Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wisdom From The Past

In the temptation scene of the 2010 Chinese blockbuster "Confucius", the sage(played by Chow Yun-Fat) said in response to an immodest proposal from Nanzi, the infamous consort in the Kingdom of Wei: 微臣從沒見過, 如斯好德如好色的人

That line is from the Analects of Confucius 9.19:
The Master said, "I have yet to meet a man who loves Virtue as much as he loves female beauty."

There are many interpretations of the sage's message of self cultivation, one being that if people love virtue as much as they love female beauty, then they will discard immorality and return to rectitude. Xie Liangzuo expresses it best:
"Loving a beautiful woman or hating a foul smell - these are examples of sincerity. If one could only love Virtue the way one loves female beauty, this would mean sincerely loving Virtue. Unfortunately, few among the people are able to do this."

Confucius puts it more explicitly in Analect 9.24:
The Master said, "When a man is rebuked with exemplary words after having made a mistake, he cannot help but agree with them. However, what is important is that he change himself in order to accord with them. When a man is praised with words of respect, he cannot help but be pleased with them. However, what is important is that he actually lives up to them. A person who finds respectful words pleasing but does not live up to them, or agrees with others' reproaches and yet does not change - there is nothing I can do with one such as this." ("Confucius Analects: with selections from traditional commentaries," translated by Edward Slingerland, Hackett Publishing 2003)

In the aftermath of the recent skirmishes in parliament, one Minister has acknowledged that his political party does not have the monopoly of talent. If the exercise turned out to be a moral education for our schools, the lesson is timely.


  1. Let's make Chen Show Mao our future PM. I am sure he can do a much better job than PM Lee.

  2. China history has taught us that feudal dynasties are always overthrown when their last Emperor either become too complacent, powerful and greedy.

    By any chance, is the Li Dynasty any exception rather than the rule if they continue with the trend ?

  3. In the context of halloween, suicides and bukit brown, let me share this too:

    Zilu once asked Confucius about ghosts and spirits.
    Master said "You are not able to even serve man. How can you serve the spirits?"
    This probably explains some behaviors.
    Therefore "You are not able to even serve the spirits, How can you serve the spirits of man" must also be true.

    Ok, I hope there are readers out there we also care to share some Indian or Malay sage's wise words, lest we can accuse of being one-sided.


    All the parliament speeches here. Watch the Wise & Otherwise ;-)

  5. Our MIWs must be paid millions to serve the people and prevent them from corruption, what level of virtue these people have? CSM will be playing guitar to the cows. These cows are not real bilingual and understand the meaning of Confucius teaching. BTW, Confucius teaching had never be accepted by any kings of the states during that era in China. He ended up like an academia today in teaching.

  6. Confucius says... crowded elevator always smell different to midget.

  7. Some are confused by Confusious .

    Confucius talked about Moral Value, however Sin Leaders talk about Money Value and the value of

  8. Confucius he says - To please his mistress, a foolish man gives her a Grand Piano; but the wise man gives her an upright organ!