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?