The theme this week is about community service. I'd like a little reflection on your part on these few questions:
1) What does community service mean to you?
2) Why do community service at all?
3) Does the power of the people really exist? (ie. What can we as individuals do?)
4) What kind of community service do think would suit you?
5) What should community service accomplish? (For you, and for others)
6) When would you not support community service/ humanitarian work? (What kind of project scope suits you?)
This week we have a guest speaker. His name is Mr Ng Yee Kong, the president of a local Buddhist humanitarian group called Firefly Mission (FFM). FFM's mission is to bring love, peace and happiness to oneself and others which bears witness to their Buddhist beliefs, and frequently organizes overseas trips to developing regions to assist in the development of basic education and healthcare for the less fortunate. FFM believes in the principle of cultural relativism and does not support projects or organisations that attempt to convert recipients or involve activities that disrespect local cultural dynamics.
Some of the trips in which FFM has organised are to places such as Maesot and Fang (both in Thailand and close to the Myanmar boarder), as well as relief trips during the Cyclone Nargis disaster. For a full list of projects, please visit their website at: http://www.fireflymission.org/index.html .
Mr Ng is experienced in his arena of overseas community work, so do read up a but more on the topic to be discussed so as not to waste this valuable opportunity to ask questions about his experiences. His sharing would cover how we can be involved in active participation of charity work, and how Buddhism has guided him and the mission in their course of doing what they do. The sharing would also cover some of the past missions that Mr Ng has attended. If you've read the details or watched any videos about such past trips, this would be a good time to voice your opinions and clear any doubts. I think it's important to say here too that FFM does not discriminate the people who it hands out aid to. Although it follows Buddhist teachings, aid is still handed out to those who need it regardless of political stance or religion.
Below is part of a video aired on Channel 8's 'City Footprints' of Firefly's relief work after the Cyclone Nargis disaster:
To end off, I hope this little post will get you guys excited about this week's sharing. It will last about 1.5 - 2 hours (assuming Q&A), and STARTS AT 3pm SHARP. Don't be late (not polite) and hope you guys will turn up!
Take care and ciao,