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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 29 November 2015 14:17

Opening the Door to Gratefulness

Written by  Tzu Chi Documenting Team, KL & Selangor / Translated by Chew Chiau Ping

During the presentation ceremony of sponsorship, four awards on Overall Excellence, Filial Piety, Diligence and Academic Progress were also given out. [Photograph by How Siew Heok]

On November 29, 2015, Tzu Chi Education Sponsorship Scheme’s humanities course was held for the second time at KL Tzu-Chi Jing Si Hall. The course included a series of programme to nurture filial piety in the children, in the hope of inspiring gratitude in them. The cohesive effort of Tzu Chi Education and Charity Teams, while leveraging the power of community, had made this event a success.


 
This event drew a total of 1,100 participants of different races (Chinese, Malay and Indian), comprising 113 secondary school students, 328 primary school students, 77 care recipients and their family members. Four awards on Overall Excellence, Filial Piety, Diligence and Academic Progress were also given out to both secondary and primary students respectively.
 
Master Cheng Yen once said, “Filial piety is the central value of a family, and the absence of it resembles a tree without roots. A family cannot flourish without it; likewise, a tree cannot blossom without roots. Hence, a family thriving on love and kindness entails lasting blessing and nobility.” Therefore, this round of humanities course had made “filial piety” its central theme, hoping to inspire the students to be filial and practise gratitude towards their parents.
 
Positive feedback for ‘time tunnel’ segment
 
The “time tunnel” segment was particularly well-received by the participants, as it was both educational and inspiring. In this game, the children assumed the role of a parent, and guided their blindfolded parents in an imaginative tunnel through the hall, staircase and hula hoops, which resembled the process of parenting. It is hoped that the children could appreciate the immense hardship their parents had gone through in raising them.
 
Back at the hall, the participants were treated to screening of “Apple Tree”, a video about parents’ unconditional love. A volunteer provided such narration throughout the video, “Despite unfavourable condition, parents will provide us the best education with the hope of a brighter future for us. When we grow up, they will constantly remind us of our safety whenever we are out; and wait up for us if we come home late. You might find it annoying, but did you realize your ruthless behaviour might have hurt their feelings? When you hold their hands in the ‘time tunnel’, did you realize those hands have turned rough and frail?” The touching commentary deeply moved the audience members, bringing some to tears.
 
Wang Wen Yue, a bright Form 3 student from Chung Hwa Independent High School, received Tzu Chi’s monthly sponsorship for the first time. Through the game and video segment, her mother, Qiu Gui Xian came to understand the hardship a mother had to endure. She works two jobs to provide for her three children, while her own mother had to raise eight children during those difficult times. Wondering how her mother accomplished such feat, she spoke in between tears, “In the past, I did not do enough to reciprocate her love. From now on, I will spend more time with her.” Her daughter quickly offered her a commiserating hug.
 
A heartfelt experience in the first hand-holding
 
Mother Ardalina Viernes and her daughter, Huang Hui Jing, were invited on stage during the sharing session. As both had little interaction in the past, Ardalina burst into tears as she recounted their experience through the “time tunnel”. She remembered Tzu Chi came to her rescue when she needed it most. Hui Jing also repented for her behaviour towards her mother, as she realized the hardship the latter had gone through in bringing her up. She also promised to be an obedient child going forward.
 
Single-mother Huang Li Yun had been monitoring her daughter’s studies closely with the hope of a better future for the latter, but her good intention was poorly received. Through the “Apple Tree” screening, she hoped the children could appreciate their supportive parents, and be filial to them when they are still around. Realizing that she meant well, her daughter, Xiong Rui Yi then thanked her mother for providing for the family since her father’s demise.
 
Mother Zhang Xiu Juan, who has limited mobility, earns a meagre income at a cell phone company. Her son, Liang Kai Sheng has received Tzu Chi’s sponsorship for three consecutive years. She was grateful for the sponsorship as it has eased her burden. As the provision was hard to come by, she has kept a close eye on his studies, and would go through his homework daily.
 
Another mother shared the “time-tunnel” experience with her ten-year-old son, Viswanaanthan. She said, “I was surprised that my son was extremely careful in guiding me through the staircase and obstacles as I was blindfolded.” Deeply moved by his attentiveness, she said in between tears, “I am proud that he has shown his filial affection.”
 
The obedient Viswanaanthan would help around the house to alleviate his mother’s burden, as she works at a factory to make a living. He even serves his mother during dinner time. Through the “Tzu Chi Happiness Booklet” that is meant to cultivate morality, he has learnt the importance of recycling, and would volunteer at Tzu Chi recycling centre. He regarded Tzu Chi as an organization that renders help to many, thus he vowed to study hard and join the ranks of Tzu Chi in future.
 
Utilize study aid to improve one’s studies
 
Two-time recipient of Tzu Chi’s sponsorship, Keshava Varthini a/p Kanniappen, attended the course with her father. Her results in school have improved since using the study aid on tuitions for weaker subjects. As her father has to provide for two other children as well, he was utterly grateful for the aid which was a great help to the children’s studies.
 
He recalled the moving experience in the “time tunnel” where Keshava took his hand and guided him through various obstacles. “I suddenly realized how much my daughter has grown. We rarely shared this closeness at home,” said the tearful father. Keshava was confident that with Tzu Chi’s help, she could realize her ambition to be an accountant.
 
At the age of four, Selwendhran a/l Parmesparan was raised single-handedly by his mother, Selivarani, after his father succumbed to sickness. Growing up as a hot-tempered child, he used to lash out at his mother whenever he compared his situation with his peers. Ever since Tzu Chi volunteers came to offer care and companionship, he has transformed into a sensible child. Now a Form 2 student, he chose to utilize the study aid on tuitions as well.
 
Selivarani, who understood the importance of education, remarked, “Though it was hard to satisfy all our child’s needs, I will still try my best to give him the best.” As Selwendhran could now appreciate the hardship his mother had gone through, he no longer complains about their living environment, and has grown filial to her. Her mother commended him, “I knew he will be a filial child. When he took my hand and guided me through the obstacles, his attentiveness has given me confidence.”
 
Another recipient, Kalaimani a/p Visvanathan Pillai also grows up in a single-parent family. The study aid she received since 2012 has alleviated her family’s financial burden, allowing her to focus on the studies. She said heartily, “Tzu Chi not only provided for my tuitions fees, books and uniforms, their volunteers also visit us every month to offer care and guidance for my studies.”
 
In 2014, she went on to achieve 7As in the UPSR examination. “Without Tzu Chi’s help, I won’t be where I am today”, said the grateful Kalaimani, whose ambition is to be a lawyer. She also advised other students to make good use of the sponsorship in order to live up to Tzu Chi’s expectation for them.
 
Parents’ great and selfless giving
 
Primary 4 student, Caroline a/p Paul, was brought up by her grandmother since young. Her mother had passed away, while her father had suffered brain injuries in a car accident in 2005, leaving him unable to work.
 
During the reflection session after the “time tunnel” game, the recollection of her grandmother’s selfless giving brought her to tears, “I was glad for the opportunity to guide my blindfolded grandma through the obstacles. She has always held my hand, so I am glad to do the same for her now.”
 
Another recipient, Prashnann Rao a/l Pushparajoo, also shared a similar experience with his mother through the “time tunnel”. Likewise, he had utilized the study aid on tuitions, which was deemed impossible before. “I spent it on tuitions, books and food,” said the sensible Prashnann.
 
Since receiving Tzu Chi sponsorship three years ago, his results in school had improved significantly. His mother, who works as a security guard, was glad to see the change. During the feeding session, both were overjoyed to feed each other grapes.
 
His mother praised him proudly, “Prashnann is an obedient child. He would save money in the bamboo bank for Tzu Chi to help the needy. Whenever he came across volunteers raising funds on the street, he would donate too. He has brought the bamboo bank ‘home’ today.”
 
During the last segment of the event – “returning of bamboo banks”, everyone took turns to go on stage and empty their savings into the urn. Accumulation of small contributions from each individual could indeed accomplish many great kind deeds. Besides, each saving into the bamboo bank signifies a blessing for a good deed accomplished.
 
The seeds of kindness had been planted in all the children, and hopefully they would transform into pillars of society and achieve great heights.
 
 
During the opening ceremony, the audience members were invited to practise “Tzu Chi Kung Fu”, which taught them to be humble and selfless in helping the needy. [Photograph by Chong Shiau Chin]   A student guiding his mother through various obstacles in the “time-tunnel” game. [Photograph by Liew Kah Koon]

During the opening ceremony, the audience members were invited to practise “Tzu Chi Kung Fu”, which taught them to be humble and selfless in helping the needy. [Photograph by Chong Shiau Chin]
 
A student guiding his mother through various obstacles in the “time-tunnel” game. [Photograph by Liew Kah Koon]
 
A total of 1,100 students together with their family members attended Tzu Chi Education Sponsorship Scheme’s humanities course. [Photograph by How Siew Heok]   Huang Li Yun and her daughter, Xiong Rui Yi, shared their stories on stage. [Photograph by Ho Wei Mee]

A total of 1,100 students together with their family members attended Tzu Chi Education Sponsorship Scheme’s humanities course. [Photograph by How Siew Heok]
 
 
Huang Li Yun and her daughter, Xiong Rui Yi, shared their stories on stage. [Photograph by Ho Wei Mee]
 
Viswanaanthan (right) learnt to appreciate his parents’ selfless giving through the “Apple Tree” animation. He said, “They have raised me up and cared for me. I will do the same when they grow old.” [Photograph by Chong Shiau Chin]   Keshava guided her blindfolded father through the “time tunnel” game. [Photograph by Chong Shiau Chin]

Viswanaanthan (right) learnt to appreciate his parents’ selfless giving through the “Apple Tree” animation. He said, “They have raised me up and cared for me. I will do the same when they grow old.” [Photograph by Chong Shiau Chin]
 
 
Keshava guided her blindfolded father through the “time tunnel” game. [Photograph by Chong Shiau Chin]
 
During the feeding segment, Prashnann and his mother were both overjoyed to feed each other grapes. [Photograph by Liew Kah Koon]   Kalaimani (left) hugged her mother and thanked the latter for her sacrifice and selflessness. [Photograph by Chong Shiau Chin]

During the feeding segment, Prashnann and his mother were both overjoyed to feed each other grapes. [Photograph by Liew Kah Koon]
 
 
Kalaimani (left) hugged her mother and thanked the latter for her sacrifice and selflessness. [Photograph by Chong Shiau Chin]