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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 08 May 2016 00:00

Do Not Wait to Repay Kindness to Parents

Written by  Kok Ling Lin & Chen Li Ping, Melaka / Translated by Tan Heang Shin

Love for the parents is felt through a warm hug. [Photograph by Hong Geok Hui]

After a series of activities, videos and sharing, Tee Ya Di thought of her late mum. Learning the greatness of motherly love and yet she no longer had the opportunity to repay her mum, she could not control her emotions.


Can we measure the love of a mother using days, grams and so on?

On May 8, 2016, it was particularly busy at the Tzu Chi Melaka premises, including the canteen, Da Ai Kindergarten and Tzu Chi Continuing Education Centre. Besides Buddha bathing, there were exhibitions and parents-child bonding activities. There was a long queue outside the International Conference Hall with people from all walks of life waiting patiently to experience the parents-child bonding activities which would take about 50 minutes.

Full support since birth

Volunteers had divided the venue into five areas, with the “Life Tunnel” being the first stop. Explanation was provided on pregnancy, all the way till delivery. “Due to different physical conditions, the extent of morning sickness would be different for every mother…” Upon hearing this, the children turned to their mother for verification.

The children were later asked to squeeze themselves through the narrow tunnel. Kind words were spoken along the way to encourage them to overcome challenges and brave difficulties. When they successfully exited the tunnel, they were requested to let out a deep breath for the “cries of baby” to be heard.

The third stop was the “Growing Up” area where the emcee had explained how the parents had stayed by the children in the process. No matter how tired they were, they would try their best to care for the children. The emcee then encouraged the children to take their parents’ hands and give them a warm embrace as a way to say thank you.

The fourth stop featured a “Hand Searching” game. A blue cloth was put up to separate the parents and their children. With only hands being revealed, the children were told to identify their parent’s hands. Some were quick to recognize it due to certain features. The game aimed at finding out the degree of interaction between the parents and children.

The final stop staged a sign language performance on “Mother’s Eye”. The programme was concluded with the emcee giving a closing remark, bringing out a warm and moving message.

Be explicit about love

“It must be very painful during childbirth,” Tan Ai Shan remarked when facing difficulty to exit from the “Life Tunnel”. At times, she would feel painful too. During the “Hand Searching” game, she had no problem finding her mother’s hands. Holding the hands tightly, tears welled up in her eyes, “Mum’s hands are getting rough. I want to help more in household chores, be more obedient and not to make her angry next time.” When hugging her mum later, she was moved, “Mum, I love you.”

Tzu Chi teenager, Audrey We Xiao Xuan led her younger siblings in the “Hand Searching” game. When the cloth was removed, the whole family embraced each other firmly. Xiao Xuan said emotionally, “I recognized my mum from the mole on her hands. I have not held her hands for a long time, I didn’t even know her hands have turned so rough. Having to do washing, cooking, housework plus working, it is really no easy job. Yet I always answer back to her and vent my frustration on her. From today onwards, we will share in the chores, I will hold her hands and hug her more.”

The mother, Mok Mei Ling was surprised by her eldest daughter’s sensible and thoughtful behaviour on that day. Knowing that the daughter usually holds feeling inside of her, Mei Ling was moved to tears by her expression.

Only memory remains

An elderly Tee Ya Di attended the event together with her son Tee Boon Leong, daughter-in-law Quek Sock Kheng and grandson Tee Chu Hao. As they had fond memories of a similar event last year, Sock Kheng signed up for the bus pool going to the event when she learnt about the Buddha Bathing Ceremony from Parent-child Bonding Class.

“It was not easy giving birth in the old days,” Ya Di recalled the risks of childbirth during the less advanced medical era then. Seeing how her grandson experienced the “Life Tunnel”, the granny had a mixed feeling as she reflected on the journey in raising her six children.

She could feel for the mother who brought up 12 children in the video footage. Unfortunately the mother did not live long enough for her kids to repay their kindness. At this point, Ya Di could not help but shed her tears.

The “Life Tunnel” game had enabled children to experience baby delivery process, a learning beyond textbook. Although Sock Kheng gave birth by caesarean, she did admire the greatness of mothers with natural birth. During the “Hand Searching” game, her son was quick to recognize her hands thanks to the regular interaction between the mother and son.

“I felt grateful with this game, thank you,” expressed Low Soon Ting, a single mother. “When my kid grabbed my hands, I could also recognize his hands immediately.” When the cloth lifted and seeing her child in front, tears rolled down her cheeks. She was truly touched. During the sign language performance, she could not hold back her tears again when thinking about her late mother.

Her son, Hay Jun Tai, a very shy boy, showed his gratitude with a hug, thanking her for bringing him into the world and making sacrifices for him. Soon Ting had indeed spent a meaningful day trip at Tzu Chi, celebrating Mother’s Day with her two kids.

The moment the cloth elevated, 42-year-old Yong Chow Kaun and his mother looked and smiled at each other. “Today is Buddha Day as well as Mother’s Day, I have brought my mum here to make her happy,” said Chow Kaun who had a traditional upbringing. Being a reserved person, he did not know how to express his love for his parents. The “Hand Searching” game had given him the chance to hold his mother’s hand and embrace her.



As the Buddha Bathing Ceremony fell on the Mother’s Day, more than 1,000 public members participated in the foot-bathing activity after the Buddha bathing activity. They have used hugs and other body language to rekindle love.

 

Volunteers explained how mothers conceived and delivered babies at the first stop of “Life Tunnel”. [Photograph by Lee Kin Chee]   The “Life Tunnel” enabled children to experience the labour that mothers went through during childbirth. [Photograph by Hong Geok Hui]

Volunteers explained how mothers conceived and delivered babies at the first stop of “Life Tunnel”. [Photograph by Lee Kin Chee]
 
The “Life Tunnel” enabled children to experience the labour that mothers went through during childbirth. [Photograph by Hong Geok Hui]
 
Photo shows both parents and child smiling delightfully while playing the “Hand Searching” game. [Photograph by Ng Hock Thai]   A shy Yong Chow Kaun (right) expressed his love for his mum courageously during the activity. [Photograph by Hong Geok Hui]

Photo shows both parents and child smiling delightfully while playing the “Hand Searching” game. [Photograph by Ng Hock Thai]
 
 
A shy Yong Chow Kaun (right) expressed his love for his mum courageously during the activity. [Photograph by Hong Geok Hui]
 
Low Soon Ting spent a touching Mother’s Day with her children, Hay Jun Tai and Hay Xuan Qin. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]   Audrey We Xiao Xuan gave her mother a “thank you” embrace. [Photograph by Hong Geok Hui]

Low Soon Ting spent a touching Mother’s Day with her children, Hay Jun Tai and Hay Xuan Qin. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
 
Audrey We Xiao Xuan gave her mother a “thank you” embrace. [Photograph by Hong Geok Hui]