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Sunday, 14 May 2017 00:00

Cherish the Moment to Fulfil Filial Duties

Written by  Tan Kim Hion, KL & Selangor / Translated by Wong Mun Heng

Kuan Siew Yeng felt blessed to be able to accompany her father in sutra transcription during the Buddha’s Day event. She hopes that it will be a memorable day for her parents. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]

This year, members of the Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth Association (Tzu Ching) were entrusted with the roles of planning the foot-bathing activity. For the first time, it was conducted at the more spacious Gratitude Hall, thus was able to accommodate 210 pairs of parent and child at one go. The true love and affection between the parents and children were clearly displayed in the warm embraces and tears of gratefulness. The two-day foot-bathing activity witnessed 11 sessions and attracted the participation of over 1,700 pairs of parent and child.


With a cap on, a fragile and weak looking Kuan Siew Yeng brought her parents, husband and two children to the KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall on May 14, 2017, to partake in the 3-in-1 celebration. She was very touched and grateful that she could, with great reverence, perform Buddha bathing and gave her parents a tender foot-bath. To her, that was the happiest yet sad moment.

When Siew Yeng knelt down to bathe her mother’s feet, both she and her mother burst into tears. The atmosphere was so overwhelming that her mother could not take it and wanted to quit. However, Siew Yeng pleaded with her to stay and allow her to complete the foot-bathing.

As Siew Yeng was gently bathing her mother’s feet, she felt a deep remorse when recalling all the things she had said and done that hurt her parents’ feelings during her rebellious teenage years. Once, she rebutted her parents: “If you don’t like me, why did you give birth to me?” Her mother was so upset that she confined herself in the room for three days and wept quietly. Another time, when she saw her friend dying her hair, she also dyed her hair blond. Her father was so angry that he refused to talk to her for two months. And once when she did something wrong, her father gave her a slap. It was only until a few months ago that she discovered that her father actually injured his wrist as the result of that slap.

Those years, her hurtful behaviour towards her parents was mainly due to her deep sense of resentment against them. She stayed with her parents in Singapore where they worked. However, because she was so naughty and problematic, her parents decided to send her back to KL under the care of her uncle. That was when her resentment started as she thought she was not wanted by her parents. Later, her parents returned to KL, and as she grew up, she started to appreciate her parents’ concern; more so when she herself has kids and as a parent, she could feel for her parents. With that, all her resentments dissipated.

Despite her disrespect for her parents in her younger days, her mother offered to babysit her first child upon delivery. Two years ago, when her son was born, her mother also helped her with babysitting.

“Just when the son turned full moon, the doctor diagnosed that I had breast cancer. From then on, my mother had to take care of me, as well as, the two kids. It was very tough on her.”

Siew Yeng was aware that it was a heavy burden on her mother. Last year, when her mother had a fall and dislocated her arm, she wanted to tell her mother that she was worried that no one was around to take care of her children. However, when she saw her mother in pain, she realized she was being selfish. In the process of accompanying her mother to hospital for operation and therapy, she felt strongly that her mother loves her much more than her love to her mother. Since then, she told herself she must be strong and take care of her children without relying too much on her mother.

A mother’s love is too profound to repay. As Siew Yeng bathed her mother’s feet, this thought came to her mind: “Mum, thanks for giving me a chance to learn to be strong. I don’t have much to repay you except that I hope I can take care of you and dad; giving the best to you both.” Siew Yeng was in tears as she bathed her mother’s feet. Upon completion, she exchanged position with her husband, who was bathing her father’s feet; giving her the chance to bath her father’s feet as well.

Her father chanted for her daily

“Dad, I want to bathe your feet for you till you are old,” Siew Yeng said in a choking voice as she was bathing her father’s feet.

She thanked her father for doing so much for her. What she could do to repay is to bathe his feet for the rest of his life, with all earnestness. She noticed her father was covering his chest with one hand, trying hard to hold back the tears and emotions. She knew at that moment that she and her father had the same complicated feeling.

Siew Yeng recalled for the last two years, she could feel the love, care and concern of her father from the moment she was diagnosed with cancer. Initially, when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer, she was still optimistic that the disease is quite common and with treatment, she would recover soon. Unexpectedly, a few months after undergoing an operation and chemotherapy treatment, she had a relapse. During her most difficult moment, with depression and severe pain on her chest, she had her father and family to stay by her side and take care of her.

She could still remember in last August, when the cancer cells spread to her lungs and liver, she had extreme pain all over her body. When she could not take it anymore, she said to her father: “Dad, could you chant so that I can ‘go’ (die) soon? I can’t bear the pain anymore.”

Her father was very sad and for two months, he chanted the Diamond Sutra and the Great Compassion Mantra by her bed daily and would only stop after she dozed off to sleep. When she woke up because of pain, her father would continue chanting until her pain had eased. Although chanting had a calming effect on her, she knew it was very demanding on her father as his health was not that good.

One night, when she could not sleep in her room, she thought of moving to the living room to sleep. Her father insisted on accompanying her and slept in the living room too. In order to ensure that her father would not suffer too much, no matter how severe her pain was, she would not show it in front of her father. Consecutively for a few weeks, her father monitored her movements closely and whenever she turned her body slightly, her father would ask her if she wanted anything; and he would even bring her a glass of water if she needed it. One day, because of exhaustion, her father fainted and she panicked. Luckily the doctor said it was over exertion and his heart could not take it. After a short rest, he recovered. It was a big relief for her.



As Siew Yeng described how her parents showered her with care and love, her eyes welled up with tears. She was grateful that she was given the opportunity to bathe her parents’ feet and keep them company. This is the least she could do to repay the profound gratitude to her parents. She hopes that she can join the event together with her family again in the coming year, and so long as her health permits, she will reciprocate the love and care she has received.

 

Kuan Siew Yeng (left) attended the 3-in-1 celebration together with her parents, husband and two children. They seized the precious opportunity to take a family portrait at the Jing Si Hall. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]   Kuan Siew Yeng, a cancer patient, performed the Buddha bathing ritual with utmost sincerity. She was grateful for the spiritual support during the difficult moments in her life. [Photograph by Wong Poh Fatt]

Kuan Siew Yeng (left) attended the 3-in-1 celebration together with her parents, husband and two children. They seized the precious opportunity to take a family portrait at the Jing Si Hall. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]
 
Kuan Siew Yeng, a cancer patient, performed the Buddha bathing ritual with utmost sincerity. She was grateful for the spiritual support during the difficult moments in her life. [Photograph by Wong Poh Fatt]
 
With utmost gratitude and appreciation for her father’s love and care, Kuan Siew Yeng said to her father, “Dad, I want to bathe your feet for you till you are old,” as she was bathing his feet. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]  

With utmost gratitude and appreciation for her father’s love and care, Kuan Siew Yeng said to her father, “Dad, I want to bathe your feet for you till you are old,” as she was bathing his feet. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]