Limited Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing

Limited Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing

By Paul Chong


Opinion is about the cheapest commodity in the world, freely and abundantly available. It costs nothing and people are ever willing to offer to be heard, irrespective whether they are experts on the subject or not. Of course, to be an expert takes years of study and even then nobody can claim to know everything there is to know, as knowledge is a dynamic matter that’s ever growing & changing.

As said, nobody can lay claim to know everything – not even an expert. In fact, an expert’s knowledge is so confined and restricted to his particular field of interest that he’s quite ignorant of other outside subjects. In Law itself, lawyers specialize in criminal law, corporate law & others. For this reason, often a panel of judges are advocated when dealing with an important issue.

In the early 60s, at the University of Malaya, we used to have visiting speakers like Lee Kuan Yew to address us. In one of those sessions chaired by Professor Wang Gangwu (then Chair of History), himself a fluent & eloquent speaker, this question was posed to the panel of speakers, “Who is more superior, a science student or an arts student?” The Professor responded that “though the science student may claim to be more intellectual, ultimately it’s the arts student that ends up being the boss & running the show.” Most world leaders are from the arts.

It is a verified truism that a single opinion cannot be totally acceptable. Thus in the courts of law appeals are allowable. At the High Court level, usually a panel of judges will preside over the case and a consensus opinion taken.

In any discussion, it is often difficult to see both sides of the picture. People tend to have preconceived ideas of things and hold steadfast to them. They become so dogmatic and indomitable about the whole issue that unending argument ensue. Under such a situation, it’s best not to fight it, for winning the argument may ultimately mean losing the friendship. There’s a saying “to run to live and fight another day”.

In this modern era, so-called experts are born everyday in every field of human endeavour. With IT (Information Technology) and the abundant materials freely accessible on the internet, everybody is becoming a scholar and an expert overnight.

Knowledge is dynamic and ever growing without any end in sight. You can’t know enough nor can you know it all. Sometimes, it’s hard to eat the humble pie, but eat it instead of crying over spilt milk.


Change (By Paul Chong)

To grow to progress is to change

Both health & wealth will be your gain.


Change, the keynote word of Obama, saw the transformation of him from obscurity to the stage of respectability. Change is inevitable as one journeys through life. People of courage are constantly looking for change. In most cases people change because of circumstances reflecting enforcement without the freedom of choice. Most people generally just drift along without exercising any self-will or control.

What is advocated is exactly the reverse . . . acting rather than reacting. A boat or ship that does not venture far from shore never gets anywhere. It just got to brave the waves and storm, for nothing ventured nothing gained. You’ve got to pay the price for things unforeseen when changes are made. Human beings have that innate fear of facing the unknown. Consequently, only the brave of hearts will tread in places where even angels fear. Hence, there are more followers than heroes.

Let not circumstances rule your life. Be prepared to take risks and take charge of the circumstances. Do whatever you can. Tackle all possibilities and leave the impossibilities to God. We say let go & let God. Here’s a small piece of poetic message with magnificent power & meaning:

As children bring their broken toys with tears for us to mend,

I brought my broken dreams to God, because He was my friend.

But then, instead of leaving Him in peace, to work alone, I hung

around and tried to help, with ways that were my own.

Alas! I snatched them back and cried “How can you be so slow?”

“My child,” He said, “what could I do?”


God does endow us with gifts of courage, but sadly enough it’s one of those things that the average man lacks or afraid to pluck upon it. God won’t let you down. He’ll see you through.

Change is refreshing, kind of rejuvenating & exhilarating. It gives you a brand new prospective in life and sets you on the road to success. As captain of your ship you steer your way through the storm. New horizon zooms ahead as you strive for it.

Courage is that precious little ingredient that is necessary for change. Sentimentality must give way to progress. Likewise, there’s no room for inhibitions. Someone once said, “I’ll rather die on my feet than live on my knees.”

Change is an inevitable process with the passage of time. Nothing stands still. Everything is in a state of flux. Time changes things – here today gone tomorrow. This natural phenomenon happens with individuals, political leaders, countries, as with your status, power, wealth & influence. The mighty can fall – the weak can rise. The journey begins, the journey ends . . . savour the moments & happenings along the way, for the end is just the beginning of another stage or level. Such is the nature of things rendering it difficult for anyone to envisage the outcome. Be the change you wish to see in the world . . . Gandhi.

Since the lifting of the Bamboo Curtains, China has undergone tremendous changes. It is a dynamic country beyond all recognition – all in a matter of a short span of thirty years.

The question is what will the world be like in 5 or 50 years from now. Who can say? Your guess is as good as mine.

Paul Chong

A Chinese by Descent

An Australian by Consent