Singapore monk shuns Middle Path for fast lane

April 19th, 2009 - 12:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Singapore, April 19 (DPA) Singapore’s top Buddhist monk has lived a lavish lifestyle with name branded goods and nine gold credit cards, according to a report in the Sunday Times.
“We are living in a modern world,” the newspaper quoted monk Ming Yi as telling auditors and police during an investigation into a charity hospital that he had headed.

The report said Ming Yi was a high-end shopper who spent on brands like Louis Vuitton and Montblanc, and had given three supplementary credit cards to his friends including a monk based in Hong Kong.

“A lot of religious people, not only myself, are very different now,” he was reported as saying.

The 47-year old former chief executive officer of a charity-run hospital is under investigation for making an unauthorised loan of 50,000 Singapore dollars to a friend. The loan is also subject of a court case.

Ming Yi’s choice of hotels included five-star St Regis, The Regent, Four Seasons and Banyan Tree, the report said.

But he stressed to police that his profligate spending was legal, being paid for out of the red packets, or “hong bao”, a traditional Chinese way of giving gifts, he had received from devotees.

“I always don’t look upon money as important,” Ming Yi said. “What I can, I spend and that’s it; what I don’t have, I don’t spend.”

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