Should we accept or reject the legend of Au Co?

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Le Minh Ton

In 1970, philosopher Luong Kim Dinh of Saigon Literature University, wrote the Education Charter. In his work, he discussed the matters of primary education at which teachers told students about the legend of Au Co and Lac Long Quan. Au Co and Lac Long Quan were in love, and they gave birth to an egg sac, from which hatched 100 children. After the story, teachers told their young students not to believe the myth.

In Evangelicalism, especially Protestant, many pastors reject the myth of Au Co and take this as superstition, slowing the development of Vietnam. Many Evangelists want to encourage the public to stop believing in this myth.

If that is the case, the story of Adam and Eva in the Old Testament should share the same fate with the legend of Au Co. Even a normal people knows that Adam and Eve could not gave birth to the entire mankind. If Eve is a white woman, she could not give birth to a black one. In addition, if she is black, bearing a yellow one is impossible. Therefore, in terms of science and biology, Eve could not be the mother of mankind. In Genesis 3:20, “And Adam called the name of his wife Eve: because she was the mother of all the living”, is the verse wrong? Which mother is Eve?

The point is that people have understood the legends about the birth of nations or religion the normal way, the science way. Legends of a group of people are their own collective unconsciousness. The legend of Au Co is the collective unconsciousness of the Viet. 100 children represent 100 ethnic groups. Those children play at the Tuongprairie (the ancient border of Vietnam). When nightfall, they come back home. Despite the lack of food, they grow up healthily and peacefully. Later, President Ngo Dinh Diem extracted 1.5 million Northern people to the South. The French wondered that where did Diem have much food to look after these people, a thing that was almost impossible to the French. The collective unconsciousness of the Viet enabled President Diem to do the extraction with no reports on stampedes or starving to death. The culture of the Viet is high. Having lost their collective unconsciousness, 1,5 million Saigonese fled the city in chaos. Later, the loss of collective unconsciousness has forced their descendants to fight each other for land plots. In Hanoi, there were two brothers. The elder one slaughter nearly all of his sister’s family, including the sister and her children, to obtain the land. The author, not determine if the story is right or wrong, explains that the loss of collective unconsciousness have made the Viet no longer be united and families shattered without reasons.

In terms of childhood education, the Jewish have their sons and daughters learned the Bible by heart. They have already known the legend of Adam and Eve is just a symbolic story; what they do is to guide their descendants to correctly understand the meaning of the myth which does not need the in-depth analysis of literateurs, philoshophers or scientists. For kids, they still believe the above story is real and their people are supreme. When they grow up, they will know Adam and Eve is only metaphysical. The big mistake of education in both the North and the South is that educators force children to obtain knowledge at a very early stage. The Jews teach their children to first learn by heart (in primary school), then analyze (in secondary school) and create last (in higher education). In modern days, the Viet could still accept the legend of Au Co. There is no problem with that. Vietnamese educators ask children to analyze. They do not have enough knowledge to analyze. Teachers in primary schools love to give their young students difficult math exercises. As a result, Vietnamese students from primary school to high school are better than that of in the U.S. or even in Israel. However, they lag behind their counterparts when they reach higher education. If these Viet students become politicians, they will enact controversial policies, a result of having lost the collective unconsciousness.

The purpose of the compilation of the book “TìmhiểuvềTháiBình minh triết’ of the Vietnamese Pen Association’s writers is to help people who lost their collective unconsciousness to again find the origin of the Vietnamese. Humorously speaking, to help the children of Au Co find the way back to her. At the Vietnamese Pen Association, many are scientists, music lecturers, postdoctoral researchers of computer science, and they put their jobs aside to complete the book. This is a chance of a lifetime which should not be let slip away.

District 7, Saigon, September 1st, 2021

Ton Phi and Dang Thi Nguyet Anh.

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