Prayers for victims at Balestier temple


Weekend - September 29, 2007

SOME 3,000 people, mostly Myanmar nationals, attended a memorial service (picture) at the Burmese Buddhist Temple off Balestier Road on Friday night.

According to devotees, the event was meant to remember those who died in this week's crackdowns on anti-government protests, and to pray for the safety of the people.

Many, dressed in red, met at the nearby Toa Payoh MRT Station before heading to the temple.

Some tied red pieces of cloth around their arms, while others wore t-shirts sporting the face of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

It is unclear who organised the prayer session, but many said they received text messages urging them to wear red.

Said one devotee: "This is a show of support to those back home, that the world knows what is happening."

The temple's abbot gave a short speech in Burmese that was simultaneously translated in English. He urged devotees to "not be angry and sad" and asked them to "pray for peace".

Meanwhile, the police said they had rejected an application for a permit to hold a "Yellow peace walk for the people of Burma" on Oct 5 and 6 in Toa Payoh.

In other reports, Myanmar's Prime Minister Soe Win continues to remain under treatment – believed to be for leukaemia – at the Singapore General Hospital. Reports quoted a Myanmar embassy staffer saying that General Soe Win was "well" and "on recovery", having been warded here for the last three to four months. – LEE U-WEN

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October 2, 2007