Once upon a time, when this country was still ruled by elected officials and a coup det’at was far from the people’s minds, the following story was told and listened (but not heeded):
Youth: Grandpa, what’s more important between lu (person, what a person is ) and mu (principle)?
Grandpa: That’s a good question, and I’m happy to answer it. But that horse-drawn carriage that has just passed in front of our house. What a horse! And what a carriage! Who do they belong to?
Youth: Well, Grandpa. Who can they belong to except Mr X, our one and only millionaire in the village.
Grandpa: You mean it’s Mr X himself who’s riding it?
Youth: Oh, no. That’s his son, X Junior.
Grandpa: And where is he going?
Youth: To the toddy-palm field to get drunk with his friends, as usual.
Grandpa: I think Mr X is also using the same carriage sometimes. If he is, where does he go to?
Youth: To the monastery to listen to the sermons by the abbot or to attend meetings to discuss village affairs. But, Grandpa, why are you asking these questions?
Grandpa: My dear grandson, I’m not trying to sidestep your questions. On the contrary, I’m just trying to make you understand the difference between lu (what a person is) and mu (principles, policies).
Principles and policies are like that horse and carriage. They may be both beautiful and sturdy. But whether they bring forth good results is up to the person or persons who implement (s) them. If you have a good and able person to implement them you don’t need to worry where these principles and policies will lead to. But, on the contrary, if you have a mischievous and incapable person to implement them, having beautiful-worded super principles and policies won’t get you anywhere.
It is the same with having a good and able person with bad policies. No matter how good and able the person is, his policies won’t do the countless needy much good.
Youth: So you mean both lu and mu are equally important, Grandpa?
Grandpa: Yes, I reckon that’s what I mean.
Youth: Thank you, Grandpa.
We hope this time it’s heeded.