January 28, 2016

Laos' sleepy capital awakens to a construction boom

By:  Simon Roughneen, Nikkei Asian Review, January 21 2016

VIENTIANE   The capital of Laos is a low-rise, low-key city, especially when compared with the hulking high-rises and bustling streets of better-known Southeast Asian cities such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Photo Credit:  Simon Roughneed, via Nikkei Asian Review.

But this once-sleepy city is fast shedding its sedate reputation due to a building boom ahead of international summits that will bring U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping and a host of other world leaders to visit in 2016.

January 22, 2016

Laos Picks New Communist Party Leaders as Top Bosses Exit

By:  Martin Petty in Hanoi, additional reporting by My Pham, Reuters, January 22 2016

Laos's Communist Party chose veteran Bounnhang Vorachit to be its new leader on Friday and elected a new 11-member politburo at the end of a five-yearly congress that saw the exits of several high-profile politicians.

Bounnhang, the current vice president, won the leadership vote and five new faces joined the elite politburo as outgoing party chief and president, Choummaly Sayasone, Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and two deputy premiers made way.

January 21, 2016

Vientiane: Best Chinese Food Outside of China

By:  Adam Hodge, CNN,  January 9, 2014.

 Photo Credit:  Adam Hodge

Chinese businessmen taking advantage of Laos' development boom are fueling demand for great, authentic regional cuisine.

January 19, 2016

YouTube Star BubzBeauty Visits Two Schools In Laos Built Through Pencils Of Promise Charity Campaign

By: Bree Brouwer, Tubefilter.com, January 14, 2016

YouTube Star BubzBeauty Visits Two Schools In Laos Built Through Pencils Of Promise Charity Campaign

Lindy Tsang (aka BubzBeauty) just came back from a very special trip to Asia. The beauty and lifestyle YouTube star visited the country of Laos to dedicate the two schools she helped fund through a charity campaign for non-profit education organization Pencils of Promise.

January 18, 2016

Remittances for Laos as of 2014

The numbers are fascinating.  Consider that:

world image of currency and money
  • In 2012 Laos received its highest amount of remittances from abroad at USD$117M.  However as of 2014, it stands at just under USD$60M.  
  • For 2014, Thailand and USA sent the most remittances into Laos, at almost USD$40M and USD$12M, respectively.  
  • Bangladesh made 3rd place having sent USD$3M into Laos.  
  • Interestingly enough, Vietnam and China are the top 2 highest recipients of Lao remittances into their countries, taking in almost USD$34M and USD$16M, each.
What makes this money unofficial is that it is generally not a part of official development aid (ODA) or foreign direct investment (FDI) figures.  Rather, remittances sent and received are generally considered more of a personal nature.

January 13, 2016

The Last Lingua Franca

Title:  The Last Lingua Franca - English Until the Return of Babel
By:  Nicholas Ostler
Publisher, Year:  Walker Publisher, 2010
ISBN:  9780802717719

Reading the title of this book you might be wondering why I'm writing about it here and how it relates to Lao stuff.  It's because in Chapter 6, entitled God's Own Language, there's a subsection within this chapter on pages 146-159 that talks about Pali and how it spread in southern India, Sri Lanka and the rest of Asia.  While it doesn't discuss Lao language specifically, it does indirectly relate to Lao because Pali is the written language precursor to modern day written Lao.  Pali spread to Laos when Theravada Buddhism was brought in as well.  The language of the Buddhist texts at that time were in Pali.

January 11, 2016

Recognize These Old Stamps?

They were illustrated by French artist Marc Leguay, who used his sons (both biological and adoptive, Henri and Poonsavat, respectively) as models while he drew and painted them playing the instruments.
Lao stamps
Photo Credit:  Marc Leguay and Life magazine, November 30, 1959.

January 10, 2016

Miss Laos 2015 Full Contest Coverage

Did you miss the Miss Laos 2015 recently?  She was crowned on November 21 2015 at Donchan Palace in Vientiane. It's been placed on Youtube.  The entire program is in 7 parts.  Here's the first part.

Video Credit:  TVLAO via Youtube user LLs.

Miss Laos 2015 Contestants Intro

Introducing your 2015 Miss Laos contestants.  20 contestants from all across Laos converged at the Donchan Palace Hotel in Vientiane to compete for the title, this past November.

Contestants 1-10
Video Link:  LLs via Youtube

Contestants 11-20
Video Link:  LLs via Youtube

January 09, 2016

LNTV - Lao President of the National Assembly Meets Lao Expats

Recognizing the integral part that Lao expatriates play in Laos' development, the Lao government organized what is likely its first high level meeting with a group of Lao expatriates to discuss how they can continue to help contribute towards development, working and starting businesses in Laos, and so fourth.

Video Credit:  LaoNewsTV, Dec. 2 2015