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16Feb/085

Nhu Quynh – Con Thuong Rau Dang Moc Sau He

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Composer: Bac Son
English Title: I Still Love Those Bitter Vegetables Growing After Summer
Translated By: Gigi

The summer sun departs.
Clouds wander aimlessly causing summer to sadden.
Within that region, the fields burn,
while birds silently miss the leaves and forest.

Who could know that mother was happy or sad when
she called uncle over closer to her, and told him to sit,
just so she could pluck the roots of his hair. (1)
Both of them had gray hair like each other.

Uncle's eyes were sorrowful.
Those first days of summer where we freely ran and played,
While father mended a piece of coconut
so that it'll soften, through dried sun and soaking rain.

Anyone who's faraway from his roots will sit by himself,
And he'll miss every stem of green bamboo growing everywhere,
as well as miss that area of the sky of memories.
And, he'll long for the taste of bitter vegetables cooked with soup. (2)

Please let me be a cloud that flies across the entire world.
I'll visit my homeland which separated from me the moment I left.
Please let me be the wind gently carrying the tune of a folk-song.
The broken fruit behind the house is still sweet,
sweet like the words we have for each other.

Please let me relive that simple love,
Freely running and playing in those first days of summer,
While father mended a piece of coconut
so that it'll soften, through dried sun and soaking rain.

I ask that from the summer sun of my home.
I sit and miss every stem of green bamboo growing everywhere,
as well as miss that area of the sky of memories.
And I long for the taste of bitter vegetables cooked with soup.

Translator's Notes: This song was quite challenging to translate, but I tried my best to at least get the meaning across. I translated from the actual lyrics; the singer altered a few parts of it when singing. This song is about culture and family, particularly the rural regions in Southern Vietnam. The composer simply wishes to return to those simple days, and although it wasn't luxurious, it was filled with the warmth of family. Everything mentioned in this song is related to the Vietnamese culture.

(1) This part is referring to how in Vietnamese families, one family member would pluck out the other family member's gray hair. For example, a daughter plucking her mother's gray hair. It just shows how tight-knit Vietnamese families tend to be, and that is rooted in the culture. Vietnamese families are extended families and it's normal to find three generations (grandma, mother, daughter) living in the same household. The next part mentions how both the mother and uncle had gray hair. And well, even though they both have so many gray hairs that it would be pointless to pluck them, but the mother still does anyway. That symbolizes their closeness.

(2) This is a typical Southern Vietnamese dish. It's a simple dish but it's almost always included in every meal.

Comments (5) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Gigi, thank you so much for translating this song. I have loved this song since I first heard Nhu Quynh sing it on PBN, but my command of vietnamese is nowhere near sufficient to grasp the entire song. Thanks to you, my love for this song has increased tenfold! You did a splendid job in translating the meaning and spirit of the song as well the additional notes. Bravo!

  2. Thank you for your kind words, George. I’m glad that you enjoy my translation of the song! Please do check our translations of other Vietnamese songs on this website if you are interested.

  3. Thank you so much for this translation! I’ve looked for a couple years now, but haven’t found anything! I’ve loved this song throughout my childhood, oddly enough, and still didn’t know what the more classical vietnamese parts meant. Thanks so much!!!!!

  4. Thank you for the translation. Listening to this song makes me feel even more proud about the fact that I am Vietnamese.

  5. “While father mended a piece of coconut” isn’t mean a father , who is mended a piece of coconut , ” ba da mien dua” is a culture , mean wild and careless , somethings like a slang words in vietnams . This song very hard to translate and understand a depth meaning of this emotion song . Its about sisters/brothers , who is seperated because of war … But you do really good job with this one :) . Keep up a good job .


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