Inspiring Kindness with Games, Music and Drama at Tzu Shao Camp

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Tzu Shaos staging a play inspired by Pokemon characters. (Photo by Pua Poo Toong)Tzu Shaos staging a play inspired by Pokemon characters. (Photo by Pua Poo Toong)

How does one surmount obstacles easily? “Don’t impose limits on yourself, then it won’t be difficult.” Tzu Ching seniors Dai Ming Han and Lin Zi Xiong shared how one’s mentality can affect the way one deals with a situation at the annual Tzu Shao (Tzu Chi Teenagers’ Class) camp held on 26 and 27 November 2016. During the camp, participants prepared a series of items, including a Pokemon inspired play, a song and sign language segment, and a skit which illustrated the teachings of Jing Si Aphorisms.



Tzu Shaos puzzling over the maths quiz game segment (Photo by Pua Poo Toong)Tzu Shaos puzzling over the maths quiz game segment (Photo by Pua Poo Toong)
During the drawing and guessing game, Tzu Shaos try their hand at capturing messages through pictures. (Photo by Pua Poo Toong)  During the drawing and guessing game, Tzu Shaos try their hand at capturing messages through pictures. (Photo by Pua Poo Toong)
Tzu Shaos during the camp, trying to transfer a peanut to their friend by using a fork or chopsticks (Photo by Pua Poo Toong)Tzu Shaos during the camp, trying to transfer a peanut to their friend by using a fork or chopsticks (Photo by Pua Poo Toong)
Liu Jia Liang (front row, right) holding his brother’s hand during a performance (Photo by Pua Poo Toong)Liu Jia Liang (front row, right) holding his brother’s hand during a performance (Photo by Pua Poo Toong)
“Don’t impose limits on yourself, then it won’t be difficult.” Tzu Ching seniors Dai Ming Han and Lin Zi Xiong share how one’s mentality can affect the way one deals with a situation. (Photo by Pua Poo Toong)“Don’t impose limits on yourself, then it won’t be difficult.” Tzu Ching seniors Dai Ming Han and Lin Zi Xiong share how one’s mentality can affect the way one deals with a situation. (Photo by Pua Poo Toong)
Li Yu De bent at the waist and supporting a “cow head” as he played his role in guiding volunteers upstage for the item, “Pulling a Cart and Moving Along.” (Photo by Fu Ya Tian)Li Yu De bent at the waist and supporting a “cow head” as he played his role in guiding volunteers upstage for the item, “Pulling a Cart and Moving Along.” (Photo by Fu Ya Tian)
Li Tong (centre) used to be headstrong and hated to lose. After learning the Jing Si Aphorism, “anger is a momentary loss of sanity”, at the Tzu Shao class, she made an effort to change for the better and humble herself. (Photo by Xu Jing Sheng)   Li Tong (centre) used to be headstrong and hated to lose. After learning the Jing Si Aphorism, “anger is a momentary loss of sanity”, at the Tzu Shao class, she made an effort to change for the better and humble herself. (Photo by Xu Jing Sheng)
Dr. Luo Rong Yu  also performed during the song segment. In 2008, he was inspired to continue to contribute to society after he saw for himself in Indonesia, how the Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) members aided the needy in a systematic and organized manner. (Photo by Fu Ya Tian)Dr. Luo Rong Yu also performed during the song segment. In 2008, he was inspired to continue to contribute to society after he saw for himself in Indonesia, how the Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) members aided the needy in a systematic and organized manner. (Photo by Fu Ya Tian)iors Dai Ming Han and Lin Zi Xiong share how one’s mentality can affect the way one deals with a situation. (Photo by Pua Poo Toong)
Volunteers and Tzu Shaos file neatly on stage and pour the savings in their bamboo coin banks into a big urn. (Photo by Xu Jing Sheng) Volunteers and Tzu Shaos file neatly on stage and pour the savings in their bamboo coin banks into a big urn. (Photo by Xu Jing Sheng)

In the Pokemon inspired play, PoKe Village was once beautiful; it was suddenly attacked by Team Rocket, the villainous trio comprising the character known as James. With Poke Village on the verge of destruction, what is one to do?
 
At the Tzu Chi Teenagers’ Class camp held at the Jing Si Hall from 26 to 27 November 2016, one of the programme segments was modelled after the Pokemon storyline: 80 Tzu Shaos (students of the Teenagers’ Class) and their facilitators saw their beautiful PoKe Village under seige. Through participating in various games, including a math quiz and Bingo etc., they aided the hero of the Pokemon series in retrieving various natural elements, such as “gold, wood, water, fire and earth” in order to save the village.

During the draw and guess game segment, the Tzu Shaos would make drawings of the items on the slips of paper they received, while their team mates tried to guess what the items were. The room was filled with laughter as the teenagers tried to make sense of their team mate’s drawing.

What followed after was a “simple maths quiz” that left some of the participants befuddled in the short time frame they had to work out the answer. “If my brother were here, it would be light work to calculate this!” one exclaimed.

Transforming Evil into Good

As the Tzu Shao class in 2016 had a monthly Jing Si Aphorism lesson, the Tzu Shaos decided to stage a play with the wisdom of the Aphorisms as content.

In one of the acts, peace loving individuals were faced with a group that was the antithesis of what they represented. Holding his brother Liu Feng Jia’s hand, Liu Jia Liang looked at the Machiavellian group and remarked how the other party was as fierce as they were peaceful. “......Let’s help them!” he said.  He proceeded to mediate, linking up their hands with his and the atmosphere settled down into one of calm.

“There is a place that does not differentiate between religion and race—that is (a place of) love.” Liu Feng Jia quietly brought out the message of the Jing Si Aphorism: “A heart overflowing with love can dispel hate and conflict”.

Nine-year-old Liu Feng Jia expressed his happiness in being able to attend the camp with his older brother. On normal days, the brothers would share in the housework, and their father said with a smile, “On some days when I have yet to return home around 5.30pm, he would call me to ask if I would like to have the rice prepared first.”  After their engagement in Tzu Chi, the Liu family has started to recycle, and their home now boasts of a recycling bin apart from the trash bin. The boy’s parents have also done away with superstition, donating the money meant for buying incense papers into the Tzu Chi bamboo coin bank.

The Might of a Small Act of Kindness

There are many difficulties one has to face in life. How can one handle these with ease? “Don’t impose limits on yourself, then it won’t be difficult.” Tzu Ching seniors Dai Ming Han and Lin Zi Xiong share how one’s mentality can affect the way one deals with a situation in the question and answer segment.

In 2010, Dai Ming Han was pursuing his Master’s degree in NTU when he came across the documentary “Meat the Fact.” He decided to advocate vegetarianism and mass-emailed his professors and course mates, inviting them to view the documentary together. Only 10 people turned up for the first screening but he said, “Though only 10 people came, but 5 of them said that they would try to consume vegetarian meals more often.”
 
Lin Zi Xiong who works in Tuas, started following a vegetarian diet since two years ago. It was a challenge each time he stepped into the staff canteen during lunch as he would have to enquire of the stall holder: “Boss, can I know if this dish has shrimp (used to flavour the dish) in it?”

One day, however, in reply to his question, the stallholder replied in the negative, saying that it was because he had thought of Lin! “The crux of it is: if you do not mind what others think, then it’s not difficult,” Lin said.

Dai Ming Han even conducted an experiment on site. He requested for a video clip to be shown but the clip in question could not run. The result of his experiment was that first one person stood up to offer help, followed by another and yet another. Seeing the results of his experiment, Dai said: “Actually, people can be influenced by others and can similarly influence others too.” He encouraged the Tzu Shaos not to let fear and embarrassment hinder them as just a small action and a single pure thought can have an effect on others.

Tzu Chi Songs Inspire Kindness  

On the second afternoon of the camp, many parents, children and volunteers crowded the Jing Si Hall where they joined in a singalong session organized by the Tzu Shaos. A month prior, Tzu Shaos and their team facilitators had started preparing hard by practising the sign language accompaniment to the lyrics. The objective of the singalong session was to raise funds for Tzu Chi’s charity fund.

Li Yu De, who had recently graduated to the ranks of the Tzu Chings, was bent at the waist, supporting a “cow head” as he played his role in guiding volunteers upstage for the musical item, “Pulling a Cart and Moving Along.” Li used to be a bully in his school and would beat up others when he got angry. In 2013, he got to know of Tzu Chi because of the “Dharma as Water” presentation. During Tzu Shao class, the earnest reminders of the class facilitators gradually sank in and inspired him to turn over a new leaf.

Another participant, Li Tong too, has her own story of transformation to share. She used to be headstrong and hated to lose. After learning the Jing Si Aphorism, “anger is a momentary loss of sanity”, at the Tzu Shao class, she made an effort to change for the better and humble herself. Li will be going on to secondary four next year and apart from focusing on her studies, she plans to volunteer at the Tzu Chi Free Clinic on Saturdays.

Apart from the Tzu Shaos, Dr. Luo Rong Yu was also present to participate in the song segment. In 2008, he was inspired to continue to contribute to society after he saw for himself in Indonesia, how the Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) members aided the needy in a systematic and organized manner.

Among the 26 songs presented, 3 were composed by local Tzu Chi volunteers. Two pianists and a guitarist lent their abilities to the songs, and as the familiar songs started up, the roomful of audience were drawn into the colourful landscape of songs, sign language, piano, guitar and erhu.

At the conclusion of the short video detailing the origin of the Tzu Chi “Bamboo Bank Era,” volunteers and Tzu Shaos filed neatly on stage and poured the savings in their bamboo coin banks into a big urn. Just like how the individual contents of each bamboo bank were poured into the pool of funds in the urn, the little bits of love from many individuals were channelled towards a common goal, helping to create a better world for all.

 

 

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