Saigon’s Seasons in the Sun

My childhood memories in Saigon come alive whenever the Seasons in the Sun song is sung.

My childhood memories in Saigon come alive whenever the Seasons in the Sun song is sung.

<<Facts, pictures, video clips related to the story – 70s MP3 Western songs sang in Vietnam, Vietnamese singers and Saigon’s looks then>>

Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 words – Lost in music.

“We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun, But the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time.” Every time I heard the “Seasons in the Sun” song, my mind is flooded with memories of my childhood before the Fall of Saigon.

I was a wild child who spent endless hours in the sun with my neighbours’ children or with my classmates. The sun left lingering smells on my sunburnt, blackened skin, scorched my shoulder-length permed hair, turned it from black to brown, and left it with lots of split ends. I later had my hair cut in demi garçon (half-boy) style.

“I was a black sheep of the family” resonated well with me as I was a “black” and “ugly duckling” amongst my beautiful sisters. I loved wearing my multicoloured large-floral-printed-of-the-70s shorts and cycling around my neighbourhood or exploring the hilly areas around a local swimming pool with my Amerasian girlfriend.

The seasons in the sun of Saigon also wrapped in it the weekends of going to the city with Mum and Dad, shopping along Le Loi street, buying Thieu Nhi and Thang Bom children magazines from the biggest bookshop in Saigon then – Khai Tri and eating ice cream at Brodard, seeing a movie at the modern Rex movie theatre then visiting shopping center Tax later.

Listening to the song also led me to the recollection of other English and French songs sang in Vietnam by different music bands during the 70s. Cathy Hue with “If you go away”. Paolo Tuan with La Nuit (Night), Elvis Phuong with ” Speak softly love”, Thanh Lan with “Poupée de cire, poupée de son” (Wax doll, rag doll), Anh Tu with “Adieu sois heureuse” (Goodbye, be happy) and other foreign singers as Sylvie Vartan, Christophe, Nana Mouskouri,… I was always keen to sing “La Plus Belle Pour Aller Danser” (The most beautiful girl for dancing), “La Maritza” (River Maritza) , “Après toi” (After you),… to impress my friends and relatives with my smooth and “perfect” French accent!!!

Amongst all those Western songs, the song “Beautiful Sunday” sung by Minh Xuan and Minh Phuc always echoed in my mind as Sundays approached. The Sunday mornings were spent going out for breakfasts, sometimes at our frequently visited eating area of Nga Sau Minh Mang-Nguyen Tri Phuong (six-way roundabout) or at the restaurant of the famous singer Khanh Ly. When the sun was down, the night was alive with lots of traffic on the road on Christmas Eve. Joining the Christians celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, I made Bûche de Noël (Yule log) while Mum cooked roasted chicken for the whole family’s réveillon (Christmas dinner) at midnight under the sky on the fourth floor of our house.

It was also on this top floor of the house where Mum and I risked being arrested for those cassettes, books,… produced before the Saigon Fall; we hid them from the Communists. In May 1975, there was a campaign to collect and burn those literature and musical products. On the street, students were asked to parade with banners and loud speakers repeating slogans of “clean sweeping remainders of a depraved, exotic, materialism-favoured, pornographic, antirevolutionary and anticommunism culture” while local police and leaders of local house blocks knocking door-to-door to collect old song sheets, song books, cassettes, novels, books, anything that were published in Vietnamese, English or French before 1975.

Also part of the mentioned campaign, a few months later, South Vietnam’s famous writers were jailed. I am glad that I have saved those precious songs as well as those English novels and Reader’s Digest short-story collections that Dad bought in the US in 1973.

Goodbye to you, my trusted friend!
Together we climbed hills and trees,
We watched the stars, we felt the breeze,
Remember those songs we both penned?

I wished our childhoods never end,
I begged “Good time, stay with me please!”
Goodbye to you, my trusted friend!
Together we climbed hills and trees.

Our hills are just memory blend,
The scars have healed well on our knees,
We are now apart by the seas,
Yet our friendship will not suspend.
Goodbye to you, my trusted friend!
Together we climbed hills and trees.
(Rondel-style poem)

Image credit by manhhai

<<Facts, pictures, video clips related to the story – 70s MP3 Western songs sang in Vietnam, Vietnamese singers and Saigon’s looks then>>

My childhood memories in Saigon come alive whenever the Seasons in the Sun song is sung. My childhood memories in Saigon come alive whenever the Seasons in the Sun song is sung.[/caption

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3 thoughts on “Saigon’s Seasons in the Sun

  1. Oh how wonderful. Isn’t it sad that that beautiful city (and Hanoi as well) had to go through such pain and destruction.
    But one thing is certain, Australia is a better place because we accepted so many Vietnamese as migrants.
    It’s a shame we don’t seem to think the same way anymore.

    Like

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