He is not a Singaporean. He is not of the same race or religion as I am. And yet, his inauguration is keenly watched by so many Singaporeans, as seen from the multiple Facebook status updates from CNN.com Live.
After that euphoric win, Barack Obama is finally taking his place among history as he is officially sworn in as the 44th president of the United States of America. Why, then, is this something so eagerly anticipated by Singaporeans, who are often criticized as being apathetic towards politics?
Maybe it’s because this inauguration truly brings about a sense of hope and optimism in everyone around the world. What’s more in Singapore, where the political scene is more often than not predictable and tightly controlled, a change in the winds (for the better) is not something we are used to. It’s not too difficult to be swept away in the excitement that accompanies President Obama.
The ever sardonic Maureen Dowd did not mince her words in her op-ed for the New York Times, “One seems small and inconsequential, even though he keeps insisting he’s not; the other grows large and impressive, filling Americans with cockeyed hope even as he warns them not to expect too much too soon.” It’s true, although he fills even the most apathetic of Singaporeans with hope, it’s important to remember that he is only one man and he can only do so much to bolster the ailing economy that he has inherited from that gunslinging buffoon who ruled America for eight long years.
But the goosebumps on my arms are standing and there are tears in my eyes, and it’s a good thing. Because I have never felt this way when watching my MPs or prime minister or president take office.