This time it is not a girl of the northern
native but a lass of southern
origin. Her name is Lijun (丽君) and her surname is Meng
(孟), so she is addressed as Miss Meng Lijun.
Unlike Hua Mulan (花木兰) whose daddy was a disabled
man hardly qualified to be a soldier, Meng Lijun’s father
was a general. But while the daughter of the disabled man
was a kung
master, the girl of the grand general was a scholar who
even failed to learn how to ride a horse properly.
One day the general ran into bad luck and lost
a crucial battle. Instead of quelling a riot
by tribe separatists on the south-western tip of the
kingdom, he disgracefully fell from his horse and captured
by the militant
troublemakers, along with his entire troops. The covert
collaborators of the rebellions in the court spent no
time to spread rumours that the general got paid by the separatists
to lose the fight. A royal decreed was thus issued to arrest
the general’s family members.
So our heroine ran away from home, like Mulan
did. While Mulan left with a pet bird (according to Americans),
Lijun left with her girl servant (according to Chinese),
and sent a self-portrait to her fiancée whom she was yet
to meet in person (according to traditional Chinese custom
which, of course, isn’t a too good custom, but that is another
Once left home, Lijun took a route different
from that of Mulan to rise in rank. She didn’t excel herself
in the battlefield, but distinguished herself in the imperial
examination chambers. In fact, she did so well, that
she was shortlisted as top three PhD candidates to be interviewed
by the emperor,
and the emperor was so impressed with her maiden speech in
the court outlining her broad political, social, economic,
cultural and military strategies that he awarded her the
title of Mr Scholar of the Year (状元公), the highest academic
prize in ancient China that only awarded once in every four
years, and assigned her to ministerial post.
Lijun was a very good public parent (父母官) who
worked hard and achieved a lot while took no bribes and found
herself no mistresses;
soon she was recommended by the aging prime minister to take
over his office.
Lijun proved herself being an outstanding prime
minister. During the three years of her administration, the
productivity of the kingdom was up, the cost
of living was down, the farmland was protected, the agriculture
was supported, the new
cities were built with Chinese
characteristics and in accordance with fengshui principles,
the craft enterprises in textile, paper, furniture, porcelain,
bronze article and bamboo wear (all designed by Chinese)
were encouraged, trading and banking sectors
were under close scrutiny of the governmental surveillance
demand to purchase their stringed shells with China's gold,
silver and precious stones was rejected, the gap between
the rich and the poor was narrowed, the ethic lessons were
taught at private teaching houses (私塾) and government-run
free schools (公学), the right individuals who appreciate the core
values of the Chinese civilisation were promoted to take
in charge of culture, arts and publication affairs, the corrupted
officials were disciplined, the collaborators were
disposed, the ethnic discrimination against the main body
of the Chinese, the Han
people, were strictly prohibited, and the advocators
pushing for imposing less-child
policy on the Han Chinese only were prosecuted for attempting
to execute genocide of Chinese nation. And most importantly,
she appointed a new general, her fiancée; the new general
rescued the old general, her daddy, and successfully wiped
out the separatists movements which include Free Teabag,
East Turkeysburge, Independent Tablewear and New Manchoosewok.
The young general returned to report the emperor
triumphantly, and a delighted emperor offered to be a matchmaker under
the earnest request of a top policy advancer, who was the
representative of the special interest group – the privileged
and get-rich-quick family
of empress – and a Tartar's secret agent.
The young general rejected the proposal and
declared he would only marry Meng Lijun. After a hard and
lengthy negotiation, a compromise was reached: the general
would have to marry the adviser’s daughter if he could not
locate Meng Lijun in 100 days.
As he began to work side by side with the PM,
the young general started to suspect his boss was in fact
his fiancée, and therefore kept dropping hints urging her
to reveal her true nature. But Lijun kept playing innocence.
She probably never heard the story of Joan of Arc, but she
certainly knew she would be severely punished for cross dressing.
And she understood she had to wait for a right moment.
100 days quickly passed. As the young general
was ordered by the emperor to fulfil his promise and marry
the adviser’s daughter, he was forced to announce that Lijun
was among the high officials in the court and he presented
her self-portrait to support his claim.
It didn’t take long for everyone to discover
the great similarities between the prime minister and the
How excited the people in the art collection
world should have felt had they heard the story of Meng Lijun!
Apparently, China is not only home to the freehand and multi-perspective
painting styles that contributed greatly to the post-modern
expression movement in the West, but a cradle for photorealistic
genre long before camera was invented. Pity this portrait
has yet to be located.
Back to the court, some angry officials promptly
tabled a bill demanding to put anyone who was found to have
cross-dressed to death. But the emperor was determined to
save his PM, so ruled that he found everybody in presence
was properly dressed.
Later that day, Lijun was recalled to the palace
by the emperor’s messenger. When she arrived, she was showed
the gate to the inner royal
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In to Break You Up
Chinese Cross Dresser (2)