Wednesday, Aug 23rd

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Friday, 09 January 2015 00:00

Inspiring Kindness with ‘Great Love to Flood Victims’ Street Donation

Written by  Hoe See Leei & Kang Miew Tiang, Muar / Translated by Lee Ren Hui

Volunteers wore raincoats, held umbrella and poster in one hand and donation box in the other, and ventured on with the hope of helping the victims to return to their homes soon. [Photograph by Kang Miew Tiang]

The major floods that hit Southern Malaysia in 2006 and 2011 affected the house of Tzu Chi volunteer, Chua Cho Koon in Segamat. She recalled, “I thought I suffered greatly then, but seeing the floods in the East Coast from newspaper reports, I felt they are suffering more as they have lost everything. I could feel for them.”


 
When eight Malaysian states were hit by severe flooding at the end of December 2014, Master Cheng Yen called on all Malaysian volunteers to launch a joint relief effort for the flood victims and conduct a cash-for-work programme to help them clean up their homes.
 
On January 2, 2015, 13 volunteers from Muar Liaison Office joined their counterparts from KL & Selangor Branch on home visits to families in the flood-affected areas. Then, at 2 am on January 4, 44 volunteers boarded a bus from Muar to Kuala Krau in Pahang to help the victims clean up their homes.
 
On January 5, after receiving notification from Melaka Branch, sub-branches in Southern Malaysia launched the “Great Love to Flood Victims” donation drive for flood relief. On the same day, volunteers quickly made up 20 donation boxes and assigned members to raise funds in designated areas. On January 6, volunteers took to the streets to inspire more kindness.
 
Be thankful and do more to help
 
The Malaysian Weather Bureau had indicated the possibility of storms between December 28 and 31. Segamat residents, who were hardest hit by the 2006 and 2011 flood, felt uneasy upon receiving this piece of news.
 
Tzu Chi volunteers carefully observed the water level of rivers and carried out all necessary preventive measures. They felt empathy for the victims in the East Coast, and when they were collecting donations on the streets, they were thankful for the peace enjoyed and pledged to do more to help those in need.
 
Volunteer Chua Hoe Koong was responsible for the donation drive this time. Initially, they had planned to collect donations at 7 am on January 9 at the morning market. However, due to the rain that started the night before, she was worried that many vendors would not show up that morning. This would affect the number of customers, so she changed the venue to crowded places, like shopping malls.
 
All volunteers gladly accepted the late change and were not hampered by the persistent rain. They became more determined and encouraged to raise more funds before the flood situation worsen. Upon seeing the volunteers with donation boxes by the roadside, many car owners stopped by to donate.
 
“The overwhelming response from the public was very touching. We could feel their love and care. Although we were drenched by the rain, our hearts were warmed,” said Hoe Koong, with a smile.
 
Feeling empathy, actively lending a hand
 
The major floods that hit Southern Malaysia in 2006 and 2011 affected the house of volunteer Chua Cho Koon in Segamat. She recalled, “I thought I suffered greatly then, but seeing the floods in the East Coast from newspaper reports, I felt they are suffering more, as they have lost everything. I could feel for them.”
 
Although she was unwell and unable to go to the affected areas, she still insisted on helping with the street fundraising for the victims. She was deeply moved when many public members took the initiative to walk up to volunteers and offer their donations.
 
Segamat is prone to flooding; and local residents would worry during rainy seasons. Cho Koon shared that by approaching the public, it is hoped that they could inspire others to share their care and love for the victims.
 
Volunteer Tan Ah Chin, who purposely took a day off from work to participate in the donation drive said, “I have experienced floods in the past, therefore, I know how the residents in the East Coast are feeling. Now that we are enjoying a peaceful and stable life here, I must seize the opportunity to help others in need.”
 
Ah Chin added that this donation drive was also a very good opportunity for self-improvement. When she met some unfriendly individuals, she would sincerely wish them the best. In the process, she constantly reflected and reminded herself to maintain a positive attitude when dealing with people and handling difficult situations.
 
Hawker Lee Geok Mooi from Kampung Abdullah, Segamat, quickly offered her donation when she saw volunteers coming to her with a donation box. She shared that when Segamat was hit by floods twice, her house and stall were severely affected. But both floods were not as severe as that in the East Coast. She said, “We should do our best to help others, as much as we could. It is the thought that counts.”
 
Most Segamat residents had experienced the ravage of flooding. Hence, they could understand the feeling of the victims. Therefore, they responded enthusiastically to the donation drive, as they were also thankful for the peaceful days and wish to do more to help the needy.
 
On January 2, volunteer Tang Siang Kew visited the flood-affected areas in the East Coast to carry out home visits. Although there was no material aid distribution that day, the care and love shown by volunteers had calmed and eased the victims’ worried and troubled minds. On January 4, she again participated in the cash-for-work programme. 
 
The team of volunteers from Muar was responsible for cleaning up mud-covered tables and chairs in school. As mud had dried and clotted up inside the seams of tables and chairs, it was difficult to clean. However, volunteers were undeterred as they would like the students to study in comfort.
 
When confronted with the victims’ difficulties, a heartbroken Siang Kew said, “Since I am unable to be by their side for a long time, I have taken part in the donation drive to help as much as I can.”
 
Pray and care for victims, regardless of ethnicity
 
Sharosniza bte Roslan made a donation when she saw volunteers raising fund at the night market. She said, “I will pray for the victims, and I hope they could bear with the situation now, as everything will be back to normal.”
 
Frequent natural disasters are a consequence of uncontrolled destruction of the environment by human beings. After learning about the importance of environmental protection from volunteers, Sharosniza, who used to discard recyclables, decided to start collecting them at home and send to the nearest Tzu Chi recycling point.
 
Dr Shahril Azian bin Masrom shared that the Muar Health Department had also sent several groups of healthcare workers to the affected areas for disaster relief. Unfortunately, due to his work schedule, he was unable to provide his services. Instead, he had chosen to care for the victims by making a donation. He thanked volunteers from all walks of life, regardless of ethnic background, who have jointly offered their help to the victims, exhibiting the spirit of camaraderie among Malaysians.
 
 
Despite the rain in Muar, Ledang and Segamat during the fundraising, volunteers remained committed to collecting donations from the public. Wearing raincoat and holding an umbrella and poster in one hand and donation box in the other, they ventured on to solicit funds to help and enable the victims to return to their homes soon.
 
Note: Tzu Chi’s “cash-for-work programme” is an emergency relief measure. Under the arrangement, victims of the disaster are given remuneration for cleaning up the affected areas and neighbourhood, so that they could have a direct income, as an alternative to the direct relief-giving policy.
 
 
On January 5, the “Great Love to Flood Victims” donation drive was launched upon notification from Melaka Branch. Volunteers were briefed during the Compassionate Samadhi Water Repentance group study that night. The following day, they took to the streets to raise funds. [Photograph by Ng Pei Sze]   Sharosniza said although her area was not hit by floods, she empathized the victims, thus would do her best to help. She added, “I will pray for the victims, and I hope they could bear with the situation now, as everything will be back to normal.” [Photograph by Kang Miew Tiang]

On January 5, the “Great Love to Flood Victims” donation drive was launched upon notification from Melaka Branch. Volunteers were briefed during the Compassionate Samadhi Water Repentance group study that night. The following day, they took to the streets to raise funds. [Photograph by Ng Pei Sze]
 
Sharosniza said although her area was not hit by floods, she empathized the victims, thus would do her best to help. She added, “I will pray for the victims, and I hope they could bear with the situation now, as everything will be back to normal.” [Photograph by Kang Miew Tiang]
 
Although volunteer Chua Cho Koon (front in blue shirt) could not personally go to the affected areas, as she was unwell, she still insisted on helping with the street fundraising for the victims. [Photograph by Kang Miew Tiang]   Many motorists stopped and put their donations into the box when they saw Tzu Chi volunteers by the roadside. [Photograph by Low Chung Chin]

Although volunteer Chua Cho Koon (front in blue shirt) could not personally go to the affected areas, as she was unwell, she still insisted on helping with the street fundraising for the victims. [Photograph by Kang Miew Tiang]
 
Many motorists stopped and put their donations into the box when they saw Tzu Chi volunteers by the roadside. [Photograph by Low Chung Chin]