If we are looking for heroic bureaucrats, we should look into Kralorela. Bronze age China was an actual meritocrasy (like Kralorela), and you had to qualify for a government job, a high honor. Of course in practise you needed meney to get there, since bribing (gifting) was an art of it's own, but in theory everybody could enter the examinations.
I'd like to hear how much people think Kralorela runs by bribes, or is it all nice and idealistic.
Here's a translation of a chinise poem from Su Dongpo (1037-1101). The finnish translation is excellent in it's dry wit, and I apologize to any chinise readers for my crude retranslation.
When a Child is Born:
When a child is born
everyone hopes, that he would be intelligent But I suffer from intelligence
that has ruined my whole life.
I only hope
that the boy be simple,
to get to live his life comfortably and without worry as a minister.
Now there's Kralori wit and daring social critique for you. :)
-Mikko, the Adept
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