Today I have had to travel from the island of Borneo...from SABAH and the townof . Then to where I had a 5 hour lay over andfinally arriving very late at night in Bangkok. The election has alreadybegun....Today, in honor of the election, I am wearing an Obama '08 button on mylapel. If the treatment and reaction throughout my day is any indication ofwhat our world might become....I am overwhelmed with optimism. First, everysingle place I went, someone noticed the button and called out, "OBAMA!".There were international administrators from across the region at the hotel.Many of them nodded and smiled, and even the non-Americans who reacted withhuge enthusiasm.One man from Australia stopped me to talk politics for 10 minutes. The crewworking behind thedesk all gave a thumbs up...the taxi driver did not charge me for taking meto the airport.I must explain that, once at the airport, I am one of very few Americansamong Asians from all over this region. I might possibly be the only blond ineither airport I have been in so far today, and won't see many if anyAmericans until Bangkok. I do not speak the language...thank goodness theyspeak English.Upon seeing my button, everyone, without exception, smiles. I have receivedpreferential treatment all day long. They didn't make me pay extra for a heavybag, they treated me in short, like royalty. The stewardess told the pilot,who stood up in the cock pit to give me a thumbs up. Even the immigrationofficial barely looked at my passport. He was much more interested in knowingan Obama supporter and what I thought would happen today.When I was buying dinner at a very American (the only place to getsomething to eat), the entire crew behind the counter (not one American) cameto say kind words to me. The man who exchanged my money asked how I could doanything so far away from the USA. I told him, with some amount of pride,that I had voted by absentee ballot. He took my hand and said, "thank you somuch for voting for Mr. Obama." There were actual tears in his eyes.While waiting at the airport in Kota Kinabalu and girl about 9 years old saw my button. She smiled broadly. I said hello and she asked if I wanted Obama to win because she did and her whole family did and that that morning they said a prayer that he would. I told her that I thought Barack would like that a girl all the way in Kota Kinabalu said a prayer for him. She asked could I tell him that they were praying for him and I said I would send an email to his headquarters. She was so excited that she ran to tell her parents. Her father came over and asked me if I knew Obama. I told him I had seen him speak, but never met him. He said that his whole community was praying for Obama and that he appreciated that I would write an email to tell him. He took my hand and said, we are praying for all of the too. This was the second stranger to take my hand today. It was my turn to have tears in my eyes, because this man, who I didn't know, was completely sincere. I thanked him. He said, "all of us, together...do you understand?" I said, "All of us together." We parted...smiling!I write this as I sit in the airport at Kuala Lumpur waiting for hours for the plane. The women who guard the doors have on muslim headdresses , orange pants outfits and lime green jerseys. They are shy and reserved, yet they give me the thumbs up, and quietly whisper, "Obama" as I walk by. There are Thai and Chinese, and Indonesians and Indians surrounding me...The languages, dress, foods are all interesting. And sitting right next to me is a Buddhist monk, in just his orangish/yellow robes and shaved head. He smiles broadly when I look at him. He says frankly, "I like Obama."
Sunday, November 9, 2008
A world of hope
I received the following text in an email from a friend of the writer's family, and in reading it aloud to my husband I cried and stumbled to read the words, my spirit felt full and touched with the community this woman experienced, hoping it is all understandable since I cut and pasted it here....