Can We?

Goodness me! It’s been ages since I’ve blogged. I blame the new job I’ve been attached to for the past two weeks. I’m on the LRT every morning and every evening, and the last thing I want to do at the end of the day is blog. Plus, a new attachment especially one where I have to be physically in the office of a client means I have to go through the roller coaster of emotions of starting a new job. The usual 7 steps to acceptance, grief, anger etc.

But I’m getting used to it, and on some mornings, despite being crammed into a tiny little space called the LRT, listening to music every morning (preferred soundtrack of choice for the LRT journey is “Tum Se Hi” from Jab We Met) and watching KL wake up in the morning. The people outside of the train, usually around Taman Bahagia, PJ are waking up, the ones on the train usually are still half asleep, half-passive aggressive in our politeness: “Would you like this seat?” is usually accompanied with a half-threatening glare that suggests that if we were to accept, there would be TROUBLE.

Most Malaysians surprisingly ARE polite on the train. We queue, although sometimes the thought of waiting for three trains to pass by is just too much for some of us that DAMMIT, GET OUT OF THE WAY, I MUST GET ON THE TRAIN but for the most part, yes, we do queue. We do give up seats to the elderly and to the pregnant. Pregnant women however get the worst end of the deal, I think people are unsure if they’re pregnant or if they’re fat. It’s a terrible thing to offer to a woman who is fat suggesting that the are pregnant. It’s a terrible thing to also not offer someone who is pregnant a seat, so it’s a lost cause either way.

Or some of us are just rude, but I’d like to remain a little bit optimistic these days. I’ve started my descent into pessimism, blase and indifference and I have just about as much hope for CHANGE and IDEALS as an empty tin of biscuits. Which is to say, about crumb-level.

Tonight however, is all about CHANGE. In Caps. Caps because I’ve discovered the joy of the CAPS LOCK key and that means I don’t have to press the Shift button with my pinkie. But I digress. Tonight is all about CHANGE because it would be Obama’s inauguration, something some of my friends are looking forward too very much. Some of them had shed tears before he won, when he won and I’m guessing tonight when he will be sworn in, more tears will be shed. Possibly by the bucketload.

Not to say that I think that’s a bad thing. I think that’s a GOOD thing. In a way, I’m jealous. I’m jealous that people can have faith in their leaders, can have faith in anything that things can change. I wish I could have faith in a leader the way some of my friends do. I wish I could fight for and believe.

I had this conversation ages ago with David, and he said I don’t have to go about my life believing. But I do. I need to believe, I need to believe that there are people willing to do good and willing to do right. I need to believe that we all can make a difference and that we can change.

Perhaps that is the reason for my hesitance. I’m reluctant to put all my hope in one man who promised that we not, he can change things. Yes, we can but unfortunately, as an economics student, we also know that it’s more beneficial for the individual to free ride as opposed to working together to change things. I think my reluctance stems from the fear that if Obama cannot do what he promised is possible, I would be too heartbroken to fight on.

It’s a very odd thing to feel, to feel a sense of “outsider” hood in the entire events. I love politics (the study of, not the practice), I love my Economics, and had followed through US politics ever since I was a teen in India. Hell, I even considered moving to the US one day and becoming a citizen. One would expect I’d be over the moon over tonight’s inauguration. Instead, I feel like an outsider, that this is not a celebration that I can join in or belong to but one that I can pat American’s on the back, congratulating them.

But Obama’s win is not my win. Nor was it the world’s win I would think. We had to watch an election where a man was picked and whose decisions affect the world and our lives and yet, it was not our choice to decide who will have a great influence on our life and livelihood. The fate of my country is dependent on the decisions of a giant who can make or break this tiny country in the tropics. It feels strange to celebrate that “Yayy! We’re not going to be crushed like a bug like we were for the past 8 years”

The best I can sum up my feeling is hope. I hope that the president will show countries like mine compassion in dealing with us in the future. We will not be the United States nor will we ever be and it sucks to feel, well, irrelevant. Perhaps that’s how I feel about tonight’s inauguration. I’m happy for the States but it sure does feel like it isn’t my place to be happy.

Still, having said all that, I shall head home early today to catch it on CNN. It’s going to be a one great party and I’m going watch it, with hopes that one day, we can join in and feel the same kind of euphoria the Americans are feeling.


One comment on “Can We?

  1. adventuresintaiwan says:

    I actually did not cry during his speech, and though I do periodically think ‘holy crap, the man won. He’s president,’ I’m rather glad his inaugural address wasn’t all cheery feel-good stuff. It’s nice to feel good and all, but feeling good doesn’t do jack (though they seem to have stumbled onto the fact that Obama can produce a psychological phenomenon called elevation, so let’s see what happens when elevation meets economics ;)).

    But yes, I remain hopeful. There have been some good signs in the past week, but there’s mountains to be done. His policy on some issues still doesn’t make me happy. But there are steps forward. On a personal level, I’m just relieved that he’s trying to undo the last eight years of damage asap.

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