Chinese Proverb of the Week: 11

Chū lín sŭnzi xiàn dăduàn

出 林 笋子 先 打断

The bamboo shoots which grow outside the edge of the grove will be the first to be broken off.

Bamboo grove


This is a warning proverb – if you stick your neck out, you will be the first to be attacked!  Very Chinese attitude really –  stay with the majority view, don’t act or speak as a single individual; and I think it is true for Koreans and Japanese as well.

So presumably you should ‘keep your head below the parapet’ as we would say.



About herschelian

Started my 60s by moving to China with my DH. Surprised to find I am still here in Beijing eight years later - still finding it an adventure!
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3 Responses to Chinese Proverb of the Week: 11

  1. Kit says:

    Explains a lot. We also have the tallest poppy thing, though I’ve only heard that in the last little while. So maybe all cultures have an element of not wanting to stand out too much from the crowd.

  2. A good choice. Also a beautiful painting. It doesn’t look like it’s done on silk or rice paper. Do you know what it was painted on?

  3. Remaining quiet and keeping one’s neck away from a noose or an axe is not a bad suggestion, however, that old conscience thing gets in the way for many of us – doesn’t it 😉
    AnnMarie 🙂
    Great post and image – thank you for sharing.
    ps – hope you’re enjoying your newest adorable addition 🙂

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