We Are a Strange Race of Beings

Thursday, April 20, 2006

We Are a Strange Race of Beings

From Channel NewsAsia:
A woman known world-wide as the "hugging saint" has been creating a sensation in a building off Singapore's Orchard Road. Hundreds have been queuing for hours just for the chance of a three-second hug from her.

Fifty-three-year-old Mata Amritanandamayi has built hospitals and raised millions for tsunami victims. But Mata, better known as 'Amma', meaning 'mother', is best known simply for hugging people.

Over the past 35 years (she) has probably hugged almost a million people a year, many of them on her travels around the world to places like Japan, the US, Europe and the Middle East.

... "You have to experience [one of her hugs] yourself. I cannot explain it, it's a really good feeling," one person said.

... crowds of people from all ages, races and religions, who range from lawyers to teachers to businessmen, continue to flock to her. Many queued for up to four hours for the chance of a three-second cuddle from her.

"Our queue number is about 2,000, so we still intend to wait and queue," said one patient person.

Such a scene is quite the norm -- Amma's assistants say she often goes on for up to 24 hours at a stretch without stopping for food, rest, or even a bathroom break.

Organisers expect about 8,000 people to have seen her by the end of her three-day visit.

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