Long but orderly queue of voters at Myanmar Embassy

The queue outside the Myanmar Embassy yesterday, with some people giving out free food and drinks to those waiting in line. Unlike the scenes of confusion on Saturday, yesterday's crowd arrived prepared for the long wait.
The queue outside the Myanmar Embassy yesterday, with some people giving out free food and drinks to those waiting in line. Unlike the scenes of confusion on Saturday, yesterday's crowd arrived prepared for the long wait. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The lengthy queue at the Myanmar Embassy continued yesterday as Myanmar nationals went to cast early votes for the country's general election on Nov 8.

The elections mark the first time that many Myanmar nationals will have a say over who governs their country.

Unlike the scenes of confusion at the embassy on Saturday, yesterday's crowd of 3,500 was orderly and many arrived prepared for the long wait with food and drinks.

On Saturday, officials told the crowd that only the first 3,000 people could vote that day; the rest were told to vote yesterday. This left those who were turned away unhappy with the situation.

Yesterday, voting opened at 9am and, by about 1pm, the line snaked till Tanglin Road, down a slope from where the Myanmar Embassy is located, off Tanglin Road.

People were giving out free packets of food, snacks and drinks. Some even set up cloth mats and were eating in a picnic-like setting.

A priority queue was set up and domestic workers were allowed to join this queue, as their next day off may be after the Oct 21 voting deadline.

Embassy officials gave out pieces of paper stamped with the Myanmar state seal to the first 3,000 people in the general queue. Only those with these slips were allowed to enter the embassy and vote.

Voting ended at 8pm.

While things moved a little faster and people were orderly, there was some unhappiness whenever the name list did not reflect the names of some who had submitted their requests for early voting, said volunteer Zarchi Ma Ma, a Myanmar citizen. About 20,000 Myanmar nationals had submitted requests for early voting.

The 36-year-old design engineer, who has lived in Singapore for 10 years, was in charge of counting the number of people leaving the embassy after they had voted.

Myanmar nationals will be allowed to continue voting at the embassy today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2015, with the headline 'Long but orderly queue of voters at Myanmar Embassy'. Print Edition | Subscribe