Enlightening Entertainment
 
Aulacese (Vietnamese) Modern Folk Opera: Lý Chơn Tâm and the Wish-fufilling Gem - P1/3 (In Aulacese)      
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Today’s Enlightening Entertainment will be presented in Aulacese (Vietnamese), with subtitles in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Thai.

In Aulacese (Vietnamese) culture, cải lương (modern folk opera) is a popular theater art that dates back about three centuries, when the flourishing South was a new land. Among those who settled in the South at that time were musicians from the royal palace in the ancient capital Huế. Since then, the kind of ceremonial music often heard in the palace became more widely known among the populace.

Eventually, new songs were composed. Many amateur musical groups were formed, adopting music and song as a form of elegant entertainment. From about 1912 to 1915, the artists of these musical groups began to combine gestures to their songs. Since then, a new genre called ca ra bộ was born. Performers conversed; sometimes a song would be used as dialogue. Ca ra bộ continued to develop to create the theatrical art that is now called modern folk opera.

The orchestra for Aulacese modern folk opera usually consists of the six-string guitar, the moon lute, the pear-shaped lute, two-string fiddle, sixteen-string zither, and monochord zither. The themes of Aulacese modern folk opera highlight humanitarian and moral values. The dialogues are profound, the song lyrics and tunes are rhythmic and rich in melody. These are some of the reasons cải lương (modern folk opera) has an enduring place in the hearts of the Aulacese people.

In the Lunar New Year 2007, during an outdoor gathering with our Association members in Formosa (Taiwan), Supreme Master Ching Hai was moved to spontaneously sing a folk opera song “Spiritual Practice is a Source of Blessing” written by Mr. Viễn Châu, which she knew by heart since her youth. We now invite you to listen to an excerpt of this folk opera song through the voice of Supreme Master Ching Hai.

Kneeling down, she sobs in the main hall of worship As the temple bell sounds the hour of prayer
O young devotee, why do you wish to be a nun?
Finding comfort in the scriptures, and acquainting yourself with spiritual practice?
But how can you achieve enlightenment when earthly traces are still evident on your seasoned countenance?
Are you rid of worldly debt or are still entangled?
Did you renounce the world because glory and fame have lost their appeal and life seems like an abyss?
Or was it because of a fleeting moment of jealousy and distress that you intend to hide yourself behind the temple’s gate to bury your grief and forget your sorrow?

On Enlightening Entertainment, Supreme Master Television is pleased to introduce different forms of arts from Âu Lạc (Vietnam), as well as from other countries in the world, in order to share the beauty and cultures of the peoples on our planet.

The modern folk opera “Lý Chơn Tâm and the Wish-fulfilling Gem” is about a kind-hearted woodman. Touched by Lý Chơn Tâm’s compassion, the Water Princess offered to help him. The story illustrates that even though a person doesn’t crave for worldly gain, if he/she deserves it, he/she would still be favored by Heaven and Earth.

We now invite you to enjoy part 1 of the Aulacese modern folk opera “Lý Chơn Tâm and the Wish-fulfilling Gem,” by playwrightViễn Châu. This opera will be presented in 3 episodes, with performances by Vũ Linh as Lý Chơn Tâm, Thanh Ngân as Princess Thùy Dung, Trinh Trinh as Water Princess, Hữu Châu as Trần Nhứt, Tô Châu as District Chief Trần Thừa, Ngọc Đáng as Chơn Tâm’s mother, Trần Kim Lợi as the King, Hương Chung Thủy as Village Chief’s Wife, Hồng Yến as Miss Lành, Hữu Quốc as Trần Nhì, Mỹ Linh as Xuân Lan, and other artists.

Thank you for joining us on today’s Enlightening Entertainment. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television. Words of Wisdom is coming up. Take care, and we’ll see you next week.

Remote, high mountains run along the winding stream. Azure clouds hang above the mountain pass Morning is dawning now. Forest birds’ cheerful twitter enchants my heart. With carefree footsteps, I tread a long distance. My life is spent in the forest and mountain. I’d better gather firewood so that Mom can exchange it for rice in the market.

O Lý Chơn Tâm! What are you doing?

Uncle Mười! Why are you out so early today?

It’s a calm morning, so I went out early. What about you? How are you doing lately?

I’m doing fine, I just can’t eat well.

How many bowls you eat per meal that you say you can’t eat well?

Just six bowls.

What? Six bowls and you said you can’t eat.

Before, I could eat 8 bowls every meal.

Why do you eat less lately?

I don’t know why. Every morning, before going to collect firewood, my mother packs four sticky rice cakes so when I get home, I can’t eat anymore.

Heaven and Earth! You swallowed four sticky rice cakes, where is there room in your stomach for anything else?

Oh, I thought I was sick.

O Tâm! Give yourself some brains, Tâm. If you keep being silly like this, when will you have a wife like others do?

Without a wife, I still can earn a living. I know how to gather firewood, I know how to cook rice, I know...

Enough, enough... Stop that... No wonder the villagers call you “wooden-head.”

“Wooden-head” sounds rather cute, doesn’t it, Uncle Mười?

Cute? What is cute about it? You know what, wooden-head means a dull-witted man, because you’re both dense and naive.

I’m dense and naive, but I harm no one. I respect the elder, and I’m dutiful to my aged mother.

I know that, but in life, one must be smart too. If dense and naive like you, how will you amount to anything in this world? How can you ever get rich?

You talk very wisely but how come you’re still dirt poor?

It’s just my nature, I don’t like to get rich.

That’s why you’re poor. Yet you still scold me.

Not scolding. I just advise and remind you. It’s getting late already. Remember what I said, okay? Being kind and righteous is good, but you must be smart, and above all, you must have compassion. Remember, son.

Yes. Uncle Mười advised me to be kind and righteous. But I’ve never been mean to anyone. As for being compassionate, I love my mother, I love my neighbors. Even chickens and dogs, I love them all. As for being smart, who knows how to be smart? Well, smart or not, that’s up to us. Let other people be smart. I’m dull-witted, so be it. Being a lowly person, I gather firewood in the forest to take care of my aged mother.

O Tâm! Come down here!

What a pretty carp!

It can be sold at high-price! I’m leaving to get to the market in time.

Wait, Uncle Mười!

What?

Can you let me have that fish?

Do you have money?

No.

What? Heaven and Earth! No money, and you want to buy the fish.

Sell it to me on credit, will you?

Are you joking?

Please! Sell it to me on credit. Tomorrow I will go to your house to fix your boat’s cracks for three days to make up for it. Is that okay?

All right. I have no heart to refuse you. Here, take it.

Yes.

When you have money, remember to return right away. I don’t need you to fix my boat.

Please go home first then. I’ll carry the firewood home later.

All right, I’m going home.

Thank you, Uncle Mười. Poor you! The sea is vast for you to swim freely, why did you creep into Uncle Mười’s fishing net? Without me, your life would be over already. Let me return you to the wide sea to swim freely. From now on, if you see the fishing net, stay far away, all right?

Who are you?

Don’t be afraid! I’m the one who owes you a favor, so I come to requite your kindness.

What help did I render you that you talked about repaying it?

You just saved my life. I saved your life? So you are...

I’m the carp that you’ve just released into the sea.

So you are...

I’m the Water Princess.

Water Princess?

Yes. During my leisure travel out at the high sea, I unfortunately strayed away into a fisherman’s net. I thought my life was in danger. Luckily, I’m fated to live longer, thus you came to my rescue.

Since I was young, my mother told me that there are royal courts and palaces under the deep sea, with exceptionally beautiful fairies. I still didn’t believe my mother, until today, standing in front of you, I know I have met one such fairy.

Kind benefactor, allow me to ask you. Seeing you in ragged clothes, I guess you live in poverty. Are your parents still alive or are you all alone?

O fairy, as you can see. The dried wood under that ancient tree is what I use to trade for rice to get by. As a humble woodman, I wouldn’t dare let you be concerned about me.

I pity you, a poor yet very kind-hearted man. To repay your deep favor, I’d like to offer you a precious gem. Here, this is the Wish-fulfilling Gem. Possessing it, whatever you wish will come true. But never reveal it to anyone. When your life changes, I’ll take it back. Here, the Wish-fulfilling Gem. Farewell!

I’d never expect that the fish I just released into the sea is the Water Princess. Her life was almost finished. A young woman who wanders can lose her life any minute. But it was just a very small thing, and she offered a gem, a Wish-fulfilling Gem even. What shall I wish? All right. The way back is far, the bundle of firewood is heavy. Let me climb onto it and try to make a wish. I wish this firewood bundle can fly, taking me home so that I don’t tire my legs.

The wind has calmed down, I’m probably back home already.

It’s not the ground, how come? How strange! Let me open my eyes to check out. Heaven and Earth! Why am I sitting on the roof? I remember now. When I finished making the wish, the firewood bundle flew up. But when arriving at home, it didn’t land on the ground, but on the roof. How troublesome! How can I get down now? O Mom!

Are you back, son?

Yes.

Where are you?

I’m on the roof.

O good Heaven! Why did you climb up there, Tâm?

I didn’t. I just ended up here.

Enough, Tâm. Don’t be so crazy! How could you end up on the roof all of a sudden? Come down, quickly!

How? Just jump down?

Yeah, just jump and see if your neck will be intact or not. What an unruly child! Coming back after gathering firewood, you don’t want to go inside to rest. Instead, you climb up the roof to sit there – are you crazy or what?

I already said I didn’t climb up here, you keep saying I did.

Then the wind blew you up there, probably? The roof will collapse for sure if you remain there long, and you and I will live in the yard. Come down quickly, O son!

I dare not go down.

O God! Please come down, O Tâm! O, thank God! O brothers! Please come and help us.

What is it, Auntie Hai?

Please give me a hand to help bring Lý Chơn Tâm down.

Where is he to bring down?

He’s up there on the roof.

My God! What are you doing up there?

I was bored, so I climbed up the roof for fun.

Really? Then continue to sit up there for fun; we’re leaving.

Wait, brothers. Please help get me down. The sun is scorching! Please.

Why can’t you come down if you could go up?

Let’s help him down as a good deed. He’ll probably be dried to death, staying up there too long.

How to help? I cannot climb trees.

Neither can I. But I have this blanket. We spread out its four corners, tell him to jump down, and we’ll catch him.

Impossible! You tell him to jump, if he shatters his neck, we’ll be accused of murder.

Oh nonsense! If he dies, bury him. Hey you! Just jump down. We’ll be catching you.

Jump down, right?

Yeah.

I’m so scared!

Scared of what? Just jump!

Just jump!

The legs go down first, or the head goes first?

O God!

The head. Oh, I forgot! The legs. If the head comes first, you’ll crush your skull.

You two hold it real tight, okay? I’m jumping now.

Jump now!

Jump now, man!

O God! O God! Woe to me!

O God! Woe to me!

Heaven and Earth! Your heads bang into each other and you faint. Brother! Brother!

I’ll put the gem into this pocket and wear it. That’s the safest way!

O brother Lý Chơn Tâm!

Lý Chơn Tâm!

Brother Nhứt.

Lý Chơn Tâm. What are you doing there?

Watching the butterflies dancing around.

Geesh! You want to be a poet? Did you see that?

See what?

The village chief s orchard is laden with ripe fruits. Let’s sneak in and pick some to eat.

No, no. I cannot. My mother told me not to steal.

Goodness! She was right, of course. But we’re not stealing anyone’s silver, gold or jewels. Just pick a few fruits to ease our craving. What’s the big deal!

Stealing a few fruits, you’re still a thief.

How ungrateful! The day before, my head got a bump as I tried to catch you jumping down from the roof. Today I crave for fruits, I ask for your help and you refuse.

But what if they catch us?

No problem. Listen! We go to the far end of the orchard. Their house is all the way in there. They wouldn’t know. Go! Let’s go, brother. Go!

You see? (See that? ) There are so many ripe fruits. Climb up, brother Tâm. You pick and throw down. We’ll catch from down here.

If you see the owner’s coming out, let me know right away, okay?

No worries. Climb up!

Wonderful! More. More. Pick more! Yeah. Thank you. More. More. Yeah. Yeah More. More.

Enough, brother.

More, please. Just pick a lot, a lot, and throw them down here. I’ll catch them and bring them outside. We’re so lucky today. Once in a blue moon, let us eat to our satisfaction.

The owner is coming!

What?

Run!

Run!

Hey, where are you running to? And there’s one on the tree. Come down, quickly! Woe to you!

Don’t prod me, ma’am! Let me come down slowly.

Come down quickly! Are you coming down?

This is for stealing! You thief! You’re going to give this up, you hear?

Ouch! Ouch! Beat gently, ma’am. Ouch!

What do you mean gentle! I know you too well. Has poverty turned you into a thief? Why don’t you gather firewood to earn money instead of coming here to steal fruits? Your life is over now. You’re caught by me today, you’re dead. Have you learned your lesson now, son?

Ouch! I was incited by that brother, I didn’t plan to steal.

You didn’t steal, but you came here to pick all my fruits?

Woe to you!

Ouch!

Woe to you!

Ouch! It’s a one-time mistake, please forgive me, ma’am.

No begging. Stand there. Don’t you run away! I’ll take you to the mandarin so you’ll rot in jail and know what’s what!

Where do you think we should go today? Where to go?

Where should we go?

Oh, I know. Now, you and I go to an eatery. I have a few silver bars here, enough for us today. There’s a place, serving good food on the cheap.

What a great idea!

Let’s go right away to the restaurant.

Indulge in eating.

Yeah.

Go!

Nhì, Nhì, Nhì!

What?

There’s a customer.

What customer?

There, the girl who comes from afar, carrying two loads.

Miss Lành, the daughter of Mrs. Village Chief.

Let’s stop her, we...

No, impossible. That girl is very sharp-tongued.

She dares to insult a nobleman? You must be joking.

Go ahead then. I’ll support you .

Greetings, Miss Lành.

Greetings, noblemen.

Just call us “brothers,” it feels closer. Calling “noblemen” sounds so far away.

You’re back from trading in the market?

Yes.

Very good! You’re number one in this district.

Being poor, I get by with vegetables and porridge, working non-stop all day. I’m not like those rich people who mess about in the street.

This girl has a mocking manner of talking.

She’s talking about us, who else!

Miss, we’re surely very rich.

That has nothing to do with me. Let me pass to go home.

Wait! Why hurry, Miss Lành? We haven’t seen you for a long time, let me confide my feeling... I mean, let me ask a few things.

Don’t behave indecently. I have no time for nonsense talk.

How can you get away?

You block that side, I’ll block this side.

Come on in!

What are you two doing? Let me go. (No.) Let me go. (No.) I’m going to scream now.

No.

Are you going let me go?

No.

Help me! Let me go! O brother Lý Chơn Tâm! Help me, O brother Tâm! Let me go!

What are you two doing?

This guy stops all my inspiration.

You’ll be beaten if you disturb us. Go away.

If you want me to go, you must let Miss Lành go.

Letting her go or not is our business. What do you know to interfere?

I surely know. I know you two are the District Chief’s son and nephew, but prove to be uneducated. Why do you act improperly with a decent girl?

You’re a woodman, just take care to gather firewood to exchange for rice. Why stand in our way? This is our private business.

I’m just reasoning with you. You’re children from a mandarin family. Don’t let people sneer at you.

But we don’t want to listen to you, and you should keep quiet. If you’re sensible, get out of our sight quickly. Don’t you remember? When you were stuck on the roof, without our help, how could you get down?

Ungrateful, aren’t you?

But later on, you incited me to pick fruits in Mrs. Lý’s orchard. She gave me a dozen of whippings. It’s still swollen until now.

That’s your problem. Now, you’d better leave.

O brother Tâm, don’t leave me. Please defend me, brother Tâm. I beg you. Don’t leave me.

Don’t worry. You just go home first, Miss.

You see that, brother Nhì? This guy is really daring today.

Let me handle it.

Yeah.

We know each other too well. If you want to put a spoke in our wheel, your days are up.

Why are you home so late today, Lành?

O Mom! I was stopped on the way by noblemen Trần Nhứt and Trần Nhì.

What? Heaven and Earth! They stopped you on your way? Then... what?

They said many indecent things, (Goodness!) and were about to behave rudely to me. I was frightened, I tried to run away, but I couldn’t.

O God! And... and what happened?

I was lucky, thanks to brother Lý Chơn Tâm. He was on his way back from firewood gathering. He heard my cry and came to stop the other two men, so I could escape to return home.

Heaven and Earth! How very lucky! You came home, but Tâm stayed there. I wonder if he got into trouble with Nhứt and Nhì.

I don’t know. I was so scared, I ran home non-stop and dared not look back, Mom.

Let me go see Lý Chơn Tâm to thank him. The other day, when he stole our fruits, Nhứt and Nhì were there too. I think he was incited by those two troublemakers because Tâm has never stolen things from anyone.

O my! Mom! We just talked about him, and here he comes.

Where? Oh, yeah. You go to the back to take care of our meal. Tâm! Come in here, let me ask you something.

Auntie, I’m sorry about the other day...

Never mind, forget the past. I’ve just heard from Lành that thanks to you, she could escape the two spoiled noblemen. I’m very grateful to you. And about what happened before, don’t mention it.

Thank God! I saw Miss Lành being harassed by them. She’s weak and fragile, how could she escape two strong, drunk men?

What’s the matter with your legs? You seem to strain yourself walking? Were you beaten by them? And your clothes are all soiled.

I took the risk, trying to save Miss Lành from those guys. I was alone and defenseless, they beat me for a while until I fainted.

How pitiable! Let me go get the medicated oil to massage your bruises, all right?

It’s okay. Don’t trouble yourself, Auntie. Let me find some poultice. Goodbye now, Auntie.

Wait, Tâm. Please offer me a little help. Teach me that magic so that I can give those guys a lesson.

I don’t know any magic to teach you.

Don’t hide it from me. That day, you made me carry you, remember? Show me, please. I won’t gossip with anyone about it. I’ll just give those guys a good lesson so they dare not behave indecently to other people’s daughters.

Yes, wait a moment, Auntie.

Water Princess, please help me.

Here, put this broom away. When you want to beat anyone, just say, “Beat hard, beat hard!” You’ll find that it works miraculously.

“Beat hard, beat hard”? (Yes.) My God! Wonderful! Where did you learn this magic power?

I learned it with the Broom Genie. But it’ll work only two times.

Two times, right? Fine, two times would be enough. Once for each guy. Thank you.

Oh, they’re coming. I must hide away.

Come in for tea to quench your thirst.

Brother Nhì, this old woman seems to like us today.

She probably called us in to marry off her daughter.

Then come in right away. Greetings, Mrs. Lý.

Greetings, young noblemen. You’re the son and nephew of the District Chief, right?

Right, my father is the District Chief.

The District Chief is my uncle.

You two are probably highly educated people?

No question about that. My books are piling up from the ground to the roof.

As for me, I’ve studied with 20, 30 teachers, all of whom dared not teach me. They called me “Master.”

You two are good learners. How come you look like uneducated people to me?

Yeah! What? You’re talking rude to me?

Hey woman, how dare you censure us?

Because you are from a mandarin’s family, but uneducated. Behaving indecently to a girl, pulling her on the road, and you still call yourself a mandarin’s son.

O Mrs. Lý, we were just being playful and friendly, what did she ever lose? Why say heavy words to us?

There are times to be playful. One must be proper and polite, not behave indecently in broad daylight.

This woman is really disrespectful today!

We may have to take action.

Yeah.

I defy you two. Come on if you’re good.

She’s challenging us!

Come on! And you’ll know my power.

You go ahead first, brother Nhì!

Go ahead!

Go!

Come on.

You first.

You first. When you give up, it’s my turn.

O God! How dumb!

All right.

Watch my kung fu.

What?

This will serve you right. Watch me!

Goodness! (See?) Kung fu? (See?)

I thought you kick someone, but you kicked yourself down. How funny!

Ah, the broom! I remember, the broom. I’ll give you a lesson.

What did she say, brother Nhứt? The broom? Goodness! Using your broom at this time? Fine, I’ll let you use the broom

Broom! Let me give you. “Beat hard!”

Ouch!

Beat hard!

Ouch! O God!

Give up, son? Come on!

O God, it hurts so much! Where’s that broom from?

Woe to you! Giving up your bad habit, all right?

Run! Run quickly, brother Nhứt!

Run, run!

Run, run, run!

You’re running? If you’re good, stay back here! Wow, what a wonderful broom!

Stop! Maid, give 2 silver bars to the carriers, and tell them to go where they wish, Just return at noon to bring me back home.

Yes. O brothers!

We’re here.

What’s the matter, Big Sister?

The Princess gifted you each a silver bar to drink tea,

Thank you.

and said that you may go wherever you wish. Just return at noon to bring the Princess back to the palace. Goodbye.

Yes.

Wait, Miss!

She’s gone already. What’s the use to call out! Listen here.

What?

Let’s go bathe in the stream to cool ourselves. Listen!

What?

This girl here.

What? Why are you laughing?

She’s not bad, right, Nhì?

Yeah. Just having retruding teeth.

It’s all right. But if she stands next to me, it’s weird.

Very well-matched!

Very clashing! I’ll tell you something. (What?) Do you know why I called for you to carry the Princess to this forest?

Of course, I do.

You know?

You want to be “the coolie who carries the wedding palanquin,” right?

Right, right! Correct!

Of course.

My father plans to ask the Princess for her hand in marriage for me.

O God! Your father is just a low-ranking mandarin, how can he becomes the king’s in-law?

That’s why I had to work extra. I bribed the palanquin carriers, so that I could replace them to carry her around.

So you have a motive, and you made me bend my back to carry her with you. Don’t use me like that!

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