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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 10 May 2015 18:03

Blessings of Buddha’s Day with Aroma of Buns

Written by  by Lim Beng Cin, KL & Selangor / Translated by Ong Mooi Lin

In preparation for Tzu Chi’s 3-in-1 celebration, volunteers formed a team working non-stop to produce delicious and nutritious buns for the visitors to take away, thus creating good affinity with them. [Photograph by Lim Shy Tean]

For eleven days from April 27, the aroma of buns emanating from the kitchen would fill the atmosphere at KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall. Every day, 30 people, comprising volunteers and public members would put aside their daily work to produce buns for the Buddha Bathing Ceremony so as to create good affinity with attendees. A total of 12,000 plain buns and 5,000 vegetarian stuffed-buns were produced.


Tzu Chi volunteers held a joint 3-in-1 ceremony to mark Mother’s Day, Buddha’s Day and Tzu Chi Day, at KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall on May 10, 2015. Prior to the event, and to welcome and greet visitors joining the celebration, volunteers formed a special bun production team, working non-stop to make delicious and nutritious buns. With volunteer Chang Sew Loon (or “Chef Ah Loon” as he is fondly known) at the helm, the technique of making buns was made easier even though it was their first attempt; and everyone happily enjoyed the whole process.

The plain bun looks simple, but the process of making it is tedious. The dough was first kneaded and left to ferment before it was divided into smaller equal portions. These were left to ferment for the second time, after which it was kneaded into a bun shape and left to ferment for the third time before steaming. On the other hand, vegetarian stuffed-buns require additional fillings. Besides ensuring the even sizes of the buns, volunteers had to make sure that there were no leakages of gravy from the fillings as this could affect the overall look of the stuffed-buns.

Nothing is too difficult to learn

Cooperation from every member of the team is imperative to ensure the production runs smoothly. Volunteer Tan Fen Fen had tactfully guided her team of volunteers and public members, who came to support this activity, to put aside their ego to produce beautiful buns in uniform shape and size.

Fen Fen also carefully examined each bun on the trays, adding a final touch to the buns if necessary to ensure that they looked good. Gifted with a pair of dexterous hands, Fen Fen has been baking for her family for a long time. As a result, she has developed a “frozen shoulder” that aches severely after a long day of bun-making. She has to resort to using ointment and therapeutic scrapings (guasa) to ease the pain. Despite this, she had willingly endured such pain joyfully as this was a rare opportunity to create good affinity with many people.

Participants contributed their efforts in this bun-making activity at their convenience, with some coming for half a day or one full day. Through this continuous relay of support, about 17,000 plain buns and stuffed-buns were produced.  

“There is no such thing as not able to handle. If unable to handle a task, we can always switch to handle another task,” said Fen Fen. Every day, she would tactfully assign tasks for every participant to ensure that everyone was given an opportunity to contribute their efforts. Sew Loon emphasized that everyone is not a professional but the significant issue here is team spirit.

Diligently contributed efforts at first attempt

With everyone’s efforts and dedication, the whole production process was ahead of schedule, with the task completed at 3 pm instead of 5 pm.

As this was his first attempt at making buns, volunteer Zhan Zhi Qiang humorously expressed that he would like to continue making buns as his interest has grown gradually during this process. Despite the repetitious act of bun-making, he was not bored at all, for he understood that his efforts would create good affinity with more than 10,000 people.

Shen Guo Yi took a day off from work during the non-peak season just to support this activity. At home, when his father made buns, he never participated in the making process but only enjoyed the final result, so this activity was a new experience for him.

Guo Yi was clumsy the first time he stuffed the fillings into the bun as he had not grasped the skill. However, he was undeterred because he felt that in the learning process, one should persistently try again and again until one is successful.

Working together humbly to complete the task

Looking at the buns produced by the team with concerted efforts, Zhang Jiu Mei smiled in satisfaction. A year ago, Jiu Mei brought a vegetarian stuffed-bun home and found it delicious. This year, when a volunteer requested her help in bun-making, she accepted without hesitation. As a tailor, she quickly liaised with her customers to postpone delivery of their orders for she had more important things to do. It was very fortunate that her understanding customers had enabled her to be at Jing Si Hall every day for the whole duration of bun-making.  

Jiu Mei, who hardly cooks, came with a wish to help out. She humbly observed how others kneaded the buns and then explored it herself. After grasping the technique, she made the buns with more confidence and even found it fun to do. She had only a pure intention, that is, to ensure every visitor enjoys eating the buns.

Nazli, who came from Iran, participated in the bun-making for the first time. In the process, her love for that environment grew as she witnessed how everyone manifested the greatest form of team spirit. The volunteers, who guided her, were very patient in explaining to her the process of bun-making, and that made her feel like she had been taken care of.   

A sweet-looking Nazli was wearing bright colour nail polish on her first day. In order to ensure proper hygiene of the food, she wore gloves at the request of volunteers throughout the process. After a long and busy day, the first thing she did when she returned home was to remove her nail polish. She came to the kitchen of the Jing Si Hall with a clean pair of hands the following day. She said that she must cooperate fully and respect the rules and regulations laid down by an organization. As a person who loves peace and harmony, she admired Tzu Chi’s manifestation of turning love into actions and this had motivated her. Even though an individual’s effort is small, one must still give his/her best to maintain peace and harmony.



For a few days, the aroma of sweet-smelling buns fresh from the steam oven filled the Jing Si Hall’s kitchen. In addition to the buns, 12,000 rice rolls will be produced and served on the day of the Buddha Bathing Ceremony, hoping that the visitors could bring them home happily and enjoy the buns and rice rolls produced with lots of love.

 

Volunteer Chang Sew Loon demonstrated the techniques of bun-making. Everyone listened and learnt attentively in order to complete the task set out as scheduled. [Photograph by Teng Pick Cheang]   Zhang Jiu Mei (in floral blouse) humbly learnt to make a bun. [Photograph by Lim Beng Cin]

Volunteer Chang Sew Loon demonstrated the techniques of bun-making. Everyone listened and learnt attentively in order to complete the task set out as scheduled. [Photograph by Teng Pick Cheang]
 
Zhang Jiu Mei (in floral blouse) humbly learnt to make a bun. [Photograph by Lim Beng Cin]
 
Tan Fen Fen (in navy blue shirt) was in charge of quality control and guided others in bun-making. [Photograph by Ng Min Hui]   The stuffed-buns fresh from the steam oven were displayed on the carts and left to cool down before storing. [Photograph by Lim Shy Tean]

Tan Fen Fen (in navy blue shirt) was in charge of quality control and guided others in bun-making. [Photograph by Ng Min Hui]
 
 
The stuffed-buns fresh from the steam oven were displayed on the carts and left to cool down before storing. [Photograph by Lim Shy Tean]
 
Despite his first attempt at making buns, volunteer Zhan Zhi Qiang grasped the techniques quickly and enjoyed the process. [Photograph by Lim Beng Cin]   Nazli from Iran participated for the first time and she was impressed with the great team spirit throughout the process of bun production. [Photograph by Loh Hon Fui]

Despite his first attempt at making buns, volunteer Zhan Zhi Qiang grasped the techniques quickly and enjoyed the process. [Photograph by Lim Beng Cin]
 
 
Nazli from Iran participated for the first time and she was impressed with the great team spirit throughout the process of bun production. [Photograph by Loh Hon Fui]