Yayasan Suria JB (YSJB) – Money, money, money & letting go!
Over the years as a volunteer worker, I have seen the 2 flip sides of the same coin as far as “letting go” is concerned. Letting go doesn’t only involves letting go of $$$ but also of one’s time, knowledge, ideas, kindness, etc.
This is a very complex issue, very difficult to understand, so simple, yet so hard to grasp the real meaning of “what is meant by letting go?”
After having being in this field of volunteering/NGO/charity for some 30 years or so, I have seen the extremes of being a generous person and that of a miser.
The first group of ‘generosity’ has no bounds – they just like to give and give, anything and everything, of their wealth ($), time, knowledge, ideas and anything. I have some supporters who will tell me “just call me when you need money to do charity work” and they will sarcastically tell me “why so long not writing any articles, no more doing charity ah!” – such are their excuses of just wanting and waiting to let go of their ‘possessions’ to part off their money for a good cause.
The trust built over the years is what makes people wanting to donate to us. As some say “it’s easy, we just click a few buttons and feel good we have donated but the hard work starts when the money reaches us.”
A lady goes round the morning market around her vicinity, collects from stall owners, well wishers and anybody and sends to YSJB monthly some money, not big amounts but from her heart and efforts. She will scribble on a piece of paper all the names – RM1, RM2, etc.
Another guy goes round his neighbourhood, collects pre-loved items, stores them in his house and asks YSJB to collect, sometimes sending to our office in Jalan Bakawali 50, Johor Jaya.
One old man keeps one of our donation boxes in his house, each time friends drop by he will ‘sell’ YSJB, collects the money and will remit the money to me, topping up whatever collected ringgit to ringgit.
Another person will go round his rich neighbours in the evenings, ask for donations and remit the money to me.
This classic case is worth mentioning. Some years ago, when I was still working, 4 of us, all friends gathered for a bite. ‘A’ went to the washroom, one of the friends told us ‘A’ just borrowed RM150 from him, all of us knew ‘A’ was not doing well financially at that time. That person who loaned ‘A’ the money told us to pretend and not to mention about the RM150.
‘A’, on returning to the table, took out RM155 and gave me to money saying “this is for your charity works, Bro”, I took the money thankfully, knowing the story behind the giving, with tears in my eyes about to burst out, I controlled, gave an excuse to go to the toilet and there, I cried my heart out – such generosity, going all out of his way to help, so much sacrifices. Apparently, he took his own RM5, topped up the RM 150 ‘loan’ and gave RM155 to me, perhaps that was all what he had then.
I was told later that ‘A’ returned the money in 5 installments. What a responsible person!
YSJB was formed on 14th Sept 2002, this happened way back before the formation of YSJB, friends knew I was doing charity and they are generous towards me helping the Poor & Needy.
Ah ha! Some 4 years ago, I bumped into ‘A’ again, he was well dressed, I enquired about his life, he told me he was doing very well now, took out a pile of notes, gave them to me without counting and told me to carry on doing what I have been doing all along. I counted the money, it was RM2,300 – I will always remember this amount, for I counted the money thrice before putting it into the bank.
A strange case of someone who borrowed money and gave it to me to do charity!
Thank you my friend and if you are reading this, God’s blessings be upon and with you forever!
No amount of donation is too small or too big. There was this guy from KL, he has been sending me online RM10 for a few months, then asked me to send the hardcopy of the RM10 receipts to his address in KL, I obliged without any questions asked for to YSJB, all donations received must be accompanied by a tax-exemption receipt as required by ROS/Income Tax Dept.
A couple of months later, I received a RM5,000 donation from the same guy, I was surprised & shocked. In good faith and in all sincerity, I called him, thanked him and told him that if the amount donated was a mistake, I shall refund him as his monthly donation was RM10 for the past months.
“You think I don’t have money” – to which I explained my intentions why I wanted to return the money if there was an error in remittance. To cut the long story short – he is now our monthly donor of RM5,000. After getting to know him better, he told me I never judge anyone, never look down upon anyone and never question him as to any amount he donated.
To YSJB, no amount is too small, all donations must be given a receipt. For information, YSJB was given tax-exemption on 1/1/2020 for a 5-year period.
There are many more stories about generosity and I shall relate one more – the second-hand Toyota Hilux 4WD which I am driving now was donated by someone who just wrote a cheque for RM62,000, told me to continue what I am doing, no publicity of the donor. Now, this vehicle is covering 5,000 km monthly, gaining so many ‘merit points’ and spreading them to everyone around!
The second group of ‘stinginess’ has also no bounds – similar to generosity but on the other extremes. Not being able to give or just not being able to let go what they have – for whatever reasons, this group clings on, holds on tightly to anytime, It can be money, material possessions, ego, pride, etc – just can’t let go, they can be free but they don’t want to!
Just like a prisoner who is released from jail but he/she does not want to walk out! Perhaps, he just can’t let go of the ‘environment’ he has been so used to and to be free. Strange but true!
I know of people who will not give you a cent for your charity works, even though they have tons of money, no right, no wrong here for the money is theirs. And you get scolded for being stupid for doing this charity work – “you have nothing else to do ah!”
A friend of mine owns several cars, when asks whether one of the vehicles can be ‘loaned’ to a known classmate returning from overseas for a short duration, the answer is “NO, I AM USING” but the cars are not being used at all – just can’t let go!
Sometimes you meet old friends whom you have not met for years, they’re doing well financially but when you mentioned to them that you are doing charity, the whole conversation ends, everyone leaves because they are afraid you might ask them to donate.
People can talk about anything under the sun and moon, from politics to weather, to sex, to fashion, to food but when the word “charity” is mentioned, conversation ends, friendship ends – this word “charity” is such a taboo for many people.
I have lost many friends just because I am doing ” charity” – they are scared of me, treat me like an outcast, nevermind, I have my own life, they have theirs, no judgement here.
Not being able to let go also means holding on to ego/pride – “tak mahu kalah”, driving around in expensive cars, wearing expensive clothings, dining in expensive places when they can hardly afford – trying to impress!
The Buddhists teaching of “letting go” is a good way to live – it is when you can let go that you live and be free! It is a stress/torture when you can’t let go – of money, of pride, of ego, of whatever you have. Heavy to carry around but we just can’t let them go.
In the course of my volunteer work, I too have seen people clinging on to dear life when there is no more hope of living like in a terminal disease like cancer – they spend tons of money, even to the extend family members have to borrow money to keep them alive, they just can’t let go.
We have to “learn” how to let go in life and the only way is to put “letting go” into practice daily – letting go of your time in helping the Poor & Needy, your donation to charity, etc and when it’s time for you to eventually let go(that is DEATH), you will have no problem. Isn’t death a form of letting go eventually?
I leave you with this to ponder.
Man proposes, God disposes. We are not in control of what will happen – and you don’t have to worry what you can’t control. Death is a certainty and it is by realizing and talking about it that we appreciate life and live fully daily – nothing taboo talking about about death & dying!
Letting go is an art and it must be learned – to put it into practice daily and when it’s time to “finally let go”, it will be a breeze.
Before, I let you go, this was a story told to me by a good friend of mine who had passed on recently. He called this “THE 3-STOREY COFFIN STORY.”
A man went for the wake of his dear friend. He saw a coffin with 3 compartments – his friend was lying on the top (3rd level), smiling away. At the level below (2nd level), were full of cash to the brim (USD, RM, S$, and Japanese banana notes used in Malaya then, Russian Ruble and Ukrainian Hryvnia). Hello! Imagine lah Bro.
At the lowest level (1st level), were 201,000 ha of oil palm plantations, KLIA, KL Twin Towers, Senai airport and 299 cars – Proton cars, BMWs, etc.
Hello Bro, let your imaginations run wild to understand the story, ok?
One last thing – at the top (3rd level) where his dear friend was lying in peace and smiling, there were 2 holes in the coffin, with each on his left and right hand. Later on, he found out that his dear friend would put his hands out, left and right, to collect and amass more money, more land and more buildings after he was buried when no one would be able to see him 6 feet under.
Perhaps, these characters of generosity/stinginess are genetically engrained in our genes when we were born and no one is sure how much nature/nurture play in any part in determining these characteristics.
As always, I leave you with this:
“I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”