ĐÀM XUÂN CẬN
. Sinh năm 1939 tại Bắc Việt
. Tốt nghiệp Đại Học .
. Vào thập niên 70 sang Úc dạy tại RAAF School (Trường Không Quân Hoàng Gia Úc).
. Về nước dạy Anh Văn tại các trường Trung học Gia Long, Trường Sơn.
. Làm Thơ, viết Văn.
. Đã chuyển dịch 10 tác phẩm của nhà văn Thế Phong sang Anh ngữ trước 75 ở Sài Gòn.
TÁC PHẨM XUẤT BẢN :
. Ngưỡng Cửa Chiêm Bao - Thi Tập (Sài Gòn 1967)
. Đưá Con của Bố Già - Truyện (dịch The Fortunate Pilgrim của Mario Puzo (Sài Gòn 1974) -
tái bản năm 2000 NXB Thanh Niên với tựa đề Qua Cơn Ác Mộng )
. Hiện sống tại Cabramatta Sydney Australia.
THE RUBBISH TIP
OUTSIDE THE CITY AND OTHER STORIES
chuyển dịch từ tập truyện ngắn
KHU RÁC NGOẠI THÀNH
THE SECRET LIFE OF A BOOKMAN
A NIGHT OF LOVE
OF A RESPECTFUL DOG
The work has been revised, with some minor corrections made,
but its contents and details are absolutely unchanged.
ĐÀM XUÂN CẬN
I came to the Ministry of Information to deliver the manuscript for censorship. The official in charge was not there, so I had to wait for him. One hour had passed; it was almost nine in the morning. Seeing me burning to got the job done, a chap said,
"May be he’s sick today or he’ll be late . Come down to the canteen for a cup of coffee with me. You can also have the breakfast if you wish".
Having breakfast had been a luxury, I could not afford for quite a long time. These times, I could not make ends meet, and breakfast was but the least important of the three meals. So, I ordered only a black coffee for my thirst and as a reward worthy of a piece of good news I just received by Miss Cẩm Tú, concerning a girl twenty five, a friend since Hanoi days, of more than ten years previously. It was something of a love story. It ran,
"Have you visited P…, a very cultivated girl. Hearing of you she only dropped her head. Didn’t you say that you wanted to devote a few years to teaching, and you would marry her after that, just in case she is still single? Do you remember? You can depend on my advice. Come and see her if you have a good heart. You’ve had enough of amour. It’s time to get yourself a wife. Come and see her even if you do not love P…. By all accounts it is a sad story."
In this day and age when women cheat a lot, a girl like P… should be a rarity. I liked her more for her coolness in face of love. But I would not hasten things, depending on this opinion by Shin Nai Am,
"When one is thirty and unmarried, one is not interested in getting a wife anymore ."
Ah, ladies and gentlemen, don’t talk to me of free will when it comes to marriages, when everything will be deducible from the Book of Fate. What I would not allow was someone’s deciding my fate at my back; I found this unforgivable…
As my friend and I pushed open the door of the canteen I saw many old acquaintances again: ex Captain Sị, formely a province chief in North Vietnam in the times of Governor Nguyễn Hữu Trí and now a chef de bureau; the former director of censorship office; the current assistant to the senior censor, and many other people. I greeted all respecfully. We were on separate tables, but we could communicate with each other quite freely.
Answering former director Tâm Huyết’s enquiry on my work, but facing the current assistant to the senior censor, I said,
"You can refer to Mr 353 to check this – I called the assistant by the number of his house.- Before Têt, they banned three translations by myself at one time. They have just banned the fourth one- all within one year. I am prepared to accept the verdict on the first one, but I have a lot of queries on the others. In fact, my books have been judged through my own personality; I was so outspoken they branded me as a brute. I had to curse death upon them when I heard this. I did not mean to slander officials in public, but how could I keep my head? That man, he really belonged to a breed of bastards I don’t fancy. He did not know a damn thing! I knew him pretty well, I tell you. He was forty years of age, once the chief of a provincial bureau of information, and not too bad writer. As a matter of fact, many people liked him. But, his knowledge of French was really deplorable! Yet, he was in charge of censoring French-to-Vietnamese translations! How could he…
Give me a chance to talk at length about this case, when the former director of the censorship office and you are here. My translation was a historical reportage by Louis Roubaud, published in France in 1931. In his report, the censor wrote,
"The author offended Vietnamese revolutionaries" and he gave this evidence… He insulted Nguyễn Thái Học by calling him Le Grand Professeur (1).
Poor Louis Roubaud is either dead or in France. At his translator I have this defence to other,
"It is a common practice of French journalists and writers to give literal translations of the names of Vietnamese prominent men. They translated Phó Đức Chính as Droit et Vertu(2), Ký Con as Le Petit Sécrétaire(3) and finally, Nguyễn Thái Học as Nguyên, Le Grand Professeur.
In his work, Roubaud had unreserved praise for the revolutionary. He summed up, translated extracts of the leader’s letters to the French members of Parliament, and expressed the hope to see people in free Vietnam erecting a statue in honor of the patriot, just as the French has done to Vercingétorix, the hero who led his people in their war against the Romans. We must remember that Louis Roubaud published this book in Paris in 1931, when the word Vietnam was unfamiliar to the Anamese(4) themselves; No wonder, the colonialists promptly banned it here. Returning to the- writer-cum-censor, he proposed to ban the book on the ground of this poor intention trial. Gentlemen, I am in serious,
" With all due respect, Sir, I would like to know the name of the censor of this book. The presence of this flic here did a lot of harm. Though Mr 353 refused to tell me what he was, I later found out his pen name Võ Phiến and his real name Đoàn Thế Nhơn (5) in this record book .
Though Mr Tâm Huyết was no longer head of the word killing office, he pleaded in the name of his old self,
"The word flic(6a) you used is not appropriate. We should be called agent de police littéraire(6b) whose job is to warn those who do not keep the law. Remember, we work as officials, not as informers".
"You are right, But don’t be mad at me, please. Mr 353, there’s no need to defend yourself. What I said was dictated by Destiny(7) ; Its power is stronger than any prejudice you can think of. May I quote Einstein’s opinion,
" To break an atom is easier than to ged rif of a prejudice".
Take the case of the notorious censor. His God given name was Đoàn Thế Nhơn(8) but his life gave plenty evidence he was a real Bất Nhơn(9)
His brother’ s name was Hạnh. Oh yes, he referred to himself as Professor Hạnh Nhân(10) He had no academic qualifications for this title. Furthermore, I always think academic titles have nothing to do with literature. It’s a real dirty practice.
My name is Tường(11), but my life could not be compared in any way to a wall; it is a tornado. Which could shatter any wall with remarkable case. The name of the director is Tâm Huyết(12), but he really lacks good will.
The breakfast over, Mr 353 came back to the office, a few minutes after Captain Sị. Only Mr Tâm Huyết and myself remained.
Mr Tâm Huyết called the waiter. As the latter gave back the change, a small sum, I said,
"Don’t bother to give it back. Remember this gentleman never takes small change. Take it for a tip."
This really hurt him. His face broke into an uneasy smile, he launched a bitter attack,
"My name is Tâm Huyết. Don’t you ever worry about either what it means or my official position. Your name is Phong(13). To me, you’re always Phong, no matter you’re doing. Official titles only matter to blood relations. They could be proud of you…"
"Oh I see. Please forgive my cynical remarks. I beg your pardon".
"My dear friend, I’m going to tell you a story," Mr Tâm Huyết came across to my table, the burning leather covered pipe in his hand. The favour of 79 smelled very good.
"Life would be much better if you can sometimes take the point of view of another person- for the sake of better mutual understanding. Your own wounds will surely be less paintful, your life happier…"
He waited for me to get the gist of what he said, then passionately went on,
"Now I begin the story. May I have your attention please… Oh, were can I start? Yes, it all begins like this…
"… She was an old man of 70, a widow with well established children: She lived alone in a nice house in Trương Minh Giảng St, on the orther side of the bridge of the same name. It was a brick house with a big garden in front-really, a small one storeyed villa. She did not want to live with any of her sons and daughters. She went to the Redemptorists’ Church twice daily, in the morning and the afternoon. Of course, she returned home from praying in the church by herself. Her old age caused no diminution in her nervous power. She did not have many guests. Her best friend was living next to her neighbour, and they only met to while away their spare time. She had a female berger(14) which had just given birth to many small ones, among them was a very beautiful one with four black patterns, a white spotted head. Seeing the old woman fancy the little dog, the landlady offered it to her. Very happy, she brought it home, lavishing cares and affections on it. She liked it better because it was a female dog, very easy to feed. It grew quite fast. Usually, bergers are hard to live with as they only eat soup mixed powder milk plus cod liver oil and bits of meat. It was not so with her dog which ate even rice, and whatever available. One saying goes,
"As kids should be taught since their tender age, one has to deal with one’s wife since her day of arrival".
Dogs were no exception, she thought. She often patted it and talked as if it would understand human language.
In that good year of the dog, without fail, followed her to the church, stood in the yard for her to pray, the dog accompanied her home, wagging its tail. It won her heart for sure, filling an empty space in her home, eating of all the remaining food. She scorned any waste of God-given things. She named it after a famous American brand of cigarettes, Lucky. To her, this sounded like a French name, fit for a French dog. Lucky was very intelligent, following her like a shadow.
On that Tết her children, far and near, travelled to see her in person, offering her gifts and cakes, all traditional things for a Vietnamese family.
Mrs Hai(15) took care of Lucky, being a lover of animals by nature. Suddenly, she rushed in the house, saying,
"Mum, Lucky is a female dog. Only male bergers are to be had. I would like to tell you another thing: not only is Lucky a female dog, it is also a half-breed dog(16), not worthy of your care. I dare say".
"I keep her(17). She’s quick-minded and precious".
"All dogs are quick-minded. Even local dogs are quick-minded. You had better get a male berger instead of this bitch."
She did not answer straightway. Her daughter in law, she thought, would not get her tradition-inspired argument. In the old days our ancestors only took care of precious dog. She herself chose the wife of her son through physiognomy. She also judged her would be daughter in law’s character before letting her son ask her hand. No sensible person was prepared to marry a girl born in The year of Tiger- the traditional belief held that such a girl would cause the death of either her husband or her daughter. She answerd,
"Now listen to me. According to our ancestors,
"Bạch khuyển hồng đầu, thân đái ấn/ Mai hoa tứ túc, tứ huyền đề"(18).
We may classify dogs by these creteria. At the top of the species is the King of dogs. It is white with a yellow spotted head, four legs having white spots and four black patterns. This species of dog is disctinctly rare, priceless. It is common knowledge only virtuous persons should try to keep this lucky animal. If it departs, great misfortune is sure to come to the owner. For this, I want to keep Lucky.
Mrs Hai kept silent, remaining adamant. Upon returning home, she said to her husband,
"I’m rather unhappy at Mum’s keeping a half-breed, female berger. We have many visitors, especially foreigners. Mr Thomas, for example, always wanted to see Mother. What would he think when he sees the dog at Mum’s. Darling, we must buy her a good breed male berger. You may come to Dalat where there are more bergers than any other place. I’ve seen one being purchased at the price of more than ten thousand piasters. But, keep this a secret to your older brother; ortherwise he will do it before you(19). I’ll write to my younger brother Mơn if you are too busy with your official duties to come up there yourself."
As he okayed, she went ahead with her plan.
A few days later, Mơn wrote to his sister,
"A French family about to go home wanted to sell two dogs at $8000 each a berger and a fox. This is not to be missed ".
After talking it through with her husband, she sent a telegram on the next morning,
"OK. Buy immediately".
In the next call at her mother-in-law, she said,
"If you agree to have a real berger, Mơn will bring it you. Why keep Lucky?
To tell the honest truth, the old woman was also keen on bergers, and there was little love left for Lucky. Yet a few days ago, she was told of a dog like Lucky coming to a house and bringing luck to a man- he won two thousand piasters in the races. May be she did not know it, but her thoughts began turning to the fox her daughter in law promised her- which was cute, small and expensive just like other things in her house. (Her sons were well-established and her daughter got married to a famous attorney at law). She would scorn her guests’ uneasy glances at her expensive dog. This might lead them to have about her social class to the annoyance of her children. She was now prepared to see the point in Mrs Hai’s(20) argument.
When Mrs Hai saw the old woman caressing Lucky, looking rather pensive, she thought her mother was reluctant to have two dogs. She said,
"Fox is very beautiful; and the male berger is as big as a tiger and very quick-witted. According to the disclosure of the plantation owner’s daughter, Mơn’s classmate in The University, the berger knew how to buy ice, to protect the boss’s kids and to hear human voice. If you don’t think you have time, I’ll send Chi Hai to help you in your cooking and look after the dogs. Her mother-in-law was a very difficult person to live with. Economy was not the reason for her reluctance to have two dogs at a time or to keep a maid. She simply hated a maid’s loose morals. As maid helped her very little, rather she would displease her a lot. For this reason, she sent away any maid sent to her by Mrs Ca or Mrs Hai.
So she answered,
"You know the reason I do not want a maid. She’s hardly reliable even with her cooking. Now I can go to church twice a day- I’m happy and I wish for nothing more. Talking about the dog; of course, I can drop her. But I am reflecting with sadness on the change that must come over her when she belongs to someone else. I have a rather soft spot for animals and do not like to see them beaten. Whom can I give her to? This nagging question is still without an answer. Anyway, send the two dogs to me. Things will take care of themselves, whatever the situation. By the way, is the berger that quick-witted?"
Mrs Hai was much elated by her mother-in-law’s favourable decision. She added,
"Oh I see. Mơn said the berger first came to buy ice when the refrigerator was out of use due to the electricity failure. The next time he was ordered to keep a pail between his teeth with an one piaster coin in it, he still remembered the old ice shop and completed the mission to the satisfaction with fellow dogs by the roadside. Apart from this, he was quite reliable: he would not let anyone take anything out of the house in his boss’s absence. That’s what the berger was like. As for the fox, she is both cute and nice.."
The old woman interrupted,
"If this is the case, the berger will try to find the way back home. What do you think?"
Mrs Hai fought back,
"His owner would be back in France soon. Moreover, Saigon is more three hundred kilometers from Dalat, a very long way. He’ll be flown here in a plane."
Everything was right now, except for a small thing; it was damn hard to find someone who could care for Lucky as much as she did.
In her desperate fashion, she told Mrs Hai,
"Can you help me to find a good boss for Lucky. I really hate to see her beaten- which seems unavoidable(21). By the way, when will two new dogs arrive? "
"Mơn will be here early next month along with the two dogs. I have an idea. We’ll give Lucky to Mrs Tham Hach(22) of Pasteur St. She is fond of animals as much as we do",
"All right. That’s what I think too".
Lucky was brought in a taxi to Mr Tham Hach’s house two days before the arrival of two dogs from Dalat. The dog on the leash struggled not to be led away from the old woman who had fed her since her birth. May be she had the premonition never to see her owner again. On the third day, the dog gleefully waved her tail, seeing her owner carrying a handbag, about to go to the market- as if she left completely home. Moved, Mrs Tham asked the servant to take off the leash. Softly, Lucky lay down at the house corner’calm and serene. Yet, she ran away before Mrs Tham’s return. After she was sure dog trucks had nothing to do with Lucky’s disappearance, she went over to the home of Mrs Hai and learned that the dog had come back to her old home. She was very impressed, it being a long way from hers.
Lucky already lay waving the tail to the old woman returning from praying. Right then, Mrs Tham arrived at the scene to ask Lucky back. Seeing them off, the old woman said,
"Don’t go straight home. Have a taxi drive in Cholon for a while first, as Lucky is very good at remembering the ways".
She dutifully thanked the old woman for this advice. Her taxi went around the Cholon area for nearly one hour, at no small cost to her.
Once home she said to her little niece,
"Chain her up for some months. I just paid two hundred piasters for the taxi, and I don’t know if she’ll be staying with us".
The old woman was happy with the two dogs from Dalat, yet she did not like them as much as Lucky. She had followed her to church, waited for her out in the yard, accompanied her home, wagging her tail. They had even talked to each other, in their particular fashion. The new berger Hati was not bad at all. As she told the seller to put ice in the pail for him to bring home when he came, bringing an ice pail along with an one piaster coin. Hati had done this twice, satisfactorily. The other times, the ice had turned to water when the dog was back, because he met other dogs on the way home. And he was beaten for this. She decided to chain him up as a punishment. Furthermore, the dog trucks were very active and terribly efficient in Saigon.
Fox was cute, but very insolent, jumping all the time and eating stealthily. But the old woman liked her well- she often curled herself cosily in the woman’s lap, looking nice and cool.
The neighbours had unreserved praise for her two dogs, making the old woman immensely proud. One thing chagrined her a bit: her dogs were very choosey on food. She did not complain because now she could go to church with a calm mind, knowing the two dogs were real guards in her absence.
One day she got out of the church right at knock off time. A dog ran to her from behind and clung to fer feet. It was Lucky. She waved her tail lightly, her eyes swimming in tears. She got thin, looking rather pitiful. It was obvious she had been chained for quite a long time. As she brought Lucky home, two dogs ran outside to meet them, threateningly.
She burst out angrily,
"Miserable animals! Late comers who don’t know themselves! I tell you, this dog is much more sagacious than both of you. Hati, you’re only a big eater. Lucky is different. She is a guard who never tires. Today, she came to visit me. I am sure she went to the house first, but she found only you two, so she came to the church. Fox, you’re no better".
At first, Hati was very aggressive wanting to compete with Lucky in virility. After he knew Lucky was a female dog, he pretended to have respect for her. Suddenly, he bited Fox who ran away, screaming painfully. Witnessing the brawl, the old woman went inside, started praying. Deep down, she liked Hati and Fox better than Lucky. To her, Lucky could not stand comparison to the two French thorough breed dog. Now, she had to keep all three. She gave Hati and Fox lunch soup mixed cod liver oil, white Lucky had to eat the remainder of her meal. Within a few days, Lucky did not turn up. In the visit to Mrs Tham, she told her the whole affair and concluded,
"Lucky was very sad, beeing treated in such a shabby manner. Now, I do not know her whereabouts. God forgive me!"
Mrs Tham Hach found this story to remember. Her husband had told her many stories of dogs being faithful to men. Like this one. Once, a man had a dog. The dog accompanied the man to the bus station very early every morning. He ran home after he got aboard. At noon, he ate the bread ration left for him, the man remaining in the office. He never failed to stand near the bus which would bring the man home, with his tail waving. When the war broke out, the man was killed by machine gun fire from a plane during a bus drive. The dog always turned up at the usual spot. Day after day passed but he would never see his master again. One day, he died on the waiting place, exhausted… The City Hall bus had to carry his corpse away…
Thân, the fifteen year old third son of Mrs Tham was very fond of dogs. Upon returning from school, he bowed to greet the old woman, then sat listening to the story of Lucky- a dog who refused to be looked down upon. He swore to take it upon himself to search for Lucky, the respectful dog.
Two days after the visit of the old woman, Thân returned home from the pictures. It was midnight. He saw Lucky lying in front of the gate, at the foot of the tamarind tree. Overjoyed, he called out her
name. Strangely, the dog started running. Thân was taken aback. He ran in the direction of Lucky,
but to no avail. Ignoring Thân’s call, she ran away, disappearing under the foot of the Khánh Hội
Bridge. Thân found it hard to understand what happened to the dog lately: her fur become ashen,
her two eyes reddened and her body got thin. He decided to keep this strange encounter a secret to himself.
Throughout the night, Thân could not sleep. Why did Lucky lie down at the foot of the tamarind tree in front of the house of Miss Thủy and little Chuc, his classmate, instead of coming to his home. Why did he run at the sight of him? The following morning, Thân got up very early, his eyes aching from a sleepless night.
Suddenly he saw Lucky again, at the other end of the by road. He intended to follow Lucky, but could not, because of the class examination ahead. He went to school in spite of himself haunted by the dog. The whole affair was a real mystery. He made up his mind to give up the movies this Sunday-two days after this- to followw Lucky.
He murmured a prayer,
"God help me! I pray so that the dog will come back to his tamarind tree. "
Thân became thoughtful and reticent. His family was soon aware of this, especially his mother. In answer to her query Thân said that he was busy preparing for the school exams. This delighted her beyond expectation. Thân went to bed early Saturday night, saying he was saving his energy for the outing on Sunday morning. But he did not go with his fellow boy scouts; Instead, he set out to find what happened to Lucky. Oh! The result was hardly encouraging. She had become a forsaken dog, living on the rubbish from foreigner’s tricks discharged by the riverside. Thân was bitterly disappointed.
In the Sunday dinner Thân told the whole thing to his father who, in turn solemny urged his children to have a long look at Lucky examplary behaviour and that of the girl today,
"Pleated skirt(23); twist; unlawful pregnancy; dumping baby in dustbins; whore serving foreigners "
Softly, Mrs Tham said to Thân,
"Give a bowlful rice and food to Lucky. We should care for her. "
As he approached the tamarind tree, he found he was late. Thúy and her brothers were busy feeding Lucky. That night, the dog slept in the neighbour’s yard.
Thúy’s mother said,
"Would you please let me keep her, She seems to like us. I’ll give you the cutest of her little ones.
At her awakening the following morning Lucky was chained up. Later, she was set free. But she never left the house, always guarding the door except for feeding times. She now became grey in spotted neck- much of her hair falling.
Thân’s father always repeated his usual comment whenever someone told him Lucky’ s story,
"She is more loyal and respectful than a hell lot of girls today. Seeing two French dogs being treated better than herself caused her definite departure from the old woman’s house. When she left us twice, she felt unworthy of our trust. As a result, she dared not come back; she would rather
lying at the foot of the tamarind tree as a forsaken dog. The day Mr Thọ’s kids set out to feed her, she felt herself belonging to them and decided not to leave their house. Now that she’s pregnant, I am sure, she would not slight her duty as a mother. Oh the girls today,
"Pleaded skirt; twist; unlawful pregnancy; dumping babies in dustbins; whore serving foreigners."
Mr Tham only smiled discreetly.
Smiling sarcastically Mr Tâm Huyết
"Could a dog be that respectful? A really incredible story, don’t you think?"
I meekly answered,
"It sounds real enough to me. You’re a damn good storyteller!"
As if boiling with passion, the former director stressed,
"Oh yes, the story is one hundred per cent true. I’m the uncle of the kids feeding Lucky."
I felt obliged to tell him the truth,
"I can see, though not clearly, the connnection between the story and your saying that to see a different face of reality, we must take the point of view of someone else. You may be right. Had you been a novelist you would have won fame."
After a deep breath of smoke, he slowly made his point,
" Man, Nguyễn Tuân
was my friend. I’m no longer young. I’m over 50 now, Nguyễn Tuân
did not want to become a writer. He’s only keen on writing on the light side of things, apart from his duty as
a provincial reporter of Chuơng Mai(24) Daily.
He wrote Vang Bĩng Một Thời
(25) as a joke. Happily, this immortal work is no less than his testament to the world. He admitted this in my presence. I remember saying to him,
"Good on your man. Your entertainment is a brillant succeess".
I myself was a journalist co-operating with Xích Đạo
in the 51’s, in the time of North Vietnam’s half-French Governor Nguyễn Hữu Trí.
They called me saboteur. I promised to quit writing provided they gave me a job. So I became a rapporteur earning $3000 per month. I thought this could not last so long but I’ve been doing this for twelve years. I always recall this with a sort of agreeable surprise. Try to like what you can’t get rid of censorship for example. Such is life, man!"
"Let me say that no one with any nerve chooses to be an official in the censorship office, if he can spell properly and write a mistake free paragraph. Don’t you agree?"
"Oh yes , that’s righ!"
"What do you think of this opinion of Mayakovsky quoted by Elsa Triolet in her biography of the poet,
"What are they, these official writers?" They were too concerned with petty things. How on the earth could they appreciate a poet’s fervent love for the people? They’ll never understand, oh dear!"
This is his better answer to the official writer’s attack on his personal life and poetry. At this, I called the waiter to collect money so that I could leave as quickly as possible. I hated to be forced to hear another nonsensical defense on the part of Mr Tâm Huyêt.
It could be just too painful for me. Spoilt revolutionaries are likely to become dirty policemen; unsuccessful writers have the potential to become censors or alert informers, like this friend of mine."
Holding my hand tightly, looking straight into my eyes, he said, pointing at his office,
"Would you please send me your future publications, I am also a writer. I’m a bit shy to disclose this, but.. .to a friend, you know…"
My head down, I said to him I had to go because of business, then walked quickly, lest he knew I only wanted to get away from him after his tale session.
(1) The Great Teacher (2) Right and Virtue (3) The Little Clerk (4)The name given to Vietnamese under Chinese and French domination (5) Đoàn Thế Nhơn is the real name of writer Võ Phiến (6 a- 6b) Flic & agent de police littéraire : In French in the original text (7) None can change the author’s opinion. He has lived with his ideas.,(8) Charitable (9) Uncharitable (10) Hanh and Hanh Nhân are names of the same person.(11)The Wall (12) Huyết or Tâm Huyết means Good Will (13)The author’s name is Tường; his pen name Thếphong or Phong. He is better known by the latter (14) French sheep-dog. In French in the text (15) The wife of the second son of the old woman (16) Half- breeds are not very respectable in our society (17) From now on, the old woman referred to the dog as a person (18) The traditional characteristic of the precious dog (19) Vietnamese society is basically a kith-and-kin one. Children compete with each other in showering gifts on Mother (20) The wife of the old woman’s eldest son (21) Beating domestic animals is no crime in Vietnam (22) A married woman is called after the title of her husband. Literally that means a high-ranking secretary in the French administrative system (23) A rather bold sort of dress by Vietnamese standards (24) Literally Morning Bell (25) The Colour of Bygone Days (TR).
ĐÀM XUÂN CẬN
THE RUBBISH TIP OUTSIDE THE CITY AND OTHER STORIES
translated from the Vietnamese by
ĐÀM XUÂN CẬN
THANH NIÊN PUBLISHING HOUSE 2006- HOCHIMINH VILLE VIETNAM
Đọc nguyên bản Việt Ngữ : CON CHÓ LIÊM SỈ của nhà văn Thế Phong
© Cấm trích đăng lại nếu không được sự chấp thuận của tác giả .