Sunday, May 09

Today’s youths in a ‘very opportune position’ to change the world

June 13, 2019 | Jonas Trinidad

Over time, this fresh wave of Tzu Ching (Tzu Chi Youth) will take responsibility for the changing world. With their knowledge of modern technology, among others, they’re in a position to make a difference. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

Story Highlights

  • On the second day of the Tzu Chi Youth Still Thoughts Camp, the youths are make to realize that they’re in a “very opportune position” to make a difference in today’s world. But to do so, they must first make a difference among themselves.


On the second day of the recent Tzu Chi Youth Still Thoughts Camp, a former Tzu Chi Youth member tells the camp attendees that they’re “in a very opportune position.”

In his narration of the horrific events of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), Tzu Chi volunteer Tecson Lim believes the attendees are in the right place and time to make a difference in this world. The dedicated volunteer was at ground zero during Yolanda—he shared that Tzu Chi’s teachings during his youth and Tzu Chi’s response during Yolanda’s relief operation had inspired him to be the difference he desires for the world.

“Simply put, I wouldn’t be who the person I am now if not for Tzu Chi. I go back to that day when I joined the Tzu Chi [Youth] camp that made a very, very big difference in my life,” said Lim.

Outside Tzu Chi, Lim manages rehabilitation and recovery efforts under the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. In fact, right after his talk, he flew to Marawi where rehabilitation efforts for those affected by the large-scale conflict in 2017 are still in progress.

As the city administrator of Tacloban when the super typhoon slammed into the city on November 8, 2013, he served as a liaison between Tzu Chi and the city government amidst the former’s major relief operations.

The attendees themselves proved that they can make a difference in this world starting at home. Jerika Sison does so by going vegan, abstaining not only from consuming meat but also from animal byproducts such as dairy. She recalled being a “hypocrite” while volunteering at an animal shelter.

“One day, I entered an animal shelter where I help cats and dogs [rescued] from the streets. It’s then I ask myself: ‘why am I willing to help cats and dogs, yet continue to hurt animals such as pigs and cows for meat?’” said Sison.

Meanwhile, a teary-eyed Charlotte Chua realized something important after watching the movie Unfilial Son. The Tzu Chi original movie tells the real-life story of Huang Ruifang, a Tzu Chi volunteer who was jailed for drug abuse in his youth. He would constantly vow to never do drugs, only to fail in his promise to his family’s dismay. It wasn’t until his fateful meeting with Tzu Chi volunteers in prison visits that he was able to turn his back on drugs for good.

The film, less than two hours long, struck a chord in Chua’s heart. She revealed that she would often quarrel with her parents, mainly because she thinks that they favor her two younger siblings than her, who is the eldest. Her parents then asked her to join the camp, which she initially refused.

“That’s when it really hit me. I’m not as perfect as I thought I am as a daughter.” said Chua.

Following the film viewing, the participants were then asked to write a letter to their parents. With the struggle of Huang Ruifang still fresh in her mind, Chua writes how grateful she is for the opportunity to join the camp. As one of Master Cheng Yen’s teachings goes: “to transform the world, we must first transform ourselves.”

  • Former Tzu Chi Youth Tecson Lim briefly shares his experience following the ruin left by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Aside from being a Tzu Chi volunteer, Lim works for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Jerika Sison shares her decision to go vegan when she saw the hypocrisy in caring for stray cats and dogs, yet harming cows and pigs in consuming meat. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Six of the participants commit to go vegetarian after the lecture on vegetarianism. Sison (first row, second from right), however, has been a vegan for some time. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The youths watched the Tzu Chi film Unfilial Son. It tells the story of Tzu Chi volunteer Huang Ruifang, who was repeatedly incarcerated for drug abuse prior to joining the foundation in 1998. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • With the film fresh on her mind, Charlotte Chua writes to her parents about how grateful she is for the chance to join the camp. The eldest among three siblings, Chua confessed to being rude to her parents due to jealousy towards her two younger siblings. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】