Teacher's song for Sai Gon goes viral

Among dozens of songs featuring the pandemic and its consequences, Sài Gòn Tôi Sẽ (My Sài Gòn Will…) by English teacher Nguyen Thai Duong has won the hearts of millions of people throughout the country and even people abroad.

“My home city is so quiet,

Junctions without people,

She is tired of the pain,

Big and small streets are out of breath…”

The touching lyrics backed by a gentle waltz have been listened to and shared repeatedly online in the past week. It has also spread belief in a better future.

Teacher's song for Sai Gon goes viral
Screenshot from Duong's MV Sài Gòn Tôi Sẽ. — VNS Photo Le Huong

The first version launched on Youtube on July 6 gathered more than 180,000 views while the latest version, launched on July 13, gathered over 96,000. That is not to mention one edited version, launched on July 10, that gathered over 53,000 views.

“When HCM City was locked down to stop the virus spreading following Directive 15 on May 31, the once-bustling city was suddenly so quiet,” Duong told Việt Nam News. “The streets are so silent and shops are closed. I recorded my feelings in the song.”

Duong said though he completed the song fairly quickly he has been in love with the city for a very long time. 

“The song is the essence of my love,” he said.

Duong confessed he is not a professional song composer so he doesn’t care what style he should create the song in. He just wanted to record his feelings.

“Waltz rhythm is more simple than other rhythms and suitable to my lyrics: simple and close,” he said.

Dinh Quoc Dung, who saw the video commented that even though he is not a city dweller, he felt moved to hear the song.

Audience Nguyen Son says the song is one of the best songs he has heard in the past ten years.

“The author has composed the song with real feeling and the song is really touching,” Son said.

Phuong Nguyen, who lives in the US, said she cried hearing the song.

"I felt my hometown breathe heavily," she said. "I hope things will improve very soon."

Composer Vo Hoai Phuc told Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper in an interview that the song brings him a tranquil feeling. Its melody and rhythm are so gentle and the song says people in HCM City and the city are tired.

“The song also brings optimism,” he said. “It’s like the city is sick temporarily then will be strong again. There is something tolerant in the song, very ‘Saigon’ in its characteristics.” 

Amateur composer

Duong said he liked music from a young age but it wasn’t until 2017 that he began to compose more regularly.

 

Duong launched an album titled Sài Gòn 9X (Sài Gòn in 1990s) on Youtube on June 30. Four among seven songs in the album were in the waltz melody.

“Maybe as I think simply, I compose simple music notes for my songs,” he said.

Duong said two important events inspired him to compose the album: when he got married and moved out of his parents’ house; and when he had a son who made him remember his childhood. 

“I searched for old materials to see how the city has changed to see why I missed the old city so much though I’m still living in it. That’s the reason why I name the album Sài Gòn 9X meaning both now and then.

Teacher's song for Sai Gon goes viral
Duong has been popular with his lessons with lots of fun. — Photo courtesy of Nguyen Thai Duong 

Multi talents

Duong has been popular as a teacher of English, who nicknamed himself as Thầy Giáo 9X (Teacher born in the 1990s). Duong often shares tips in learning English online freely and composes songs to ease learners to study new words quicker and more fun. Some of his teaching videos reached millions of views on various foundations including Facebook, Youtube, TikTok and some TV shows.

Duong said his students are of various ages in and out of the country.

“I actually have learned a lot teaching English for Vietnamese in the US,” he said. “I learn a lot about their life there. They work very hard and are very lonely. I composed a song titled Về (Return Home) in the album that was inspired by the story of one of my students.

Duong graduated with the best mark among his student generation from the HCM City National University, majoring in Biotechnology.

Yet he decided to become an English teacher.

“I have thought very hard for a long time about quitting my field to work as a teacher,” he said.

He simply finds himself with a special talent for delivering English lessons in a fun way.

“When the learners find it easy, they want to continue,” he said. “When I see them happy, I’m happy, too.”

Teacher's song for Sai Gon goes viral
Duong joins game show Who Is No 1. Photo courtesy of Nguyen Thai Duong

Though the pandemic has hindered his offline class, Duong continues with online teaching every day.

“I hope to help more and more people no longer be scared of English,” he said.

Duong often advises younger people to do what they are best at and what society needs.

Source: Vietnam News

Teacher spreads love for Vietnamese kids’ songs through English

Teacher spreads love for Vietnamese kids’ songs through English

"Một cánh én nhỏ chẳng làm nên mùa xuân. Rủ nhau én về theo làn nắng ấm dần ..."  (A lone swallow won't beget a spring. Swallows flockin' in the sun warming...)

A foreign voice singing local songs

A foreign voice singing local songs

American Kyo York came to Vietnam for the first time as a tourist in 2007. When he returned in 2009, he worked in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang as a volunteer, teaching English to underprivileged children.

 
 

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