Ji’an was born in the era of Emperor Wu of the Western Han Dynasty. He was respected for his straightness, justice and courage to tell the truth. He is informal and pragmatic in his conduct and official duties. Although it was not so vigorous on the surface, it could manage a county in an orderly manner. Therefore, the imperial court transferred him from the prefect of the East China Sea to the imperial court as the Lord Duke and lieutenant – an official position in charge of the appointment and removal of local officials.
Once, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty said that he would implement the Confucian policy of benevolence and righteousness and do good things for the people. Before the emperor finished speaking, Ji An said, “Your Majesty is so greedy and lustful in heart, but on the surface, he has to pretend to implement benevolent government. Why bother?” a sentence choked the emperor back. Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty suddenly changed his face and announced the strike. The civil and military forces of the Manchu Dynasty were sweating for Ji Yan, worried that he would cause great disaster. After returning to the palace, Emperor Wu said to the people around him that Ji An was too rough and straight.
Since then, Ji’an’s official position has never been promoted. When he was Lord Duwei, Gongsun Hong and Zhang Tang were still humble officials. Later, they kept rising. Gongsun Hong became prime minister and Zhang Tang became a censor, but he squatted in place. One day, Ji’an told Emperor Wu that his Majesty’s use of ministers was like chopping firewood. It was “the latecomer’s priority”! Of course, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty could hear that this was a complaint. So he turned to his ministers and said, “people really have to learn! Listen to Ji Yan, it’s getting more and more outrageous!”
Catching up from behind means that the later ones surpass the previous ones. Some people praise rising stars more than their predecessors.