Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ming Yi: Bad taste is never out of style

The lavish dinner party (see below) welcoming Ven Ming Yi return from prison for misappropriating temple funds is reminiscent of AIG swanky conference/retreat just 2 weeks after receiving a massive $85 billion bailout by Uncle Sam.

Seems like bad taste is never out of style.


Why is Ven Ming Yi still a monk?

The Buddhist community is abuzz with questions surrounding Venerable Ming Yi's status as a monk.

Singapore's top buddhist organization, the Buddhist Federation, received many complaints from the Buddhist community in the past two weeks.

The federation's secretary-general, Venerable Kwang Phing said many voiced their unhappiness after a dinner was held by Foo Hai Chan Monastery in Geylang in honour of Ven Ming Yi's 20 years of service.

He told the Straits Times that many wanted to know, "'How can he do this?', 'Why is he still a monk?', 'Why isn't the federation doing anything?''

The dinner, organised by the monastery, was held at the Pan Pacific Hotel and reportedly cost $200,000.

The local newspaper reported that the dinner touched off an emotional debate among Buddhists even as devotees of the Foo Hai Chan Monastery called the celebration a 'sheng zuo dian li', or 'rise to power' ceremony; they said they wanted to celebrate Ven Ming Yi's return to the temple.

Senior Buddhists in Singapore - Ven Kwang Sheng, the federation's president, and Ven Kwang Phing - were absent from the dinner although they had been invited.

Ven Ming Yi - founder and former chief executive of Ren Ci Hospital was convicted of fraud, falsifying documents, misappropriating funds and giving false information to the Commissioner of Charities last October.

He was jailed in May this year and released in September.

The Buddhist Federation wants Ven Ming Yi to voluntarily step up to the plate and take responsibility for his actions.

If he does so a temporary disciplinary committee of five or more monks will be set up to demote him.

If he chooses to stay at large, other monks may be advised to shun him.

Mr Lim Bock Guan, the head of the Singapore Buddhist Lodge told the local newspaper that a monk being honoured for his service with a $1,000-a-table dinner in a top hotel has never been heard off.

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