My dear Kacvey,
You may recall a previous letter “Mencius and King Hui of Liang” of 1 August 2016. Well, as the political tension has dangerously deepened in the City of Tonlé Buon Mouk with the bodyguards and their foreign-aid heavy arsenals deployed days and nights to frighten and scare the ghosts of victims killed by the Khmer Rouge of yore and present, let continue for another moment to reflect on the wisdom of Mencius on the conduct and behavior of leaders that he, Mencius or Mengzi (孟子), discussed in some paragraphs of a chapter titled “Li Lou, part 2” (离娄下)
【By the way, speaking about foreign-aid heavy war arsenals deployed by the bodyguards, you may wonder why they did not roll out their T-49 Tanks on National Road No. 2 or police/military check points, or fly their Mirage F-1, their F-104 Starfighter, their B-52 or Stealth Bomber over their heads?】
Kacvey, your friends might be wondering why injecting Chinese thinking into Khmer immoral politicking. As you know, since 2012, “South China Sea” has transformed Cambodia leadership into a kind of 2nd-tier vassal that held the banner to block/veto any attempt by ASEAN to mention the South China Sea in any joint statement. Therefore, a certain knowledge about Chinese historical and philosophical thinking is a plus when those friends have to deal with sinitic affairs.
Below are some extracts from Mencius’s Li Lou, part 2:
2. If a governor will try to please everybody, he will find the days not sufficient to work.
3. Mencius said to the King Xuan of Qi, “When the prince regards his ministers as his hands and feet, his ministers regard their prince as their belly and heart; when he regards them as his dogs and horses, they regard him as another man; when he regards them as the ground or as grass, they regard him as a robber and an enemy.
3. 孟子告齐宣王曰： “君之视臣如手足，则臣视君如腹心；君之视如犬马，则臣视如国人；君之视臣如土芥，则臣视君如寇仇.”
6. Mencius said, “When scholars are put to death without any crime, the great officers may leave the country. When the people are slaughtered without any crime, the scholars may remove.”
6. 孟子曰： “无罪而杀士，则大夫可以去；无罪而戮民，则士可以徙.”
7. Mencius said, “If the sovereign be benevolent, all will be benevolent. If the sovereign be righteous, all will be righteous.
7. 孟子曰： “君仁莫不仁， 君义莫不义.”
8. Mencius said, “Acts of propriety which are not really proper, and acts of righteousness which are not really righteous, the great man does not do.”
8. 孟子曰： “非礼之礼， 非义之义，大人弗为.”
10. Mencius said, “Men must be decided on what they will NOT do, and then they are able to act with vigour in what they ought to do.”
10. 孟子曰： “人有不为也，而后可以有为.”
11. Mencius said, “What future misery have they and ought they to endure, who talk of what is not good in others!”
11. 孟子曰： “言人之不善，当如后患何?”
13. Mencius said, “The great man does not think beforehand of his words that they may be sincere, nor of his actions that they may be resolute – he simply speaks and does what is right.”
13. 孟子曰： “大人者， 言不必信，行不必果，惟义所在.”
18. Mencius said, “Never has he who would by his excellence subdue men been able to subdue them. Let a prince seek by his excellence to nourish men, and he will be able to subdue the whole kingdom. It is impossible that any one should become a ruler of the people to whom they have not yielded the subjection of the heart.
18. 孟子曰： “以善服人者，夫有能服人者也；义善养，然后能服天下。天下不心服而王者，夫之有也.”
32. Mencius said, “That whereby the superior man is distinguished from other men is what he preserves in his heart – namely, benevolence and propriety. The benevolent man loves others. The man of propriety shows respects to others. He who loves others is constantly loved by them. He who respects others is constantly respected by them.”
32. 孟子曰： “君子所以异于人者，以其存心也。君子以仁存心，以礼存心。仁者爱人，有礼者敬人。爱人者人恒爱之，敬人者人恒敬之.”
The following 41, 42 and 43 are parts of the same story:
41. A man of Qi had a wife and a concubine, and lived together with them in his house. When their husband went out, he would get himself well filled with wine and flesh, and then return, and, on his wife’s asking him with whom he ate and drank, they were sure to be all wealthy and honourable people. The wife informed the concubine, saying, “When our good man goes out, he is sure to come back having partaken plentifully of wine and flesh. I asked with whom he ate and drank, and they are all, it seems, wealthy and honourable people. And yet no people of distinction ever come here. I will spy out where our good man goes.”
41. 齐人有一妻一妾而处室者，其良人出，则必餍酒肉而后反。其妻问所与饮食者，则尽富贵也。其妻告其妾曰： “良人出，则必餍酒肉后反；问其与饮食者，尽富贵也，而夫尝有显者来，吾将窥探良人之所之也.
42. Accordingly, she got up early in the morning, and privately followed wherever her husband went. Throughout the whole city, there was no one who stood and talked to him. At last, he came to those who were sacrificing among the tombs beyond the outer wall on the east, and begged what they had over. Not being satisfied, he looked about, and went to another party – and this was the way in which he got himself satiated. His wife returned, and informed the concubine, saying, “It was to our husband that we looked up in hopeful contemplation, with whom our lot is cast of life – and now these are his ways!” On this, along with concubine she reviled their husband, and they wept together in the middle hall. In the meantime the husband, knowing nothing of all this, came in with a jaunty air, carrying himself proudly to his wife and concubine.
42. 蚤起，施后良人之所之，遍国中无与立谈者。卒之东郭墦间，之祭者，乞其馀；不足，又顾而之他，此其为餍足之道也。其妻归，告其妾曰：”良人者，所仰望而终身也。今若此。” 与其妾讪其良人，而相泣于中庭。而良人未之知也。施施后外来，骄其妻妾.
43. In the view of a superior man, as to the ways by which men seek for riches, honours, gain, and advancement, there are few of their wives and concubines who would not be ashamed and weep together on account of them.