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Bamboo Perspectives

Bamboo Perspectives for the Andersonian

The story of the bamboo is the epitome of a young Andersonian growing up in the shady grove of the Anderson Family. It is much akin to the growing process of a bamboo.

You begin with a tiny seed, then you plant it, water it and fertilise it for a whole year and nothing happens.

In the second year, you water it, fertilise it and nothing happens.

In the third year, you continue to water it and fertilise it and still nothing happens and similarly for the fourth year. You keep waiting and watching and wondering. How terribly discouraging it becomes!

In the fifth year, you continue with the same passion and steadfastly continue to water and fertilise it and then, something happens… Sometime during the fifth year, the bamboo tree sprouts. You come back each day for about six weeks and you watch it majestically grow THIRTY METRES IN SIX WEEKS! Yes, thirty metres in six weeks! Well, not really. It is thirty metres in five years.

The point is simple. If you had given up at any one point, there would have been no bamboo plant. It took almost impossible persistence. The Bamboo is there for one reason and one reason only – because you never gave up on it.

Powerful images from the bamboo
Greatness and Distinction

With such a narrow stem it nonetheless can grow to more than 30 metres tall, and will not fall or collapse even with the gust of a strong wind. It is stable and easy to reach tremendous heights, symbolising greatness.

It is distinctive as the bamboo is not a tree or wood but a species of grass, and yet it can become a forest standing out distinctively and majestically.

Purity and Humility
Once grown to its full maturity, no other plants nearby can grow amongst it or infiltrate it, so it stands as a pure stem, distinct and separate from other plants. It is not adulterated or invaded by other plants because it is able to stand firm and establish its ground.

The ancients looked upon the bamboo as a symbol of virtue because of its simplicity and modesty. Hence the attribute of humility is associated with it.

The bamboo is 60% harder than maple wood and in certain instances, as strong as steel. Its straight stem, unyielding and hardy, represents tenacity, the basis of character and honour - in fact, all the essential qualities that will make a person ‘Noble in Character’. It is a symbol of harmony between nature and man because of its versatility and the numerous ways in which it serves human needs. Interestingly, Thomas Edison’s very first commercially successful lamp used a filament of carbonized bamboo.

Moreover, the bamboo is resilient and able to regenerate and replenish itself very quickly. Even after harvesting, it does not require replanting because it has an extensive root system that continually sends up new shoots.

Our Motto & the Bamboo

Our motto ‘With Constancy and Purpose’ takes its inspiration from the bamboo.

The Bamboo story is about having both the patience and the willpower to wait out its growth and development underground – to spread out its complex root systems first rather than rush to emerge from the ground; to instead establish a firm foundation beneath before shooting out of the soil to the surface.

So too, in whatever we do, we need to have the willpower and patience to complete what we have started out doing. Knowing that this takes time to bear results, we first need to build a strong foundation for ourselves, like the bamboo spreading out its complex root systems to anchor itself firmly. We need to be patient and work constantly on tasks even if they take a long time to complete and even when faced with obstacles. We should not be discouraged and give up halfway. Rather, we must have the willpower to hold on even when facing tough moments and situations, to continue to do things right, to be persistent and to have faith that rewards will follow eventually.

Hence this willpower and patience are essentially about having the ‘Constancy’ to see ourselves through from the start to the finishing line. It is also about the commitment to stay the entire course, the entire journey without faltering.

However, we will require an additional ingredient to help us stay the entire course. This is a sense of ‘Purpose’. We must be clear about our ‘Purpose’, the direction and goal – or what we seek to achieve or accomplish.

So ‘Constancy’ and ‘Purpose’ work hand-in-hand. If we have a clear ‘Purpose’ but lack the stamina and drive to press on in spite of difficulties, we will never achieve our goal. Similarly, if we have admirable ‘Constancy’ but have no clear goal or destination, then we are expending a lot of energy without knowing when or whether we have reached our potential or goal, since there was never one to begin with!

We can imbibe valuable life lessons from the bamboo, and approach what we do, be it in our studies, our CCAs or our personal life, with a strong adherence to our motto ‘With Constancy and Purpose’.