Southern monks get protection for Lent

Bangkok Post, July 11, 2006

Bangkok, Thailand -- Monks at temples across Thailand's southern border region will be well protected during the three-month Buddhist Lent, which will begin Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Pol. Gen. Chidchai Vanasatidya promised here on Monday.

"I've closely monitored the situation in the deep South and found nothing worrying," he told journalists when inaugurating an ethics training course at the Thai Bar Association.

"But security forces in the region have prepared intensified surveillance with well-placed measures to protect local monks during the Buddhist Lent, which will begin on July 11," he noted.

Asked whether more security officers would be deployed at temples in the region during the Buddhist Lent, the deputy premier said he would leave the disposition of that issue for local authorities to decide on a case by case basis.

Meanwhile, Thais across the country are doing merit making on Monday, the Eve of Buddhist Lent, to pay tribute to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

At Buddhamonthon Buddhist Centre in the central province of Nakhon Pathom, thousands of Buddhist Thais, wearing yellow polos or T-shirts, attended a ceremony of offering alms to 999 monks Monday morning.

When interviewed by a TNA reporter, many of them said they intended to perform good deeds during the Buddhist Lent to pay tribute to His Majesty the King on the auspicious occasions of His Majesty's anniversary of 60 years on the throne this year and his 80th birthday anniversary next year.

Yellow is the colour of Monday, signifying that His Majesty the King was born on that day, December 5, 1927.