Self-help

by alcoholicbutter

Some days ago I got an advice: if you can’t write, viagra 100mg discount translate. Yesterday, while I was listening to my database of Vietnamese pre-75 music, a particular song with its haunting lyrics captured me and inspired me to translate. The song is called K? v?t cho em, written by Ph?m Duy during Vietnam War. It was originally censored by the South Vietnamese government for being too melancholic, too emotional, which would dampen soldiers’ hearts and minds. However, no censorship could stop music, no censorship could destroy emotions, and it was listened to, loved, recorded and shared amongst generations of the South Vietnamese of the time.

Here are the original lyrics: http://www.vmdb.com/viewSong.jsp?id=1539

In the process of translation, sometimes I deliberately left out some preposition words, like (in) an afternoon, (in) a coffin, to reflect and respect the use of language in the original.

A Souvenir For You

You asked me, you asked me, when will you come back?

Let me answer, let me answer, I’ll come back one day.

I’ll come back, maybe with the Plei Me victory,

or ??c C?, ??ng Xoài, Bình Giã,

I’ll come back, I’ll come back, the trees flutter

I’ll come back, maybe a coffin with flowers

I’ll come back, on a stretcher,

On a white funeral helicopter.

You asked me, you asked me, when will you come back?

Let me answer, let me answer, I’ll come back one day.

I’ll come back, a wild afternoon, hiding from sun,

A gloomy Poncho shrouding my soul

I’ll come back, your youthful hair,

Hurriedly trapped in a white band, my darling!

You asked me, you asked me, when will you come back?

Let me answer, let me answer, I’ll come back one day.

I’ll come back with the souvenir of a black copper bullet,

You cross a river, put it in your memory

I’ll come back, I’ll come back on wooden crutches

I’ll come back, I’ll come back, a defeated, crippled soldier

Self-conscious, one Spring you’ll be strolling,

Alongside your hardened disabled lover.

You asked me, you asked me, when will you come back?

Let me answer, let me answer, I’ll come back one day.

I’ll come back, and we’ll be strangers,

I’ll come back, and meddle with your life,

We look at each other with strangers’ eyes

Trying to forget our once last word, my dear!

You asked me, you asked me, when will you come back?

Let me answer, let me answer, I’ll come back one day.

Note:

Plei Me: a battle in the Central Highlands of Vietnam between North
Vietnamese, United States and South Vietnamese forces, on October 19,
1965, as part of Vietnam War.

??c C? (Gia Lai): a battle in the Central Highlands of Vietnam between
North Vietnamese and a South Korean base, on August 9, 1966, as part
of Vietnam War.

??ng Xoài (Ph??c Long province, now a part of Bình Ph??c province): a
major battle as part of the Communist Summer Offensive in 1965, from
June 9-13.

Bình Giã (Ph??c Tuy province, now Bà R?a – V?ng Tàu): a large battle
from December 28, 1964 to January 1, 1965 between North Vietnamese and
US/South Vietnamese forces.

Poncho: Watertight coat used in the military, similar to the raincoats Vietnamese wear now. The use of the word here is by no means related to the South American garment or culture. The author used the word in the original song, and I decided to keep it instead of translating it to coat or cloak.
Some days ago I got an advice: if you can’t write, discount translate. Yesterday, while I was listening to my database of Vietnamese pre-75 music, a particular song with its haunting lyrics captured me and inspired me to translate. The song is called K? v?t cho em, written by Ph?m Duy during Vietnam War. It was originally censored by the South Vietnamese government for being too melancholic, too emotional, which would dampen soldiers’ hearts and minds. However, no censorship could stop music, no censorship could destroy emotions, and it was listened to, loved, recorded and shared amongst generations of the South Vietnamese of the time.

Here are the original lyrics: http://www.vmdb.com/viewSong.jsp?id=1539

In the process of translation, sometimes I deliberately left out some preposition words, like (in) an afternoon, (in) a coffin, to reflect and respect the use of language in the original.

A Souvenir For You

You asked me, you asked me, when will you come back?

Let me answer, let me answer, I’ll come back one day.

I’ll come back, maybe with the Plei Me victory,

or ??c C?, ??ng Xoài, Bình Giã,

I’ll come back, I’ll come back, the trees flutter

I’ll come back, maybe a coffin with flowers

I’ll come back, on a stretcher,

On a white funeral helicopter.

You asked me, you asked me, when will you come back?

Let me answer, let me answer, I’ll come back one day.

I’ll come back, a wild afternoon, hiding from sun,

A gloomy Poncho shrouding my soul

I’ll come back, your youthful hair,

Hurriedly trapped in a white band, my darling!

You asked me, you asked me, when will you come back?

Let me answer, let me answer, I’ll come back one day.

I’ll come back with the souvenir of a black copper bullet,

You cross a river, put it in your memory

I’ll come back, I’ll come back on wooden crutches

I’ll come back, I’ll come back, a defeated, crippled soldier

Self-conscious, one Spring you’ll be strolling,

Alongside your hardened disabled lover.

You asked me, you asked me, when will you come back?

Let me answer, let me answer, I’ll come back one day.

I’ll come back, and we’ll be strangers,

I’ll come back, and meddle with your life,

We look at each other with strangers’ eyes

Trying to forget our once last word, my dear!

You asked me, you asked me, when will you come back?

Let me answer, let me answer, I’ll come back one day.

Note:

Plei Me: a battle in the Central Highlands of Vietnam between North
Vietnamese, United States and South Vietnamese forces, on October 19,
1965, as part of Vietnam War.

??c C? (Gia Lai): a battle in the Central Highlands of Vietnam between
North Vietnamese and a South Korean base, on August 9, 1966, as part
of Vietnam War.

??ng Xoài (Ph??c Long province, now a part of Bình Ph??c province): a
major battle as part of the Communist Summer Offensive in 1965, from
June 9-13.

Bình Giã (Ph??c Tuy province, now Bà R?a – V?ng Tàu): a large battle
from December 28, 1964 to January 1, 1965 between North Vietnamese and
US/South Vietnamese forces.

Poncho: Watertight coat used in the military, similar to the raincoats Vietnamese wear now. The use of the word here is by no means related to the South American garment or culture. The author used the word in the original song, and I decided to keep it instead of translating it to coat or cloak.
This is the translated and slightly revised version of an entry I posted a few months ago about my feelings for Saigon, page
my hometown and the city in which I reside.

You can take a person out of the land, Hepatitis
but you can’t take the land out of that person. Living in Saigon, stuff
I find myself complaining more than praising. The city of Saigon is becoming larger, more modern, having a more developed skyline of high-rise buildings (demolishing colonial architecture, mind you). Traffic is busier, trade is everywhere. We can easily run into luxury here. People wear expensive clothes, drive expensive cars, and dine in expensive restaurants. So is it strange that despite these positive developments, I still complain? Complaining about the traffic jam, about pollution, about inhabitants. Complaining people coming out of expensive cars with empty looks on their faces. Complaining about bad habits like urinating on the street, littering, swearing in restaurants, and riding recklessly. Complaining about things that make me want to shake my head like massage parlors, street sex workers, backpackers’ area, cheap clubs and discotheques. I agree, I might complain too much.

Complaining is separate of love and hate. I complain about Saigon, and I complain about some attributes of Vietnamese, but it doesn’t mean I hate them. The essence of being Vietnamese is deeper and larger than the things we see in front of our eyes. But having said that, it doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want, and hoping to get away with the excuse that we always have what’s called Vietnamese-ness inside. Sadly, many people are using that excuse and at the same time, ruining the city and the culture. A city is forever changing. Saigon is bigger and Saigon is more chaotic. Saigon has a rich and diverse history, and each of the people here has their own version of history. Saigon is becoming a cosmopolitan with people from all walks of life who bring with them diverse cultures, compared to before where culture was more neat and uniform. Is it globalization, or is it losing its heritage?

If someone asks me “What do I think of Vietnam?”, I’d have a hard time answering the question. A part of me would say Vietnam has always had great potential. Vietnamese have been good at literature and arts. Vietnamese are opinionated, despite being stereotyped as always following the majority. In the past, I’d be more confident to say that everyone has their own opinions, some express, some don’t, some suppress and one day explode. But now, I’m not sure if that is true with the younger generations, who easily succumb to the influence of trends and peer pressure. Another part of me would say Vietnam is a very interesting country. History, language, cuisine, traditions, personality traits, classes, almost everything has a mystery and a rich history that isn’t always shown to the world. But another part of me would like to scream out that Vietnam is getting worse (or is the world also?). I look around and I see the money-driven, materialistic, competitive (like how people drive here), loose, short-sighted, pompous people, how they have conversations, what they talk about, how they deal with relationships, how they regard education. It’d be a very complex reply.

Someone asked me if I dislike Vietnamese. I was surprised. Of course, I don’t dislike Vietnamese for them being Vietnamese, such a thing would be stupid and short-sighted, and I am not a big fan for that. I dislike shallowness in general, and I dislike ignorance. I do dislike the nouveaux-riches because I don’t get along well with them, and I don’t think they deserve to be so loud and bombastic. I do dislike impolite, rude and loud people who are prone to arguments and violence. I do dislike bragging or boasting about one’s lifestyle. But those are not what the word Vietnamese means, or what Vietnamese people stand for. Vietnamese simply means ‘of Vietnam’. Those characteristics, though displayed by some people here, are not synonymic or representative of Vietnamese. I don’t dislike hard-working people. I don’t dislike people working almost 20 hours on the street, trying to make a living for themselves and for their families. I don’t dislike the humility that a few display in contrast to their bombastic fellows. I don’t dislike the language we speak. I think it is a beautiful language. I don’t dislike the wittiness some have with the language. If only I didn’t see so much of what I dislike, and so little of what I like, around me.

It’s quite dangerous when a nationality (or a group of people) is famous for something not so nice, pancreatitis and they turn it into a joke, ailment which they are quite proud of, and relish in that fact.

The total lack of temporal understanding is an example.

Vietnamese usually laugh it off whenever someone is late and says “Oh, he uses rubber time.”. Sometimes, when the situation is more critical and they are at a disadvantage for the lateness, they will get annoyed, but they will never  be straightforward with the other party about the real cause of their annoyance.

Perhaps, it’s very much likely that they are usually late themselves.

Or worse, they don’t understand the concept of timeliness. They don’t value the potential of time. They don’t regret the passing of time. 

It’s very very bad, in a society where everyone rushes to get ahead of others in the street, they are usually late.

Societies nowadays associate free time with Facebook, gossip, shopping. Those activities, thanks to their lack of real substantial essence, might have contributed to our disrespect for and misuse of time. 

Yes, people should mean 10:00 when they say 10:00. But deeper, they need to feel that being on time, being punctual, meeting deadlines are satisfying. 

They need to feel like they’re richer if their time is better-spent.  

The literature exam to enter university includes one question asking students to critically reflect on a societal issue. This year, for sale the question is about the idol craze that is taking place out of proportion among the youth. Needless to say, web it met with a huge wave of protest and anger from students, saying that they hate the Ministry of Education for having touched on a sensitive issue and for having the ill will against their idols. The question, in my opinion, is one of the best coming from the Vietnamese education system that I’ve ever come across. It read: “Idolization is a cultural beauty, but blind idolization/obsession is a disaster. What do you think about this?”

It hits a sweet spot in many Vietnamese youngsters who think Korean pop stars are their Gods and the dancing they do is the meaning of life. I guess many were caught off-guard during the exam and therefore, because of their emotional immaturity and their refusal to take a good look at their life born of ignorance and blind devotion, some refused to complete the exam. It again showed the inability to draw a fine line between reality and fiction. Pop stars are not reality, but many have come to think of them as their best friends, their ‘next-door’ idols, their role models for having such a successful life. 

If only they could look a bit further into that kind of life, and if only they could think more clearly and better, they’d realize the music industry where their idols reside is a huge vicious money-making machine, where their idols are nothing more but beautiful pawns displayed to bring money back to the managers and the producers. If only they could see further in the future where their idols would be likely to suffer from drug issues, mental problems, and more often than not, also poverty. If only they could realize that it is a job, the word that so many of them despise and associate with boredom, and it is not a lifestyle that one is born with, and one is secure to keep it for life. 

Back to the question. In my opinion, it did a great job of asking high-school students, who make up a large proportion of followers of idols, to take a good examination of their sentiments and their behaviors. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Education themselves might have lacked the credibility and the reputation necessary to voice such a controversial but valid point of discussion. Therefore, it resulted not in students critically thinking about their craze, but in them feeling disenchanted, angry, ‘insulted’, and in the authorities not achieving what they had hoped to do. 

The literature exam to enter university includes one question asking students to critically reflect on a societal issue. This year, for sale the question is about the idol craze that is taking place out of proportion among the youth. Needless to say, web it met with a huge wave of protest and anger from students, saying that they hate the Ministry of Education for having touched on a sensitive issue and for having the ill will against their idols. The question, in my opinion, is one of the best coming from the Vietnamese education system that I’ve ever come across. It read: “Idolization is a cultural beauty, but blind idolization/obsession is a disaster. What do you think about this?”

It hits a sweet spot in many Vietnamese youngsters who think Korean pop stars are their Gods and the dancing they do is the meaning of life. I guess many were caught off-guard during the exam and therefore, because of their emotional immaturity and their refusal to take a good look at their life born of ignorance and blind devotion, some refused to complete the exam. It again showed the inability to draw a fine line between reality and fiction. Pop stars are not reality, but many have come to think of them as their best friends, their ‘next-door’ idols, their role models for having such a successful life. 

If only they could look a bit further into that kind of life, and if only they could think more clearly and better, they’d realize the music industry where their idols reside is a huge vicious money-making machine, where their idols are nothing more but beautiful pawns displayed to bring money back to the managers and the producers. If only they could see further in the future where their idols would be likely to suffer from drug issues, mental problems, and more often than not, also poverty. If only they could realize that it is a job, the word that so many of them despise and associate with boredom, and it is not a lifestyle that one is born with, and one is secure to keep it for life. 

Back to the question. In my opinion, it did a great job of asking high-school students, who make up a large proportion of followers of idols, to take a good examination of their sentiments and their behaviors. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Education themselves might have lacked the credibility and the reputation necessary to voice such a controversial but valid point of discussion. Therefore, it resulted not in students critically thinking about their craze, but in them feeling disenchanted, angry, ‘insulted’, and in the authorities not achieving what they had hoped to do. 

6 n?m tr??c vi?t m?t bài gi?ng ?i?u c?c kì nghiêm túc v? m?t v?n ?? c?ng không kém ph?n nghiêm tr?ng: ch?y máu ch?t xám. Không nh? t?i sao mình có th? vi?t nh? v?y ???c. Thôi thì bi gi? post l?i cho m?i ng??i ??c. Hi v?ng s? nh?n ???c vài 1 ý ki?n. 

K? khóc ng??i c??i

Vi?t Nam ?ang thi?u gì? S? thay ??i? ?úng. Ngu?n nhân l?c? Hoàn toàn không. Hi?n t??ng “Ch?y máu ch?t xám” ?ang di?n ra ? ?t. Hàng tr?m hàng tri?u con ng??i Vi?t Nam du h?c n??c ngoài. M?c ?ích? Có ???c n?n giáo d?c t?t ? ?úng là nh? v?y, cardiologist
nh?ng nh?n ???c n?n giáo d?c t?t ?? làm gì? Ng??i ta s? ngh? ngay t?i m?t s? nghi?p l?n, phthisiatrician
m?t cu?c s?ng yên ?m. Nh?ng câu h?i ???c ??t ra là, n?i nào s? là n?i g?y d?ng nh?ng th? ?y? S? có hai câu tr? l?i:

– N??c ngoài: M?t môi tr??ng lý t??ng, n?u ? các n??c phát tri?n, ?? thành công c?ng nh? hoàn toàn là nh?ng m?nh ??t màu m? ?? tr??t dài th?t b?i. Coi nh? ng??i ta nh?n n?n giáo d?c t?t c?a x? ng??i, và tr? l?i x? ng??i. Công b?ng, ch?ng có gì ph?i nói. Nh?ng ?a ph?n ng??i ta v?n tr?n tr? , v?n mong mu?n th?y n??c mình phát tri?n. N?u nói hoàn toàn, thì ch?c h?n ph?i có lòng yêu n??c mãnh li?t. Nh?ng n?u nói không có, thì ch?c vì m?t lý do gì ?ó mu?n che ??y thôi.

– Trong n??c: Quay v? ??t n??c, có th? v?n ?ang d?m chân t?i ch? ho?c ?ã phát tri?n m?t vài b??c ?áng k?, c?ng là m?t l?a ch?n c?a m?t s? ng??i ?ã h?c t?p ho?c làm vi?c t?i n??c ngoài. Và sau ?ó h?, nh?ng con ng??i ?ó d?n nh?n ra nh?ng l? h?ng thi?u sót c?a ??t n??c, nên h?, m?t là s? rút v? ?n d?t, có m?t cu?c s?ng riêng c?a mình và bàng quang v?i s? ??i; hai là có ý ??nh c?i t?, hay nói nh? h?n là thay ??i . Nh?ng m?t con én không làm nên mùa xuân, trong khi m?t con sâu l?i làm r?u c? n?i canh, t? l? “thành công” c?a con sâu t?t nhiên là nhi?u h?n con én, vì th? ?a ph?n t? t??ng c?ng s? g?p c?n tr?. Vì thi?u cái gì? Thi?u cái mà c? n??c ?ang thi?u chung: dám ngh? dám làm, dám ch?u trách nhi?m, dám “?eo kim cô vào c?”.

M?t s? l??ng ?áng k? s? tr? l?i cho vi?c du h?c n??c ngoài c?a b?n thân ho?c c?a ng??i thân b?ng lý do h? mu?n ???c ?ón nh?n nh?ng thay ??i và t? th? thách chính mình. V?y thì, b? ra m?t s? l??ng ti?n khá l?n, nhìn chung ??i v?i kinh t? trung bình c?a m?i h? gia ?ình ? Vi?t Nam, ch? ?? t? th? thách mình r?i, có th?, l?i r?i vào vòng l?n qu?n nh? trên có ?áng hay không? Hay vì nhi?u thành ki?n và nh?ng ?i?u x?a nay ?ã có , ??n n?i chúng tr? thành hi?n nhiên v?n còn t?n t?i và in ??m trong suy ngh? c?a ??i ?a ph?n ng??i dân? V?y nên, ??ng t? h? th?p chính mình b?ng nh?ng cái ?áng ra mình có th? thay ??i ???c.

One of the most impolite and nonsensical figures of speech that I’ve seen so common as part of the criteria in a recruitment announcement (usually for entry level, cheap receptionist jobs) is for females to have appearance. Literally translated from Vietnamese, more about it reads: Female, with appearance. Who doesn’t have an appearance? What kind of appearance are you looking for exactly? It is not dissimilar to saying that you’re looking for a human, with a face. It amazes me that humans have the tendency to appear polite while at the core they can be discriminating, fake and insensitive. In some places it might be against the law to say the exact words: “You have to be attractive to get the job”, but in my opinion, saying “to have appearance” is not that different. I guess perhaps it might help us feel a bit better about ourselves and the mask we’re behind?
We’re being brainwashed by self-help books, viagra 100mg by the Internet, recipe by our too lovely friends. They give us the illusion that we can become something great, we can become a giant, or leave something significant.

Actually, that’s not true. The ones who give guidelines and advice and encouragement, unless they write biographies, are usually not the ones who have made it.

I’ve been reading a few books and websites on writing, and some more specific, screenwriting lately. At the beginning of the book, there is always one sentence: Writing is formulaic. Writing is a structure. You can do it. You can create a masterpiece.

Rubbish, that is. Writing is formulaic, yes, just as baking a cake is formulaic. Is an average person with no skills or talent in baking willing to bake a cake for someone on their birthday? Most likely no. However, an average person with no skills or talent in writing is very much willing, and most of the time, is encouraged to write, thinking they can become a giant.

I believe you must have it in you. In order to do anything. I learnt how to play the piano when I was 5. I still could not play by ear. I could only read music. I am not going to fool myself, and think I have a style of playing. In fact, I should just be realistic and think I have no musical ability whatsoever.

You either have it in you, and it will flourish, or you don’t. In some cases, some people do have it inside them, but they haven’t realized that yet. Those people should be encouraged to try because they have the potential to achieve something great. I think the best thing we can do is find our own potential. Nurture it. Stop listening to self-help books. The only thing they help you with is to give you an illusion.