Obituary – Farewell Aunty Tan

Anicca vata sankharā” – all component things are subject to change.

It is with deep respects that we announce the passing of a distinguished member of the Malaysian Buddhist community, Mdm. Chin Kim Lan, or better known to us as ‘Aunty Tan’, on Saturday 28 October 2017 in Kuala Lumpur.  Her funeral will be held on Wednesday 1 November, at 1.00pm.  Aunty Tan is the beloved mother of Nalanda Institute Director, Achariya Tan Siang Chye.

Nalanda Buddhist Society and Nalanda Institute Malaysia extend our condolences to Achariya Tan Siang Chye and his family over the passing of Aunty Tan, who had served the Buddha-Sāsana with distinction for half a century.  Our thoughts are with all of you in this period of bereavement.  ‘Santī’ – Peace.

 

A life noble and worthy – Farewell to Aunty Tan

Tribute by Bro. Tan Ho Soon

Following her husband the late Uncle Tan Teik Beng’s job transfer, Aunty Tan moved from Penang to Kuala Lumpur in 1968, and had been a volunteer-leader at Buddhist Maha Vihara ever since.  She helped organise religious activities at Brickfields, and led many fund-raising projects to develop temples in Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.  She also raised funds to assist the under-privileged and needy groups around the Klang Valley.

Throughout her half-century service to the Buddha-Sāsana, Aunty Tan had always held firm to the principles of honesty, integrity, and accountability.  It was this critical factor that inspired others to have full faith in her charities, and their willingness to work together with her in many endeavours.

Aunty Tan was warmly welcomed when she arrived for WACANA Conference held on 1 July 2017.

Aunty Tan was a source of inspiration to people who had the privilege of coming in contact with her.  She was always gentle with people – generous, genuine, caring, considerate, and compassionate.  Associating with her gave many volunteers greater motivation to serve the community even better.

On 1 July 2017, Aunty Tan presented the “2017 Nalanda Award in Leadership Integrity” to Datuk Charlie Chia.  Aunty Tan herself was the recipient of the same award in 2007.

The doyen of the Buddhist community – Aunty Tan with fellow recipients of Nalanda Awards from 2007 to 2017.  [Photographed at WACANA 2017 Conference.]

Although she had served the community for five decades, Aunty Tan insisted that she had much more to give.  The act of giving itself was her source of joy, as she often said tongue in cheek, “I feel happy whenever I give.”  It was this happiness that provided her with boundless energy and strength to carry on working into her nineties.  With such a positive mind-frame, there were never difficulties unsurmountable for her.

Aunty Tan at Nalanda Family Fun Fair on 19 August 2017, where she hand-made dolls for sale to raise fund for building the K. Sri Dhammananda Centre.

Aunty Tan had been a pillar of support to many Buddhist groups, monks, nuns and individuals; not least to Nalanda Buddhist Society and Nalanda Institute.  We have always been motivated by her warm personality, dignified presence, and optimistic outlook in life.

People around her often said, “If Aunty Tan (at her age) can do it, why can’t we do it?”  Such was her limitless ability to influence and inspire.

Aunty Tan often reminded all of us “to serve with love and compassion; and always with a smile!”  I found her to be the best exemplar for this dictum.  We shall no doubt miss her a lot – her warmth, her smile, and her genuine care.  Yet, we should accept that such is the impermanence of life.

Aunty Tan has left us physically; but she has also left us her great legacy.  We who have been inspired by her noble example must in turn inspire others to live life full of kindness, grace, and nobility.  In this way, what she bequeathed to us shall continue to live on.

In July 2016, at the age of 91, Aunty Tan fulfilled her long-held aspiration to be ordained, albeit temporarily, as a Samanerī. With her were Ven. Siriwimala of Sentul Sri Lanka Buddhist Temple, Bro. Tan, and Sis. Nandinī Tan.

Let us focus our thoughts on the late Aunty Tan, and dedicate merits for her well-being, happiness and peace.  At the soonest opportunity, may she attain to the highest bliss of Nibbāna.