In Vietnamese Water Puppetry Theatre, there’s a special puppet called Tễu. He represents a young friendly boy, strong and ironic, and he usually introduces the puppets shows. The following is the English translation of a typical Tễu‘s prologue:
“In the old days I dwelt in a magical herb-garden called Vong and later was named Tễu by the wood-carver’s guild. It so happens now that I have come to this festival and shall show all my humble skills and youths to compete with others.
Those who do not know me will perhaps think I am only here to be funny. My part is hilarious but by no means impertinent.
With regard to puppetry, I am the forerunner, to be followed by my fellow characters.
Let us enjoy ourselves together! And in enjoying ourselves, we chase after satisfaction and ignore entirely matters of money and property.
East or West, home is best!”
Speech from Nguyen Huy Hong’s Vietnamese Traditional Water Puppetry, published by The Gioi Publishers, Ha Noi, 2010.