In the MOO-d for some music?

Not everyone has the same tastes. Know what fits your needs, instead of going with the flow.

Mandarin Chinese is an endlessly rich language, with a vast pool of idioms and proverbs to describe situations or states of being. Have you heard of the idiom 对牛弹琴1, which literally translates to ‘to play the zither to the cows’? It expresses the futility of talking to the wrong audience or to someone who does not understand what you are saying.

But where did such an idiom come from? As with most Chinese idioms, there is a story behind it, and this one follows a musician by the name of Yi Gong Ming in the Warring States Period of China. He played the most beautiful tunes that were loved and known by many people.

One day, he decided to play the zither outdoors in the countryside. Once there, he saw several cows grazing in the field, and on a whim, he decided to play a tune to the cows. He played the most sublime and famous tunes, but to no avail. The cows ignored him and continued grazing.

Disappointed, Yi began to doubt his abilities. Suddenly, a thought came to him, and he began to play different tunes — tunes that resembled the sound of a fly or of a small calf. It was then that the cows began to react to him.

He realised that he was not being ignored because he was not playing well, or because the songs were not beautiful. Rather, the music that humans appreciate is just not what cows look for in “music”.

This can apply to investments as well. There are many popular asset classes or markets to invest in, but they might not really fit your own unique needs. Learn more about the available investment opportunities by checking out our Insights page.

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