Friday, August 21, 2015
Over lunch one day, KH told me about his colleague's involvement in Tzu Chi's "Dharma as Water" performance. She wanted him to see her perform so she offered him free tickets. He took four so that both of us could bring our mothers. Knew little of it was until the day of the performance, but I did know there would be a lot of people watching. Even the rehearsals caused jams at the vicinity of Putra Indoor Stadium. Trust Tzu Chi to be able to mobilise a force of 2016 performers and countless support staff to present something spiritually beautiful to an audience of 16,000! The culmination of 50 years of experience. Mum and I arrived at the venue a little after noon. It wasn't so chaotic yet, but the crowd was building up. Plenty of volunteers smartly-dressed Tzu Chi style (white shoes, polo T buttoned to the top and tucked into dark pants) directed traffic, ushered guests, manned product counters, took photographs and videos and helped out at food stations. And God knows how many back stage. Mum and I milled around waiting for them to allow us to enter the stadium. Bought some colourful vegetarian maki and kuih for lunch.
We were only let in at 1:00PM and the event only started after 2:00 PM. In the centre of the stadium was a stepped dais with long platforms radiating from it like fingers. Each finger was layered with Astroturf and lined with lighted mini pedestals. On the opposite side of the stadium were hundreds of volunteers dressed in white who acted as the choir. There was also a group of drummers. The master of ceremonies explained that it was a sutra adaptation performance of the Compassionate Samadhi Water Repentance Text written by Master Wu-Da in the Tang Dynasty. The main message is repentance to avoid karmic retribution. When the floor performers streamed out, it was quite impressive. Different groups perform different functions. The Dharma Espressionists use sign language while the Dharma Accompaniments use body movement and voice to express the teachings of the sutra. An amazing example of massive coordination with the help of lights and music. During the whole performance, the audience would be invited to make vows to shun evil karma. In addition to live performances, they also used video clips. Four large LCD panels would emerge from the peak of the dais at certain points of the performance. I was quite delighted by clips of Master Cheng Yen (founder of Tzu Chi) giving Dharma talks in super formal Taiwanese Hokkien dialect. The performance went on for more than two hours which I felt was a bit too long. KH even exclaimed that it was like an 'extra long mass'. LOL.
In the evening, I dug out my Private Structure swim trunks and went for a swim. Went to park my car only to find a MyVi occupying my space. It was the exact same car from last Wednesday night. Feeling pissed, I decided to let the security guards investigate. After my swim, I went back to inquire. Turns out that it's Lifebook's car! LOL. He left it there for week while he was out of town. Opps. The swim and the light lunch really worked up my appetite. Mum and I ordered some dishes nearby. Picked clean a steamed tilapia of good size and a plate of vegetables. Later in the evening, I asked Wai out for coffee at Genebin & Zo. Weird name right? A Christian establishment with plenty of references to Jesus. Even most of the customers seem to be from Full Gospel Assembly opposite the road. Whole lot of young'ns who seem to buat macam rumah sendiri. A latte is just MYR8 and a dash of flavour only costs MYR1 extra. I ordered the Hawaiian Red Velvet for KH's benefit, but I have no idea what was Hawaiian about it. I'll try their sparkling espresso next time, sounds weird enough. Wai was kinda guilty for rejecting my several recent invitations. Thankfully our stars finally aligned. He was fine, but things were still complicated in his 'love life'.