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Sweating Buffalo

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Once upon a time, there was a prime minister in China who was renowned for his honesty and determination.

One day, on his routine stroll through the capital with his friends and colleagues, he saw a group of people fighting each other on the street. Beating each other with fists, feet, pots, and whatever else they could get their hands on, the fighting was brutal. Yet the minister didn’t pay the slightest bit of attention even though maimed and injured combatants littered the street. His friends felt this was strange, but didn’t question his negligence. Instead, they quelled the rioting themselves, separating the contending factions and helping the injured. When they finished, they rushed back to the Prime Minister, who had a look of disgust on his face. Again, the minister's colleagues were perplexed at his dissatisfaction at a successful resolution of a violent conflict.

Later, when they were in countryside, the friends came across a farmer and his buffalo. The buffalo looked tired and had sweat streaming down all over its body. The Prime Minister stopped and asked the farmer, “dear farmer, how far have you walked? Is there anything wrong with the buffalo?” "Ahh! It's just that the weather has been so strange, my buffalo got sick because of the hot and cold periods we've had!" Expressing understanding, the Prime Minister quickly turned around briskly walked toward s the capital. His friends, curious about the days two events, asked him, "Why do you ask a farmer about a sweating buffalo, but don't bat an eye at fighting on the street?”

The minister answered, “Local fighting is to be dealt with by local government. All I need to do is supervise the local government's handling of the situation and to ensure a just outcome. The farmer and buffalo though, are a different story. It’s only Spring now, so the weather shouldn’t be hot enough to make a buffalo sweat, but as you can see, the buffalo is sweaty and tired. What I'm worried about is the reason why the buffalo was so sickly. If it was due to irregular weather, as the farmer suggested, then the central government must prepare stopgaps to help the peasants if there is to be disaster on the horizon."

“Meanwhile, I can reassess the ability and honesty of the local government from the way they handle this street fighting issue. So, my dear friends, don’t you see that this is a win-win situation for me?”

“No wonder you can be a Prime Minister.”





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