Thursday, April 8, 2010

How to get rid of village bums

A certain rich man in a village lost a chicken. Just a chicken out of his backyard coop full of chickens, but he went ballistic and had to blame someone for it. So who should happen by but a village bum, a young man who had nothing better to do but spend his days hanging around the village shrine, fishing by the river or playing with the kids.

The bum argued and yelled and said he didn't even know there were chickens around the place! A crowd gathered round.

The rich guy was adamant he got the right man. "Show us the proof then," said the villagers.

The wealthy one couldn't get any proof, but he refused to let the young man go.

Then the young man had an idea. He suggested they go to the village shrine and ask the Tuapehkong. He thought the Tuapehkong would favor him because he was always there taking care of the place. The rich guy agreed on one condition. If the young man was found guilty he will be banished from the village. The bum said confidently, "OK, let's go find out the truth."

Tuapehkong decided in favor of the rich guy and the poor bum was thrown out of the village. He had nowhere to go, so he hiked to the next county.

The folks in the next county were fighting a war with several of their neighbors. The young man was immediately drafted into the army. They trained him. To his own surprise he found he could do lots of things he never knew he could. He learned fast and he fought well with different weapons. He was always suggesting strategies to his captain and they kept winning battles against their neighboring county. And they kept promoting him until he became a general. Then they won the war.

Years went by and the emperor heard about the young general of the county. He summoned the young man and made him a general of the imperial army. He won campaign after campaign, until the whole country was united under one emperor. The wars ended and the emperor made him a governor of his own county. It was good thing. The guy had a desire to visit his home village again.

The first thing he saw upon entering the village gates was the little shrine and the Tuapehkong staring at him. He stared back. He ordered his men to tear the shrine down and throw everything into a vacant lot nearby. That night he had a dream.

"I want you to build a house for me right in the vacant lot where I am now." said Tuapehkong.

"Who are you to order me to do things?" asked the governor. "You didn't stop them from throwing me out of the village years ago, remember? They still think I stole that chicken."

"I did that on purpose. If I'd told the truth you'd still be a village bum today. But look at you now. A word from you and things will be done."

The governor bowed his head when he realized the truth of that. When he woke up the next day he ordered the temple to be built.

The rich man who lost the chicken protested. The vacant plot of land belonged to him. The governor said, "I shall now pass a law that says all land not occupied or planted with food crops shall belong to the government."

Soon the rich landowners began to lease out their lands or hired laborers to plant crops instead of leaving them to grow weeds or became jungles.

And that was how the poor of the village finally got some land to plant their own food.

Moral of the story: Some people have the potential to be great. They just need a boot in the butt to get them going.


  1. How to get rid of village bums.. free food? Going by festivity open houses, it seems nothing moves a Malaysian, poor or rich, like free food! :-)

    Nice article by the way.

  2. Well, so long as free food is still available...