today history was made. barack obama became the 44th president of the united states of america.
while i sense that a blanket of shimmering hope has fallen over america and the rest of the world by proxy, i can’t help but also feel a sense of unease.
what happened today is the culmination of a season of revolution. you could even say that it was a long time coming. race, the “last great barrier”, was torn to the ground – not unlike the berlin wall in another well-known act of revolution.
but revolution brings with it its own peculiar set of side effects. we have all heard that change is the only constant and that is true beyond doubt. what is also true is that people are generally resistant to change in thier lives, having to adapt to and deal with the upheavals.
today over lunch i chatted with weili, a good friend with an acerbic wit (check out his blog), about what this all meant. we just heard the news that obama had won, claiming way more than the 270 electoral votes he needed to secure victory.
c: man today he made history. hundreds of years from now, we will all be insignificant but he will not. he will be a legend.
w: yeah man. but i tell you, he will be more of a legend if he gets killed. he’s too charismatic [starts listing all the FKs who got killed for championing racial equality]. he will be… a rock star man.
c: yeah, like kurt cobain. the stuff of myths…
then it was some inane chatter as we finished the rest of our canteen 1 ‘best porridge’ with raw egg. but in essence that is the worry, and an almost undeniable inevitability – that even charismatic, populist characters who rise from revolutions often come to sticky ends, for their enemies are all the more dangerous because they perceive themselves to be the minority in the midst of the dominant opinion.
so much for obama, i wish him well and hope that he truly is the real deal. with all the lines he lifted from ‘the founding fathers’ and martin luther king, he has a lot to live up to.
the second part of this post concerns ‘the big picture‘. it literally is what it sounds like.
‘the big picture’ breaks the mould of presenting photojournalism. unlike the pint-size pictures that you find in the galleries of afp, reuters and the new york times (and on this blog due to practical reasons, haha), ‘the big picture’, which is part of the boston globe, features photo stories with huge images (by my estimate about 800-1000 pixels on the long side).
this is clearly an affront to conventional wisdom that one should not upload large images online due to the inability to control their distribution and usage. sure, anti-copyright infringement technology is improving but the risks still cannot be discounted.
but hey, a big picture is really more beautiful than a squint-inducing one. click here to be blown away.
for more news posts, click here.
45 years ago to the day, an african-american preacher stood on the steps of the lincoln memorial and made one of the greatest speeches of all time. in tribute to the man that the memorial was named for, martin luther king reinforced the ideals that are the american spirit, the american promise, and the american dream.
he could have well been prophesying the coming of barack obama who would invoke his memory 45 years later, in the proclamation that those ideals be lifted up again.
and for a moment it seemed as though obama’s speech would not take flight, as he spent the first two and a half minutes profusely thanking the 80 000 that had gathered at the invesco field in denver to witness his acceptance of a historic nomination.
with the formalities out of the way, obama launched into the meat of his speech. no surprises as the focus fell on the issues of the day, especially for the working and the middle class – namely the economy, education and healthcare.
in perhaps is what is his most detailed outline to date with regards to the economy , obama vowed to rid america of its dependence on foreign oil within ten years by pumping US$150 billion into developing alternative sources of energy (solar, nuclear, gas, etc.). he also pledged to aid the auto industry in retooling in order to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles. 5 million new jobs are expected to be created, with obama in one fell swoop addressing the concern of outsourcing.
obama’s speech was interspersed with diatribes against john maccain’s sense of the issues closest to the hearts of the people, attacking in particular mccain’s consistent support of george bush’s unpopular policies. obama went on to say that he ‘looks forward to the debates with john mccain in the coming weeks.’
with the gauntlet thrown down, it will be interesting to see how mccain responds next week when the republicans stage their national convention.
[the serious stuff ends here.]
it is amazing how the americans have become so adept in the art of entertainment that they have managed to create a spectacle of their political process. even in taiwan they have the ‘floor brawl’. now compare those with what we get in singapore. pathetic i say.
anyway, latest development in local politics and perhaps a glimmer of hope – antihero extraordinaire chee soon juan of the singapore repertory theatre, also known as sdp, was last spotted distributing flyers and chatting up students in ntu the past couple of days. predicted development? he will play the goat in public and be incarcerated before long… again.
for more posts on news (not so), click here.
it is official. barack obama will be carrying upon his lanky shoulders the hopes of the democrats in the upcoming presidential elections. not too long ago a scenario like this was highly improbable – a black man and a white woman on the front and in the spotlight going at each other (unless we are talking a twisted variation of shakespeare’s simlilarly improbable portrayals of othello and desdemona).
then again it would come as no surprise that obama clinched the nomination. after all, his heritage and his professed beliefs placed him at an advantageous position. here is a man who might well be the unifying force for a country that has never in history been so divided. he is neither purely black nor white, a product of a mixed union. he appears to transcend the ridiculous quagmire that the once-great system of bi-partisan politics have descended into.
in his auto-biography ‘the audacity of hope’, he affirms his affiliation to the democratic party and its fundamental principles, yet at the same time expressing the desire to work with, not against, the republicans towards the betterment of american society. he is contesting at a time when americans, tired of the war in iraq, are looking for change – pretty much the single word that has come to characterise his campaign. he seems different, not the aloof egomaniac that politicians too often are. rather, his ability to rally at the grassroots level is a direct result of his sincerity and his willingness to listen to the people.
yet it always takes that leap of faith to invest one’s trust in a politician. after all, politics is more often than not the sum of promises made but not delivered. in his own words, obama admits that he sees why that is the case – for many of his colleagues and forebears, once overwhelmed by the trappings of office and the impasse that is the political process, lose the initial fire that spurred them to run in the first place.
the question that is on the minds of the democratic demographic now is: “will clinton be offered, and if so will she accept, the place beside obama as his running mate? if she does then the democratic camp will be fielding what could possibly be the strongest one-two in recent history. both of them obviously have widespread appeal among the people, especially among the minorities. the fact that clinton is an ‘establishment figure’, well connected in the upper echelons of american society, might prove to be a crucial factor against the impressive resources of the republicans. whether such an alliances will materialise is left to be seen, though it would appear to be the logical progression.
the world awaits.
for more news posts, click here.