Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mo Shaoqian and the 36 Military Stratagems (Part 1)

I'm sure many of you who like Sealed with a Kiss is largely attributed to the charisma of Mo Shaoqian. At least for me, I definitely fall into that category. Mo Shaoqian is one of the "smarter" Chinese television characters I've seen. He's not perfect, nor he is the typical hero. He honestly sounds more like an anti-hero. Despite his unethical actions and flaws, I still find his character irresistible and love to watch every minute of this character gets unfolded onscreen.

Enough of my babble and let me get to the point. As I was browsing the SWAK Baidu Forum, I read this interesting thread where a fan intelligently weaves a series of Mo Shaoqian's actions in the drama with the famous 36 Military Stratagems. I found her application of 36 Stratagems on Mo Shaoqian quite entertaining and witty, so I decided to translate what she wrote. Note, not all the stratagems fit perfectly in Mo Shaoqian's situation.

For those of you unfamiliar with the famous Chinese Military Thirty-Six Stratagems, here is the wiki's answer:

"The Thirty-Six Stratagems was a Chinese essay used to illustrate a series of stratagems used in politics, war, as well as in civil interaction, often through unorthodox or deceptive means."

||Originally written by cainfreya, translated/edited by JoleCole||

Stratagem 1: Episode 8 - Mo Shaoqian at the Shanghai Land Auction and his wheedling of his business nemesis, Tao Jingtian

Besiege Wèi to rescue Zhào (围魏救赵)
When the enemy is too strong to be attacked directly, then attack something he holds dear. Know that he cannot be superior in all things. Somewhere there is a gap in the armour, a weakness that can be attacked instead.(to read more here)
The idea here is to avoid a head on battle with a strong enemy, and instead strike at his weakness elsewhere. This will force the strong enemy to retreat in order to support his weakness. Battling against the now tired and low-morale enemy will give a much higher chance of success. (credit: wiki)


Whenever Mo Shaoqian has a slight show of his dimple, it means he's conjuring up something in his head or his "prey" is going according to his plans.
Perfect shot of his smirk

Mo Shaoqian's body language when he drinks his cup of tea exhibits the classy confidence of a shrewd business man and manipulator
"I need to find someone who's even more powerful and capable"
"Tao Jingtian is a man who hides his true nature well"

"It's extremely hard to read his thoughts"
"I'm going to wait for him (Tao Jingtian) to come to me"

In this episode, our beloved Mo Shaoqian purposely lost the land bid to his business rival, Tao Jingtian. Rather baffled by Mo Shaoqian's amicability at first, Tao Jingtian eventually understood Mo Shaoqian's actions. He pointed out to his assistant that Mo Shaoqian has categorized his enemies according to specific ranks. Mo Shaoqian's greatest enemy is his father-in-law, Mu Changhe, while he is just an ancillary culprit in the demise of Mo Yaohua.

On the other hand, Mo Shaoqian sees Tao Jingtian as a capable ally who hides his true colors well and is a worthy contender against Mu Changhe. Many years ago, when Mu Changhe turned against Tao Jingtian after they collaborated to destroy Mo Shaoqian's father business, Tao Jingtian still managed to thrive successfully in the business world despite this major setback. This fact shows that Tao Jingtian is not the docile/agreeable gentleman he appears. He is as much of a snide old fox as Mu Changhe. Thus, Mo Shaoqian would love to use Tao's discontent and eagerness to strike back at his father-in-law to his advantage. This stratagem tells us that enemies should be ranked according to usefulness as well as allies.

Preview of the next stratagem: "Kill with a borrowed knife"

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