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  • She had told me about the melancholy of an otherwise gentle and happy people, about a sadness that rarely seeped beyond the humid white crumbling walls of Yangon or the bamboo braided huts scattered across most of the country.

    She had spoken to me of their eagerness to connect with anyone who was from the outside, and their timid ways of expressing their dissatisfaction with the current regime. She told me how the unelected officials would shut off the power in the big cities when important soccer games were on TV, so the people would be reminded of who was in control. Only last week a whole neighborhood in Yangon was demolished with no warning or explanation and hundreds of people were left homeless. An old man approached us weeping "please save us, tell our story to the world" he said. In a country where monks are revered as rockstars and everyone is meant to taste the monastic life twice in their lifetime, a stark contrast with a ruthless regime which has been in control since 1962 and which seems so outdated. However a wind of change seems to be breezing through the country, and as my heart ached for those who just had their homes torn down hopefully a new day dawns on Burma.

    April 1st 2012, a fools day to some, an exciting day for the Burmese. I had the privilege to feel and see the hope of a people who have sought a more open and democratic government, engage in the first fair and open democratic regional elections. We followed the Lady to her constituency where she went to all the polling stations to make sure that the vote was being conducted in a fair and civil manner. About 3 hours from Yangon, Kamu is one of the poorest constituencies in Burma and on the side of the road waiting to catch a glimpse of her were people of all ages. Children, monks, and old all crowded on the side of the dusty road cheering along as Aung San Suu Kyi drove by and slowed down at the various villages along her way. The excitement and glee painted across their faces, in hope that this regional election will lead to a much more fair and open democratic election in 2015.

    That evening, outside the NLD head offices in Yangon a massive party erupted as the results came in. A small crowd of a couple hundred quickly grew to several thousand, filling the street and the pavements on both sides of the road. As each constituency announced the results guaranteeing 45 seats in parlament for the NLD party, the crowd roared with excitement and the party lasted long into the night.

    My friend Olga who has been coming here since 2006 on a regular basis told me she had never seen this vivid excitement expressed publicly by any Burmese in the past. They were so excited and so happy that the emotionality was contagious. They hugged all foreigners, reporters and photojournalists making it hard for them to keep their "objectivity" and work. The party lasted all night as dawn creeped over the misty capital, the exuberance and enthusiasm slowly faded as tired kids dragged their reluctant parents home.

    A new day has come for Myanmar, lets hope that the peoples choice is honored by the current regime....
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