I am very lucky to be born where I was and how I was. Of the 7 billion people on earth I am definitely one of the lucky ones. I had a good upbringing that afforded me education and healthcare above my basic needs. For people like me we are able to travel the world and we come across individuals who have not had those same opportunities, these days it is called white privilege and I am thankful for it every day.
One of things anyone in my situation must do is stay humble. Humble to their surroundings, thankful for their place in the world and above all respectful of those that have not been so fortunate. Which is why I find it disgusting and thoroughly shameful when I see people act so utterly rude and obnoxious to airline staff on a South East Asian wage who are just trying to do their job.
This morning I was on a flight from Yangon to Bangkok when before getting to the runway we had to return to the terminal as there was a technical fault. Now I for one are happy the flight returned and it didn’t take off, better that this fault is found and causes a delay than I never make it all! When we returned to the airport the flight was immediately cancelled which was met with furor with a huge number of people it was sickening. They crowded the desks at the gate and hounded the poor airline staff who clearly were as much in the dark as everyone else, it was a fluid situation that had literally just happened.
I was sitting next to an elderly American woman, who was clearly a frequent flyer and used to airplanes. When the cancellation was announced she let out a loud audible sigh and was clearly upset. She later told me she had a connecting flight, but this was not due to depart for at least another 6 hours and the flight we were on was a 1 hour shuttle. This same woman was the most aggressive at the airline staff, insisting on immediate explanations. What kind of explanation she expected in the first 20 minutes other than “sit down and wait for further announcements” I am not sure. Did she think the airline had already called ahead, booked her another flight and made sure she had an onward connection in that time? What about the other 100 on board? Or was she a special case? And here lies the problem.
White privilege that we all enjoy gives us this misguided sense of importance and if it is not kept in check it is easy to become not a very nice person. Think about the privileges we have and then ask yourself, should I be acting this way? Keep your privilege in check and stay humble and above all thankful.