I was recently following a chinese series on tv. I’m sure a lot of chinese fans out there already aware of this series “Bu Bu Jing Xing”. This is a famous chinese phrase that means “every step to be taken with caution”. And in this context, the precaution is not merely, be careful, but literally meaning life & death. So every step could be a fatality awaiting.
So, this series I am following potrays a girl from the future going back to the Qing Dynasty, during the changing of the empire from Kang Xi emperor to one of his son, whom eventually become Yong Zheng emperor. This girl from the future happens to know her history well, and thus it is exciting for her (initally) to witness all these character coming to life. She is also well aware of their outcome (death, etc) and what abilities (through reading history books). As the plot develops, she unwillingly got entangled into the plot and became the focus of the imperial family. Also, she eventually fell in love with the Yong Zheng emperor himself & develops a relationship with him.
This is where the “Bu Bu Jing Xin” starts. It is the nature of human to get more heartless & ruthless as he/she move up. And when you are as high as the emperor, most times, you have to act swiftly & ruthlessly towards rebellion or anything against you/empire. So, in time, the girl realized that being with an emperor puts tremendous pressure on herself and gotten a lot of her friends killed. Some of them got close to her with ulterior motive to bring down the emperor. Thus, the emperor have to kill her friends. She knows the emperor loves her, but she is also very scared of him and his ways.
Another proverb best describe this situation is “Ban Jun Ru Ban Hu” (to accompany an emperor is akin to accompanying a tiger). Now, it is great to have a tiger as a pet/company only if he is mild and happy. But always bear in mind that he is still a tiger, fully capable of eating you up anytime. So, if it happens to be in bad mood or angry, you are in a precarious situation. Therefore you have to take every step with caution.
I guess, for us, normal people, most times, we can choose not to be with a tiger. Yet, these 2 phrases are still very much relevant in modern days. For me, working under my director is a great example. If business is well, work is fine, its all good. I get paid, he gets paid and we get things done. Yet, when clients reject a sale or when something goes wrong, he would get really angry at me and raise his voice etc. It takes courage to confront him at times like this so I have to proceed with caution (bu bu jing xin). I don’t want to lose my job.
Anyway, this post is to remind us that we cannot let our caution down with anyone. You will never know who is the tiger amongst the midst. Usually he is the one with the most power, but a general rule is not to let your hair down with anyone. Also, it is a proper way to interact with people. Mind your manners, mind your words & think before you speak.