News (2006-2016) News 2010 News Two Days of Learning and Reflection at the 2010 Tzu Chi Teenagers' Camp

Two Days of Learning and Reflection at the 2010 Tzu Chi Teenagers' Camp

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Tzu Chi Singapore Branch held the 2010 Tzu Chi Teenagers' (Tzu Shao) Camp in November. The main theme for this annual camp was Environmental Protection and Vegetarianism, hoping to awake the benevolent thoughts and gratefulness in each Tzu Shao. The main intention was to conclude what they have learnt for the year and to integrate the knowledge into their daily life.

(Photo: Li Wei Jun)

Breaking up the ice and building up rapport between the Tzu Shaos and their group leader. (Photo: Khor Kim Seng)
With both eyes blindfolded, one group of Tzu Shao was hesitant in crossing the obstacles. The game was basically to let the youngsters experience how livestock felt in the dark. (Photo: Lin Jia Jun)
Upon seeing how the livestock was slaughtered, Hong Bao Zhu was disheartened. Recalling back the video would persuade her determination to be a vegetarian. (Photo: Lin Jia Jun)
At one of the workstations, the Tzu Shaos were required to make their own sushi, of which the aim was to encourage the teenagers to start protecting the environment by adopting vegetarianism. (Photo: Li Wei Jun)
Two Tzu Shaos carried the items back to the recycling point in joy after collecting the recyclable items from the residences. (Photo: Ni Zhi Hao)
Tzu Shao involving themselves with the recycling sorting. (Photo: Ni Zhi Hao)
An adult volunteer explaining the manufacturing process of the Da Ai Technology Co. eco-blanket to the Tzu Shaos. (Photo: Ni Zhi Hao)

With both eyes blindfolded, the Tzu Shao had to cross over various obstacles piled up by chairs and leap down from an elevated point. Albeit the Tzu Chings (Tzu Chi's collegiate youth volunteers) were leading them by holding their hands, some of them were hesitant in putting their feet down as they were uncertain whether they would be stepping on thin air!

The next instance, the Tzu Shaos’ feet were bounded and tied up together, completely restricting their movement. This sense of insecurity reflected how livestock felt when they were being locked up in the dark….

With clothes peg pinched to their ears – 10 seconds, 20 seconds…... until someone cried in pain. The feeling of being clamped tightly in a constrained area, and being injected with antibiotics numerous times to prevent from falling sick was unspeakable pain. Is that how life should be for the livestock?

Zhang Jia Zhen recalled the obstacles that he went through and exclaimed fearfully: “When I was being blindfolded, I couldn’t see at all and I felt that anything could happen to me anytime. I have no clue with what was going on and this fearful feeling must be exactly how the livestock felt! Hence we should not eat meat, but more vegetables.”

Vegetarianism: To be in the animals' shoes

The 2010 Tzu Shao Camp was held on 13 and 14 Nov for 2 days 1 night. The main theme for this annual camp was Environmental Protection and Vegetarianism, hoping to awake the benevolent thoughts and gratefulness in each Tzu Shao.

On 13 Nov, the camp provided an insight for Tzu Shao to experience how livestock felt when they were being captured and slaughtered. Several workstations were created to evoke the four main senses: Ear (Pain), Eyes (Fear), Mouth (Taste) and Movement (Freedom). The workstations were hosted by the Tzu Chings who took the chance to explain the effects of global warming, and how carbon emissions and greenhouse gas generated by the meat industry is the main culprit! Hence consuming meat not only brings harm to livestock but also creates irreversible damages to the environment.

As humans, we tend to satisfy our craving for food and disregard what the livestock went through. At the Mouth (Taste) workstation, the Tzu Shaos were shown a video clip on the process of making fried nuggets. They were repulsed with the whole process.

Huang Bo Jun said how his mother had educated him to be attentive to his eating habit. He realized that food is more than just about filling the stomach; by simply enjoying the sushi he had made himself at the workstation, Bo Jun comprehended that there could be healthy varieties to vegetarianism instead of using just mock meats.

Watching the video clip on how livestock were being slaughtered, Hong Bao Zhu was saddened by what she saw. She told herself that she would reduce her intake of meat, and she would recollect this video to strengthen her determination.

Cheng Jia Ying shared that although she is yet a vegetarian, she had set her mind to having vegetarian breakfast for a start. She was also very determined not to eat beef, as "carbon emissions from rearing the cows accelerated air pollution problems".

Environmental Protection: DIY!

The second day of the camp was coincidently Tzu Chi Singapore's monthly recycling day. With the companion of adult volunteers, the Tzu Shaos went to the Foundation's recycling point nearest to their residence and got themselves involved in the recycling sorting. Prior to that, they had already been taught the basic steps in sorting out recyclable items in the Jing Si Hall Recycling Station.

At each of the Jurong East, Shun Fu Road, Admiralty and Chai Chee recycling points, there were more than 20 Tzu Shaos and volunteers, some of them were assigned to collect recyclable items from the residence, some of them were busy sorting out the materials.

When they have doubts, the adult volunteers were helpful to share their experience with them. At the Chai Chee point, the Tzu Shaos browsed through the DIY eco-enzyme area, information on Da Ai Technology Co. Ltd.'s eco-fabric products, and understood the objectives of Tzu Chi's recycling endeavour to reinforce what they have learnt.

Every month, Zheng Wei Cheng and his mother would participate in the recycling sorting. Previously when he saw the bottles of "fruit peels" at his house, he didn't know what they were until today, when he finally realized that they are in fact eco-enzymes and their cleansing effect is earth-friendly!

Secondary two student Hong Bao Zhu said, “Tzu Chi recycling points are really educational. Usually we will just put all the recyclable items into the recycling bag and give it to the recycling dealers. Now after some hands-on experience, I have learnt how to sort out the items before recycling, it is indeed very rewarding!”

Even though his shirt was soaked with perspirations, tall and well-built Zhang Guan Yi was still working hard in sorting out the papers – tearing the plastic portion out from the envelops, as the plastic portion is also recyclable. Guan Yi was delighted that he was doing his part to save Mother Earth!

Throughout the two hours of recycling, Tzu Shaos demonstrated their patience and passion in recycling. Although the organizing team went through hard work to organize the programmes, they hope to eventually create more opportunities for the teenagers to begin involving in community activities.

Lin Ze Jian exclaimed that being able to contribute made him very happy. Realizing that many things can be reused instead of being thrown away, he began to understand the meaning of treasuring. Ze Jian too encouraged his friends to do recycling; whenever there is an event in school, he would volunteer to bring reusable cups for his friends.

Action speaks louder than words, his action is worth praising!

Go veggie: start conserving the environment today!

Back to Jing Si Hall in the afternoon, the Tzu Shaos were made to explore the various workstations to reinforce their knowledge and understanding of what they have learnt the day before, and to prove their determination.

For instance, at the “Bumping” station, Tzu Shao had to work together as a team by following the workstation leaders’ instruction. They have to put their limbs and head in a confined area, simulating how livestock went through in their cages. Hopefully the Tzu Shaos would empathize with the pain that most livestock goes through and eventually reduce their craving for meat.

Other workstations ignited the Tzu Shaos' creativity. Common recyclable items such as water boiler, old newspapers and paper cartons etc. were introduced and the Tzu Shaos were required to rethink how their lifespan could be extended.

Not long after, all kinds of solutions came up: the water boiler was transformed into flower pot, piles of old newspaper were reused as table mat, PET bottles were crafted into art pieces, while old pants were altered into pouches.

Furthermore, they were asked to make “Sunny Doll” using newspaper and rags as a memoir of the camp. Each “Sunny Doll" was made uniquely by the Tzu Shaos; hopefully the recipient would be able to feel their dedication and blessing.

Ms Hong Li Huan, member of Tzu Chi Teachers' Association, was on stage to share with Tzu Shaos the story of Taiwanese Tzu Chi volunteer Huang Rui Fang. Due to reckless and being emotional, Huang was led astray at a young age and became a drug addict, but because of a good thought, he was able to turn over a new leaf in his later life. The Tzu Shaos were enlightened to the importance of having a good thought daily.

Before ending her sharing, Ms Hong emphasized that there are two things in this world that one shouldn't wait, that is: to be filial and to do good deeds.

The two-day-one-night camp was indeed a fulfilling one. Each group summarized what they had learnt over the two-day camp by putting up a performance on the stage, and everyone indeed enjoyed themselves. With the song “Happy Face”, the 2010 Tzu Shao camp came to an end and each of them left the camp feeling moved and fruitful.

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