I’ve always been a big fan of Shonda Rhimes, which is probably why I keep tuning into episodes of Scandal, even though it is wildly farcical at times. Also, by virtue of it being set in the White House, it will never be able to eclipse my love for the West Wing. It usually just runs in the background while I play on my phone, or submit job applications, or something else equally banal. There are, of course, lessons to be learned if you look close enough, but most of the time it veers a little too far into fantasy for me to pay that much attention to it. Until a couple of weeks ago.
This particular episode ended (*SPOILER ALERT*) with Olivia essentially becoming President, by virtue of the amount of control she has over President Grant (the actual President). I, like many others, saw this as a “go get-’em” moment – God knows Olivia has a better brain on her shoulders than Fitzgerald Grant. But then the episode ended, the TV rolled onto the next thing I was watching and I forgot about it.
A few days pass, and the Myanmar election is all over the news. Another couple of days, and it’s tentatively announced that Aung San Suu Kyi’s party has reportedly won enough votes in the recent Myanmar election for them to seize power. Unfortunately, their Constitution prevents her from becoming President because her sons hold foreign passports. But this is a tough woman. She said something to the effect that if she had to find someone else to be the figure of the President, that would be fine, but she would still be the one dictating policy, and the actions of her government. Sound familiar?
This might sound strange, but I really don’t have any role models. There are men and women out there who inspire me, and make me want to be better, but no one really comes to mind if someone were to ask me ‘who is your role model’? Instead, I like to think of all strong women and girls out there as “role models in arms”. If that makes any sense. We should all be helping each other, because after all, a victory for one of us means (albeit slowly) a victory for everyone. And there are a whole bunch of fantastic women out there in all different fields, just doing their thing, doing what they’re passionate about.
I hope to be one of these women. I have a plan for where I want to be and what I want to do, and fingers crossed, I end up somewhere in that vicinity. I know, simply by virtue of my name and my gender, that it will be tough. But I want to show everyone – my parents, my friends, and most importantly, myself – that I can do anything if I put my mind to it.
I saw the following quote very early on this year, and even if the source is not able to be verified, I still think it has quite an important message:
“you all have a little bit of ‘I want to save the world’ in you, that’s why you’re here, in college. I want you to know that it’s okay if you only save one person, and it’s okay if that person is you”
It’s one of those sentiments that is quite easy to agree with, but a little harder to truly understand. I have many moments where I think, “how am I ever going to contribute to anyone’s life by continuing to study and write about novels?”, but then I remember everyone brings a different perspective to any piece of art. I remember that sometimes art can be truly life saving – and in some rare cases, life can end up imitating it, years down the track (I’m looking at you, Santos/Obama comparison!).
Anyway, I’m sure I will elaborate on the importance of art in the next few months, so I won’t make this any longer than it needs to be.
It’s going to be a tough road for Myanmar, moving forward. It’s usually not a focal point in the Western media, and a lot has happened in the past couple of weeks, so there hasn’t been a tremendous amount of coverage around the make up of Myanmar’s new government. It will be interesting to see how Myanmar changes under Suu Kyi, and I know that I, for one, will be keeping a keen eye on her approach to the Rohingya, especially considering the deplorable responses from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia. But it is a start for a country that has suffered too long under military rule. And maybe that little spark is all it needs.