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Another day, another “Jack Ma said” piece on the internet.

A very recent article published on twgreatdaily.com loosely translated to “Jack Ma’s 10 Most Powerful ‘Brainwashing’* Sayings” revealed a list of advice – apparently straight from the mouth of the Alibaba empire’s head honcho.

(*’Brainwashing’, because a quote at the end of the article states “Rich men wash their brains (i.e. refresh their minds), poor men just wash their bodies.”)

At Vulcan Post, we’ve covered a fair share of Ma-related news, and while there’s no denying the legitimacy of quotes taken from interviews, speeches, and official statements, articles without links to recordings of him saying them are harder to trust in general.

In good faith, I did a quick search to find out if I could pinpoint the sources of the quotes, preferably some interview with Ma, but the results either showed the exact same content (citing them to Ma, but without any relevant links to sources), or the quotes appearing as separate, un-cited entities.

One even cited the quotes as coming from Chinese writer and scholar Yi Zhongtian, and a quick search of the title (“10 Very Philosophical Sayings From Yi Zhongtian”) revealed results with content that matched the Ma piece – word-for-word.

Here’s a comparison of the articles side-by-side:

Side-by-side comparison of what Ma and Yi ‘said’

One of the quotes was even credited to Hong Kong business magnate and billionaire Li Ka-Shing on a random Facebook page:

Facebook screenshot

I believe that if I were to do a thorough search into each quote, even more prolific figures would appear as the ‘source’ of the quotes.


Perhaps the words of advice actually came from an ordinary person like you and I, but somewhere along the line, someone decided to namedrop a famous person to give the words more ‘weight’.

Or perhaps the quotes really did come from Ma, Li, or Yi, and they had been taken out of context by eager netizens.

But while the actual source of the quotes remain dubious (if non-existent), there’s no doubt that it contains nuggets of advice which would come in handy at different points in our lives, so here’s a rough translation.

“Jack Ma’s 10 Most Powerful ‘Brainwashing’ Sayings”

First Line: “A person is moulded through adversity.”

Everyone has potential, and undergo happy moments and sad ones as well. That’s why whenever you’re facing any stress or pressure, don’t panic! It might just be a way for life to ‘test’ you. Believe in yourself and your ability to handle the situation. Only with pressure can one be motivated to improve!

Second Line: “If you’re a person of simple needs, the world treats you in a similar fashion.”

The happiest life is always the simplest one – being self-sufficient, generous, and not complicating matters helps you to lighten your emotional burden. Do a periodic “cleansing” of bad memories of negative people and encounters, because life is short. You can’t bring your money and wealth to your afterlife, so living a simple life is the key to the happiest type of life.

Third Line: “There are no dress rehearsals in life, you are always ‘Live’.”

I’d occasionally think: “If life is just like a video game, and you’re always able to restart if you mess up – how would life be like, then?” Because passed time cannot be relived, and days cannot be taken back, we should all the more treasure every minute of time, honour our parents, love our children, care for our partners, and treat our friends kindly!

Fourth Line: “Talent is like being pregnant, only time will reveal it to others.”

Those who constantly think highly of themselves, and are presumptuous usually end up failing. This is why even if you’re capable, you should remain prudent and modest, because doing your tasks to the best of your ability is what will stand out in the end.

Fifth Line: “In the past, talking over drinks were more about conversations than the drinks. Now, it is more about the drinks than the conversation.”

A life without friends is lonely and incomplete, but due to how busy we’re getting, communication suffers and bonds of friendship tend to weaken. This is why we still need to take out some time and talk to our friends. And whenever they run into problems, you must always step forward and try to help them – even if you can’t, consolation is still one of the best means of support!

Sixth Line: “If one is progressing in a wrong direction, stopping is actually progress.”

It’s always difficult for one to correct one’s shortcomings. It’s also always difficult for one to notice his/her mistakes. Sometimes, even when one knows that they’re wrong, they are unable to stop and thus keep making the same mistakes. Find the right way to move forward, and always hold on to your principles, because the world is full of temptations. Don’t let the greedy pursuit of a moment of pleasure lead to you having to pay a painful price in the long run. So once you find out that you’re heading in the wrong direction, you must stop immediately.

Seventh Line: “There are two tragedies in life: one is being completely disheartened, the other is being complacent.”

It seems like people these days are especially fragile, and the newspapers are always reporting about famous folks having depression. This is most probably because they have gone from one extreme end to another. Due to complacency, they have believed that they are perfect, so once they meet an obstacle, they feel extremely inferior and lose the courage to continue living! So, you should be realistic about your expectations, and enjoy life.

Eighth Line: “Life and love are the same thing – missing out on love equates to missing out on life.”

What is love? Some are at a loss on how to deal with it, some are completely captivated; and for the braver ones, they confidently proclaim it. When there’s a possibility of love, go forth and pursue it – don’t just wait till there are no more choices. Missing out on love is missing out on what life can bring you.

Ninth Line: “Every rich person will get married/find a partner.”

People these days are increasingly snobbish, and the idea of love is also increasingly taken lightly – this is why I have no choice but to think that the line “every rich person will get married/find a partner” as an accurate representation of love these days.

Tenth Line: “If you want to succeed, you need friends. If you want to achieve massive success, you need enemies!”

It is only with competition that there will be progress, because it is only with the presence of ‘enemies’ that one becomes more motivated and hardworking. There’s no such thing as a ‘forever enemy’, only ‘forever friends’ – sometimes, even your enemies can become your friends!

Do you agree with the statements? Let us know!

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(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)