My Family History

Trace your ancestors and then immortalise them!

                              hoa trang ngoc / zjjz firefly zjjz (đom đóm) 

                             hoa tím lục bình_5 / purple hyacinth flowers

                    Chiron_5 / the wounded healer

                     Once, we sang together on Earth, now you are both singing in Heaven. God Bless You. 

On Thursday, June 21st, I received a message from a friend at Paltalk, a chat room service, that dear Firefly had passed away. I had just left a neighbour's house in London where the family had recently lost a loved one. Having paid my respects, and feeling very moved, I crossed the road to my house, and opened Paltalk. The last line of the message read as follows " hoa trang ngoc (đom đóm) chết ngay 15/6 " meaning "flowers (fireflies) died 15/6" or "pearl white flowers (fireflies) died 15/6".
I cannot describe how those few words hit me. I wasn't prepared for them, nor had I understood the seriousness of poor Firefly's illness. My sense of both shock and grief was extraordinary. Of course, one is sad at the loss of any person that one knows. But I hardly knew Firefly. A lady, thousands of miles away in Vietnam, whom I had met in a virtual reality room at Paltalk, where we both sang songs, as did others in the room. Her kindness to me and support during those visits had so touched me. The more I looked at the finality of those words, the more I felt the loss. My grief over the past four days seemed to have been as deep as I'd ever known.
So, I started this webpage, in memory of Firefly, on the day I read of her passing. Only now, have I finally written this introduction. Just looking at the three pictures above, and the three images below, has helped me to collect my thoughts, and to try to make sense of the past four days. It's as if Time has stood still. Firefly made the effort to make her Paltalk Profile interesting, and consequently, her pictures made it possible for me to put up this webpage immediately. Thank you Firefly.  : )

It is now 3 months later, and Firely and I have made this page into a beautiful little home. It has grown, week by week with many additions since I started this introduction. However something has just happened that has made Firefly and me so very sad. Yesterday, I heard, from the same lady who told me of firefly's passing, that a dear friend of hers and of firefly, had also passed away. Hoa tím lục bình died on September 8. The news came as a great shock to me, and I felt a deep sadness for Hoa as I had felt for Firefly. Two ladies that had been so welcoming to me in their music room back in January, had gone to Heaven within 3 months of each other.
It was decided that Hoa Tim should be remembered in the same way as Firefly has been, and that she should share our little home. I haven't been able to find any photographs of Hoa Tim, therefore all the photos here are still just of Firefly.  Hoa Tim, welcome to our home where I know you will be very happy. Once we were two here, now we are three.       :o)         :o)         :o)

Pink lilies which Hoa Trang Ngoc kept in her Paltalk Profile folder. When I googled this picture, Hoa Lily Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City came. I think Hoa loved this flower.
hoa trắng ngọc literally means "pearl white flower" also translated as White Jade Flower. This was my friend's chosen id when she first came to Paltalk in 2015. 
In 2017, my friend added a 2nd id zjjz firefly zjjz, and alternated between this and hoa trắng ngọc."đom đóm" is Vietnamese for firefly. Two beautiful ids.

                                                                                       Here is Minh Xuan singing a lovely song called "Dom Dom"

Đom đóm đâu ra chiều hôm thật nhiều 

Tiền đồn ven biên anh vừa lên phiên đổi gác 

Từng bày đom đóm như thấp sáng kỷ niệm của chúng ta 

Ngày xa xưa chơi trò đi trốn nhau

Cho em đi tìm gọi anh Đom Đóm ơi 

Anh khéo nên em thường hay giận hờn 

Một lần anh thua em trèo lên trên ngọn khế 

Nào ngờ mưu kế đem đom đóm anh cài lên tóc em 

Từ đêm đen lập lòe đom đóm bay 

Em anh đây rồi nên vẫn khen anh tài ghê

Dòng thời gian xuôi mãi cuộc vui xưa kết nên tình hương lửa ba sinh      Bạn bè thân hứa trước đi đám cưới đôi mình 

Cặp đèn màu hoa Trúc

Nào ngờ đâu mơ ước tựa như sương khói tan 

Dần trong nắng ban mai 

Chỉ còn câu ước cuối non nước sắp thanh bình 

Cho mình lại tay trong thấy nhau. 

Xa cách em lo tình kia nhạt nhòa 

Chiều chiều ra sân em còn trông phương trời thắm 

Nhìn bày đom đóm anh có nhớ khung trời hoa bướm xưa 

Còn riêng em phương này vẫn ước mơ 

Anh gọi lại đom đóm ơi như ngày xưa...!!!

                        It's so wonderful !

        Together each night for a year

               Friends Forever More.


                                                                                                                       How I met Firefly

1.  My first meeting with Firefly was on January 13th, 2018 in a Vietnamese Music room at Paltalk. I was looking for an early morning place to sing on a regular basis, and once again I turned to Vietnam. I had already found a lovely Vietnamese room for my afternoons which had been one of my few joys the previous year. 2017 had been a very sad year for me at Paltalk, both in Talking rooms and in Singing rooms as well as in one to one friendships. For whatever reasons, I had completely lost my way in an organization whose members topped 160,000 people from all over the world. Maybe I hadn't got over the death of a close friend at Paltalk who had made my life so happy in 2016. Who knows. So I entered Karaoke CANH CO QUE HUONG Karaoke.

   Above is a Paltalk Logo, below are a few emojies

2. There were about 5 or 6 people there. A lady was singing on mic, and there were two hands up waiting to sing. I typed " mc all " which is short for "men chao" ( hello ) My id was 'Chiron' – one of several I used at Paltalk. In a room of 6 people, there might be only 3 actually at their keyboard. I recall being greeted nicely, and began to feel good about the room. In Vietnamese Music Rooms, the screens are full of stickers and flowers. In no other country at Paltalk, will you find this kind of celebration as people sing. I myself love to support singers with flowers and emojis, so Vietnam is made for me. I eventually sang my song – Rhythm of the Falling Rain – which seemed to be enjoyed, and I received 2 private message requests which I accepted.

3. 2 message boxes then opened up on my screen. Sound is possible, even webcam is possible – but usually it is type-talk plus nice emojies such as smiles, flowers etc. They can be very effective if the 2 people do not speak each other's language. The 2 ladies who pm'd me were called hoa_trang_ngoc and hoa tim luc binh. The first name was Firefly's main id which she had used since joining Paltalk in August 2015. Hoa tim was always called Hoa tim.
Both ladies began our communications with a yellow smile emoji. I typed "hello hoa" and added my own smile, then 'thank you', and another smile. Hoa trang ngoc's first words to me were "VUI QUA CHIRON" which means Happy Chiron.  I certainly was - to have found this room. I replied "cam on" ( thank you ) the first Vietnamese words I had learned back in 2014. 

     Bài hát Cho đom đóm ( Song For Firefly ) 2018

4. Hoa tim wrote her mobile number but I lost it. Our main communication was via emojies rather than words. Hoa Tim was then  busy somewhere. Hoa Trang and I sang about ten songs each because few others had their hands up. I stayed about 2 hours. It was so sweet when Hoa typed "YOU THANK" as I was leaving, and I responded with "thank you". Hoa then typed THANK YOU and BYE YOU. I had hoped that in due course, I might help Hoa with some basic English if she so wished. Teaching has been my life, and often at Paltalk, I have helped those in the main Education section with their English Communication skills. I returned to the room 2 days later where Hoa had magically changed into Firefly - White Jade Flower had become đom đóm! Another 2 hour exchange of songs, and another sweet and polite private pm. 2018 was looking nice.

Oh my dear firefly, my pearl white flower

Thank you so much for January

Oh my dear đom đóm, my hoa trắng ngọc

Thank you for galvanising me

Here in your lovely musical  room

So many voices in such bloom 

Wonderful tunes filling the air

Enjoying our time with never a care 

Little did I know what pain you went through

Little did I know what would happen to you

If only you'd told me maybe i could have helped

And made it clear to you how much i felt 

Your first words to me, in that sweet pm 

Was just a lovely yellow smile

Then vui quá Chiron, yes I was happy

It was a very special time


The two hours sped by, so many songs

I wished I'd stayed  a few hours more

But two days later, I came back to you

And it was just, as it was before

Here in your lovely musical  room

so many voices in such bloom 

Wonderful tunes filling the air

Enjoying our time with never a care 

Little did I know what pain you went through

Little did I know what would happen to you

If only you'd told me maybe i could have helped

And made it clear to you how much i felt

Oh my dear firefly, my pearl white flower

Now all we have are memories

You've gone to Heaven, to join the angels

To sing with them and rest in peace


Below are some examples of Haiku Poetry. Haiku originated in Japan, and follows a structure of 3 lines - 5-7-5 - each numeral representing the number of syllables per line. Usually the theme is Nature, but I have chosen dear Hoa Trang Ngoh as my subject. I allow one syllable less or more per line. So a 5-8-4 structure might arise.
                                                                        Below is a beautiful Vietnamese poem on the left with a very poetic translation on the right

                                        Below is a bittersweet love song, sung by Kong Ling and written by Vic Cristobal. I find both the lyrics and rendition so haunting.

You came like the wind,

And settled like a leaf,

And my life became complete,

You were so supreme,

For making me think you could care,

Stars above that shine,

Were whispering tonight,

And the moon looked so divine,

Why was I so blind,


In thinking you really could care,

When you told me that you loved me,

I started to believe that you cared,

You took my heart and tore it apart,

Now you're gone and left me in tears,

And so every night I pray,

That dreams that fade away,

Will come back to me some day,

I can't let you go until the day goes into night,


Firefly loved music so much. It's what we did back in January and February. Here's a selection of Videos from You Tube including the first song I ever sang in Firefly's room Karaoke CANH CO QUE HUONG Karaoke. One day I hope to find a recording of Firefly herself. How wonderful that would be. 
   Huong Lan - Chuyen Do Vi Tuyen                       Khánh Ly - Nối Vòng Tay Lớn           Hoang Oanh - Chi Ve Em Buoc Sang Ngang      Chiron - Rhythm of the Falling Rain
        Three lovely outdoor pictures.
      I
think Firefly loved her grey hat.

The angels looked down from heaven,

They searched for miles afar,

And deep within the distance,

They could see a shining star.

 

They knew that very instant,
That the star was theirs to gain,
So they took you up to heaven,
Forever to remain.

Look down on us from heaven,
Keep us free from hurt and pain,
You'll always be within my heart,
Until we meet again.

Các thiên thần nhìn xuống từ thiên đàng
Họ đã tìm kiếm hàng dặm xa,
Và sâu bên trong khoảng cách
Họ có thể thấy một ngôi sao sáng.

Họ biết ngay lập tức
Ngôi sao đó là của họ để đạt được,
Cho nên họ đưa bạn lên thiên đàng
Mãi mãi để ở lại.

Nhìn xuống chúng tôi từ thiên đàng
Giữ cho chúng ta khỏi bị tổn thương và đau đớn,
Bạn sẽ luôn ở trong trái tim tôi
Cho đến khi chúng ta gặp lại nhau.

         Khúc Mùa Thu - Lê Dung

           Ngọc Lan – Dấu Tình Sầu

    Khánh Ly – Khúc Hát Người Tị Nạn

             Thanh Lan - Dạ Khúc

Hoàng Oanh - Ngày Sau Sẽ Ra Sao                Thanh Lan - Bang Bang (Khi Xưa Ta Bé)                Mỹ Tâm - Như Một Giấc Mơ                        Hương Lan – Buon Khong Em
 Firefly had this lovely photograph in her profile of the Vietnamese New Year of 2017. The year of the Fire Chicken. To the right are two videos. The first one is information about the New Year. The 2nd one is a New Year song with a greeting  underneath.
Sang năm mới chúc mọi người có một bầu trời sức khoẻ, một biển cả tình thương, một đại dương tình cảm, một điệp khúc tình yêu, một người yêu chung thủy, một tình bạn mênh mông, một gia đình thịnh vượng.
     Chúc mừng năm mới !!


New year wishes everyone a sky of health, a sea of love, a love ocean, a love chorus, a loyal love, an immense friendship, a prosperous family.

            Happy New Year!!

Lê Dung – Chào Em Cô Gái Lam Hồng

Hoàng Oanh - Chuyến đò vĩ tuyến 

   Ngọc Lan – Mưa Trên Biển Vắng

Phương Dung – Một Mình ( Alone ) 

Hàn Mặc Tử - Ripe Spring,

In pure sunlight: dreams dissolve,

A pair of thatched roofs speckled gold.

The teasing wind rustles emerald clothes,

On fragrant arbor. See spring unfold.

Verdant grass waves ripple to the sky.

Around the village, girls singing on high.

– Perhaps tomorrow from that youthful throng,

One will follow a husband, bid her game goodbye…

Sound of singing on the mountain,

Soft as words of water and clouds…

Murmuring with those sitting under bamboo,

Such delicate and innocent sounds…

Guests from afar meet at ripe spring,

Hearts and minds suddenly long for home:

– This year, does she still carry rice,

Along the riverbank under the bright blazing sun?

Hàn Mặc Tử - Mùa xuân chín

Trong làn nắng ửng: khói mơ tan,
Đôi mái nhà tranh lấm tấm vàng.
Sột soạt gió trêu tà áo biếc,
Trên giàn thiên lí. Bóng xuân sang.

Sóng cỏ xanh tươi gợn tới trời.
Bao cô thôn nữ hát trên đồi.
– Ngày mai trong đám xuân xanh ấy,
Có kẻ theo chồng, bỏ cuộc chơi…

Tiếng ca vắt vẻo lưng chừng núi,
Hổn hển như lời của nước mây…
Thầm thĩ với ai ngồi dưới trúc,
Nghe ra ý vị và thơ ngây…

Khách xa gặp lúc mùa xuân chín,
Lòng trí bâng khuâng sực nhớ làng:
– Chị ấy, năm nay còn gánh thóc,
Dọc bờ sông trắng nắng chang chang?

        Hương Lan – Lan Và Điệp 3                       Kong Ling –This World We Love In                       Erik Satie - Gnossienne No.1                      Thanh Lan - Cay Đắng Tình Đời

         MƯỜI NĂM TÌNH CŨ - LỆ THU                           Thanh Thúy - Pre - 75                                             Một Cõi Đi Về - Khánh Ly                                 Kong Ling - Here's A Heart

    Hoa tím lục bình's section started on September 27 - the day after hoa arrived

Lục bình ai thả trên sông 

Trôi theo con nước lưu dòng 

Chiều nào ra đứng bờ sông 

Nhìn sang bên ấy nghe lòng nhớ mong 

Anh đi cách bên ngăn sông 

để em nhớ mãi tím bông lục bình. 

Còn đâu như bóng mới hình 

Còn đâu hai đứa chúng mình bên nhau 

Đâu rồi ngày ấy qua mau 

Anh quên lời hứa hôm nào đã trao 

Giờ anh cưới vợ sang giàu 

Còn đâu thương nhớ... 

Tím màu hoa xưa .


                     Dương Hồng Loan   singing   Hoa Tím Lục Bình

Hyacinth who drops on the river

Follow the water flow

Come out to the river in the afternoon

Looking to that side, I could remember

He walked away from the river

Let me remember purple hyacinth flowers forever.

Where is it like a new shadow?

Where are the two of us?

Where is that day?

He forgot the promise he gave

Now he's got married to a rich one

What else do you miss ...

Purple purple flowers.

            Hoa Tim loved purple hyacinths so much. Even her name hoa tím lục bình  means  Purple hyacinth flowers

You came to Paltalk - in the Spring of the year

Your heart it was dancing - so pleased to be here

With a number of songs that you wanted to share

For singing was something – you'd always had there

So many places - for you to explore

At last you found one - that answered your call

And you sang in that room nearly every day

Your Paltalk experience was now underway

Hoa tim luc binh   -   You wanted to sing

Hoa tim luc binh   -   It meant everything

Hoa tim luc binh   -    Gossamer Wings

Hoa tim luc binh   -  See what life brings

But suddenly one of your friends could not come

Her health it had worsened – her singing was done

But you tried oh so hard to keep the room going

Whenever you could – the music still flowing

             Bài hát cho Hoa tím lục bình   2018

                    (Song for Hoa tím lục bình) 

Hoa tim luc binh   -   You wanted to sing

Hoa tim luc binh   -   It meant everything

Hoa tim luc binh   -    Gossamer Wings

Hoa tim luc binh   -  See what life brings


Then suddenly I heard the terrible news

Another dear friend – oh you had gone too

Your time here on Earth it had come to a close

For Heaven had called you to be its new rose


Hoa tim luc binh   -   You wanted to sing

     Hoa tim luc binh   -   It meant everything     

Hoa tim luc binh  -  Sweet Purple Flower

 Hoa tim luc binh  -   Shine by the hour

Hoa tim luc binh  -   Miss  you so much


    Pham Quynh Anh - Hello Vietnam                Pham Quynh Anh - Bonjour Vietnam                HELLO VIETNAM - KYO YORK (LIVE)                  Francoise Hardy - The Rose 

           hoa tím and đom đóm
        Our room is so beautiful
         Thank you very much
       Firefly

     Chiron

   Hoa Tim

                       đom đóm and hoa tím
          Together for many months
                Long may it remain

    Thanh Lan – Bên Cầu Biên Giớ 

         Hương lan - đoạn tình buồn 

    Jannine Weigel - Bèo dạt mây trôi

                                                                     The Boat People of Vietnam

The number of boat people leaving Vietnam and arriving safely in another country totalled almost 800,000 between 1975 and 1995. Many of the refugees failed to survive the passage, facing danger from pirates, over-crowded boats, and storms. The boat people's first destinations were the Southeast Asian countries of British Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. The combination of economic sanctions, the legacy of destruction left by the Vietnam War, Vietnamese government policies, and further conflicts with neighboring countries caused an international humanitarian crisis, with the Southeast Asian countries increasingly unwilling to accept more boat people on their shores. 

After negotiations and an international conference in 1979, Vietnam agreed to limit the flow of people leaving the country. The Southeast Asian countries agreed to admit the boat people temporarily, and the rest of the world, especially the developed countries, agreed to assume most of the costs of caring for the boat people and to resettle them in their countries.From refugee camps in Southeast Asia, the great majority of boat people were resettled in developed countries, some in the United States and most of the remainder in Canada, Australia, France, West Germany, and the United Kingdom. Several tens of thousands were repatriated to Vietnam, either voluntarily or involuntarily.

During this period, hundreds of thousands of people left Vietnam in overloaded, ill-equipped boats. Over 6000 died at sea, while others were rescued, and eventually were resettled in countries around the world. The Vietnamese Boat People Monument in California's Westminster Memorial Park’s Asian Garden of Peaceful Eternity is one of several around the world. This one shows four statues on a slab (raft) within a pool. A man, an older woman, and a woman holding a child. Surrounding the memorial are 54 blocks of stone, on which are engraved the names of deceased boat people.

I send (older) brother a few pack of cigarettes,

So you can burn your life on fingers.

Sending mother a few needles,

So you can sew up my anguish in my heart.


I send older sister some fabric,

So you can make a wedding dress or a funeral one.

Sending young sister a lot of candies and cakes,

So you can eat them for life is so much bitter.


I send father a piece of white cloth

So you wear it when they lead you to the execution.

Sending to Vietnam a lot of tears

Dreaming that it will be peaceful one day.

Below you can see Khan Ly singing " A Few Gifts for the Homeland". English lyrics left and right. 

I send older brother a pen

So you can draw up your life along your thin hope.

Sending mother a few bags of green tea,

So you can make tea with my dried-up tears.


I send older sister a few boxes of matches,

So you can burn up your life amidst the mist and cold.

Sending young sister a loving ring,

So you can sell it and escape out of the country.


I send father a few sleeping pills,

So you can sleep when in prison for life.

I send to Vietnam my caring music,

Dreaming of peace as my people sleep tight.

       Lê Dung – Hướng Về Hà Nội

            Chiron - Hello Vietnam

       Lệ Thu - Trăng Mờ Bên Suố 

                      Roky Erickson

                                          HAPPY   BIRTHDAY  ARLENE

No-one has ever showed me such kindness and consideration as this wonderful lady showed me in the short ten months that I knew her. Our friendship was exactly that - no more no less. Never had I needed a friend more than I did then. 2016 became one of the happiest years that I have ever known.
Despite not being in the best of health during the short time that I knew her, she remained brave throughout, and attended to the important things in her life - finding time for all those who needed her. Domestic matters, religious matters, social matters - she gave them everything she had. The most positive person that I have ever known, and yet we never met, and knew very little about each other.

Our communication was not about facts and figures - ours was about the meeting of minds and kind hearts. 

                                                                           The 10 brave girls of  Đồng Lộc junction 

La Thi Tam, a young volunteer, bravely helped vehicles passing through Đồng Lộc T-junction, Hà Tĩnh Province in North Central Vietnam. It was a major target for US bombers, resulting in the death of thousands of soldiers, volunteers, drivers and innocent civilians. La Thi Tam, along with other girls, risked her life every day to help keep the junction open to traffic heading for the southern battlefields along the Ho Chi Minh trail. 

There is a  temple at Dong Loc T-junction – built to honour ten girls who, in 1968, while levelling a bomb crater, were buried alive by bombs dropped by US forces. Their sacrifice became a symbol of Vietnamese heroism. 

Lê Dung - Người Con Gái Sông La ( Daughter of the La River )