parable of the wise builder

The parable of the wise builder is translated in Yaosakor Asmat as “the wise builder is like the person who builds a house on stilts made of iron wood which last a long time, while the foolish builder is the one who builds a house on stilts made of white wood which will rot quickly.”

Daud Soesilio (in Noss 2007, p. 175) explains: “In Pirimapun, a swampy area on the southern coast of Indonesian Papua, the parable of the wise builder who builds on stone foundation and the foolish builder who builds on sand was rendered into the Asmat language as ‘the wise builder is like the person who builds a house on stilts made of iron wood which last a long time, while the foolish builder is the one who builds a house on stilts made of white wood which will rot quickly.’ This adaptation is necessary since one cannot find a single stone in this swampy area, and all houses are built on stilts. They use iron wood stilts for their more permanent houses, and they only use white wood stilts for the temporary houses that they use when they go hunting. White wood will not last. It is also interesting to point out that they use sand from the beach to make their walking paths firm.”

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