Mua Saigon (rain on tin roof)

Out of hundreds, emerged one. Winner of the throne. Winner of brand simple. Vua Hung Vuong, Vietnam‘s first King. His campaign? Neither communication skill, nor combating skill. But culinary skill. Simple dishes yet full of meaning: square bean cake representing the Earth, round one the Moon.

Harmony without and symmetry within.


The throne is yours. May the gods bless your descendants. Expand and guard the territory now known as Vietnam.

Big and small, wave after wave.

Rain and tears.

Falling on tin roof and tile roof.

Musical- sounding and melodramatic.

Separation and reunion.

Hatred and healing, forgiveness and forgetfulness.

It’s easier to take revenge than to win the enemy over.

Whatever the motive, the results are the rewards.

Mua Saigon mua HaNoi.

Love those wet feet that stand deep in the mud. The agrarian culture.

Back bent over to harvest rice in the bowl.

Um. An di con. Eat so you can grow up and may your future be better than mine. Broken back and broken heart.

Go some place and don’t come back. How can I?

How do you expect me to turn my back to the buffalo in the field or the bean cake on the table?

Brand simple.

Square for Earth and round for Moon.

Incense for the altar and candle for the grave.

Noi chon nhau cat run (birth place and burial-place).

The apple cannot fall far from the tree.

You can take a boy out of Saigon but you can’t take Saigon out of the man.

District 1 to District 10, and any number in between.

Crooks and intelligentsia, fake and real (vang thau lan lon). Who cares!

Keep bragging. It’s your fate to be born here and die here, in whatever style you choose . The lucky ones went overseas. Are they “saved?” Don’t they know, it’s the end of the world, it ended when you said Goodbye.

Mua Saigon Mua Hanoi.

The rain keeps pounding on neighbors’ tin roof. And I feel jolted, by caffeine and endorphin, nicotine and nostalgia. It is so weird that I miss Saigon while already in it. Perhaps I miss what Saigon itself is missing: the longing for things past. Shared poverty and joy. Shared human fate. Bonjour Tristesse. Makes me teary. Makes me want to reach out and pull someone in my arms and say “it’s going to be OK”, you and I, fellow human being. After the rain the sky always clears up. Cry with me and for me, for now, rain and tears. No one will laugh at us. For everyone is doing the same but too ashmed to admit. Mua Saigon. You cannot understand it until you are in way deep.


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