Military commander makes surprise donation

Jan 24, 2008 (DVB), Four lecturing monasteries in Pakokku have received donations from the commander of Burma's Central Military Division in a surprise visit, according to monks.

General Khin Zaw turned up unannounced at Pakokku’s East, West, Central and Baw-de Mandi lecturing monasteries and donated items for the student monks, a monk from the East monastery said.

"The general, accompanied by about 20 uniformed officers and about 30 others in civilian clothing, came to the monastery and donated robes, slippers and umbrellas," said the monk.

"We had to accept their donation as it would be bad for us if we refused," he said.

"They came into the monastery premises without taking off their shoes. That was rude."

A monk from Baw-de Mandi monastery said the general and his group also showed up at this monastery, handed over items for donation and then left again within 10 minutes.

"A lot of us barely noticed that they were in the monastery," the Baw-de Mandi monk said.

"They stayed for less than 10 minutes and we don’t even know what kind of items they donated to us," he said.

"We couldn’t pay much attention to them as we have been busy with our upcoming exams."

Monks at the Pakokku monasteries have been involved in a boycott against the military regime.

When officials visited the same monasteries in early December, monks refused to give blessings to the officials, and passed their offerings on to the poor.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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