News (2006-2016) News 2010 News Tzu Chi Singapore Branch’s First English Training Session

Tzu Chi Singapore Branch’s First English Training Session

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Singapore, a cosmopolitan city has a diverse population of close to 5 million people made up of Chinese, Malays, Indians, Asians of various descents and Caucasians. It is therefore not surprising that the most dominant language used in the country is English. It is with the objective of reaching out to a wider spread of people in this island country that the English Group of Tzu Chi Singapore Branch decided to hold its very first New Volunteers Training in English.

Having just done a minor foot operation, Nisa’s strong desire to understand more about Tzu Chi motivated her to attend the training.

Revanth from India said he hopes to get his Tzu Chi uniform soon so that he can make better use of his spare time to contribute more to society.
Khoo En Nee (center in white tee) knew about Tzu Chi through a community health screening event. When she learnt that the foundation was so near to her house, she signed up immediately to become a volunteer. A volunteer is teaching her the sign of paying homage.
The light-hearted lessons, small group discussions and the sign language dance made everyone feel like part of this big Tzu Chi family.
Volunteers sharing their experiences and how Tzu Chi has changed their lives.
Brother David Liu patiently answering the queries that participants might have about being a volunteer.

After much preparation, the training was held on the 16th of October 2010 at the Jing Si Hall. A total of 85 trainees attended the event. Even though Tzu Chi’s teachings are based on Buddhism, it is encouraging to see participants of different races and religions attending the training to become a volunteer.

The training commenced with a 45-minute video introducing Tzu Chi Foundation and its Taiwanese founder, Master Cheng Yen. Tzu Chi, literally translated in English as Compassionate Relief, is about how the Master has successfully applied Buddhist wisdom to modern life through active participation in serving the world. Fulfilling one’s earthly duty to serve other human beings is how Tzu Chi volunteers realize the essence of Buddhism. To Tzu Chi, compassion is all about action.

Following the video, Brother Khoo Jyh Hao shared about the Tzu Chi etiquette and Route to a Uniformed Volunteer. In a light-hearted and interactive manner, he introduced the various aspects of Tzu Chi such as the meaning of its logo, Tzu Chi and its subsidiaries and Tzu Chi’s mannerisms. He also taught the Tzu Chi way of paying homage to the Buddha. It was most heartening to witness non-Buddhist participants, among them a Muslim participant, also respectfully doing the same.

Clad in her traditional Malay dress (Baju Kurung) and wearing a headscarf (tudung), one could not help but notice Nisa, who stood out prominently amongst the rest of the participants. Despite the minor foot surgery she had recently underwent which is causing her some difficulties in walking, she was resolute on attending the training as she felt that such is a rare and esteemed opportunity to better understand Tzu Chi. When asked what inspired her to step into a Buddhist foundation and attend its training for new volunteers, she said apart from her aspiration to volunteer, she loves the camaraderie and feels that Tzu Chi is like one big happy family. She is excited and looks forward to receiving her uniform soon, because with that, she will be able to join in the ranks of Great Love and help the less fortunate.

After a short break, it was time for some sign language song interaction. The theme song “Happy Face” could not be more apposite. Under the lead of Brother Roger and Brother Sam, all the trainees, regardless of age, sang and danced like 10-year-old kids with not a care in the world. The vivacious atmosphere in the hall chased away the afternoon lassitude and at the end of the song, the hall was filled with oomph and needless to say, scores of happy faces. Indeed, the less desire we have, happiness will naturally be with us, just as what the song tells.

The trainees were inspired by the sharing of Brother Cai Rong Fu and Brother Stanley Neo who shared their experiences in Tzu Chi and how Tzu Chi has changed their perspectives in life. For Brother Cai, who is particularly active in home visits, each home visit is akin to a priceless lesson in life. By adopting this stance, he has learnt to truly cherish and appreciate what he has. Through this process, he also came to “rediscover” his wife, Sister Wu Yu Chin, as a compassionate and wise woman, whom after 12 years of marriage, he still finds absolutely attractive. Their daily topics revolve around not just their own family, but other families they’ve visited and how they are doing. It is indeed a true envy for many for a Tzu Chi couple to remain devoted both in marriage and in Great Love.

Brother Stanley Neo also shared three interesting and noteworthy stories on how Tzu Chi has changed his life. One of them is how he now greets each and every neighbour he met in the lift, with a chirpy ‘Good Morning’. The neighbour and he will then greet the next neighbour who steps into the lift and so on. Spreading seeds of love, he soon made many “friends” in the neighbourhood, who will wave and smile at him, some of whom he doesn’t even recognize. In the words of Mother Theresa, “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Brother Stanley has exemplified this in his own way.

The Q&A session with CEO Brother David Liu was a most interactive and engaging session. As he spoke, questions flooded the floor and the trainees were prolifically scribbling their questions on paper and passing it to volunteers on duty. It was also inspiring to hear his experience on how and why he ended his lucrative garment business some 20 years ago, decided to go full-time in Tzu Chi and has not looked back ever since. Indubitably, it was a fulfilling half hour session for all participants with Brother Liu as he sheds his wisdom on daily challenges faced and how to overcome them.

One of the trainees, Khoo En Nee was especially touched by Brother Liu’s words. Despite her visual impairment and the inconvenience she faces, she persisted in attending the training session as she has been searching for an avenue to volunteer. When she first saw Tzu Chi volunteers in Pasir Ris MRT station during a health screening event, she was impressed and curious about this group of people in uniform. She thought, “How did they manage to keep that smile on their faces and look so ebullient?” When she went home and did a search on Tzu Chi Singapore, she couldn’t be more thrilled with what she had found – the Foundation’s branch office, Jing Si Hall, was within walking distance from her home! She knew she had found a way to realize her aspiration and the key is Tzu Chi.

The training session came to a fruitful close with a prayer and closing homage session. It was a most gratifying Saturday afternoon for both volunteers and the trainees. Great Love knows no boundaries; may all participants, regardless of race or religion, join in the ranks and continue to spread the seeds of love in their homes and communities so as to create a harmonious multiracial country.

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