Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Can we be the United States of America again?

President-Elect Obama said there is hard work to be done, and many problems and differences. He said we can't expect the government to solve everything. He said he would have false starts, false moves, mistakes, and we probably wouldn't fix any issues within months, a year, or even a term. But we should have hope, and work hard on it. All of us.

It echoed what I heard from JFK's speech: ask not what the country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. And that's strongly my belief. I think Americans have become complacent, bitter, angry, and disheartened and selfish in the last few years, especially after 9/11 and Iraq when it seemed like the whole world was against us.

And I see in his face a man who is determined to work hard, and accept criticism and advice. A man who really wants to do good work for the American people -- who is not only here to win for self-interest. A man who knows difficult times ahead, but also the hope that we can do it.

And I see a man who wants to reach across party lines and work together, to fix the partisan bickering and the fracture in our government and society. When George W. Bush said he was the "uniter" -- I didn't believe him. When Obama said he wanted to bring everyone together -- I did.

His own campaign is a great testament. Here he is, a man whom we barely knew just 4 years ago, starting on his first term as Senator. But he managed to inspire a whole new generation who have been apathetic; he managed to bring people of all colors and backgrounds together. Nobody thought he could defeat Hillary Clinton, let alone winning the Presidency. And yet here he is, breaking the barrier and achieving the unachievable, making history along the way.

Like him or not, we have to agree: this IS the American dream.

But I think good will is contagious. When the whole world cheers for Obama's win and regain it's hope for a brighter future, something will turn. It's not some hokey new age speak here. I firmly believe in the power of the will, and multiply that by millions, billions maybe, you have one powerful thing going on.

I know there are naysayers out there, and those who can't let themselves believe something good will happen. It's a shame because here is our opportunities and chance to do something good, to make the world see what Americans are really made of.

Never underestimate the power of hope over fear, no matter how dire and cynical we feel. Americans have gone through some really dark times, among the good. I've gone through some dark times myself, and every time -- every single time -- hope triumphed over fear and I prevailed and I became strong and better than I ever was. I think America will rise again.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


America has just made history. And I'm proud of my country.

Right now, I am so overwhelmed words just escape me. I'll post more later.

But WOW!


What a night.


The Power of Hope

When I was 17, I got myself into kind of a mess: I did really poorly in the HKCEE (the Hong Kong's equivalence of SAT, I suppose -- but much, much harder). I was going to lose my place at my alma mater (for Form 6, the pre-university advance studies) -- my school was one of the best in the entire city. I was devastated. I panicked. I felt ashamed; I had disappointed my parents and everyone else, including some of my friends who were counting on us going on to Form 6 together. Most of all, my future was suddenly murky, and my chances of going to the university seemed extinguished by that piece of report card.

My father was sorely disappointed. But being the person he was, he never scolded me or told me to get lost. Instead, he sat me down and told me we would get through this. The next few days, he took off work and we literally walked all over town to get applications to other schools -- mostly second- or third-tier ones. I felt deflated, ashamed, and sad. I knew staying in school was the right thing to do, even if that meant I would have to say goodbyes to all my friends, and also be stuck at a second- rate school. But those were the consequences I had to face -- I was responsible for this outcome.

My father was the patient one. He walked with me. Talked with me. He made me feel that the world was not going to end, and that something good was going to come out of that experience. Who knows what he and my mother talked about, but he reassured me that everything was going to be okay. He told me: "Have hope."

My father walked with me.

Everything did turn out okay. I was re-accepted to my alma mater; they happened to have extra seats left and they thought I should be given another chance. I got into the Biology class, which had the focus of getting us into medical schools, instead of my first choice: Science (I wanted to get into Computer Science or Engineering). I didn't complain. I couldn't complain. I was fortunate enough to secure my seat in that class. I was fortunate enough to graduate with my friends.

Eventually, I got accepted to a university in the States and I did have to say goodbye to my friends. Fifteen came to the airport to see me off. The mood was not sorrow or sadness or devastation or envy, but hope. I was going to college, after all.

My father walked with me.

He let me see the power of hope.

And that power has stayed with me ever since. I've accomplished a lot of things since that day I received my HKCEE report. And I know tomorrow will still be great.

On this great day when Americans are on the cusp of making history, I understand the power of hope. Of change.

And I know: Tomorrow will be great.