Mongolian Triads

By "triad" I do not refer to secret criminal societies, but to a socio-linguistic (I'm always on the lookout for an excuse to use that term) device commonly used in Mongolia to convey 'folk wisdom.' This past week I have learned about these triads from a friend here who has done extensive research and has written an enlightening paper.  Here is his description of a Mongolian triad:

"Formal literary definitions vary, but a Mongolian triad can perhaps best be described as 'three linked insights organized around a common theme.'  A triad drives a specific point home by saying it not once but three times, with each successive line reinforcing or further amplifying the one that has gone before.  Taken as a whole, the three lines that together form a Mongolian triad provide a fascinating glimpse into the way Mongolians over many generations have viewed the world around them."

Here are some examples:

THREE BLUE THINGS
Blue — the snow on a mountain peak
Blue — the water swirling at its feet
Blue — the water flowing in a river

THREE NECESSARY THINGS
Children — they need love and affection
The elderly — they need love and attention
The dead — they need respect and consideration

THREE FRAGILE THINGS
Nothing is permanent — making this life fragile
No relationship is permanent — making relations with relatives fragile
Eventually everything wears out — making goods and property fragile

THREE DARK THINGS
The heart of an irreligious monk is dark
The camp of a family without sheep is dark
The hole of a cave facing north is dark

THREE FOOLS
The best fool praises his horse
The average fool praises his wife
The worst fool praises himself

THREE TRUTHS
That birth is followed by death — that is a truth
That all things accumulated will eventually be exhausted — that is a truth
That what is assembled will ultimately be dispersed — that is a truth.

As we have bounced around the Mongolian countryside for the past week, often past nomadic ger camps (a ger is a traditional round felt tent), we came up with our own triad:

THREE NECESSITIES OF GER LIFE IN MODERN MONGOLIA
A solar panel — that is a necessity
A satellite dish — that is a necessity
A motorcycle — that is a necessity