Catch up from behind
- Release on :2016-06-25
An lived at the time of Emperor Wudi of theWestern Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D.24). He wasrespected for being upright and just and for daringto speak the truth. He did not bother about smallmatters in personal behavior and in being an official. He was particular about actual effectsand, although he did not cause a stir, he could keep the prefecture he governed in perfectorder. Because of this， the imperial court transferred him to the central government frombeing the perfect of the Donghai Prefecture to being a commander in charge of theappointment and dismissal of the local officials.
Once, Emperor Wudi said that he would implement the policy of benevolence and justice ofConfucianism and would do good turns to the people. Emperor Wudi Had hardly finished hisremands when Ji An said that there was no need for the emperor to say so. Why should theemperor bother, Ji An said, about pretending to implement the policy of benevolence andjustice since he was so greedy and avaricious within himself? This choked the emperor off. Theemperor suddenly changed his countenance and declared the meeting over. All the civilian andmilitary officers at court were breathless with anxiety for fear that Ji An might bring disasterupon himself because of this. After returning, Emperor Wudi said to the people around him thatJi An was a little too rude and too straightforward.
For this reason , Ji An was never promoted again. When he was the commander in charge ofthe appointment and dismissal of the local officials, both Gongsun Hong and Zhang Tang werelow -ranking officials of little importance. Later, they were promoted continuously. GongsunHong became the prime minister and Zhang Tang became the imperial censor. However,JiAn's post remained the same. One day, Ji An said to Emperor Wudi that the way the emperorused his ministers was just like piling up firewood, which meant that the latecomers surpassedthe old-timers. Of course, Emperor Wudi could see that Ji An was complaining. So, turning tohis ministers, Emperor Wudi said, "It is true that no one can stop learning. You see, Ji An ismaking more and more indiscreet remarks."
This story comes from The Historical Records. Later generations use the set phrase "thelatecomers surpass the oldtimers” to indicate that successors can excel the predecessors,which is quite different from the original idea when Ji An said that the latecomers surpassedthe old-timers.Related news:
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