Get Updates by Email

Monday, 12 October 2009

The Four Don'ts and the Three Declines

Thanks to an increasing curiosity of the Chinese game of Wei Qi (also known as "Go" in Japanese and "Baduk" in Korean), I searched the Net and was rewarded by information from Joong Ang Daily, a Korean daily. Joong Ang Daily is a partner of IHT (International Herald Tribune). I realise that today is a proof that the vast amount of information available online, is one of the promises of the Internet that has been delivered upon. Frugal people like myself may log on to Google News and type in a search term, to find the latest reports containing or referencing such terms.

The article on Joong Ang Daily, The Four Dos for climbing the ranks, referred to the ancient practices of officials in Korean history, which led to their appointments and their greatness. Here is an excerpt:

The “Four Don’ts and Three Declines” were an unwritten law for Joseon officials. The “Four Don’ts” were, “Don’t have a side job, don’t buy land, don’t expand your house and don’t eat special products you get from your post.”


According to the Three Declines, you should reject unjust demands from superiors, gifts for favors and money contributions for special occasions.

Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case nowadays. People seek success with hunger; accordingly we recognise and reward those who succeed with more success. The poor but honest man is left out in the cold: his business acumen apparently has more value these days than his honesty. I would agree that in Malaysia it has also become such; perhaps the same too for any country where politics and business become interlinked. Business and politics depend, sometimes, on each other: businesses require politicians to aid their cause as lobbyists, and politicians require businesses to fund their political activities. At the end of the day, the partnership between business and politics will only last as long as it can produce results: "jalan" for the business, and "jalan" for the politician. This is why virtuous politicians have become an endangered species.