• Elizabeth Alexander

Words of Wisdom

Updated: Oct 15, 2021

Every culture has its proverbs, familiar sayings that usually contain a moral message. In Malay these are called "peribahasa" and their purpose in pre-literate times, particularly, was to convey "embodied rules of conduct accepted by everyone." *


Here are five examples. Can you guess what they are communicating?




Many "peribahasa" have to do with character, not least how to ensure good character is developed. What does this saying remind you of?




Similar to sayings about character are those to do with reputation. This one is perhaps the easiest of all to understand and figures in the gift that Light and Martinha give to Jim at the end of Lies That Blind:



This saying had people floored, however, when I posted it on Facebook and Instagram. What do you think it means?



Here's one that should bring us all down to earth. Thoughts?



* Quote taken from the Introduction to The Hikayat Abdullah, which you can read or download for yourself (it's in Malay, though!) here: https://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/printheritage/detail/8dc415d5-340b-4f7c-a99a-8e2bfbba52ff.aspx?s=Hikayat%20abdullah


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