Happy 56th Birthday, Singapore

With one day left to National Day and #SG56, I am very happy to see the government making a brave move to start opening up the economy in a bid towards becoming Covid resilient, and accept the fact that it’s unrealistic and impossible to keep closing the country up in order to keep infection to zero. It’s even more encouraging that they even decided to move the opening timeline forward, not backward like what happened in past restrictions. That gives us some hope of a new normal that is really coming soon, and allows us to look forward to a better time ahead as we celebrate Singapore’s 56th birthday, in the most different way since the day we became independent.

Today is also the end of the Olympics #tokyo2020. Everyone has been holding breath and fearing the worst, of a major spreader event that brought us backwards in our fight against #covid19. Fortunately the worst scenario did not happen, and Japan managed to still organize the major event, albeit at great financial losses to the country that is still struggling to revive the idle economy and fighting the pandemic. We all must thank Japan and the Japanese for their great sacrifices. Like what was shown on the screen at the end of the closing ceremony, Arigato Tokyo. Arigato Japan. You have done the impossible. We take our hats off to you. And good luck for the fight, you will prevail, that I am sure.

Happy Birthday Singapore 🇸🇬 May you weather this storm and come back stronger. #economy #covid #singapore

Eventful July

July was a special month for me.

First of all, I was certified to be Covid-19 fully vaccinated, after receiving my 2nd dose and a waiting period of 2 weeks for my immunity to build up. It’s not a 100% guarantee against getting Covid-19, but at least I have done my part in reducing the chance of infection, and with good practice of safe distancing, wearing mask and washing hands frequently, I believe that will be a great step forward in ensuring the safety for myself and my family, so I would proudly say, I am relief. And I strongly urge everyone to do the same, so that we can soon at least get back to some sense of normalcy, for our lives have been upended for too long and we have lost too many precious moments with our loved ones already.

My second important thing happening in July was the Pilot launch of Bullish exchange. For the first time ever, we kicked open our door, the door we had guarded very carefully and religiously, and welcome the world. We invited a selected group of investors, traders and crypto enthusiasts to come and get a first hand experience of our product, which we have dedicated countless hours to building out from scratch, our very brainchild which we are absolutely proud of. 

It was exciting and at the same time nerve wracking to see it making first public appearance. Like parents sending kids to school the first day. Thank God everything was quite smooth. There were some teething problems, but the core features worked fine. Our giant effort finally paid off.

Now it will be even busier time. There are still developments in the work, while at the same time we need to guard our child as he takes the first steps in this new world. There will be more interruptions and last minute actions to take. But we will pull through, that I have no doubt. We have a great team with hugely talented people, and we will do it. 

Go Boldly. Go Bullish. Go Live.

1st July

Hello July. So we are officially entering the 2nd half of 2021. While 2020 was really a lost year, 2021 is so far only slightly, not significantly, better. Travel restrictions are still in place. Borders are still tightly shut. Within the country, there are still a lot of restrictions and prohibitive measures that really impact the normal way of life. As someone said, Covid-19 is still robbing us of our freedom and livelihood. Families are still separated. Jobs are still lost. Businesses are still closing down. When will this end? Only time can tell.

Today, the Health Minister announced publicly that we would likely be able to relax further on July 12th, then establishe a new normal by September, and leisure travel could resume partially by year end. That sounds quite promising, but from past experience, all it takes to throw that plan into whack is simply a major spike in the number of cases. It happened before, and there is no guarantee it won’t happen again. That’s why I will not count the bucks until the day comes and we really are released from this mess. Let’s see.

First jab of Covid-19 vaccination

This afternoon, I had my first jab of Covid-19 vaccine, and it was a really smooth experience. Having eagerly registered for the shots right when I was eligible, I managed to get a relatively early slot, at my preferred timing right after I was done with my normal working day. And since I was not so fussy which vaccine to take (Pfizer or Moderna), I did not have to wait too long, and could register for the shot at the nearest vaccination centre to my place, which was within walking distance, or in my case, cycling distance. So there I came, and I was utterly impressed with the efficiency of the whole operation.

It took less than 10 minutes from the time I reached the center to the time the last drop of vaccine was pumped into my arm. There were many registration counters, so I only waited a few minutes at the holding area outside before being whizzed through to one of the counter, where the lady checked my IC and then asked me questions about my allergic history. She was kind and very thorough, making sure I understood every question completely before answering, and tried to explain in more layman terms when she found me struggling to comprehend some of the technical terms that she used in her questions. After I cleared that stage and got my vaccination queue number, I was almost instantly directed to one of the vaccination booth, where a young man checked my queue card and explained briefly to me about the vaccine and the potential side effects, before asking me which side I would want to get the shot. Being left handed, I asked him to jab my right arm, which he readily obliged, and even helped turn my chair. I rolled up my sleeve, looked away (I was a bit scared of seeing the needle, I admit), took a deep breath as per his instruction, and before I knew it, it was done. Not really painful at all, and very very fast. I was impressed. And I was out of the booth, with the full dose of Covid-19 vaccine in my body, heading towards the monitoring area, where I had to spend 30 minutes just in case I got some vaccination shock or severe immediate reaction. It was quite dull, with a TV showing the vaccination promotion ad and some other government health campaign ads on infinite loop, and a radio playing at such low volume that I could barely catch what the DJ was talking about. At least, there was air conditioner, and I brought my book along, so the 30 minutes waiting time flew by in a flash, and they called my name to come and receive the vaccination card. There another young guy explained to me again about the potential side effects, and what I should be doing in that case, before discharging me and reminding me to come back again for my second shot. Wow, they really did not leave anything to chance, and made sure the message was hammered to my brain, no matter how much distracted or dense I could possibly be 😀 I guess many people must have been very concerned about those side effects. To be honest, I did not think about them much, and I really feel it’s the right thing to do, for myself, my family, and my community as a whole.

That was it. Less than one hour end to end. I was very surprised as I thought there would be a lot of people and the queue would be crazily long. There was barely no queue at all. I don’t know if I will have any side effect in the next day or 2, I will deal with it as it comes. For the time being, I feel good, at least good enough to cycle back home, eat dinner with my family, and watch an evening program on TV with my kids. Towards the end of the evening, I could feel some numbness and a little bit sore around the injection area, but nothing unbearable or even uncomfortable. Just like what you feel after you lift weight in the gym for a while. I am ok.

COVID-19-Vaccine-Infographic

So there I was, back to my normal life, feeling a bit more secure, a little safer, and very relieved. I can’t wait for the second shot, so that it will be complete. Until then, I will just be careful as I have always been, keeping my guard up, and avoiding going outside unless absolutely necessary. Hopefully the scientists can come out with a vaccine for small kids soon, so that my whole family can be protected, and we will be one more step ahead in our journey back to normal life, or should I say, the new normal, whatever it may look like 😛

Last but not least, I just want to say that I am deeply grateful. Thank you, Singapore, you really care for us. While other countries are still struggling to find the sources to import vaccines to fight their new waves of infections, or having to contend with whatever type they can get their hands on, regardless of efficacy or potential side effects, thanks to the government’s foresight, decisive actions and constant follow up, there is enough supply for everyone eligible, and we don’t have to wait too long, and we got the 2 vaccines that are recognised worldwide to be the best and most effective against Covid-19 virus. That’s really more than enough reason to be thankful for.

So that’s it. My first dose went in smoothly, no big deal so far. The only thing that bothers me a little is that, I need to stop exercising for one week, to reduce the risk of getting some complications. Luckily, it coincides with the kids’ school holiday period, which also means I have little motivation to wake up early for my usual morning run before the start of my working day, so not much is lost anyway. And right when the week is over, the school will also start, and normal routine will be back again.

Another lockdown is looming soon in Singapore

Singapore is entering another partial lockdown due to the spike of local Covid-19 cases recently. It started with imported cases from high risk South Asian countries, then spilled over to the community. We all know that it will happen, it’s just the matter of time, but I did not expect the spillover happened so fast. No matter how much precautions we take, when we have a constant influx of people from those places with millions of cases, the virus would find a way to spread to the local community. And it did. So now we are going to enter a difficult time again.

It’s not easy to go through a lockdown period. Normal life will be upended for sure, and there will be major inconvenience. However, I feel this time will be better, since we have gone through it once, and we are better prepared, logistically and mentally. But I am still very grateful that we still have a job, and we have our own home to live, and we still have a way to move around, albeit far from freely, and everyone is still well (touch wood 🪵). This one shall pass, and if God helps us and the situation is brought under control, who knows maybe the measures can be relaxed sooner. Fingers crossed, and until then, we just have to hunker down, follow the regulations and keep our guards up to the highest level possible to protect ourselves and at the same time bring the whole nation back to the new normal again.

Tom&Jerry – A movie that brings back nostalgia

For those of us in our 30s and 40s, seeing the trailer and advertisement of the new Tom&Jerry movie really brings back a sense of nostalgia. We grew up with the original Tom&Jerry cartoon series, and although I always rooted for Jerry, I also sometimes sympathised with the poor cat, especially since he was most often on the losing side, and ended up getting beaten to a pulp. So, when I saw the poster ad at the bus stop near my house, and knew that the release date was right during the Lunar New Year holiday period, I immediately went ahead and booked tickets for the whole family to spend some time during our super long weekend. And there we came, armed with the jackets (for the cinema was like a chiller), a big tub of popcorns and a tall mug of ice lemon tea (I know, it’s hugely overpriced, but it’s part of the fun of going to the cinema, and we don’t really do that often nowadays, so a bit of contribution to the country’s GDP is not much harm anyway), and we had a nice 2-hour experience on the first day of the Year of the Ox.

The main theme of the movie is still the same as the cartoon. Tom tries to catch Jerry, and Jerry always finds a way to trick Tom and make him suffer, and in the end they put aside their enmity and join force to clear the mess they created. The fun part is in the details. It’s very entertaining to see the schemes and plans that Tom hatched to catch Jerry, and the way Jerry foiled those plans. Furthermore, bringing the story to New York gives a bigger backdrop with more room for the story to unfold. And the way the producer overlay the 2D cartoons on top of the live action movie instead of rendering Tom and Jerry in 3D really paid homage to the original version, and helped us relate back to the old story, on the same vein of the movie Enchanted some time ago.

2021 seems to be the year of Chloe Grace Moretz. Besides starring in Tom&Jerry, she also stars in Shadow in the Cloud, an action movie that will be released to cinemas soon as well. Overall, her performance was quite average, but there were still rare moments where she sparkled some star quality, such as the scene where she took the identity of the interview candidate, and put up a great performance in front of the hotel boss to nail the event manager role. But again, acting is never her forte, as shown in her past movies, so it’s kind of expected for me. Moreover, the reason I go to the cinema is to meet my old friends again, not to watch her side story, so as long as she can contribute something to carry the story forward, it’s good enough for me. And I love the background theme of the prestigious wedding that set everything in motion. It’s so hilarious, and gives some logic to the whole story and events. After a quiet year at the movies because of Covid, this year is witnessing some cinemas opening their doors again, especially in countries that control the virus relatively well. Hopefully with the roll out of the vaccine, the situation will be improved even faster, and life can get back to more normal again.

There was nothing amazing or original about this movie, but it’s really entertaining and is made purely for fun and relaxation. It is the first introduction for 21st century kids to the classical duo of cat and mouse, and a lovely trip down memory lane for all the millennials. It will not win any award, but it will definitely do well at the box office, given that there are not many movies released during this time of the year. As for me, I am really happy that I got a date with the clueless cat and the witty but also naughty mouse again. Tom&Jerry is a happy part of my childhood, and an inspiration that helped me and other kids of my age overcome our hardship, and shortfall in life and work harder to achieve the better things in life, and for that, I am so grateful.

Soul – A nice Pixar movie to start the new year with

If you need a nice, heartwarming family movie to start the year with, you can consider Soul, the latest animated movie by Pixar, the legendary studio that has amazed and delighted families for more than a decade. The makers of Up and Inside Out were back again, and they did not disappoint. But be warned, the movie may be a bit hard to understand for too young kids, since it has quite a lot of layers, and the concepts are quite abstract, in the same vein as Inside Out, and very far from the like of Moana or Frozen.

The movie is about the journey of 2 souls, and the context is switched back and forth between the land of the souls and the land of the living. Although the land of the living is quite realistic and straightforward, and the story and events there are quite comprehensible, the same cannot be said of the land of the souls. Credits must be given to the creators of the movie, who tried to emphasise the stark difference between the 2 realms, by making the latter much more abstract, with shapes and objects that look a bit like Candy Crush land or an alien planet. They nailed it perfectly on that part, and the 2 worlds were very much distinguishable. However, I feel what happened in the soul world and the concept of different zones in that world was quite hard to understand for small kids (and even harder to explain for parents). The movie was deep and meaningful, but because of that, it required a certain level of maturity in order to fully enjoy it.

There were some funny scenes in the movie that made us laugh, like the part where 22 drove her past mentors nut, or when Joe’s soul tried to eat the slice of pizza, and there were also touching moments that could make those who are soft-hearted cry to teary eyed a little. That’s the beauty of many Pixar movies. They make us laugh. They make us cry. They entertain us, but at the same time they make us sit back and think a little, in order to fully comprehend the plots. And that’s why they have won so many awards. Their movies are not those cheap, easy, straight-to-your-face animations with no attention to the storylines at all. Except for just a few, their movies have some messages, some ideas or morals that they want to weave into the actions and dialogues, so that audience will get back something that enrich their lives in exchange for the time, effort and money they put into going to the cinema and sitting there for 2 hours to watch the events unfold. And that what makes many people love their movies, young and old, adults and children.

I love the way the Pixar wizards explain difficult concepts in a very visual and user-friendly way. The ideas of death, of the great beyond and the great before, and the stairway to heaven has appeared in many texts and movies before, but never in a cartoon, and they normally appeared quite morbid and creepy, even scary, but in Soul, they did not look scary at all, even friendly and welcoming. And the depiction of the out of body experience when one is in the zone, as well as the misery of those lost souls who have lost their purpose and the meaning of their lives was very creative, clever and amazingly original. Hopefully those children who watched this movie will grow up with a little more appreciation of life, and a little bit less worried and scared of what will be coming after that.

The main message of the movie is to treasure the life you have, every moment of it, and don’t waste your time, because it can end abruptly anytime, and and any moment can be our last. Life is a journey, not a destination, and you should always aspire to do what makes you the person you want to become, instead of chasing a lofty goal, for that goal may not even be what makes you happy in the end. The same idea was shared by James Clear in his best seller Atomic Habits: Focus on your habits, and your identity, not your goals. After all, achieving the goal should not be a means to an end, and it may make you feel a loss of motivation and stop you from working hard and kicking in a feeling of complacency.

Overall, it’s a nice and meaningful movie for the whole family. It will be perceived a bit differently by people of different ages, but I strongly believe that everyone will get something for themselves. It remains to be seen whether the movie will become a classic, like Up, Inside Out or Toy Story, but one thing for sure, it will warm your heart in these winter days and make you feel that life is still beautiful.

Happy New Year, 2021!

Finally, 2020 has gone, and 2021 has come. Even though it may still be a very difficult year, as a lot of people have been predicting and forewarning, a new year still brings new hope, and in this situation, any sliver of hope and any light at the end of the tunnel is very much appreciated. So, let’s cast aside those doubts, be a true believer for once, and bow our heads and pray for a better year, a year that will mark the path back to recovery, a dream of spring at the end of the cold wind of winter.

A new year is also the opportune time for reflection, for sitting down and calmly looking back to the year that has just passed, to see what has happened, what has been achieved and what has been missed out. And for this very special year, with more misses than hits, something stood out quite prominently, something memorable that helped define the year 2020 for me.

  1. Covid-19

Covid-19 takes centre stage of the year 2020, and for no good reason. Even though the disease started in 2019 (hence the name), it started wreaking havoc mainly in 2020, bring the whole world to our knees, and crippling worldwide economy. Trillions of dollars were thrown out by governments trying to salvage the situation and save lives and livelihoods, not to much effect, especially economically. Global trade was crippled. Borders were tightly shut. Hospitals were flooded with patients, many in critical condition. And people started dying, at a dizzying rate. Life as we knew it was upheaved and turned upside down. When the number of cases started getting out of control, due to the ease of spreading of the virus through the air, many countries started enforcing lockdown and quarantine, sending billions of workers to work from home, and then billions of children to home-based learning, a method of virtual classes. We were not prepared for it, and up until then, changes towards flexible working and flexible learning were only done at a very limited scale and scope. Overnight, experiments had to be turned into large scale practice, and employers scratched their heads to find a way to ensure business as usual, or as little impact as possible, while sending all their employees home. And when the schools had to shutter, and children continued their learning from home, that was when all hell broke loose.

Parents had no choice but to split their time between work and child support, to help their kids to learn effectively from home. For those unlucky ones who did not get the necessary help, or were lack of equipment for online learning, the results started tumbling in a fee fall. Parents became stressed as it was already less productive to work from home, and then they even could spend less time doing work, and struggled with finding the time to support their kids. Fortunately, Singapore managed to control the situation quite well, and after almost 2 months, the lock down (or Circuit Breaker, as they preferred to call it here) was lifted partially. Children started going back to school, and employees could go back to work, albeit just part time as well, and a little bit of normalcy started taking place in the tiny island. But it was far from pre-Covid normal, and we still had to wear masks, gather in small groups only, and painstakingly plan for every smallest event and activity beforehand, since the venues could only accept a small number of people at one time, and therefore could quickly run out of slots. It would take a long time until life could really be back to normal, probably by end of 2021 or even somewhere in 2022. Until then, we can only live with it, and learn to treasure each tiny change for the better, for a positive change, no matter how small, is very precious nowadays, especially when looking out and seeing what is still happening in other countries.

2. Elections

Posters of Progress Singapore Party and People’s Action Party contesting for West Coast GRC at Ayer Rajah Food Centre on Sunday, July 5, 2020. Photo: Ili Nadhirah Mansor/TODAY

Year 2020 was also the year of elections. First, we had Singapore’s General Election, also called GE2020. It was one of the few general elections held in the midst of the pandemic, amidst tight security and very careful considerations in order to ensure safety of all who were involved. There were rumours that the election would be postponed until after the pandemic was over, but since that day seemed to be far away and very unpredictable, the decision was made to charge ahead and get it done with, so that the next government could focus totally in handling the pandemic. Fortunately, no major incident happened during the election, and the event did not turn into a super spreader as many were afraid of. That was the first time I voted in a general election, and the feeling was quite special. Before that, I had already been a grassroots leader, and had chance to work with MP to take care of the residents in my constituency, but being able to select and vote for the MP I wanted to support was still a milestone that I really treasured. It’s a show of democracy in practice, which is very precious and rare in the world even nowadays, and I am deeply grateful that there is democracy in the second country I call home.

It was also the first time I volunteered in a general election, as a polling agent. The job was quite simple. I just had to sit there at the polling station with a list of voters in hand, and mark those who had come and voted. It was quite a simple task, but it allowed me to get close to the polling station, and soaked in the feeling of the election, which only happens once every 5 years. It was a memorable experience, and even more special when the polling time was extended last minute from 8pm to 10pm. I had the chance to witness the sealing of the ballot box. Everything was very orderly, civil and transparent. What an unforgettable experience, and I will be happy and honoured to take part in the process again, in 5 years.

Another notable election this year is the US Presidential election. I already wrote a long article dedicated to it, but that was before the result came out. Now that the dust has finally more or less settled (despite Trump’s desperate efforts to still try to reverse the results last minute, which I don’t think has any chance to succeed), the ugly truth of Trump’s presidency is being unveiled almost on a daily basis, especially given the fact that he has lost and is running out of time to implement his insidious plan. From rejecting Congress efforts to save American lives and livelihoods in the midst of the pandemic, which his incompetence contributed much to bringing America to the current state, to pardoning those who are loyal to him regardless of whether they deserve to be pardoned or not (in his mind, whoever is loyal to him is more than deserving to be pardoned, no matter what crimes they committed), to trying to wreak havoc on the election result in particular, and the American democracy in general, Trump is on the way towards cementing his legacy as one of the worst US presidents ever. Now the only hope is that someone or something can stop him from causing more damage in his 18 remaining days in office, and that what he has done can be reversed by the next president. Otherwise, God save America.

3. Career advancement

2020 was the year that I changed job twice. Early in the year, right before the pandemic hit, I moved from a great company, where I had spent more than 3 years, to embark on a new adventure, in a totally different industry. At that time, things were still pretty normal in Singapore, people were still out and about, no mask required unless you were sick. Then shortly after I joined, things started going downhill pretty quickly, and I spent the rest of my short stint there working from home during the Circuit Breaker period. That was when I saw the ugly side of the place, where management was dragging their feet when it came to pandemic response, among other things. I knew it was not the right place for me, and fortunately I found a great opportunity, a silver lining right in the eye of the storm, when so many were losing jobs. So I made a move again, right after the Circuit Breaker was lifted, and managed to go back to office part of my working time, and the rest is history. Now, I get to work in the field I love, in a wonderful project, with a great team that inspires me to try harder everyday, and we can go back to office partially now to collaborate, innovate and crack hard problems together. So I count myself very lucky and I am very grateful for that.

And that is it. One memorable year, a year that is not like any year before. A year that will go into history, and talked about again and again in many more years to come. It was a difficult year, but it still passed anyway, and now with 2021 at the door step, the only way is upwards and onwards. And may we all catch the favourable wind as we sail forwards from the wreckage of the storm. Happy New Year 2021. Please be kind with us, we have a lot to catch up on.

Cilka’s Journey – A story of incredible suffering and perseverance

If you think the story of Gita and Lale in The Tattooist of Auschwitz was heart wrenching, you will be much more depressed after reading Cilka’s Journey. So, if you are looking for a happy and light-hearted, cheerful read for the incoming festive season, this is not the right book for you. It’s dark, sad and sorrowful, yet it paints a realistic picture of a time not long ago in history, and the suffering of those people who were unlucky caught and trapped in that time and place. It’s depressing, but at the same time it proves once again that human has the strength to fight against all odds and overcome the greatest obstacles in their quest to get back their right to live a normal life.

If you have read The Tattooist of Auschwitz, you will likely remember Cilka, Gita’s friend and the girl who helped save Lale from a doomed fate. It turned out that she was not as lucky as her friends, and suffered much more and longer than them for a crime that she never committed. Her only crime, if it is considered a crime, is trying to stay alive against all odds. And because of that, she was sent to another hell on Earth: The Soviet Gulag in Siberia.

Not many people can survive one concentration camp, but poor Cilka had to endure not just one, but two of them, and they were both notorious for their poor living condition. The only consolation, if you can consider it so, is that at least before being sent to the gulag, Cilka knew how much time she would be spending there, which was 15 years as of her sentence, and that she would be less likely to receive a bullet on her head out of nowhere than in Auschwitz. Other than that, things seemed to be quite the same, and the hard labor and sexual abuse and malnutrition, which was enough to kill even the strongest man, was helped by the bitter cold of the arctic circle. How could a young girl, just barely out of the most infamous death camp ever, manage to survive another ordeal like that. But then she did, and that was the silver lining that made the book not just all gloom and doom in the end.

Unlike the previous book, this story is more fiction than fact, and only based loosely on the life of Cilka. The milestones are correct, but some characters where made up, and the details of what happened to Cilka in the gulag were filled in by the author as she did not have as much first hand material as the first book. However, it was still a riveting read, and it painted a very clear picture of the brutality of the Soviet gulag, a place decided to condemn those who were deemed guilty of the most serious crimes.

In summary, it was a heavy and dark read, but it was insightful to me, and helped shed light on what life was like in the Soviet gulag. And what I felt was most encouraging was that, in spite of all those hardships, there was still love and humanity shining through. Cilka might not have survived had she not received the help from the kind doctor at the camp, who took a big risk taking her in and training her up as a nurse and caregiver. And her time there would be much more miserable without the genuine love and care from her roommates, who were willing to share whatever little they had left, not knowing what would happen the following day. It was moments like those that makes the story more bearable. People are really more selfless and united when they share the same hardship and have to endure a tough life together.

Cilka’s Journey may not be suitable for everyone, but it will be enjoyable for those who crave a love story with a happy ending, and don’t mind going through some dark chapters with brutal facts of tough lives. It will be even more enjoyable for those who have some background in history, or love those stories based on real life events, or want to learn more about history through the lives of those who have lived through the period themselves. And no matter what your decision is, you should feel grateful and lucky that those camps are no longer exist, and contribute to making sure that no such camp exist or no such awful living condition and violation of human rights is tolerated anywhere in the world. We have gone through a dark period in our history, and we should try our best to let it be history and not current affair.

Biden v. Trump, and the battle for the heart of the nation

Firstly, I don’t normally pay much attention to presidential elections, especially of a foreign country far far away from where I live. However, this time, I was glued to the screen, refreshing the live result page every few minutes, enduring a rollercoaster ride of emotion, from almost lost hope to some distant light to outright happiness. That sudden change of perspective can only be brought about because of the names on the ballot: Biden against Trump. Order against chaos. Predictability against unpredictability. Normalcy against mess. Thank God, the former has triumphed over the latter. And hopefully things will get back to normal again soon.

Four years ago, Americans made a choice, an unconventional, controversial one, and led the whole world to an experiment, into the unknown. Four years passed, and the experiment has failed. What is Trump’s legacy? What is his contribution as the commander in chief? What will history say about him? Time will tell. But I really cannot see many positive notes. Rise of nationalism, populism, racism, and division. America first becomes America alone. Deletion of Obama’s achievements and efforts to build a better future and save the Earth. Climate change denial. Withdrawal from long run agreements and allies. Embrace of overseas autocrats. And 200k+ American deaths can still counting.

It’s unfathomable that, after all those things, more than 70 million Americans still voted for him and trusted him to lead them for another 4 years. I don’t know what will happen if that really becomes true, and I really don’t want to know. And it’s even more incredible that a major party in America is still standing behind him and supporting him, even kowtowing to him and entertaining the thought of him coming back in 2024. I hope that will not come true either, and Biden should do whatever he can to change the minds of those voters and make sure that dark future will not come true.

There are lots of work waiting for Biden come January 20th, 2021, and Trump, in his last days in office, is making it harder for Biden to succeed. He is tearing his own administration apart by his own hands. He is planting seeds of doubts, division and more chaos in the country, in hope that Biden fails to clean up the mess and he can then use that against him if he ever runs for presidency again. Biden’s on the other hand, seems to have his first tasks already cut out clearly for him: Bring America back to where it was 4 years ago, and clean up the path along the way. However, some damages might have been long done, and it will take a lot of time, talk, actions and negotiations to get back what has been lost and win back the trust that is no longer there.

I want to remember this photo as the character or Trump’s presidency: Defensive, arrogant, ignorant and against allies. No one can do everything, and no one can do it alone, even if you are the most powerful country on Earth. COVID-19 is the living proof of that. America cannot singlehandedly stop the virus or invent and product the vaccines alone.

As Biden has made clear in his recent speech, he wants to bring America back in the game. To build bridges, not walls. To unite the people and mend the severed bond. To be the leader of the free world again. And to set the right course for the world to follow. Those are monumental tasks, but he has experience, and he sounds like he has the plan. So, good luck to him and good luck to America. It will be a tough time ahead, but I really hope that he will succeed, America will be truly great again, America style, not Trump style, and at the end of the term he will groom a worthy successor, who will be ready to battle Trump once more should he manage to rise again.

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