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Sunday, 20 March 2016 00:00

Bamboo Bank Story Inspires & Nurtures Kindliness in Deprived School Kids

Written by  Low Hai Loon, KL & Selangor / Translated by Goh Hwe Yong

Pupils of KMSSG Free Tuition-cum-Charity Organization were happy that great kindliness could be achieved via little ways. [Photograph by Tai Fuey Tat]

To mark Tzu Chi’s 50th Anniversary, volunteers from KL & Selangor Branch relived the founding spirit of “making a good wish every day, and let a little sum do a huge kindliness”. On March 20 morning, Indian volunteers in Klang approached about 100 Indian pupils of KMSCC to promote Tzu Chi and the “Bamboo Bank Era”, nurturing kind thoughts in the young minds.


Nurturing kind thoughts from young

KMSCC is an NGO located in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur, running long term community projects of giving free tuition, music lessons and arts classes to pupils living in the government flats. On Sunday mornings, these young pupils are also taught moral lessons aimed at introducing moral principles of the major religions in the country.

These pupils have had encounters with Tzu Chi before when they attended public events held by Tzu Chi, such as Buddha Bathing Ceremony and Dharma as Water sutra adaptation.

According to volunteer Chong Sui San, due to the fact that most of the pupils were Indians, she specifically invited five Indian volunteers from Tzu Chi Klang Branch to join in so that communication between English and Tamil languages could take place smoothly.

The majority of pupils are from lower income families; they were briefed on the “Bamboo Bank Era” through a documentary footage. Klang volunteers also shared their experience as volunteers, and that a person’s background is not relevant at all in doing kindliness, what matters is the willingness to do so.

Lin Zi Zheng, Secretary of KMSSG, expressed that upon the suggestion to have Tzu Chi volunteers to introduce and promote the spirit of the “Bamboo Bank Era” to the students, he wasted no time to embrace the idea after consulting with the Founder of KMSSG, Mother Annai.

He said: “We used to think that as individuals, we were too weak to exert any influence. Yet what we have learnt from Tzu Chi is that a contribution of even five cents from many people could actually do a lot of good work. That is the spirit of the Bamboo Bank Era...”

He also shared his view that kindliness must be nurtured when the children are young, and it must be carefully sustained so that when the young grew up, they would readily put their kind thoughts into kind actions throughout their lives especially in adulthood.

Sui San added that the purpose of propagating the spirit of “Bamboo Bank Era” was mainly to kindle the kind thoughts of the children by inculcating the daily habit to save for a good cause with this good deed. By so doing, they would learn to appreciate the help they receive and to return the kindness.

Creating ripples of kindliness

When asked who would like to take home a bamboo bank to save in order to help others, the children gave a tremendous response. Hence each of them was given one. This was the first batch of bamboo banks that had a special QR Code which registered the data of the custodian.

Ten-year-old Risha returned to her seat with her bamboo bank. She said, “I would save and put coins into it as soon as I get home.” She felt happy, to be able to help others in her own small way.

Twelve-year-old Anil Prem, wanted to do the same. When asked why, he replied enthusiastically that he liked to help others especially as he has benefitted from the free tuition classes for the past four years.

Similarly, R. Manisha who has benefitted from the tuition classes for the past four years and is no stranger to Tzu Chi herself as she taken her family members to watch the Dharma as Water stage adaptation last year. In addition, Tzu Chi’s Happy Schooling Scheme has benefitted students in the school she is currently attending. The 17-year-old was greatly moved by the story of the “Bamboo Bank Era”. She thought it was a great example of a charitable act with significant impact on society as a whole. She thus resolved to involve her family members to participate in the Bamboo Bank initiative.



At the end of the day, each child received a bamboo bank. When being prompted by the volunteers, everyone dropped a coin into the saving box. As they did so, delightful tinkles echoed in the air, and the excitement of being able to do kind deeds was clearly written on the faces of the children. It is hoped that the seed of kindness would grow steadily in the heart of these young ones as they grow day by day, and as they save a coin into the Bamboo Bank each day.

In conjunction with Tzu Chi’s 50th Anniversary, volunteer Chong Sui San (left) led English group to KMSSG in Setapak to promote the founding spirit of the “Bamboo Bank Era”. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]   Displaying the donation card she received, little Risha was all smiles knowing she would be doing kindliness in her own little way. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]

In conjunction with Tzu Chi’s 50th Anniversary, volunteer Chong Sui San (left) led English group to KMSSG in Setapak to promote the founding spirit of the “Bamboo Bank Era”. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]
 
Displaying the donation card she received, little Risha was all smiles knowing she would be doing kindliness in her own little way. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]
 
The KMSSG pupils were happy to receive a donor register card each as they want to help the less fortunate. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]   Volunteers scanned and keyed-in personal particulars of the custodian of each bamboo bank. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]

The KMSSG pupils were happy to receive a donor register card each as they want to help the less fortunate. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]
 
 
Volunteers scanned and keyed-in personal particulars of the custodian of each bamboo bank. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]
 
Volunteer sticking name tags onto the bamboo bank as part of the registration process. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]   R. Manish may be shy, but she firmly expressed that she would involve her family members to participate in the movement. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]

Volunteer sticking name tags onto the bamboo bank as part of the registration process. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]
 
 
R. Manish may be shy, but she firmly expressed that she would involve her family members to participate in the movement. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]
 
KMSSG Secretary, Lin Zi Zheng encouraged the pupils to save one cent a day into the bamboo bank. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]  

KMSSG Secretary, Lin Zi Zheng encouraged the pupils to save one cent a day into the bamboo bank. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]