I woke up this morning at 9 to watch Joseph Schooling swim in the 100m Butterfly Finals at the Rio Olympics (link here, for copyright reasons). This was already a momentous moment since it’s the first time that a Singaporean or a Southeast Asian earned their place in an Olympic swimming final.

And it was such a great race! Schooling was leading from the get-go and maintained his position throughout the race. WE WON GOLD. We, a nation, that haven’t won any gold medals before in our 51 years as an independent nation. It was such a great feeling.

It’s funny how international events like these make us feel so patriotic and proud to be citizens of a country. I teared up during the Medal Ceremony; hearing Majulah Singapura for the first time in the Summer Olympics. My Facebook feed is full of posts congratulating Schooling and #TeamSG on this great win.

Some cynics might be like oh you weren’t there from the start why are you congratulating him now and I just think that’s the wrong way to go about it here. Why is it wrong to congratulate someone on their win and feel so happy for them and the country at large? I believe these instances of patriotism are good for everyone. Schooling managed to unite the whole country with his win – no matter how long this may last. For a moment, we took our minds off our personal problems and just celebrated as a nation. Isn’t that a good thing? Shouldn’t it be encouraged?

Schooling’s win is already inspiring other young Singaporeans to take up the sport, or any other sport, as it shows that even if you don’t have the height or build of other international athletes, if you put in the effort and believe in your dreams (no matter how cheesy that sounds cos it’s true), you can achieve great things.

Congrats Schooling. Enjoy today; it’s yours.

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