Myanmar nationals in Singapore shocked and saddened by military coup back home

People entering the Myanmar Embassy in Singapore on Feb 1, 2021.
People entering the Myanmar Embassy in Singapore on Feb 1, 2021.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Myanmar nationals in Singapore were shocked and saddened by the detention of their country's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other top leaders, after a coup by the military on Monday morning (Feb 1).

"My heart is in pain for my country's condition," said Ms Sisimyint, who goes by one name.

The 61-year-old shop assistant at Peninsula Plaza told The Straits Times that she cried in the MRT train when she thought about the arrests as she was "very sad".

A Singapore Institute of Management student from Myanmar, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "No one expected this kind of detainment in 2021."

The 21-year-old, who came to Singapore to study in 2016, was not too worried about his family back home as he believed international pressure will make it difficult for the military to act against civilians.

Myanmar's military seized power early Monday morning in a coup against the democratically elected government of Ms Suu Kyi, who was detained along with other leaders of her National League for Democracy party.

The military said the detentions were in response to "fraud'' in the general election last November. It handed power to military chief Min Aung Hlaing and imposed a state of emergency in Myanmar for one year.

There were reports on Monday that phone and Internet connections in the capital Naypyitaw and the main commercial centre of Yangon were disrupted.

Ms Than Htwe, 45, who owns a phone shop, said she could call her relatives through messaging apps such as Viber and Facebook messenger on Monday morning.

But a 34-year-old finance executive, who declined to give her name, said she could not call her sister who does not have wifi access.

“I tried to call her direct phone line but can’t reach (her),” she said.  

An owner of a trading company, who only wanted to be known as Mr Soe, said that about 80 per cent of his business had stopped as his calls to his business partners in Yangon since Monday morning had failed.

“I hope the situation will get better in the next few days,” said the 33-year-old. 

A 43-year-old shop assistant, Ms Thiryhaing, who goes by one name, added: “We cannot do anything, we can only just pray.”