February 29, 2016

Small, Efficient Rice Combine Harvesting Machine in Ban Keun

Laos is very new to utilizing mechanized methods of rice cultivation.  While there may be a tiller tractor or a water buffalo to assist with tilling the land, most farms still employ manual labor and people power to do the sowing, harvesting, hulling and packing of the rice. 

In this video watch as this Kubota DC-68G combine machine make light work of harvesting rice on a field in Ban Keun, Laos.

February 26, 2016

Book: Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China

Title:  Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China
Edited by:  Paul Williams and Patrice Ladwig
Publisher / Year:  Cambridge University Press, 2012
ISBN:  9781107667877
This book is a wonderful analysis of what happens after death and the rituals and practices that take place.  Further, since it covers southeast Asia and China, it provides the reader a wonderful resource for comparative analysis between varying cultures.

In Asia there are many ethnic groups within any single country and each of them handle funeral rites differently.  Sometimes those differences are vast and some of them only slightly.  Laos is no exception to this. 

Two of the chapters are dedicated to Laos, noted below.

February 24, 2016

Laos - Land of Sticky Rice and Khaen

This documentary film goes through many aspects of rice in Laos.  It discusses rice statistics, gene preservation, cultivation by manual and new mechanized methods.  And towards the end of the video it also talks about the festivals that have a connection to rice.  It's very interesting and educational short documentary.  In English, 20 minutes.

Credits:  Narrated by Peter Semone.  
Produced for the Lao National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI). 

Lao Word of the Day: Qualification / ຄຸນວຸດທີ

Lao Word of the Day:  Qualification - written in Lao and English

February 22, 2016

Nithaya Fashion From 2013

Just remembering some of Nithaya's take on Lao women's clothing which he brought to Paris, France, back in 2013.  His interpretation and remaking of the pa seen combined Lao fashion and fabrics with that of Western tailoring.

Nithaya Fashion From 2013
Photo Credit: Nithaya Fashion 2013.

Beautiful Temple in Vangvieng

Beautiful Temple in Vangvieng
This beautiful temple sits among tall trees and mountains in the quaint little town of Vangvieng, Laos.

February 18, 2016

City of Luangprabang and its Countryside by Air

In this drone video, flyover not just downtown Luangprabang but also its beautiful countryside, river and villages.

Video Credit:  Youtube user seearch.

February 17, 2016

Is Laos Moving Away From China With Its Leadership Transition?

By Fanny Potkin, The Diplomat (US), February 03, 2016

Laos’ Communist Party elected Vice President Bounnhang Vorachit to be its next leader last week, after a vote by the newly formed 10th Party Central Committee.

State media announced on Friday that the congress of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, which is held every five years, had selected a new central committee and politburo to lead the country. The 78-year-old Bounnhang is replacing Choummaly Sayasone, 79, as secretary-general and president; Choummaly is stepping down after almost a decade in power.

February 13, 2016

Ever Hear of This Festival?

It's called the Dok Nieaw (Kapok Flower) Festival that takes place in Bokeo province, Laos.  Watch the video to learn more...

Video Credit:  LaoNewsTV (February 2 2016)

February 12, 2016

Leadership Changes and Upcoming Obama Visit Give U.S. New Opportunities in Laos

By:  Murray Hiebert, The Center for Strategic and International Studies (USA), February 4, 2016

Leadership changes announced at a recently completed congress of the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and President Barack Obama’s planned visit to Vientiane in September, the first ever to Laos by a sitting U.S. president, give Washington an important opportunity to boost ties with this landlocked nation of less than 7 million people along China’s southern flank.

The first high-level U.S. engagement with Laos this year will take place in Rancho Mirage, California, on February 15-16, when Obama and Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong will jointly chair a summit discussion between Southeast Asian and U.S. heads of state. Laos is the ASEAN chair for 2016.

Kerry Says Laos Keen to Avoid Militarization of South China Sea

By:  David Brunnstrom, Reuters, January 25, 2016

Photo Credit:  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry tours the 
That Luang Stupa or ''Pha That Luang,'' with Phouvieng Phothisane, 
Acting Director of the Vientiane Museums, and Tata Keovilay, 
with the U.S. Embassy, in Vientiane, Laos.  REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool.

Laos wants to see maritime rights respected and avoid a military build-up in the South China Sea, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday, after a meeting with Laos' Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong to urge ASEAN unity in the face of Chinese claims.

Laos is the 2016 chair of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and hosts a summit later in the year that will include the leaders of the United States and China.

"He was very clear he wants a unified ASEAN and he wants maritime rights protected, and he wants to avoid militarization and to avoid conflict," Kerry told reporters after meeting Thongsing in Vientiane, the capital of Laos.

February 11, 2016

More Lao Students Study Business Administration

By: Vientiane Times, February 9, 2016

Business administration and law are the most popular subjects chosen by Lao students to further their studies abroad, according to the Ministry of Education and Sports.

The ministry unveiled its latest survey in regards to which subjects Lao students chose to study overseas, through both scholarships and their own funding.

The 11th Lao Food Festival

Video Credit:  LaoNewsTV (January 28 2016)

February 08, 2016

What Happens When You Take Girls’ Education in Laos Beyond the Classroom?

By:  Room To Read, January 27 2016

Photo Credit:  Room To Read

Vilayvone was sure she would never get into college. Her mother and father, a retired soldier, ran a small farm in a rural part of Laos to raise their seven children. Despite everyone waking before dawn to work on the farm, the family always lacked for food and money. “My siblings and I tried to find ways to continue our studies and reduce our parents’ burden,” said Vilayvone, who also sold lottery tickets in the evenings after school to bring in income.

February 04, 2016

Sabaidee Muong Lao: Bylan Paper and Lacquerware

ສະບາຍດີເມືອງລາວ ການອະນຸລັກຫນັງສືໃບລານແລະຊ້ານໍ້າຫມາກກ້ຽງແຂວງຫລວງພະບາງ
LaoStar Channel's Sabaidee Muong Lao visits makers of bylan paper manuscripts and a decorative lacquer ware bowls studio, in Luangprabang.  Video clip is in Lao language.

Video Credit:  LaoStar Channel

February 01, 2016

Different Mortar and Pestles Used in Laos / ເຄື່ອງຕຳເຂົ້າ

The mortar and pestle have a long history in Lao cooking.

Different Mortar and Pestles Used in Laos / ເຄື່ອງຕຳເຂົ້າ
Image Credit:  All drawings excluding center top were borrowed from old Lao stamps.  Name of the artist is not known and was not published on the stamps.