Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm | exodus (188)

I was born 1971, Phu Nhuan, Saigon, Vietnam. My family and I were a part of the first exodus of boat people after the Vietnam war. In March 1981, we settled in Sydney, Australia. I graduated with a bachelor of Pharmacy at the University of Sydney. I have been translating Vietnamese literature for the past five years in my search to better understand my mother’s language and culture. My translations have been shared through blogging over the past year. I am still a registered pharmacist practicing in Western Sydney. I hope to continue translating, and continue to share Vietnamese art and literature, beyond borders on SONGNGUTAITRAM.

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

#boatpeople #bikepeople, the pain trivialized by a generation of hashtags, the contradictions of festering news brought to you by social media. Romancing a history of painful memories, the images, the useless tears. The post-traumatic trauma brought to you by Mr. Zuckerberg. More useless tears. 

The exodus of people poured out of Saigon on lockdown. The forgotten citizens, paperless, homeless, in search of shrapnel, to survive. When there is not a single coin left, discarded on the pavement, they return to their roots. On foot, on bikes empty of fuel. They pushed their way home.

Vividly in my memories the bus stop under a blanket of yellow street lamps. Siblings huddled together on a plastic mat in our mother’s arms, the sleep took us in exhaustion as my father kept watch. The thieves amongst thieves, pale white city folks amongst the sun-harden villagers, the silent whispers. 

August 2, 2021

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

There's magic in translating a body of work from one language to another.

2 replies on “Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm | exodus (188)”

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