Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Nature Documentary - Laos Wonderland

This is a wonderful video documentary, a part of a larger series.  This particular episode is on Laos with a focus on nature and wildlife.

Learn about animals and rare species in this wonderfully educational video that combines both cultural and environmental information on Laos.  Have a look!

ORF Universum Documentaries, season 1, episode 24 entitled Laos Wonderland.  It originally aired back in 2005. 


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sending Money to Laos? The Unofficial Money That Flows Into Laos

Image of Lao money, currency, current big billsWho's sending the money?  Indeed, there is a lot of money going into Laos and this is not in reference to (formal) foreign direct investment and official development aid.  Rather, it is strictly money that is being transferred on a personal level and person-to-person basis.  Often times it is Lao expatriates sending money to family, relatives, and close friends.  However, there is also another common scenario in recent years.  There is an additional category of those who send money to Laos who are often overlooked or not mentioned.  Specifically, they are the growing number of non-Lao foreigners who have created close connections and friendships while on their visit to Laos.  For example, it has been observed where foreigners were sending money to pay for schooling for young monks they had met and had became friends with.  In other instances, there are men sending money to support someone they had fallen in love with and in some cases where they fathered a child.  In addition, there are also those who personally create a new (and sometimes unofficial) charitable organization in support of helping those in Laos.  In those cases, they initially start as unofficial charitable organizations especially if their organization is small or has limited resources.  Their contributions are often overlooked when summing up development aid.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Book Review: Portraits of 1957 Laos

Title:  ​ປະ​ເທດ​ລາວ 1957 / Portraits of 1957 Laos
Written and Photographed by:  Joel Martin Halpern
Translated By:  Lathsavong Syluanglath
Publisher/Year:  Big Brother Mouse, 2010
Publishing Sponsors:  Lyle and Agnes Schaller

Book Review:  Portraits of 1957 Laos by Joel Martin Halpern - cover


Monday, April 14, 2014

LNY 2557 - April 16 - First Day of the New Year - ​ວັນ​ສັງ​ຂານ​ຂື້ນ​ປີ​ໃໝ່​ລາວ

Perhaps if we greet her like a lady hopefully she'll treat us well for the rest of the year! :p 
Hello New Year, you never looked so beautiful! 

To everyone else:  We can officially say Happy Lao New Year to you now.  Sabaidee and sokdee bpee mai to everyone!  Best wishes to everyone in the new year and we hope you keep visiting our site.  We'll be taking a little break from posting so we'll see you in about a week.

LNY 2557 - April 15 - Corollary day - ​ວັນ​ເນົາ

Boy I hate saying "corollary".  Anyhoo, it is the one day that does not belong to either the old or new year.  It stands alone and it is essentially new year's eve.

LNY 2557 - April 14 - Final Day of the Year - ​ວັນ​ສັງ​ຂານ​ລ​ວ່ງ

Goodbyes are never easy but I always look forward to the new year, I really do!  So it's time to say good bye to 2556.  We'll see what's in store for 2557!  (Do I hear the lotto bell ringing??? :p)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

LNY 2557 - Childish Inspirations

The inspiration for this year's LNY cover picture was that I wanted to create something fun and colorful.  I also wanted it to be kid friendly (may be all those Lao kids books I've been reviewing is having an affect on me?).

I must admit that secretly I also wanted to create something that I could later print out to use as a card for when I give some gift money to my nieces and nephew.  So I killed multiple birds with one stone in completing this. :)

FYI:  We always post the LNY cover pic on April 1st to remind people and also because different Lao communities around the world might begin celebrating early.

Friday, April 11, 2014

LNY 2557 - Reminiscing About Our Rebirth

A particular interesting thing about Lao New Year for our website is that it was 2 LNYs ago that we restarted the website after leaving it un-updated and dormant for a few years.  It was also at that time that we did away with the old site and had it reborn as a blog (hosted on Blogger) - that was LNY 2555.

FYI:  The official anniversary date of Laoconnection.com is August 1 1998.  That's a lot of years ago!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

LNY 2557 - Calculate it

Buddhist year 2557 = 2014 CE.  The calendar begins from Buddha's death in the year 543 BCE.  Although the year of his death is sometimes contested, this is the common accepted year among Theravadan Buddhists.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

LNY 2557 - Goodbye to the blahs...

Whatever unfortunate issues you may have had with someone in the previous year, remind yourself it's better to let the issue go (I mean you can always forgive but you don't have to forget! ;) and to start the new year with positive energy.  It sounds cliché but in fact many of the activities during Lao New Year, in many ways reinforce the ideas behind positive blessings, fun and togetherness.

And while we don't have new year's resolutions in Lao culture, one promise you can keep for yourself is to start the new year on a positive note.  So say goodbye to the blahs of the previous year.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

LNY 2557 - Lao New Year...it ain't only Lao!

Lao New Year really should be called Theravada Buddhist New Year as it shares the same date of celebration of those in Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Sri Lanka, among several others.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

LNY 2557 - It's all about togetherness (and sometimes gifts!)

When it comes down to it, the Lao New Year is about community, family and friends.  Take this time to spend quality time with those close to you.  Invite them over or go over and visit them.  Also consider giving a momento or practical gift to commemorate the new year.  Also don't forget to visit the temple and go to the Lao community party.

Friday, April 4, 2014

LNY 2557 - I'll shoot you! (...with my water gun that is. :)

It's a blessing, didn't you know!?!  The Lao New Year also includes the Water Throwing Festival (boon hoht nam).  People will literally be drenching you with water from buckets to water guns to cups.  It's the one time of the year where it's ok to do this even to a complete stranger so beware!

Traditionally, the act of hoht nam is considered a blessing to the person you're getting all wet and a symbolic gesture for them to wash away all the bad things in their lives and to invite only good things in the new year.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

LNY 2557 - Buddhas Arise!

It's that time of the year to get all your Buddha statues, amulets and pictures out.  Clean them up and place them together, and have a nice decorative bowl ready.  It'll be used as your home altar along with holy/blessed water you'll get from the temple.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

100 Likes on Facebook!

Did anyone else notice we've reached 100 likes on FB!?!?! :)

LNY 2557 - Clean That House!

Spring cleaning is Lao New Year cleaning time too. Re-arrange furniture, donate old stuff you no longer use, clean and dust places in your home you haven't done in ages.  Not only will you be getting a new start in the new year but so will your home.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy Lao New Year 2557! (April 14-16 2014)

April is a very special time in the Lao Calendar, as you might already know.  Of course it's for Lao New Year! Here's our new graphic to get us started. 2 week countdown to Lao New Year starts today...and yes we're wishing you a happy Lao New Year a bit early! :)

Happy Lao New Year 2557! (April 14-16 2014)

Lao Telecom 2014 Calendar - Ms. April/May/June

Lao Telecom 2014 Calendar - Ms. April/May/June