Chinese bloggers are always quick to offer their views on any international
event that could impact on domestic affairs. Not surprising, then, that the election of the soon-to-be 44th president
of the United States has inspired untold numbers to put fingertips to keyboard and tap-out their view of Mr Obama and what
his presidency might mean to China. A search of the blogosphere a few hours after the result became clear has revealed
a mixed bag of opinion.
If one were
to paraphrase a typical comment, then it would be something along the lines of: Well… of course Obama is different,
but at the end of the day – no matter what the colour of his skin may be – the president of the United States
will always look after the best interests of the US. And if those interests are at odds with China’s, then China
needs to continue to stand up for herself. After all, leopards can never change their spots!
There are also, of course, countless postings that don’t concur
with this sound bite. Perhaps one of the more interesting of these is written by a young man of the “80s generation”,
who writes a blog using the pen-name Shui Yinhe (Yinhe literally means “silver river”, and translates as
Milky Way). Mr Shui is a popular blogger – within touching distance of the magical 10 million hits mark –
and so what he says tends to count for more than most bloggers’ opinions.
Mr Shui has read Mr Obama’s autobiography. And it has inspired him. He compares the
next president’s early struggles with his own, writing candidly about the difficulties he experienced within the Chinese
education system and, following graduation, the problems he had to overcome to get onto the career ladder and
earn enough money to live on.
His final paragraph is moving; it will also offer hope and comfort to
many readers – particularly those born in the 80s – whose hopes of a shining future are presently being knocked
back by the realities of life. Mr Shui writes:
“Confidence is very difficult to attain. When you’ve got some, you can have self-belief; without any you can only feel inferior. Regarding the 80s generation, we often start out feeling
the former [having self-belief], but after we meet setbacks we quickly change to the latter [feeling inferior]; and gradually
our confidence slips further and further away."
to be done?" asks Mr Shui. He immediately answers his own question:
“I think we should learn from Obama:
starting with finding a positive force to believe in and little by little accumulating success and confidence. It’s a bit like writing a blog: Today you get 10 hits, tomorrow 50 hits, and the day
after perhaps that becomes 100,000!”
Mr Shui’s message is a resounding: “YES, WE (also) CAN!”