Newspaper article China Post

Time Now for Ma to Laugh It off and Get Back to Work

Newspaper article China Post

Time Now for Ma to Laugh It off and Get Back to Work

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes non-USASCII text omitted)

Albeit conscious of appearance, the Emperor apparently does not spend much on his wardrobe. Call him a penny pincher if you are honest, or something else if you are polite. The last time he had a suite of clothes made that he showed off with much fanfare was in the early 18th century. According to a story by Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen, two weavers promised His Majesty a new suit of clothes that would be invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid or incompetent. When the Emperor paraded before his subjects in his new clothes, while all the pompous court sycophants and jesters pretended they were fit for their positions - smart and competent - a little boy cried out, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!"

The Emperor has since wised up. So this time, in the 21st century, when he was given another suit as a present, the first question he asked was "Is it ugly?" And the answer from all the sycophants was a sheepish "No." The sad thing, according to Bob Dylan, is that dragons live forever, not so little boys.

The importance of such factors as looks, bearing, reputation and image, especially those of a political leader, can hardly be overstated, hence the need for public relations and propaganda machinery, but a preoccupation, or even obsession, with such externalities simply bespeaks a lack of self-confidence. If a political leader honestly knows what he is doing and what he has done, he should be nothing less than self-confident and not be overly concerned about criticisms directed against him and his government, that is, if he or she heads one. And then the last thing they need would be advice on whether some name-calling from outsiders is indeed justified or over the top.

Fu Bi ([...]]), a Northern Song Dynasty (A.D. 960-1127) official known for his personal and political integrity, was such a self-confident official. When he was told that somebody had been trying to defame him by citing his rather rare name in their verbal attacks, he said: "They are just calling my namesakes names. …

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