The content of the report “Forget oil palm, plant bamboo” was acceptable, but its headline was not.
Anything coming from the current ministers or politicians are now been analyzed by many.
That’s a positive sign telling the world that there are many educated Malaysian now.
An old wise Malay saying on bamboo was quoted as ‘to bend is from its shoots’ but ‘bamboo’ is not stated in the Kamus Dewan Bahasa.
The proverb gives to the meaning that ‘in order for children to learn, we need to teach them at the early stage and not when they reach adulthood’.
When they are big enough, it's hard to bend them. If it's hard to bend, then it's hard to be reprimanded, listening to old people's words are sometime too difficult to swallow.
But that’s the reality of old wise people in putting up their minds and words.
We also need to ask; do young people today know or know about bamboo shoots?
Perhaps the ones growing up in developed cities do not even know and seen or they may not even know that bamboo shoots can be eaten or edible.
Well bamboo shoots, is young bamboo which grows at first and tastes good when it comes to cooking or you know how to serve it.
There are many ways to cook these bamboo shoots, just need to recite the recipe. There are recipes for bamboo shoots just Google them.
And when cooking these bamboo shoots there is also a way to avoid bitterness when eaten.
In contrast to the proverbial bending from bamboo shoots, there must be a way.
It cannot be too gross and it cannot be too soft. If it's rough then it's broken and if it's too soft it's not okay.
That's how great observation of our old people. When it has become bamboos, there are many uses.
It is subjected to the type of bamboos too. In the fine Chinese bamboo, it is possible for household decorations.
If you are creative and innovative enough, it might be something beautiful decorations.
I still remember when my friends and I used to play war games using bamboo as ‘guns’. We called it 'chakplom' and the bullets coming from ‘cenderai fruits’ (Grewai species) and sometimes ‘Bungor fruits ‘ (Lagerstroemia species).
Though it’s quite difficult to look for these fruits for ‘bullets’ but it’s only for those who don’t know. It can be found at most roadsides if you noticed.
Though bamboos are less found nowadays but still you can get them if you go to villages as it grows wildly.
Bamboo shoots can be bought at RM7-RM10 per kilo at some Pasar Tani and planting, growing and selling bamboo shoots can proved to be profitable.
So the suggestion of a minister to propose alternative cultivation such as bamboo should be noted.
In addition to planting it, the price can be high if proper marketing is done.
It is up to us, the people to respond to these recommendations.
Coming back to the proverb mentioned earlier, we can also take lessons from old-age parental orders, who have already given more direct advice than we really are.
Firstly, the proverb is based on direct observation of nature that can also be commercially beneficial, if we know and learn how to go about it.
Secondly, let's always use the proverb of these wise old people, so that we are always alert and doing the thinking.
Due to the many uses of bamboo, we should also be prepared to accommodate the demand for the coming fasting month.
In addition to making ‘lemang’, do not forget to make bamboo cannons too. Just to celebrate the holidays!
Also as a reminder, bamboos can also be dangerous as it can be used as ‘weapons’.
Azizi Ahmad is a senior educator Sat, Mar 9, 6:57 PM