I am a Filipina. I was born and raised in a staunch Roman Catholic environment. Year 1998 after graduating college I came to Singapore to work as a Caregiver cum Domestic helper as life in a small town in Philippines is pretty much simple but my parents can't support us in education expenses as my father doesn't have a stable job. I have 2 younger sisters who was still in high school back then. At first it was so difficult to be in a place where it is totally foreign to you. I have no friends to talk to and mobile phones are still scarce during those times. The only thing i can do to relieve my homesickness is write letters to my mom. But my employer at that time was a Christians. I was happy because I heard before I came here that Buddhists are cruel to their maids.
On 4 May 1991, Delia Maga, a Filipino domestic worker, was found strangled to death in Singapore. The four-year-old child that she was taking care of, Nicholas Huang, was discovered drowned. Although Huang's father could not identify a suspect, the police learnt about Contemplacion through Maga's diary. The police interrogated Contemplacion, who then confessed the crime of murdering Maga and the child. Contemplacion never renounced her confession, and the Philippines embassy in Singapore deemed her confession credible. She was then sentenced to death by hanging. However, no medical evidence was introduced either by the prosecution or the defence during the trial, in spite of bizarre symptoms experienced on the day of the murders which she described in her confession. On appeal, the case was sent back to the same trial judge to allow medical evidence to be heard. The defence then introduced medical evidence claiming that she had been suffering from a partial complex seizure (an unusual form of epilepsy) at the time of the killings, while the prosecution's medical evidence maintained that she was suffering from only mild migraine on that day. The defence's medical evidence was rejected and she was again found guilty and sentenced to death. She received minimal support of a consular nature from the Philippines embassy in Singapore throughout her trial and there was no representative from the Philippines embassy present in court throughout the duration of the trial. The Philippines Foreign Ministry and the Philippines embassy in Singapore displayed an active interest only in the weeks leading up to her execution when public feelings in the Philippines were running high.
Just before her execution, two Filipino witnesses claimed that Huang's father framed Contemplacion for the murders. They alleged that the father killed Maga in rage after finding his son to have accidentally drowned. The son was an epileptic who was alleged to have an attack while in the bathtub of which Maga was not aware. The Singaporean court considered and rejected the testimony. The execution went ahead despite a personal plea from Fidel Ramos, President of the Philippines, to the Singaporean government to stop it.
So from that incident, I have that misconception. Buddhist people doesn't have a heart. Buddhist people are cruel, Buddhist people are this and that.
Year 2007, I have been transferred to a new employer as my previous employer has passed away. This time my employer is a Buddhist. But it did not bother me anymore as I have been working here in Singapore long enough to understand and lift off those previous misconception. My Employer is a very kind and lovely 70 year old lady. So it did not take me long to fit into the family. They treated me like one of the family members. Her children and grandchildren is so warm and welcoming.
My employers youngest son Mark, always shares so many things about Buddhism, about Dharma.
One night, he told me to watch a documentary titled “THE UNMISTAKEN CHILD”. (It is a 2008 independent documentary film, which follows a Tibetan Buddhist monk’s search for the reincarnation of his beloved teacher, the world-renowned Lama (master teacher) Geshe Lama Konchog. The filming, which began in October 2001, spans a time frame of five and a half years. It follows the deceased Lama’s closest disciple — a modest young monk named Tenzin Zopa, who speaks English well — as he seeks to find the child who is his master’s reincarnation.) I was so amazed by the story of the documentary. Though i have watched “KUNDUN” (KUNDUN is a 1997 epic biographical film. It is based on the life and writings of the 14th Dalai Lama) before, in which the story is pretty much the same as the Unmistaken Child, It still gives me that kind of amazing feeling. I’m in awe… It suddenly gives me that kind of hopeful feeling. Hopeful to be reborn. Hopeful to do more meaningful things, to do something, to be a benefit to sentient beings.
The following couple of days, Mark gives me a book to read.
It is titled “Whose Truth? The 4 Noble Truths and the Two Truths” by Geshe Tenzin Zopa. It talks about our lack of awareness of the relevance of the Buddha’s 4 Noble Truths to our lives. I become more interested to learn more.
So Mark gives me H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche’s blog site and Youtube Channel.
Since then whenever I am free or even I am working I will just listen to Tsem Rinpoche’s Teachings on Youtube.
When Mark’s Mother was diagnosed of stage 4 Gall Bladder Cancer, He starts doing meditation and he talks more about this young and holy man named Jay Jae whom he met thru his ERA boss Cody Sim.
I was animated by how he described Jay Jae. A young man who knows so many things. And he was excited to be a part of the building of a new Buddhist Center.
On the day Mark’s mom passed away, Jay Jae came to the house and officiates the prayers. Do puja’s during the funeral.
Few months later, after my Graduation from the Nursing School, I finally got a chance to visit the new location of MBF (Modern Buddhist Fellowship).
Mark has taught me how to do Meditation and mantra to chant for my meditations and Jay Jae has given me nice Mala (Rosary).
Dharma changed my life tremendously. Well it did not let me wins the lottery but it certainly helps me more than winning a lottery. It helps me understands more about life. It gives me the answers of so many questions that I have been searching for a very long time. It fills the emptiness that has been lurking inside me. I am happier inside and outside. It calms me down when I am worried about my family or worried about something’s that i am not sure of. I am more aware on other people’s feelings. I used to be very vocal, outspoken, a kind of person who don’t really care about other people’s feelings. I do care, but when i start opening my mouth, the words just comes out freely. After I met Dharma, I tend to think before I speak now. I am more considerate. I am more forgiving. Well, I don’t hate but I used to think about what people has done to me though i don’t plot any revengeful act but i always stay away from these type of scheming people. Now I persevere, I told myself to open my heart more ro everyone without judgement.
And just last Feb. 8, 2013 I am so blessed to meet Tsem Tulku Rinpoche during His Eminence visit here in Singapore. I was so excited to meet Him. I can’t contain my happiness and excitement. I am just in awe. His Dharma talks is Beautiful and during the meet and greet session He gave me The Promise (Rinpoche’s Biography in which i have been wanting to buy since I saw it in youtube couple of months ago but His Eminence just gave it to me for free.), Dharma Books, Shakyamuni Pendant, and Blessed me with a Hug. It was a pure Joy to have received a blessings from a Living Buddha. I must have done something right in my previous life to be so fortunate to meet the Dharma in this life and most specially to have this merit to meet a living Buddha. I am so fortunate.
The happiest day of my life.
I will continue to do more Dharma work to benefit Sentient beings. As what Rinpoche have said during His Dharma talk…
“It is good to be tired for others”
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