Amitofo Care Centre (ACC) is a Buddhist orphanage home dedicated to help Africa with Buddhism

2012-07-05 Singaporean teacher reflects on ACC appreciation tour

TO CONTRIBUTE WITH JOY – BY SHIH RAY CHEN

Shih-Ray is a Singaporean who recently had the opportunity to visit the ACC kids during their appreciation tour in Asia. As one of the twenty two teachers who received a national award for being a good role model in the education profession, she was deeply touched by the ACC kids and wrote the following article about her experience.

“If every butterfly flaps its wings at once, they can influence the air pattern around the world. If everyone on the world contributes with joy, we can co-create a wonderful universe”. This is a wonderful quote I’ve noticed in my appreciation card which I’ve received after making a contribution to ACC.

I believe that all things in our world are connected through common truth and values, and we don’t necessarily need heroes or heroines to reveal the truth and create a wonderful world for us. As one of the beings in this universe, we can all seek opportunities to contribute with joy. Even though our lives may be relatively short, we can all do our bit in co-creating a prosperous future for all. Venerable master Hui Li, the founder of ACC, once said: “Whether you are a sun, a moon or a star, you shine and light up the world. Every beam of light you give is not brighter or dimer than others – it serves the same purpose.”

Last year I first met the ACC kids when they came to Singapore, and I am delighted to see them again this year and the progress they have made in the past year. More importantly, it’s very touching to see that they continue to uphold their values and morals which they’ve learnt at Amitofo Care Centre. To show their appreciation, the ACC kids performed for us - ranging from singing Chinese folk songs to demonstrating their martial arts skills. Everyone in the audience was amazed by their talents and the hard work they’ve put into it.

I am truly amazed by these African kids, especially their ability to communicate using Chinese. I am also deeply touched by the fact they not only learnt the language, but also the rich Chinese culture. As a language teacher I understand that Asian kids generally have a poor attitude towards learning Chinese, and I cannot stop wondering when they will realize that they are not learning it for the sake of examinations, but rather for sustaining the Chinese culture – something they should be proud of. As I sat in the audience, watching the kids perform and going through all these emotions, I also wondered whether all the parents or teachers in the audience are feeling the same way and motivated towards contributing to the greater purpose of our existence.

Our universe may appear to be governed by synchronicity, but at the same time not everything is absolutely co-incidental. ACC is a conscious movement towards greater goods and one can see that the choice that ACC has made for the kids has definitely made a positive contribution to our world.

To show my appreciation to the ACC kids, here is a letter I wrote to them:


Dear ACC kids in Malawi

Since I first saw you last year I have been constantly thinking of you, and I really appreciate the fact that you came all the way from Africa to see us again this year. I believe that you have gained much value and learning from this tour, right?

I am a Chinese teacher in Singapore, and whenever I had a chance I told my students about you guys and even showed them videos of your daily lives in Africa and the effort you’ve put into learning many things that were new and unfamiliar to you. When I first knew that you were coming here again, I informed my students and they were over the moon! A lot of them made it to your performance and they were truly amazed and touched by what you are capable of. You have helped us in understanding how blessed we are and that we need to show more appreciation in our lives. In the short two hours we had with you, did you know that you have changed many people’s perspective about life and what the Chinese culture truly means for us? Did you know that your effort has positively influenced us in many different ways? Never underestimate the difference you can make – master Hui Li had a vision and started with small efforts which ultimately helped him in establishing ACC.

I would like to sincerely thank you for influencing us with your positive spirit, especially towards learning about our culture.  In our environment where people feel that it’s difficult to learn Chinese, you have demonstrated to us that nothing is impossible. I truly believe that you have affected all our lives and on behalf of all my students, I would like to thank you once again for showing us hope, kindness and joy.

Your sincerely
Shih-Ray Chen