Eversky.org A Dose of Asian Pop Culture & Entertainment

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?

24Oct/081

Quang Le – Suong Trang Mien Que Ngoai

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Composer: Dinh Mien Vu
English Title: White Dew in Motherland
Translated By: Gigi

At night, I paddle across muddy swamps, with mud clinging onto my body.
Drops of white dew fall onto my shoulders, softening them with the coldness.
Birds weep across the land, calling each other to fly towards where?
Speechless, a group of gibbons also call out to each other.

Every time I hold the gun close to my chest until my hands become numb,
With sunken eyes following the infinite illusions, I let out a long sigh.
In a faraway land, my mother carries the burden on her shoulders,
While you are illuminating, like a bright lantern shining within tomorrow's dew.

Mother, I wonder if you know that I'm sitting in my own grave right now? (1)
The wind promises, the rain vows, and once I return to motherland,
Just so my mother can send a message asking about my condition.
That one road in our old village during the old years, when I was still small
I followed my mother to school, and now, that old road is still there,
With strands of willow trees dancing in the wind to a sad lullaby.

I'm busy with military operations, so it might be hard to visit each other.
But we still have each other like we have our very first breath entering life.
Your hair still has the sweet scent of the sky-high grass.
Allow me to tell you my plans for our future.

My friends left following the layers of the years.
I heard that a few of my close friends sometimes never return.
Please let me have you continue praying for my life.
Rocks are soft, but our feet are hard, so my mother still has a future. (2)

Translator's Notes:
(1) What this means is that he feels like he's waiting to die in the battlefield, and that everywhere he sits is like his own grave. He doesn't know whether or not he can survive.
(2) What this means is that rocks are soft in the sense that if you hit them hard enough, they break. But with our feet, if we have a strong footing, we won't trip over as easily. And if we do fall or trip, we can still stand up. His mother still having a future implies that the country still has a future.

20Jun/080

Quang Le – Xin Em Dung Khoc Vu Quy

Composer: Dinh Mien Vu
English Title: Please Don't Cry On Your Wedding Day
Translated By: Gigi

Don't look at me in that way,
With your eyes streaked with tears.
Although our love has not faded,
It cannot avoid the pain of separation.
Who could ever predict the future?
Who could ever imagine?
How could tears ever wipe away our love?

Memories filled with only bitterness now,
My heart is but an organ rubbed in salt
Yet why hasn't the salt dissolved in?
Everything is still here, but where are you?
We both live within two separate skies.
I hold resentment towards a love that won't disappear,
For the rest of my entire life.

A flower-adorned car guided you on your day.
To me, it's a funeral car bidding farewell to my soul,
Like a bleak and painful prison,
Like poison agitating in the middle of the night.
Like that refrain from a romantic love medley,
But all that's left is a sorrowful note.

Pain comes with every beat of my heart.
God is punishing us by causing our souls to never unite.
I'll wipe away the tears and try to crack a smile,
Just so you would feel at ease.
Let us wait till our next lifetime,
With a promise to love each other again.

3Jan/080

Quang Le – Vung Ngoai O / Co Hang Xom

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Composer: Anh Bang
English Title: In the Suburbs / The Girl in the Neighborhood
Translated by: Gigi

In the suburbs, I have a cottage.
Although it is small, it is really pretty.
For days and months, I lived all by myself.
The house nearby, the girl lived in riches,
Accustomed to velvet and embroided silk like royalty,
With a chauferred car accompanying her.

Night after night, under the golden moonlight,
The guitar and I silently lamented together.
And that girl in the neighborhood would often visit
to make acquantainces when the lights are on.

I don't sing very well; I'm also bad at playing the guitar.
But she continued to praise me a lot
making me feel rather flattered deep down,
As though her words were warm and heartfelt
like the words exchanged between lovers.

Two years passed, but I dared not confess my love.
I was scared because of my poor, dirt-like status.
How could I dream of our love in the future?
I was scared that these difficulties
would cause my dreams to become bitter and painful.

So one day, I decided to depart far away.
I tried to forget about her
as though she was a blurry, distant figure.
Thanks to time, remedies, or a mythical deity
that separated the both of us,
So that person long ago had forgotten already.

Today, I received a pink envelope.
She broke the happy news that she's marrying a rich husband.
Her life has always been fortunate.
Does she still remember this poor musician or not?

1Jan/080

Quang Le – Nang Dep Mien Nam

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Composer: Lam Phuong
Lyricist: Ho Dinh Phuong
English Title: The Sun Shines on the Beautiful South
Translated By: Gigi

The Southern region has a peaceful sun, beautiful rice paddies,
and a love towards one's own native land.
Oh, my dear, let us hurry and depart onto the road early.
Dawn is still waiting, and so are the water fields.

Over here the sky is infinite. The sun of tomorrow opens slightly
over the mouth of the waterfall running onto the green fields.
Let us lean together, bringing each hand to offer our added strength
so that everyone can be happy with one another.
The plowed path of yesterday now overflows with new rice paddies.
Oh, how graceful the fields are!
Tomorrow will be the day where each grain will ripe in indulgence.
Together, we will admire them while smiling.

Look, the flock of native birds! Where are the birds flying to?
Perhaps to bring news that we are living with dawn right now.
The sound of singing seems so gentle.
That sweet sound resounding across blue skies.
How beautiful its feelings are...
Love is a passionate affection that binds our hearts to mountains and rivers.
It is a fondness towards our native land.

The thousand shadows of night have faded already,
with the solar rings rising, luminating on life.
Our village is gleaming with honor now!

Once the soldier finishes with his struggle to bring peace to Dong Thap and Ca Mau,
I, a farmer who's used to many hardships, will contribute my hard work
to prepare for a season that awaits an enlightening experience.
Because of the loving relationship between soldier and citizen,
it creates a feeling of warmth and tenderness where our homeland welcomes dawn.
Let us strive with each and every day.
Let us water the green fields together, and then live contently in peace.

Here is my loving homeland of the South.
The sun rises so splendidly on the joyful passing seasons.

21Sep/071

Quang Le – Hai Que

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English Title: Two Homelands
Translated by: Gigi

I grew up beside the shore of Tam Giang... of salty water (1)
Those evenings of no white clouds slowly... drifted
And I drifted backwards with the life stream for months and years
I hold gratitude towards your own homeland, yet
I'm feeling homesick... for my own...

My homeland, remember those times
For days and months, life was hard
The bird cries out, "chirp chirp" every evening
Hearing its sound, so deep but lonely
A profound verse from the chanty
Lulling life with a meaningful love

I love it when summer returns, burning the trees dry
The first and second lunar months, nights grew longer
The calming yet soaking rain, along with the gentle wind
Every bed of plowed dirt, every wishes and prayers
People nourish the ground with a sense of love for life
A rice meal of happiness, in a land nourishing its people

The sparking colors beside the Tam Giang lagoon
A passing boat, the female rower let loose a chanty
Bittersweet times are always beside us
Like the small vines on a plate of betel (2)
As gentle as the meaning of a husband and wife
Never once breaking the promise

Who could leave without promising to return?
Why such deep love for two homelands?
Over here are many promises and prayers
Are you moved beyond words over there?
Your homeland of rain and sun
Is the deep-weighted love still there?
Or has it dissipated in your heart?

Over here the sky is vast
The youthful strength lengthens to the two feet
Over here are many landscapes of life
Accepting the generous heart
The rain and sun in your homeland are still deep-seated
A sense of love in this entire life
Similar to the stars of tomorrow at the ends of the sky.

(1) Tam Giang is the name of a lagoon located north of Hue in Vietnam, where three major rivers flow into it. Tam Giang translates to "Three Rivers" in English.
(2) A betel is an Asian pepper plant, it also signifies a promise of marriage in Vietnamese culture.

22Aug/072

Quang Le – Dap Vo Cay Dan

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English Translation
Translated by: Gigi

Breaking the Guitar (1)

Breaking the guitar; resenting life, [I] break this guitar (2)
Oh, beloved; oh, beloved! Oh, love; oh, love! (3)
Breaking the guitar, resenting life for being silvery white like lime (4)
[I'm] Enraged at the person who forgot her promise

Breaking the guitar, [I'm] enraged at the girl who loved it
So depressing, so depressing! How can it subside?
Breaking the guitar, [I'm] enraged at the person who exchanged white for black (5)
[I'm] Resenting life's turning events for it's like the turning of a hand (6)

The story of the days that passed: I met a girl
who carried a sorrowful singing voice
She told me, "You should learn the guitar
so that the guitar can accompany me when I sing
for all the days of flowery dreams of our life."

I loved her, so I quickly left for the city
Finding places where I can learn the guitar
After a year, I returned home
but the girl from long ago has left already

I asked around from people to people in the neighborhood finding her
Where is she, where is she? Where is she, where is she?
Someone broke the sad news that she met a famous musician
and started a family with him

I felt a sting of love for her, and then I sobbed out of love for myself
What's left of life? Farewell, guitar!
Breaking the guitar, [I'm] enraged at the person who exchanged white for black
[I'm] Resenting life's turning events for it's like the turning of a hand.

Translation Notes:
(0) All of the words in brackets are not part of the original lyrics. The composer rarely uses "I" in the lyrics since in Vietnamese, you don't have to use "I" all the time if people know that you are the one talking. So the I's in brackets are just there for grammatical reasons. The ones without the brackets are part of the original lyrics.
(1) The Vietnamese title is "Dap Vo Cay Dan". The word "dan" in the title is an ambiguous word. It refers any musical instrument that you only play with your hands (guitar, piano, and other traditional Vietnamese instruments). I just translated to guitar since it is the one that you break by smashing/beating it. That is what the "Dap Vo" part means in the title: "dap" means to smash or beat and "vo" means to break. I used break since it sounds better than "smash/beat."
(2) The verb that the composer uses here is "gian" meaning "to be mad at", "to resent", etc. And throughout the entire song, he uses this verb to express his emotions towards life and the girl. Since it has a different meaning depending on whatever/whoever receiving the verb, I translated into two similar words in English. The composer "resents" life and is "enraged" at the girl who betrayed him.
(3) I wasn't sure how to translated the "Nguoi oi, nguoi oi!" part. Well, "nguoi" means person but he's using it to refer to the girl he loved, so I used the noun "beloved." I did not want to use "love" (person), because the next part "Tinh oi, tinh oi!" he is really referring to "love" (thing).
(4) The "lime" here is not the fruit. It is the chemical lime (calcium oxide), which is a grayish (silver) white, odorless soluble solid. I'm guessing the meaning here is that the composer meant that life is colorless, lacks meaning, and so forth.
(5) That is the literal translation. It is the Vietnamese metaphor "a person exchanging white for black". The "white" here means the composer, his love, etc. while the "black" here means "the famous musician." The girl betrayed the composer's love by marrying the famous musician (who can also provide her a stable lifestyle). In other words, she traded love for security, and in doing so, she betrayed the composer.
(6) That is also the literal translation, and it's a Vietnamese simile. A person can easily turn their hands back and forth (back to palm, palm to back), and life's event can also turn quickly so easily. Life's twisted, turning event is referring to how the composer went to learn the guitar for the girl he loved only to come back to the fact that she didn't wait for him (a slap to the face) and instead married a famous musician (another slap to the face).