“Cây muốn lặng mà gió chẳng chịu đừng” Vietnamese Proverb

“Cây muốn lặng mà gió chẳng chịu đừng”

  • Transliterated Proverb:
    • Cây: tree
    • Muốn: want
    • Lặng: still (motion)
    • Mà: but
    • Gió: wind
    • Chẳng: do not want
    • Chịu: bear (endure)
    • Đừng: stop
  • Full translation: The tree wants to stay still, but the wind refuses to stop
    • Explanation: This proverb is referring to two people. One is the tree, and the other is the wind. The person who says this proverb in conversation is the tree, to say that the other person will not stop whatever they’re doing, which is directly affecting, pushing around, annoying, etc. the speaker. This implies that if the annoyance will not stop, then the tree will be forced to take action and make them stop. My father explains to me that sometimes, this entails a physical altercation. In his words, “Stop, or I’m gonna punch you.” 


I love this proverb because, in Vietnamese, it sounds quite poetic. However, per my father’s explanation, its usage can conversely be quite gritty and unromantic. I find this dichotomy humorous. Looking at the proverb alone, I first thought that it referred to a person’s tough journey, and how their obstacles will not seem to cease. I thought it was melancholy and meaningful to how a person can endure so much. I was shocked to learn from my father that it instead is more of a warning, or in some cases, a threat.