February 2009


I remember I was working on an attachment in a DVD production house when I see this classic Arthurian show.

In this scene, you can see King Arthur’s meeting of Lancelot, Apparently according to Wikipedia, Lancelot was carried off by the lady of the Lake and raised in her magical kingdom. When Lancelot is of age, the Lady of the Lake sent him to Arthur. Here in this story, he was at the bridge, challenging all of Arthur’s knights for a duel.

Finally Arthur decided to meet him on one to one combat. But over here, we can see that Arthur had turn into a very haughty and full of pride.. and he really did not play fair to Lancelot in the duel.
Apparently Lancelot is a better fighter then Arthur, but Arthur uses the power of the Excalibur to hurt someone who practically isn’t his enemy over a something that is really insignificant.

What we can learn from Arthur this scene is, Sometimes when Pride and anger comes, we tend to get very unreasonable. And that would even make us lose our morality and sense of Justice.

Lancelot is very gentlemanly in this fight, (err.. although not so when he stole Arthur’s queen).

Meanwhile lets enjoy this fight scene together

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This is an old hymn that is often sing in every Christian funeral. It is often links to the ship Titantic as it was reputed to be the final hymn played by the Titanic Band before the ship sinks. Although there was always some dispute as some of the survivors heard a different hymn. But the Band Leader Hartley reportedly said to a friend if he was on a sinking ship “Nearer, My God, to Thee” would be one of the songs he would play.

This song is written in the context of the story of Jacob found in Genesis 28:10-20.

Jacob story began at Gen 25. He started to contend with his bro over who is the firstborn even in the mothers womb (Gen 25:21-22) There God already said that the older will serve the younger. Then Rebekah their mother gave birth to this twins, one called Esau and One Called Jacob. Although Jacob must have heard Gods prophesy, but he did not really care about God.. God to him was the God of his fathers. He depended alot on his own deceptiveness. He once cheated his brother of his birthright (Gen 25:29-33).

Later on, Rebekah his mother heard Issac their father asking Esau to hunt for food. so that Issac can eat the game and bless him. Rebekah wanted Jacob to deceive his father to get the blessing. Rebekah dressed Jacob up in his Brothers clothing, used sheep hair to disguise Jacob to make him feel hairy. Rebekah prepared food and asked Jacob to bring it to Issac. Issac blessed Jacob instead of Esau (Gen 27:30-35).

This actions incurred the wrath of Esau the brother, and he vowed to kill Jacob. At this time Rebekah heard Esau and have to send Jacob away from his home. This is the first time Jacob is left on his own in a foreign land. He had never really learn to trust God, and there he comes, setting a stone as his pillow he fell asleep.

Title: Nearer My God To Thee (The Words in Italics are not found on our hymnbook)

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I’d be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

There let the way appear steps unto heav’n;
All that Thou sendest me in mercy giv’n;
Angels to beckon me nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Then with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upwards I fly,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

That is when this God, that he never ever tried to know, appeared before him, he saw for himself a great staircase, which lead to heaven. And Angels are ascending and descending from it. And God said

“I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Gen 28:13-15)

Jacob wakes up, and he marveled at this, however, he did not called God his God (Gen 31:42).. But he made an agreement with God, that if he were to return here safely, he would come and offer his offerings to God. Thus he found the strength to move on with his life onward

Over here we can see how much God loved Jacob, although Jacob doesn’t really knows him, he still choose to protect Jacob, and comfort Jacob. He promised him never to leave him. Long before Jacob even called him “My God”. This offer is extended to us today (Rom 5:7-9)

It is up to us to receive the love of God, to trust him once again, and believe that he cares for us (1 Pet 5:7)

I remember when I was a boy studying for the Cambridge GCE O levels. I remember reading this description on my “History of The Modern Word” By Dr Nicholas Tate about the Macro Polo Bridge Incident. Today I manage to dig up the old textbook and this is the description
” The Japanese accused the Chinese of having fired on one of their night patrols. This provided an excuse for a full scale Japanese attack.”

As a boy I was thinking to myself “How could 1 patrol soldier clause the entire war?” It seems to me that no history books ever recorded which private or corporal is this solder that was suspected to be fired on. But we all know the consequences of this incident. It led to a full scale Sino Japanese war, and following the incident, China lost Tianjin and Beijing to Japan in a matter of weeks.

So I decided to take a look at the Wikipedia, and I found that the incident is actually very well documented. Hence, I would like to take the emotions out of this incident, and just record down what happened

1. Jun 1937: There was a notice from the Japanese army that they would like to carry out an intensive military training maneuver. The Chinese government request that advance notice be given so that the local populace will not be disturbed by it.

2. 7 July 1937: Japanese army proceeded with the maneuver without the notice. Alarming the Chinese troops. which led to the Chinese army firing a few ineffectual shots. The Japanese hearing it, had a brief exchange of fire with the Chinese troops at 23:00 Hrs

3. 7 July 1937: After that, there was a sentry solider who did not return to his post, his company commander (Maj Koyonao Ichiki) thinking that he was captured by the Chinese. Informed His Regimental Commander, which called the Chinese Regimental Commander (Ji Xingwen) demanding permission to enter Wanping (A Chinese controlled area) to search for the missing solder

4. 7 July 1937: This soldier returned safely, but the commanders of both fraction did not know it.

5. 7 July 1937 23:40 Hrs: the Chinese General Qin Dechun, received the same demand from the Japanese military intelligence with the same demand. General Qin said that the Japanese should not have conducted the maneuvers without advance notice. He refused for the Wanping to be searched, but said that he would order his troops to search the town.

6. 8 July 1937 0240: Japanese were not satisfied with the answer, issued a ultimatum to search the town. The Chinese troops are placed on Heighten Alert.

7. 8 July 1937 0300: Japanese reinforcement for 4 Mountain guns, and a company of machine gunners came to Fengtai town.

8. 8 July 1937 04:50: 2 Japanese investigators were allowed to the town of Wanping.

9. 8 July 1937 05:00: The Japanese machine gunners open fire at the Macro Polo Bridge, and backed by Armored vehicles they attacked Macro Polo Bridge

10: 8 July 1937 Afternoon: Japanese partially overrun the Macro Polo Bridge while the defenders, numbering to about 1000 Chinese troop fight to defend the bridge

11: 09 July 1937 6:00 : The Chinese was able to retake the bridge with the help of the mist and rain. At the same time, the Japanese Military Intelligence had reach a verbal agreement with General Qin that Wanping will be left with a civilian constabulary and not his division.

12: 09 July 1937: However the Japanese ground officer (Gen Masakazu Kawabe) did not comply and shelled Wanping for the next 3 hours until he is order to move

13, 09 July 1937 Midnight : Japanese troops started to violate the ceasefire and continue their buildup of reinforcements

14. 12 July 1937: LT Gen Tashiro of the Japanese China Garrison died, at this time, the officers of the North China Area Army are militarisitic in nature. They took advantage of the situation and efforts made to the by the civilian government to avoid war with china failed

15. Wanping is shelled again on 14 July, full scale fighting in Lang Fang on 25 July. Chinese retreated to the Yung Ding River by 28 July, leaving Macro Polo Bridge and Wanping securely in Japanese hand.

16. Few days later, Beijing and Tianjin both fell to Japanese forces.

As we can see in this story, it is more then the night patrol that was attacked that lead to the war. It is not even that one little petty soldier who failed to return post that lead to the war.

We can also see that the Japanese officers did not even know that the “soldier” that they were searching is back, and the did things like issuing ultimatum and firing on the bridge. The change in the high ranking officers also help to speed up the process of the war.

So what can businesses learn from this?
1. Management should learn to gather information about their business by themselves, and usually the news that are sent to their ears are mainly half correct, as no one ever bother to give the real picture.

In this example the generals spend too much time discussing over the problem of one missing soldier without trying to find out whether he is really missing. They spend all the days making demands to each other, and not even understanding whether the problem is resolved or not.

2. The people on the ground are usually clueless about the verbal agreements the management made with the customers or each other. Sometimes orders are deliberately ignored

In this example, the Japanese troops continue to shell Wanping for 3 hours dispite of the verbal agreement of Truce between the 2 armies. On July 9 Midnight, the soldiers began violating the ceasefire often. It is unsure if the problem is because of mis-communications or blindly follow orders.

3. Unnecessary escalation of problems usually helps to butterfly effect the problem and making the problems looks very big. This often leads to lots of email floating around and unnecessary demands made to various parties, that could escalate to full scale war.

If the company commander did his best to search for the soldier without escalating it to his regimental commander. Perhaps this issue will not have been blown out of proportion and the remaining story would have change drastically.

It is hope that through this passage, we can all understand the following
1. Importance of simple communication in work
2. The futility of escalating simple problems to the management
3. Orders could be ignored if the people refuse to accept it.

Recent Update In 2017 Feburary

Apparently the name of the infamous soldier was found. He is known as
Private Shimura Kikujiro.

According to this article
https://www.warhistoryonline.com/world-war-ii/toilet-break-led-war-china-japan-1937.html

I wonder how much Christians still remember what is the Sabbath? Today I would just like to share about the Sabbath day and what it means to us Christians.

The Origin of Sabbath
The Sabbath was first instituted by God in the garden of Eden, (Gen 2:3-7). The bible story tells us that as God have finished creating humans on the 6th Day. He blessed and hallowed the seven day. He did it not because he needs a rest, it is because he wanted to set an example for men so that men will remember to rest from their work.

Later on, this God instructed Moses to place this into the 10 Commandments, sighting the same reason in Gen 2 (Exo 20 :8). In Deuteronomy, when Moses re-instructed the next generation of Israelite, he reminded them to keep the Sabbath so as to remember that they were slaves in Egypt. (Deut 5:12-15) This order do have special significance to Christians today which i would share later.

It is important for us to note that Sabbath is on a Saturday, as Sunday is the beginning of the week. A Day is count from evening to evening (Lev 23:32) Sunday is not Sabbath, and the use of Sunday as a day of worship is base on the council of Laodiciea

How God Esteems The Sabbath?
In fact, God esteems the Sabbath a lot, as it is a date that he had hallowed to bless men on the day. Through prophet Isaiah, he once said that these blessings are not targeted at Jews only. (Is 53:1-8).

In fact, God did not set this day to be one that is hard to bear, in fact, he wants all of us to call the Sabbath day a delight. A Delight because its a day of rest and for us to enjoy communion with God, and to worship an Honor him, God will bless him (Is 56:13-14)

However, man doesn’t want to do it. During the period of the kings of Israel, the people are profaning the Sabbath and working on Saturday, and that was the reason why God punished the kingdom of Israel and Judah (Neh 13:17, Jer 17:19-27). In fact God was very grief by it, and sent many prophets like Ezekiel, and Jeremiah to tell the people.

What happened to Sabbath after captivity ?
After Nehemiah’s reform, the people were keeping the Sabbath h once again, but during the Hasmonean dynasty, more and more rules are added by zealous Jews, and Pharisees. Hence by the time of Christ, Sabbath had become so burdensome. Nowadays, in Israel, on the Sabbath day there is a Sabbath lift, which opens on every level. This is to prevent the users from “Lighting a fire” by pressing the lift button. This are some examples of how modern Jews keep the Sabbath.

What is Jesus view over the Sabbath day?
is it abolished when Christ is crucified on the cross?

Jesus once said, he is not here to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Matt 5:17-20). In fact, Jesus himself also ascertained that in order to achieve eternal life, we must keep the commandments (Matt 96:16-22). Remember that Sabbath is in the 10 commandments, hence it should be kept by Christians still.

How do we keep the Sabbath?
Today, we see some Christian’s keeping the Sabbath, such as the seventh day Adventist (Which followed the old testament way of keeping it) while there are some churches who change their man worship to Saturdays.

Lets take a look at the bible to see how God want us to keep the Sabbath
1, Put aside all secular activities Is 58:13.
2. Attend church services or gathering to remember God (Lev 23:3; Lk 4:16, Acts 13:44)
3. Perform Evangelical work (Mk 1:21; Acts 16:13. )
4. Do good work, heal the sick, take care of people (Mt 12:11-12, Mk 3:4-5)

May God help us to do this

Actually today I told myself to write about something Christian… but something triggered me to feel the need to share about this song.

Yes, its usually used to talk about the relationship between the father and their son, but I guess there are also many things here that we can learn about managing conflicts and learning to cherish each person that are with you.

The first part that move me is this “So we open up a quarrel.Between the present and the past. We only sacrifice the future. It’s the bitterness that lasts” Sometimes in my life, I hear about many people talking to me about the conflicts they have with a particular person.. and sometimes it can be as old as 29 years ago… So.. if we were to continue to dwell on this little conflicts, we will only sacrifice the future of the people we love. So whenever we cannot forgive another person.. always remember the words of Jesus on the cross “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Lk 23:24) .. Mostly, the people who have offended you in the past most likely do not know that they have hurt you.. so its no point dwelling in it.

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matt 6:14:15)

The other part that move me is this
“Say it loud, say it clear, You can listen as well as you hear, It’s too late when we die, To admit we don’t see eye to eye.” I remember this person who told me… “Yes I am angry with the person, so, to avoid the conflict I will not talk to him”.. A lot of times I am thinking to myself, if it really true that not talking will resolve conflict… Sometimes “As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Prov 27:17)… So by keeping quiet with a very fierce look, you can actually sharpen the contention even more… Rather in this song we are being encourage to share what we think clearly… To listen as well as you here reminds me of Elder James exhortation to us Christian “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;” (Jas 1:19).

Do not wait until you lost your love one, then you would just admit that the problem is just differing perspective. So, while the person is with you.. let us all strive to end our conflicts with each other. And to do what Apostle Paul said “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Rom 12:18)

May God help us

MIKE & THE MECHANICS

The Living Years
(From the album ‘THE LIVING YEARS’)

Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door
I know that I’m a prisoner
To all my Father’s household tears
I know that I’m a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years
Crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got
You say you just don’t see it
He says it’s perfect sense
You just can’t get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defence

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye…

So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It’s the bitterness that lasts
So don’t yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different day
And if you don’t give up, and don’t give in
You may just be O.K.

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

I wasn’t there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say
I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I’m sure I heard his echo
In my baby’s new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

I remember I was still in Indonesia trip when the Lehman brothers case suddenly happened. Just weeks before everyone was reporting good news all over… then suddenly the entire worlds outlook seems to screw up.

I was reading Wikipedias entry and a website on the economic crisis. But I must say that’s very complicated for everyone to understand. So I try to summaries

1. It started out with homeowners trying to mortgage their house, there are many money lenders who are willing to provide a high volume of cash for the mortgage. So if the mortgage is not paid, they can seize the house easily

2. Such excessive buying and selling allow the housing prices to fly much above the prices (Similar to speculation), Which in turn allow bigger mortgages to be given

2. Unfortunately, when the mortgage people were unable to repay their mortgage, these make companies like Lehman brothers who provides such loans to fall. This also clause AIG, which insured the mortgages to be in trouble.

3.  The government started to bail the mortgage lenders out..

Then the stories continue that hell alot of index falling, and the international momentary funds started alot of a bleak outlook, and everyone started to end up losing their jobs. And the article got so numerous that usually no one would be able to read it.

As the days go by, we see many stock market indexes dropping and everyone had a bearish outlook in the whole issue.. and Government whose economy depended on the stock exchange frantically trying to fix the problem.

Sometimes I wonder how much truth is in that? what is the real clause of the crisis? Sometimes as I am reading the many comments on wikipedia about it, as well as the many news, and reports that are floating around.

Remember i once shared on a blog article of a world of fakes, as well as the truth that the stock market index and prices are base on sellers and buyers supply and demand.

I wonder what actually really attributes to a good economy? Actually I guess the answer should be pretty simple

Good Company = Profit making company
Many Profitable companies = Good Economy
Many companies with loss = Bad economy
Putting people on the wrong job = companies with loss

As we discuss earlier, there are many companies who are engaging in the business of fault finding, business of deception rather than business of money making. And the fact that many companies do not use operations to generate profit. Rather take part in highly speculative activities….

Banks started to loan out money to companies and credit risk actually isnt really well checked. All the wealth is thrown into a volatile stock market that clauses alot of business leaders to commit seppuku after the stock market crashes….

Perheps its time to rethink what we need to do in order to survive.

Maybe businesses should concentrate more on profit making operations and generate revenues there slowly. Expanding the business only when necessary or when the type of operations needed to churn out the profit is being defined clearly.

Maybe its time for businesses to reconsider this old quote from Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate.
During the Sengoku period in Japan, Ieyasu is famous for taking side with the right guys, Nobunaga, Hideyoshi…. before he started to face Mitsunari at the battle of Sekigahara.

He once had 2 quotes Extracted from Wikipedia

“Life is like unto a long journey with a heavy burden. Let thy step be slow and steady, that thou stumble not. Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the natural lot of mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair. When ambitious desires arise in thy heart, recall the days of extremity thou has passed through. Forbearance is the root of quietness and assurance forever. Look upon the wrath of the enemy. If thou knowest only what it is to conquer, and knowest not what it is like to be defeated, woe unto thee; it will fare ill with thee. Find fault with thyself rather than with others.”

“The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience. Patience means restraining one’s inclinations. There are seven emotions: joy, anger, anxiety, adoration, grief, fear, and hate, and if a man does not give way to these he can be called patient. I am not as strong as I might be, but I have long known and practiced patience. And if my descendants wish to be as I am, they must study patience.”

In short, business must remember
1. It is better to make money slowly, (A step at a time) rather then depending on Bank loans and mortgages to grow a business

2. Remember that it is basic business operations that are really in your control, and for you to decide how the cash flow within the company is like. Achieve efficiency in the operations, allow simple business decisions to be made without meetings.

3. Instead of engaging in the business of fault finding… concentrate on building the right business relation and build up a partnership that is mutual benefiting

4. Employ able man to perform the operations, look out for manager who are promoted by accident or because of the Sukhomlinov Effect. These are potential leeches to your organization capital, and usually the cause for corporate inefficiency

5. Finally, consider this old Internet joke that I have seen, perhaps its time to move business to the most ancient method to make money

2000 BC – Here, eat this root.
1000 AD – That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.
1850 AD – That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.
1940 AD – That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.
1985 AD – That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.
2000 AD – That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.

Maybe we have made all business process so complex, that we have forgotten how to make money 😉

This is a song I guess many Chinese may have heard it in their life. Well. I notice it is found in many Kungfu Movies and even my Chinese friends who cannot converse in mandarin knows this song…

Actually I found many transalation of the title, They are “A Man Of Determination” , “A Man Should Better Himself”. t personnally I think the word 自强 should mean “To Strive To Stengthen Oneself” which I think is a more accurate translation of that.

In a time of crisis now, I guess its time for everyone to strive to become stronger, so I decided to try translating the meaning of the song to english so that everyone can understand what he is trying to say.

It is interesting to know that the tune of the song actually came from a chinese folk song called The General’s Mandate” 將軍令. It was also known to be a military drill song as well. The Lyrics were written by someone called Wong Jim and it is the theme song for the  movie “Once Upon A Time In China”

In this song there are many characteristics of a man that I think its quite relevent to our lives now. But in order to preserve the logic of the lyrics, I may not directly translate certian terms literally. But rather I will try to translate the implied meaning instead.

Title: 男儿当自强
Singer: Jackie Chan, George Lam and many others before

(Stanza 1)
傲气面对万重浪 ào qì miàn duì wàn zhòng làng
热血像那红日光 rè xuè xiàng nà hóng rì guāng
胆似铁打骨如精钢 dǎn sì tiě dǎ gǔ rú jīng gāng
胸襟百千丈眼光万里长 xiōng jīn bǎi qiān zhàng yǎn guāng wàn lǐ cháng
我发奋图强做好汉 wǒ fā fèn tú qiáng zuò hǎo hàn
做个好汉子每天要自强 zuò gè hǎo hàn zǐ měi tiān yào zì qiáng
热血男儿汉比太阳更光 rè xuè nán er hàn bǐ tài yang gèng guāng

(Stanza 2)
让海天为我聚能量 ràng hǎi tiān wèi wǒ jù néng liàng
去开天辟地为我理想去闯 qù kāi tiān bì de wèi wǒ lǐ xiǎng qù chuǎng
看碧波高壮 kàn bì bō gāo zhuàng
又看碧空广阔浩气扬 yòu kàn bì kōng guǎng kuò hào qì yáng
我是男儿当自强 wǒ shì nán er dàng zì qiáng
昂步挺胸大家做栋梁做好汉áng bù tǐng xiōng dà jiā zuò dòng liáng zuò hǎo hàn
用我百点热照 (*) 出千分光 yòng wǒ bǎi diǎn rè zhào chū qiān fēn guāng
做个好汉子 zuò gè hǎo hàn zǐ
热血热肠热 rè xuè rè cháng rè
比太阳更光 bǐ tài yang gèng guāng
(*)
In some lyrics, I saw the word 耀 is used instead of 照. However, I think its easier to translate if I use 照 instead, but either way it represent to give forth brilliance

The English Translation is as follows

Title: A Man Should Strengthen Himself
Singer: Jackie Chan, George Lam and many others before

(Stanza 1)
Vigorous when facing the beatings of ten thousands heavy waves
Ardent just like the rays of the red sun
Having courage like forge iron and bones as hard as refined steel
Having lofty aspirations and excellent foresight
I worked extremely hard, aspiring to be a strong and courageous man (AKA Hero)
In order to become a hero, One should strive to become stronger everyday
An ardent man shines brighter than the sun

(Stanza 2)
Allowing the sky and sea to amass energy for me
To split heaven and part the earth (To create a new world) , to fight for my aspirations
Watching the stature and grandure of jade coloured waves
at the same time watching the vastness  jade coloured sky,  let our noble spirit soar

I am a man and I must strive to strengthen myself.
Walking in firm steps and standing upright let us all aspire to be a pillar of the society, and to be a hero
Using our hundredfold warmth, to bring forth a thousandfold of brilliance
Be a hero
Being ardent and with strong courage
Shine brighter than the sun

Those who are curious hows the original song “The General’s Mandate” 將軍令 sounds like, here is the youtube of it

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