October 09, 2012

LLR (journal): ວິທະຍາສານມໍລະດົກລ້ານຊ້າງ / Lanexang Heritage Journal

Title:  ວິທະຍາສານມໍລະດົກລ້ານຊ້າງ / Lanexang Heritage Journal
Created by:  Institute for Cultural Research (sataban konkua vutanatum), Ministry of Information and Culture
Publisher/Year:  Noom Lao Publishing (peemtee hongpeem noom lao), Late 1990s - Early2000s

Does anyone else remember this journal?  It was created by the Cultural Research Institute at the Ministry of Information and Culture in Laos in the late 1990s, early 2000s.  It was written in Lao and English with a few articles in French.  I loved it!  Unfortunately there were only a few editions ever printed - I'm guessing 6 editions at the moment (4th ed. in 1997, 5th ed. in 2001, 6th ed. in 2005).  There could be more since then.  If anyone knows, please comment below.

It contained a variety of research articles by mostly Lao researchers with topics ranging on history, language, music, ethnic groups, and much more.

Side Story to Share:

I bought a copy of this book and brought it with me on my search to find more editions.  I even forget where I got this copy from.  But I believe it was at one of the Lao bookstores/stalls in the morning market.  I was able to peruse some additional editions at the Lao National Library as well.  As the story continues, I was in search of finding more editions to buy.

Back in 2004, when I was in Vientiane in my eagerness to find more copies of this journal, I actually visited the Ministry and was randomly asking people where I could find the institute that published it.  This was poor judgement on my part - inviting myself into the ministry unannounced.  But I was fortunate that people were quite patient with me.  Security let me through.  And then once I got in, I was able to find someone who could direct me to where the institute was.  One gentleman did refer me to where the institute was located.  I never did get his name.  And I inadvertently interrupted his meeting with 2 other people too.  We were both polite and cordial but it was clear he didn't want me there, and understandably so!  I don't blame him at all.

I got back on my motorcycle and went on to find it.  I also called ahead of time too this time.  I did find it after having passed the institute's building 3 times before realizing that was the building I was looking for.  You'll understand my confusion if I tell you there were no apparent signs from the main street of which direction the institute was in.  The institute itself was very unassuming single level, brown, long buildings.  On one side was the long building of the institute.  And on another side a smaller building that had a sign referring to film archives.  As I was driving up the building I saw a lady but once I got to the main area, she was gone. 

I went into what appeared to be the main reception area where I was met by a lady secretary.  This was the lady who had been standing outside as I had arrived.  She admitted she had been watching me drive by on my motorcycle.  Of course in this case, I had called in advanced to ask about the journal so I suspect she was the one I had spoken to beforehand.

I asked her if she knew of this journal and showed it to her.  She said she knew it but that they no longer had any copies to sell.  She grabbed some keys and we went into another room.  It appeared as though she were checking some drawers for some copies.  At this point, I also asked if she knew where I could buy some and unfortunately she did not.  I asked if they had any archived copies I could photocopy, again she said she did not have.  She was quite friendly although I ended up leaving empty handed unfortunately.

- Story submitted by VM

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