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07/06/2017 - 10:22

The origin of Flying Flamboyant Street has been traced

"Until now, many people still argue about the nostalgic name of a street –Flying Flamboyant Street. Which street is indeed Flying Flamboyant Street in Hue? Nobody forces; nobody urges, but we still want to find out the answer. With some words composed on spring days, we ventured postulation... " That is the prelude to my previous article “Tracing the origin of Flying Flamboyant Street" posted in Thua Thien Hue Mau Ty Spring- 2008.

 

Enchanting green trees on Doan Thi Diem street

Flying Flamboyant Street became inspiration for the talented musical composer Trinh to compose “Mua hong” (Pink rain),that has captivated many generations of audience. Then, for unknown reasons, many people are convinced that Flying  Flamboyant Street definitely Doan Thi Diem street – which runs along the left of Hue Citadel, parallel to Dinh Tien Hoang street and successively intersects Nguyen Chi Dieu, Nguyen Du, Han Thuyen, Mai Thuc Loan street ...

There is even an article on Flying Flamboyant Street in the encyclopedia Wikipedia: "(...) Flying Flamboyant Street is another name of Doan Thi Diem street located next to the Imperial City area of ​​Hue ancient Capital. From the lyrics of the song “Mua hong” of musical composer Trinh Cong Son: Flying FlamboyantStreet, with two lines of green trees stretching their foliage to each other..., both Hue locals and Hue lovers can feel the unique romanticality of this street. The ancientness of the Citadel and the typical quiet of the old capital make the street become extremely romantic. Althoughthe street is short and sparsely populated, its greenery suits Hue locals’ leisurely, walk-loving, thoughtful lifestyle. It looks cosy in winter, and in summer the treet boasts full blooms of not only red flamboyant, but also light yellow peacock flowers and elegant purple lagerstroemia flowers ... Flying Flamboyant Street is one of the beautiful streets in Hue, that providesinspiration for poetry, music, and painting ... ".

There is also another article quoting a girl named A. living on the other side of the An Cuu river, "every night [I] left home and made my way through Phu Cam to Ben Ngu to visit Son." On seeing her off, Trinhwalked her along the streeton the other side of the river, "which has two rows of Flamboyant trees with their foliage stretching out to each other. He called it Flying Flamboyant Street, his streetof love, her street of sweet memories... " The street on the other side of the river (An Cuu) is now Phan Dinh Phung street.

However, in the searching process, strangely enough it was found that theabove-mentioned streets had not been planted with many Flamboyant trees. According to Mr. Phan Dinh Ngon, Director of Hue Trees and Parks Center, who studied at  Ham Nghi school (which was Temple of Literature in the past, and now is Thua Thien Hue Museum of Revolution), in the period from 1965 to 1969, the street was planted with onlyBischofia trifoliata (or Bischofia javanica Blume). Perpendicular to Doan Thi Diem street was Tong Duy Tan street(whose entrance is now blockaded), which wasplanted with only Calophyllum Inophyllum. There were only two or three Flamboyant trees grown along the wall of the school near Doan Thi Diem street. Until now, there are still 126 Bischofia trifoliatatrees on Doan Thi Diem street, dozens of which are 45-50 years old. Several old Flamboyant trees still exist. About more than 20 red Flamboyants and 50 yellow Flamboyants have been grown on this street recently, replacing Bischofia trifoliata died of old age or broken by storms.

With regard to Phan Dinh Phung Street, as many people can remember, it hadFlamboyant trees, but just a few, not "two rows of Flamboyanttreeswith their foliage stretching out to each other”. In addition, according to thetrees documentation, the street was planted with only Senna siameas.

Therefore, if it is assumed that Doan Thi Diem street or Phan Dinh Phung street is Flying Flamboyant Street,the assumption is rather unconvincing, even though they are romantic streets of Hue.

In the previousarticle, we alsoput forward a postulation that Flying Flamboyant Street wasLe Duan street, because according tomany people’s memory, this was the street planted with the most Flamboyant trees in Hue: "Le Duan Street has been extended now, but still planted mostly with Flamboyants. There are only 3 Lagerstroemia speciosas, 2 Khayas, 1 Ficus religiosas, and 1 Bischofia trifoliatas, and the rest are Flamboyants. There are 252 Flamboyantshere, many of which have their trunk’s diameter from 0,6 to1m, nearly more than a half a century old, standing as the witnesses of love. This doesn’t count the trees cut down for the street expansion and about 30 trees broken down by storms. When summer comes, the whole street illuminates with red, which is a spectacular scene ... "(Tracing the origin of Flying Flamboyant Street- Thua Thien Hue Mau Ty Spring- 2008).In some other documents, such as in the Hue-ancient & recent street names of Duong Phuoc Thu,when he talked about Le Duan street (page 174-Thuan Hoa Publishing House, 2004), "The elderlyin Hue often refer to the street from Truong Tien bridge to Bach Ho bridge as Flying Flamboyant Street... ".Poet Anh Phan, whose real name is Nguyen Tat Phan, born in 1934, now living at 2B /25 Ong Ich Khiem street - Thuan Hoa ward-Hue city, wrote a poem titled Flying  Flamboyant Street: “Flying Flamboyant Street along the north bank of the Huong river / From Truong Tien bridge to Bach Ho bridge/ Going on Flying  Flamboyant Street/ golden flowers of sunlight were falling/ Drizzle only made my shirt wet... ". Especially, Mr. Phan Dinh Ngon confirmed that he had heard Trinh Cong Son’s answers to interview questions on TV, and the very musician had stated that the Flying  Flamboyant Street in his song “Mua hong” was Le Duan street. To Mr Ngon, this statement made sense because before 1975, this street (then called Trinh Minh The street) running from Ngan Gate to Bach Ho bridge was only a narrow street throughoutplanted with Flamboyants. At that time, traffic on this street was sparse, so theFlamboyant trees grew very shadywithout being pruned as they arenowadays. The two rows of Flamboyantslooked like twolovers tiltingtheir headsto each other. A breeze was blowing by, and tiny Flamboyant leaves werefalling like rain, just ravishing ...

However, all has still been speculation. Mr. Ngon promised to search for the video clip of the interview, and we also tried to find it. But we didn’t know where to start, and who to start from to "hunt" for that video. We asked some colleagues for help, but what video? Who made it? When it was made? ... We ... were really stuck on these questions. It was indeed very difficult for our colleagues, because they had countless videos and countless programs, how to find the video when there was no cue -even a small "keyword" ...

Time has passed until one night, three years since the release of my article, I unexpectedly received a phone call from acompletely strange phone number. Talking on the phone was a person named Huong, and she said she was the one who had directly made the video. She had interviewed Trinh Cong Son and the musician had confirmed that the Flying  Flamboyant Street that inspired him to write Mua hong was Le Duan street then. He said, "It(Flying  Flamboyant Street) is a very beautiful street, runningin front of Phu Van Lau. Now, it has been expanded... "Musician Trinh Cong Son also expressed his pleasure to see that there were still many green trees in Hue, which were well taken care of,and many streets of his hometown were becoming more and more beautiful...

Le Duan Street in front of Phu Van Lau

The one-minute interview was in the documentary titled "Green Streetsin Hue city" of HVTV (Vietnam Television Station Center in Hue) producedinabout 2001 (I used “about” because although we were permitted kindly by Mr. Van Cong Toan, Director of HVTV, and willingly taken by Mr. Quy Hoa –a TV journalist to the related departmentthat agreed to help we still waited until the time when this article was written, and we still haven’t obtained a copy of the video. Probably, they must have been too busy to care  about my trivial concern.). Until I went to HVTV, I knew that Ms. Huong who had phoned me was Nguyen Huong (HVTV had many people named Huong) and at that time she no longer workedthere. As she said, she was not entitled to enter the department, despite that she had joined in making hundreds of documentaries and had had over 10 years working at HVTV ...

The video was made in 2001, but if ithad been after the 1st of April, musician Trinh would have died, and thenhow come he answered the interview live on TV? Ms. Nguyen Huong said that her interview had been conducted in late 2000 or early 2001. That was an occasion when she travelled to Ho Chi Minh city, and Mr. Dinh Hieu (a journalist of HVTV) went to visit his family in the city. One afternoon, Dinh Hieu and Nguyen Huong were brought to visit Trinh Cong Son at his private house on Pham Ngoc Thach street by the female photographer artist Dao Hoa Nu. The musician was very happy to meet his fellow Hue natives, so he talked very openly.

Ancient Flamboyants still blooming on Le Duan street...

During the visit, with acamera lent by a colleague from HCM Television Station, Dinh Hieu did not miss the chance to recordthe interview. And Ms. Nguyen Huong also took the advantage to ask the musician about all sorts of things. When she recalledher memory, Ms. Huong ... smiled sadly: "Thong, you know what ... Mr. Son......underestimated Hue girls. He said Hue girls were not beautiful, but they were quite slow ... ". It is not known whether the musician was serious or just joking, but Nguyen Huong has been upset until now ...

Since Mau Ty Spring 2008 till now -Tan Mao Tet 2011, it has beendefinitely three years. I now have an official explanation for my previousarticle. With these words written on spring days,I express all my thanks firstly to Ms. Nguyen Huong, and then to readers ...

 ... and many newly-planted trees

Phan Dinh Phung street had also been believed to be Flying  Flamboyant Street

Doan Thi Diem street passing Hien Nhon Gate

By Dien Thong

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