Student - March 23, 2011

Time to Learn Dutch Politics?

Speaking of politics, I'm afraid I'm too young to be sophisticated.

Cheer up, spring has come!
In the weekend when Japan's calamities dominated the front pages of Dutch papers, I was in Hoenderloo, a small village near De Veluwe. I had a policy meeting there with other members of SFO (Tenants-representative Organization) on Saturday. We discussed the policy-making for next year. It was a great weekend, but I didn't feel quite happy because I had a bummer during the meeting.

The meeting had two parts. During the break for group discussion, my teammates, two board members, asked me out for a walk. Actually it was not a walk but a talk. The topic was about the rotation of the chairman. At first they crammed me with lots of gossip stories about the present chairman, in order to show how unsatisfied they were with him. I think now you've got it. Yes, they wanted to wage a 'coup'! They lobbied me to be their ally. I couldn't handle so much information in only several minutes. My brain was under a blackout. I didn't want to get involved in their political wrestling, but I somehow accepted their request: to be the reporter of our discussion after the break.

It turned out to be the rashest and worst decision I ever made. I totally screwed up their 'conspiracy': I just read the note of our discussion verbatim like reading a dictionary and failed to answer the questions from other members, like 'why do we need a new chairman'. My clumsy report intrigued a tense and fierce debate while I ended up with hiding in the embarrassing corner and watching A & B doing the hardest tinkering job in the world. What's worse, I shared the bedroom with the chairman later on. You could imagine how awkward the atmosphere was.

LOSER, the word kept haunting in my mind until I had dinner at the Frits'.

I was at sea. I even doubted whether I should stay in SFO. But again, the Dutch old couple appeared just when I needed them. After listening to my story, Frits asked, 'Why did you take this job at the beginning?' 'To experience Dutch culture,' I spoke without thinking. 'Are you happy now?' He went on asking very slowly. 'No...' I murmured to myself. 'Derek, don't think too much, you have nothing to lose,' he patted my shoulder gently. Like a magic wand, unexpectedly, his words swept out my remorse and panic. He was right. It was a precious experience to be a Dutch political rookie: It tasted bitter, but maybe it's a good medicine to discover my unknown side of cowardice, what's more, to regain the guts to overcome it.

Time to learn some Dutch politics? Unnecessary, I think. But it's sensible to learn how to play it safe, at least no backfire play anymore. Anyway, finally I found back the beacon and went back on the right track - to be a wise and strong-minded man.

Video of the week:  'Best of Me', my aspirin when I'm down