“I feel relaxed rehearsing with everyone here today. Everyone seems to feel joyful and at ease. Despite repetitive practices and rehearsals, nobody complained!” shared Jerrold, a student beneficiary of Tzu Chi’s Seeds of Hope programme.
On 1st December 2018, the Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore) held its Seeds of Hope (SOH) Meritorious Award and Bursary Disbursement Ceremony at the Jing Si Hall in Pasir Ris. The ceremony began with a short skit depicting interesting real life stories of student beneficiaries helping out at a Tzu Chi recycling point in a neighbourhood.
Jerrold, who also played the role of the lead character in the skit, shared about his experience interacting with Tzu Chi volunteers. He noticed that the volunteers not only did their best to help others, but also put in effort to refine their own attitude and behaviour.
Jerrold said that although he could not afford to donate money yet, he could contribute time and effort helping others. He has received bursary from Tzu Chi Singapore for three years and is now doing his final year in a university.
“Although I have fulfilled all the requirements of the Seeds of Hope programme, such as participating in the monthly recycling day, I still feel that it is not enough and I should do more,” he said.
After the stage performance, the attendees were divided into four groups—primary school, secondary school, college and parents. The event coordinator, Kan Chee Heng, explained that this arrangement allowed each group to participate in a segment that was more relevant to them, so that they would feel connected with the activities and be inspired. Kan hoped to spread the values of gratitude, respect and love to the students to inspire them to give back to society in the future.
The primary school students played a cup passing game, which was designed to not only let the students have fun while learning to help others, but also allow them to feel the joy of helping others.
In the secondary school group, Tzu Chi volunteer Chew Kian Lee shared with the students that he came from a poor family and what he went through along the way before becoming a university professor today. He encouraged the students to face challenges with strength and courage once they had found their direction in life. He also assured the students that their hard work would eventually pay off.
Meanwhile, members of the Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth Association (also known as Tzu Ching) shared about Tzu Chi’s activities related to environmental protection and institutional care with the college students. There was also a sign language performance and singing session to help everyone bond with one another.
Nigel Frederick Fernandee is a student beneficiary who has been involved in Tzu Chi's recycling activities for some time. He shared that he has stopped using disposable containers for takeaways and always brings his own reusable containers to pack the food.
Liu Si Hong, another student beneficiary, shared the same sentiment as Nigel after listening to his sharing. Liu said that she has begun to inspire her family to do recycling after participating in Tzu Chi’s recycling activities, by setting up a zone for recyclables at home. She believed that her influence on her family would encourage more people to join the efforts of environmental protection.
After the group activity session, all the students entered the main hall with a tray in their hands. They walked slowly and steadily towards their parents, knelt before them, and then served them hot tea.
“No matter how bad I did, I still love you, Mummy!” 11-year-old Gina Cheaw said to her mother, Tan Wee Yong, for the first time. Her sincere and moving words touched the latter’s heart.
Due to a hectic work schedule, single mother Tan Wee Yong often disciplined her daughter with a hard and stern approach. With the ongoing company and care of Tzu Chi volunteer, Wang Kang Rui, Tan is now able to interact very well with her daughter. Speaking about the changes in her daughter, Tan shared, "I was actually a little surprised that she would say “gan en” ('grateful') to me whenever I did her a favour."
She also revealed that Gina now practises environmental conservation and has even shared with her some energy saving tips. Her daughter would also explain the meaning of certain English terms to her, and both mother and daughter enjoyed exchanging ideas and learning from each other.
“I have not shown her respect in the past. I thought that the way for her to show respect to me was to listen to me and follow what I did,” said Tan.
Now, Tan has learned how to look at things from the perspective of her daughter and respect her daughter’s opinions. She has also learned to give the latter more freedom.
After drinking the tea served by Gina, Tan said with tears in her eyes, “I am very happy. I feel that my daughter has grown up.”
Gina gave her mother a hug and said, “Mum used to scold me and say that I was rebellious. Now, she doesn’t do that anymore.”
Fu Man Ling has been a Seeds of Hope beneficiary for two years, during which she transformed from a talkative girl into a sensible child who is willing to help her mother with housework. Despite her shy character, she expresses her love for her mother with practical actions. Fu’s mother, Triani, said that she felt happy and comforted to see the changes in her daughter, and she was also grateful to Tzu Chi for helping to cover part of her child’s education expenses.
Yu Mei Yan, a representative from Singapore Management University, said that the event was very heart-warming and she was surprised that Tzu Chi does not only help tertiary students, but also primary and secondary school students.
Yu said, “Tzu Chi encourages students to give back to the society while receiving assistance from the Foundation. Education is about guiding children to understand that the realisation of self-worth is not only about them, but also for the sake of the society, thus inspiring them to help others with more sincerity.”