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The second day of the petition-signing campaign outside the Burmese embassy continued with a steady stream of petitioners putting down their names.
They walk, drive, and take the taxi. Some are hesitant, others are more gung-ho. But they come in numbers to register their condemnation of the killing by the Burmese military. They are also asking for questions of the Singapore Government about its investments in, and sales of arms to, Burma.
When night falls they light a candle and say a silent prayer. The mood is sombre reflecting their worries for their homeland. Singaporeans offer their heartfelt concerns and solidarity.
“Thank you so much for organising this” is the common refrain we hear from our Burmese friends, many with tears in their eyes. We look back with heavy hearts and only wished we could do more.
But the police are adamant we don’t. They continue to intimidate people walking up St Martin’s Drive. But many ignore them. The police then decided to set up cameras aimed at the petition table. They videotape people who are anxious and troubled, and only want the bloodshed in Burma to stop.
Why do the police do it? Perhaps, only Mr Wong Kan Seng knows.
A Caucasian man, irked by the cameras, spun around and sniped “Am I a star now?”
During the day a group of five Raffles Institution students in their school uniform came by to sign the letters. They were clearly nervous. But they overcame their fear.
A young Burmese lady, whose name we shall not reveal, was called up by the police for questioning. Lawyer Mr Chia Ti Lik, who was present, told her that she need not comply as there was no written letter from the police.
The effervescent lady said that she had nothing to hide and was not fearful, and made her way to the Tanglin Police Division where she was questioned for an hour-and-a-half.
We hear that the authorities have approached the monks to tell the Burmese devotees not to go the venue. This must be music to the junta’s ears.
In the meantime, scores of Singaporeans have plucked up their courage and have signed the petition. Seeing the courage of the Burmese, they are learning that civil, public action does not turn into “pandemonium”, as Mr Lee Kuan Yew tells us. It is noble and it is necessary.
Several stayed till the wee hours of the morning keeping those assigned for the graveyard shift company.
The petition campaign is in its third day and will continue until otherwise announced.
Come and join the nearly 1,000 people who have signed the petition and done their little bit for justice and peace.
15 St Martin’s Drive. See you there.
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