Mandalay authority member sells liquor near Buddhist monasteries

DVB/Buddhist Channel, Sept 11, 2006

Mandalay, Myanmar -- A member of Burma's ruling junta, Thidar Aye Ward authority member Aye Pe opened a liquor shop near two Buddhist monasteries in the township of Mandalay's Maha Aungmye.

The shop was found serving alcoholic drinks to rowdy customers day and night, to the annoyance and irritation of local monks and residents alike.

“When all alcohol shops situated near monasteries close were forced to close down in 2001-2002, only Aye Pe’s shop remained,” a local youth told DVB.

“He is a member of local ward authorities, USDA (pro-junta Union Solidarity and Development Association) and fire brigade, and his shop remained (unclosed). If you walk the street at night, the shop blocked the street. The alcohol consumers will tease/taunt those who ride bicycles and those who walk past. They also piss at nearby places.”

Moreover, alcohol-soaked customers often had fights and treated passers-by and local residents with disdain. When residents reported the incidents to the local authorities, they dared not take any action against Aye Pe as he is a member of local authority groups.

The Burmese millitary junta have ruled the country with an iron fist and have virtually closed it from the outside world. Corruption and abuse of power has been rampant, but there is nothing much its local citizens - of 90% are Theravada Buddhists - can do about it.