Chôn nhau (rau) cắt rốn

Buried placenta, cut umbilical cord.

The meaning is referring to someone’s hometown, i.e., the place where he/she was born. It is a variant of “Nơi chôn nhau cắt rốn / Place where placenta was buried and umbilical cord was cut.” In the past, when a child was born, the placenta was buried in the ground near the home to memorialize the new addition to the family as well as mark the child’s place of birth.

A hành ác nghiệt.

Imitating others to do evil.

The meaning is 1) criticizing someone for imitating others in doing evil, which is equivalent to “Fall in/Hang out with the wrong crowd” and “Keeping bad company” or 2) criticizing someone for treating lower rank people poorly, which is similar in concept to “Crap rolls downhill.”

Ả Tạ nàng Ban

Xie Daoyun and Ban Zhao.

The meaning is describing intelligent and knowledgeable women by comparing them to Xie Daoyuan (Tạ Đạo Uẩn) and Ban Zhao (Ban Chiêu), famous female scholars. Daoyun is a famous poet, writer, scholar, and debater of the Jin Dynasty. Her brother is general Xie Xuan and her uncle is prime minister Xie An. Zhao is a historian, famous philosopher, and politician of the Han Dynasty. She completed her late brother Ban Gu’s Book of Han and wrote Lessons for Women.