Suong Nguyet Anh (1864-1921)

Suong Nguyet Anh


Suong Nguyet Anh is the penname. Her real name is Nguyen Thi Ngoc Khue (or Nguyen Thi Xuan Khue). The daughter of the well-known patriotic teacher-poet Nguyen Dinh Chieu, she was born in 1864 (on the 1st of the Second Lunar month of Giap Ti - the year of the Mouse) in An Binh Dong (now is An Duc Commune, Ba Tri District), born the fourth of 7 children. Inherited the moral integrity from her father, Ngoc Khue had shown early signs of talent and personality since a very young girl.

In 1888, Nguyen Dinh Chieu passed away when Suong Nguyet Anh was 25. She and her next elder brother Nguyen Dinh Chuc took over their father's career to open classes to teach local people. She later moved to Rach Mieu in My Tho City, where she met and got married to a widowed official named Nguyen Cong Tinh. The couple had only one daughter named Vinh (later married Mr Mai Luong Ngoc and gave birth to Ms Mai Huynh Hoa). When Vinh was 2, Mr Tinh died, Ngoc Khue stayed unmarried for some time before leaving for Sai Gon to work as reporter for the newspaper Nu Gioi Chung (The Common Women, headed by Tran Van Chim). Some time later, she replaced Mr Chim to be chief editor of the newspaper.

After years working at the Nu Gioi Chung, she got an eye disease and returned to My Chanh Hoa (in Ba Tri District) for treatment, but she could not overcome it and passed away here on January 20, 1921 at the peak of her talent.

Beside traditional traits of a Vietnamese woman, she was also well-known as a liberal female - a rare and new-waved character at the time- and had social connections with people of all walks of life. As a young girl, married woman or a widow, she always kept an easygoing style of behaviour, ready to talk with poor people, as well as to exchange verses with many upper-classed male friends. She always successfully managed to reserved her rights to accept or not to accept something. A well-bred and Confucian proficient intellectual, she composed songs and wrote poems and responding poems with her friends. Her posthumous works include Vinh Bach Mai (White Apricot Verses), Tang Su Co (Dedication to Nun), Hoi Minh Lang, Thay Loi Vo Thay Thuoc (On behalf of the wife of a Physician), Hoa Bai Ong Ho Ba Xuyen (Responding to the Poem of Mr Ho Ba Xuyen), Hoa Bai Ong Phu Hoc (Responding to the Poemn of Official Hoc), Hoa Bai Thay Bay Nguyen (Responding to the Poem of Mr Bay Nguyen). Her name was frequently mentioned in literary circles in Sai Gon in the early years of the 20th century. There is a large and beautiful street in

Ho Chi Minh City named after her.


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