Friday, July 3, 2009

The Prime Minister and I

Photo: Ron Sim and the Honourable Tuila'epa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa.

You know, there comes a time in everyone’s life when things “just happen,” stars align and the sun and the moon match perfectly in an orchestrated harmony of events that no one can really explain how or why it happens. It “just happens.” There’s no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it!

So when the Prime Minister (Bud, as he prefers me to call him) and I met today, I felt my world melt into a pan of succulent sauces—mixing and churning, blending and whipping like a machine you’d only buy on the Shopping Channel. It was the same feeling I felt when I first watched the O.J Simpson trial ten years ago—when everything just fell into place--you know, how the glove fits perfectly and all? Or maybe it was just a sign of nervousness from my lactose intolerant stomach. Whatever it was, all I cared about was the fact that I was meeting the big PM—the Priiiime Minister of Samoa!

It all came as a surprise, really. When I woke up this morning, I had no idea I was going to meet such a high ranking official. Heck, to be honest with you, I was dressed for the jungle. I even had my buck-knife on me!

But nonetheless, he welcomed me with open arms. We firmly shook hands. His was bigger than mine, obviously. And mine was a bit sweaty too. But we looked at each other, locked eyes and instantly confirmed our masculinity by abruptly letting go of each others hands and nodding at each other like what “real” men do.

He offered me a seat, so I sat. He crossed his legs, so I crossed mine. And when he smiled, I proudly showed him my pearly whites in return.

We talked of politics, the environment, corporate social responsibility with some of the worlds largest companies, our favorite foods, my camera, and of course, MJ. Thriller was his favorite, he said.

There were times when I didn’t know what to say, so I just nodded my head and smiled. He nodded his in return. But, as we progressed thru our meeting, I felt like we had bonded like brothers--sorta like from another mother, ya know. He was cool! And in his eyes, I think he thought the same about yours truly!

When it was time to say our goodbyes, I promised him I’d email, keep in touch and never forget about our meeting. I also gave him the link to my blog.

When he stood up to show me out, I felt like going for a hug, but being the professional that I am, I was waiting for him to initiate the gesture—you know, by him leaning forward 10% meant he wanted a hug—which at that point I’d go for the 90% remaining. But, as mathematical formulas do tend to go astray, I opted for a handshake—said goodbye and walked out. I peaked over my shoulder for one last glance, but being the busy man that he is, he was no longer to be seen.

The sound of a door slamming shut echoed through the hallway as I cheerfully walked out.

***
Authors Note:
If you buy me a beer one day, I’ll tell you how it really went down between me and the PM.

16 comments:

Matthew Rassette said...

Buy a you a beer? Heck, I'll buy you a whole case. You may now officially add you your resume "Consultant to the Head of State"
Travel safe!

Jay said...

No fair. I live too far away to buy you a beer.

Sebastian said...

Was it your life-long mission to meet this guy or something? Or is he like... the lesser-known Nelson Mandela of the Pacific?

Sounds like fun though; and it's always nice when those big-wigs turn out to be nice guys :)

Ron said...

Matt: I think you'd like Bud. He's a former U.S Marine, just like you!

Jay: Georgia is not far at all. It's only like 4 states below MI. Plus, did you mention a while ago that your hubby might be running the Detroit marathon?

Sebastian: My friend, you'll need to buy me a beer to hear the truth ;)

Bon Don said...

Any excuse to have a few beers with my buddy Ron sounds like a wonderful plan to me!! :)

How cool to meet the PM... I mean Bud! You're such a big deal Ron, now more than ever!

Sarah, The New Girl said...

hahaha love the author's note. wish I could, but I never know where the F you are, Ron, and I'm sure it's not in random Raleigh, NC.

but, oh well, how AWESOME anyway! love the picture. shoulda gone for the hug, though... well, I say that, but would I have?

SearchingSoul said...

Wow, Ron, you're becoming more and more unreachable. Rubbing elbows with the head of state, huh?

As always, you never fail to entertain me with your down to earth and no-frills account of your travels and destinations.

Have a safe trip always.

floreta said...

haha i didn't know about that 10% rule!! and the stars aligning and crap? i almost exclusively describe that with romantic "just happen"ings.. yours is way cooler!!

TheChicGeek said...

Very cool, Ron! Lucky day!

Just wanted to wish you a very Happy 4th of July from America!
Enjoy your day!

Javier said...

Congratulations man! the only ones that met the president of Argentina back in the 90's were The Rolling Stones! and Argentina is kind of like Samoa, if you get to think about it!

Please keep us posted!

Rhiccups said...

Wow! So youre famous now huh? So awesome. I think I have a crush on you. It's the power and the talent. I can't get enough! :)

Oh wait. You knew that already! :)Travel safe!

Ava said...

LOL, you brought a buck-knife with you to an appointment with the Prime Minister? Didn't they search you for arms/weapons before entering the government premise?

John said...

Truth is, I can see the resemblance between you and him.

Fancy him nicknaming himself Bud. Must be named after that popular beer. I'm sure he would have offered you one had you stayed longer.

Cheers!

Michelle P. said...

Your blog is fascinating!

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Tanya said...

I'll buy you a beer- might even spring for a heineken from 3 men on Norodom next time you're in the Penh. Samoa is where we began our expat slow travel adventure and I have a soft spot for the place. Knowing Tuila'epa there would have been a lot of times during that conversation where you were just nodding?