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General Knowledge (or lack thereof) May 13, 2011

Posted by Nemuu in Stuff I Wride.
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the Scorpio constellation (right) and the Milky Way

If there’s one thing our generation craves, it’s being heard. From weather reports to political support, sports to religion – basically anything and everything under the sun (and moon) – if we’ve got something to say about it, we’ll make sure we get our say if it’s the last thing we do. The popularity of social outlets and networking sites Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger, etc. etc. (the list goes on) is clear testament of this craving to let our voices be heard. The problem is, how much of what we’re saying is actually worth saying at all?

To demonstrate my point, let me begin with an example: the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11th this year. With a magnitude of 9.0, accompanied by tsunamis and followed by the Fukushima nuclear accidents, Japan became the highlight and focal point of every news media in the world for weeks. Obviously, it could never escape the attention of our Babbling Generation.

One teenager’s comment that struck out to me the most went something along the lines of ‘Japan is being punished for the atrocities they committed during World War Two’. Stop and think for a moment. Does that sound about right to you?

Personally, I think Singapore’s social studies programmes seem to have been implemented successfully. As young as ten years of age, we’re taught of how the Japanese army invaded the country. We’ve heard countless stories of how they massacred our forefathers. We’ve heard tales of their brutality and their mercilessness. But does that make all of Japan responsible?

A few years ago, a group of Japanese tourists came down to Singapore for a visit. One of the places of interest they went to was the Kranji War Memorial, where hundreds of our dead ancestors, killed in battle or simply at wartime, lie. When this group of tourists heard about the war crimes their soldiers had done unto our own forefathers, they cried. Yes, they cried. History as Singaporeans know it is a far cry from history as the Japanese know it. Local children have read of the Sook Ching massacre, of starvation and abuse. But the Japanese know a different tale: one of air raids every other day; of the bodies of fathers and brothers coming back, dead or wounded; of being the one country in the world to have been hit by atomic bombs, and two at that.

It’s amazing what one-sided stories can make you think and say, isn’t it?

Basically, what we all need to know is this: get your facts straight before you start shooting your mouth off. The uninformed will always appear as fools to the knowledgeable. To assume that we know everything when we’ve only heard one side of the story is unforgivable.

Imagine this: We’re on Earth, right? Earth plus the sun and the other 7 planets make a solar system. Our solar system is one of billions in the Milky Way Galaxy. This galaxy is only one of billions (scientists still don’t know the right estimate to exactly how many billions) in the universe. There’s only one universe, and let’s hope it stays at that. So, bottom line: one universe with hundreds or thousands of billions of galaxies, with our galaxy itself having billions of solar systems and then our solar system has 8 planets and we’re only on one of them.

Linking back to the issue of knowledge: What we know about anything can only be as much as how big the Earth is in the entire universe. It’s half past noon, I’m in the office typing away at my computer in my own little cubicle. I can hear chatter all around, so I know most of my colleagues aren’t too busy with their work. I assume they can’t wait for their lunch break. Now, what I don’t know is this: What’s the guy in the next cubicle doing on his computer? Is he doing his work, surfing the net, watching a video or composing a song? What’s going on outside the office? Is there an accident on the road? Is the canteen downstairs packed? (Hang on. I probably know this answer.) Is there anyone inside my house? What’s happening over at my old school? What’s happening in the world; did another terrorist just die? It’s 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon. Anything could be happening at this moment: a life could just be beginning somewhere, a life-altering decision made, a life ending.

So you see, there’s so much that we really don’t know. Scary, right?

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Comments»

1. diana - May 13, 2011

Huzzahhhh babyyy~

Nemuu - May 14, 2011

ollooooo! 🙂 i want to write and write and write and write. but not now. haha. 🙂

2. Nadia - May 15, 2011

😉 good start indeed 🙂

Nemuu - May 15, 2011

thank you dear! 🙂 i will try to improve! 🙂


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