Allison Tran has penned a very poignant memoir regarding the Vietnam war, weaving a story about her family’s interaction with the American presence. Xin Lỗi captures the repercussions of war from a humanist Vietnamese point of view, which I have never seen depicted in graphic novel format before.
11:30 am |
August 15 2014
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Hồ Xuân Hương (circa 1775-1822)
Art by Keeper of Bees (tumblr)
One of Vietnam’s most important poets, Hồ Xuân lived during a time of great political upheaval as the Later Lê Dynasty gave way to the Tây Sơn peasant uprisings before the Nguyễn Dynasty took power. The details of her early life are unclear. Her father may have been a scholar, which would help explain her high level of education as few Vietnamese women of the time received the rigorous education expected of a poet. She is said to have challenged local scholars with complex verses while working at a tea shop.
Classical Chinese was the literary language of the elite Vietnamese, but Hồ Xuân generally wrote in Nôm, a writing system that represented Vietnamese speech. This choice links her to Chaucer, Cervantes, and Dante who also eschewed the literary languages of their day to write in their local dialect.
In the drawing above, Hồ Xuân is shown holding a calligraphy brush and a jackfruit. The calligraphy brush is the tool of her trade while the jackfruit is a reference to one of her best known poems:
My body is like a jackfruit swinging on a tree
My skin is rough, my pulp is thick
Dear prince, if you want me pierce me upon your stick
Don’t squeeze, I’ll ooze and stain your hands
3:05 pm |
August 14 2014
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Scorched Earth: The Legacy of Agent Orange
Thirty-five years after the war, the scars of Agent Orange refuse to fade away. The Vietnamese say the diseases now extend well into a second generation.
The official Day to Commemorate Agent Orange victims is August 10th and marks the start of the US military’s decade of massive chemical warfare in Vietnam in 1961.
11:43 am |
August 11 2014
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“Suffering and happiness, they are both organic, like a flower and garbage. If the flower is on her way to become a piece of garbage, the garbage can be on her way to becoming a flower.
That is why you are not afraid of garbage. I think we have suffered a lot during the 20th century. We have created a lot of garbage. There was a lot of violence and hatred and separation. And we have not handled — we don’t know how to handle the garbage that we have created. And then we would have a sense to create a new century for peace. That is why now is very important for us to learn how to transform the garbage we have created into flowers.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh on Mindfulness, Suffering, and Engaged Buddhism
6:01 pm |
August 9 2014
| 15 notes