Mr Madisen, the security guard on duty at the Burmese embassy told us he would convey our request to see ambassador to the embassy staff.
During our week-long stay outside the rather dilapidated building at 15 St Martin’s Drive, we came to learn that the portly and affable security man earned a measly $1,300 a month, working 12-hour shifts, six days-a-week without paid leave and no benefits whatsoever.
That’s how hard the NTUC works to “protect” our workers from exploitation. But that’s another story for another occasion.
Right now the focus is on Burma. When a bespectacled man appeared a few minutes later looking like he was walking on eggs, SDP Chairman Gandhi Ambalam asked if he was the ambassador.
“No, I’m not,” he replied. “The ambassador can’t meet you. You can give the letter to me.”
His body language was a dead giveaway to his I-wish-was-somewhere-else demeanour. “And please don’t take my picture,” he confirmed as the cameras started clicking.
Mr Ambalam explained to him that the group was there to hand the petition and the 1,107 signatures collected to the ambassador. “What’s your name and position in the embassy?” Mr Ambalam inquired.
“I don’t want to tell you,” the ambassador’s ambassador replied. That’s okay, we’ll just call him Secretary 1.
“Can I just read out the petition letter to you then?” the SDP leader said. Mr Secretary 1 mumbled something and nodded
“To U Win Myint, Ambassador, Embassy of the Union of Myanmar,” Mr Ambalam started off. So far, so good. “It is with disgust that we learn about the murderous assault…”
As if seeing a ghost, the representative bolted when he heard these words and skipped back into the embassy grounds muttering, “I can’t take your letter…”
Touche! We obviously hit a raw nerve. It’s exactly the reaction we had expected.
Now the ambassador and the embassy staff would know what the more than 1,000 petitioners think and how we really feel. We could not have asked for a better conclusion to the week’s petition effort.
And we had captured the Mr Secretary 1’s dastardly reaction to our letter, at least up to the point that read “murderous assault.” It was priceless.
The world should see it on YouTube. Unfortunately, the Singapore police had other ideas. (See next story)
Enter Mr Madisen. He dutifully promised to hand the petition over to the ambassador. We thanked him and said our goodbyes.
Job done and point registered. Now for the next regime…