Lye Geok Choo
“Ever since I was young, I lacked confidence and I loved to dream and live in my own safety zone. I suspected that since my parents decided to give me away when I was 4 months old, there might be something wrong with me. This inability to feel safe and secure troubled me throughout my childhood and youth.
When I was 35 years old, I started to study and practice Buddhism. It helped me accept my circumstances and I learned to become more peaceful. I managed to transform my fear and anger into gratitude. I came to have a deeper understanding of life. I found my way home spiritually.
Twenty-one years ago, my husband and I got together with 10 other like-minded friends from various cultural backgrounds to start Kampung Senang Charity and Education Foundation to fulfil our dream of practicing Buddhism in daily life through community service. We practice mindfulness and observe precepts. We firmly believe that putting Buddhism into action in our daily lives is the best way of enhancing our inner qualities, our spiritual development and cultivation.
My husband was with me for the first 10 years of building Kampung Senang from ground up into a charity with 6 service centers. Kampung Senang is now a government recognized Institute of Public Character.
In 2009 my husband left Kampung Senang to become a monk. I had to take on the full responsibility of sustaining and improving Kampung Senang’s day-to-day services.
I do not regret my choice of leaving the corporate world in pursuit of my dream – the dream of practicing Buddhism through the provision of community service integrates the mission of caring for people and Mother Earth.
I would like to express my gratitude to the Triple Gems, my country, my parents, my teachers, and my reverence for all lives and living things,” writes Joyce Lye Geok, who was born in 1952 in Singapore.
She is the founder and for 20 years the full-time volunteer for Kampung Senang Charity and Education Foundation and for 12 years the founder and chairperson of the social enterprise Eco Harmony Global Network Ltd. With her B.S. Degree with honors in the Sciences and her later career as a manager and General Manager of HSBC Bank Capital Asia Ltd., she innovated and created a foundation of integrity, responsibility and high efficiency. In addition, as a Tzu Chi Buddhist Compassion Relief Foundation Commissioner of 27 years she embodies the teachings of love and compassion of the Most Venerable Bhiksuni Cheng Yen of Taiwan.
Her awards include: 2004 – Active Senior Volunteer Award from the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports; 2005 – Best Volunteer Initiative Award from the National Volunteer Philanthropy Center & the Good Samaritan Award from the Rotary Club; 2013 – Torch Bearer Award from the World Harmony Run; and in 2020 – Outstanding Women in Buddhism Award.
Lye Geok Choo successfully integrated her early feelings of abandonment into a spacious emptiness and filled it with loving-kindness which she then offered graciously to others by: caring for wheelchair bound seniors and the differently-abled; providing childcare for a mom affected by cancer; inspiring children with love; promoting a green and healthy lifestyle to prevent chronic illness via Singapore’s Expo for A Green & Healthy Future (Thanks to her additional training in natural therapies); giving hope and promoting wellbeing through yearly holistic wellness symposiums, seminars and talks; and leading energy exercises at their Herb Garden near the Senior Activity Center in Singapore.
Multi-faceted, multi-talented, compassionate and responsive, Lye Geok Choo is creating a brighter world!