November 8 cannot come fast enough for Singapore.

The second United States presidential debate marked the final stretch of campaigning for the White House, and the election in less than a month will be much welcomed in this part of the world.

It will put an end to a fractious electoral battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and hopefully draw back a distracted US from issues in Asia that require its urgent attention. They include the South China Sea dispute, a softening economy and an increasingly assertive China.

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Worryingly for Asia, these concerns hardly found a mention during the debate. Instead, it was a crude video, deleted e-mails and American taxes and heathcare that got most airtime.

As important as these issues may be to the American voters, they are of peripheral importance to Singapore. What this small country needs is a focused Washington, pushing along the Trans-Pacific Partnership, charging ahead on the war on terror and leading the way to tackle climate change.

Singapore needs a United States actively involved in this region, acting as a counter balance to the growing might of China.

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In light of the ongoing disputes between Beijing and Southeast Asia on the South China Sea, a quarrel in which Singapore has occupied a prominent role, the attention of the US takes on greater significance. Such are the concerns which will affect the daily safety, job security and income growth of most Singaporeans.

In that regard, it is not surprising that most people here are rooting for Clinton on November 8.

The alternative could mean severe long-term repercussions for Singapore.

Peh Shing Huei is the former China bureau chief for The Straits Times