Tuesday, 1 December 2020

PSLE Saga IV - Raphael Lee

Raphael got featured this morning for the second time. Journalist Cheryl Tan interviewed his parents about this “small, brave soul who inspired many.”

Most of you know about his inspiring story, but the interview also tells us about his final day before he passed on. 

The day was Nov 12 this year. And Raphael somehow knew that death was imminent. That brave 12-year-old asked his mother, “What would happen if her only child died before her. If he did, he hoped she would donate his body to scientific research.”

Raphael was afraid, his mother said. In fact, she said: “I don’t think I’ve seen him so afraid before.”

“Just as he was being sedated to begin the operation, he told me, “Mummy, I don’t want to lie down. I want to sit down. I want you to hug me.””

Cheryl wrote: “On the operating table, Raphael suffered from excessive blood loss which resulted in brain damage. He died the following day.”

His mum said: “So that was how he went into a deep sleep, and that was the last time we saw him alert and awake.”

One thing about Raphael is that there is just so much grit in him to want to live his life at such a young age to the fullest. Putting aside his PSLE results, which he did well considering his condition, Raphael was also an “avid online gamer” and he “joined various co-curricular activities in school such as chess club, speech and drama club, and robotics club.”

He did all that even when, at a very young age, he had inherited a rare condition called “Li-Fraumeni Syndrome”, which is “a genetic disorder which predisposed him to a wide range of rare cancers.”

In 2016, to halt the spread of bone cancer in his left forearm, he had his left arm amputated. Yet, nothing could have robbed him of his zest and cheer for life. Nothing dampened his spirit. 

“He would go around to encourage the other cancer patients in his ward, which also earned him the Inspirational Patient and Caregiver Award from KKH of 2020.”

I have written about Raphael a few days ago, and the amazing love he has received from his parents, William and Winnie. I have nothing to add to what Cheryl has written today, and you should go and read it.

My parting shot however is about a gift Raphael gave to his mom last December when he went for an operation to remove his right collarbone.

The gift was something deeply precious to Winnie. It was a simple message in a bottle. The message reads: “I love you Mama,” “with strokes of green, her favourite colour, on the back””. 

Winnie said: “He was a boy of few words but it was always his wish to inspire others with his story.” 

In sum, that is what life is all about - “I love you Mama.” It is a love that always come through. And it leaves nothing the same as it was before, when love completes its work in the lives who truly embrace it. 

Sadly, a young brave life like Raphael’s has come and gone, but his story lives on. He had always wanted to inspire others, even in the hospital ward where he won the award for being an inspirational patient and caregiver. 

However oxymoronic being a patient and caregiver is, Raphael’s short life has shown that you can be a hospital patient, treasuring and fighting for every breathe within you for as long as it takes, yet still lead an inspiring life as someone who never gives up, someone who is always spreading cheer to others.

Indeed, Aldous Huxley once said that “experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.” And Raphael (being just a boy) has gained so much experience when he saw beyond his afflictions, that is, the cancers that had taken part of his body, yet, by conscious daily choices, he never allowed it to take his soul and spirit that were so much bigger than the cancer itself (and mind you, there are so many cancer patients out there who, like Raphael, had fought the good fight). 

Yet, the reality is, within that embattled frame, Raphael fought to the last breath even in the midst of indescribable fear and uncertainty. Winnie saw his fear when he told her: “Mummy, I don’t want to lie down. I want to sit down. I want you to hug me.”

Alas, every child deserves a hug. Every man or woman needs to be hugged too, more often than we think we want or need it. Love may overcome many things in life, but the greatest comfort and hope it brings is not by remote, but by touch, by embrace, and by tears shed and shared. 

In our lifetime, we have said many goodbyes to lives lost to cancer. But, many of these lives have left a story that has inspired the living deeply. 

They have written their stories, amidst the pain and tears, the sorrow and fears. Their words were mostly silence, expressionless, yet their lives continued the legacy, with life-affirming words planted in our hearts whenever we read about their stories. 

Winnie said: “During his wake, there were many attendees who came, some of whom we did not even know. But all of them said he was very brave and strong.”

The world is made better by such stories of bravery and courage. It is Raphael’s message in the bottle to all of us - a message of undying love, a message by one who has fought the good fight, and completed the race of life, no matter how young one was.


PSLE Saga III - Raphael Lee.

Raphael scored a good 220 for his PSLE yesterday. But he was not there to pick up his results. His parents, William Lee and Winnie Lee collected the results posthumously. Yes, sadly, Raphael passed away on 13 Nov, after he did his PSLE. Here’s the background.

At eight months old, in 2008, Raphael was “diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in his left forearm.” 8 years later, in 2016, he was “diagnosed with osteosarcoma, or bone cancer. It started in his left arm again, and eventually spread to his right collarbone and both lungs.”

It was a muted and mixed celebration for the Lee family. Their son scored As for mathematics and science and Bs for English and mother tongue. 

Lesson? Please go read his story. It captures the heart of what a parent-child relationship truly is. 

I write this not so much because of a tragedy of this scale, but because it is a perfect narrative of what a child can teach us parents. 

Alas, PSLE may be daunting, but Raphael faced a greater test in life, and it is life itself

Let me briefly narrate Raphael’s love for life (even if it was a short one) in his own words in the report today written by Jolene Ang. 

“When Raphael was diagnosed with bone cancer in his left arm in 2016, he underwent cryotherapy, which involved using liquid nitrogen to destroy the cancer cells.”

“But the very next year, doctors found another swelling near his left wrist and said that amputation was inevitable.”

William said that Raphael was “devastated” when he heard that he was going to lose his arm. But “he took it in his stride”, and managed to always keep his countenance up. He smiled and cheered up family and friends who visited him after his operation. 

There are two things you must know about Raphael. 

First, his parents can’t talk him out of taking his PSLE this year. Despite the fact that had to go through “targeted therapy, or oral medication, when he was taking his papers”, his mother said: “But no matter how tired and sickly he was, he wanted to go back to school because he enjoyed it, and loved spending time with his friends," 

Second, tragedy struck again when his father William was in August diagnosed with Stage 2 colon cancer in the large intestine. 

Worried that his dad may not be able to deal with the treatment, "(Raphael) told his mum, 'Why does Papa have to get cancer? Why not let me have it in his place, since I'm more experienced and have gone through chemotherapy before?'

Winnie said: "I was so touched by this. I told him not to be silly. ‘It's so easy to tell you to be brave and strong - now it is time for me to lead by example and show you I can do it too.'"

Truly, that about sums up the bond of love between parent and child. 

I know this story, a true story, will move one to tears, but the point is that it should move hearts to see beyond what I have been writing this past three days - that is, beyond a lifetime of judgment based on grades to a lifetime of shared pain, overcoming and celebration based on love and hope. 

Raphael may not be there for the results, but hands down, he has, for me, passed the greatest test in life, and that is, he has shown courage in the face of death, hope in the face of dread, and love in the face of devastation. 

When you read his story, trust me, the last thing on your mind is the grades or the numbers. William and Winnie went to collect the results not because they want to know the grades so much as they want to fulfill their son’s last wish. 

This is what William said to him: “We told him that our focus was not on his studies but on his health. We would tell him, 'Just do your best, there is no stress', but he wanted to prove himself." 

Indeed, Raphael has done just that, he has proven himself; not so much with 220, or Express stream, but his love for life, his passion for learning, and his joy for living, all this in the midst of imminent mortality. 

Yes, death where is thy sting? For Raphael broke it to pieces in his fight for the good race of life, and it is all truly about relationship. That may sound trite, and you as a parent may have heard it before, but until one “leads by example”, as Raphael did so courageously and consistently, it will only touch us the way a classroom textbook touches us - superficially, emotionally, and momentary.

For the true lesson in life comes outside of the classroom, that is, in the home, on the hospital bed, in the valley of death, in the broken hearts of loved ones, and in the celebration of love that is forever. 

Raphael will be remembered by all who loved him deeply and dearly. RIP solider of and for life; for you have won not just the academic crown, but the overcoming crown of life.


PSLE Saga Part II.

A revised repost.

With the PSLE results drawing near, I am reminded of a saying, “A baby is God's opinion that life should go on.” And I guess a child is God’s opinion that life should go long, if not strong, that is, go beyond the grades, to a lifetime of sharing, bonding, overcoming and loving. 

As parents, we are our children's first refuge, first port of call. They come to us with great expectations of acceptance, love and hope. We set the tone for their belief in the world outside. Our words and deeds make a big difference in their life. They look up to us for guidance, direction and encouragement. They trust us with their life. 

We have heard it many times, that raising a child takes a village. But it is still the home that our children spend most of their growing-up years in. The village may contribute to his or her viewpoints, beliefs and conduct, but behind closed doors of our little family hut, it is still the parents who make the first and enduring impression. 

Our first responsibility is to love our children and allow that love to spur them on to face life's challenges. But some parents tend to put the carriage before the horse and shower love only when they earn or deserve it. Parents make love into a competiton, a test, or a race for the children to complete and excel before they show it. Their love is not only conditional, it is at most times inconsistent, even unpredictable. 

The reality is, some of our children may never be as successful as defined by the world. They may lag behind academically. They may struggle with grades not because they do not want to do well, but because they just can't. They just can't achieve what society expects of them at that age. They all bloom at their own pace, own time. 

So, blessed is the child who is genetically an all-rounder, when everything comes second nature to him or her. But does it make her or him easier to love as compared to another who genuinely struggles for the parent’s approval? 

Before you answer that, spare a thought for the life of a child. It doesn't start and end with PSLE or "O" levels results. The society may be conditioned to judge our child by what is written on a piece of paper or two, but we as their parents should look beyond that for the simplest reason that life is a journey, and given a lifetime, our children often surprise us most pleasantly. 

Most times, if not all the time, the child takes two exams - one on paper and the other for approval. Often, it is the second exam that makes the most difference to his life. He may miss the mark for the exam on paper, but it is the second exam for his parental love and acceptance that gives him the fortitude and resilience to make a comeback when his time comes. 

Sometimes, we as parents crave for an early harvest of results, but in the end, in our desperation to overwater, over-fertilise, we end up with a broken harvest, of hopes and dreams, and most importantly, of trust. If love makes the difference, then have faith, plant the seed and be patient. If you water it regularly, never give up and be always hopeful, the harvest of love will in time make you deeply proud. Mind you, a relationship is a distance marathon, not a competitive sprint. 

Let me end with a note on first loves.

We all have our first loves with our child. It is the purest of experiences, sublimest. It is most transforming for us. We readily and instinctively celebrate these many first loves moments. They come to us with great anticipation. 

The first time we receive the news that our wife is pregnant is one of these moments. Our child's first kick is another. The birth of our child is the blossoming of our joy. His/her first smile warms our heart deeply. 

Then comes the first word and first step and first embrace. These are first loves moments that change perspectives for us. They are the source of our pride, the sustenance of our life. We draw strength from these moments to face our own challenges, our own demons. Sometimes, our children change us more than we change them. 

Yes, it may take a village to raise a child, that’s true. But, at times, it also takes a child to raise that child in us. That child we left behind when we ourselves failed to live up to our own parents’ expectations. That child we pretend has grown up when he/she has not because we have left the hurts and disappointments unresolved as we become parents of our own kids.

This is where our child holds a mirror in front of us, his/her young life telling us that theirs is a very familiar road we as their parents have travelled before. A road of shared brokenness, shared pain. But it is also a road where first loves can empower and change. And that takes a child, our child, to raise the child within us to full maturity, forgiveness and mutual hope. 

So, let these first loves moments sustain our unconditional love for them. Let them lift us from the disappointments and gloom we may experience along the journey. 

Because if we keep the faith and hope, there will be many first loves moments waiting for us to savor with our children. They may even come most unexpectedly to us.

Trust me, when we keep believing in them, one day, they will come to us and thank us for it. They will shed tears of gratitude. They will understand intimately how much we love them. They will realise love indeed conquers all. 

And with all those first loves moments accumulated, we would have done our children the greatest favor, that is, passing down a legacy of resilient love for them and for their children's children.


PSLE Saga - Part I.

PSLE results are coming out this Wednesday. And that kind of reminded me of a parental tank of piranhas rushing for the academic holy grail, that is, enrolling your child into the crème de la crème institution. The rush is quite relentless and emotionally traumatic, as parents typically desire the best for their child. 

That is why the parenting style of the principal of a primary school and a father of five is so refreshing, if not reassuring. Charles Chan has today spoken out about the different academic track of his children. His wife works as a communication specialist in a multinational company. 

Most of their children did not take the conventional meritocratic route to academic excellence. Conventional route here refers to getting into the Express Stream, moving up to “O” levels, and then completing “A” levels before entering U. 

Charles said that two of his children went through Normal stream. His eldest child “went to Normal Academic stream, and despite doing well in Secondary 1, decided not to transfer to the Express stream so that she could learn at her own pace.”

She then went through the Polytechnic Foundation Programme and is now completing her final year diploma in food science. 

His second child, 18, took the “O” levels route and is now doing the International Baccalaureate (instead of “A” levels). His third child, 16, went to Normal Technical and was transferred to Normal Academic. He is now doing his N levels. 

Charles’ fourth child applied for Direct School Admission but was not shortlisted. He ended up in the Express stream after PSLE. 

And finally, his last child, six, will “soon go from his Ministry of Education (MOE) kindergarten to the same primary school next year. 

There you have it, the Chan family multiple academic tracks for their five children. Their kids in fact covered most of the other academic tracks, that is, NT, NA, Express, IB, and Poly. As for their future, well, I am sure it is in good hands. 

Lesson? Just one. 

In the write-up, Charles said that some parents asked them why they seem so chill about their kids’ different pathways. Charles said: “We don’t scold them for failing tests. My only follow-up question to them is: Have you put in your best effort?”

Personally, I can identify with Charles because two of my three children are/was in the NA stream. They are doing well now, one taking her N levels next year and the other A levels. My youngest will be primary five next year. She is attending DAS (Dyslexia Association of Singapore). 

Genetically speaking, my wife and I did not give birth to little einsteins. But they are ours nevertheless to treasure, to savour and to nurture. And that is a privilege of being a parent I keep reminding myself of, because I tend to take for granted sometimes when I compare them with the other kids who seem to excel academically, as if it was second nature to them.


After living on earth for 50 years, I do believe in natural selection in the gene pool where some are “natural born geniuses” and some are, well, just naturally born. That is a scientific fact because you can’t explain otherwise when a child is able to play chess and a few musical instruments at five, compose a sonnet at six, calculate in his mind big numbers at seven, and then enter university at 12.

Pardon me, but having kids is, at times, very much like queuing up to buy 4D (yes, genetically speaking). Not all will strike the first prize, that is, the glowing IP track towards a coveted civil service appointment for a career at commanding heights. 

At times, a group of them (parents) will share the first prize. That’s swell, but it is just not you, who happens to be holding the one ticket that misses the mark by one or two numbers. Well, some do get consolatory prizes, and their kid’s academic pathway is quite secure with a smooth academic ride through to a bachelor degree, and possibly a Masters to boot. 

In Singapore, most of us are eagerly queuing up for the winning ticket to academic excellence for our kids. I mean, who wants our kids to be working at the lowest rung of society doing menial task and earning peanuts when they can be sitting at a highrise office telling people what to do and what not to do, and storing up for themselves the whole peanut harvest for a secured retirement, right? 

Alas. we want our kids to do well and we will do everything within our financial powers (for those who can afford) to make sure they get into the best school, the best class, secure the best teacher, the best exam papers, the best tutor, the best buddy who studies, instead of being mad about BTS. In our meritocratic frenzy, you can’t really blame parents for putting their kids first, and above everything else, right? 

That is why the anti-lemming mindset of the Chan household makes for a refreshing read and lesson for me. Charles said: “We give our children space to find their way and decide how hard they want to push themselves. In any case, none of them wants to learn the piano though their mother plays it very well. No one has expressed a strong desire to be an educator.”

“We know that giving them their own space to grow, make mistakes and pick themselves up has helped them to become more independent lifelong learners.”

“Everytime we come across stressed parents and children, we are reminded that the journey of life is a process we want our children to discover and find joy in living, as they grow older and become more independent.” Kudos to you Charles. 

Well, I know what I have written seems to be an indictment on most of our parenting style in Singapore; which is, if you think about it, is about scaling up the one-track academic pathway at all costs. 

The raw reality is, our obsession for grades doesn’t show until we stare helplessly at the perforated sheet and the tears of our child streaming down his/her cheeks, pleading with us that the next time, they will do better. That is the parental nightmare where all our unfulfilled dreams get poured into a perceived leaking vessel of sore disappointment, right?


Well, you are not alone. In Singapore, that’s natural, almost a kind of parental bill of rights, that is, our right to expect the sky from our kids, regardless. 

I don’t pretend to be any different because enlightened ideas that come with such jingles like “don’t worry, they will catch up” or “your child just need more time, that’s all” or “maybe he’s different for a reason” are ok, and I am chill about it from a philosophical POV until he or she brings the results home. Like sins are other people, bad grades too are other parents. 

But then, truth be told, I have learned the hard way. I have been there, done that, wallowed hard, and commiserated in a pity-party of one before. 

Yes, I do not hide my obsessions for grades well. yet over the years, I gradually find myself moving away from defining them by their grades to defining them by things that are much more intangible like the bond we share when we play board games together, the holding of hands when they stumble and fall, the crazy talks and teasings we engaged in during dinnertime, and the little encouragement along the way even if things don’t turn out as we had expected it. 

I feel even more strongly now that these are the memories that will carry them through even in the worst of times, because the greatest difference we can make as a parent is not so much about celebrating with them when they are doing well, but it is about standing by them, embracing them and assuring them when they don’t do well. 

For moments spent together walking through the valley is as important, if not more so, as moments spent with them when they are at the summit of their achievements. In fact, when we openly embrace the two pathways of our child’s maturity and growth, their summits always feel fuller, deeper and more enduring, if not more rewarding.


PM Lee & Terry Xu's TOC.


“You can’t choose the family you’re born into, but you certainly have the choice to distance yourself from them if they’re toxic and they’re only causing you pain”.

The above was an extract from Ho Ching’s post two years ago entitled: “Here’s why sometimes it is okay to cut ties with toxic family members.”

Well, it is a family affair that has sadly gone down south quite rapidly, and the whole world knows about it. The siblings made sure of that when they blitzed the internet with serious allegations made against their elder brother, PM Lee, more than three years ago.

At the trial yesterday, as a witness, PM Lee said that he had waived his parliamentary privilege when he republished his ministerial statements outside Parliament. He said that would “allow his siblings to sue him over the statements, but they have not done so.” 

He added: “As far as the public is concerned, my not suing my siblings does not mean I condone (the allegations) or that their statements are necessarily true.”

“But if others repeat it and I don’t act against others for which my inhibitions against suing siblings do not apply, that would further spread the poison and aggravate the damage.”

By putting that on record, it is clear that our prime minister is sending a signal at large to the public that where personal dirty linens are concerned, there are two ways of cleaning them. 

First, they will wash those that can be washed via the parliamentary washboard. This was done on July 3, 2107, when PM Lee rubbished the siblings’ claim that he had misused his power. 

And second, for those that can’t be washed, as Ho Ching’s article about toxic people has put it, they ought to be deemed as a private matter, and those tempted to air them for other than the public interest had better think twice (or thrice) in the light of the Terry Xu’s defamation suit, now ongoing. 

Unless of course, you are his siblings. That itself warrants a different treatment. PM Lee said: “On the allegations made by my siblings, I had decided to take a different approach with them and it did not mean carte blanche for anybody else to use that to spread those allegations and further defame me. I am not obliged to sue everyone in order to sue one person.”

Well, it is true that a plaintiff picks his defendant(s). It is a fundamental right of a litigant to pursue his case whichever way he wants it. If he sues and the party is adjudged not at fault after a trial and/or appeal, there are cost consequences that he will have to bear. 

But, that said, this is no ordinary plaintiff and the allegations are no ordinary allegations. Neither is this an ordinary defamation suit. 

In short, there are larger issues at stake here and hereon like freedom of expression, of the press other than the mainstream’s, of repeating an allegation yet to be debunked by a court of law where there are equal representation, of addressing an unresolved testamentary intention beyond probate, of a country still being criticised by foreign press for oppressive tactics, and of the balance of ethical considerations concerning a siblings’ rivalry that has forced the prime minister’s hand, which may be perceived by many as some form of preferential treatment, if not an act of self-preservation. 

As such, every act taken by such a prominent figure has wider political, social and legal implications for the republic at large, especially her home-grown style of paternally nurtured democratic values. 

Let me nevertheless end on these two points. 

First, when PM Lee was asked whether he is suggesting that the media can never report on what his siblings have accused him of, he replied with this double edged sword: - 

“Not at all. They can report what they think needs to come out and if I sue them for defamation and I am wrong, they can go to court, vindicate themselves and demolish me - which is what I believe you are hoping to do in this trial.”

I felt that that hints to an imbalance of power between a public leader and his private citizen. Although PM Lee had given TOC a chance to retract and apologise, and TOC did not accede to it for whatever reasons, the signal sent (together with what he had said in court) is however one where the die is cast that the alleged defamer will be duly demolished. 

I thus wonder, are we going back to the days of when these words still reverberate in our hearts: “Between being loved and being feared, I have always believed Machiavelli was right. If nobody is afraid of me, I’m meaningless”?

Second point is about animosity. PM Lee said that “neither he nor his wife Ho Ching held any animosity towards his siblings.” He added: “I think the animosity is evident on one side, from my siblings...And I hope against hope that one day, matters may be repaired. But it is one of those things that happen in life, and this too shall pass.”

Well, with the concluded contempt action against his nephew, the recent conviction of his sister-in-law at the disciplinary courts, his brother’s recent membership with TCB’s PSP, and the two defamation suits pending, I guess the hope against hope of “this too shall pass” will take a little longer to pass, if at all.


Saturday, 14 November 2020

Trump refuses to concede - election 2020.

You know, looking at Trump, I am reminded of what Hitler once said when the allied troops were closing in in 1944. He said: “I don’t give up at five minutes before midnight. I give up at five minutes after midnight.”

Well, I guess Trump is in his last five minutes after the midnight hour, and yet, he is not giving up. What’s more, he has done the opposite of giving up by tightening up the grip of government.

He has recently ordered all his officials to refuse Biden and Harris all access to government offices, secure communications and classified briefings. He is digging his presidential heels and not giving even an inch away of the Oval Office estate. 

Anyway, I hope he comes to his senses, (or reconcile with his continental ego), because it is said that “fish and visitors stink after three days". And as more than a week has passed since Biden secured the 270 electoral voters’ golden ticket, the stench coming out from the White House is gradually building up and it has breached international borders, with one of UK parliament members remarking, ”this is embarassing”. 

It is therefore ironic that Trump most famous electoral promise is that he would build the wall and make Mexico pay for it. Now, in some twisted way, that promise has come true. He has indeed built for himself a wall of denial, and the American people are paying for it. It is called the price of democracy, and the cost is the people’s unity. 

Alas, like Hitler, Trump takes the bunker mentality where he is holed up in his own fantasy bubble, with his most loyal officials (yet Hitler never really trusted them, even till his very end) huddling and praying together for a second coming (or term), or for a miraculous turn of the electoral battle (he is like an ostrich in the sand telling his closest associates that by summer, when the heat comes, it will all disappear, all go away). 

And talking about prayer, the embarrassment extends to some quarters of the evangelical Christians in America. 

Prosperity preacher Kenneth Copeland had recently let out a peel of maniacal laughter over the pulpit. He started with the president-elect’s name, but before he could finish calling Biden’s name in full, he convulsed into hysterical guffaw. Go look at it yourself, google it, and trust me, it’s spine chillingly weird.

(And I thought no one could top Trump’s spiritual adviser Paula White’s rambling “I hear a sound of victory” marathon prayer, rebuking the demonic confederacies for stealing the election from her religiously puerile leader). 

The truth - it is said - will set you free, after knowing it of course. But, for Trump’s close-knit christian community, the truth seems to have a different (if not dangerous) impact. It appears to have locked them in, in their own wall of make-belief (and let’s be clear, I am talking only about the election results. God knows, there are other confounding bewilderment of the faith of late that is beyond my earthly comprehension). 

In any event, here’s the bipartisan truth or reality. In today’s papers, the official word is out. A group of federal, state and local election officials have all issued a statement together. They declared flatly that “the election was the most secure in American history...there is no evidence that any voting systems were compromised.”

More specifically, this group that “issued the statement was the Elections Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council, which includes top officials from the cyber security agency, the US Election Assistance Commission and secretaries of state and state election directors from around the country.”

They added: “While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should, too. When you have questions, turn to election officials as trusted voices as they administer elections.”

With the above collective assurance in mind, Trump and his deluded family members are playing with fire. And let me derail here a little to call a spade a spade. For the past four years, the poor USA is anything but united. The racial, income, social and even religious divide have all increased, or deepened. You can’t possibly deny that. 

Now, it’s your fundamental constitutional right to blame that on anyone or anything, or concoct up conspiracy theories about it. But like it or not, the reality doesn’t change, for the fish still rots at its head. In other words, the leadership has to take responsibility. 

That is the first go-to response, or else, why bother with the once-every-4-year Election, or the 233-year-old Constitution, or her proud democratic heritage that Tocqueville couldn’t praise enough for contributing to, nurturing and facilitating the American Dream, right?

You see, when Trump was first elected in 2016, the Time’s Person of the Year was him, with this caption - “Donald Trump: The President of the Divided States of America”. Well, after 4 years, that has been the one consistent thing about his presidency. 

And so, in my view, Trump has been playing with fire on issues of race, nationality, immigration, income and social inequalities, and now, he is lighting a match to America’s most sacred and sacrosanct institution, her democracy. For you lose that, you lose all credibility, and you lose the nation, that is, the unity of the country. 

His supporters (that is, those supporting his call for election fraud) is not helping to douse the fire, they are in fact throwing kerosene on it. And that unwitting action can result in a horrific backfire for the nation as a whole. 

Yes, it is said that without vision or hope the people perish. Yet, without unity, any vision/hope dies stillborn, and the people perish too. 

As an earnest plea (from a foreigner), I know without a doubt you love him as a leader, and still believes that he’s God’s chosen one. But, unless there is conclusive evidence of electoral fraud, by all conscionable effort, you too ought to agree that Trump’s final 5 minutes after midnight is up too. 

Mind you, leaders often draw their strength and resolve from their followers. They just don’t like to admit it. They are more comfortable with the illusion of sole command. You therefore have the power to make it right; if not in God’s name, at least in the name of democracy and the people’s unity - for your sons and daughters are at stake too. 

Alas, history’s inflection points are made up of people of moral clarity and courage who stand for what is right, what is timeless, and this is the time to stand up to be counted, since the votes have already been counted. What’s more vital is that it is also time to stand united against your nation’s common foe - the destroyer of the people’s democratic will, hopes and dreams.