lay out the dead, but do not mourn them overmuch.
a mild sentimentality is proper. nostalgia will
be expected on demand.
cremate: conserve land, regret no secrets. prepare
ashes for those with cameras.
hide your best furniture. tear down monuments. first
to go are statues with arms outstretched in victory,
and then anything with lions.
it is safer to consort with loss, to know the ground
yet suggest no mysteries. purport illiteracy.
have at hand servants good with numbers. err
in their favour between schemes. keep all receipts
out of sight. as soon as is proper, embrace
their laws and decline all credit for your own.
confound their historians. give up the wrong
recipe for ketupat, for otak.
lay claim to the tongue of roots, the provenance of
trees. when the chiku blooms, tell them it is
linden. when linden, tell them it is ginko.
recommend laxatives as love potions. attribute
pain to the passage of hard feelings. there will
be a surge
of interest in soothsaying. do not tell them
how it will end, or when. progress, while difficult,
is always being made.
on no account acknowledge what your folktales imply.
never deal in the dark unless you can see the whites
of their eyes. when they speak of god
bow your head to veil piety, shame, laughter, or indifference.
dress your children like their long-dead elders. marry
your daughters to them.
soon you will attend the same funerals.