Story by Emmjay
So, as the sun rises on another balmy day in the kingdom of Burmalia, the king and his advisers sit, crossed-legged, on the veranda of the west wing of the palace. The early morning sun warms the pandanus palms in the garden nearby and the dew wafts gently from the leaves and vanishes like the hint of a good idea.
They sip tea. No-one speaks. The air is taught with anticipation. The king stands and concentrates on the massive teak door in the garden wall. The latch turns and a slim and short man in the uniform of the palace guard steps inside, noiselessly closes the door, turns and walks towards the group on the verandah. He approaches with the purposeful but cautious gait of a man bearing difficult news. Not bad news, but news likely to cause the king some concern.
He arrives at the steps, stops and bows deeply. Waits.
“Brandis” says the king, acknowledging him and inviting him to speak his news. The group are all standing now, silent.
“Majesty”, he replies “the honourable minister for the navy sends his greetings and wishes to inform you that another boat carrying Australian politicians is approaching our shore. He respectfully asks for your instructions”.
“Thank you, Brandis” says the king. “Please take tea with us for the moment while we confer. Gentlemen, be seated”.
“Be so kind as to call the minister for foreign affairs, please Mr Hoo-key” says the king.
“How many boats this time, Brandis?” asks the king.
“One” replies the king, unworried.
“How many refugee politicians ?”
“One hundred and seventy-two, majesty” says Brandis.
“I see” says the king. “Not so many”.
“Women and children ?” says the king.
“No, Majesty” says Brandis.
The minister for foreign affairs enters and bows deeply.
“The Australian boat politicians, minister. What is making these people seek refuge in Burmalia ?”
“Your majesty, since the revolution began, working families in Australia have turned on their former political masters and many have fled or remain in hiding.”
“I see. Why are they so objectionable ?”
“Majesty, it is said that they have scant regard for the needs of ordinary people. The popular blogsphere says that they feather their own nests, cheat on their travel expenses, look after their friends to the exclusion of everyone else. Worse, it appears, Majesty, they tax the poor and the sick, remove funding from education and speak ill of their indigenous neighbours”.
“I have heard that they are warriors” says the king.
“It is true, Majesty, they seem to enjoy fighting in other people’s wars” says the minister for foreign affairs. “They regard themselves as deputies to the Americans” she adds.
“And the Americans ?” says the king.
“Could scarcely care less so long as Australia continues to provide safe investment and harbour for American military” adds the minister.
“No women or children on the boat ?” asks the king.
“No, Majesty, Australians do not take female politicians seriously. No children because Australian male politicians don’t take any women seriously” says the foreign minister.
“What is the feeling of the people of Burmailia”? asks the king.
“The people of Burmalia are sad that Australian politicians are so despised by their own people. We understand that Australian politicians are a very low caste, are overwhelmingly ignorant and uncaring neo-conservatives, no doubt”, says the minister of the interior.
“But we should show them the care and courtesy we give to all our citizens, Majesty. With your assent, Majesty, we will feed, house and clothe them first. Then we will ask our monks to attend to their spiritual education.”
“Let it be so” says the king. “I will offer them the opportunity to work with the lepers” he says, smiling. “They may feel that they are amongst friends”.
“Are we finished ?” asks the king, which is to say that “We are finished”.
“Shall we meditate on loving kindness ?” says the king, closing his eyes and feeling the warmth of the sun rising above the pandanus.