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2/22/2011

Of Glorious Past

Egypt, India and China were three old civilizations that survived the times, intact. They were once the centre of civilizations, the centre of knowledge, culture, science and engineering, philosophy and the arts. And for many centuries their people were proud of their achievements. The pyramids and astronomy were the pride of the Egyptians, the Yogas, religions and great architectural wonders were what Indians were known for, the Chinese bragged about gun powder and printing blocks. Those were their glorious pasts. Obsolete! Then a quiet industrial revolution took off in little Europe and the little countries became empire builders. They ran over the Egyptians, the Indians and Chinese and made themselves masters of these people. The great civilizations became history, and its people and culture were scorned upon as bankrupt ideas. For centuries, they became the laggards of civilizations. But their glories lived on in the minds of many, including lesser countries around the world. Many still hold them in awe as centres of learning and are sending their next generations to learn ancient knowledge and past glories that are of little relevance to the modern world. There are signs of revival in India and China, to reclaim their past greatness and be recognized again as respectable civilizations. Thanks to little Singapore, the Chinese came and learn, and brought home our model of development, studied, improved on it and adapted it for their own development. They have surpassed Singapore by leaps and bounds. And they are not looking back. What could little Singapore offer to an ancient civilization of several thousand years? Singapore may be a flash in the pan, a little light from a shooting star in the dark sky, but Singapore can be that flash of light in a sea of ignorance. Singapore may fade away fast, but it has its little moment of brightness, to light up the dark sky and to show the way. Ancient civilizations, no matter how great, will need to adapt to the changes of modernity, adapt and reinvent themselves, or they will become the ruins of history. India and China have sent many of their youngs to the centres of modern knowledge in the West, to learn from the very best, to feed, cloth and house their people, to give them a better life. If they have not done that and continue to live in their past glories, what would be the fate of their people today? Or how far could they advance if they have chosen to send their young to learn the ancient ways in Egypt? Would they be wasting their money and resources and talents to learn to live in the past, with ancient wisdom, knowledge and values?

13 comments:

Matilah_Singapura said...

Every civilization has its day. The root of the problem is the formation of The State, and the people allowing the power of the state to increase without any restraint.

Over time the state becomes all too powerful, and oppresses the people. And then the people are either conquered in total or over-throw their state.

Civilization then changes or dies or "bonds" with another civilization.

Anonymous said...

Had those ancient Egyptian, Incas, Mayan, Khmer (Angkor Watt) civilisations not die off, would their continued advancements and achievements in Engineering, Science and other fields be more glorious than later civilisations?

How is it that modern thinking always assume that such ancient civilisations, if they had not die off, can never achieve the degree of advancement that we have today?

How rational are we today in our thinking?

Matilah_Singapura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matilah_Singapura said...

Ancient civilizations may have a few "marvels" of science and engineering, but for the most part those civilizations were doomed to extinction because the guiding principles were not based in reason and objectivity, but mysticism, superstition and blind obedience to authority.

In other words, people back then were a whole lot DUMBER than people alive today. (although as a species we still have a long way to go).

Basically put: Ancient people were mostly DUMB and SUPERSTITIOUS motherfuckers with the occasional insight of historical importance they just happened to "fluke".

Most people also get their history lesson from the TV for e.g. from bullshit programs on the "Discovery" and "History Channels" -- mass market mostly bullshit over-romanticised presentations of human civilization, and thus are inclined to have a very skewed version of human social evolution.

History is subjective anyway. Once in awhile you get hard evidence...especially in the from the 19th century onwards where at least there was photography and later a global network of journalists (connected by telegraph) to document events.

But look at China today -- glorious past not withstanding:
as we write and read today Alibaba.com is being scandalised. No one trusts doing business in China, and the latest scandal at Alibaba just adds empirical evidence to the hypothesis that in general, Chinese firms can not be trusted.

I of course have no issue with this, as my motto is:

Caveat Emptor -- you can't cheat an honest man" - in other words you expect the "default" position of doing business to be the other party trying to cheat you by offering you a "good deal". Not only in China -- everywhere. It seems like "alot" in China, but then look at the number of traders in china which is now the LARGEST manufacturing base in the world.

Of course you are going to get "funny business". It is to be expected because of the SHEER VOLUME, and LACK OF checks and balances.

One more time for the stubborn fucks:

YOU CAN'T CHEAT AN HONEST MAN

Matilah_Singapura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

The very fact that they died off is enough proof that they were no longer able to survive on their own. Unless they were struck off by an ice age which happened millions of years before their existence.

Anonymous said...

Were the Red Indians and Aborigines struck by ice-age event too?

They too are almost going into extinction. But thanks to 'good hearted' Whites, they are now protected species, like the pandas and white tigers.

Had China been successfully and totally taken over by the Whites, the Chinese would probably be like the Incas or Mayans. Or at best be like the Red Indians, living in sanctuaries as a protected specie.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

That is exactly what I am saying. A civilisation that went extinct deserved to be extinct as it had failed to progress and protect itself from the ravages of time, environment and conquest by competitors. If the Indians and the Chinese did not reinvent themselves, they deserve to go extinct, like the Red Indians.

The aborigines is another story.

Anonymous said...

I am pondering the imponderables!

Anonymous said...

What was it that made China and India continued their survival as ancient civilisations to this day, admist all the upheavals and disasters in their history?

Anonymous said...

The procreation prowess of the Chinese and Indian are beyond any other Races. If only China had allowed nature to take its' course, half the world's population today would be of Chinese Descendant. That's how nature has programmed the Chinese.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Fortunately they the limits of their abilities and started to curb their population growth. Feeding and clothing 1.3b people is not a simple task.

They can export their people to us to help us grow our economy though. We have unlimited land and can take in more and more people on a never ending basis. Not enough land, can reclaim, build up, build down, tear down low rise to buil high rise. There is no limit to what we can do in this little piece of rock. It is like paradise.

Anonymous said...

It's heaven actually.

But

only to the rich and powerful.