Sunday, 31 July 2016

Ambiguous And Able To Go Either Way--Mo Leng Liang Ke

This Chinese of Ambiguous And Able To Go Either Way--Mo Leng Liang Ke is 模棱两可, and Pin Yin mó léng liǎng kě. 
Su Wei Dao was a famous poet and writer as well as a politician in an early stage of Tang Dynasty of China. It was said that he began to write poems at the age of nine, and thus was called "child prodigy".
When he was twenty, he passed the imperial examination, becoming a inferior official. Just like his studies, his official career went quite smooth, though there were some slight ups and downs. He had ever been assigned as the prime minister for three times and occupied this position for totally seven years, which was rather rare in the reign of Wu Ze Tian (武则天, the only female Emperor in Chinese history).
As a mellow politician, Su Wei Dao was very sophisticated. He often said:" When you have to make a decision, don't make it clear; otherwise, if your decision is wrong, you will be blamed or even punished. But if your decision is ambiguous and looks like able to go either way, no one can find faults with you."
His philosophy, though helpful for his success in officialdom, made him the laughingstock of people of his time and thus brought him a nickname, "Ambiguous Su".

Background and Writer Comment:

This Chinese idiom story is from "The New Book of Tang (新唐书 xīn táng shū)", a classic work of history about the Tang Dynasty edited by Ou Yang Xiu and Song Qi (宋祁) and other official scholars of the Song Dynasty.
The idiom of "Ambiguous And Able To Go Either Way--Mo Leng Liang Ke" is used to describe the case in which someone speaks in an equivocal way.

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