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Business Moral: The Story of A General And His Greed
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Before we begin, it is known to the world that China emperor is the most ruthless and sensitive leader of all the dynasty. How can we blame them when they are constantly challenged by their relatives or rebels to take over the throne. It is a dream to ever be the emperor, besides have all the money, land, girls and best food, you control the entire army of the great China. Due to too many fake prophets and advisors, the emperor seldom trust anyone, if someone get trusted, he will be the next biggest thing in the entire palace, or some say China.

The Mongolian and Chinese have been fighting all the way many millenniums ago, that is the reason why great wall of China (one of the seven wonders) were built. This story happen when China finally muster a troop large enough to eliminate all the Mongolia attackers. Just like every country, there will be a ruler and a general. The ruler can rule but not the best in battleground, on the other hand, someone who is good at battleground can be good at ruling. Even the troops and enemies succumb to this man, what else he cannot do to his peasants?

Since this is battle of the century and it is not easy to muster a million foot soldier to stand against the Mongolians, it is an idiot proof and one-sided battle. To ensure 101%, the emperor sent his best general to face the battle. This general has not been losing one battle and is known for this loyalty and integrity. He has a beautiful wife and an only son who aspire to also be a great general like himself. Both his wife and son adore him as a man of honour, they are practically a happy family.

When he got the direct news from the emperor he is going to lead the battle into flawless victory, his heart sank and ask why the high wanted him for such an easy battle. He thought about it one night and went back to the emperor with the following terms:
  • You have to give me glorify retirement after the battle, I am old and there won't be formidable enemy worth my effort after this battle,
  • Please value my son like how you have valued me,
  • I want a 15,000 square feet mansion at the prime of the town,
  • 300 taels of gold and if it is not too much to ask for, since I will be doing nothing,
  • 5 women of unparalleled beauty
Upon hearing this, the king laugh and promised him. To the king's surprise, this man is never a womaniser and now he is asking for 5 women. It could have been a secret habit that was hidden from the king, so he ask if the general's if his mis'ess and son would mind. He replied, since this is the battle of the century, I have not idea how long the battle will take, it is a form of reward they should condone. The emperor assigned the general all his necessary papers and officially handed the troops in his care.

As the general's son have much to learn, he was brought into the battlefield with skilled guards at all times. The general set off at dawn and moving slowly towards to Mongolia border. As the strategy were to flank Mongolia, multiple companies of troop set off in different direction. It is not the norm for the general's company to be the slowest at the back. At the 3rd day the emperor's conveyor, who is an eunuch, start to worry the general is going against his word to lead. He questioned the general and ask him why hasn't he moved faster. The general replied he is troubled by the king's promises and not sure if he is going to get what he asked for, so he ask the eunuch to get an official emperor's decree for him.

Out of desperation and frustration, the eunuch have no choice but to ride back to the palace in his best horse.

While the eunuch is gone, the son who is in absolute puzzle, asked his father.

"Dad, you are not a womaniser and I know you love mom only. You have more than enough money to retire and you said you wanted to be a farmer once you are out of a palace, do out of the sudden you requested all these material stuff that you do not even need? This is not your usual behaviour".

The general politely asked his son to sit with him and explained:

"My son, never had it in history the emperor have muster a million troops and I have never lead a size more than 100,000. It takes years to draft and train these fighting soldiers, do you know how lethal such a force is? The emperor entrusted me with such troop, it will be natural if he take precaution because I could easily take down the forbidden city with such a troop. It is good the emperor trust me and I am a loyal subject, it is not enough if I am holding power above the emperor. I may have done my job but it is not good enough. A good job will be defeating the enemy and returning the power safely back to the emperor. The emperor wanted a peaceful China that is why he want to eliminate the Mongolians once and for all, this is a good emperor and we should not let him down. The reason why I asked for all these material stuff is so that the emperor will lower his guard against me. If I greed on things that is plentiful to the emperor, things he can easily gift me with, he has nothing to worry about. If I has not ask for anything, he may have thought I am asking for things he cannot give, like his throne. A greedy man can easily be satisfied and make use of, unlike a man of integrity where you cannot buy his honour. I rather look greedy and temptable, than the emperor have assassination plan prepared for me. My life is not important, still the most important thing here is to give our emperor a peace of mind."

Hearing this his son was shock and indeed is an invaluable lesson he will never would have learnt elsewhere in his lifetime. The eunuch came back 2 days later with another horse and with the general wanted. The emperor's decree read exactly what the general asked for and was handed over to him. The battle was nothing out of expectation, the remaining Mongolians went into retreat and some surrendered. It does not take very long before the general went back to the forbidden city to receive his reward.

After his retirement and farewell feast, he moved to his mansion, settled down his many beautiful wives and gave them the 300 taels of gold. As the general's son was in good hands and started his own family, he was next in line to be promoted. The general and his first wife moved to the countryside and have their little farm where they retire.

The emperor never mention anything about the general anymore, he could known but he respect the old man's decision, he also could not have known because there are too much stuff running in his head. However, base on how well he treated the general's son, it could be he knew it all along and repay it on the son.


This is a story worth pondering about, thinking of how many values this story taught us and what are the good points we can apply it in our life.
I like the part where he give the gold to his mistresses.

In the past, China take very serious stance of wild women, they will be left unwanted if they harbour any indecent behaviour. Technically the women cannot remarry even their husband died, and a lot of them were being tortured by their sinister mother-in-law for the rest of their live. Some committed suicide in order to escape such torture while others simply wanted to join their deceased husband.

Man from respectable family will not accept a woman that is not pure, mainly judged by their virginity, martial status and family background. No matter how beautiful the girl may be, if she cannot be accepted the only place suitable could be the brothel.

These 5 women know their life is gone if their husband doesn't take care of them, and they have no practical skills to work because these women breed in the palace just to become wives or servant. These gold will be more than sufficient for them to take care of one another until they are gone, without descendent.
At least this story do not have a fairy tale ending. I was expecting things like the emperor reunite with the general, blah blah blah.
At first I thought the general was really greedy.

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