When I was travelling through the Ha Giang Loop, I stopped at a village near China. The village was between Dong Van and Ta Lang, a few kilometres before the famous spot, Ma Pi Leng pass. Looking at the maps, I assume that this village is only two to three kilometres from the China border. I parked my motorcycle at the edge of the road, and started to unpack my recording set on a comfortable place. In front of me is a green hill at the side of the village. The village is located at the bottom of the hill, and beyond that hill is China.
This northern village of Vietnam feels very peaceful in the afternoon. There were only a few local houses. The sound of leafs was recorded by my microphone. You can hear motorcycles crossing behind me once in a while. The sound of children, chickens, cow bells, and dog howls can be heard in the distance. The people here still farm and grow their own food.
While listening this recording, I remember a poem written by Ho Chi Minh. In August 29th, 1942, Ho Chi Minh was captured when he tried to cross the border in order to search for help from the Chinese government. He was captured in the Guangxi province, and later put in to prison for more than a year. While in the prison, one of the activities he did was writing poems, which later are compiled in to a book titled “Prison Diary”. Ho Chi Minh was not just a charismatic leader of Vietnam who was loved by his followers; he was also a great poet. This is one of the poems he wrote.
Listening to The Sound of Rice-Pounding
Under the pestle how terribly the rice suffers!
But it comes out of the pounding as white as cotton
The same thing to man in this world occurs:
Hard trials turn him into polished diamond