An episode in the opera, Meng Lijun
played by Ms Wang Wenjuan (王文娟), Emperor played by
Ms Jin Meifang (金美芳) whose depiction of the emperor
is so charming and amusing that it has become a true
The royal garden in the spring season, peach
flowers are in full blossom. Their fate, however, depends
on the wind, which is not consistent, now tender now robust.
Emperor: The monarch and the
prime minister, ride on ambling horses side by side, which
makes me so thrilled. If the PM is indeed a female, I’ll
divorce my empress in the first instance. Now let me make
sure she is indeed a lass in man’s dress.
Lijun: The monarch and the
prime minister, ride on ambling horses side by side, which
makes me so concerned. His motivation is rather suspicious,
I must be highly vigilant and very cautious.
Emperor: What a magnificent
scene in the spring garden, what a marvelous time we spent
in each other’s company.
Meng Lijun: The towering terraces,
the elegant verandas and the skillfully painted beams are
indeed impressive to me.
Emperor: The rare blossoms
spread all over like a giant carpet, the aging trees shade
the ground with verdant green light. Look at these birds,
do you know they fall in love with each other at first sight.
Meng Lijun: I’m unaware of
stories, but I’ve heard they all know their proper places,
which is why they can fly in team without chaos.
Emperor: I’ve offered you
to view this stunning landscape …
Lijun: I’ll return you with
my hard work. Your Majesty, we live in a time of peace and
prosperity, but if we pay no attention to the perils
in the society, we’ll be in for a nasty surprise of social
Emperor: My dear prime minister,
you are indeed the pillar of my imperial court, who never
fails to admonish me to stick on to the right route. But
today is a day for fun, let’s not worry about the world around.
You are renowned for your talent on poem,
I would like you to compose verse matching my rhyme:
I don’t know which one is more charming:
the peach flowers in sunny reflection, or the beautiful
face by the blossom.
Lijun: I know which one
is more enduring: the flowers in the garden will not flourish
beyond the season, but the pines on the mountain will
be forever green.
Emperor: Her literature talent
is just astonishing, if only I can have her as my full-time
companion. Let me make another close examination ... Oh,
my dear prime minister, how come as a bloke you were unable
to hold your horse's reins tight?
Lijun: Ah, Your Majesty, as
a kid I used to get sick quite often, and always traveled
Emperor: I’m viewing the reflection
in the pool, and see the profile of a royal couple.
Lijun: I have trouble to understand
your remark, I only see the reflection of one monarch. Your
Majesty, I thank you for your hospitality, but now the sun
is setting in the west and I must return to my unfinished
Emperor: Leave it for the
next day. Tonight let’s drink to our heart's content at the
Terrace of Heavenly Scent.
Emperor: This is the most
beautiful flower in my garden; you are the most beautiful
person in my kingdom. Yet it looks so pale in comparison,
so lowers its head in humiliation. My dearest prime minister,
Mr Pan is said to be the No. one handsome scholar, I say
you are ten-times better. During the morning meeting in court,
we had this storm in a teacup, all because you are too charismatic,
so I can’t blame the general for losing his mind, 'cause
my heart is also after you all the way around. I wish we
can share our artistic moment more often, I fancy we can
exchange our views without obstruction, I aspire we can forever
together reign the kingdom, I hope in no occasion we shall
experience a separation. Oh, my dear dear prime minister,
the true wealth is one’s youthfulness, let’s not disappoint
the moon goddess with our empty wine cups.
Lijun: I’m grateful for your
trust in me with the top official duty, thus obliged to serve
the kingdom to my best capacity. O, Sire, the storm in the
teacup shall soon be over, once the clouds are dispersed,
we’ll again have a sunny weather. I'm not sure what's moon
goddess's preference, but to me the wealth and the nobleness
are as illusive as the clouds floating in the skies.
The garden crisis was temporarily put on hold
due to the unexpected arrival of the empress and an urgent
report that PM's residence was caught in fire, which were
in fact all pre-arranged by Lijun.
Early next morning, she went to see empress
dowager in the excuse of presenting a portrait of Guanyin
Bodhisattva, crafted by herself, as her gift since the
old lady's birthday was about to come in a few days. Along
with the portrait was her letter, detailing her reason for
cross-dressing and pleading for dowager’s forgiveness and
Lijun was put on trial before the royal court
with the top adviser as the co-public prosecutor and the
emperor acting as the chief magistrate. Ignoring the strong
opposition and protest, the emperor sentenced Lijun to life
in palace. But his ruling was reversed by a higher court
judge, the empress dowager.
The dowager educated the emperor:
"My dear son, haven’t you heard this piece
of Chinese wisdom: It is important to secure bliss from heaven,
but what is more important is to win the hearts and minds
of the majority people in the kingdom*.
My dear boy, haven’t you heard this saying: Only when the
boss is virtuous he will obtain a dignified team; only
when the leader is mindful of danger in times of peace he
will regain the order in the face of chaos. My dear child,
remember this fact: Only when the foundation is strong a
skyscraper can be built; we will lose our support if we allow property
developers to demolish the bridge after we crossed the
river. The government is like a boat and the people in grassroots
are like water; managing the state affairs is similar to
sailing a boat in the lake. If we follow the wind and the
current, the boat will progress fast; and if we sail against
the trend, we may just go stuck. Bearing in mind, my dear
kid: Although the water in a river can facilitate a boat
to carry out a voyage, it can also tip it over when it is
in outrage. Therefore be careful and forever careful with
every decision you made, if you don’t want to see the boat
The emperor was touched by his mommy's reasoning,
and agreed not to appeal higher court's decision. So Meng
Lijun was released from the palace and married the young
general, her beloved sweetheart, and the couple happily lived
together … ever after ...
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is not to follow but to lead; not to lead without followers
but to convince people to follow.
Chinese Cross Dresser (1)
Chinese Cross Dresser (3)