Posted in Philosophy

Monkeys And Acorns

A man living in the Song Dynasty had many monkeys. He was wary that he might not have enough food to feed the monkeys, so he implemented a rationing system, telling the monkeys “As we are short of food, I will limit the acorns you get to three in the morning and four in the evening”. The monkeys screamed and protested, so the man told the monkeys: “Then I will change it to four in the morning and three in the evening. The stupid monkeys could not figure out that the sum was the same and were overjoyed. This is the story behind the proverb: cho sam mo sa ("Three in the morning, four in the evening”, 조삼모사, 朝三暮四).

It is common to see people who cannot see the forest for the trees and only focus on the immediate gains, just like the monkeys. Although there might be some short-term benefit, the results will be the same (or worse) in the long run and not seeing this is very foolish. To lead a successful life one must have the insight to understand how the happiness gained now will affect the future and the wisdom to achieve the balance between short-term and long-term benefits. Too many people lack these qualities and fall into the trap of hire purchases, mortgages and frauds.

The monkeys made another critical mistake. If they protest against the man’s plans for a better future, he can just say “If you’re not happy, starve” and everything will be over. To throw away the future for a quick fix is an incredibly idiotic act.

Posted in Science & Nature


A shrew is a small rodent, similar in size to a rat, that has many fascinating characteristics.

Funnily enough, this animal has a notorious name in history. Ancient Egyptians considered shrews the spirits of darkness and the English believed that if a shrew ran over a lying animal, the animal would suffer great pain. The name shrew comes from the Middle Age English word shrewe, which meant “evil” or “scolding person”.
This is probably attributable to the putrid smell a shrew makes when threatened, and its poisonous bite.

Despite its tiny figure, the shrew has the greatest surface-area-to-weight ratio out of any mammal on the face of the Earth. Because of this, they also have a high heat expenditure, meaning they have to eat constantly to replenish the energy. This means that they sometimes die from starvation during prolonged naps.
Also, they have an extremely high heart rate, averaging about 700 beats per minute. When they are frightened, the heart rate can spike leading to cardiac arrest. For example, shrews are known to die from being frightened by the sound of thunder.

An animal that dies if it naps too much or when thunder strikes – the shrew is a very sad animal.