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More adventurous than the average bear

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Sunday, September 02, 2012

National Education lesson: Fifth Columns

"A lie told often enough becomes the truth." - Lenin


According to the COMBINED HUMANITIES O LEVEL SOCIAL STUDIES SYLLABUS (2012) (Paper 2192), we must "learn from the experiences of other countries to build and sustain a politically viable, socially cohesive and economically vibrant Singapore".

We learn this as we "study the past through varied socio-cultural perspectives over time and space, and understand its relevance to the present through lessons learnt"

Unfortunately, I (and others of my generation) were unable to benefit from Social Studies in our time in school. To remedy this, I have been studying National Education on my own and have shared the lessons I have learnt on my blog for the edification of all.

Previously, we have learnt many National Education lessons:

- One always has to be critical about what one learns in school, as it might be designed to impart political ideologies
- Venice declined because it abused its position
- Singapore should ban football
- Ultra-nationalism and indoctrination in school leads to an aggressive foreign policy and ruinous wars

We also learnt many other lessons from the NKF scandal.

Recently I came across another historical tidbit, dating back to 1211 and the Mongol Invasion of China:

"While the main force of the Chin army was concentrated around the capital facing north, 120 miles further west Genghis and the main body of the Mongol army had crossed the Great Wall without firing a shot. This section of the wall was guarded not by Chinese troops, but by Onguts, ethnic relatives to the Mongols whom the Mongol intelligence service had cultivated for years as possible allies. Faced with the choice of remaining loyal to the Chin and having to do battle with a huge Mongol army or going over to the Mongols, the Onguts changed sides and allowed the Mongols to pass through the western battlements unhindered. Farther to the east, Subotai broke contact, pull back from the wall, and disappeared.

The Chinese generals had been caught badly out of position... Attacked from four directions, the huge Chin army was annihilated at the battle of Shansi. The entire province lay open before the Mongols"

--- Genghis Khan's Greatest General: Subotai the Valiant / Richard A. Gabriel

So the lesson we learn from this historical episode is to be careful who we trust: ethnic minorities could betray us at a critical moment.

(If you don't get that, read the first National Education lesson in the list above again)
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