The Phasing-Out Of Venice In The Social Studies Curriculum: No More Lessons To Be Learnt?, pp. 9 of 16


The story of Venice has been a chapter of study in social studies textbook in Singapore for more than a decade. Current exploration and learnings from Venice attempts to draw lessons from a limited context to see if it can benefit post-independent Singapore. Some lessons drawn from such an exercise can indeed be useful. The basis of this paper, drawing upon the ideas of F. Hayek, “spontaneous order” and Braudelian approaches, hopes to widen the context of the exploration.  Drawing from translated primary sources and diaries, this paper looks at the economic and environmental developments of Venice during the decline period to re-assess the conventional or textbook understanding about the phenomena. Specifically, the alleged decline of Venice arising from its protectionist policies and inability to catch-up in sailing technology has to be understood from the larger shift in context of regional economies. Drawing upon an extended timeline of viewing Singapore, this paper also makes a comparison of the country and Venice. Periods in which both city-states were limited in influence faced similar constraints. The first prime minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Kuan Yew once said that Singapore would do good if it stretched half as long as Venice. At the end of the day, as time stretches out, what becomes important is that the city or state has tried its best because no state has ever maintained its peak without falling into an ebb.

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An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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