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Dang The Luan – Nguoi Thuong Binh

Composer: Anh Bang
Poet: Thai Tu Ha
English Title: The Wounded Soldier
Translated By: Gigi

How many evenings did I drink wine until my lips soften?
I only saw the river stream reddening the sky.
I only realized that my heart continued to be rained on.
Sorrowful waves crashed; a piece of my soul drifted.

Just leave, my friend! Please don't become attached.
As a wounded soldier, I've become accustomed to living miserably.
Like a fierce animal confining itself in a small city,
I set fire to my entire life, so twisted and painful.

Many times beside the river, I mirrored my face,
I briefly remembered that cloudy sky over the Chu Phong summit.
An Loc, Khe Sanh, Lao Bao mountain pass.
Life and death, I treated them lightly as if they're nothing.

I shared with the grasses and trees my innermost feelings.
The entire world seemed to have forgotten about me.
I'm drinking wine beside the river stream of shame.
Out of sadness, I sing the old national anthem by myself. (1)

Translator's Notes: For those who don't know, this song is sung from the perspective of a wounded veteran of the South Vietnamese army (VNCH) after the Vietnam War. After the Vietnam War, wounded soldiers of the South Vietnamese army were evicted from the hospital they stayed at, some with open wounds, and others who haven't been treated yet. All were evicted and treated by the communist Vietnamese government as though they do not exist. They were refused jobs, and were not offered any place in society because of their previous service to VNCH in the war. Although it is a Vietnamese song, I think that the emotions depicted in this song can be understood by anyone and everyone.

(1) The 'old national anthem' refers to South Vietnam's (Republic of Vietnam) national anthem from 1956 to 1975 titled 'Tieng Goi Cong Dan' (more info here).

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  1. Thank you Gigi for translating! You must be very well educated in both Vietnamese and English to to interpret the song in such well articulation. Much respect to you 🙂

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