A lesson from the Past

Emperor Qin SHi Huang,  sometimes known as SHih Huang Ti in English history books, was the person credited with conquering all the small nation states of China during the Zhan Guo era ( the Era of the Warring States), and by doing so, he unified the whole of China, and standardised the written Chinese Language. He was also credited with the building of the GReat Wall, albeit at a huge human as well as financial cost.

Qin Shi Huang.

Although he was the first emperor of Qin Dynasty and a unified CHina, he was a controversial figure, tyrannical, autocratic; and he had a hatred against the intellectual class, probably because he was afraid that this class of people would speak out and create trouble for his great dynasty. He wanted his dynasty to last forever and as a result,  one of his worse acts was to bury hundreds of thousands of scholars alive and burning all Confucian texts that could be found. His court was full of manupulative people, hungry and greedy for power with one common attribute; they  would do anything to please this tyrannical emperor.

After Qin SHi Huang died, the chief Eunuch, Zhao Gao, forged the emperor’s will and together with the Prime Minister  Li Si, made the 18th Child  the new emperor, and forced the Crown Prince Fusu to commit suicide.

 The new emperor, known as Er Shi, was only in his teens. As he was young and owed his power to the eunuch Zhao Gao, the latter became all powerful and his wickedness and cruelty caused unrest and hardship in the whole of China. This resulted in revolts all over country, and finally,  just 4 years after the death of Qin SHi Huang, Er SHi was killed by Zhao Gao,  when one of the rebellious armies was approaching the capital. Soon the dynasty was overthrown and Liu Bang , the rebel leader, founded the Han dynasty.

One story had it that Zhao Gao once dragged a deer into the Courts of the Qin Dynasty and said to all those present that it was a horse. He then asked the emperor   what he thought it was. The emperor meekly replied that it was a horse. Then Zhao Gao proceeded to ask one by one, the whole courtful of officials present, their opinion.  None except one dared to refuted his claims that the particular animal was a horse. The only dissenting voice telling the truth that it could not be a horse since it was clearly a deer, was executed on the spot… So much for telling the truth.

History is a mirror for us to learn the mistakes of the past, so that we do not commit the same mistakes again. Does the above story sound familair? Can you see the similarities with the present era?

The Great Wall is certainly much more useful than the many Mega Projects that we have, but a similarity is that both were built at huge financial costs, and at the expense of the people.. Whereas the Great Wall protected China for many centuries against the Barbarians of the North  (and for that QIn SHi Huang was certainly many class above our “Great” leader) ,  what did Sepang Formula one track do? What did we derive from the majestic city of Putrajaya? A Minister’s office in Putrajayais is as big and much  grander than a lobby of a five Star hotel ..and there are so many ministers…   What is the use of having such majestic big office? It only serves to boost the ego of the souls occupying the office to sky height, and make them out of touch with reality and the common people.

I have the fortune once (or misfortune, depending on how you view it) to visit, together with some friends,  a deputy MInister in Putrajaya and he invited us to see his rest room. Wow… it was even bigger than an average bedroom of a standard  linked house in PJ. Why they need such a big room for their ‘johns’ I really cannot comprehend…Leaders have bigger size, perhaps? If you ask my expert opinion, I can tell you, “size” does not matter… 🙂

The story of calling a deer a horse speaks much about the sycophancy of the Qin Court. What about us? Do we not have the same sycophants singing every time the Great Leader uttered something? Black can be white, deer can be horse, as long as a person is in the good book of the Leader… To these people, life is too short to think about the future of the country or the future of their children. Once the Great Leader abdicates, the sycophants change their tunes, singing along this time with the new leader….They will tell you that conscience is something  you leave outside when you enter the corridor of power.

The burying of intellectuals and burning the books and texts during Qin Dynasty are akin to the clampdown on the freedom of expression and the media spin. The fear of a great emperor is always that his legacy may not last. The dangerous ones are the intellectuals, shut their mouth and his legacy can last forever…. So many a ruler, who wants his legacy to last forever, resorts to killing or maiming the intellectual class. But history teaches us that this has never been the case. Tyranny always falls. In Qin’s case, it took only 4 years (4 years is really a short time, because travelling from  South China to North in those days took months).

I write this lengthy piece of history to stress one point, and I hope the power that be can see this point. History has taught us that no matter how much you clamp down,  truth ultimately prevails. Tyranny and bad policies almost always fail. If we have not seen it  , it is only because the day of reckoning  has not arrived, yet.

 I hope the Prime minister realises this and carries out his promised reform without anymore delay…. without fear or favour… And i hope all those who walk in the Corridor of power,  or those who aspire to walk there one day,  realise that ultimately, their names will be the only thing history records. Whether future history will look at them in a good or bad light, only they can decide. A good person will be remembered fondly for  thousands of years, a bad tyrant or a corrupt will always be cursed.  The choice is really in the hands of the person walking the corridor of power….A moment of Greed and False Glory in exchange of thousand years of curse, is it really worth?



21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. CM'Blog
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 13:03:45

    Hi. I’m looking to build up incoming links for my blog. Would you like to exchange blogroll links with me? If yes, please visit: http://greatdebater.wordpress.com/2008/06/25/why-i-blog/ and leave your URL there.


  2. mustafa
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 13:30:48

    Hello Dr Hsu,

    i agree with your statement. I too hope that the AAB could carry out his reforms without delays. He must face his actions eventhough its going to be tough for him since he received alot of voice and criticise from ex-PM and the opposition parties. Keep on strong on your feet AAB and make our malaysian proud!!


  3. Scott Thong
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 14:17:13

    After reading your post comparing history to current events, I doubt you’ll find much joy in this related:

    RM 18 Million A Year For Putrajaya Landscaping Maintenance


  4. Charlie
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 16:31:16

    a good cautionary post. Putrajaya, the Twin Towers, the Sepang Circuit are all the vision and desire of one man, and he was fortunate that he ruled when the global condition was different from now. And he pushed til they all came to fruition. Now we’re beginning to see the cracks, the 18mil annually for the maintenance of an artificial centre of administration, that’s the best eg. As if that’s not enough, he’s out to bring down the current leader who’s willing to acknowledge the past (ie, his misdeeds are now open for everyone to examine).


  5. novice101
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 17:01:23

    The universal law of cause and effect works every time and in every situation. But in most cases, those in power are seduced by power and think they are invincible. Well, they will have to pay for their actions, somewhere, some how.


  6. monsterball
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 17:29:56

    China is what China today…because vast majority politics leaders do read their history books with pride and having sincere country and people in their hearts and soul.
    China is rich with history..inventions..discoveries…and welknown…not greedy to enslve others. What they do in their country…how they do it..i their business. The end results matters…and in a short period of 30 years…China have made USA respect them so much.
    What is Malaysian today…. to outside world?
    Everyone is avoiding the braggart..weird ones.
    No Doc….I say in Malaysia…greed and fixed bad mentalities are there and so clear. The cunningness is also so clear…mastered by one race…the UMNO politicians.
    Even Lee Kuan Yew always keep an arms length away from UMNO leaders. He called them weird people. Is he right? Is not Mahathir weird?
    Weird is a diplomatic and political polite word. We all have enough messages to know exactly how weird they are….don’t we….Doc?
    And for Dollah…he maybe the only one sincerely trying to change for the better.
    Inheriting the ruins of UMNO by one man..yet that same man is accusing Dollah for ruining UMNO now.
    History will say good about Dollah….there is no doubt about it. But history will also say..he is a weak leader.
    Do majority Malaysians..who cares….are hungry to try out new government and be brave for changes?
    If not….majority Malaysians have no guts and are truly selfish. Chief Minister of Melaka said UMNO will rule forever.
    Have you ever seen anyone in the world….dare to brag like this?
    Or is he saying the truth?


  7. monsterball
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 17:51:43

    The fact is…the Malaysian Chinese is the smartest here. If UMNO really want a strong and united country…they should firstly….copy how Chinese schools can produce such smart kids.
    No they are afraid….and only recently…started to recognize Chinese schools is the best.
    Yet…National schools are still with alot of principles….that are idiots….but are headmasters/headmistress….simply because they are UMNO loyal members.
    Lets leave the Universities aside. Anwar have said it so clearly.
    Then look at the books…so low class..just to make sure idiots can pass the exams.
    Educations is the root of all foundations.
    Having a pro Malay…..carrying a kris to threaten others …as the Minister of Education???
    Go dream ….the impossible dream…that a leopard can change it’s spots.
    And lets all live in Wonderland….drunk with false dreams..happiness…with no dignity..pure selfishness. That can also make ..a country.
    Then wait till the oil..all dried up….and wake up to realities.
    Maybe it is still not too late at that time….but I am so happy….I am..long gone dead.
    Let the youngsters do as they like..pampered by UMNO…fooled by UMNO. All are Datuks….Tan Sri…and Tuns.
    Listen to them….and don’t listen to other ….nobodies…no titles…not rich like those UMNO guys. Copy them!!
    That’s why they are so cock sure….they will rule forever.


  8. Justin Choo
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 18:02:20

    Dr Hsu,

    History repeats itself. So these people will never realize their stupidity and follies, as you know they are so anaesthetized they are as good as gone. Weren’t Zhao Gao and his cronies not realizing as well? Their fate is a foregone conclusion. The question is when?

    As for Sepang Racing Circuit, it’s a monstrous display of oil wasteage in the name of sport.


  9. pohwatchdog
    Jun 26, 2008 @ 22:21:00

    Truth and justice wil prevail. History have prove it time after time what we really need. Look at the state of education in our country. Are we proud of what we have produce? Our education system need revamp from the days automatic promotion exist. The standard or classes been divided among Malaysian existed with the New Economic Policy which gather all the brightest “son or daughter of the soil” in fully aided hostel school.
    We must have the courage to change our automatic promotion in schools, more remedial work and monitoring in school to be carry out.
    How those who are not the brightest? Remain in the day school giving problems to school and teacher. Chance have been given to Pakatan Raya government to administer. Time to change and prove you can deliver. Are we satisfy with the delivery? Each one of us have the answer in our heart.

    Even many schools in Perak have insufficient teachers to carry their teaching. Maybe not so famous school didn’t complain through their mass media.


  10. jeff
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 01:11:31

    Our leaders believe they are infallible, having the status of sainthood and holding the position of power greater than the all mighty GOD, that is why they continue their greedy and inhuman way of governance in Malaysia, disregard of the sanctity of religion, destroy the sacreed place of worship, and laugh at the people of faiths so long as they are not belong to the same religion as them.


  11. monsterball
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 05:01:25

    I think they are simply greedy crooks ..with a gift of the gap.
    They know…they are succeeding to control the minds on the race and religion politics..and are showing their supporters.. whatever they are doing are their rights…such as take the oil money …enrich the party …themselves and chosen friend.
    As long as UMNO still think the Malays are still poor and need special help…continuing to break the promise to stop this….after 25 years…and still on going and going…after 50 years..that will appeal to quite alot of Malays. Unfortunately….it is they themselves….being bullshitted wholesale….for the chosen Malays are not only filthy rich…but so rich…dressed up with great titles….like Datuks.. Tan Sri and Tuns…and the smarter one is getting rich …without being caught….the title is up-graded.
    Ordinary Malay folk seems to feel proud …seeing false success…of their race…all these 50 years.
    It is ..how many still think like a simpleton..being lead to believe so….by smart crooks…in UMNO.
    The 12th election showed……less and less Malays cannot be fooled anymore…and that is the great hope of freedom of speeches..democracy …..corrupt free….and heading toward being ..a united country in the future.
    The litmus test will be the 13th election.
    UMNO is trying so hard….to keep fooling them.
    I have never seen such generous and kind hearted politicians…except from UMNO…not suing one declaring his wife is a killer. I have never seen…so much denials..except from UMNO kind hearted leaders..no using…just denying and denying…no suing..to protect their good names.
    Yet….it is an UMNO ex leader .that showed to the whole world..how cruel and cunning they can be…united all forms.. .to put an innocent man in jail for 6 years… for ridiculous charges..now proven to be false…yet the very same man..is still revered by some UMNO members.
    So…whatever you want to call all those incidents…plus whether do you believe Judge Ian or Mahathir…and the 50 years on going lousy educational system…all designed to produce half pass sixes diploma workers… to suit those taxi drivers…farmers…low educated crooked politicians….forcing them..to become a bird of the same feather…without most UMNO voters.. realizing…..how cruel UMNO can be..to them.


  12. jeff
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 10:58:47

    Having “half past six” university graduates will guarantee they can not think intelligently and objectively, let alone can not analyse the ill and backward “umno-centric” national policy of race and religion, that will solidify umnoputra perpectual mind control technique of Malay population in the “bolehland” land.


  13. jeff
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 11:27:41

    When a wise man read history, he learnt the lesson of the past, he understands the consequences of the inhuman action and fallacy of a corrupt policy. But the leader in this country had fall short of being wise let alone honest.


  14. A true Malaysian
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 11:28:26

    A well written article and a recap to me on history of China. In fact, our ‘Great’ leader have some similarity here and there, but at least Shi Huang Ti succeeded in uniting Chinese (or else China will be like India, which is so diverse in languages), our ‘Great’ leader still not able to unite us Malaysian.

    It is true that we should learn from mistakes of Shi Huang Ti and not ‘imitate’ him but apparently…..just hope there is still opportunity to realise his mistakes. But again, it is hard since ‘black can be white and white can be black’ for some people.


  15. steven
    Jun 28, 2008 @ 03:16:19

    Umnoputra had created a butch of Tan Seri, Datuk, Datuk Seri, Tun and whatever fancy titles a crooked mind can think of for royalty to disseminate among Malaysians, to showcase the world how high class and honor these Malaysian crooks are, so whenever they deal with the foreigners, they have the feeling they are so much superior than the rest of the world in Malaysia and can die happily in bolehland, they probably has no clue drawing a snake one does not have to include its foot.


  16. monsterball
    Jun 28, 2008 @ 09:09:45

    Once again….pohwatchdog…with an unstable mind…talk sense…then all of a sudden…accused Pakatan Raya ..not delivering…what they promised.
    This dog is a pain in the arse …keep blaming People’s Party for not delivering…without one iota of understanding…PP’s situations.
    He is a dog with shit brain.


  17. aa
    Jun 28, 2008 @ 22:19:47

    Reforms? They were just dangle to tease us. Heard in the street, the judiciary reform is now cold storaged. a watered-down version (remember IPCMC which is as good as not doing anything) is now in works.
    Time and again, BN has shown that it cannot be trusted.
    Component parties, stay on in BN and be beggar parties. guess some crumbs are good enough to satisfy your appetite and lifestyle.


  18. pohwatchdog
    Jun 29, 2008 @ 18:11:22

    What is the purpose of government? monsterball.. to administer a state that can brings development, prosperity to the people creating jobs, local government duties, service to mankind and improvement in qualities of life.

    What happen in Penang and Kedah?
    Watercatchment controversy and logging consignment worth RM 100 M. Controversy in many appointment of councillors and public relation road show by PR in Perak. Are we easily hoodwink by this type of campaign? Let us be fair and just. The verdict will the rakyat. The rakyat can give PR one round and they can give the boot to PR. Performance is what we are waiting for. Are we happy until this very moment?


  19. monsterball
    Jun 30, 2008 @ 06:08:28

    yea yea yea…..pohweatchdog….you are right.
    But you are also very wrong…to keep judging PR…only 4 months old….managing certain States.
    Be patient and considerate.
    You are talking too much illogical conclusions.with your logical reasons…thus making you…an illogical person….trying to project…a logical personality.
    In simple language….you are simply too young…trying to be too smart…with no practical experiences.
    I wish you can apply your attitudes and smartness in your daily working life…managing others..and give the a time frame…like three months to produce or else…get sacked.
    That is….if you are a recognized and respected manager….right now. Are you??
    But then…we gave UMNO 50 years…why apply these judgments on PR..like right now…you keep doing it?
    Give them…a full term la.
    If you work for me…..I need to go to the mental hospital…or sack you.


  20. jeff
    Jun 30, 2008 @ 08:01:17

    I know what is going to happen in Kedah n Penang, there will be massive starvation, flooding, congestion, land grabbing, foreign investment scare, land slide, industry run-off, rising crime rate and finally death to many residents of these 2 states, since PR is so corrupt, incompetent, inefficient, dictatorial, stupid and inexperience to govern even a state without 50 years of solid and excellent BN record.


  21. Trackback: MALAYSIA : EDUCATIONAL : BELAJAR DARI JIRAN « Wordpress22.Wordpress.com

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