Once upon a time, on the stroke of midnight, the earth was unclouded and serene. The people had the world to themselves. All morning and all afternoon they moved quietly about their business - hunting animals with spears and arrows, taking shelter in caves. At about six o'clock in the evening, they discovered that plants could be grown from seeds and animals could be tamed. They did not have to wander around looking for food any more. They started to live closer together, and as half-past seven struck, bustling cities had sprung up all the way from Egypt to North India. Even at this early hour, men were groping their way towards a meaningful way of life. Buddha in India, Socrates in Greece and Confucius in China all came and went together, although they did not know each other, at about 10 past 10. At 10.30 pm, Jesus strode on to the scene, while in China a large mass of people were building a great wall to protect their country. Another leader of men, Mohammed, appeared at 11 o'clock. In the next hour, Northern Europe was a hive of activity as cities flourished and people grew confident. So much so that they began to eye the other countries of the world with interest. From about a quarter to 12 onwards, people went out from these cities to explore the rest of the world. They decided to take over America; they settled down in India, and just after four minutes to midnight they marched into Africa. At two minutes to midnight they drew their guns, lined up their tanks and started killing one another. In this big fight they killed more people than all the other fights they had had since the morning of the world. But this was not the end of it. Just 50 seconds later, the fighting started all over again with stronger weapons and larger armies. During the last minute before midnight there was a change of fortune for the countries in Northern Europe. They had to leave, first India and then Africa. There were squabbles among the smaller countries. There was never a second's peace on this earth. They invented nuclear weapons and even put a man on the moon. In all this feverish activity they used up more oil and more metal than they had used in all the previous 23 hours and 59 minutes put together. Although these resources were becoming more and more scarce, their population kept on growing, and some countries could not grow enough food for the people . . . The clock ticked on. It was midnight again. A new day had begun. Adapted from History of a Day by Robin Richardson Think a little 1. What are the three stages of development in the history of the human race described in the first paragraph? 2. Why do you think the world changed so little from midnight to 6 o'clock in the evening? 3. What do you think the writer is trying to tell us in this story? Class discussion What do you think happened on the stroke of midnight at the end of the story? Share your views with the class. Share your views with us and we will publish your contributions in Young Post. Send your letters to: Your Say, Young Post, PO Box 323, Tai Po, New Territories. Essay taken from Food For Thought III produced by the ICAC. With the community, the ICAC aims to fight corruption through effective law enforcement, education and prevention to help keep Hong Kong fair, just, stable and prosperous.