Archive for July 24, 2009

Kazakh Proverbs on Honor

The following Kazakh Proverbs about HONOR are fairly self-explanatory. Again, these are from my friend Erik who has collected quite a few proverbs. Naturally we all want to be respected and honored. I especially appreciate the second proverb about ancestry. The Asian cultures do a far better job of appreciating their ancestors almost to the point of idolatry. (A Kazakh, a GOOD Kazakh is supposed to know the names of their ancestors back seven generations. Typically Americans only know their great grandparents names, going back only three generations).

Perhaps we go the other direction when we typically honor and esteem those who are young and beautiful. However, young kids want to look more grown-up, while middle aged people want to reverse their age to look younger. Older people in the U.S. are not as comfortable with their waning years. That’s regrettable since I believe older people have much to offer with their acquired wisdom that can be bite-sized down to pithy sayings such as these proverbs. Not sure I understand the third one below about a “bad man’s soul is esteemed.” Perhaps that is true after he has passed away. Any help from my Kazakh readers?

Only a person without honor disputes the time-tested words.

“The good man has no vengeance; the bad man has no ancestry.”

“The bad man’s soul is esteemed; the good person’s honor is esteemed.”

“If you are poor, don’t be ashamed (to ask for something).” In contrast to the proverb: “Even being poor have a clear conscience.”

“The thief eats others’ cattle, the thief devours his own honor.”

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