Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Monks boycott minister’s offering

by Ko Wild
Monday, 29 June 2009 12:50

Chiang Mai (mizzima) - Several monks on Saturday refrained from going out to collect swan offering in Myingyan town in Mandalay division, following a visit and offerings made by junta’s Minister of Industries (1) Aung Thawng.

Monks in Burma, who usually go out at dawn for food offerings from devotees, on Saturday refused to go when they came to know that the visiting Industries Minister Aung Thawng would also make offerings to the monks.

A local monk told Mizzima that ‘Ponya Thaharya’, the group that regularly organises food offerings for monks in Myingyan town, usually makes swan offerings to about 700 monks in town, but on Saturday only about 300 monks turned up.

“We did not want to go. Only new comers, who do not understand and younger novices, went. But when we made the offering it was attended only by about 250 to 300 monks. Most of the monks who understand did not go,” the monk told Mizzima.

The organisation mobilises donors or devotees who wish to offer food to monks’ everyday. It was declared that Aung Thawng would be the donor for Saturday’s offering. The monks after hearing about the donor boycotted the offering.

The offering ceremony is usually attended by monks from monasteries in Myingyan town and other neighbouring towns and villages.

Aung Thawng, who is a native of Wei Laung village in Myingyan Township, on Friday also called a mass meeting and summoned villagers in the township to listen to his speech in Myingyan’s High School No. (1). But locals said despite being called only a few attended the meeting.

“Aung Thaung arrived on Friday and called for a meeting. Local authorities went from village to village and made announcements about the meeting. They threatened that those who do not attend will be fined Kyat 1,000 (USD 1). But despite the threat only a few turned up. Not more than 15 people each from one village turned up,” a local resident said.

During the meeting, Aung Thaung explained about the ongoing trial of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the American man John William Yettaw. He also introduced Kyaw San and Win Myint, who have been nominated as candidates from Myingyan Township for the 2010 general elections. He also warned the people not to get involved in any possible future anti-government protests.

Residents of Myingyan town have been carrying out a photo campaign for opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.