When Kim Ng, of Chinese descent, was appointed general manager of the Miami Marlins on Friday, she became the first female to hold that role in top American sports.
Americans like to congratulate ourselves on being the land of opportunity, which it has been, although under duress from our child-kidnapper-in-chief in the past four nasty years.
When voters elected Kamala Harris, part Jamaican, part Indian, and female, as the vice president nearly two weeks ago, this was cause for celebration in the U.S. -- although not by militia-type worthies with rifles on their hips who came out of the woods to help "supervise" the polling.
As for the rifles -- only in America.
Oddly enough, this opportunity stuff goes on in other countries, too.
Currently in London, under the leadership of Mayor Sadiq Khan, of Pakistani ancestry, large-scale celebrations of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, are being held in public places. This is not new. Two decades ago, my wife and I were in London (for a Giants football game!) when we ran into a modest Diwali celebration, some music, some dancing -- and we saw four female police officers, in classic bobby uniform, dancing along with the celebrants. Only in London.
Canada has its own share of vibrant minorities. I was reminded of this in the Saturday NYT in a touching profile of an orphan, from India, who lobbied his way to adoption in Toronto and now runs a high-end restaurant there.
When he was 8, Sashi was a street kid, abandoned, taken into a home in Tamil Nadu, operated by a small Canadian outfit, Families for Children. There are places like that all over India. My wife, Marianne, used to escort children from Pune to the U.S. for pre-arranged meetings with their adoptive families. ("I am the stork," was her motto. I think her total of kids was 24.) The U.S. was not the only country involved in adoptions. Canada was, and Norway had a large presence in India.
Children in these orphanages know what is going on: they are on display. They are not shy about asking foreign visitors: "Take me with you." (My wife still talks about the sadness of a girl, heading to her teen years, who had realized she was not being adopted.)
But as Catherine Porter writes in her poignant story in the NYT, young Sashi, with the desperation of a survivor, spotted Sandra Simpson of Canada, a return visitor to the orphanage, and he persuaded her to take him to Toronto and adopt him into her large brood.
How Sash Simpson became a top chef, four decades later, is a tribute to his drive to get in the back door of a restaurant, and do any job, and keep learning. He made his own luck, with the help of the Simpson pipeline, and others. His restaurant -- Sash -- is hurting during the pandemic, but he gives the impression that he forced his way this far, and will survive.
Only in Canada.
Then there is Ireland, where Hazel Chu, of Chinese heritage, has become mayor of Dublin, replacing Leo Varadkar, of Indian heritage, the first gay mayor of Dublin.
With my Irish passport (courtesy of my grandmother), may I say: "Only in Ireland."
11/15/2020 07:38:12 am
11/15/2020 03:10:48 pm
Randy, thank you for the nice note about your kin -- somehow or other, way back when. Lot of adoptions in our families. Be well...GV
11/15/2020 10:12:52 am
I chose your blog over the front page of the NYT this morning. Glad I did. I am now headed into the day fortified with an optimism I did not wake up with.
11/15/2020 03:12:52 pm
Ina, mille grazie for noticing this one. Oddly, just a few minutes ago, I saw a reference to the generosity of you and Maury in the local charity, with Marianne mentioned. Now more than ever, Best to you both. A presto. G&M
11/15/2020 12:13:38 pm
You and Marianne are a good fit, deep caring for others, humanists, our most valuable breed.
11/15/2020 03:25:25 pm
Ed, thanks for the note. You both have worked to make this a better place. Be well, GV
11/15/2020 02:38:54 pm
11/15/2020 03:27:41 pm
Bruce: Thanks for the constant reminders.
11/15/2020 03:34:50 pm
11/15/2020 05:08:37 pm
I loved this: "We ran into a modest Diwali celebration, some music, some dancing -- and we saw four female police officers, in classic bobby uniform, dancing along with the celebrants."
11/15/2020 05:15:13 pm
Bruce, after about 20 summers in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, (lovely place, I am tempted to say that is because it is a topographic extension of Vermont and New Hampshire- before you holler, the rivers run north from the States—but I wont go there.). Anyplace with Poutine for lunch and Tim Horton’s for breakfast cant be all bad.
11/15/2020 11:47:35 pm
11/16/2020 06:08:57 pm
George, loved this piece of yours. I see me in it. But first, it is heartening to see the successes and significant contributions of immigrants to the ‘first world’ countries. I am beginning to think the melding of cultures, creeds, and races, just might be what saves some of these same countries from going down the rabbit hole of chaos and degradation, the USA included. Your description of Sashi’s life also reminded me of my own life, and longings, while in an orphanage in Trinidad W.I. Like Sashi, I too longed for an American family to whisk me away to America. And after we kids were invited to visit the USS Ranger anchored off the island, and I experienced the kindness and lightheartedness of the American servicemen onboard, it was a done deal in my mind; I was going to America! A few years later, after you and Marianne entered my life and showed me what was possible in this land, I was determined to grab every opportunity that I could to make my life better. Sometimes in life, all a person needs is a guide, or a chance. You and your lady became that for me in just a short 4-6 weeks’ time, with your optimism, intellect, talents, and your anything-is-possible attitude that you shared with me. Thanks once more for reaching out to so many of us.
11/16/2020 06:19:47 pm
11/17/2020 09:32:44 am
Dear Angela: I remember the young lady, studying dance, I believe, and working at the Pensione Silla on the Lungarno in Firenze, and keeping an eye on our children. Your first visit to NY was too brief...and the next thing we heard was that you were a wife, a mother, and had a good administration job at a hospital in Salt Lake City. In the words of the great Casey Stengel, the baseball character, you made your own luck. And last year we got to meet your formidable cousin and her daughter, now, as I gather, saving lives in a hospital up the Hudson. Congratulations to all for making this a better place. Love, G&M
11/17/2020 06:01:08 am
11/18/2020 12:14:56 pm
I'm surprised that I beat Bruce to the punch in sending you all this one from the NYTimes . :-) Check it out. Here's a taste (link below)
11/18/2020 12:37:39 pm
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“I don’t think people understand how Covid affects older Americans,” Mr. Caretti said with frustration. “In 2020, there was this all-in-this-together vibe, and it’s been annihilated. People just need to care about other people, man. That’s my soapbox.”
---Vic Caretti, 47, whose father recently died of Covid at 85.
---From an article by Paula Span, who covers old age for the NYT, which currently has 2646 comments, the majority criticizing the American public – and public officials – for acting as if the pandemic is “over.”
Classic wishful thinking, at a lethal level.