim Theam Aik. They then headed straight to the Tzu Chi Taman Meru Recycling-cum-Educational Centre, where they were warmly welcomed by the volunteers there.

The emcee, Lai Thai Moey, energetically welcomed the visitors in Malay. Everyone exchanged greetings warmly, feeling just like a family. To capture the memorable moment, a group photo was taken together with Ang Kim Seng, person-in-charge of Tzu Chi Klang; Tan Lay Choo, leader of the Centre; and Ng Kok Eng, land donor of the Centre.

Giving joyfully despite old age

The Indonesian volunteers were given a tour around the Centre in three groups. Although many social and educational entities have visited the Centre since its opening on October 26, 2011, it was the first time the Centre received overseas visitors. With utmost sincerity, the local volunteers introduced to their overseas counterparts the special features of the Centre.

“Tzu Chi recycling centre is a place full of joy and happiness. You will gain a lot coming here…” Some elderly recycling volunteers put aside their work and started singing as the overseas volunteers approached. The atmosphere instantly brightened up. The Indonesian volunteers responded by giving the elderly volunteers applause for their spirit of giving despite their advanced age.

Volunteers explained in their best effort every aspect of the Centre, including the interlocking brick flooring, the rainwater collection pails on the roof, the recyclable collection and sorting area, and the pre-loved item section. Through their explanations, the Indonesian volunteers saw its function in protecting the Mother Nature.

The Centre, which has been operating for six years, is also a place to engage the local residents and to inspire them to become volunteers. Forty-two-year-old volunteer, Lee How Chang, who had a narrow escape from death, shared his experience of volunteering at the Centre. He graduated with a degree in engineering from the UK. After returning to Malaysia to embark on his career, he met with a serious accident that left him in coma for over a year. His mother, who is a Tzu Chi Commissioner, took great care of him until he regained consciousness. As he could not walk well after the accident, his mother always stayed by his side to take care of him; and since the Centre started operating, the mother and son have been volunteering at the Centre.

How Chang revealed that he felt that life was so unfair to him initially. But after he volunteered at the Centre and extended his assistance to the elderly volunteers, he opened up his heart and accepted the reality. Shedding her tears, Indonesian volunteer Ng Siu Tju said, “I was moved by how his mother never gave up on him until he became a recycling volunteer.”

The Indonesian volunteers were also inspired by the stories shared by two elderly volunteers, Ku Sam Wah and Loh Kim Lin. Seventy-eight-year-old Sam Wah was a homemaker, who used to travel to Genting Highlands to pass her time whenever she was free. After she came to the Centre, she found the joy of giving. She also rejected her son’s offer to take her for vacation overseas. Instead, she suggested on visiting Tzu Chi in Hualien, Taiwan. His son fulfilled her wish by registering both of them for the Entrepreneur’s Camp in Taiwan. Finally, the mother and son attended an Entrepreneurs’ Camp in Taiwan, and upon returning to Malaysia, Sam Wah began to spend her time meaningfully by giving of herself diligently in community activities, especially in recycling.

Eighty-year-old Kim Lin came to the Centre at Sam Wah’s invitation. This has expanded her horizon and social circle. She presented a Hakka song on the spot, adding cheerfulness to the atmosphere.

Seeing the heart-warming scene, Siu Tju said, “The recycling centre here is able to inspire so many elderly volunteers to give of themselves, and at the same time, bring them joy and purification of the mind. I want to learn from this and inspire more elderly people to volunteer at our recycling centre too…”

Cherish resources by prolonging their lifespans

The well-organized recyclables at the Centre and the volunteers’ friendliness and good manners had left a good impression on the overseas volunteers. Andy Setiohaneto gave his full participation by singing along with the elderly volunteers and joining the volunteers in a lively performance. He said that the purpose of him joining this trip was to learn from fellow volunteers in Malaysia.

He shared with joy, “I think it is a great initiative of the Malaysian volunteers to set up a recycling centre in each community. Another unique thing that I see here is the involvement of elderly volunteers in recycling. I hope to implement what I have seen and learnt here in Indonesia.” He added that recyclable sorting is quite standardized even for different recycling centres. On this first visit to the Tzu Chi Taman Meru Recycling-cum-Educational Centre, he was touched by the volunteers’ warm reception that felt like a family. To him, it was the most precious experience and example to learn for the exchange trip.

Volunteer Junus Sutoyo commented on the well-planned recyclable sorting sections saying, “Everything is well-sorted and neatly arranged here. I think we should improve in this area.”

Volunteer Rudy Darwin interpreted these messages to fellow Indonesian volunteers who could not understand the Chinese language: “Tzu Chi Indonesia is also actively promoting environmental protection, but sometimes, we are stuck with some problems. So we take this opportunity to learn from volunteers in KL & Selangor and then share what we have learnt with our Indonesian volunteers so that we can do better in the future.”

As they visited the pre-loved item and electrical appliance sections, Rudy Darwin said, “Many people came here to buy the pre-loved items and used electrical appliances. We saw many things that are worth practising. This is another good example for us to learn from because in Indonesia, we would just sort the recyclables and sell them. We should think about prolonging their lifespans.”

The 3-hour exchange had benefitted volunteers from both countries with enhanced knowledge in environmental protection. Everyone is also motivated to do better in the future and to inspire more people to do their part in environmental protection.

 

The Indonesian volunteers were given a tour around the Tzu Chi Taman Meru Recycling-cum-Educational Centre. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]   The elderly volunteers welcomed the Indonesian volunteers with a song. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]

The Indonesian volunteers were given a tour around the Tzu Chi Taman Meru Recycling-cum-Educational Centre. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]
 
The elderly volunteers welcomed the Indonesian volunteers with a song. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]
 
Volunteer Lee How Chang shared on how he was able to stop feeling bitter and face life positively post-accident, with support from his mother and his involvement at the recycling centre. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]   A memorable moment for volunteers from both countries captured at the Tzu Chi Taman Meru Recycling-cum-Educational Centre. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]

Volunteer Lee How Chang shared on how he was able to stop feeling bitter and face life positively post-accident, with support from his mother and his involvement at the recycling centre. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]
 
 
A memorable moment for volunteers from both countries captured at the Tzu Chi Taman Meru Recycling-cum-Educational Centre. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]
 
Volunteer Junus Sutoyo (front) was impressed by the well-planned recyclable sorting sections. [Photograph by Lai Kin Choong]   From the experiences gained from the exchange trip, volunteer Rudy Darwin hoped to find solutions to some challenges faced in promoting recycling in Indonesia. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]

Volunteer Junus Sutoyo (front) was impressed by the well-planned recyclable sorting sections. [Photograph by Lai Kin Choong]
 
 
From the experiences gained from the exchange trip, volunteer Rudy Darwin hoped to find solutions to some challenges faced in promoting recycling in Indonesia. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]
 
Ng Siu Tju shed tears listening to Lee How Chang’s sharing. She also hoped to inspire more elderly people to do recycling and bring joy to them when she returns to Indonesia. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]   Andy Setiohaneto felt the warmth of the Malaysian volunteers, which made him feel like a family. This was the most precious thing he has experienced and learnt in the exchange trip. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]

Ng Siu Tju shed tears listening to Lee How Chang’s sharing. She also hoped to inspire more elderly people to do recycling and bring joy to them when she returns to Indonesia. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]
 
 
Andy Setiohaneto felt the warmth of the Malaysian volunteers, which made him feel like a family. This was the most precious thing he has experienced and learnt in the exchange trip. [Photograph by Lai Kin Hoong]