White smoke emerged yesterday and everyone in the newsroom started chattering excitedly. When I was struggling to think of a title for this week’s editorial, there was chaos and anxiety amongst my reporters and subs.
Making sure that the building was not on fire, I resorted to the BBC website. Then I found what the “white smoke” refers to: the new Pope was just elected.
For me, who was born and raised in a country with no serious religious tradition, the presence of a Pope hardly means anything. As a result, even though the news around the new elected Papal who later named to be Pope Francis were bound to dominate the front pages of most newspapers tomorrow, personally I was largely untouched.
However, apparently, not too many people were sharing my indifference at the moment. I was so alone. People from different countries around the world swelled at the St Peter’s Square, waving flags, chanting and roaring. And in the newsroom, my colleagues gathered in front of a TV, guessing the name of the new Papal.
I stared far away from the crowd, wondering why.
Later, early this morning, Xi Jinping was officially named as the new president of China. He will steer the fast-growing nation in the next decade.
There was no white smoke emerging when the outcome was announced, as Mr Xi is an heir apparent. For most Chinese people, the process of installing candidates for senior posts is irrelevant to their daily life.
Referring to the air pollution in Beijing, some Chinese netizens even cheekily put: “we cannot see white smoke because the fog is too heavy!”
Neither Pope Francis nor Mr Xi is going to face an easy tenure. The Catholic Church has been involved in several sex-abuse scandals, and the Chinese leadership has been accused of upgrading censorship instead of introducing political reform that is crucial to the well-being of a transforming China.
Despite all of this, people still retain hope on them. It is the hope that keeps people moving towards a better life, regardless of the frequent disappointing facts, and it is the leaders who are expected to shoulder the hope, all the more so when a new leader is coming into power.
No one can be certain whether they will not disappoint people any more, but that does not stop people from hoping and envisaging.
From the West to East, people share the same desire for a better world, and I am touched when I thought about this image.
Lastly, on behalf of all The Archers, I hope you kind readers to have a look at our special supplement edition online, The Arrow, which features Cardiff as a global village, and you will not get disappointed.