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USDP party vying to compete in free funeral services


Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The head of the popular Free Funeral Services in Rangoon says the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) is vying to compete in offering free funeral services.

Kyaw Thu, left, the leader of the Free Funeral Services in Rangoon, with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Photo: MizzimaFormer actor Kyaw Thu, who has headed the free service for 10 years, said when his group arrived at a private home recently to provide their services, they found a hearse from the USDP party already there. 

‘They (the USDP) came and tried to force the bereaved family to let them provide their service’, he said. ‘But the family refused their service and accepted only our group. It’s not good to have competition vying for the deceased’, Kyaw Thu told Mizzima.

An official from the Rangoon Division USDP confirmed Kyaw Thu’s account. He said ‘lower level officials’ of the party were going too far for the sake of popularity.

Kyaw Thu said there were many issues involved in offering his services.

“The difficulty in our work is the superstition’, he said. ‘For instance, a hearse cannot leave from the other side of the road.’ Other problems invole ‘funeral touts’ who try to make money from the bereaved families.

‘They visit when they hear someone dies. And then they tell the families to let them arrange for the funeral at the price of  maybe 30,000 kyat (about US$ 30)’, Kyaw Thu said.

The Free Funeral Service receives about 45-50 requests daily for funerals. The South Okkalapa-based USDP service reportedly receives about  10 requests daily.

In social and humanitarian work, benevolence is the most important thing, Kyaw Thu said. Providing such social services in order to attack another organization will not be successful, he  said.

TheFree Funeral Service is based in North Dagon Township. The group was established under the guidance of noted film director Thu Kha about 10 years ago and has provided more than 100,000 free funeral services, according to organizers.

Besides the free funeral service, the organization has also provided a free medical clinic since May 2007.

The USDP party established its free funeral service in early 2010, nine years after the party’s inception, under the direction of then USDP Rangoon Division Chief and Rangoon Mayor Aung Thein Lin. A request for a free USDP funeral service can be made to a USDP township branch office in Rangoon Division.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 23 April 2011 11:46 )  

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