Sunday, April 3, 2011

"After Sorrow"

SUNDAY 3rd April
This morning I finished reading “After Sorrow - an American Among the Vietnamese”   by Lady Borton.  It’s the memoir of a lady who spent a lot of time living among the Vietnamese people both during and after the ‘American War’, recording their stories, sharing their way of life. It left me with a new respect for them... I had never realised how brutal the French oppression had been and how bitter the struggle for self determination that then continued into the American War. And how ugly and inhumane were the weapons unleashed on the Vietnamese people. But still they survived victorious and today do not even hold a grudge! Throughout the book, there are quotes from Vietnamese poetry that are very beautiful. For example:
The wheel of the law turns. 
After the rain, good weather....... 
What could be more natural?  
 After sorrow comes joy.
                     From ‘The Weather Clears” A Prison Diary Ho hi Minh (1890-1969)

           Straw roofs hide in the village smoke. 
A solitary boat stops for a moment. 
Groups of children from the hamlet
Search for crabs along the river.
                     From ‘At the Hoang River Landing’ by Thai Thuan  (1437
The stream slips by, as calm as smooth paper.
A single star guides the sampan; the moon trails behind.
While the oar creaks, the sculler ponders a maze of dreams 
That might free the rivers and mountains of an ancient land. 
As the sampan draws homeward, dawn lights the sky,
Tingeing the horizon with the flush of a new day. 
                     Ho Chi Minh  (1890-1969)
I’ll just have to keep a lookout for a book of Vietnamese poetry spanning the centuries to bring home.
Today Mr Hi the director from ATC and Mai, the head, took the 5 of us to lunch at the restaurant in H Tower, so they could get to know us and explain how they see this moon-lighting working... we are to email our rosters to Mai when we get them on Sunday afternoon, and she’ll work out her roster around them.  When I got my teaching roster this week, I’ve been given 18 hours. (the others got 12-14...) and mine includes a new class, teaching the Level 5 VIP class which includes our Director.  I will share the class with Ann (the manager), and Dave. So that will be a stretch... Either way I won’t be expecting much work from ATC this week. Maybe next week.
Since I had roast pork for lunch, and then I bought some yummy deep fried something-or-others from the ladies on the footpath on the corner of our street, I won’t be going out for dinner tonight... I bought a dragon-fruit, mangoes, an orange and a huge apple (from NZ!) at the street market on the way home, so it’ll be a bowl of fruit salad for me... I bought some fabulous passionfruit from Big C yesterday, so it’ll be a feast!

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