SHIGATSE, TIBET -– A Buddhist monk accidentally set himself on fire Friday, as an admiring group of followers cheered him on.
The monk was cooking dinner when a defective burner on his gas stove malfunctioned, igniting the handmade Tibetan robe he was wearing. Engulfed in flames, he blazed out the door and onto the street, wildly flapping his arms, which added to the intensity of the combustion.
Although his vow of silence prevented him from asking for assistance, he did manage to mouth the Chinese word for “Help!”
Neighbors and friends emerged from their homes to witness the horrific scene. “Finally,” said an onlooker, “someone is taking a stand against Chinese oppression.”
The crowd applauded and began singing the Chinese version of “Kumbayah.”
A firefighter approached with a hose to douse the blazing monk — whose writhing body was now indistinguishable from the flames — but was held back by the cheering crowd.
“Don’t put it out,” someone yelled. “He’s protesting oppressive Chinese policies!”
The firefighter dropped the hose and joined in the singing, tears welling up in his eyes.
Suddenly, the monk’s house exploded in a burst of flames. “He is true to his cause,” commented a woman, “willing to sacrifice not only his life, but all his worldly belongings for his principles.”
As the sun went down, the crowd dispersed back to their homes, leaving the charred monk smoldering in the street, his first words spoken in thirty years getting lost in the swirling smoke. “Fuckers!” he cried in perfect English, before melting into the pavement.