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Charity, Medicine

TIMA’s Sweet Confections of Wisdom and Blessings

During the two day Tzu Chi 2014 Lunar New Year charity bazaar held at the open field beside Pasir Ris MRT station, eggless confections made by medical professionals and volunteers from TIMA Singapore (Tzu Chi International Medical Association, Singapore) flew off the shelves, and within hours, the cookies and cakes were sold out. This was the second time that TIMA’s volunteers had engaged in this worthwhile undertaking.

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TIMA members and volunteers busy making cupcakes at the Jing Si Hall kitchen. (Photo by Yong Kea Pei)

“Wisdom Cookies & Cakes of Blessings (福糕慧餅)” was the name of the stall adopted by TIMA Singapore (Tzu Chi International Medical Association, Singapore) during the two-day Tzu Chi Lunar New Year charity bazaar held at the open field next to the Pasir Ris MRT station. It was the second time TIMA medical professionals and volunteers personally made cakes and cookies for the annual charity fair. About 20 medical professionals and volunteers were mobilized, and they gathered in the kitchen of Jing Si Hall and baked a total of 300 cakes, 300 boxes of cookies and 400 cupcakes in the five days before the fair.

Dr Ong Chin Kian, a dental surgeon who volunteers on regular basis at Tzu Chi Free Health Screening and Medical Clinic, coordinated this “special mission” of TIMA Singapore. He roped in friends and volunteers at the free clinic who are skilled in baking for a good cause. As no preservatives were added to the baked goods, Dr Ong even stored the ready products in a spare room at his home equipped with 24-hour air-conditioning, air filter and eight hours of ultraviolet light to ensure their quality and freshness.

The idea of baking cakes to sell at the charity fair was first proposed by May Looi Yew Bee, who volunteers at the free clinic. When told that no eggs should be used for the cakes, she experimented on making “eggless cakes” for a period of time and eventually got it right. She even started baking cakes to sell to friends to gather funds for the ingredients months before the charity fair. Her friend, Anne Wong, who has been in the cake baking industry for more than 20 years, came in to help. Anne was full of admiration for the dedication shown by Tzu Chi volunteers, as well as the humanitarian work that Tzu Chi does around the world. Anne first encountered Tzu Chi seven years ago during a trip to Taiwan when she happened to switch to the Da Ai TV channel in her hotel room. She was very moved by Master Cheng Yan’s teaching at that time, and when the opportunity came up, she was really elated that she could contribute her efforts. Anne hopes to participate again next year with a target of 1000 pieces of cakes and cookies if there is a chance.

While sourcing for the ingredients, the volunteers got to know Helen Liu, a friend of a Tzu Chi volunteer, who not only sponsored the ingredients for free, but also came with her family to volunteer at the fair as well. Helen had heard about Tzu Chi years ago from her relatives in Malaysia who are Tzu Chi volunteers. This was, however, her first encounter with Tzu Chi in Singapore. She was so impressed with Tzu Chi that she hoped to continue contributing in the coming years.

Such mindfulness and caring thoughts put into the making of cakes and cookies truly appealed to many of the visitors at the fair. Within hours after the fair opened, the cakes and cookies were all sold out.

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Rows of ready baked cupcakes with toppings of the word “blessing (福)”, a dedicated product of TIMA Singapore for the charity fair. (Photo by Ong Soh Chin)

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The lovely cakes and cookies at the TIMA stall appealed to many of the visitors at the fair.  Within hours from the start of the fair, the cakes and cookies were fully sold. (Photo by Pua Poo Toong)

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TIMA medical professionals came out with innovative ideas to promote their stall and had a fun time together too. (Photo by Pua Poo Toong)

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