In: Clarissa Alberg7 May 2012
I just happen to run into the right people with extraordinary stories. As I just plunged into a train seat on my way from Rotterdam to Amsterdam I planned to read through my notes and prepare my next article when I heard a deep voice asking “Is this seat taken?” I saw a slim, light skin, middle-aged lady dressed in a pair of dark blue pants and a nice yellow blouse with long sleeves. I politely invited her to take the seat next to me and I moved over to the window. It seemed she was really troubled by what had happened that day and she needed someone to talk to.
She was well informed about politicians, political parties and their latest ‘unfavorable’ decisions and I then realised that I had never voted before. So I asked her to share her experience as a first time voter and on how she thinks I should vote the next time around and why.
She said (after I asked her to record): “that I will never forget. Listen what happened. I am from Surinam and my aunt in Holland used to send big boxes with used clothing to my mother. One day we opened a large box and I pulled out a long purple pair of pants. I was excited even though the pair of pants was two sizes too big, but now I had a match for my white t-shirt to show off with my voting-party colors ‘purple and white’. I saw the pair of pants as a precious gift from heaven. Voting day I could hardly sleep. The voting stations opened from seven to seven. Around ten thirty A.M., dressed in my party colors, I walked the short distance to the voting station. The supporters from another political party dressed in green crowded the entrance. One of them approached me to instruct me how to vote for her party. I brushed her off with ‘I already made my choice’. Another green supporter sarcastically said ‘Look at those big pants’. I thought ‘doesn’t matter I am not voting for green’. It was a very special moment when my name was pronounced in the voting station and my voting card was exchanged for a larger ballot and I went into the voting booth. I colored my two candidates on the list and dropped my ballot in the box. I felt tremendously proud”.
“Seven o’clock the voting ended. The ballot box was emptied on the table and members of the voting bureau and supporters started to count. All the ballots were held up for everybody to see and to count. Suddenly I heard OMG this person colored two candidates that makes this ballot invalid. I froze and felt my blood running fast through my body. That was my ballot! My first time voting and I blew it! If I had not been so arrogant and had taken the time to listen to the green supporter I would have been casting a valid vote. I wanted the earth to split open and swallow me. My only cover was that the ballots were anonymous. I felt horrible that I had not been able to give my party of choice a valid vote. But God worked miracles, because no party got the majority of the votes and after lobbying my party formed the ruling coalition. From that day on Clarissa I have been more involved in politics and that never ever happened again and I make sure that I inform people to vote correctly here in Holland, if we did that the first time around, none of this falling of the cabinet would’ve happened”.
She then wanted to finish with a moral and said: Even the slightest bit of information coming from an ordinary source can contribute to our success. Not the messenger is important but the message.
After that, we spoke about my iPad and technology (that’s where my knowledge came in)!
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