The Laotian Times brings our readers a round-up of some of the hottest and most shared topics during the recent weeks, based on reach and engagement on Facebook. From ridiculous car-jacking during the That Luang festivities to entertaining and heartwarming celebrity singers, this list gives an idea of the types of content that seem to be wildly share-worthy on Lao social media.
Tales from the That Luang Festival
Videos and photographs of the Boun That Luang, or That Luang Festival, surfaced on Facebook Pages starting on the 11th of November. Among them was this footage of the wax castle procession taken by an amateur videographer on the ground.
In the air, spectacular, rare aerial drone shots from the Cinema Department (Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism) were taken during the That Luang Festival showed an impressive turnout for the early morning religious festivities.
Wacky Wedding Season!
October marked the end of Buddhist Lent, which means that Lao couples are looking to get married. To usher in the wedding season, famous Lao celebrities Jear Pacific, Thongdy EasySpeak and Kinoi Laostar teamed up for a catchy music video entitled “Dong” (literally, wedding). The song satirizes the Lao cultural practice of giving money in envelopes to the newlyweds when attending a wedding.
In the arena of haute couture, digital audiences conveyed their praise to a gorgeous bride-to-be dressed in a fashionable modern interpretation of the traditional lowland Lao wedding dress spliced with ethnic Khmu designs.
One newlywed couple decided to organize a beautiful performance of ethnic tribal life at the Keomixay Convention Hall during their auspicious occasion.
Another wedding featured a glorious Lam Saravan dance in which wedding partygoers were dressed in a mixture of various traditional ethnic costumes.
Counterfeit Cash, Safecracking and Carjacking
In more serious news, a warning dated 14 Nov from a concerned citizen tells of counterfeit 50,000 kip notes circulating profusely in a market in Vang Vieng. According to the post, the note on the left (in the picture with two notes being compared) is fake.
Counterfeiters appear to operate anywhere and anytime and robbers are the same way. This next post shows the aftermath of a robbery – indicating the sophistication of thieves nowadays. On the morning of 8 Nov, it was reported that thieves broke into a company office in Chommany Tai (Saysettha District, Vientiane Capital), by breaking through the windows and compromising two safes with steel-cutting apparatuses. The thieves got away with valuable items and cash amounting to over US $7,000. The public is urged to exercise extra caution.
Another clip that has gone viral is this next one of a carjacking taking place in the middle of a crowded traffic area on the main road to That Luang. Watch as a vigilante passerby and bystanders try to stop the car thief by unsuccessfully obstructing the car with various large items. It is not known whether the car (license plate: ກດ 0090) was recovered.
Criminals are not the only perpetrators of crime these days. Party balloons can be just as dangerous. While many people were enjoying throwing darts at them in exchange for prizes at the That Luang Festival, these balloons were exploding near a woman’s face at a nearby bachelorette party. The woman depicted here was severely injured by several balloons that burst after they had gotten too close to a hot lamp. Questionable, low-quality gases that were used to inflate the balloons were suspected to have been the cause of the harmful explosion that caused visible injuries to the woman.
On a more uplifting note, Phone Philavai (ພອນ ພິລາໄວ), a young girl from Southern Savannakhet, innocently sang the song “Nung Kod Kok Pao” (meaning sitting and hugging a tree) in acapella style and uploaded it to her Facebook account. Moments later, the Lao internet went wild. Scores of musicians and studios added music to her acapella video and variations of the new and improved music video have circulated digitally far and wide.
The song is aptly about a girl sitting and hugging a tree while expressing deep affection for her male lover. Phone’s song has inspired thousands of young men (and women) to casually post love comments and produce songs addressed to her, making Phone an instant social media sensation. Since then, she has been continuously launching new acapella solos, ending her videos with her famous signature, “my internet data is running out!”
And lastly, in the most inspiring of tales, a team of Thai doctors refused to let a sick Lao patient return home to die because the latter did not have enough money to pay for treatment. According to Channel 7 News Thailand, the 44-year-old Lao man, had only 200 Thai baht on him, had several small children, and was being treated in Thailand for a type of blood infection. After deliberating the case amongst each other in a chat group, the Thai doctors from multiple hospitals decided to undergo a 12-hour medical procedure in which they successfully treated the Lao man. They then raised the money, which would help pay for a half-month on-going treatment plan amounting to over 100,000 baht (3300 USD).