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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 08 May 2016 00:00

Many Grains of Rice Make a Bushel

Written by  Tzu Chi Documenting Team, KL & Selangor / Translated by Tan Heang Shin

Public members were seen pouring their savings into the big urn. The crisp sound of the coins signified the power of accumulation. [Photograph by Lim Chin Tong]

Upon stepping into Jing Si Hall, one would immediately see a large bamboo bank area with a big urn surrounded by many bamboo drains on top. Public members had brought their bamboo banks along to the Buddha Bathing Ceremony on May 8 to donate their savings. The crisp sound of coins being poured into the urn was heard non-stop during the day; everyone realized the power of accumulation and knew they could contribute even with small savings. More than 5,000 bamboo banks were “returned home” on the day itself.


Tzu Chi Foundation started with 50 cents daily savings by 30 housewives; Master Cheng Yen often educated Tzu Chi people to remember the founding of Tzu Chi by heart.

In February this year, volunteers – Ng See Seong, Tee Chee Guan and Lee Sie Len – started planning for the bamboo bank area. They had been pondering on how to show the love and care of Tzu Chi during the 50th Anniversary. After much contemplation, they decided to go back to the very basic and original philosophy of the “Bamboo Bank Era”.

See Seong coordinated the construction of the six-metre wide big urn with the factory. The body of the urn was made from steel surrounded by bamboo sticks that represented the kind act of the 30 housewives in the early days. The urn was installed with bulbs and when lit up, it was like the light of the Dharma shining upon everyone and evoking their kindness.

The team learnt to be more understanding and tolerant along the way. See Seong reflected: “The light shone through the urn symbolized the Dharma and it is like the conscience within us which guides us to the right path with the right attitude. Thus, we must keep a kind thought always. By saving up a little money, we can help others.”

Hoping for a kind thought in everyone

On May 8, two brothers from Sri Damansara, Rao Fu An and Rao Fu Kang, together with their housemaid brought along with them 28 bamboo banks. It was a collection of love from 28 persons.

“Other than our family members, there are also some from the businessmen around my mother’s hawker stall.” Besides giving the bamboo bank for each family member, their mother, Luo Bao, has also promoted the concept to her friends in March this year. Some of the shop owners have kept their bamboo banks at their shops to collect donations from customers; and some have also brought the bamboo banks home for their families.

When the Buddha Bathing Ceremony was approaching, Luo Bao called up her friends one by one to check on the status. As most of the shop owners are working on Sunday, Luo Bao and Fu An helped collect the bamboo banks from them for Tzu Chi. Unbelievably, they managed to collect 28!

“With the help of QR code, it is easy to identify the owner of the bamboo banks,” Fu An explained. He felt gratified even though it was not easy to carry 28 bamboo banks.

“The bamboo banks included past years’ savings from our coin banks. Our mother has taught us since young to let go in order to gain happiness,” said Fu Kang while emptying the bamboo banks one by one. The love from the 28 bamboo banks would be channelled towards the rebuilding of Nepal.

Accompanied by Tzu Chi teenager, Lin Pei Xuan, Lin Yu Zheng participated in this year’s event after attending the Year-end Blessing Ceremony with his family in 2011. She adopted a bamboo bank then and though it was filled up for many years, she did not have the chance to bring it back to Tzu Chi. She said, “I have wanted to drop by at Jing Si Hall when it was ready; I finally have the chance today.”

The bamboo bank adopted five years ago had a more solid structure and it took some time for Yu Zheng to open it up. When the coins rolled into the urn, she felt very touched thinking how the accumulated coins could help the needy.

Three-year-old Fan Si Cheng had been urging his mother to the bamboo bank area as soon as they stepped into the Jing Si Hall. His mother, Huang Shu Jun, had no choice but to bring him over to the big urn.

“Today is Mother’s Day and it is also his birthday, hence it is very meaningful to make a donation for a good cause,” Shu Jun shared. On such a special day, she had wished for a world free from disasters with gratitude.

Doing good is a reflection of a sincere heart

Kaliammah a/p Supramaniyami, a single mother, was a beneficiary of Tzu Chi Happy Campus Programme. When Tzu Chi volunteer, Tan Chew Guat, visited her in March this year, she shared with her whole family the spirit of bamboo bank. Kaliammah was so touched that she told Chew Guat about her wish to help raise funds for the charity missions. Later, she became a monthly donor and even influenced as many as 20 family members to join in the ranks.

Kaliammah is undeterred by her poverty. She feels she is still able to lend a hand to those who are worse off than her. She has taken in some relatives to live with her, while other relatives chipped in generously on the daily expenses.

When volunteers visited Kaliammah one month later, they were thrilled to find that she had successfully collected a small sum of donations from her family for Tzu Chi’s charity missions. Chew Guat was so moved by Kaliammah that she immediately gave her a bamboo bank.

After realizing that the bamboo bank collection for this year would be used to help rebuild schools in Nepal, Kaliammah was extremely delighted. She even requested a few more bamboo banks for her family members who also wanted to join in.

On May 8, Kaliammah arrived at the Jing Si Hall with 16 members of her family for the first time. They were greeted warmly by volunteers and led to the bamboo bank area to roll their coins into the big urn. Kaliammah was very happy as she knew what she did was right and that she too was able to perform charity even though she was not rich.

 

The building of the six-metre wide big urn was led by volunteer, Ng See Seong (1st left) who coordinated the work with the factory. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]   The team learnt to be more understanding and tolerant through the urn-making process. [Photograph by Yong Mun Fei]

The building of the six-metre wide big urn was led by volunteer, Ng See Seong (1st left) who coordinated the work with the factory. [Photograph by Lim Chin Shein]
 
The team learnt to be more understanding and tolerant through the urn-making process. [Photograph by Yong Mun Fei]
 
The bamboo bank area is visibly seen when stepping into the Jing Si Hall. [Photograph by Ong See Lim]   Three-year-old Fan Si Cheng had been urging his mother to the bamboo bank area as soon as he stepped into the Jing Si Hall. [Photograph by Lai Sui Chin]

The bamboo bank area is visibly seen when stepping into the Jing Si Hall. [Photograph by Ong See Lim]
 
 
Three-year-old Fan Si Cheng had been urging his mother to the bamboo bank area as soon as he stepped into the Jing Si Hall. [Photograph by Lai Sui Chin]
 
Lin Yu Zheng was so touched thinking how the accumulated coins could help the needy. [Photograph by Beh Chun How]   Kaliammah (4th left in green blouse) came to Jing Si Hall with 16 family members to participate in Tzu Chi’s activities for the first time. [Photograph by Ch’ng Kooi Tick]

Lin Yu Zheng was so touched thinking how the accumulated coins could help the needy. [Photograph by Beh Chun How]
 
 
Kaliammah (4th left in green blouse) came to Jing Si Hall with 16 family members to participate in Tzu Chi’s activities for the first time. [Photograph by Ch’ng Kooi Tick]
 
Brothers, Rao Fu An and Rao Fu Kang, from Sri Damansara, and their housemaid, brought back 28 bamboo banks, a symbol of love from 28 persons. [Photograph by Goh Pei En]  

Brothers, Rao Fu An and Rao Fu Kang, from Sri Damansara, and their housemaid, brought back 28 bamboo banks, a symbol of love from 28 persons. [Photograph by Goh Pei En]