Authorities Threaten the Free Funeral Services Society
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Burma

Authorities Threaten the Free Funeral Services Society


By MIN LWIN Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Kyaw Thu, well-known actor and founder of Myanmar Funeral Service Society, with his hearse. (Photo: FFSS)
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A Rangoon-based social welfare organization, the Free Funeral Services Society (FFSS), has been ordered by the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) not to park hearses in Rangoon municipal areas. 

The YCDC ordered the funeral services society to relocate from Rangoon to the outskirts of the city before February 28.

Kyaw Thu, a member of the FFSS, said the YCDC also ordered it not to park its hearses at Byamma Vihara Monastery in Thingangyun Township in Rangoon, and instead park in a government cemetery outside Rangoon. The FFSS offices are located at the monastery.

Kyaw Thu said 16 hearses carry more than 50 coffins to burial or cremation sites every day in Rangoon, the former capital of Burma. 

The FFSS provides free burial or cremation services for people who can not afford to pay burial or cremation fees for family members.

The FFSS has asked the YCDC to provide an area where the society can build a garage to keep the hearses, said Kyaw Thu. The YCDC has yet to reply to the request.

Kyaw Thu told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday, “If they don't respond, we will work as usual until they seize the hearses, punish us and stop the free funeral services.”

Residents in the area say the government has long worried about the influence and popularity the FSSS enjoys among the public. Founded in 2001, the FFSS is a nongovernmental, apolitical organization that relies on donations from inside and outside Burma. Most donations come from Burmese living in Japan, Taiwan, England and the United States.

Media coverage of the FFSS was banned by the military government after leading members of the FFSS were involved in the 2007 pro-democracy uprising.

“We will continue the free funeral services,” Kyaw Thu said. “It is not our own business. We will do for the people.”

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Rian Chow Wrote:
26/02/2009
Good people can't even do a good thing even social works. The junta is acting like Talebans in some ways.

Thway Ni Wrote:
25/02/2009
Moving the capital, government offices, and even the zoo; prohibiting outstanding female artistes from going on the stage at the Annual Academy; restricting movies not to show any scenes of poverty. And now this. What an incredible junta! Their list of absurdities seems endless.

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