The Chinese of Draw Cakes To Allay Hunger--Hua-Bing-Chong-Ji is 画饼充饥.
During the Three Kingdoms period, there lived a forthright and capable
official named Lu Yu (卢毓) in state Wei. His childhood was very
miserable. He lost his parents and two older brothers successively when
he was a little boy.Thus he had to undertake the task of supporting his
sister-in-law and nephew through a extremely difficult time.
despite all hardship, he studied very hard all the time.
When he grew up, his noble deeds and depth of knowledge was already well
known throughout the state. At that time, the selection of government
officials mainly depended on the recommendation of local Magistrates and
some influential gentlemen, and they tended to recommend those with
good reputation. Naturally, Lu Yu found favor with them and obtained a
position in the government in which he worked hard and soon won trust of
Although the then selection and appointment system could sometimes find
some really talented men like Lu Yu, it had a great drawback, that was,
many famous persons were not worthy of their reputation, which had been
bothering the emperor. One year, the Emperor needed to assign some
important high officials. When asking Lu Yu for possible candidates, he
said: "the selection of government officials should not rely solely on
one's fame. Fame is just like a cake drawn on the ground. It may look
good but does not allay one's hunger."
Lu Yu, though a direct beneficiary of the system, also realized its
problem, but he had his own opinion. He said: "You Majesty, it is true,
selecting officials on their fame cannot find remarkable genius, but it
is good enough to find decent gentlemen who has well behaved and thus
get good reputation. The real problem is we don't have an effective
check-up system. If we could evaluate them, we would find who are
capable and who are not."
The Emperor agreed with his words and ordered to set up a evaluation system.