Words by Melinda Tun
This is a post dedicated to the ordinary people of this country. The people of Burma who have so little and have endured so much, without losing their warmth and endearing traits. Theirs is an innocent charm, a genuine curiosity, a sincere kindness for their fellow humans. Everyday and everywhere I go, I am reminded of this and quite frankly, they have stolen my heart.
The taxi driver who insisted on walking in the rain to borrow an umbrella so that I can walk 5 metres to my destination without getting wet. The new colleagues in my office who insist on treating me to lunch everyday because I am a guest in their midst. The old bookshop owner who insisted on lending me a precious Burmese-English dictionary (handed down from his grandfather) which was not on sale. The snack stallholder who insisted on giving me free samples of her snacks when she realised I have never tasted them. The lady who insisted on walking me three blocks to my destination when I was lost downtown.
These are people who don’t always have much but refuse to be dictated by time or money. They have a genuine interest and empathy for their fellow beings that is delightfully disarming. And I cannot help but wonder at their spirit of humanity. I find them so fascinating that sometimes I have to resist the urge to sit down beside them and just talk; to ask them about their lives, their families and their histories. What triumphs and burdens do they carry and what dreams and hopes do they have? What do they wish for this country and what do they lament?
I’d like to think this love affair is mutual, for they take me in so readily as their own. Me with my accented Burmese and my gangly western ways. I know it’s probably just their ingrained sense of hospitality but gosh, it touches my heart every single time. I hope they never lose their kindness and humanity, nor their ability to smile even when the rain is pouring and the sun seems so far away.
Photo Credit to Alvaro Rivera and Hiking on the Moon