Aulacese (Vietnamese) Chèo Traditional Opera: A Hundred-section Bamboo Tree - P2/3 (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.

Âu Lạc (Vietnam) is a nation that has a long-standing traditional culture. Aulacese music is very rich; since ancient times, there have been many musical instruments that move the soul with a wide variety of sounds like those of the copper drum, gong, lithophone, bamboo xylophone, cymbals and panpipe. In 2003, Elegant Music, a form of Huế royal music, was recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an intangible cultural heritage of the world.

Âu Lạc’s music represents the unique features of each region, for example, Quan Họ folksongs in the North, Huế tunes in the Central, and cải lương (modern folk opera) in the South. In addition, there are many other forms of music, including hò (work songs), lý (village songs), ceremonial songs, Aulacese classical opera, chèo traditional opera, Hồ Quảng opera, and so on. Indeed, music has been deeply instilled in the hearts of people in this beautiful country, and has been cultivated until this day.

Northern Âu Lạc has a folk art called xẩm singing that is very popular in the northern plains and midland. This genre, in the old time, was performed by minstrel bands.

In a gathering with a small group of our Association members some years past, Supreme Master Ching Hai was inspired to spontaneously compose and sing in the xẩm style a poem she had written in her late 20s in Germany. The poem was originally written in English which the poet herself translated into Aulacese.

We now invite you to enjoy an excerpt of the xẩm singing “We Don't Live More Than One Hundred Years!” composed and sung by Supreme Master Ching Hai.

I mean tonight I was nuts! But so what: Aren’t the rest of us!... Otherwise how could we carry on living, For life isn’t worth a thing!?

You know that I am still in love with you! But that has nothing to do... I cannot please everybody, So I will please me! That doesn’t mean you are not right; We all have only one life!

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.

Chèo traditional opera is a folk theater art which originated from the regions near the mountains and from the plains of northern Âu Lạc. There are varied opinions about the beginning of chèo traditional opera: the earliest time is believed to be in 4th century BCE and the most recent is 14th century, at the end of the Trần dynasty. Chèo is a narrative genre of folk theater, recounting stories through a combination of music, singing and dance.

One of the unique features of chèo is a skillful portrayal of subtle gestures and movements. During festivals, people in the plains of northern Âu Lạc often look forward to watching chèo traditional opera. The lyrics are infused with folk poetry and proverbs; tragedies are usually counter-balanced with satires. Chèo is replete with the pure simplicity of the common folk, yet equally profound in meaning.

The chèo traditional opera “A Hundred-section Bamboo Tree” is based on an Aulacese legend about an orphaned young man who was very honest and hard-working. He took shelter under a bamboo tree since childhood, thus he was called Trúc, meaning bamboo. Trúc was in love with Mai, the daughter of a wealthy landowner. Neither hesitating to move mountains to fill up the sea nor betraying poor friends for wealth, a love in the fashion of Trúc and Mai has become a subject for poetry and prose to imply absolute faithfulness.

The story not only praises human love but also exalts the quiet blessing of nature toward humankind, as symbolized in the affection and protection of the bamboo tree toward gentle Trúc.

We now invite you to enjoy part 2 of the chèo traditional opera “A Hundred-section Bamboo Tree,” written by playwright Phan Tất Quang,

with performances by Mạnh Huấn as Trúc, Thu Hằng as Mai , Phúc Lợi as Landowner , Thanh Tùng as Clown Jackfruit , Lã Khương as Clown Guava , Kiều Oanh as Matchmaker , Thanh Mai as Miss Nhài Mạnh Phóng as Village Chief , Bá Dũng as Son of a Rich Man , Tuấn Tài as Bamboo Deity , and other artists.

Please join us next Thursday for the conclusion on Supreme Master Television.

Thank you for watching Enlightening Entertainment. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television. Up next is Words of Wisdom. So long for now.

The rich landowner was known to be the wealthiest man in the area but he had yet to have an heir. Thus he adopted an orphan girl named Mai with the motive of making financial gains in the future. As Mai was growing up, she turned into a beautiful and capable person. Trúc, who had been working diligently, intended to quit because of the miserly landowner. Knowing that Trúc and Mai were fond of each other, he promised to marry her to Trúc if Trúc agreed to cultivate barren land for three years. Being trusting, Trúc worked hard in faraway fields for three years. Meanwhile, the landowner accepted a powerful family’s proposal. Feeling pity that honest Trúc was betrayed, Mai tried to find a way to inform him.

You’re very dutiful!

But in the past you already arranged my marriage, a pledge of love can’t be waved aside. Now I find your intention to be different. I don’t know how to handle your instruction.

What to handle? What better option can you find if you turn down this one? They are of the same social status as we, with a lot of land and luxurious houses. For wedding presents, they offer 100 sheets of fine silken fabric, blankets made of regal crepe, seven-treasure bed, and eight-fairy mosquito net. Oh my! The bride is to be honored by the village notables from the two families. She’ll walk on a red carpet. She’ll wear a Nghệ hat while the groom holds a Chinese fan in his hand.

Respected Father, you said: They are of the same social status as we, with a lot of land and luxurious houses. So, you plan to marry me off to...

To the rich man’s son.

Oh! How is that possible? In three long years working for the in-laws, he has plowed the field, rain or shine. And you...

If one lives in a temple, one has to sweep the banyan leaves.

He’s from a poor family, and the other is from an honorable lineage. Just listen to me, child.

I bow to you a hundred times, Father. I’d rather marry a poor husband than covet a wedding offering of gold and silver and let him endure all the bitterness.

A disobedient child will go wrong 100 ways.

O Father!

My goodness! When I raised you, I’d hoped to rely on you one day. This is the time to tell the grapefruit from the shaddock.

You’re a landlord’s daughter, and he’s just a hired farmer. Instead of a corn plant, you choose a cactus.

O Father!

I’m not a fool.

I beg you.

I wouldn’t listen to you. Where are you, Nhài?


Bring your mistress inside for make-up.

Father, I beg you!

Go inside! (Father!) Go! Go!

O mister, O sir! O sir, O sir!


A drought, a drought!

Drought? What drought?

When it rains, you’re in for a prosperous time, sir.

How can it rain now to talk about prosperity?

Respected sir, it’s like this. When rain falls, the water level rises. Isn’t it time for prosperity, sir?

How can it rain in such a condition?


It’s impossible.


It won’t.

I already said that... Sir, if it doesn’t rain, why then the termites are coming out?

What? There are termites?

Yes. But no male termites. I looked around, and only see one female termite. O sir! That termite is inlaid with gold and silver all over her body.

Jackfruit! (Yes.) Are you referring to Ms. Matchmaker?

Yes, sir.

She’s inlaid with gold and silver all over?

O sir! She’s loaded!

Jackfruit! (Yes.) Go prepare for me a new set of clothes to greet my guest. (Yes.)

Frankly, the matchmaker is me. I’m famous in matchmaking. On behalf of the marriage god, I’d tie any matrimonial thread. O sisters! (Yes.) The young master is from an opulent family. The rich landowner’s daughter is graceful and hard-working. My young master brings silver areca and golden betel as an offering to ask for her hand in marriage. As luck reckons yours truly, Heaven bestowed wealth upon me. Both families are opulent. Vương Khải and Thạch Sùng join as in-laws. Once this marriage is realized, I’ll definitely be rich. But... O sisters! (Yes?)

But the groom is not only ugly, he’s also physically deformed. I must manage this well. That’s right. She’s in love with the farming boy. If the groom is to come over now, she’ll definitely pull a wry face at him. Therefore, on this engagement day, I must hide him away and manage it cleverly. The wedding must be held right way after the engagement. The needle in the bag will be discovered sooner or later.

Last night, the bindweed birds sang at the gate. This morning, they twitter at the back of the house. I believe that a precious guest will visit me. Indeed... Servants!


Bring betels and tea!


There you are! Respectful greetings, my brother.

Please have a seat, Ms. Matchmaker.

As today is an auspicious day, I’m bringing over a tray of betel quids. After listening to your instruction a few days ago, I went back to report to the other family. Anything our family requests will be adhered to by them.

How precious!

Since my young master is a son prayed for, he has been much pampered. And his family owns many paddy fields. No one is as good-looking and capable as he is. Many proud young women were attracted to him. He’s declined them all and keeps asking for Mai to be his wife.

How precious!

It’s indeed a predestined marriage.

Yes, and they’re very well matched! Servants! (Yes.) Go outside to invite the young master in for tea. (Yes.)

Please wait for a little while.

Why wait?

According to rituals, the groom is supposed to come over, but please give him some time.


It’s hard to believe that such a handsome and intelligent man is so timid. In such broad daylight, he wouldn’t dare come over. Only at dusk would he go out for a short while.

How very precious!

When it’s dark, he’ll come to attend to you.

All right.

Sisters! (Yes.) Bring in the offerings.

To rejoice at her engagement, we bring the ring and betel quids. Silken fabrics, sparkling gold and silver are to deeply please her, especially the resplendent things. O sister!

There you are, Trúc! Are you done with the farming work? Why did you leave the farm?

For three years, I’ve lived with meager meals and one-hearted devotion. But...

I know, I know. For your three years of hard work, I’ll grant you a paddy field if you want.

I don’t need paddy fields.

How about a buffalo?

I have no need for buffaloes.

What about a tile-roof house?

I don’t need the tile-roof house.

Strange! The paddy field, you don’t want. The buffalo, you don’t take. Or you worry that you’re not paid properly? Then what do you want?

I only want you to keep your pledge. Don’t let it be like a water-fern which flows away upon contact with the water. Please honor your words. Don’t be like a butterfly that comes and goes.

So, that’s what it is. Look, Trúc! The bamboo string used to tie the cake is unchanged. My promise is as firm as the nail on the post. Who sweet-talked you into coming back and saying this ill-founded thing?

Need anyone tell me? Good and bad news travels far and wide. You marry off your daughter to a wealthy family.

Oh my! How cruel is worldly rumor! A successful man often has many enemies. Seeing someone who lives righteously, the wicked fabricate tales.

Fabricating? So, who brought over those gold, silver and betel quids for a marriage proposal? Are you choosing a son-in-law from an opulent family and having no regard for me? How come you don’t keep your word? Aren’t you afraid of Heaven’s punishment, living like that? There are righteous and unrighteous ways, O sir. There are righteous and unrighteous ways, O sir. Why do you favor gold over righteousness and kindness? I’ll keep my vow of faithfulness to Mai.

No wonder! You’re mistaken. Heavenly flame isn’t the ghost-light.

Why rush to blame an honest person? My goodness! While Mai waited for three years, I counted every day as well. Pitying you, I took care of every single thing. Here! Come take a look! I’ve prepared a wedding gift of fresh betel quids to compensate all your hard work. I know you’re poor, so I’ve taken care of everything.

Is it really so?

Yet, you hate me, resent me, and intend to wreck everything. Fine, if the affinity is unfit, and love is ill-fated, you’re free to go to another place. I’ll generously untie the love knot and undo the pledge to please you.

No, no. For three years, I’ve lived with meager meals and one-hearted devotion. I’ve tried to fulfill my vow of faithfulness, never once changing my mind.

But the wedding can’t take place now.

Why not, sir?

Because I’m still concerned about the villagers’ sneering.

What do they sneer at?

Because water never flows upward. Since when did the bride’s side ever prepare wedding gifts?

But I’ve labored for three long years.

I know, I know. I know you’re poor, so I didn’t ask you for anything. But I must be cautious anyhow as worldly criticism is cruel: “Wait, the groom has no wedding gifts!” You’ve worked for the bride’s family for three years and I know you’re poor, so the wedding offering is waived for you, but you must find for me something.

Yes. What would that be?

A hundred-section bamboo.

A hundred-section bamboo?

Yes. That’s the only wedding offering. A hundred-section bamboo. After 3 months without the offering, the pledge is considered null.

You’ll search for it until your bones rot. I wouldn’t marry my daughter to a penniless man. O Trúc! (Yes.)

Good luck on your trip. I’ll wait for you at home with much longing. Have a good trip!

Alas, what a strange wedding gift! But as I love her, what hardship and danger could deter me? I’ll travel thousands of miles, crossing rivers and mountain passes. I’d overcome all difficulties and perils. At the distance are mountains and clouds, I’m crossing the streams and brooks. Alas, a hundred-section bamboo would reach the sky, where will I find it in the deep forest amidst chilling mountain wind?

It’s been ten days of pouring rain and scorching sun. I’ve crossed five mountains and ten hills. I’ve seen a hundred bamboo trees, none has a hundred sections. High mountain and thick forest, reaching the sky. Much affection I send to the mountain bamboos. Much love tugs at my heart all night. I long for the sight of my beloved, awaiting the day to share our newly made hat. Like the green bamboo tree, you provide cooling shade where I recline. Morning and evening, I befriend only the bamboo tree. When will our love turn into a happy marriage?

How strange! Jubilant and melodious music. The entire forest, the branches and leaves sway. Streams stop rippling, birds stop chirping. O! From afar comes the bamboo’s sound. How unusual! The thick bamboo grove and dense forest suddenly open up to let me go through. The path is filled with scented grass and flowers. Rainbow cloud is giving me cooling shade. The sound of bamboo’s afloat and melodious. Is this a reality or a dream?

O man of virtue and honesty, you’re like a fresh breeze and morning sun. Your kindness and affection are sea-vast, mountain-high. Prizing kindness and righteousness, I help the kind and righteous man.

Who are you? Your kind look resembles the bamboo at the front alley, your voice gentle like a breeze in the countryside.

I am the Bamboo Deity who has been with you from dawn to dusk. Since your childhood, the bamboo cradle was your companion. The bamboo at the alley endures rain and shine to share with you joys and sorrows throughout the years. I’ve helped you overcome hardships. Now suddenly in the wind I heard your lament and prayer. The earnest sound of the flute moves the mountain and forest. As good affinity allows, I’m going to help fulfill your wish.

Respected Deity, your love for me is as immeasurable as leaves in the forest. Your help is as immense as ocean and sky. You’ve protected me through rain and shine. You nurtured me through my childhood and sheltered me in the chilly months. I grew up in a world of bitterness, yet still follow your upright way. But what I dream for is so difficult to obtain.

Don’t worry! I’ll help you realize it. Is it wealth you are after? Then I will satisfy you with all the precious gems, gold and silver.

Respected Deity, not many are blessed with great wealth, but this is not what I wish for.

Really? This is not what you wish for? (No.) You’re poor but you care not for gold and silver. Perhaps you wish for a beautiful fairy? All right, I’ll help you.

Five-color clouds are floating around the purple cavern amidst a stretch of lush mountains. The lotus dais awaits someone to come and fulfill a predestined affinity.

I’ll give you a choice. Pick a blossoming flower in the wild, be it apricot, gourd, or bamboo, each with its own beauty and grace.

No, Respected Deity. How many worldly people could meet a fairy? Few are so fortunate as to chance upon a golden affinity. I’m grateful that you care for this humble person, yet a vow can’t simply be brushed off. I once promised a life-long bond with Mai. How could I change my heart and disregard my vow?

Practicing benevolence is hard, doing good deeds is wise. For years, you’ve been known as a virtuous man who covets neither beauty nor fame and gain. Your faithfulness has been tested. I now will help you obtain the one-hundred-section bamboo you wish for.

I’m very grateful to you. O, the one-hundred- section bamboo tree!

Now, son! (Yes.) The hundred separate bamboo sections will be connected as you say “Join now!” three times.

say three times “Join now!”

Correct! They will immediately be joined into one long stalk, extending into the cloud.

I’m deeply grateful to you.

Wait! It’s difficult to travel through forests and hills with such a long bamboo tree. Tell the one hundred sections to disjoin by saying three times “Separate now!”

Say three times “Separate now!”

The bamboo sections will separate instantly. You may bundle them up to bring them home. Set out now, as the way home is very far. I’ll help the righteous man to enjoy a happy marriage.

I’m very grateful, Deity.

The one-hundred-section bamboo tree extends high into the clouds. Wind after wind can hardly move it. Rain and shine, day after day, its root is deep and strong.

All right. It’ll be done sooner or later. Today, you must keep in mind what I told you.

All right. Etiquette, family tradition, local custom and national laws, I know them by heart. But I’m getting closer. You must drag the bride here for me.

You can’t rush like that. There are the wedding ceremony and the introduction to both families before she can go to her husband’s home. Today you must take it easy.

Take it easy? What is that anyway?

That means you must speak gently.


You must walk with ease.

Walk with ease? Let me try it for you to see now.

You’ve gone away, where can I find you? I’ve languished from longing. Now I’m faced with a perplexing situation. My father wouldn’t give me time; he even arranged the wedding today. How ironic is the marriage god’s arrangement! Why heartlessly tie me in wrongful wedlock? Desiring gold, he disregards affection and betrays you who labored long and hard. You went away, let me follow you. Let me go with you, O beloved!## O love! Cold wind, scorching sun and rain, I’ll accept all. Like a bird flying over streams and mountains, I’ll follow you. O love!

Dear Nhài!

Nhài! (Yes.)

Has your mistress taken the medicine?

She did, sir.

Your mistress is still under treatment. Don’t let her go far. And you stay around in case she needs your help. Don’t spoil yourself with idleness, understand? (Yes, sir.)

Mai, my child! (Yes.) Later, the groom’s family will come to ask for your hand in marriage. So be prepared, my dear.

Respected father!

What is it, dear?

It’s said in books that “At home, one submits to her father.”


Obeying you is what I always bear in mind.
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