Emperor booby-trapped?

Cao Guojiu

KTemoc Konsiders

Please tell me, prior to the beginning of the Chinese New Year how many of you know Cao Guojiu?

Wait, let me rephrase that more appropriately – how many of you “Chinese” know Cao Guojiu?

As a Chinese Malaysian myself, I have to admit I don’t, well at least not prior to the start of this Monkey year.

And I dare bet you that 999 out of 1,000 Chinese in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau and especially mainland China don’t as well. Perhaps in Taiwan there may be more Chinese who knows who Cao Guojiu was.

Today we come to be informed of who Cao Guojiu was/is, but only because poor Mohd Khairuddin Othman of PAS, the state assemblyperson for Paya Jaras, Selangor, was seen dressed in a period costume allegedly that of Cao Guojiu.

Our dear Yang Berhormat had sportingly worn the costume in a Chinese New Year celebration, apparently on the encouragement of his constituents of Paya Jaras near Kepong, having been informed that the costume was that of a Chinese emperor.

Chinese members of his state constituency who told him so was probably acting in good faith (excuse the unintended pun), because … well, for answer/explanation … please refer to my queries above (at beginning of this article). His Chinese constituents were probably as clueless as me [grin].

But let us explore other possible reasons for his constituents unwittingly dunking the luckless though innocent YB into the hot Islamic soup like a Chinese kuih kapit.

The period costume Khairuddin wore would be typically those of the nobility during the Song Dynasty, so the allegedly incorrect information about the period costume he was asked to don was in the end not so incorrect after all.

Historically, Cao Guojiu was a member of the royal family, being a younger brother of an empress, specifically the wife of Emperor Renzong of the Song dynasty. He was the royal brother-in-law.

While he wasn’t the emperor himself, he certainly was a member of royalty. We can’t blame people for believing his clothing (that is, assuming they even remember or know who he was) was those of an emperor.

Besides, people are also known for name-dropping so those who had once knew him, and those rare few Chinese Malaysians who still do, might possibly insinuate he was somewhat and somehow an emperor.

Yes, we Malaysians are notorious for our name-dropping habits. I recall as a schoolboy, when I was involved in a schoolyard scrap with another student, the brat having lost the bout threatened me with his father’s might, saying: “I’ll tell my dad you all gang up on me just because I spoke out against the class monitor!” [maniacal laughter – you know how that would go!]