Smiling Again

By Loh Siew Chien (羅秀娟)
Photos by Huang Yu-hua (黃玉花)
Abridged and translated by Syharn Shen (沈思含)

Smiling Again

By Loh Siew Chien (羅秀娟)
Photos by Huang Yu-hua (黃玉花)
Abridged and translated by Syharn Shen (沈思含)

Wong Chiu Siang's eldest daughter is an autistic teenager and a major source of irritation for her. "She affects me so much that I feel like killing her," says Wong.

With her husband away for work, housewife Wong Chiu Siang (黃秋香) in Malaysia had to handle everything at home and care for her three children, including a hyperactive toddler and an autistic teenager. Wong's eldest daughter has autism and cannot speak, so she often gives Wong a headache by throwing tantrums and even turning violent at times.

Already feeling great frustration in caring for her kids, Wong's father, whom she was very close with, suddenly passed away in an accident one day. Shocked and still in grief, Wong was further driven into desperation when her mother suffered a stroke later on. Having to also care for her mother full-time, Wong was on the brink of a collapse. "When I'm distressed, I'd scold and spank my kids. Sometimes, I also get angry with my mother," recalls Wong.

Through watching various programs on Da Ai TV every day, Wong has broadened her heart and mind.

Feeling miserable and resentful, Wong would complain about her challenges in life to her good friend Hong Ee Phing (王燕萍), who understands Wong's ordeals as she herself has four children with special needs. Hong, who is also a Tzu Chi volunteer, came up with an idea to support Wong. Together with other Tzu Chi volunteers, Hong chipped in to install a cable box in Wong's home so her friend could watch Da Ai TV and find some comfort in its wholesome programs.

Since then, Wong started to watch Da Ai TV every day and was inspired by the real-life stories from Da Ai Dramas, the selfless giving of Tzu Chi volunteers to help the needy, as well as Dharma Master Cheng Yen's (證嚴上人) talks and reminders about life. Over time, Wong's resentment faded and she began to see the good things in her life.

"I really enjoy watching Da Ai Dramas, and I've realized that there are many people who suffer much more than myself. What I've gone through is actually not much compared to what others have been through," says Wong, who gradually learned to cherish what she had around her, eventually opening her heart and finding joy in life again. "I've accepted my lot in life."

All with special needs children at home, Wong and several Tzu Chi volunteers are good friends who often support one another and share their experiences.

Wong also feels more at peace in caring for her mother. "Before, it was my mother who worked hard to raise us, but now that she has fallen ill, she is in pain too. I've decided to stop complaining and care for my mother till the very end." By seeing past things, Wong is able to give of herself willingly without asking for anything in return.

"In the past, resentment was written all over her face," recalls Hong, who is happy to see her friend smile again and let go of the negative emotions accumulated over the years. With the support from her friend and Da Ai TV, Wong can now face life's challenges with optimism and a joyful heart. "Every day, I tell myself that I'm already very blessed as there are people who suffer much more than I do!" says Wong, wearing a grin on her face.

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