Stumbled upon this article and i think it was a very well written one. It’s a bit long but go read it, it’s worth every single bit of your time… trust me…
History has always been on the side of truth
Dr Hsu Dar Ren | Jul 4, 08 4:15pm
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 is also credited with the building of the Great Wall, albeit at a huge human as well as financial cost.
Although he was the first emperor of Qin Dynasty and a unified China, he was a controversial figure – tyrannical, autocratic with 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 worst acts was to bury hundreds of thousands of scholars alive and burning all Confucian texts that could be found.
His court was full of manipulative 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 four 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 court 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 court of officials present, their opinion.
None except one dared to refute his claims that the particular animal was a horse.
The only dissenting person 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 familiar? Can you see the similarities with the present Malaysian 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, what has the Sepang Formula One track done for us?
What did we derive from the majestic city of Putrajaya? A minister’s office in Putrajaya is 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 a majestic big office? It only serves to inflate the ego of the souls occupying the office and put them out of touch with reality and the common people.
I had 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 link house in PJ. Why the need for such a big room for the toilet, I really cannot comprehend.
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 utters something? Black can be white, deer can be a horse as long as a person is in the good books 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 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 corridors 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 here in our country now. The fear of a ‘great emperor’ is always that his legacy may not last. So the dangerous ones are the intellectuals, shut their mouths and a 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 worked. Tyranny always falls. In Qin’s case, it took only four years (four years is really a short time, because traveling from South China to the north in those days took months).
I write this lengthy piece on history to stress one point and I hope the powers-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 reforms without anymore delay and without fear or favour. And I hope all those who walk in the corridors 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 upon 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 curses – is it really worth it?
Very well said Dr. Hsu, very well said… thanks for this great article…