In the morning of 28 Dec 2020, a group of members from Tzu Chi Entrepreneur Association visited the headquarters of Zero Spot Laundry Service Pte Ltd to introduce Tzu Chi to its employees and inspire them to help people in need. Co-founders of Zero Spot, Mr. Lim Chin Hwee and his wife, Madam Teo Siew Leng have been in the laundry business for many years. They believe in staff motivation and emphasize talent cultivation with the hope that their staff could come together to contribute to the community.
The headquarters of Zero Spot is in Senoko Way, a secluded spot in the northern part of Singapore. When entering the lobby of the company, the tables and chairs were seen neatly arranged at least one-metre apart. Madam Teo Siew Leng, a Tzu Chi volunteer, warmly welcomed everyone. She then began arranging the bamboo coin banks, Tzu Chi monthly magazines, Jing Si Aphorisms, vegetarianism pledge cards, and other Tzu Chi items on the table for the sharing session.
Sister Teo Siew Leng was thankful for her staff's creativity and dedication in solving the issue of the absence of a coin collection pot. She was wondering what to do when she learned that there would be a segment where the coins from the bamboo coin banks would have to be collected in a big donation pot. Fortunately, her staff came up with a solution by building an improvised model using discarded wood and plastic.
Giving back what is taken
"Today, we have many kind-hearted people who are also living a blissful life. Let’s gather our bamboo coin banks and donate to Tzu Chi to help more people. Is everyone okay with that?" Sister Teo Siew Leng's words immediately won the applause and support of all the staff.
Sister Teo Siew Leng thanked the volunteers for organising the sharing session to introduce Tzu Chi to her staff. Through the sharing session, the staff learned that Tzu Chi is more than just a charity organisation, but one that is also involved in other missions such as medicine, education, humanistic culture, and environmental protection. From the humble beginning of the bamboo coin bank era to becoming an international NGO, Tzu Chi set global footprints in more than 100 countries and has set up branches or liaison offices in more than 60 countries and regions around the world.
Through the volunteer's explanation and video screening, the staff could feel Tzu Chi’s great love and Master Cheng Yen’s vision to relieve the world from suffering. Where there is suffering, there are Tzu Chi volunteers in actions, who are always first to arrive and the last to leave.
A few months ago, Sister Teo Siew Leng shared with her staff the true spirit of a small donation for charity. The staff responded by adopting one bamboo coin bank each. On this day, the staff returned with more than 30 bamboo coin banks of different sizes. They walked to the improvised donation pot and emptied their coin banks into it.
Thank you for holding on to me
A staff of Zero Spot, Joey Seow was grateful for the support she received from Sister Teo Siew Leng, who helped her get back on the right track. More than a year ago, Joey joined Tzu Chi under Sister Teo Siew Leng's guidance. After becoming a Tzu Chi volunteer, Joey was responsible for temperature taking at Tzu Chi Humanistic Youth Centre on weekends. Later, she joined TIMA and helped at the Lakeside Family Medicine Clinic, where she hoped to put her knowledge to good use.
Joey shared that she once visited Tzu Chi Da Ai Gallery and saw a picture of Master Cheng Yen pointing towards one direction. She did not know the meaning behind it at first. The gallery docent told her that Master Cheng Yen was pointing at a direction, which signified a goal, to go into the community and help the poor and needy.
After the visit, the image of the picture kept appearing in Joey’s mind. She said emotionally, "I’ve never thought about what I want to achieve in life."
When she heard that Tzu Chi volunteers do not smoke, she resolutely gave up smoking, which she picked up at the age of 19. She then realised that when there is a will, there is a way.
Alan Tong is a close friend of Brother Lim Chin Hwee. He is contracted to do the maintenance servicing work of the steam boilers in Zero Spot. Alan had never heard of Tzu Chi. After hearing the volunteers' sharing, he was very touched and said, "I can't believe a Buddhist group has done so much for the community." Alan was usually enthusiastic about charity works and would collect used clothing and send them to poor countries on a regular basis. He hopes to learn more about Tzu Chi and its charity works.
Towards the end of the event, Tzu Chi volunteer, Brother Sim Hee Chew accepted the donation from Zero Spot on behalf of Tzu Chi. Brother Sim Hee Chew said that he had been acquainted with Sister Teo Siew Leng for a long time and both studied Confucianism together in the early years. At the end of the sharing session, Brother Sim Hee Chew expressed his gratitude to the staff of Zero Spot and the company for the opportunity to introduce Tzu Chi and share its teaching with more people.