Eversky.org A Dose of Asian Pop Culture & Entertainment

6Sep/100

Nhu Quynh – Duyen Phan

Composer: Thai Thinh
English Title: Destiny
Translated By: Gigi

Because I'm a girl, I haven't loved anyone once.
Looking towards the future, the rivers and roads seemed wider and longer.
Living in a small house, my younger siblings have yet to mature.
Because my parents loved me, they looked for a potential spouse,
With hopes that this lonely ship can finally find its rightful shore.
I have yet to be attached to those kind of relationships.
Fearing that once I've loved, I would be hurt.

I haven't loved once, how can I anticipate the future?
I don't know what to expect when it comes to love.
How deep is the river? No one can truly measure its depth.
So how can I measure the depth of someone's love for me?
Many years have passed that I have lived in peace,
Until I fell in love, which brought me many miseries.
Shallowness depends on the river, how can anyone tell from the surface?
If the ship hasn't dwell in the shore, how can it know if the water is clear?

And now he comes with his family and relatives to greet mine.
During one joyous day, with just one step forward, I've become a loving wife,
Leaving behind my younger siblings who look on with sorrowful eyes.
My parents are happier although tears wet their cheeks.
They reminded me to always uphold my husband's family ethics.
Walking past the river, I silently ask the crashing waves,
"Is it possible for a girl not to love anyone in her life?"

Translator's Note: The title "Destiny" refers to her role as a girl, as in what's expected of her because of her gender: to fall in love, get married, and have a family. She is "destined" to be in this role because she is a girl. To please her parents and others, she must accept this role because she realizes that even she cannot go against destiny (refer to the last line).

30Dec/090

Nhu Quynh – Chuyen Hoa Tigon

Composer: Anh Bang
Poet: T.T.Kh
English Title: Story of the Tigon Flower
Translated By: Gigi

One autumn evening just before twilight arrived
Still innocent, I gathered all the fallen flowers
Basked in the moonlight, my hair dyed into its color
I waited for the figure of my lover to appear with all his love

He often ran his fingers across strands of my hair
Often sighed every time a smile reached my lips
He once said, "Those flowers are like a shattered heart.
I'm worried that would be the future of our relationship."

I remembered the words he once said to me
Ever since that autumn evening from long ago
Now that I finally understood the meaning of those words
Our relationship had been destroyed by my hands

If he knew that I had already married another
Would sadness reach his heart, shattering it, or not?
Would he think of those shattered flowers from long ago?
Flowers that resemble a broken heart dyed in crimson blood.

Translator's Notes: Anh Bang took 4 verses from a famous poem "Hai Sac Hoa Tigon" (Two Colors of Tigon Flower) by T.T.Kh and composed this song. The poem itself is actually 11 verses long with 4 lines per verse and is based on the poet's own tragic love story. To this day, the poet's identity was never revealed.

29Dec/093

Nhu Quynh – Chuyen Tinh Hoa Trang

Requested by Helena. We hope you like the translation.

Composer: Anh Bang
Poet: Kien Giang
English Title: The Love Story of a White Flower
Translated By: Gigi

It's been so long since I visited the neighborhood
Ever since the fires of war engulfed our homeland
Smoke from bombs envelope the ends of the familiar sky
Veiling over my beloved and the roof of the church

Ever since the war spread to this neighborhood
He emerged as a soldier to protect our country
To protect the violet dress imprinted with a white flower
To protect the school buildings and churches

Enemies occupied the bell tower to build their weapon base
Their weapons roared demolishing the bricks of the church
He gathered the shattered pieces and rebuilt the destroyed wall
Reclaiming the bell tower at the top of the church

But then that heroic man from the war
Died a proud death beside the shadow of his country's flag
The bell from long ago rang during his last moments
Bidding him farewell from the gates of the church

A white flower no longer adorned on a violet dress
But instead adorned on the cover of his coffin
A white flower no longer adorned on a violet dress
Oh, the immense sorrow from memories long ago

The funeral car has already disappeared from here
The bell of the church cried its final tears of farewell
That violet dress is alone this evening
Tenderly missing the white flower that now resides beside his grave.

5Sep/090

Quang Le & Nhu Quynh – Ao Hoa

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Composer: Tran Quang Loc
English Title: Floral Dresses
Translated by: Gigi
Note: I did not translate the part at the beginning. I only translated the song.

I remember the first time we met
The turquoise dress that you wore looked so heavenly
Your figure radiated like you just stepped out of a painting
Love sparkled in those eyes, love sparkled in those eyes
A love that we both gave to each other

The next day, you wore a golden dress
Within your dress, a golden chrysanthemum just bloomed
'Twas as elegant as the music from a folk song
That we listened to someone sing about our eternal promise

I returned to pick a flower bud off of a Benjamin Fig
To carry that fragrance with me on the road back
Even if life is full of complexities, I will always love you
I will always adore all of your floral dresses

Today you wore a rose-colored dress
Yet it's still you because I could picture heaven in you
I hope that you will gladly wait for me
What are you dreaming of in those lovely eyes of yours?

16Oct/080

Nhu Quynh – Nua Vang Trang

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Composer: Nhat Trung
English Title: Crescent
Translated By: Gigi

One lonely crescent moon at night
Dreadfully thinking of someone, it falls onto the river
Along with the river's water, it floats and wanders
To find the one it loves

One lonely crescent moon, you are somewhere far away
While I anticipate your return, halfheartedly missing you
Waiting for your arrival, waiting for your love
To complete this moon

Where are you? This moon feels lonely
How could you forget our love so easily?
This moon withers away with all its yearning and love
Causing love to hastily disappear

There's only me embracing this loneliness left
This tender moon, who could sever it in half?
Sadness falls for eternity, however, the pain remain
I continue to embrace this love

Sitting here with the lonely, waning moon
My heart misses you at the end of the earth
Even if you have already disappeared from me
To enjoy a newfound love

By myself, I embrace my aching heart
Searching for you beneath the crumbling moon at night
My heart hopes that you won't forget
Within that desolate place is me forever waiting

Within that desolate place...is me forever waiting...for you.

13Jun/080

Truong Vu & Nhu Quynh – Pho Dem

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Composer: Tam Anh
English Title: Night Lit City
Translated By: Gigi

Dim, blurry lights stretch across a night lit city
A color of white like stars hugging themselves to sleep
Many times I meditate within this night lit city
Whenever I recall those memories of my life
Of those days where the number of casualties grew

Black clouds cause the fragile moon to wane
That's why there are traces of warmth left
Situated in front of a thousand vague verses
Because one often dreams that life is like a poem

I miss those days where sun rays rest on trees
How I love those golden leaves that are now dissolving
Drifting clouds fly across skies without a care in the world
Causing the one I love to dream and hope
I set out to discover all the strokes of elegance

Although I'm a soldier away from home, I still appreciate life
With words from my song and the sound of my laughter
I still search for happiness within my dreams
Even if my words become dazed with longing, grief, and doubt

A night lit city in the middle of a strange land
It submerges in like the rows of frozen trees
A night lit city awaits the person exposed to the hardships of life
Someone who's fighting this war for a long time already
Someone who probably keeps his own feelings and wishes to himself

Please give me ten fingers like that of an angel's
Please give me ten fingers like that of an angel's
So that I can guide the person I love
So I can guide the person who doesn't love
And the person who hasn't loved yet.

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.

8Feb/080

Nhu Quynh – Chuyen Hoa Sim

Composer: Anh Bang
Poet/Lyricist: Huu Loan
English Title: Story of the Violet Myrtle
Translated By: Gigi

The prettiest thing in a wild forest is a violet-colored flower
The love story I love the most is the story of the violet myrtle
There was a girl whose spring has just budded
Her hair was still short, not covering her shoulders completely

Back then, she always loved the color violet
Every evening, she would climb the hills of violet myrtles
Where she stood watching the never-ending rows of violet myrtles
As she missed her husband, a soldier in a faraway region

Oh, to marry a soldier, to marry during war,
Only a few of those that left could ever return
As I fear that if I leave forever, and if I might not return
I feel that I love my wife waiting at home for me more
But the person that died was not the soldier amidst flames
It was the girl at home that died
It was the girl I love so much that died.

I am a soldier stationed across jungles and mountains
Where I encounter the hills of violet myrtles everyday
I stare at the blooming myrtles, loving them so much
And I regret that the girl is no longer here

Why does she always love the color violet?
That sad color is in utter disarray, right, my dear?
As the evening mist colors the surroundings in violet
I weep by myself at the story of the violet myrtle.

31Jan/082

Nhu Quynh – Xin Dung Trach Da Da

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This song is considered the 'sequel' song to "Tieng Hat Chim Da Da" and I highly recommend that you listen to "Tieng Hat Chim Da Da" before listening to this. It is located here.

Composer: Vo Dong Dien
English Title: Please Don't Blame the Chinese Francolin (1)
Translated By: Gigi

And so, the Chinese Francolin stood blankly,
Staring off into the faraway distance.
It still echoed its song the day she wedded her husband.
A lullaby sounded so vast the day I bid farewell to her beside the river.
As I look at the clouds drifting aimlessly,
I wonder if she is still heartbrokened over where she is?

Time passed by quickly that I often thought it was just a dream.
But life is not like a dream; love is not what anyone would expect.
I rather be like the wandering clouds,
So that I could let the wind carry me to the distant lands.
Don't let me be like the Chinese Francolin,
How could it apathetically caused someone to be sad?

Who was it? Who was it that caused the rain to fall?
Raining on the golden butterfly when it perched on a branch of the ballnut tree. (2)
Just like how birds move from one place to another,
How can I find her after she married a husband from a faraway region?

Finding her is like finding a distant bird,
The bird flew to the northern sea while I'm searching for the southern sea.
Every evening, every evening, I went out to stand by the shore of the river.
During my moment of heartache, I did blame the Chinese Francolin.

Please don't blame the Chinese Francolin.
Please don't blame the Chinese Francolin.

Translator's Notes
(1) Chinese Francolin is a bird species and in this song it is used to symbolize the man who is in love with the girl. He is asking his ex-lover to not blame him for letting her go marry someone else even if they both love each other. He also doesn't want to blame himself for letting her go so easily.
(2) This line links to a Vietnamese 'ca dao' (folk-song) phrase, and it is translated as follows:

A golden butterfly perches on a branch of the ballnut tree,
The earlier a woman weds her husband, the sadder the lullaby.

That folk-song phrase refers to women who marry at an early age. It is viewed as depressing because they married so young, and in the old days, they married according to their parents' wishes instead of their own. So most of these women end up marrying someone they do not love. So Vietnamese songs with this theme, will almost always include a golden butterfly perching on a ballnut tree branch because of the folk-song. This will also indicate as to why a lullaby is mentioned at the beginning of the song.

26Jan/080

Nhu Quynh – Tieng Hat Chim Da Da

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This song is a well-known song among Vietnamese, and because it is rooted in Vietnamese culture, it will be hard to understand by non-Vietnamese. That's why I included translation notes like always so that people will understand the song and its symbolism and metaphors, so that they can enjoy the song just as I do.

Composer: Vo Dong Dien
English Title: The Sound of the Chinese Francolin (1)
Translated by: Gigi

Back in the day, you were fifteen years old
You would often hear me playing the guitar
The sound of the guitar stirred up many emotions
As time passed by quickly
You no longer come to hear me plucking the copper strings
And only peeked at me beside the river
Why were you not like before, coming over to hear me play?
Causing the guitar's melody to saddened greatly
You are like the gentle clouds, drifting aimlessly across the sky
And the clouds have separated from me

There's a Chinese Francolin seated on a banyan tree branch
Why must you marry a husband who's so far away? (2)
There's a Chinese Francolin singing a harmonious song
Why must you marry at such a young age?
Causing the Chinese Francolin to reluctantly fly away

By chance, I met you again
We happened to ride on the same ferry boat
An evening ferry boat that guided its guests across the river
By chance, we recognized each other
Stirring up emotions from the old days
Causing the ferry boat to shake as the waves clap
The day the bride crossed the river on a ferry boat adorned in flowers (3)
A small tear fell beside the river
The day the bride crossed over to her husband's house,
Someone sang such a sorrowful lullaby

There's a Chinese Francolin seated on a banyan tree branch (4)
Why must you marry a husband who's so far away?
There's a Chinese Francolin singing a harmonious song
Why must you marry at such a young age?
Causing the Chinese Francolin to reluctantly fly away.

Translator's Notes
(1) The Chinese Francolin (chim da da) is a bird species and in this song it is used to symbolize the man who is in love with the girl. He is asking his ex-lover to not blame him for letting her go marry someone else even if they both love each other..

(2) The literal meaning here is "Why don't you marry a husband who's near you; why must you marry one who's so far away?" And well, even though the Vietnamese phrase is rather short, it becomes wordy in English so I shortened it. The simple meaning is that he doesn't want her to leave him, and if she has to marry someone who isn't him, she should at least marry someone who's near her (ie. in the same village as her) since at least he could still see her everyday. But in this case, she ends up marrying someone far away.

(3) The phrase "sang song" in Vietnamese, which translates to "crossing the river" in English, is a metaphor for "getting married." It is rooted in Vietnamese culture back in the day where most people lived in the countryside, and often villages or neighborhoods would be separated by a river. And so when a girl gets married, she needs to "cross the river" to the other side where her husband's house would be. And usually once the girl "crosses the river," it's hard for her to come back especially if her husband's house is so far away. Since it happens often, the phrase "crossing the river" becomes the metaphor to "getting married."

(4) In the countryside, there are two things Vietnamese people consider to be symbolic of their village: dinh (village hall) and cay da (banyan tree). So the banyan tree is often used as a representation of Vietnamese villages in Vietnamese songs. It's said that tree carries a special meaning, that it is a symbol of longevity and perseverance, because of its near infinite roots.