माया (Maya) = Love (in Nepali)
Barack, "He Walks Between Worlds"
I Touched Obama: Babel, Barack
Michelle Obama Is Just Fabulous
Yesterday towards the conclusion of the debate watch party at the John Street bar Rudy, who runs the Obama 2008 office in downtown Manhattan, casually mentioned Barack's half-sister Maya would be in the office "between three and four." That was manna from heaven. I could not believe. It would be a small crowd. It would really feel like meeting her in person.
So I showed up. At three. She was not there yet. So I walked over to the space in the back. Then Rudy, then Molly asked us to step out into the main space. A small crowd had gathered. There were two sets of camera crews, one group was two students at Columbia Journalism, another was a group making a documentary on the Obama campaign for "theatrical release." But I had seen them coming in.
I did not realize Maya was already in the room. I sauntered along from one part of the room to another. The thought of googling up her image the night before had crossed my mind, but I had decided to surprise myself and see her in person, unlike with her brother and sister-in-law.
She must have noticed that I was the one person who did not seem to know, because after Rudy introduced him, the first thing she said was, she pointed at me and said, "I don't believe I have seen you before, what is your name?" She made me say my name twice.
And then she proceeded to talk sweet and eloquent for over half an hour about Barack, his appeal, and so forth, all of which I readily captured on video. She mentioned "the Washington Square Park rally, I wish I could be there."
Since you could not be there, your next best bet, Maya, is to watch this hour long video.
Then the floor was opened for questions. I went first.
I don't have a question as much a comment, I said. I said I came here to thank you. I have liked Barack Obama at a very fundamental level for a few years now. But then last month some news magazine quoted you as saying, "He walks between worlds." And those four words finally crystallized it for me as to why I like him so much. I came here to thank you for those four words.
A few other gentle questions followed from a few others.
Then she proceeded to spend some one on one time with whoever. When she was done with that with a few people and she was about to walk out, I approached her and asked her if her name was Hindu. It was. Her previous names were Rani and Kamala. Her father's side comes from the Hindu tradition.
I am no longer Hindu. My family is and I grew up Hindu. I am Buddhist. One year into America and I became a Buddhist.
But somebody go do the research on this one. Barack might be my cousin too. I definitely have a bigger claim than Dick Cheney.
Kamala is the biggest river near my hometown Janakpur in Nepal.
कमल (Kamal) = Lotus (in Nepali, Hindi, Sanskrit)
I have a high school friend who lives in Baltimore who is getting married on the 15th next month. His name is Kamal.
I gave her my card on which I had written Barackface. "I have a blog dedicated to Barack. I hope you google it up," I said.
Then she walked out. She was out in the corridor for a few minutes before she was gone.
"Rudy, man, you look like you live in this office," I teased Rudy about his beard stubs.
I lingered. I made small talk with some of the people in the room. Some new faces, some guest faces, several old faces. Jordan Thomas was one of them. When I interviewed him on camera, he did not realize the only editing that happens with me is while filming. I don't have video editing software or hardware. So he gave a few different takes on a few things he said. He thought I would edit. I put it out raw. He complains about that every time he sees me.
This video is meant for your grandkids, not you, dude. Get back with me on this one after Barack has had his two terms in the White House.
Faina and I had talked at the headquarters after I had dropped by last night after the debate watch party. She had been putting in some major time into phone banking and stuff. Today I asked her to teach me how to do it. And I did it for half an hour. It was so much fun.
I met a guy, Steve. He is a Labor Party leader in London. He has been volunteering for Barack in the city. "If I were British, that would be my party," I said.
I must say I was surprised to meet him. He is an elected official in London. He is not even American. And he is out here volunteering for Barack.
"We are sick and tired of Bush," he explained.
Some of my Obama 2008 local comrades struggle with trying to figure me out just like the people running some of the political organizations in Manhattan before them whose events I used to attend.
I have made myself absolutely clear: NYC, Obama, Structure, Me. What more can I say?
My specialty is I do big picture. Others do retail politics better than me. And I have to stay unstructured. Got it? If yes, then go get hope.
- The Largest Rally In US Presidential Campaign History
Give Me A Huge Rally In This City Before Summer Is Over
Michelle Obama Is Just Fabulous
- Barack's Mother Makes An Appearance
Barack Has To Talk Much About His Mother
- Long Walk To Freedom
Long Walk To Freedom: Just A Third World Guy Dazzled By The City
On The Web
Obama Rolls Out "New Campaign Weapon": Half-Sister Maya Soetoro-Ng ... The 37-year-old Soetoro-Ng, a high-school teacher in Honolulu whose red hatchback is plastered with her brother's bumper stickers, says she always knew Barack was destined for great things. "My mom and I had a joke that he would become the first black president," she told NEWSWEEK. "He was so smart, but also wise beyond his years. He had so commanding a presence. He was like a little big man. We called him 'the little big man,' because in many ways he was an old man when he was a kid."
Obama's half-sister jumps into flurry of campaigning - The ... never mean to her, but sometimes "bossy" as they grew up in Honolulu. ...... their mother, Ann Dunham, had such a large impact on Obama, especially with her community organizing in Africa and Asia and her large spirit. .... "She was an immense woman," Soetoro-Ng, 36, said of Dunham, who died in 1995. "She embraced everybody. There was so much good in her that there wasn't any room for smallness or meanness or violence." ..... her husband Konrad Ng and their 2-year-old daughter, Suhaila, said they planned to be active in the Islands and would campaign on the Mainland if needed. She said Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, 84, who also lives in Honolulu ...... lived here for the better part of 18 years. ..... she married Lolo Soetoro and had Maya in Indonesia .... Although they're nine years apart in age, Soetoro-Ng said they share the same taste in music, literature and philosophy. ..... teaches history at the private La Pietra Hawai'i School for Girls and instructs night classes at the University of Hawai'i. ..... The two would share picnics or at times go on long walks to talk about their lives. She said Obama helped her recover after her father died in 1987. ...... Since moving away, Obama generally has been visiting Hawai'i in the winter to relax, play basketball and golf with old friends and to spend time with his family.
Obama's Ascent - TIME Even then, though, "he had powers," remembers his half sister Maya Soetoro-Ng. "He was charismatic. He had lots of friends." In high school, he used to stroll over to the Manoa campus of the University of Hawaii to "meet university ladies," says Soetoro-Ng, who still lives in Honolulu.
Maya Soetoro-Ng - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Soetoro-Ng received her Ph.D. in Education from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa in Fall 2006.
Maya Soetoro-Ng Las Vegas - a photoset on Flickr
MAYA SOETORO-NG :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Obama Family Tree
Obama's Sister Debuts as Campaigner - washingtonpost.com "He's always wrestled with difficult questions," Soetoro-Ng said. "Part of his gift is he will grapple with these childhood questions until he finds answers that will work for him. It's important that he's not afraid of these more difficult questions."
Video Podcast: Maya Soetoro-Ng, Barack's Half Sister