Feb 11 1 Comment

How half-done dishes can teach me something about Burma

On the following pictures you will see parts of my kitchen the way it looks after one of my daughters, who will remind nameless, said she has done the dinner dishes.

It bothers me that she considers this DONE.

What about the soup pot? Shall I put it away looking this way?

What do you call the dirty dishes by the sink? If not dirty dishes?

Who is supposed to clean up the rest of the mess? Must I pay you for this?

I thought all those thoughts and I have said these very words more than once. But tonight I looked at it, sighed, and said nothing. This is what I decided:

At least most of the dishes got done. The dishwasher is full and it got started. The table got wiped…eh, well… kind of.

She could simply have done nothing. She could have slammed the door and called me a name. She could have stuck her tongue out at me. She could have gone to her room to smoke some pot.

So when I consider all these scenarios, I guess I need to be happy. She did not do any of the above-mentioned things. She just did the dishes—a little.

A little is better than nothing, baby. One day I may come home to find the kitchen counter spotless, with a Post It note with a smiley face on it. Perhaps. Maybe. One day.

Being in the philosophical mood that I am, I compared the half-done dishes to the current situation in Burma.


You see the former and current generals have started doing the dishes. They have scraped some of the nasty gravy off them and put some of them in the dishwasher. The counter is still not clean. Not by any means. But it’s better than nothing. They could just have sat in their rooms, polishing their rifles.

Some political prisoners have been set free. People are allowed to voice some opinions. They aren’t shooting at as many as they used to. So this is good.

Still, some of the messiest pots and pans are not done. The ethnic minorities are still in pretty much the same situation they were in some months ago. Some are even worse off. The people are still as poor as ever, and there is still just as far to a clinic as it was yesterday. There are some major pots in the sink.

But just like with my daughter, I need to see that there is a tiny step in the right direction. And if one step is taken, there may be more.

So, here I am sitting on a Friday, hoping that my daughter will learn to do the dishes with excellence, and that the rulers of Burma will learn to rule with justice and integrity. Is it too much to hope for?

1 Comment

  • Rick says:

    Our kids, 8,7,6 and 4, all pack their own lunches and I was just saying to Lynsey – about the cheese left open on the counter top and the peanut butter and jelly likewise – “Hey, our little kids just packed their own lunches, and have been for two years. We should be really impressed with them for doing that!”