Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Singaporean activists protest against naming of Orchid after Burmese General

3 activists including filmmaker Ho Choon Hiong, lawyer Chia Ti Lik and myself gathered at the Singapore Botanical Gardens this morning to protest against an "Orchid Naming Ceremony" hosted for the Burmese junta leader Thein Sein.

As Singaporeans we want to register our disapproval over the naming of Singapore's national flower, the Orchid, after a leader of the despotic military junta of Burma.

We made our way through the park in red t-shirts, intending to hand a bouquet of 8 Orchid stalks (symbolizing the '88 revolution) with a greeting card to the General, to request that he help deliver them to pro-democracy leader Miss Aung San Suu Kyi.

When we arrived at the location of the ceremony at 8.15 am however, we were approached by a group of National Parks staff who informed us that the event was over in 5 minutes and that the General had since left.

Plainclothes police officers who had also been present at previous similar events were spotted at various points in the park long after the General's departure. I noticed one particular officer who was pretending to take photographs of flowers and told him, "Hey, you damn obvious lah!". He took a nervous glance at me and then looked in another direction.

A decision was then made to walk to the Burmese Embassy on St. Martin's Drive to request them to hand the bouquet and card over to Aung San Suu Kyi. After a brief inquiry, the security guard on duty shouted at us from a distance that they refuse to accept the gifts.

Standing outside the locked gates the embassy, I went ahead and read out the contents of the card:

"Dear Aung San Suu Kyi,

Today marks an unimportant occasion whereby an Orchid will be named in Singapore after Thein Sein, a general of the Burmese junta.

We feel that it is more befitting to be named after you.

This bouquet of 8 Orchid stalks is to honour you and your countrymen who have sacrificed so much for freedom and democracy in Burma.

Respectfully yours,
Singaporeans for Burmese democracy"

We then unfurled a banner bearing the words, "Long Live Aung San Syu Kyi", and shouted out the slogan thrice with raised fists.

We left after placing the bouquet and card at the doorstep of the embassy, hoping that one day, an Orchid flower will be honoured in the name of Miss Aung San Suu Kyi, the rightful leader of Burma.

Related reports:
Singapore activists protest tribute to Myanmar PM (AFP)
Singapore activists protest orchid named after Burmese PM (Mizzima)
Spore Botanic Garden to honor Myanmar junta leader
Singapore urges Myanmar to cooperate with world
Singapore urges Myanmar to reconcile with opponents
Naming orchid after Thein Sein opposed (Radio Free Asia)
Singapore protestors give Thein Sein a message for Daw Suu
(Democratic Voice of Burma)


ravi4u2 said...

Appreciate your voicing out...

Gopalan Nair said...

Well done guys. Keep it up. We are proud of you.

Gopalan Nair
Fremont, California

Jaslyn said...

I share the exact sentiment with you guys too..

Rightfully, the orchid should be name after Ms Aung Sang Suu Kyi instead of the general whom I deemed as murderer..

Well done guys :-)

democracy said...

I,m proud of you ,thank you so much

Maw Gyi said...

Great job. I do appreciate your supporting to Freedom of Burma.You are so brave and symbol of freedom fighter in Singaporean.

kevin said...

Well done mates, we support your every movement.


Dear Seelan Palay,

Great job and Thank you for your support.

Best regards,

Nyo Myint

xNSman said...

Thank you guys for speaking out on our behalf. Great job!

Jeg said...


Great guys many thanks...

I agree the name should reflect honesty, humanity, freedom...

The best gift for Thein Sein or any other general would had been an opened bag of the best Singaporean manure...

I feel so loving these days :)

Anonymous said...

Kudos to u all my friends.
So brave of U.

Demo Kakis

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised by the PAP's action.

Tyrants of a feather flock together.

Anonymous said...

What you did was really touching. Thanks so much for doing it. We are all behind you.

SL said...

I solute your courage. Thank you.

Han said...

Choon Hiong,Ti Lik and Seelan..thanks so much for your great efforts.

Aung said...

No less than a belle as a metaphor,
Innocent in nature
Pity that unfortunate orchid in Singapore,
Named after a killer.

But the killer has no name
In heaven’s short-list
And there is no shame
In those who named the orchid.

Anonymous said...

grate job guy, u can show ur right and everyone behind u

Bai Hu said...

Thumbs up for u guys. I dun understand how come the Singapore government can allow this kinda stuff to happen.
Hosting a visit for the Junta chief is tolerable, but to name an orchid after him????? makes me puke.

Burma Democratic Concern Team said...

Well done!Keep up your good works.We are with you.

Win Naing said...

Hello there,
I'm very impressed with your blog and dedication to free Burma. I can't imagine how hard for you to stand up with Burma cause in Singapore which is intolerable to any political movement.
win naing

Seelan Palay said...

Thank you Win Niang. Here is our protest outside the Manpower Ministry against Burmese activists being expelled from Singapore by the Singapore government: