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Ok, I admit that I've failed somewhere before. But anyway welcome. Just a brief intro on what you should expect here:
1. Football. Not gonna post much of that any soon since season is over. :S
2. Anime, Games, etc. Just abt anything conceivable under the Japanese radar barring anything and everything Rule 34. Now that's illegal. Period. -.-;
3. Music. Everything to do with it is listed under the tab.
5. Unacceptable humour: Anything and everything is fair game here. As long as I don't get rounded up by the ISA. -.-'

6.
The Known World=Fantasy world building in process. I: Used to be glossary, now devoted to random rambling; II: Character Concepts; III: Lore.
7. der Wolf=my Fictionpress account under the moniker Tsumujikaze no Soujutsu. A Ranger's Tale is hosted under this page. :)
8. New section now upped. Maybe I should also gun for upping A Ranger's Tale here since I do have this funny feeling that traffic coming to here is way more than whatever I'll get in FP.

Statement of intent: Everything said here is a figment of personal opinion, be it me or anybody commenting. I try to be responsible, but my parents=/=parents of the world.

@Druid of Luhn: Crap. Should have remembered far earlier to give you the credit for your CSS text box code. :(

A/N: But sadly, it seems that your CSS text box code has now been halved efficiency wise. :(

That most important note I should have added: Any images posted in this blog are NOT my own stuff. I got them from Google image search, I don't earn any shit by being a thief and liar. Those responsible for the pictures, rest assured that you all are great artists in your own regards. Sadly, we all know what limited space means in terms of posting.

Latest Note: Changed alignment for my page widgets due to my worry that I can't centre align the thing.

Note on A Ranger's Tale: In case any complaining fella wants to have a legal case with me, let this be known that A Ranger's Tale is rated M by default. I've upped the swearing and somewhat a bit on the dark/gritty factor. You all have been warned, let no little boy and girl enter the forbidden realm.

Latest on ART: A Ranger's Tale now starting to kick back in gear. But I really hate the insanely fluctuating climate here in S'pore.

P.S: Oh, and one more thing. Vid below is yet another ideal OP for A Ranger's Tale.

Friday, 21 March 2014

I break my oath, I bastardo...

Apparently, I've said somewhere/somehow in FB that I won't write up any history post till I get a gf. As my current record stand, El Bastardo is still certified SDU.* Therefore, might as well quit wanking over any thoughts of potential gf.
*For those certified bodoh kambing putih, S stands for Single, D is for Despondent, U means Undesirable.**
**I finally upgraded your definition of SDU, Mr Leow. GESS season 95/96 ftw.

Also a few things noted by limpeh
1. A certain churchmate Y seems to have aged 5 yrs in reverse despite being a father himself soon. Y, I know you to be a very serious person during our years in the youth fellowship. Why ah?
2. Pastor T seems to... well, experience a wee bit of personality change also I guess....
3. Salty Fish, may I know why must go prawning during daytime? You dunno my Sat working hrs so damned suay one meh? Some more our cell group less than 15 and you still can say "one rod for two people hor!"
4. She Hulk was uncharacteristically placid. At the same time, she also uncharacteristically turned green against President Ah-lee-bama.
5. Realised FB start to have plenty of ppl I don't know, but who have at least 1 mutual friend indicated. Scariest shit ever? Same logic goes for whoever within the relevant dept.

So who shall be my chosen one since I tend to favour all the ulu ulu ppl?
A certain ex AS1 by the name of Steve Ang once famously asked me this: "Kuok, how come all the video games you like are all the ones nobody knows one?" Likewise, I bet not many people actually understood the greatness of another Bastardo.

Therefore, might as well pull off another ulu-job, this time round my choice even more damn ulu...

镇北敏思,筹画有方,
导师禳秽,遂事成章。
偏任东隅,末命不祥,
哀悲本志,放流殊疆。

Trans:
An agile mind was he who Defends the North, he was always an able planner,
He disciplined the immoral, his success was absolute.
Tasked with mission along the East, his imminent fate undeserved,
Alas for convictions unfulfilled, his end tantamount to exile.

Above poem is NOT by me. This was part of Yang Xi's poetry works lauding the deceased great men throughout the Shu Han history. Due to Chen Shou being part of Shu Han, 'tis only natural for us to see this kind of literature stuff in the Records of Three Kingdoms. [1]

So why was Huang Quan deemed special? Firstly and foremost, I invoked his name in a post quite unrelated. Proof that me no lying. Secondly, Liu Bei had always seen him as a talent indispensable.

Brief intro
[黄权,字公衡,巴西阆中人也。少为郡吏,州牧刘璋召为主簿。]
《三国志;黄权传》

Trans:
[Huang Quan, styled Gongheng, was a native belonging to Langzhong of Baxi. During his youth, he was already made a county official. Afterwards, the provincial governor Liu Zhang summoned him to be his Chief Secretary.]
《Record of the Three Kingdoms; Accounts of Huang Quan》

Personal analysis:
Chen Shou didn't mince his words when he talked about Huang Quan's capability. On one hand, he's absurdly gifted when it came to organising (hence being a high ranking local official during his youth). On the other end, his style name implies an upright character full of impartiality and sound judgment (note that Gongheng [公衡] literally translates into "fair [impartial] and well-balanced [sound judgment/prudent in judgment]"). While plenty has already been said on Liu Zhang being an idiot, we must also acknowledge that his only problem lies in using people with various colours of integrity. This is why in his Longzhong Thesis [隆中对], Zhuge Liang stated that the Yi Province is full of talented individuals. On one hand, we have non-problematic talents cursed with problematic personality [e.g. Pang Xi (庞羲), Zhang Song (张松), Li Yan (李严) and Fa Zheng (法正)]. Yet, there were also undoubted talents blessed with undoubted integrity [e.g. Cheng Ji (程畿). Liu Ba (刘巴) and Yan Yan (NOT Yeo Yann Yann of the Ilo Ilo fame, but this old bloke>>严颜)]. Huang Quan quite obviously belongs to the latter type.

So what is a Chief Secretary? By my own estimation, a Chief Secretary was someone tasked with organising administrative affairs. Or more specifically drafting vital documents while assuming total command in all things written and confidential. At the same time, this was also a post tasked with safekeeping and organising properly each and every piece of document. Not to mention if your big boss' royal seal goes MIA, someone upstairs is in a very big trouble. [2]

Note: This is somewhat different from the Imperial Secretary (尚书/尚书令) where such post's actual power lies in all things documentation WITHIN the imperial jurisdiction (note: Because the ancient Chinese were quite anal over details and more details, they tend to separate administrative issues into local (i.e. provincial), central (i.e. the government) and imperial (i.e. privy only to the highest authority). Huang Quan's status most likely falls into the former two categories (albeit if this was assuming no one held the Imperial Secretary post. And no, Fa Zheng wasn't one until Liu Bei declared himself as Dat Bawss of Hanzhong [汉中王]).

How to deal with national crisis even before it starts
[时别驾张松建议,宜迎先主,使伐张鲁。权谏曰:“左将军有骁名,今请到,欲以部曲遇之,则不满其心,欲以宾客礼待,则一国不容二君。若容有泰山之安,则主有累卵之危。可但闭境,以待河清。”]
《三国志;黄权传》

Trans:
[At that time, Zhang Song, the Provincial Escort, suggested to Liu Zhang that they should welcome Liu Bei in order to attack Zhang Lu. Quan, however, voiced his objection, saying thus: "The Left General (i.e. Liu Bei) is one with a repute for valour. If we are to welcome him with troops prepared, we'll end up risking his displeasure. If we are to welcome him with hospitality, we must take heed that no country can ever harbour two kings. If we are to compromise in the name of stability, rightful authority will be undermined. Let us then seal off the border in order to clarify whatever upcoming situation."]
《Record of the Three Kingdoms; Accounts of Huang Quan》

Personal analysis:
This is where we start seeing how much of an imba analyser Huang Quan turned out to be. Take note that Huang Quan did NOT say "hey, let's shut out that lying S.O.B 4 teh lulz!"

Rather, he was advocating a wait and see approach. While Zhang Song was all about pulling a fatal wedgie over Zhang Lu's power up north (note: Zhang Lu was the ruler of Hanzhong). Every Three Kingdoms buff will tell you how deep was the bad blood between Liu Zhang and Zhang Lu. Recently, there was a political brouhaha over some decision to honour two war heroes in a manner equivalent to... well, I dunno how to phrase this. What I'm trying to say is NOT about whether those involved are a bunch of dicks. Rather, whatever stakes placed on the table was 10 x higher. Is it any wonder to see this coming from Zhang Song himself?

As for Huang Quan's POV, he saw the necessity behind an effective self-defence policy/decision made. This was the reason behind his analysis, that such an extreme measure was something posing forth extreme risks. You can try pissing a powerful neighbour off, but that's provided you know who are Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Zhao Yun and Chen Dao. This was why he suggested a pseudo middle stance where preventing hostile reinforcement became the number one priority. [3]

Conclusion: Sucks to be you
[璋不听,竟遣使迎先生,出权为广汉长,及先主袭取益州,将帅分下郡县。郡县风景附,权闭城坚守,须刘璋稽服,乃诣降先主。先主假权偏将军。]
《三国志;黄权传》

Trans:
[Not only did Zhang refuse heeding advice, he even sent envoys to welcome the First Lord (i.e. Liu Bei) while sending Quan away to Guanghan as its head official. When the First Lord attacked Yi Province by deploying his forces unto the surrounding settlements, all chose to surrender promptly. Only Quan chose to shut the gates and mount a stubborn defence. In the end, it took Zhang's persuasion to convince him to surrender. The First Lord then made him a de-facto Brigadier General.]

《Record of the Three Kingdoms; Accounts of Huang Quan》

Trans:
It truly sucks to be Huang Quan. Firstly, his boss rejected his advice. Then said boss sent envoys to welcome that once and future king. Note that this was the highest show of respect during ancient times, it's quite a bit like Barack Obama sending Joe Biden to welcome Vladimir Putin on American soil. As if it's not enough, Huang Quan got brutally demoted to where he first began his career, namely a local official.

One interesting part is that Guanghan's geographical location was within the inland area compared to borderland settlements like Yufu, Baxi or Jiangyang. What this means is very simple: Since the Yi Province was a certified basin terrain, it's only natural for the latter areas to be more easily defensible. In fact, Guanghan's terrain is mainly flat with very little high ground. Even if Huang Quan was to concentrate his forces within a city (and via the actual wording, he did DO that), it would take an immense show of leadership to convince every man not to throw down their arms and armour. The greatest problem? Plenty of his counterparts did just that.

Fast forward to the aftermath and what was Liu Bei's decision? Giving a loyal bastard some de-facto power with actual value being nothing next to shit? Remember who was the incumbent Brigadier General back then, folks. In case you forgot, his surname was Zhao. Seriously, Liu Bei was being a dick who was ten times worse than Liu Zhang. [4] At least if anyone wishes to defend Liu Zhang's jerkass decision, I can empathise with the need not to create unwanted conflict (hey, Huang Quan did have major suspicions on Liu Bei's intent, something which he ended up 120% spot on). Still...

Fortune favours the long suffering
[及曹公破张鲁,鲁走入巴中,权进曰:“若失汉中,则三巴不振,此为割蜀之股臂也。”
于是先主以权为护军,率诸将迎鲁,鲁已还南郑,北降曹公。]
《三国志;黄权传》

Trans:
[Upon being defeated by Duke Cao, Zhang Lu managed to escape unto Bazhong. Hence, Quan advising: "If we are to lose Hanzhong, the three lands of Ba will suffer. By then, this would be tantamount to severing Shu downwards from the arm."
Thus, the First Lord appointed Quan as the Army Protector in order to lead his generals in receiving Lu. Alas by then,  Lu had already headed back to Nanzheng offering his surrender to Duke Cao.]
《Record of the Three Kingdoms; Accounts of Huang Quan》

Personal analysis:
Finally, Liu Bei heeded Huang Quan's advice. However, Zhang Lu was a step faster in running back with a white flag in hand. Two interesting facts here:
1. Hanzhong was one of Yi Province's three bulwarks, the other two being Chencang [陈仓] and Longxi [陇西]. Since both territories were already under Cao Cao's control by now, leaving Hanzhong untended would be unimaginable. In fact, just below Hanzhong would be the three lands of Ba. Namely Bazhong (the central part stretching from south up till inland), Badong (the eastern bulwark responsible for repelling any invasions from the east especially Sun Quan) and Baxi (the northern most tip adjoining Hanzhong). Therefore, Huang Quan's somewhat visceral parallel was 100% spot on.
2. The Army Protector had always been a major military title boasting a major military power. I believe I've said it more than one time before, but allow me to say this once again. To be an Army Protector means you'll have the unfettered power to allocate manpower and supervising every general under your scope of command, no matter how high any given general's power.

[然卒破杜濩、朴胡,杀夏候渊,据汉中,皆权本谋也。]
《三国志;黄权传》

Trans:
[Yet, defeating abruptly Du Hu and Fu Hu, slaying of Xiahou Yuan and occupying Hanzhong... these strategies all first came from Quan.]
《Record of the Three Kingdoms; Accounts of Huang Quan》

Personal analysis:
While it's true that Fa Zheng had always been Liu Bei's chief military adviser, Huang Quan was the one who first came up with the proposal and necessary measures. If Fa Zheng had any role to play in all three, it would most likely be hands on planning (hence, his go-ahead command in unleashing Huang Zhong's wrath at Mt Dingjun). As for occupying Hanzhong, it's basically him suggesting this.

What's truly mystifying is the first example. Why got two extra come and chap siao one? Why must Huang Quan say "eh, boss. We confirm must bust these two lobos' karcheng one."

Flashpoint 1: Shit happens, folks.
[九月,巴七姓夷王朴胡、賨邑侯杜濩举巴夷、賨民来附,于是分巴郡,以胡为巴东太守,濩为巴西太守,皆封列侯。]
《三国志;武帝纪》

Trans:
[During the ninth month, the barbarian chieftains Fu Hu and Du Hu stirred up their people and led them to swear allegiance. Hence, the land of Ba was fractured with Fu Hu as the Grand Administrator of Badong and Du Hu the Grand Administrator of Baxi. Both were made marquises.]
《Record of the Three Kingdoms; Record of the Wu Emperor》

Personal analysis:
When above mentioned scenario happened, it was during Zhang Lu's brief stay down south. Apparently, he already harboured plans to defect up north. So why should he swear loyalty to Liu Bei? Confirm bodoh one right? I personally believe it's due to his merry history with Liu Zhang amounting to personal grudges [5], this might be why he chose Cao Cao instead.

Put two and two together, what is the answer you'll get? Surely not five, but four. By stirring up trouble prior to signing his surrender treaty, Zhang Lu can be forgiven for being a dick.

[郃别督诸军,降巴东、巴西二郡,徙其民于汉中。]
《三国志;张郃传》

Trans:
[He led a separate contingent, thus successfully subjugating Badong and Baxi as a result and moving the residents to Hanzhong.]
《Record of the Three Kingdoms; Accounts of Zhang He》

[曹公使夏侯渊、张郃屯汉中,数数犯暴巴界。]
《三国志;先主传》

Trans:
[Duke Cao stationed Xiahou Yuan and Zhang He at Hanzhong, their forces invading the lands of Ba numerous times.]
《Record of the Three Kingdoms; Accounts of the First Lord》

If above few verses ain't enough make you people understand, then no hope for humanity.

To be cont'd...

[1]: Albeit I do have legitimate grounds in suspecting the Jin administration hell bent in covering up vital credit earned by some of Liu Bei's vassals especially Zhao Yun and Fa Zheng. As of now, only three amigos managed to make a fool out of Cao Cao and we all know Sima Yan was fiercely pro-Wei despite being an incapable dick.
[2]: A quote made famous by my (ex) OA of Wales. ;)
[3]: If sealing off the border=/=preventive measure, I dunno what else is. Still don't believe, go ask DPRK.
[4]: In fact withiin Pei Songzhi's annotations, Xu Zhong lamented that Liu Bei's treatment of Huang Quan despite a capable show of integrity and military leadership was merely a token appreciation. In the same breath, he managed to compare this with King Wu of Zhou getting down from his carriage to pay highest respects before Bi Gan's grave. In a nutshell, if King Wu was able to do something which Liu Bei wasn't willing to under similar/exact circumstances, then...
Proof that I'm not lying-[徐众评曰:权既忠谏于主,又闭城拒守,得事君之礼。武王下车,封比干之墓,表商容之闾,所以大显忠贤之士,而明示所贵之旨。先主假权将军,善矣,然犹薄少,未足彰忠义之高节,而大劝为善者之心。]