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28 décembre 2008 7 28 /12 /décembre /2008 06:38

Thailande - Obama



Thailande - Obama ... Bangkok Goes Obama

Bangkok woke up to a beautifully mild U.S. presidential election count morning and gave a clear mandate to President-elect Senator Barack Obama to go ahead and change the world. That is, the mock ballot at the U.S. Embassy’s Election Watch party gave that clear mandate. By 662 to 53 votes. There was no doubt among local and foreign Bangkokians who should lead the world’s tarnished super power.

The embassy’s election party began at 7 am Bangkok time with a run on the 120 press badges. When a new supply of badges arrived, McCain already celebrated taking Kentucky with 8 electoral votes - Obama took Vermont with 3 electoral votes. But McCain’s success was to be short and suffering intense. Republican strongholds fell rapidly. At 11 am BKK time CNN projected Obama as America’s president-elect.

Trouncing McCain. The Bangkok Hyatt’s ballroom went wild. Already minutes after its opening the room had been cram-packed with diplomats, Democrats & Republicans Abroad, journalists and if not hundreds of students. Some sporting an Obama/Biden AND a McCain/Pailin button on their chest. Bangkok’s U.S. Election Watch was pure “democracy in action” - what a refreshing change from Bangkok’s notorious “democracy inaction.”

 

Imagine Thais wearing a PAD and a UDD button. Even though many of the nonpartisans at the Election Watch sported the two buttons, think Thai: Obama/Biden they mainly carried on their left side, over the heart. “You can see how we’d vote,” told me a giggling student. And what kind of students you saw. Thought I was at a beauty pageant…


And there were tons of students. Said Cynthia Brown, the embassy’s Deputy Press Attaché: “Last time we had more diplomats, this time students, schools and universities.” The Greek ambassador for himself though, representative of the older generation, seemed to slightly regret Obama’s strong pulling ahead.

“I’d voted for Pailin, women are better politicians,” he said. But it was the younger generation’s morning, while delicious snacks such as Monterrey Jack & Mustard Melts gave the whole Election Watch a picnic/party ambience. Loud applause erupted when CNN projected Pennsylvania’s and Ohio’s hotly contested battleground electoral votes for Obama.

Combined with the new balance of power in the upper and lower house expect a blank slate for the Democrats for the next two years. “A huge, huge win for Senator Obama” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer was overheard as saying - and this Blitzer is everywhere these day, quasi superhumanly. I wonder what this guy’s eating.

When sharp looking U.S. Ambassador Eric G. John took the stage and thanked for the broad Bangkok turnout on Election Watch, the Democrats had the country in the bag already. But John must not fear for his job as he’s no political appointee, but a professional diplomat.

After a change at the helm there’s the formality of all ambassadors to hand in their resignation, even though typically it’s hard for a new president to kick political appointees out of office. Whatever the outcome, “hopefully the values and traditions America stands for will prevail,” Cultural Affairs Officer John Paul Schutte told absolutely.

In a corner, I discovered a Chinese, seemingly uninterested in what was going on. If he was not excited about America’s election. “We have election evely mo’ning,” he said. Seriously, not …

As said, Obama won Bangkok’s mock election by 662 to 53 votes. The embassy’s Cynthia Brown: “A bit of a landslide over here in Bangkok.”




Thailande - Obama

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