Money demands falter in face of monk resistance

Wed 26 Aug 2009, Asah
Construction plans for a 4 story monk training center have been delayed after demands for funding from a government controlled monk group were reduced to a request for voluntary donations, by a senior Burmese military commander in response to local monastery complaints.

The monk training center is a project proposed by the Mahar Sangha Nayaka Township Group, a Burmese government supported group of monks. The building, slated for construction in Myay Ni Koung quarter in Moulmein, would be a facility for monks of all different ethnic groups to test for level advancement within the monkhood. The intended site is noted for is proximity to both the bus and train station.

To fund the project, in early June, the Mahar Sangha Nayaka Township group asked for money from monasteries in Moulmein Township, according to monks in Mon State.

“Every monastery in Moulmein has to pay 900,000 kyat for the building,” a source close to Moulmein monks, explained. “But just only in Moulmein and Moulmein townships have to pay 900,000 – other townships such as Mudon Township [monasteries] have to pay 100,000 kyat for it.”

According to a Mudon township monk, on July 13th and 14th, Mudon township monasteries met with Mahar Sangha Nayaka Township Group, and were given to the end of August for every monastery to pay 100,000 kyat.

The demands for funding have produced an outcry from area monks. A head monk from a monastery in Moulmein said, “we want to pay 300,000 for this building. The monk group [Mahar Sangha Nayaka Toship group] asked for a larger amount of money, so if we can’t pay at one time we would have to pay three times in a year. Most of monks in Moulmein can’t accept that.” There are over 300 monasteries in Moulmein. However they very in size, and for smaller monasteries paying 900,000 kyat is an impossible task. According to sources, many monks were upset with the prospect of having to pay this much for the building, and a protest march was scheduled for August 20th.

In apparent response to discontent amongst the area monks, the Moulmein based South East Command (SEC) Major General Thet Naing Win issued an order that overriding the group’s decision, allowing monasteries in Moulmein and Mudon to donate money as they please, rather then having to fill a demand.

As a result the Mahar Sangha Nayaka Township Group has extended its deadline and modified its request. Now all Moulmein and Mudon monasteries must make their voluntary payments by the end go August.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s