Just and Selfless
Would you recommend your enemy for a position if he or she is qualified? Would you recommend your son? Qi Huangyang did both.
In today's program, we'll learn a phrase meaning “Just and Selfless.” In Chinese it reads, “da gong wu si.” As usual, the idiom comes from a story.
During the Spring and Autumn Period in ancient China, Qi Huangyang was an official of the Jin Kingdom. He was a man of great integrity. One day, the king of Jin called him in and asked, “Nanyang county needs a magistrate now. Whom do you think is best qualified for this position?” Qi Huangyang answered without hesitation, “Xie Hu should be equal to this task. Your majesty, you could appoint him magistrate of Nanyang.” The king couldn't believe his ears, for he knew that Xie Hu was no friend of Qi Huangyang, and asked, “Are you saying Xie Hu?” “Yes,” answered Qi Huangyang. “But isn't he your enemy? The two of you even don't say 'hello' to each other. How come you recommend him to be a magistrate?” Qi Huangyang smiled and said, “Your majesty, you are not asking me whether Xie Hu is my enemy. You are asking me who is best qualified for the vacant position. That's why I recommend Xie Hu to you, because he is the most proper candidate.”
The king therefore appointed Xie Hu magistrate. After Xie Hu started his new job, his achievements won acclaim from both his colleagues and the local people.
Later, the king called in Qi Huangyang again. He said, “The court lacks a judge. I have thought about this for a long time, but can't figure out who is best qualified for this position. Do you have any suggestions?” Qi Huangyang answered, “Yes, your majesty. Nobody would be better than Qi Wu.” The king was surprised, and said, “Isn't Qi Wu your son? I asked for your suggestion, and you recommend your own son. Aren't you afraid of what people will say?” Qi Huangyang answered, “Your majesty, you are asking me who is best qualified to be judge. I recommend the best person for the job. You are not asking me whether Qi Wu is my son or not.”
Though the king was still unsure, he appointed Qi Wu judge. Qi Wu, with his fairness and wisdom, proved he was indeed qualified.
Qi Huangyang's behavior won praise from many people. Even Confucius spoke highly of him. Confucius said, “Qi Huangyang recommends only those who are best qualified, no matter they are his enemy or his son. He is not afraid of what other people might say about him. He is selfless.”
People therefore drew the idiom “Fair and selfless” or “da gong wu si” in Chinese.