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Hoang Oanh – Chieu Tay Do

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Composer: Lam Phuong
English Title: Evening in the Western Capital (1)
Translated By: Gigi

One night, I dreamed us quietly returning together
We visited our homeland and the garden of areca nuts
My hand guided yours as we walked on the dried grass
We walked through the quiet evening in the Western Capital

The beautiful river, the long dress flowing elegantly
But how come I didn’t see us visiting Ninh Kieu?
I think I felt life heavily laden with the color black
As black as an unaccustomed piece of clothing

We asked the grasses and trees, they wept and the wind howled
Ever since we lost our home, the wind carried people across oceans (2)
Mothers waiting for letters, silently craving for a piece of betel
Children wandering the streets for many days because of hunger
Wives waiting for news of their husbands, the days seemed so far away (3)
Those years of liberation were like that, weren’t they? (4)

Back then, we were familiar with each part of our school courtyard
Now, why does everything seem different from the names of the streets?
The ship that carried me away will carry me back home
The Western Capital will relive its lovely days again.

Translator's Notes
(1) Tay Do means Western Capital, and is the old name of the city of Can Tho. It is now old terminology that isn't used in everyday language.
(2) This part refers to the refugees that fled Vietnam by boat, also known as "boat people."
(3) The wives here are the wives of South Vietnamese officers who were sent to re-education camps after the Vietnam war. The day that their husbands could return was very far away indeed.
(4) This question is mocking the so-called "liberation" that the North Vietnamese army vowed they would achieve when they invaded the South. It is making an irony out of the word "liberation" because it is a word connected to "freedom" but "freedom" were not what the Vietnamese citizens experienced after the Fall of Saigon in 1975. It was the exact opposite.

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  1. I love your translation of this song, which was sung so beautifully by Hoang Oanh. Thanks so much!

  2. Thank you so much for this translation!! I love this song! Please continue translating I really appreciate it!

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