Chinese idiom: Between mussel and snipe: who benefits?

Seven states were locked in battle at the end of the Warring States Period (220-280 AD). The Duke Hui of the State of Zhao wanted to conquer the State of Yan. Real bad. That is, until he talked to Su Dai, one of those advisers.

Su said: “One fine day, a mussel went out to the beach to sunbathe. Meanwhile a snipe (which is a kind of bird that looks like a sandpiper with a long bill) caught sight of the tasty tidbit. He plunged to bite the meat. But the mussel immediately closed up, meaning the snipe could not pull out its beak out of the shell. Both of them became locked in mortal combat. Along came a fisherman and bagged them both.

“If you go to conquer Yan now, Zhao and Yan will be like the mussel and the snipe. Meanwhile the strong Qin State will be make like the fisherman and gobble up both territories.”

And so Duke Hui never ate seafood again. Just kidding. The idiom of course refers to a mutually-destructive battle between two parties, especially one involving unshakeable principles, thus leaving the coast clear for a third party to swoop in late and sweep up the spoils.

Methinks the fisherman is Pak Lah, lah!. After al, he loves to fish, and loves the sea, and has a Yatch too, doesn’t he? 


18 responses »

  1. Crankshaft says:

    Hey Susan.

    I suppose you are also referring to the perfect excuse for BN to wrestle back the 5 states belonging to the Pakatan Rakyat?

  2. alrawa says:

    The ‘old’ fisherman is Mahathir!

  3. kesava says:

    Too many skeletons in Badawi`s closet Even he might cross over to join Pakatan leaving Najib to head the opposition (before his wife goes on trial).

  4. frustrated says:

    is dead slow just can’t access to many sites……………….

  5. just passing thru says:

    yacht not yatch, dear

  6. kesava says:

    At rockybru:

    Crime against the poor. While the politicians are busy buggering each other with conspiracy theories, unscrupulous people are screwing up our poor farmers and their families by stealing fertilizer meant for these farmers.

    These people make tonnes by repacking Sabsidi Kerajaan Malaysia* fertilizer by truckloads and selling them in the commercial market with the help of insiders at Nafas, the National Farmers Association, the people entrusted to help these farmers.

    A police report has been lodged but NO ACTION has been taken.

    The Agricultgure Ministry is aware of the siphoning but NO ACTION has been taken.

  7. kesava says:

    At rockybru:

    Crime against the poor. While the politicians are busy buggering each other with conspiracy theories, unscrupulous people are screwing up our poor farmers and their families by stealing fertilizer meant for these farmers.

  8. tamade says:

    Susan, looks like your guess is accurate.

    Anyway, beware of Mahafiraun. He is more than a fisherman. He owns all the big fishing boats. Fishermen work for him.

    He used deep sea trawller to sweep away most of the resources in Bolehland. Using NEP as a decoy,he let the greedy cronies to swallow Bolehlands wealth through Privatisation and numerous mega projects.

    Of course, AAB is following his foot step.

  9. hari says:

    hi hi….YATCH…that’s really cruel. JUST LIKE CARE FOUR…

  10. kesava says:

    Yatch means evil and well according to the name, it is notorious for doing mischievous acts or acts of ominous import:

    In fact the Yatch is supposed to be a perpetrator of the eerie echoes that fill the dark and deserted village settlements at night. The mothers scare their peevish children with a reference to Yatch, for enforcing discipline on them.

  11. whispering9 says:

    I wish it is that simple and innocent like in the 200ADs. Fast forward into 2008, the snipe would have evolved, picked up the mussel and smashed it against a hard rock. Then feasted on its sweet soft meat and died a year later from mercury poisoning. The fisherman? What fisherman…he was only masquerading as one so he could sell subsidised diesel to buy a yacht not yatch, thrown in a plane. sigh!

  12. TheWrathOfGrapes says:

    The Tyrannical Diabolical Megalomaniac is fishing in muddy waters…

  13. songchin says:

    Hei, Isn’t the Warring States period in China, and 7 states (Qin. Chu, Han, Wei, Zhao, Yan, etc) matters happened in BC, not AD, someting like 240BC lah

  14. Harrison says:

    Methink that Anwar’s Nationwide Tour, talking about “illegal” rallies might not be a good idea. However I have mix feelings on this. The police for the first time collaborated with the Malaysian Military in a co-joint training exercise on how to deal with a State of Emergency that may be a sign of a near “State of Emergency”.

    Anwar can only do this (nationwide Tour) if he has US/Foreign Government military contingency plan which means that if the Malaysian armed forces instituted strong arm tactics like May 1969 anew, the US will lend support. If that does not happened, we are doomed.

    Like I say before, I feel safe in the hands of US, British colony than a country controlled by the corrupted BN regime.

  15. Harrison says:

    Tian Chua reports that a key witness- a (ex) private investigator of Razak baginda will reveal fresh evidence.

  16. Charlie says:

    but this convenient escape route distracts us from the very real probability that these all are the orchestration by ONE man, ruthless, desperate, and very very dangerous

  17. Harrison says:


    I don’t think I can paint Anwar in the picture if in anywhere you are referring to him.

    He may not be the best candidate for PM (by my perception), but he is the only hope for Malaysia.

  18. JAMES LOW says:

    During emperor Yong Jeng’s rule there was this minister of his ,who often irritated him by constantly asking for solutions to his (the minister) problems. Impatient with his perennial harassment and incompetence, he finally told the minister a story. And the story goes…..

    Once upon a time, a devotee to the goddess of mercy Kwan Yin was so pious that he would spend hours every day to pray for his and others well being. Nevertheless, he harboured a wish. He hoped that the Kwan Yin shall , one day,appear in person before him.

    His obsession to see her , his steadfastness and true prayer, finally won her sympathy and approval.One day while he was as usual busy praying, Kwan Yin appeared before him. He was overwhelmed, he cried tears of joy and gratitude.

    He asked for a few blessings and posted a probing question. My great goddess of mercy, he asked, if we mortals pray to you and receive your blessings, who do you turn to for guidance and assistance? Simple says the goddess, I pray to non other than mysely for guidance and enlightenment.

    Whilst, the moral of the story is clear, it would be interesting if we were to replace the emperor with AAB,the minister with NR and Kwan Yin with the RAKYAT.

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