November 26, 2014

Ambulance Volunteers Save Lives in Vientiane

Volunteers save lives in Vientiane, Laos, where road toll is among world's worst
By Anne Barker, ABC (Australia), November 24, 2014

Photo Credit:  Anne Barker.  Sebastien Perret and Vientiane Rescue volunteers try to extract a young driver trapped and injured in a smashed truck.
Photo Credit:  Anne Barker.  Sebastien Perret and Vientiane Rescue volunteers try to extract a young driver trapped and injured in a smashed truck.

Vientiane has been dubbed the most relaxed capital in the world, with its wide boulevards, low-rise buildings, and sleepy, colonial charm.

But come nightfall the streets in this laid-back city become extremely dangerous and lawless.

Speed limits in Laos are rarely enforced. There's not a single red-light camera, no roadside breath units, and underage and unlicensed driving is rife.

November 18, 2014

The Genie in the Light Bulb

Title:  The Genie in the Light Bulb
Publisher/Year/Format:  CineFete, 2012, DVD
Directors:  Martin Meissonnier and Pascal Signolet
Length:  51 minutes
Publisher's Link:

DVD front cover image of The Genie in the Light BulbI found an English copy of this DVD at my local library recently and borrowed it (Note: There's also a French version).  What a good find!  Yet another reason why I love my public library.

About the documentary film: 

Essentially, the film makers follow the NGO Energy Without Borders on their project to bring electricity to a small, northern, remote village of Hat Hin in Phongsaly, Laos.  Not only is the process of it all profiled but also the villagers themselves and how electricity changes their lives.  Sprinkled in all that is a bit of village drama, the highs and lows.

November 17, 2014

November 12, 2014

Lao Word of the Day: To Put On Make-Up

Lao Word of the Day:  To Put On Make-Up - written in Lao and English

Dtaeng na literally means to ready one's face.  In Lao, it has the equivalent meaning of putting on make-up on one's face.

November 10, 2014

So What Exactly is Sticky Rice?

By:  Alison Spiegel, The Huffington Post, 11/04/2014

Sticky rice is one of those great joys of Asian cuisine that people love across the globe, but may not fully understand. What makes it sticky? How does it differ from regular white rice? Where does it come from and is it supposed to be that sticky?

 Photo Credit:  Sivanelle, Flickr

Lao Writer Winner of Sci-Fi Poetry Award

The Science Fiction Poetry Association's Elgin Award 2014 was recently awarded to Lao-American writer, Bryan Thao Worra for his book Demonstra.  In this book he uses Lao mythological creatures to tell stories and messages in poetic form.  The artwork in the book was illustrated by Ms. Vongduane Manivong.  Two very talented people.  One can only assume that with such a paring will make this book an interesting read.

Lao poetry book - Demonstra by Bryan Thao Worra.  Illustrated by Vonguane Manivong.

The book is on sale now.  See links below.

November 06, 2014

Lao Artist Profile: Ms. Vongduane Manivong

Ms. Vongduane Manivong, a Lao artist who immigrated to America in 1987, is based out of Dallas, Texas.  Self-described as a visual artist, her work ranges from portraits to abstract styles.  As well, she works with varying materials such as oil paints, pastels, and pencils.  What strikes the viewer at first glance of seeing her artwork is the detail.  Here are some selected examples...

November 03, 2014

Caring for the Beyond - Two Lao Buddhist Festivals for the Deceased

A documentary film from 2007 about the two festivals in Laos that are related to paying homage to the dead.  The two festivals are boon haw kow padapdin (ບຸນຫໍ່ເຂົ້າປະດັບດິນ) and boon haw kow salak (ບຸນຫໍ່ເຂົ້າສະຫລາກ).  Both festivals are a bit difficult to translate into English.  The first one roughly translates into "wrap rice/food, place on ground" and the second one as "wrap rice/food, with ticket".  Indeed, it sounds odd but once it's explained, you'll understand.  Watching the video will help.  Have a look.

It's in English and Lao.  It was created by Patrice Ladwig and Gregory Kourilsky, along with production company Lao Art Media, for a University of Bristol research project.