Yellow is not Yellow


A poem of word, monologue and dialogue. A poem of movement, song and music. It is a poem of performance. Yellow is not Yellow is about myself and is not about myself. It is about my friends but it is not really about my friends.

It is about life and death and it is not about life and death at all.

Yellow is not Yellow is not really about anything, but it is about lots of things. Things that always exist in the past, in the present and in the future. Things that always exist in myself and in yourself. Things that we cannot name, we cannot see, we cannot even touch but we can only feel and hear in the absolute silence. Things that sometimes suddenly appear in front of our eyes, and if we are patient enough, and lucky enough, we may see them before they quickly disappear.

Extracts from “Yellow is not Yellow” by Binh Duy Ta
Scenes II and V
Scene II
at midnight last night
a prostitute died
no one knew her  real name
but she was very well known as Miss World
people said she could speak many different languages
she probably learnt them from her clients.

she lay alone in the street for the long night
at dawn her naked body suddenly took flight
hundreds of colorful butterflies accompanying her
they flew along with her or covered her body
making a wonderful dress for her.

her naked body flew down and up through the streets
the crowd was watching her, cheering and clapping
whenever the butterflies changed their patterns and positions
it was like she was changing her dresses
from one style to many other styles
Spanish Gypsy style, Chinese traditional style, Vietnamese Royal style, Indonesian
people tossed flowers up in the air
and someone who did not know she was dead
threw money towards her.

her body finally flew into the town
passing different places
as if she was wanting to say good-bye to her memories.

the butterflies one by one left her
and her body was revealed once more
at the top of the Opera House

she stopped and stood still like a statue

on the beautiful sunny day
her body slowly melted into water
dripping down into the sea…

Scene V

My name is Henry Phuc Ma Le. People called me Phuc or Henry, or Henry Phuc or sometimes Phuc Henry. On my original birth Certificate, my name was Le Ma Phuc. In  Vietnam, they put the family name first, and the first name last. When I arrived in  Australia, I didn’t want to change my name. However, to avoid confusing people I changed my name around in all official documents such as Citizenship Certificate, Passport, Education degrees, driver’s license etc…

I changed my name from Le Ma Phuc to Ma Phuc Le, because in Vietnam, people often say my first two names together as Ma Phuc. So, firstly, my name was changed to Ma Phuc Le. It was better because, at least, when people saw my name, they would know straight away that my family name is Le. But, somehow, they still got confused as they didn’t know which was my first name. Ma or Phuc. They kept calling me Ma, but Ma is my second name. Therefore I decided to change my name to Phuc Ma Le. It was much better this time, because it was easy to recognize the components of my name. Phuc is my first name, Ma is my second name and Le is my family name. Phuc Ma Le. Perfect.

It was not long before another problem came up. It was not the order of my name anymore, but it’s pronunciation. People in Australia found difficult to pronounce my first name, Phuc, so they often made it sound like ‘fuck’. Even when they saw the letters of my first name as P-H-U-C, ‘Phuc’, they would think straight away about the word ‘fuck’. That’s not very nice. And as you know my second name is Ma. Some of my friends understood the Chinese meaning of the word ‘Ma’ as ‘Horse’. They tried to tease me and they called me ‘Ma Fuck’. It means ‘Fucking Horse’. That was not very nice either. I knew it was a joke, but I did not feel comfortable if someone kept calling me ‘fuck’ or ‘fucking horse’. I talked to some friends, and even some consultants from the Council of Cultural Differences. Taking their advice, I thought that it could be better if I have my first name in English, because Australia is an English speaking country. I did some research on English names and decided to choose the name Henry as my first name. My name now is Henry Phuc Ma Le. I am happy and proud of my new name. Henry Phuc Ma Le.

But occasionally, people still got my name mixed up.

Le Ma Phuc is my name
And my name also is Phuc Ma Le
Please call me Phuc Le if you find it easier
Ma Fuck – ‘a fucking horse’ is my nick name
And my new name is Henry Phuc Ma Le
Or just call me Henry Le if you find that way more relaxed.
Henry Phuc
Phuc Henry
Ma Phuc
Ma Fuck
Phuc Le
Le Phuc
Henry Le
Henry Phuc Ma Le
Le Ma Phuc
Phuc Ma Le
Ma Le Phuc
Fucking Horse Le
Fuck Le
Le Henry
Le Fuck
Henry Fucking Horse
Henry Le Ma Phuc
Le Ma Henry
Le Fuck Ma
Ma Fuck Le
Le Ma
Ma Le….

1 thought on “Yellow is not Yellow”

Your thoughts?