Tell me, will YOU be free on 2 November?
Will you be in Penang on this date?
If you want to do good and pay it forward, please spread the word that the Buddhist Tzu Chi organisation will be having their annual charity sale at the Pesta Sungai Nibong site from 9am to 3pm.
The sale revenue will be used to help those who are under the Tzu Chi welfare care and support such as kidney patients, those who are poor and to fund international relief work.
Meet the Angels in Blue…
I’ve always had the utmost respect for this organisation and you probably recognise their volunteers/members by their dark blue shirts and white pants. In some places they are known as Blue Angels.
When I was helping to write up the report on the tsunami which happened in Penang in 2004, I was told that Tzu Chi members were the first people who arrived at Tanjung Tokong to help clear debris and find out what else was needed.
Incredibly, they are also the quietest – they do not shout about their good deeds nor boast.
It is precisely this sincerity to help that inspires many (me included – good work has its own volunteer PR team!). Their selfless help transcends all borders of race and religion.
Which is amazing considering that these days, everyone who does something good or noteworthy wants it shouted from the tops of mountains…or at least have some fishy PR mileage out of it.
A friend told me too of how Tzu Chi have been quietly helping people in her area of Sungai Ara. She spoke of this Malay couple who sells pisang goreng near her wet market – this was the only means of earning an income for the couple.
They were very poor and had 6 children to feed. But they also told her how they were grateful to Tzu Chi which came to their aid, giving them money monthly so that they could afford to raise their children. My friend started weeping when she heard this personal account from the Malay man who was in a wheel-chair.
The best thing about this Taiwanese-born organisation is its founder’s core philosophy. Master Cheng Yen advocated self-sustenance for the organisation.
I heard of Master Cheng Yen’s philosophy first hand when I visited the Jing Si Cafe & Bookstore on Beach Street a few years ago. A smiling volunteer came forward to tell us about the founder’s core philosophy. And Master Cheng Yen is a woman (don’t all the best ideas come from women? Yay to women power in changing the world!)
What 30 Not So Desperate Housewives Did…
Master Cheng Yen left home at 26 to be a Buddhist nun and thereafter set up the Buddhist Tzu Chi organisation. Today, this admirable organisation has grown to include 5 million supporters and 30,000 members on a global scale, from First World to Third World nations. And keep doing work that warms the heart and renews faith in the human race.
Particularly touching is the story of how Master Cheng Yen started the wheel of compassion in 1966 – she gathered 30 housewives of Hualien town to start saving 50 cents each day from their grocery money so they could help others. Never doubt what a group of determined women can do.
How You Can Help…
So if you can help the Penang Tzu Chi Annual Charity Sale, please do.
You can either:
* contribute ingredients for the food
* volunteer to man the stalls
* help cook agar-agar for the sale
* contribute old but usable items for the jumble sale
* make glutinous rice balls or ‘tang yuen’
* volunteer to wash dishes during the event (lots of hands needed for this)
* or if you cannot do any of the above, please come to support this event with your family and friends/ buy tickets in bulk – each ticket costs RM 10
* spread the word to your family and friends
If you are coming to buy food at the charity sale, bring along your own food containers or tiffin carriers. Tzu Chi abides by eco-friendly practices so they will not be giving you a chance to litter the earth with plastic or polystyrene.
If you can help in any way, please call Swee Yong at 012-423 8700.
I end with these beautiful words, taken from the Tzu Chi website:
In a rare meeting with Master Cheng Yen, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama stated, “Why should we help people who are in pain and in need of help? It has nothing to do with religion, race or nationality. It has to do with the fact that they are our fellow human beings…”