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Coming Together To Celebrate the Festive Season of Light

Everyone shares the joy of a festive celebration, regardless of whether one is rich or poor. Tzu Chi held a Deepavali celebration for its care and aid beneficiaries, where volunteers invited the latter and their friends to help create a joyful atmosphere for the special occasion.

SG20181028 CHA FGQ 029Rohini (left) designing a Rangoli on the floor of Jing Si Hall on the day of Deepavali celebration (Photo by Fong Kwai Kin)

Graphic designer Rohini painstakingly designed a Rangoli (traditional Indian floor painting) in Jing Si Hall on the day of the annual Deepavali celebration for the aid and care recipients of Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore). Using rice grains of different colours and coloured sand powder, she created a design of lotus flowers and lamps, which symbolized the spirit of Deepavali, i.e. light dispels darkness and good triumphs over evil.

The celebration, which was held on 28th October 2018, was attended by 27 Indian beneficiary families of Tzu Chi. Rohini shared that she found it very meaningful to do something that brought joy to others and hoped to bless everyone with her Rangoli art.

It was raining heavily at 3pm on the event day. However, the inclement weather did not dampen the volunteers’ enthusiasm in welcoming the aid and care beneficiaries. Catchy Indian drum music resounded through the Jing Si hall as the guests entered. It was played by a team of 9 drummers from Siva Sakthi Muniandy Urumi Melam, who were invited by Tzu Chi’s aid recipient Y. Mahalakshmi to perform for the event.

SG20181028 CHA ZMZ 009Volunteers holding umbrellas in the rain to welcome the arriving guests (Photo by Chan May Ching)

SG20181028 CHA PBT 002Care and aid beneficiaries watching a performance on stage while enjoying their snacks (Photo by Pua Poo Toong)

Siva Sakthi Muniandy Urumi Melam has been established for 14 years. The team of professional drummers performed with great team spirit and zest, beating drums of various sizes. And they were accompanied by a traditional song sung by Thiru, a professional singer.

Thiru was moved to say that no matter how dazzlingly the spotlight shone on him during a performance, it would not be more meaningful than performing for the less fortunate. He humbly expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to contribute his effort on this day.

Y. Mahalakshmi was very grateful to Tzu Chi for providing her with material aid when she fell on hard times. Her son was one of the drummers in the team and he would be undergoing professional soccer training in Portugal with assistance from a charity group, after receiving a year of basic training in Singapore. Mahalakshmi hoped that her son would grow up to be an outstanding citizen and give back to the society in future.

SG20181028 CHA FGQ 046Y. Mahalakshmi (second from the left in the front row) poses with the drum team which she has invited to perform at the Deepavali celebration. (Photo by Fong Kwai Kin)

Aid beneficiary Tolasi was one of those who went on stage during the segment where aid and care recipients shared their stories with the audience. She revealed that she felt very depressed after being diagnosed with kidney failure two years ago. And unfortunately, she was diagnosed with stomach cancer a year ago, which made her even more anxious and worried. Then, Tzu Chi volunteers stepped into her home and started giving her aid and care; they also taught her how to calm her mind.

“I could not walk for two months. They came and talked with me and encouraged me, asking me to think positively and not to have negative thoughts,” said Tolasi.

Tolasi’s daughter revealed that her mother’s blood pressure used to be very high, but after learning how to calm and settle her mind, her blood pressure slowly returned to normal. Thanks to the regular home visits by Tzu Chi volunteers, Tolasi has gradually developed a more positive mindset.

Humsaveni, another Tzu Chi aid beneficiary, suffered burns nearly 70% of her body some 30 years ago. She lived in hardship for most of her life and is plagued with a number of illnesses at old age. During the toughest days in her life, she wasn’t even sure if she would have anything to eat for the next meal. Humsaveni was also the main breadwinner for her family of three. When she was working as a cleaner at the Nanyang Technological University, she met four Tzu Chi volunteers who were either studying or working in the University. They became her friends and brought cheer and hope to her.

“I want to thank the volunteers who come to my home every month. They come to chat with my husband and me as there are only the two of us in the house. Even our own children have no time for us. But the volunteers would come and listen to our pain and sorrow,” shared Humsaveni on the stage.

She thanked the four young Tzu Chi volunteers Bernard Ng Jia Han, Lee Shao Wee, Chan Wai Yee and Xu Zhi Sheng, for lending her a helping hand when she needed help the most, and expressed her hope to serve as a Tzu Chi volunteer when there is an opportunity.

SG20181028 CHA FGQ 093Humsaveni putting her blessings into words for tsunami victims in Sulawesi (Photo by Fong Kwai Kin)

One of the coordinators of this event, Lian Bee Ngo, said that some of the aid or care beneficiaries hardly spent time outside their home, and thus, this annual celebration gave them an opportunity to experience the festivity of Deepavali in Jing Si Hall. Deepavali signifies the victory of light over darkness. We hope that everyone would resonate with kindness and transform the challenges in their lives with a positive and upright mindset.

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