[Hanoi] Blabbers and the Oppression of Vietnamese Music

On a fine autumn night here in Hanoi, when half of the most frequented streets are blocked, to make space for the rehearsal of a 31,000-people-parade  that will happen in 2 days and that couldn’t be any more apparent, you find yourself stuck at home listening to the Lily Allen’s “F*ck you” and you suddenly twitch, your eyes secretly smirking with a spark with cynicism, as the world that surrounds you is cast by the shadow of an abruptly bleaker light.

And yes, so the past few days have not been the most memorable walk in the park, despite it being the grand celebration of Hanoi and all. As you may have heard, there was the very unfortunate fireworks explosion accident on Wednesday. A colleague of mine had been covering an event right outside the stadium where it all took place, and luckily, he had left minutes before the incident. And though our office was a 25 to 30′ motorbike ride to the stadium, everyone had heard the explosion, and completely mistook it for lightning. Meanwhile, throughout this week,  the Central provinces of Vietnam  have been ravaged again by the annual flood. It’s just really all very unfortunate and sad  and it shows when I have to work directly with the news every day. Half of the 30 minute news bulletin today was on the situation in the flood-stricken, details on death toll, images of torn-down houses, submerged bikes, people struggling amidst water akin to droplets amidst an ocean. It’s discouraging.

So despite my joy of storming out onto the street at the beginning of the week to grab a couple’s “I love Hanoi” T-shirt (yes, mind the cheesiness), the end of the week has been a little bit more down. I’m not a big crowd person either, or actually I like big crowds, I just don’t like to have to push or be pushed around amidst that crowd, I think I’m partly claustrophobic :|…and so I’m counting on staying home on the D-day, this Sunday, Oct. 10th – Hanoi’s 1000th bday if you will.

On the more personal front, my dog of 12 years, Nick, has been ill lately and the way I am,  the way hundreds of thoughts can race through my brain at one single sight, I have become so pessimistic. The vet came this morning and says Nick has minor symptoms of liver disease and it should be curable. So, I’m crossing my fingers. Now we’re not sure what Nick’s exact age is, he is a mutt who had been abused, gotten lost and then ran into our house in 1997. Dad says, a year in a dog’s life is equivalent to 7 years in a human’s so that would make him at least in his 80s, early 90s. Poor fellah! Sparky, yes the sausage german shepherd from the last post is still well, if you must know 🙂

So amid all of these discouraging stories, my day’s entertainment has so far been found in an article called ” Nhạc Việt bị cưỡng bức tập thể” , english quick translation ” A complete oppression of Vietnamese Music”. A guy basically took all of these songs about Hanoi considered timeless and masterpieces here in the country, straight-out translated to English….no wait, that’s such an over-statement….correction, to Google-translate quality, grammar-less chopped-up V-english. To top it off are the “lovely” singers who pronounce English as if it had the 6 accents which Vietnamese does. Anyhoo, watch it and remember to read the subtitles. There have been rumors that the guy has made this into an actual album, as a “gift” to international guests during Hanoi’s millennial celebrations…what a bozo, this doofus 😐

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