An investment in knowledge pays the best interest

U Khin Maung (A retired diplomat)

1. May I start with a well-known and universally accepted old proverb, “Knowledge is power”. In this connection, I would also like to quote an extract from a famous speech by Abraham Lincoln, known as the father of freedom from slavery in the United States of America’s history. It reads: “With malice towards none; with charity for all, with firmness in the right.” So, with firmness, I would like to assert that “knowledge is power”. Ignorance or lack of knowledge is a shame and sin. Well, to be free from shame and sin in our lives, we should go on learning to gain knowledge. Learning is a life-long process. “No educative process is ever the end, it is always the beginning of more education, more learning, more living.”1 Knowledge and Human Resources are inseparable. “Reading makes the people developed and that the developed people go on reading.”2
2. Well, what does investment mean? “Investment in something means the act of investing money in something.” And “invest” something in something” means to buy property, shares in a company etc., in the hope of making a profit” 3. In connection with the topic “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest; may I mention some more writings about knowledge and education”. They know enough who know how to learn “Only the educated are free”. The more we study, the more we discover our ignorance. And often in the modification, the more we know, the more we don’t know. Mr Benjamin Disraeli, a famous writer, again said, “To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge”1
3. I would also like to present to you Myanmar proverbs and some words of wisdom, “on knowledge and education”, translated into English by myself, an old learner.
“In this world of ours, education, knowledge, skill, art and craft are really our true friends”. The light of knowledge and skill is really so bright and brilliant that each and every one, all and sundry have got to wonder at that.4 “Of the lights, firelight, moonlight and sunlight; moonlight is brighter than firelight. Sunlight is brighter than moonlight. Ah, the light of knowledge is the brightest of them all. No light is there brighter than the light of knowledge. As such, Lord Buddha has preached. Therefore, all and sundry, each and every one should strive to acquire knowledge. Good knowledge is just like a Badeithabin tree, a tree of plenty and an inexhaustible store.5 Western scholars have also asserted that the “brain is just like a muscle”. You use it or you lose it. So, if you want to keep your brain sharp, active and alert, go brain-jogging.” “Go brain-jogging” means read, read and read. As a matter of fact, learning is a never-ending process. We live to learn and learn to live. A day without learning is a day lost”. So, let us go on learning continuously to get the best interest in our investment in knowledge.
4. In brief, I would like to advise you on the strength of the following words of wisdom to keep on learning and getting better every day.
“Knowledge is not static. It is accumulating and expanding all the time. In the quest for knowledge, there must be a strong will and perseverance.”
“We should create a desire and dedication to update and upgrade ourselves continuously.”
“Knowledge is power” seems to have quite a following these days.”
“The object of education should be to increase the usefulness of man, usefulness to himself, and usefulness to others.”
5. In conclusion, may I also advise you, in view of the coronavirus global pandemic, that we should seek knowledge about the global pandemic by constantly learning from the news media about the protective and preventive measures from that pandemic, by staying at home, by wearing masks, when going outside, by washing hands quite often and keeping a physical distance from each other. We have a saying. If informally translated into English, I think, it may read. It is knowledge and wisdom that safeguard one’s life and longevity. It is fate or destiny that plays a decisive role in making wealth, well-being or fortune.6
(1) A book of essential quotations Edited by Eric Partridge.
(2) U Thant, United Nations Organization Secretary-General (Retired)
(3) Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English. Sixth Edition
(4) ဤလောကမှာ တတ်ပညာ ၊ မှန်စွာ မိတ်ကောင်းပ။ ပညာအရောင် ထွန်းလင်းပြောင်၊ မြားမြောင်အံ့သြကြ။
(5) မီးရောင် ၊ လရောင် ၊နေအရောင် ၊ ဉာဏ်အရောင်လွှမ်း၍မိုး၊ ပညာသမာ ၊ အာဘာနတ္ထိ၊ မြတ်မုနိ၊ ဟောရှိကျမ်းကိုကိုး ။
ထို့ကြောင့်များစွာ ၊ လူတကာ ပညာရအောင် ကြိုး။
ပညာကောင်းမှာ ၊ ပဒေသာ၊ သုံးရာမကုန်နိုး။
(6) အသက်ကို ဉာဏ်စောင့် ၊ ဥစ္စာကို ကံစောင့်။
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