Eversky.org A Dose of Asian Pop Culture & Entertainment

16Jul/100

Khanh Ly – Nguoi Ve Bong Nho

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Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: Reminiscing as I Return
Translated By: Gigi

'Twas Spring when I loved you, the mountains appeared spacious
Crystal-clear lakes sparkled like a thousand golden wings
The day I loved you, the leaves colored green with youth
Waiting for Autumn to arrive before withering
A flock of birds by the river shed their wings every evening
A person sitting by the shore recalls the past

The world seemed gloomy, the months and days seemed desolate
Thought I saw you pass by beneath the flag's shadow
Then I hear the cheering of the mountains around me
I wait for the sun the rise before leaving
My footsteps tread far, I reminisce as I return
Every night I hear the wind whistle so calmly.

16Jul/100

Khanh Ly – Ngay Dai Tren Que Huong

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Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: A Long Day in Motherland
Translated By: Gigi

An old person within a park,
An insane person within a city,
A person lying down without breathing,
A person sitting hearing bombs explode.

A person sitting for twenty years,
Watching a flare illuminating at night.
A group of children desensitized to sights of war.
Our people lie down with wounds within them.

Our motherland rests for twenty years,
With its fragile flesh and bones,
Waiting for the land to be blessed.
A golden pigment on our soft skins.
We must cherish the color of our country.

A long day in motherland,
A day in Viet Nam is so devastating.
A rice field brazen by the reddened land.
A herd of buffaloes won't plow the grass.

A long day in motherland.
Our people forgot that they're alive.
A prison that nourishes the people.
Our people miss their home.

The days are long and worrisome,
And every night, war torments us.
Our people appear so strange.
Our people look at each other with hatred.

A prison within motherland.
Our people have forgotten their race.
Every day we build upon our resentments.
Every day we crush the marks of war.

Our motherland rests for twenty years,
With its fragile flesh and bones,
Waiting for the land to be blessed.
A golden pigment on our soft skins.
We must cherish the color of our country.

A long day in motherland.
That group of children have matured.
An old person look on with grief,
Waiting for the cold breeze to calm.

A person sitting for twenty years.
A bittersweet moment with a glass of wine.
How can a Vietnamese person not have golden skin.
How can a mother not miss her deceased children.

Translator's Notes: The "we" in this song is the Vietnamese people. Trinh Cong Son uses the words "người Việt" (meaning: Vietnamese people) in almost every line and I translated it as "our people" since this song is for the Vietnamese people. By doing so, I hope the the readers can immerse themselves in this song and truly understand the emotions that Trinh Cong Son was conveying. The last two lines in this song are rhetorical questions and so I did not end them with a question mark.

16Jul/100

Khanh Ly – Dai Bac Ru Dem

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Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: Artillery's Lullaby at Night
Translated By: Gigi

Night after night, the artillery shells descend into town.
A street sweeper halts his broom to silently listen.
As the shells drop, a mother wakes from her slumber.
As the shells drop, a child lets out an innocent cry.
Bright flames pierce the dark night over the mountains.

Night after night, the artillery shells descend into town.
A street sweeper halts his broom to silently listen.
After each round, a child awakens with fright.
A shelter collapses. Oh, the piles of flesh!
Each night its flames blinds the face of our land.

Thousands of bombs explode by the village gates.
Like rain, the bombs poured onto the rice fields.
A house burns crimson at the end of the street.
Endless grenades, claymores that the trucks carry.
Endless stores they carry throughout our town.
Bones scattered everywhere, our mothers', our loved ones'.

Night after night, the artillery shells descend into town.
A street sweeper halts his broom to silently listen.
Night after night, I can hear the future trembling.
Shells, like prayers, but they don't bring salvation.
A child barely alive listens to the sounds every night.

Night after night, the artillery shells descend into town.
A street sweeper halts his broom to silently listen.
Each night, the artillery shells sing our people to sleep.
Their familiar sounds, like a refrain from a sad folk song.
Our children have yet to mature to catch a glimpse of home.

14Jul/102

Khanh Ly – Phoi Pha

Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: Withered Away
Translated By: Gigi

I embrace the heart of the night
Gazing at the new moon, now returning
Remembering those footsteps of the past
Oh, how ephemeral
Every youthful spring has now aged
I pass by the shore one day
Life is like the passing wind

I have no one left
The road back seems infinitely long
Those nights away from you
Bitter wine filled the glasses
I constantly drink this life away
To relinquish every bit of happiness
For the world that's waiting

I return only to wait each day
Watching the sun shines its luminous rays
Watching the raindrops fall endlessly
Is there anyone who's been away only to return?
To return to the end of the skies
To become the drifting clouds

Just return to where you came
The road on this life is but nothing
How many seasons have passed?
There are many times
From the midnight garden, footsteps arrive
Footsteps so silent, but from whom?
Within my soul, I envision the past.

14Jul/100

Khanh Ly – Hay Song Gium Toi

Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: Live for Me
Translated By: Gigi

Live for me; speak for me; breathe for me.
This flesh is saved for the act of vengeance,
For madness, for ambition, of a pack of lunatics.

Live for me; speak for me; breathe for me.
This heart is saved for the crimson fire,
For peace, for the people who are still struggling.

Can anybody hear the voices of the Vietnamese people?
Who yearn only for peace within the dismal night,
Who yearn for the day where warmth will embrace their souls.

Live for me; speak for me; breathe for me.
It's been so long, why are you still waiting?
Why are you still sitting, silently sleeping, my brothers?

Live for me; speak for me; breathe for me.
What else is there to see besides the ravaging flames of war?
My people, how can you rejoice being nothing but beggars?

14Jul/100

Khanh Ly – Ngu Di Con

Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: Sleep, My Child
Translated By: Gigi

Oh, please sleep. Sleep, my sweet child.
Mother's own child, with your skin of gold.
I'm soothing you to sleep, soothing your bullet wound dyed crimson.
For twenty years, a group of children became soldiers.
They left, but never returned, so did my golden-skinned child.
Sleep, my child.

I have sung a lullaby for you once, now twice already.
Oh, this body that was so small and frail long ago.
I carried you in my womb; I held you in my arms.
Oh, why must you sleep at the age of twenty?

Oh, please sleep. Sleep, my sweet child.
Mother's very own child emerged into this world,
On your lips echoed a sound of grief and pain.
For twenty years, that group of children matured.
Entering the battlefield, my golden-skinned child of antiquity.
Sleep, my child.

I have sung a lullaby for you once, now you lay into dust.
Oh, which injury was it that carved deeply into your warm skin?
Mother's own flesh and blood, that I have reared from dusk to dawn
Oh, why must you sleep at the age of twenty?

Oh, my child sleeps at the age of twenty.
Oh, why must you sleep at the age of twenty?
Oh, my child sleeps at the age of twenty.

Translator's Notes: At the beginning of the video, Khanh Ly discussed about the Viet Nam war. One particular comment caught my interest so I've decided to translate it to English:

"People can easily forget the feeling of happiness. However, when it comes to the feeling of sorrow and sadness, once it becomes a wound, even if it heals, it will leave a scar on the skin and in the hearts of the Vietnamese people."
— Khanh Ly

14Jul/100

Trinh Cong Son – Nguoi Con Gai Viet Nam

Composer: Trinh Cong Son
English Title: Vietnamese Girl
Translated By: Gigi

Young Vietnamese girl, with skin of gold,
Who loved our homeland like the fields of grain,
Young Vietnamese girl, with skin of gold,
Who loved our homeland, as tears wet her cheeks.

Young Vietnamese girl, with skin of gold,
Who loved our homeland, its people, even the weak,
Who once sat there dreaming of peace,
Who's proud of our homeland like she is of her own being.

She's never known our homeland in peace.
She's never seen Viet Nam in the old days.
She's never sung the Vietnamese folk songs once.
She only possesses a resentful heart.

The young girl passed by the village one day,
Walking in the night, the sound of gunshots echoed,
She suddenly clutched her heart,
On her soft skin emerged a bleeding wound.

Young Vietnamese girl, with skin of gold,
Who loved our homeland like the fields of grain,
Young Vietnamese girl, with skin of gold,
Who loved our homeland that no longer exists.

Oh, the countless heartless deaths!
Oh, darkness befall our country for a thousand years.
Once, she visited our homeland alone.
And I still search for our homeland alone.