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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 08 February 2015 18:06

Cash Relief in Kuala Krau, Pahang

Written by  Tzu Chi Documenting Team, Kuala Krau / Translated by Chong Pei Fen

Ahmad smiled brightly seeing the coins sliding down a split bamboo pole and hearing the jingling sound of the falling coins. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]

Following the cash-for-work programme on January 4, 2015, and subsequent material distributions and free clinic, Tzu Chi held a cash relief distribution in Kuala Krau on February 8, alleviating the flood victims’ financial plight. Touched by the kindness they received, some local folks contributed savings from their bamboo banks, spreading love to all.


Doing good is that simple

On February 8 morning, Ahmad bin Md. Diah, a former police, walked into the compound of SMK Kuala Krau with a smile on his face and a bamboo bank in his hand. After exchanging greetings with volunteers, he came to the Bamboo Bank Corner and emptied his savings from his bamboo bank into an urn. Seeing the coins sliding down a split bamboo pole and hearing the jingling sound of the falling coins, his smile became even brighter.

Fifty-five-year-old Ahmad is a father of five. Since retiring from his job in 2011, he had been leading a leisurely life, enjoying time with his grandchildren. But, the ruthless flood has caused damages to his property and taken its toll on his peaceful life.

Although not dubious of volunteers who were there for a disaster survey, Ahmad just looked on and wondered if they would be there till the end, or would they just leave them in helplessness half way through. Later, when the cash-for-work programme was launched, volunteers led participants to help clean up his house. Having felt the volunteers’ sincerity, he brought a bamboo bank home after the material distribution and free clinic on January 11.

He said, “I put the bamboo bank in the most noticeable place in my house and told my children that they must save some money in the bamboo bank and make a good wish daily, regardless how much they have, because I heard from volunteers that a small sum, when accumulated, can accomplish great deeds.”

The humble beginning of Tzu Chi, with 30 housewives saving NT$0.50 from their grocery money daily to help the needy, has not only touched his heart, but also convinced him of the practicality of “small sum for great kindness”. Thus, he is willing to set an example and encourage his children to do the same.

The urn that was almost full with donations from everyone was indeed a testimony that it requires only a little contribution from everyone to ease the hardship of the poor. It also made Ahmad realize how simple it is to do good. He then promised to continue saving money in the bamboo bank and let the cycle of love continue. He also planned to use the RM1,000/- relief cash to repair his damaged plywood door and walls.

A feeling of warmth

“Let us review some scenes during the flood!” said the Master of Ceremony. With their eyes glued to the Da Ai TV news, the local folks recalled how they were rattled by the flood, and how the volunteers had come from various locations to lend them a hand and a shoulder to lean on.

Tears welled up in the eyes of many when the Master of Ceremony read out the sympathy letter from Master Cheng Yen in Malay. The earnest concern and deepest wishes from the Master dispelled their sorrow and worries, and filled their hearts with a warm feeling.

The sign language performance for the song, “We Are Family”, presented by some local folks and volunteers, reminded them of the cash-for-work programme and the family-like support showered on them. Feeling the need to reciprocate the kindness they received, everyone chipped in when volunteers approached them with a bamboo bank.

Towards the end of the ceremony, volunteers handed the letter from Master Cheng Yen to the local folks. As some recipients had mobility problems, volunteers went to them, squatted before them and respectfully presented the letter to them. Everyone could feel the compassion and well-wishes from the Master reaching their hearts through the hands of the volunteers. Some burst into tears, some offered a warm embrace to the volunteers, and some shook the volunteers’ hands and thanked them profusely, enveloping the hall with a feeling of warmth and Great Love.

Showing full support for the cash card plan

Before the first cash relief distribution on February 1, a staff from Tzu Chi KL & Selangor contacted Suhaime bin Talib, Branch Manager of Public Bank Jerantut, to discuss the cash card plan. However, she could not make it in time to invite the latter to the cash relief distribution. Thus, on February 8, Suhaime and two of his colleagues attended the session at Kuala Krau. Sio Kee Hong, Deputy CEO of Tzu Chi KL & Selangor, shared with him Tzu Chi’s missions before the ceremony began.

During the ceremony, Master of Ceremony, Koh Yean Ping, again introduced Tzu Chi as an international charitable organization. Watching the footages on Tzu Chi’s relief efforts in Indonesia, the Philippines, Iran and other countries, Suhaime was deeply moved by the selfless and unconditional giving of volunteers. Only then did he believe that Tzu Chi is an organization that transcends borders, races, religions and nationalities. Wherever there is a disaster, Tzu Chi volunteers will be there.

Suhaime was delighted to see the joy written on the faces of the local folks after receiving the cash cards. He planned to discuss with his staff and add a special counter to serve the flood victims, with priority for the elderly and those with restricted mobility. He was impressed with the gratitude, respect and love demonstrated by the volunteers and hoped to serve the flood victims in the same manner.

Suhaime was also inspired to practise environmental protection in office, where he would call on his staff to join him in collecting recyclables and pass them to Tzu Chi. He said smilingly that protecting the Earth and helping those in need are good deeds that everyone should do.

Start doing good deeds now

Outside the hall, Ruzaini Mohamed, a Malay lady clad in Tzu Chi volunteer vest, shared her joy in doing good deeds and recycling with those who were waiting for their family members (recipients of cash relief).

“I did not know about Tzu Chi before this, but now I know that it is a charitable organization that reaches out to people all around the world,” said Ruzaini.

She related that when she was cleaning up her mud-filled house after the floodwaters subsided, a group of people, donned in blue top and white pants, came to her aid. She curiously asked them about Tzu Chi, and learnt that it is a charitable organization aimed at helping the poor and needy. She was deeply touched and immediately registered herself for the cash-for-work programme when it was launched. However, she refused to accept any “wages”. She said, “I could not be more grateful for their kindness, so how could I still accept the ‘wages’ from them?”

She was also grateful for the volunteers’ sharing on environmental protection, through which she learnt that discarded bottles, cans and rubbish can clog the drainage system, and become one of the contributing factors to flooding. Realizing the importance of environmental protection, she called upon everyone to conserve the environment hand-in-hand.

Apart from recycling, Ruzaini also shared the joy derived from saving money in the bamboo bank since she brought one home. She said, “All my family members save some money in the bamboo bank daily. We feel very happy at the thought that it can be used to help others.”

After learning that the volunteers would be conducting cash relief distributions in Mentakab, Bera and Kuala Krau those two days, Ruzaini and her family decided to contribute their efforts. Her husband went to the school as early as 5 am that day to help set up the tents, while she and her two children helped to usher the local folks to the registration counters. Although she was drenched in sweat from running around, she was still very energetic. She said jokingly, “Sweating helps me lose weight, which would be impossible if I were to just sit at home.”

These humorous words from Ruzaini drew laughter from everyone. She then continued, “I had never joined any charitable activities. I feel truly happy serving as a volunteer this time as it feels like I have helped many people!”

Ruzaini’s joy of giving had inspired everyone present. When she took out a bamboo bank and called for everyone to do good deeds, everyone happily responded with a little contribution. Moved by their kindness, Ruzaini promised to volunteer together with her family as and when they are needed.



The cash relief in Kuala Krau had benefitted 763 households, with a total of RM834,100/-. The local folks beamed with joy as they held their cash cards. They were grateful for the timely relief, and the Master’s well-wishes will forever be etched in their hearts.

 

Ruzaini (2nd left) shared with the local folks the joy of giving and the importance of environmental protection. [Photograph by Tia Yee Ling]   Ruzaini’s daughter (back) happily helped in cleaning and ushering the local folks at the cash relief distributions in Temerloh and Kuala Krau. [Photograph by Tia Yee Ling]

Ruzaini (2nd left) shared with the local folks the joy of giving and the importance of environmental protection. [Photograph by Tia Yee Ling]
 
Ruzaini’s daughter (back) happily helped in cleaning and ushering the local folks at the cash relief distributions in Temerloh and Kuala Krau. [Photograph by Tia Yee Ling]
 
Koh Yean Ping informed that Tzu Chi is an international charitable organization, and showed a footage so that everyone present could learn more about Tzu Chi. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]   Watching a footage on Tzu Chi’s disaster relief, the local folks felt the pain and suffering of the victims. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]

Koh Yean Ping informed that Tzu Chi is an international charitable organization, and showed a footage so that everyone present could learn more about Tzu Chi. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]
 
 
Watching a footage on Tzu Chi’s disaster relief, the local folks felt the pain and suffering of the victims. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]
 
Volunteers and local folks presented the sign language for the song, “We Are Family”. [Photograph by Tia Yee Ling]   Attendees of different races and religions shared the same love and blessings for one another. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]

Volunteers and local folks presented the sign language for the song, “We Are Family”. [Photograph by Tia Yee Ling]
 
 
Attendees of different races and religions shared the same love and blessings for one another. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]
 
Suhaime (middle), Branch Manager of Public Bank Jerantut, attended the cash relief distribution with his colleagues. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]   Volunteers respectfully presented Master Cheng Yen’s letter to those with restricted mobility. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]

Suhaime (middle), Branch Manager of Public Bank Jerantut, attended the cash relief distribution with his colleagues. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]
 
 
Volunteers respectfully presented Master Cheng Yen’s letter to those with restricted mobility. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]