A hit in Hanoi
I had a very unusual piece of fan mail today (well, fan mail of any kind is unusual for me) from a student at Hanoi University in Vietnam named Trang. I assume it's a male student but I don't really know. He seems to be quite a fan of my stories and his feedback is extremely perceptive. He requested permission to translate some of them into Vietnamese a long time ago – I had forgotten all about it. I have of course thanked him profusely for his letter and his interest.
His mother is involved with a Hanoi newspaper and has published her son's translation of my story 'Cinderella's Slipper', which is an amazing choice in my opinion, because it's quite a subtle one about pretending to be people that we're not. The real story is in the subtext and he has clearly picked that up. The paper has also given the story a more imaginative illustration than the Sunday People Magazine did when they published it in 2014. I don't think any payment will be involved this time but now I'll be able to say that some of my stories have been translated and published in Spanish, French and Vietnamese! I'll try to upload the Vietnamese graphic as well as the cover shot of the newspaper itself that Trang supplied. If any of you would like to read 'Cinderella's Slipper' in Vietnamese just follow the link in Trang's letter.
What a brilliant present for my 70th birthday!
Good afternoon sir,
I'm Trang. I used to write you a mail for your kind permission to translate your stories into Vietnamese. I'm grateful for your response. I told my mom to mention your website and she agreed.
It's worth visiting my country once in life though the developing cities are the same with blocks and tall buildings. Vietnamese taxpayer hope to see some skyscrapers like the ones in America and much-awaited transport infrastructure development such as the elevated railway and the subway train after the Shikansen in very near future. There's a specialty in the capital I'm living. Have you ever heard about The Old Quarter in the centre of Hanoi? That's a well-preserved destination, a large system including 36 main streets and hundreds of small to tiny alleys where you could figure out some aspects of our ancient aquaculture and old-fashioned customs through urban planning, architecture, historical objects of ages. One of my favorite place is the National History Museum which is also situated in the centre of Hanoi. I personally recommend this typical museum because of the detailed description and explanation about our patriots all along chronologically, the very Vietnamese traditional space requiring very modest entrance fee. Hanoi is one of the most economical tourist attractions according to an international report. It's even cheaper in areas around its centre, places of local residents without service charge or monthly accommodation payment. We even have a non-profit organization established by teenagers which offers free daily tour for foreigners called Hanoikids. You should try a one-day tour with those super friendly youngsters while being here. Besides Hanoi, there are many more places to visit such as Hoi An, Da Nang, Ha Long…whose picturesque images are available online.
The second thing I want to say is that I received the Vietnamese version of your "Cinderella's Slipper" printed on my mom's newspaper. Because of some issues, the first week of May newspaper's cover and the foreign literature page got lost. I decided to take photos instead because I can’t wait to show you the delightful illustration of it. Sorry for the poor quality camera! The link to your story’s digital version is also attached in case you’d love to see the content. Here it is:
Since I received a lot of positive feedback, I really get motivated to continue reading and sharing more meaningful creations. Thank you so much for being my first inspiring author ever who leads me to a brand-new passion!
I've also read three more stories of yours: "Reunion", "Room Service" and "Billy Joe". I love all of their messages. In my opinion, "Reunion" is the gathering to separation of the most close-knit kind of relationship, "Room Service" is about war, regret, kindness and repaying. It reminds me the phase of the Silent Generation, my grandma and grandpa who used to be a lieutenant colonel and a nurse in wars against America, whose funerals are very honoured and respectful. I always think of them as the greatest models of courage and unity. Thanks to the sacrifice of people like them, we have peace, independence and happiness. Their passing is a huge loss to me and my family when I was in the worst period of my childhood. God knows how much I miss them. Through this story, I understand neither sides could be themselves in a battle. They had to be cruel or virtue, they had to be bloody predators or fearless preys. Neither way was easy. And 'Billy Joe', well, I read it five times, some paragraphs even more. It's about a sin, the right, the wrong, the rescue, the pain to everybody just because of a false love. I think they all have their own miseries and mistakes and they acted by their pure instincts. I know that Billy and Charlene were not right from the very beginning, but I feel sorry for their youth, their child. I also listened to 'Ode to Billy Joe' and searched for more information about this song. Billy Joe's suicide is still a mystery, but your story is like a very logical explanation as a letter with intentional misspellings. So far, it's my most favorite story. I love the surface that everyone can see and the underneath contradictions without a way out.
I also saw a different article of this story 'Family Matters' days ago. It's a more comprehensive and accurate but still I prefer the old emerging one over. I've already listened to the song 'Promises'. The story itself definitely wins the best background story in a competition.
Thank you sir. Have a nice day.Melhores cumprimentos,
Trinh Ngoc Bao Trang
Departamento de Portugues