From Gambler to Giver

Compiled by Shawn Chang (張牧軒)
                        Connie Chen (陳慷妮)

From Gambler to Giver

Compiled by Shawn Chang (張牧軒)
                        Connie Chen (陳慷妮)

After retiring, Deng Zhen-hai works as a volunteer at a Tzu Chi recycling station every Thursday. (Photo by Yang Li-shu)

Deng Zhen-hai (鄧振海) was born in Hsinchu, Taiwan. His parents both passed away when he was young. At the age of 16, he began to learn how to paint movie posters. As an apprentice, life was tough, as he struggled with low income, even resorting to taking cold showers to save money. After serving in the military, he began to work as a scenery painter for a film company.

Later on, Deng started a seal carving business at a department store. During that period, he became obsessed with playing illegal lottery, and the thought of it occupied his every waking moment. He became so distracted that he would sometimes do foolish things. Once, his wife gave him some apples and a bag of kitchen waste, and told him to throw away the waste and offer the apples to a deity at a temple. He absent-mindedly threw away the apples and brought the kitchen waste to the temple, shocking his wife. After losing a lot of money, he finally learned his lesson and decided to quit this hobby.

Deng always visits care recipients every month. (Photo by Zhang Yi-chao)

As soon as Deng quitted lottery, he met a Tzu Chi volunteer and began to make donations to Tzu Chi. He also received a copy of Tzu Chi Monthly from the volunteer. Through reading the magazine, he learned that Tzu Chi is a charity that selflessly serves those in need. Inspired to join the cause, he became a recycling volunteer and started collecting recyclables at the department store where he ran his business.

Currently, in addition to recycling, Deng also visits Tzu Chi's care recipients regularly. During his visits, he gifts them copies of Tzu Chi Monthly, hoping that they can help change their lives, just like how the magazine has changed his, and indeed, some care recipients did change their ways.

One of the care recipients, Mr. Gao (高先生), was once very poor, and struggled to find a job due to his bad credit. Fortunately, Gao followed Deng's advice and became a taxi driver in the past few years. His financial situation improved, and he also began to receive training to become a Tzu Chi volunteer.

Deng (middle) and Ms. Liu (left) get along very well. They are like family to each other. (Photo by Li Xiu-lan)

Another care recipient, Ms. Liu (劉女士), was once a heavy smoker, who often complained about her children and her poor health. Whenever Deng visited her, he brought her a copy of Tzu Chi Monthly, talked about its content and shared some jokes to cheer her up. Eventually, she was persuaded by Tzu Chi volunteers to smoke fewer cigarettes, and she even donated the money saved from cutting back to Tzu Chi.

Seeing how care recipients are able to transform their lives for the better makes Deng very happy and satisfied, as it reminds him of how he has changed himself for the better in the past.

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