Lame title, but that’s unimportant.
History has been made, and a nation has been united behind one man, which is pretty rare for a country that can be pretty divisive over things like casinos, immigration, and Pokemon Go.
Speaking of Pokemon Go, I’m due to write a blog post about that soon, but for now let’s talk about the man whose name will be on everyone’s lips – Joseph Schooling.
Schooling has made history – by coming first in the semi-finals, by being the first Singaporean ever to make it to an Olympic swimming final, by beating the Olympic record set by Phelps himself, and by winning the Olympic gold that Singapore has always wished for.
And who knows where the world will take him next? Schooling is only 21, and just as the start of his swimming career. When the next Olympics roll around, he’ll be 25, and at the peak of his physical fitness – the world is his oyster.
The mindblowing thing about Schooling’s victory is that he’s brought together a nation of incredibly diverse people.
Everyone tuned in this morning to catch the race, which took less than a minute. People who haven’t turned on their TVs in months, or haven’t tuned in to Mediacorp in forever, switched to okto just to watch that fifty seconds of glory. My Twitter feed was full of people cheering and wishing Schooling the best – everyone from mothers of three to busy office workers, from secondary school friend to current university classmates.
That race, those fifty seconds, Singapore watched with bated breath.
And when Schooling won, the whole nation erupted into cheers. History was made, and Singapore rejoiced.
I recently did some readings for a class on nation-building, so maybe that’s why the idea of nationalism is at the forefront of my mind. People often talk about the Singapore identity, about what it means to be Singaporean. People wonder how we, who have such different cultures and histories, can be one nation under the same flag.
Yes, we have our differences, and yes, we fight and complain pretty much all the time, but hey, today, for a few short moments, when Schooling won the gold, when the national anthem was played on the world stage and Majulah Singapura rang out, we were filled with pride, and we came together as one.
I suppose I’m feeling an excess of national pride right now, but really. This is a moment in history, and it’s more than just an Olympic medal – it’s a story of us coming together to celebrate one of our biggest moments. Congrats, Schooling, and onwards Singapore.
P.S: I did ask Sarach if she had anything she wanted to contribute to this post, to which she simply said: