[FOUNTAIN]To absorb the lessons of humilityThere was a large Chinese restaurant at the top of a windy hill. The restaurant was so popular that the owner had a hard time counting the money he earned. But the secret of its success was neither quality food nor service. The restaurant happened to be located on a very busy street and there was no competition nearby. But the owner, Disrespectful Han, misunderstood the situation completely. He thought “If it were not for me, no one in this town could have a bowl of noodles.”
As a small Chinese restaurant opened up in the area, a regrettable incident occurred. Mr. Han, who boasted of his wealth and power, beat up a foul-mouthed elderly man. Then the customers began to go to the new restaurant. The loss of customers was a natural consequence of ignoring Valerius Maximus’s saying, “Filial piety is the first law of nature.”
The small new Chinese restaurant was packed with customers. The owner continued to attract customers by promising to provide fresh noodles. But these were empty words. The service did not improve and the boring menu never changed. When the indolence of the small restaurant peaked, the owner, Unfilial Wu, is rumored to have said, “We don’t need any more old customers.” Apparently, Mr. Wu had forgotten the teaching of Analects, “Those who practice filial piety and brotherly love do not trouble society.”
Mr. Han, who faced a crisis first, set up a tent on the street. He began whipping himself with a switch and pleading with tears. “I will never disappoint you again. I will always be respectful.” Mr. Wu visited the elderly and implored, “I will provide free meal coupons for the old.” A street vendor, whose business was sluggish because of the two Chinese restaurants, said both Mr. Han and Mr. Wu were disrespectful and arrogant.
A wise man in the neighborhood borrowed a teaching of Confucius and said, “Today, they think buying a bowl of noodles can fulfill the duty of filial piety. But you feed your dogs and horses too. If it does not come from the heart, buying a bowl of noodles is the same as feeding an animal.”
Another wise man agreed. “If the legendary unicorn Hiai Chai, which judges right from wrong and punishes, lived today, it would have no trouble finding food.” Among the residents of the windy hill, the most popular song is “Be sweet when still together.”
by Lee Kyu-youn
The writer is a deputy city news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.