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Sunday, 09 December 2012 00:00

Awards' Recipients Returning Bamboo Bank to Help Others

Written by  By Low Siew Lian, Lee Shook Lan & Tan Chui Ing, Melaka/ Translated by Peggy Lee

"Bamboo Bank Era" performance by Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth members.【Photograph by Lee Kin Chee】

Hazman wrote his name with much effort as he was determined to become a Tzu Chi member; and taking on the task as PA system coordinator in Parent-child Bonding Class, Qiu Wei Hong was given the chance to perform his strongest strength. Both applied different methods to give back to society.

A group of Tzu Chi Collegiate youth members performed a play entitled, "Bamboo Bank Era" at the Scholarship Awards Presentation Ceremony held in Melaka recently. They transported the audience back more than 40 years to when the Tzu Chi Charity Fund was established with 30 housewives saving NT$0.50 (RM0.05) from their daily marketing money for good deeds. This act of buying a little less vegetables, which did not burden the family expenses, quickly spread within the market; and before long the residents and hawkers also joined in. Some asked if they could give NT$15/- a month instead of NT$0.50 a day. Wouldn't that be easier?

The "housewife" said, "When you give NT$15/- a month, you only have a day of good thought; but if you give NT$0.50 every day, you have good thoughts daily. That's a lot of difference." What Master Cheng Yen cares for is not the amount of money donated but rather the will to have blessing hearts every day as this would prolong the strength of good deeds.

Many students automatically brought along their heavy bamboo banks. To encourage everyone to do good deeds, a donation form was placed on every seat. After several calls, most parents and students registered as Tzu Chi monthly donors.

Save before spending

With a pen in his hand and with much effort, Hazman slowly registered his name to become a member, donating RM10/- per month. He said, "Tzu Chi rendered help to me before, so now I want to help others too." It was so touching to hear this from one, who suffers from severe muscular atrophy.

Hazman and his younger brother also brought along their bamboo banks to donate their savings. He considered this as dripping a drop of sea water into the ocean of good deeds, besides having the chance of helping others. When asked how he would save money into the bamboo bank, his mother, Haslina, replied that whenever he has money, he would put aside an amount for saving and spend the remainder. Some would do the opposite. She continued, "Because we had gone through hard times, we realized the importance of helping others."

She also added, "RM10/- may be just peanuts for the wealthy, but for poor people, it is a lot of money for groceries like salt, cooking oil and sugar."

Having been through many difficult years, Haslina was glad to receive assistance from many caring people. She is, nevertheless, very determined to earn her own living, selling drinks at a stall and baking festive cookies for sale. By so doing, she has managed to fend for her family; and after receiving aid for 5 years, she requested for termination of assistance from Tzu Chi. In addition, she intends to lend a helping hand to Tzu Chi's big family from next year onwards; and her family of five will also donate RM50/- per month to help others.

Haslina said firmly, "I want to convey a message to people who are going through tough times that I have been there; and I believe they can all overcome their difficulties as well!" She believes her mission is to come back to help people in need.

Gain peace through volunteering

Eighteen-year old Qiu Wei Hong was present to receive the awards with his father, Qiu Zi Shan. They also brought along their bamboo banks to donate their savings. Wei Hong would drop all the loose change into the bamboo bank after each purchase. As the only child in the family, he was brought up by his mother and hardly interacted with others. In fact, he was quite withdrawn from others. After his mother left home in 2006, he stayed with her grandma and his father, a kidney patient.

In that same year, Tzu Chi volunteers started to care for them. When asked to be the PA System Coordinator at the Parent-child Bonding Class this year, he accepted the assignment joyfully as he loves computers.

He said, "I feel very calm during activities. Previously, I liked to show my temper and speak rudely. I think I am much better now." He said he has changed a lot and his grandma concurred. The latter would like his grandson to participate in more activities rather than loiter around aimlessly.

Wei Hong would join volunteers to help out at the community recycling station during the monthly Environmental Day. His attitude has changed and he has learned to be grateful to his family. His father said he used to give lots of excuses when asked to help with household chores, but now he would take the initiative to do it. Despite suffering from the effects of kidney dialysis and feeling very tired physically, Zi Shan has continued to do recycling at home for more than 3 years. He is doing what he could to repay the community.

The humble and reserved Wei Hong received the "Great Improvement" Award.

Turn 'giving' into a habit

"Many warmhearted people helped us through difficulties, so we would like to learn to give back too," said a teary-eyed mother, Nagammah A/P Shanmugam. She is a Tzu Chi care-recipient, whose Year-3 daughter, Monica, is receiving the Study Grant for the second time. This year, Monica also received the "Morality Award".

Nagammah works from 8 am till 7 pm as a babysitter to subsidize her family's income. As such, she hardly has time to guide her daughter. But Monica is very sensible and well-behaved. She would take out 20 cents from her pocket money every day to put into the bamboo bank. She would also put in any small change after a purchase, or any money given by relatives, into the bamboo bank. Once filled, she would take it to Tzu Chi with a kind will to help people.

This is the third time Nagammah has sent her bamboo bank back to Tzu Chi. She is very pleased that her daughter has a very caring heart and has cultivated the habit to donate. She said, "Now that I have so many caring people to help me, I would like to give back; and this is the habit of my family. We start by putting in small amounts into the bamboo bank."

Monica is very happy that she has the chance to give back. She also hopes to become a volunteer one day. Her mother would definitely encourage and support her fully.

Combine the power of love

Ladang Sungai Baru (Tamil) Primary School is a small school situated at a remote area of Melaka. The parents of the students are busy at work and have no time to guide their children's school work at home; and the students also would not take the initiative to study by themselves. As such, the school's teachers willingly gave the children free tuition till evening. The Parent-Teachers' Association and teachers had even subsidized and taken turns to cook or buy some bread for the children.

After learning about this through "Happy School" Campaign, Tzu Chi has assisted 17 students from poor families with lunch from April onwards; and has provided 11 Standard 6 students with dinners, together with recyclable utensils, from June onwards.

Taking time off their extra-curricular activities, Tzu Chi volunteers would share the story of the Bamboo Bank and promote environmental education to the students, besides teaching them hygiene. They also placed recycling boxes in every class. Before the UPSR examinations, Tzu Chi volunteers also organized a spectacular "Blessing Ceremony" not only to wish all Standard 6 students great success in the exam, but also to teach them to offer tea to their teachers to thank them for dedicating their time and efforts in giving them free tuition for the past three months.

The volunteers' act has moved the Headmistress and teachers. Headmistress Madam Malika even called on all teachers to become Tzu Chi members, and learn to give with a caring heart. She said, "Combine the power of love, do not matter about the amount of money, but work together to help people in need."

At the ceremony, teacher Jaya Pratha Thurmaraju, who came with Madam Malika, was thankful to Tzu Chi volunteer for introducing humanistic education to the school. Her students have improved greatly not only in studies, but also morally. She said, "Every student has tried his/her best to learn. Apart from receiving their awards, their efforts are being recognized and valued." Teacher Jaya hoped that all the award recipients would continue to work hard, and would be able to pay back to society in future.

Today's younger generation is generally highly educated, but they have weak moral concepts and do not understand the general aspects of life. This is a hidden social crisis. However, at this Scholarship Awards Presentation Ceremony, it was obvious that although parents and students have been through tough times, they could see their own spiritual wealth. With some guidance, they could plant the seeds of good deeds and contribute to the community!


It is the 3rd time in 2 years that Nagammah is bringing back the bamboo bank.【Photograph by Tan Yen Pack】 Qiu Wei Hong received the

It is the 3rd time in 2 years that Nagammah is bringing back the bamboo bank.【Photograph by Tan Yen Pack】

Qiu Wei Hong received the "Great Improvement" award.【Photograph by Kam How Chan】
Headmistress of Ladang Sungai Baru (Tamil) Primary School, Madam Malika (left), and Teacher Jaya (centre) at the ceremony.【Photograph by Yong Siew Lee】 Hazman is determined to become a member, writing down his name slowly and with much effort.【Photograph by Lee Kin Chee】

Headmistress of Ladang Sungai Baru (Tamil) Primary School, Madam Malika (left), and Teacher Jaya (centre) at the ceremony.【Photograph by Yong Siew Lee】

Hazman is determined to become a member, writing down his name slowly and with much effort.【Photograph by Lee Kin Chee】


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