Friday, February 2, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Goodbye

The silence of this woman stunned by her grief was a shout of pain louder than any of the earth's laments. The child's tears were the final condemnation of all wars which shatter people who love each other.

The little Vietnamese girl was about to board a plane from Ho Chi Minh City Airport for the United States of America where her father, an ex-GI she had never seen, was waiting for her. Her mother was leaving her there and would never see her again.

Behind this particular picture lay a background of years of enquiries and bureaucratic formalities, in order to find the ex-soldier from the other side of the world, with whom the woman had shared a brief moment of her life.

She knew, as only a mother could, that beyond this departure gate there was both a new life for her daughter and no life at all for her, and that she had willed it. - Claude-Michel Schonberg


When I read that the Sunday Scribbling's prompt for this week is GOODBYE, the above photograph quickly came to my mind. That photograph started the widely acclaimed musical Miss Saigon. There was a time in my life when I was so obsessed with Miss Saigon. I knew all the lyrics of the songs and played it over and over and over. Sadly, I couldn't afford to watch the actual musical in London...but I did buy the video of "The Making of Miss Saigon". It didn't help that Lea Salonga is Filipina and I am married to an American - these for some reasons made me relate even more to this story. And when I became a mom.. ugh, that made my ties with Miss Saigon even stronger as I can hear me sing "I'd give my life for you" to my son. This story is so touching.

The photograph above captures the bittersweet emotion of goodbyes.

Miss Saigon depicted several goodbyes...mostly tragic goodbyes. Kim and Chris didn't even get to say goodbye to each other, and they were separated, yet she sings "I still believe". Gigi wanted to say goodbye to the hardlife in Vietnam and say hello to the Great American Dream; Kim did the ultimate sacrifice of saying her last goodbye to her son so he can have a better life in America.

7 comments:

Kamsin said...

I too was obssessed with Miss Saigon when I was in my late teens, my friends and I used to know all the songs and sing them together. Lucky for me London is no so far away so I got to see it on the stage!

Bongga Mom said...

Miss Saigon.. Madame Butterfly.. tragic and heartbreaking goodbyes, yes, but they also show how strong and beautiful a mother's love can be, so I like to think of it also as a courageous and loving goodbye. Great post!

gautami tripathy said...

Nostalgic and sad...

gautami
gautami
rooted.

Mary said...

Thank you for sharing that. My mom was a Korean immigrant and she left her homeland, her family, and everything she knew in order to give us, her children, a better future. When she first came here, she spoke very little English and had no Korean-American community for years. Sometimes I think of her isolation and I am amazed by her strength. She passed away almost a year ago. Your post reminded me her. Thanks.

Regina Clare Jane said...

War is so tragic on so many levels... but the children and women always seem to suffer the most...
Viet Nam was such a sad country to me when we visited there- this post and picture reminds me of our time there.

Just Jana said...

Okay. I feel very out of it. I've heard of "Miss Saigon" many, many times, but I know NOTHING about her. This post has inspired me, and I'm going to check this out at my library this week. This sounds like the kind of story that inspires me.

Tammy said...

That story and many others like it amazed me at the strength of many women during war time.