Daily prompt tends to be very touché during the weekends (yea, let me blame it on the prompt). There is this one song I really love, and it’s called “Like a Swallow” and was the theme song for Little Nonya, a local TV series.
This is one song with lyrics so beautiful, and also Chinese words so difficult that I had to read it with a dictionary. Or you can read an English version here.
In the wax lyrical and cultural sense, the flight of the swallow is likened to the art of the nonya needlework in the song. The Peranakan (indigenous straits-Chinese; nonyas are the ladies) has very intricate and elaborate crafts in their heritage – exquisite embroidery, beadwork, woodwork, and even tiles and furniture. So this needlework was something that the women had to be very good at, and usually also very proud of. [Separate note: my mom’s dialect is Teochew – different culture from Peranakan, but they are also very serious about needlework and renowned for that.]
The chorus mentioned the swallow in two separate analogies, which is too difficult to translate. The first one is about the bitter-sweetness of her longing, swirling around like a swallow; milling through time and wondering where and when there will be an outcome. The second part is about confusion, I would say. The embroidery movements of the needle and thread really feels like the flight of a swallow. I find this analogy quite stinging though, she is trapped in her position, focussed on the craft (and her longing thoughts) while it is likened to a swallow that flies so freely. 😥 Her needlework are stained (or decorated…. sigh) by her tears, like a motley of promises in the passing fog of love, while she dances lightly in the rain.
All the feels. Of pains. Yet of hope too. Ouch. Yet of sweetness. And bitterness. Ouch ouch. Guess that is why this song holds so much profundity beyond description.