Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lessons I learnt from Romance of Three Kingdoms

textpad entry; TUESDAY, 5 MAY 2009

It was an impulse buy. I had gone to the bookstore with the intention of picking up Daywatch but found myself browsing the Chinese Literature section. Something drew me to a copy of Romance of Three Kingdoms. Surreptitiously, I slipped the thick paperback out of its plastic sleeve. I read the first few lines and was sucked into the world of ancient China.

Awestruck by the emotional and intellectual depth of the characters. The machinations and schemes. The alien sounding names threatened to overwhelm me.

I ponder. No matter how pure the intentions began, compromises are soon made. Three different rulers exhibit three different methods of leadership and command. One led by fear. Another led by compassion. The last out of desperation.

In their lifetimes, they managed to carve out a slice of history. And spent the bulk of their waking lives countering each other's actions.

In the end, I asked, what does it matter?

Rule a state with an iron fist and live forever with fear?

Or rule a state like a benign leader and live one's honorably. A life free of guilt. Which path promises greater happiness?


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