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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Friday, 05 October 2018 00:00

Support for Indonesia on Its Road to Recovery

Written by  Julie Yen Yu Chu & Yong Siew Lee, Malacca / Translated by Lim Rui Lin

Sending love and prayers to the affected areas. [Photograph by Ng Hai Ming]

Tzu Chi Foundation launched its relief missions after an earthquake hit Indonesia on September 28, 2018. Tzu Chi Chapters worldwide have also been holding prayers and soliciting public donations to help the quake victims, hoping that the collective kindness from all can bring peace to the world.


On September 28, 2018, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck the west coast of Sulawesi, Indonesia, severely affecting nearby cities, such as, Donggala and Palu. According to the data collected by the Indonesian National Disaster Management Authority, more than 1,000 lives were lost and more than 70,000 people displaced. Although many roads were destroyed, Tzu Chi volunteers in Indonesia overcame difficulties to arrange for delivery of relief supplies to the disaster-stricken areas. The first batch of volunteers arrived at the affected areas on October 1, and delivered medical supplies and care to the victims; while more relief supplies were being packed by volunteers in Indonesia and Taiwan, to be sent to the affected areas.

Meanwhile, Dharma Masters at the Jing Si Abode, Tzu Chi staff worldwide, Da Ai TV, and Tzu Chi hospitals, schools, and others led prayers hoping that the love and kindness from everyone can resonate and bring peace to the world. During the morning volunteer assembly on October 2, Master Cheng Yen mentioned that blessed are those who are able to give help and sow blessings for the world. The Master hoped that those with a loving heart can evoke kindness in others and create a powerful shield with collective kindness.
    
Children and their wishes

On October 5, Da Ai Kindergarten in Malacca arranged for an activity for the students to get an idea of an earthquake and its impact. The children built houses using building blocks and saw how the “houses” collapsed in seconds. A video footage was also screened to show the children how an earthquake caused a series of disasters, such as, flooding, collapsed buildings, destroyed roads and vehicles, as well as, the pain of parting with loved ones. All these made the children feel for the victims.

“We built a house but it collapsed in no time,” said 4-year-old Chen Tze Xuan, recalling the collapsed blocks when the Kindergarten Principal, Chua Kwi Siang, shook the table, creating the effect of an earthquake.

Tze Xuan shared that she had never experienced an earthquake, and felt blessed that she has a house to live in, and food to eat. Therefore, she wants to be a loving angel, who not only donates to help the needy, but also prays for the victims daily so that they can be safe and healthy.

Principal Chua also took the opportunity to teach the children some simple and basic methods of self-protection during an earthquake, using an animated film. These included places to hide in the house, the escape routes, and how to seek help in times of emergency, among others. At the Q&A session, Goh Ee Yang, a 6-year-old boy shared what he had learnt: “We should hide under the table and stay away from places with glass to avoid injuries caused by broken glass. Also, we should run to the field.”

When everyone dropped their donations into the collection box, Ee Yang felt sorry looking at the small amount of coins in his bamboo bank. He remembered the other two bamboo banks that he had back home, where he would save some pocket money daily to purchase his favourite items. Now, he preferred to bring the bamboo banks for donation. He also hoped to invite his father to do the same. He said, “My dad also has a bamboo bank with a lot of money in it. I am going home to tell him that the Indonesian quake victims are very pitiful and they need money to buy what they need.”

Giving is contagious

“This is for the Indonesian earthquake,” said a public member, Chen Bao Hua, as he handed some donations from his family of seven and a relative, to Tzu Chi Malacca.

“Feel for those who are in suffering. Malaysia is a safe place. We are so blessed and can contribute our part to help those affected households in Indonesia.” Bao Hua responded to this call. A few years ago, Bao Hua installed Da Ai TV channel in his home, and he and his wife have been loyal audience. They would watch Master Cheng Yen’s Dharma series, such as, Wisdom at Dawn. When they saw the news on the Indonesian earthquake recently, they felt the urge to help.

“Come, everyone contributes a little to help.” At the invitation of Mrs Chen, the family of seven donated to the relief funds. Mrs Chen also called their relatives in Singapore to join the good cause.

Sending prayers together

The same day, instead of having volunteers’ spiritual cultivation session as planned, Tzu Chi volunteers in Malacca incorporated a prayer session for the Indonesian quake victims. Three-hundred-and-ten people gathered at the Malacca Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall for the prayer.

Among the attendees was Tan Li Can from Indonesia. She said sadly, “I learnt about the catastrophe in my home country through news channels. My heart aches but I cannot do anything except pray for those impacted. Seeing how everyone here prayed for my country and donated for the victims, I am touched and grateful. Although I am on a foreign land, I feel as if I am a part of this family.”

Volunteer Leo Seok Hua, who planned the event, heard the Master calling for everyone to evoke kindness in others and inspire others to do good deeds on October 2. She also saw that Tzu Chi Hualien had kick-started prayers for the victims. That, coupled with the fact that she had worked in Tzu Chi Indonesia and developed deep sentiments towards the country, she decided to make some changes to the agenda to include a prayer for those impacted by the disaster, and invite public members to join the session.

“A good thought from each of us can help relieve the victims of their suffering and fill the world with positive vibes,” said Seok Hua.

Many a little make a mickle

After learning about the earthquakes in Indonesia, a group of volunteers from Tzu Chi Malacca’s culinary team decided to forward the proceeds they have made from the charity sale of buns to the recovery efforts. They also topped up RM100 to make up a donation of RM2,500. “It saddened me to see in the news that the Indonesian quake victims had no food to eat and could only drink water to ease their hunger,” said one of the volunteers, Huang Yu Feng.

Formed five years ago, the bun-making group has contributed towards the disaster relief missions of Philippines typhoons, US floods, as well as the construction of Muar Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall. Now, with 12 regulars in the group, they carry out charity sale of buns almost weekly. Despite selling each bun at RM1, they have collected more than RM100,000 in total.

The Jing Si Aphorism printed on the donation receipt on this occasion was: “Let go of afflictions and attachments, and make every effort to dedicate one’s ability.” This has truly reflected the selfless spirit of the team.

It is a heart-warming sight to see how everyone, from young children, volunteers, to their family members and friends, prayed sincerely and donated for the quake victims. Natural disasters are ruthless but there is love in the world. When everyone connects with the same loving heart, we can reduce climate change and even suffering in the world.

 

 

“We built a house but it collapsed in no time,” said 4-year-old Chen Tze Xuan, recalling what happened when the Kindergarten Principal, Chua Kwi Siang shook the table. From this simple activity, the children learnt to better empathize with the helplessness and suffering of the quake victims. [Photograph by Julie Yen Yu Chu]   After donating what he had in his bamboo bank, Goh Ee Yang expressed his intention to donate his savings in another two bamboo banks to help the quake victims. [Photograph by Julie Yen Yu Chu]

“We built a house but it collapsed in no time,” said 4-year-old Chen Tze Xuan, recalling what happened when the Kindergarten Principal, Chua Kwi Siang shook the table. From this simple activity, the children learnt to better empathize with the helplessness and suffering of the quake victims. [Photograph by Julie Yen Yu Chu]
 
After donating what he had in his bamboo bank, Goh Ee Yang expressed his intention to donate his savings in another two bamboo banks to help the quake victims. [Photograph by Julie Yen Yu Chu]
 
Tan Li Can from Indonesia attended the prayer session at the invitation of volunteer, Leo Seok Hua. [Photograph by Teng Swee Ueng]   Everyone prayed earnestly for the victims and a peaceful world. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]

Tan Li Can from Indonesia attended the prayer session at the invitation of volunteer, Leo Seok Hua. [Photograph by Teng Swee Ueng]
 
 
Everyone prayed earnestly for the victims and a peaceful world. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
The bun-making group of Tzu Chi Malacca donated the proceeds from charity sale of buns to help the quake victims. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]  

The bun-making group of Tzu Chi Malacca donated the proceeds from charity sale of buns to help the quake victims. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]5