In the wake of 11/9/2016

Nearer to home…

I find it upsetting that I am now concerned over racism directed at my kids in their school. This is despite living in California where the voters are primarily supportive of Hillary and as such should (hopefully) be relatively insulated from the wave of racism sweeping across this country. They are still young and highly vulnerable to such treatment.

There was a protest against the election results today in the city. While it doesn’t appear to be anything violent, it does give pause for concern. Is this the kind of place where I want to bring up my kids?

Bring racially Chinese, there doesn’t appear to be any immediate concern. However, racism is fickle and it doesn’t take much to redirect anger against another group of people. Given “his” stand on China and the insults that will inevitably fly across the Pacific next year, this is all the more concerning. It doesn’t matter if you’re from China, Taiwan, Singapore or where else. As long as your skin color doesn’t match, you are a potential target. I had personally encountered racial slurs twice in my 15 years here in the US. Not much and the “slurs” were pretty tame and easily ignorable. Will this remain the case?

It is at this point in time that I find it comforting that I made the decision to not give up Singapore citizenship. It is at this point that one appreciates the racial harmony there. It is also at the point that one can fully appreciates the education, propaganda and laws that keeps that going. Call it brain-washing, call it heavy-handed. At least I know I won’t get harassed on the streets by virtue of who and what we are.

For Singapore…

I am hardly in a good position to write this but let this US elections be a lesson to Singapore leaders. Singapore has a Chinese majority with a multi-racial minority. This too puts us at risk of the rise of a bigot demagogue. Should our leaders ever be lax in dealing with racial harmony and other citizen concerns, what our nation has painstakingly built in the past decades will decidedly fall to shreds.

Globally speaking…

I don’t usually pay much attention to politics in general but it doesn’t take much to know that the election result is a loss for the US on multiple fronts. It doesn’t take much to know this when key opponents of the US are either celebrating the win or laughing their heads off.

  1. The US has lost its moral high ground on almost all humanitarian issues permanently. In electing a president who is morally incorrect in so many ways, the US has lost its platform from which to criticize other nations. Even if “he” doesn’t not ruin the country. Even if “he” improves the country as he claimed. The US has lost its moral credibility simply on the basis of its new president’s character. One cannot be a policeman if one is (seen to be) as corrupt as the criminal. And this matters because the US has traditionally used this platform to gain various benefits without public backlash. In short, the US may still dominate militarily, but it no longer has an advantage of any moral Casus Belli.
  2. Becoming isolationist and protectionist will leave US allies out to hang dry. In the next 4 years, it is not impossible for map borders to be redrawn. Once redrawn, it may prove next to impossible to restore its original state, at least not without launching a full scale war. In other words, even if the next president changes policies, the world will no longer be what it is. There is also the matter of “trust” in the US as an ally, which will be greatly diminished. Of course there is a likelihood that the status quo can hold out for 4 years. However, this is a golden opportunity for every power involved. It would be silly not to take advantage of it.
  3. His very victory destabilized the nation and through that, the world. From the campaign rhetoric to his personal character. It doesn’t matter if he turns out to be a good president. It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t ruin the country and actually improves it. Even if some of the changes he proposed makes sense. The crack in the glass is now a rift. End of the day, he is just not the right person to make the right changes.

Objectively speaking, this is not necessarily a bad thing. US interference had been a source of grief for many countries. An isolationist US will be a blessing to them. And China for one is no longer the communist bogeyman the world was afraid of either. Nor is Russia. They have embraced capitalism (for better or for worse) and that made them now relatable to most nations. Meaning, weaker nations do not need to look at the US for political backing. A weaker US means a void has been created that they will fill. No question about it. Even if 4 years is too short to lose it all, it will be enough to make it a steep uphill fight to regain its former position.

Is it all doom and gloom? Well I suppose only for pro-US entities. In the big picture, as long as there is no major conflict, honestly it doesn’t really matter which nation is bed mates with which.


  1. Climate change control will fall without US support, mainly because the US is the #2 producer on green house gases. In addition, the removal of restrictions on US based hydrocarbon resources will make things a lot worse. China on the other hand may just go “if they don’t do it, why should we?”. In the event of a childish spat between the world powers, I’ll say it will be time to invest in a house-boat. We are likely no longer able to make it in time to turn things around. Elon Musk may be right to invest heavily in the means to get off this planet.
  2. It is not just the Mexicans or the Muslims. The antagonism that is stirred up towards foreign workers will have its effect on the tech industry. The looming possibility of work visa and residency clamps doesn’t help either. In the short term, this may work out well. In the long term however, unfilled positions will not hang around waiting for locals to come. They will go overseas to wherever the talent is. If the US tech companies are prevented to do that, then growth will stagnate, allowing foreign companies to fill the void. I am sure Huawei is looking forward to the garrote closing in on Apple’s neck.

Life still goes on and the planet still turns. At this point in time, I can only see the US as a shadow of its former self. As so many others so eloquently puts it, “we’re f@#ked”.


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