On April 8, 2012, a Jing-Si Books & Cafe was opened in Kuching, making it the first in Sarawak and 19th in Malaysia. It is hoped that it can help every single customer, who walks into the shop, to find his/her direction in life.
On April 8, 2012, a Jing-Si Books & Cafe was officially opened in a strategic location in Kuching. Eight guests-of-honor were invited to perform the opening ceremony. When the curtains were drawn slowly aside to reveal the signboard of the outlet, it marked another milestone for Tzu Chi Kuching Chapter.
(The first Jing-Si Books & Cafe opened in Penang, Malaysia, in 2000; and to-date, there are 62 outlets worldwide.)
The First Master’s Bookstore in Sarawak
Way back in the late 90s, a Tzu Chi volunteer came across Master Cheng Yen’s books at a feng-shui section in a bookstore he visited. This volunteer then vowed to himself that one day, he would like to open a bookstore just to display the Master’s books with utmost respect.
Prior to 2011, volunteers in Kuching could only dream of setting up such an outlet. Nevertheless, it did become a reality. Last year, after receiving the green light from the KL & Selangor branch, all volunteers began searching for a suitable location for their bookstore. After months of futile labour, Lily Law, a 77-year old senior volunteer, suddenly thought of her family’s shoplot in the centre of the city, which would be a good location for the outlet.
Being a founding volunteer in Kuching, Lily strongly believes that books are food for thought. A good book or a touching article can inspire one to think and grow rich; and change the person in the process. Hence, the bookstore is intended to serve as a bridge between books and the community at large. Lily then told her son, Hong Boon Kheng, about her idea. To her surprise, he fully agreed to it.
Mr Hong said, “Here is where I grew up. Around every corner and every turn, everything here reminds me of my childhood. The memory is so vivid in my mind.” He added, “Tzu Chi volunteers are full of compassion; they help without asking anything in return. I support my mother’s idea of opening the bookstore here. It is a bona fide bookstore that will create value, inspire change and restore community. On top of that, it also offers a relaxing and elegant experience that will leave a lasting impression. I am going to share it with my friends.”
Mr Hong said, “What I can do is to help my mother in every way I can, so that she can do whatever she wants.” Being the eldest son to Lily, Mr Hong helped his mother to obtain consensus among his family members and to take care of the lease agreement and other trivial matters. Finally, Jing-Si Books & Cafe was presented with an incredible deal and both parties were excited about it.
Please come back often
A very excited Lily exclaimed, “Today, I am too happy to say anything. I can’t believe that we finally have a Jing-Si Books & Cafe here in Kuching! It is like a big event to my family.” Recalling the challenges that everyone had endured, Lily’s eyes were brimming with tears when she said, “This is our new home for everyone and for Tzu Chi, so we must come home more often.”
Lily continued, “I am now 77 and life is uncertain. The Master always says that we shall not wait to do good deeds. Jing-Si Books & Cafe allows more people, including my grandchildren, to know Tzu Chi better. That is what I expect of it.” “I hope that people can pay more visits to the Cafe. It is a good place for us to quietly reflect about our direction in life.”
“I have never been happier than now,” Lai Yoke Foong, the person in-charge of Tzu Chi Kuching Chapter, said excitedly. She added, “I am grateful to Tzu Chi KL & Selangor for assisting us at the onset of the project until it was finalized. I am also thankful to the local sponsors and our volunteers as well. Without their unflinching support, this project would not have materialized.”
Since its soft opening on March 31, the Cafe has attracted many people to become members or volunteers of Tzu Chi. Yoke Foong added that the Cafe was not just a bookstore but also aims to promote spiritual well-being.
A perfect place to relax
Tzu Chi volunteer David Liu (former CEO of Tzu Chi Singapore) was invited to attend the opening ceremony and to hold a motivational talk at the Cafe. The talk attracted some 140 people who were totally captivated.
Here are some of his wise advice to the audience: “Tzu Chi is a right and wise belief; it is not superstitious.” “The critical moment in life requires us to make the right decision, and that requires wisdom.” “Only if we do it with our own hands, can it be counted as a true blessing. We will be blessed if we give.”
David Liu also shared with the audience about his experience in Tzu Chi. His sense of humour and words of wisdom caught the attention of the audience for the duration of his talk.
Dato Wee Hong Seng said, “It is not necessary to find our inner self in a place far away from town. We can do it in a busy city where Jing-Si Books & Cafe is located. The bookstore is also a great place to network with people.”
Another guest, Mr Liu Zai Cheng said, “I think it feels good to take time out of our busy lives to wind down and relax. The place is quiet and peaceful, and it helps to balance our mind.”
The interior of the store, a lushly wooden and air-conditioned environment of zen and oriental style, was packed with people right from 10 am (opening hour) to 9pm. They were drinking beverages while snapping up book titles ranging from motivational to spiritual, among others.
The youngsters today should take the opportunity to spend a few hours each weekend reading while sipping a cup of tea in this Jing-Si outlet instead of wasting their time on meaningless online activities and games.
Eight invited guests unveiling the red curtain to mark the opening of the first Jing-Si Books & Cafe in Sarawak.【Photograph by Kho Chee Hui】
The volunteer sign-language team performing for the happy occasion.【Photograph by Kho Chee Hui】
Tzu Chi volunteer, David Liu hopes that the Cafe will serve as a community living room where the spirit of great love is spread.【Photograph by Kho Chee Hui】
More than 100 people attended the first spiritual talk held by the new Books & Cafe.【Photograph by Kho Chee Hui】
A volunteer introducing to the guests-of-honour the latest Jing-Si product, an eco-friendly liquid soap produced by the resident nuns of Jing-Si Abode.【Photograph by Charles Kung】
David Liu autographing his book "Dawn of Awakening" for his readers after the talk.【Photograph by Kho Chee Hui】
|< Prev||Next >|