Venerable Wei Wu, in his address, thanked everyone for their continuous support of the Than Hsiang Foundation and the Mitra Welfare Centre. Since its inception in 1990, Than Hsiang Foundation had been at the forefront in the promotion of spiritual cultivation, education and welfare endeavours. In line with its conviction of “The young to learn, the strong and healthy to serve, the aged and sick to be cared for, and the departed to find spiritual destination”, Than Hsiang Foundation had, over the years, established Mitra Welfare Centre, Wan Chin Yuen Centre, Than Hsiang Kindergarten and Day Care Centre, Than Hsiang Sunday Dharma School, and International Buddhist College.
In recent years, Than Hsiang Temple had also established branches in Kuala Lumpur, southern Thailand, and Negri Sembilan for the promotion of spiritual cultivation, welfare and education. Besides, in order to better serve the people, praying/cultivation halls, senior citizen homes, kindergartens and counseling centres had been set up at housing estates in Petaling Jaya, Kajang, Simpang Ampat, Bukit Mertajam, and Sungai Ara (Penang). In addition, Than Hsiang website also published regularly Than Hsiang E-zines to spread the Dharma and keep viewers informed of the latest events in Than Hsiang.
Shifu mentioned that the three fold services of the Mitra Welfare Centre were counseling, welfare to the aged and needy, and social education. In relation to the work of Mitra Welfare Centre, the role of a senior citizen home was equally important. He lamented that the proposed 17 acre senior citizen village, in spite of six years of concerted effort to convert the agriculture land into residential use, would be acquired by the state government for the Mekuang Dam expansion instead. The importance of water supply to the people was understandable, however, the federal and state government should also give due consideration to the problem of the aging population and its repercussion in taking away such a large project for the senior citizens. There seemed to be a lack of comprehensive planning and affirmative action taken by the public sector to tackle the deteriorating aging population problem. While the non-profit and voluntary organizations were willing to supplement the government’s role in this area, the government’s support and cooperation was nevertheless urgently needed.
As regards education, Shifu informed that the new kindergarten at Simpan Ampat and Bukit Mertajam would be opened for the new school term in the coming New Year. The International Buddhist College in southern Thailand was running smoothly, providing BA, MA and Doctorate courses in Buddhist Studies. Lately, Than Hsiang had been actively involved in supporting the relocation of the Phor Tay High School to the Bayan Lepas area. Shifu took the opportunity to appeal to all to continue to support the Than Hsiang Foundation, so as to enable Than Hsiang to fulfill the Convictions, and to help in publicizing the Foundation.
Brother Low Khea Wah, the President of the Mitra Welfare Centre in his welcoming speech, expressed the hope to raise RM100,000.00 for the Centre’s annual fund and expressed his sincere wish that the seeds of love and gratitude would sprout and spread to all corners of the society.
The guest of honour, YB Teng Chang Yeow, the Penang State Exco member reassured that the state government would do its utmost to assist Than Hsiang in all its ventures to serve the people. The anniversary celebration was then followed by a special ceremony for the ceremonial lamp lighting and sounding of gongs and drums by the donors. This was followed by some entertainment programmes such as songs, performances of musical instruments, and dances, which were all presented by the Than Hsiang Choir Group, Than Hsiang Youth Group and the Than Hsiang Kindergarten.
The stage show ended at 11.30am and all those present were invited to a scrumptious buffer lunch served by the Than Hsiang Canteen.