Bài luận nộp Đại Học Mỹ năm 2004. Rớt Harvard. Được 5 trường nhận cho hỗ trợ tài chính toàn phần: Brandeis, Middlebury, Hamilton, Lafayette & Williams của anh Trương Phạm Hoài Chung.
Cùng xem nguyên văn bài luận:
“Con cò, cò bay lả, lả bay la” (The stork flies, flies and flies)
The melody of the Vietnamese folk song tells the story of my childhood with nôngdân- farmers. I was in primary one in the city when my father was posted to a newly-opened school in the remote countryside. I remember asking him what was there to see at our new place. He answered, “You’ll see a new life”.
“Look, Chung! The farmers are cutting the rice stalks,” said my mother as we arrived at the village that sat on the far side of a golden sea of ripening rice. From a distance, I could see conical hats bobbing in the waves of grains like ships in a rough ocean. Moving closer, I caught sight of glistening beads of sweat rolling down nôngdân’s cheeks. A female nôngdân beamed at me and asked, “Want to scoop some gold?” I nodded and received a sickle from her.
My left hand grabbed a bunch of stalks; the sickle in the other slid smoothly across it. Grains disconnected from the stalks fell like raindrops onto the dry soil below. I tried again, this time more gently, and realised that all the grains stayed. It was a good harvest for both nôngdân and me.
However, the weather was like cônàngđỏngđảnh (a moody girl). In November 1993, a typhoon battered the countryside. Gale-force winds snapped trees like twigs. As I clutched to my bed, I could hear fat raindrops drumming on the leaf roof. Outside, unbothered by the ear-splitting claps of thunder, nôngdân battled with the rising water that threatened to thiêu (burn) their crops.
They continued digging trenches for two days but the field was inundated nevertheless. Yet, they never gave up. Happiness to them was like a flickering flame in the strong wind; however, it never went out. The tripped. They cried. They laughed. They later planted a new crop on the same land, which was made fertile by the flood. “Life is crooked; we try to make it straight,” they always said.
But life in the countryside was not congvẹo (crooked) when the rice carpet was faintly dyed with fading rays of sunlight. At that moment, I flung myself onto a patch of soft grass.
Bamboo leaves rustled and long grass ran like sea-waves in the breeze. On the dirt track, half-naked children with mud-caked bodies gazed at the soaring kites in the blue vigour of the vast sky. Unlike the kites, the water buffalos deliberately ate grass, undisturbed by the hungry birds waiting to catch flies on their backs. I inhaled easily the aroma of ripening rice, drawing in a freshness of mind. Was this the new life that my father had talked about?
I was in secondary eight when he announced that we would move back to the city. I asked him the same question. He replied, “You’ll see another life, but you still have the countryside in you.” I still have the light green colour of young shoots. I have the yellow-orange colour of mature rice plants. I have the silver colour of cocks’ crowing at dawn. I have the silhouettes of storks at psychedelic dusk.
“Con cò bay từ cửa phủ, bay ra cánh đồng” (The stork flies, from the temple to the rice-field)
“Rằng có nhớ là nhớ hay chăng?”(Do you still remember?)
Nguồn: Facebook Trương Phạm Hoài Chung
Xem bài gốc tại đây