Yes, Mr. Barack Obama is officially the president-elect of the United States of America.

It has been described as a ‘historic win’, in part because of the simple fact that Mr. Obama is of mixed parentage. But that’s beside the point. The point is, by any definition, Mr. Obama is not white.

We must surely be living through history itself. Not just for America, but for the whole world. I do not think that there has ever been an instance in which a person from an ethnic minority is elected to lead a country in a democratic manner. Yes, history may have witnessed conquests and revolutions in which the minor few leads or controls the majority, but surely not in this way. Surely this must be a milestone in the history of mankind, where the majority of a nation freely chooses a leader from an ethnic minority.

Will Mr. Obama make a good president? Time will tell. Many of us, especially here in Malaysia, do not really appreciate or understand the policy differences between Mr. Obama and his rival, Mr. John McCain. What we immediately see is an African American against someone who can be said to be a ‘typical’ white American. Many throughout the world, who willed Mr. Obama to victory, simply wanted to see someone different occupying the White House. Someone that does not fit the ‘convention’ of what a U.S. President should be.

Mr. Obama will take office during challenging times indeed. Not only for America, but for the world. The effect of the financial crisis is reverberating around the world and Mr. Obama will need to provide some examplery leadership to steer America through this financial storm.

It’s quite possible that Mr. Obama will be a bad president, of course. It’s quite possible that he will turn a blind eye to the atrocities of Guantanamo Bay, or the injustices committed by the Isrealis on the Palestenians. He might of course continue Mr. Bush’s ‘War on Terror’ and thus alienating further the non-Americans around the world. We hope that Mr. Obama’s ‘politics of hope’ will bring change to the world, but of course, we are wary that Mr. Obama, although not looking like your average U.S. President, might just behave like one.

But whilst Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama have avoided the politics of race in their campaigns, the fact of the matter is that this election IS about race, specifically, Mr. Obama’s. American racism and hypocrisy, so prevalent in the 20th century, might just be a thing of the past. If Mr. Obama turned out to be a bad president, he will still be remembered because of the colour of his skin.

It is ironic that Mr. Obama’s victory is set against escalating racialism in our own country. A black man is elected U.S. President, but a Chinese woman cannot possibly be the general manager of PKNS. When questioning ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ is equated to betraying the race and being asked to ‘leave’ the race. When suing a Malay language newspaper is equated to insulting the religion of Islam.

So very many years ago, Mr. Martin Luther King had a dream. Today, his dream has been realized.

I too, have a dream. I wonder when will it be realized?

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