Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Thursday Quiz XXVII

The Thursday Quiz!

The Thursday Quiz is an "Is It or Isn't It" game. From the list of twelve items, your job is to determine whether each IS or ISN'T a true example of the week's category.

Remember always the Path to Enlightenment:

No research, Googling, Wikiing, or use of reference books. The Thursday
Quiz is a POP quiz. Violators will lose standing in the scientific community.
This Week's Category will turn your world around!

Real and Bogus in the History of Asia

Which ones actually happened? And which ones only kind of seem like they might have happened, but really didn't?

1. Hinduism (c. 1500 B.C.) -- A young nobleman in what is today Thailand receives a series of revelations regarding the nature of God, the rebirth of souls, and the nature of suffering. Refined into the "Vedas," these become the central scriptures of a religious practice that spreads throughout SouthEast Asia over the next 500 years and, by 500 B.C., has become popular in India as well. Chinese Buddhist influence will eventually all but eliminate Hinduism from its birthplace, but it is still today the leading religion of India and Bangladesh.

2. Confucius (551-479 B.C.) -- The great Chinese social philosopher produces a wide set of teachings on morality and good government. In some ways very conservative, with their vision of society as a set of hierarchies based on family relationships, his teachings also include ideas progressive for the time, such as the principle that people of low birth should be able to rise by merit. Not a divine figure or one claiming special connections to a god, Confucius nevertheless inspires an essentially religious practice that remains widespread today.

3. Mongol Invasions (13th Century) -- The horsemen of Genghis Khan and his successors sweep south into the heavily populated areas of East Asia. China is conquered over the course of six decades, with the final capitulation coming in 1279. The Koreans fight for five decades, with massive loss of life, before submitting to a vassal agreement. The Vietnamese, by abandoning their cities and avoiding open field battles, gradually win a defensive war of attrition in the swamps and jungles of their homeland.

4. Voyages of Zheng He (1405-1453) -- Commanding the Ming dynasty's massive navy, Admiral Zheng He leads great expeditions through modern Indonesia to India, Arabia, and the East Coast of Africa, establishing diplomatic relations and commerce with dozens of local kingdoms. After his seventh and final voyage, budget cuts permanently mothball the great fleet, and in the following 150 years it will be small European countries, rather than China, that establish global maritime supremacy.

5. The Lao Empire (1410-1685) -- A ruthlessly efficient military and an even more ruthlessly efficient civil administration allow the relatively small Lao Kingdom to gradually build a vast multicultural empire of tributary states. At its height, around 1600, the Lao Empire has a population to rival the Chinese Empire to the north; however, decline sets in quickly as a succession of weak emperors seem unable to face challenges posed by encroaching Europeans and climate change.

6. The Phillipine Renaissance (c. 1570-1600) -- For about three decades, successive Phillipine kings sponsor scholars, teachers, and scientists in their lavish courts. In regular correspondence with London, Paris, Venice, and Constantinople, Phillipine scientists participate in the scientific discoveries of the era and make important contributions to the early study of electricity. This hub of research, and probably many of its findings, is lost when the Spanish take Manila and subject the kingdom to colonial rule, in 1608.

7. The Opium Wars (1834-1860) -- Not wanting to run a trade deficit with China, the British begin selling opium from their India colony through southern ports. Noting the socially corrosive effects of hard drugs, China outlaws opium and attempts to restrict its importation. The British, with massive military superiority, lay waste to coastal towns, river ports, and shipping until the Chinese are forced to "just say yes" to drugs. Thirteen years later, the sequence of events is repeated.

8. The Meiji Restoration (1868) -- A new government comes to power in Japan and starts the country on a program of radical modernization. Within four decades, Japan will go from being an isolated, near-medieval backwater to being a major industrial power.

9. Occupation of Korea (1910-1945) -- In approximate imitation of the European colonial empires, Japan deposes the royal government of Korea and imposes direct rule. What begins as economic exploitation, severe restriction of civil liberties, and horrifyingly draconian response to resistance becomes, by World War II, a virtual slave state. Korean attitudes toward Japan remain at best highly guarded today.

10. Manchukuo (1932-1945) -- With China in chaos during the first half of the 20th Century, the Empire of Japan occupies Manchuria and sets up a puppet state with the last Q'ing emporor as its figurehead. Clearly a Japanese colony, Manchukuo -- with about 1/3 the population of the United States -- is only ever recognized by Japan's Axis partners and by a few central American countries.

11. The French-Thai War (1940-1941) -- With French Indochina destabilized by conflict with Japan and under the questionable leadership of the Vichy regime, Thailand makes a move to regain territory lost to France in an earlier conflict. Air superiority is key to a decisive Thai victory. Celebration in Bangkok is short-lived, however, as Japan invades Thailand in late 1941, and the disputed territory is returned to French control after World War II.

12. The Great Leap Forward (1958-61) -- Chairman Mao launches an aggressive period of collectivization and industrialization in an attempt to modernize the People's Republic of China. Planned with little reference to either technical expertise or local knowledge, the program is a failure on a massive scale; its most visible effect is the death, by famine, of millions of rural farmers and townspeople.

Submit your answers in the comments.


Cartophiliac said...

1. true

2. true

3. true

4. true

5. false, never heard of it

6. false

7. true

8. true

9. true

10. true

11. false

12. true

The false ones are really good lies... there was a report on NPR this morning about people that lie well... makes you wonder...

d said...

1y 2y 3n 4y 5n 6y 7n 8y 9n 10y 11n 12y

Elizabeth said...

1. Yes. Namaste.
2. Yes. Follow the Eightfold Path.
3. And here I just watched "Mongol" at the PIFF ... I'm going to say 'No' because I think the date's wrong and because I don't believe the Vietnam part.
4. mmmmmm....No. I thought the Chinese Emperors preferred to let tribute and ambassadors come to them.
5. No, but I would have said "Yes" if you hadn't put in the thing about climate change.
6. No, but my friend Eduardo will be very mad if I've gotten this answer wrong.
7. Yes, and they're still pissed about it.
8. Yes. Honto-o desu yo.
9. Yes. And they're still REALLY pissed about it.
10. No, I think, but Japan was not exactly nice towards China during that era, and they are still very pissed about it.
11. No. Don't think there was a lot of dogfighting over Bangkok.
12. Yes, unfortunately. Fascinating literature came out of that period, though.

mrs.5000 said...

1 no
2 yes
3 no
4 yes
5 no
6 no
7 yes
8 yes
9 yes
10 yes
11 no
12 yes

Critical Bill said...

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. No
4. No
5. Yes
6. No
7. Yes
8. Yes
9. Yes
10. No
11. No
12. Yes

karmasartre said...

Those who cannot remember the future are condemned to live in the past.

1/ did
2/ did
3/ dint
4/ dint
5/ dint
6/ dint
7/ dint. The war was about whether to refer to it as an Opium Den or an Opium Family Room.
8/ did
9/ did
10/ dint
11/ dint
12/ did

DrSchnell said...

Asia is weird. I think the true ones are weirder than your fake ones.
1. No
2. yes
3. no
4. yes
5. no
6. no
7. yes
8. yes
9. yes
10. yes
11. no
12. yes

boo said...

1. Nope
2. Yep
3. Yep
4. Nope
5. Nope
6. Nope
7. Yep
8. Yep
9. Nope
10. Nope
11. Nope
12. Yep

Oh so many guesses. The first one I am pretty sure of though. You're right. This one was hard. Defnitely not topics covered in public school.

Rebel said...

Hmm... I don't have the brainpower for this right now so I pick "b"

fingerstothebone said...

1. no
2. yes
3. no
4. yes
5. I know nothing about it, so it must be true!
6. no
7. yes
8. yes
9. yes
10. yes
11. no
12. yes

mhwitt said...

Time for my nearly weekly Thursday Guesses.

1. IS
2. IS
3. IS
4. IS
5. IS (guessing alert!)
6. ISN'T (more guessing!)
7. IS
8. IS
9. IS
10. IS
11. ISN'T (kinda guessin' here too.)
12. IS

That college history degree may be paying off at last, especially the classes on the Histories of India, China and Japan. No classes on the history of Laos or the Philippines, however.

Phineas said...

1. False
2. True
3. True
4. True – Had you included the following, no one would believe a word of this Zheng He dude. He was a Muslim eunich who rose to power under the rule of Zhu Di, the emperor who built the Forbidden City and restored the Grand Canal. His fleet split into several expeditions that are claimed to have visited Antarctica, both the Eastern and Western coasts of South America, the Caribbean, and the west coast of the US. There are remains of a ship 200 miles inland on the Sacramento River that are believed to be part of his fleet. Also – my adopted daughter shares the name “He”, which is pronounced with a guttural gasp from deep in the throat. Takes some practice to pronounce.
5. False
6. False
7. True
8. False
9. True
10. False
11. False – Total guess. This one I’ve never heard of, but I focus mostly on China, which brings Japan, Korea, Vietnam along for the ride. Very plausible. Very suspicious.
12. True. I know people who lived through this. Estimates of the number of people who died of starvation reach as high as 32 million, with 20 million+ a generally accepted consensus. Little known is that Mao funded this industrial expansion with grain sales to Russia and other communist countries, thus literally starving his own people to death.

Michael5000 said...

1. Hinduism -- Nah. What I wrote was a bastardization of the history of Buddhism.

2. Confucius -- Yes.

3. Mongol Invasions -- Yep. The Mongols had their fingers in everybody's pie.

4. Voyages of Zheng He -- You betcha.

5. The Lao Empire -- Nah.

6. The Phillipine Renaissance -- No way.

7. The Opium Wars -- Yep.

8. The Meiji Restoration -- Yep. The Meiji modernization used to be thought of as essentially miraculous; more recent scholarship has downgraded it to "impressively brisk."

9. Occupation of Korea -- Yes. Not Japan's finest hour.

10. Manchukuo -- Yes. Also not Japan's finest hour.

11. The French-Thai War -- Yes, 'fraid so. They didn't call it a "world" war for nothin'.

12. The Great Leap Forward -- Tragically, yes.

Michael5000 said...

Which means that this week's stars go to four contestants with 10/12 answers correct.

Cartophiliac continues his recent tear, taking home his third TQXVII Gold Star in four weeks. He now joins Blythe and Phineas in a three-way tie for most career Gold Stars.

Mrs.5000 continues her own recent tear by bagging the Silver Star, her second.

drschnell brings the Blue Star home to the Keystone State; it is his first Blue and sixth Star overall.

And it is, finally, a big day for Phineas. Taking this week's Green Star, his first, he joins Quiz legends Rex Parker, Blythe, Rebel, and Mr. Shain to become the fifth person ever to complete a collection of all four Stars.

They -- and you -- can spend endless hours remembering their triumphs at the L&TM5K Quiz Leaderboard.

Phineas said...

Pssst. Ummm, ah, Great Quizmaster? Got a minute?

You might have made a little mistake. I'm afraid I score myself at 9/12 not 10. And while that might still pull in a green star (and I fall to my knees hoping it does) it might also tie with a gajillion other entries. Having mis-prioritized badly by actually working yesterday, my late day entry may not stand up. Sadly, you may need to rescind my coveted greenie.

Michael5000 said...

Phineas has invoked his right for review of a Quiz judging decision! And, after review, the decision made on the field has been overturned! I counted up my little checkmarks wrong.

With the scores thus revised, there are no Green Stars awarded for the TQXXVII. The leaderboard will be accordingly adjusted, and Phineas' name removed from the list of heroes with complete collections of Stars. He will be left with that wistful feeling of satisfaction you get when you know you've done the right thing, or the bitter taste of ashes in his mouth, or both.

Michael5000 said...

@Elizabeth: Apparently, most of the dogfighting was over Vientiene. When you go on the offensive, you get to trash the other guy's town.

@Phineas: "Are claimed" and "are believed" are very key words if you want to get Zheng He beyond the Indian Ocean and the West Pacific. The grander claims you describe are the speculations of a single amateur historian who got a lot of press but who, most folks in the field say, doesn't really have a clue.

I'm no expert, but after a quick survey of the tip of this iceberg, I think the capsule description I gave in the quiz is likely close to the truth.