Sunday, Oct 22nd

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Thursday, 11 June 2015 17:22

Bus Racer Steered to Good Affinity

Written by  Soon Fock Chuan, Klang / Translated by Wong Mun Heng

Despite their different religious beliefs, Thiru and wife, Rita have participated in the sutra adaptation together. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]

With music in full blast, he sped past other vehicles, ignoring the shouts from other drivers near him. When the other vehicles are out of sight, and with sunglasses on, he would proudly said, “Hey, you can’t beat me!”


Thiruchelvam a/l Muthoo, a Primary 6 dropout, used to enjoy life in the fast lane literally.  Since he could not shine in academic studies, he thought of other ways of showing off. However, he placed great emphasis on his children’s studies and would ensure all of them have proper education.

Repent and cleanse his soul

Fifty-year-old Thiru is a Hindu while his wife, Rita Michael, is a Christian. Despite their different religious beliefs, their marriage has lasted 30 years; and this is due to the mutual respect and understanding they have for each other’s religion. The couple had four children, but ten years ago, their then 11-year-old youngest son passed away.

Rita informed that when Thiru was young, he was very bad-tempered, rough, easily provoked, and loved to drive fast. He hardly had friends, and he also did not have a good relationship with his children.

She successfully persuaded Thiru leaving the transport industry, and joined her in driving a school bus; and his behaviour improved a lot. He also stopped driving recklessly because of his responsibility for the safety of the school children in his bus. As a result, the number of school children taking their buses has increased over the last 25 years.

The bespectacled Thiru smiled and said, “I used to drive fast and was very lacking in road courtesy. I would scold and never give way to other drivers who wanted to overtake or cut into my lane. At times, I even showed provocative signs.”

He was very reckless and inconsiderate in his driving, often cutting into other lanes and endangering other road users. He had been issued with many traffic summonses, and had to pay his fines, as well as, face a year’s suspension from driving. All these had resulted in him losing his jobs and his family also suffered financial hardships.

Despite their financial constraints, the couple still managed to provide the best for their children’s education. They raised funds for their children’s studies by disposing their assets, vehicles and wife’s jewelleries. Their efforts and sacrifice paid off when the eldest son graduated as a lawyer and the two daughters are in the medical field.

What made him change from a hell racer on the road to become a performer at the Dharma as Water sutra adaptation performance? The two hands that used to control the steering wheel are now promoting the sutra and positive teachings.

His repentance of past deeds, false speech and ignorance all started from the moment his children received the study grants from Tzu Chi. He and his wife discovered that Tzu Chi is a charitable organization that transcends religion and race.

With volunteers’ invitations, they started to participate in community-based charitable activities, got to know more like-minded people and repaid society for the help rendered to their family.

The Dharma is with you

They were very concerned that Earth’s resources are fast depleting. Thus, when they learnt that Tzu Chi Klang was setting up a recycling point at Project Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) Padang Jawa, they volunteered to contribute their efforts to save the environment.

The couple enjoy recycling the most among Tzu Chi’s activities. Thiru said, “My wife and I have an understanding that after sending the school children to school, we would pick up recycling resources along the road and then send them over to the recycling point later.” According to the local residents, Thiru and Rita always bring the most recyclable resources to the recycling point.

After being involved in recycling for a while, Thiru gradually learns to be more humble; and this is a total contrast to his previous arrogant attitude. In November 2014, and at volunteer Chong Sui San’s invitation, the couple registered their participation in the “Light of Great Love” team for the July 4 & 5, 2015 Dharma as Water sutra adaptation performance.

Thiru said, “I’m a Hindu and my wife is a Christian. This is our first time participating in a Buddhist event. We do not see any problem, though there may be some difficulties in understanding and appreciating the Buddhist sutra.”

Despite the language barrier, Thiru is undeterred from learning the sign language. Rita, who has some basic understanding of Chinese said, “I can understand the instructor’s explanations.  The volunteers would also explain the meanings of the sutra to me. Later at home, I would share with my husband what I have learnt on the sutra.”

Though he could not understand the sutra fully, Thiru informed that he has found peace at the practice sessions where he would sit and place his palms together. He recalled, “When I was young, I used to be very ambitious. I had lots of dreams to pursue. In the process, I became very stressed and many of my friends and family members got the brunt of my bad temper. I really feel sorry for all of them.”

He found the songs very soothing and exuding a feeling of peace. He felt there was a need for him to go back to simple life and have less desires. In the past, all his desires had caused much hardship to himself and his family. Thiru, who has regretted and repented for his past said, “Since joining Tzu Chi, I don’t think too much. Now, I just want to be more active in Tzu Chi and cultivate better affinity with others.”

At one community fellowship, he shared that once when his bus broke down, he tried to repair it but it was all in vain. As he was due for the sign language practice, he decided to abandon the bus by the roadside, rush home and change to his volunteer attire. When he reached the venue, his wife noticed his hands were still dirty. He informed sincerely, “Because of the need to rush for the practice session, I did not wash my hands properly.” Though the dirt on the exterior still needed cleaning, the heart within Thiru is definitely sparkling clean, pure and blooming like a lotus.



“Repent, big vow and good deeds” – these are the steps taken by Thiru and his wife to add positive values to their life. By participating in the “Light of Great Love” team for the Dharma as Water sutra adaptation performance, they have helped make the Dharma assembly truly transcending religion, race and language barrier, thus making the world a brighter place for all.

 

On stage, Thiru and wife, Rita bravely shared their changed journey after  joining Tzu Chi. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]   Thiru used to drive fast and hardly had friends. His wife was deeply gratified with his transformation after encountering Tzu Chi. [Photograph by Lee Wei Kean]

On stage, Thiru and wife, Rita bravely shared their changed journey after joining Tzu Chi. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]
 
Thiru used to drive fast and hardly had friends. His wife was deeply gratified with his transformation after encountering Tzu Chi. [Photograph by Lee Wei Kean]
 
Upon learning that Tzu Chi Klang was setting up a recycling point at PPR Padang Jawa flats, Rita (1st left) volunteered joyfully. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]   Thiru and his wife are undeterred from learning the sign language in spite of the language barrier. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]

Upon learning that Tzu Chi Klang was setting up a recycling point at PPR Padang Jawa flats, Rita (1st left) volunteered joyfully. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]
 
Thiru and his wife are undeterred from learning the sign language in spite of the language barrier. [Photograph by Ng Su Lim]