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~ Abai Kunanbaev ~


Word Eighteen

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Man should dress modestly and keep himself clean and tidy. Only fops spend more on their clothes than they can afford and worry too much over their appearance. Fops show off in various ways. One will pay great attention to his face, cultivate his moustache and beard, pamper his body and swagger—now lifting an eyebrow languorously, now tapping his fingers or strutting with arms akimbo; another will adopt a studied carelessness in his foppery and, in an offhand way, affecting to be "a simple fellow", will drop hints in passing about his Arabian horse or his rich raiment:
"Oh, it's nothing in particular!" He goes out of his way to attract the attention of his betters, arouses envy among his equals, and is regarded among his inferiors as the acme of refinement and luxury.

They say about him: "What has he got to complain of with such a horse and clothes like that!"

But this is absurd and shameful.

No one should get carried away by such nonsense, for otherwise he will find it hard to look like a normal human being again.

In the word kerbez [fop] I discern a relationship with the words ker [conceited] and kerden [haughty]—something that ought to warn people against a vice of this kind. A human being should distinguish himself by virtue of his reason, knowledge, will, conscience and goodness. Only a fool thinks he can gain distinction by other means.

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