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Monday, July 15, 2024

Teddy Bear Monk, Dry Rivers, Garbage Galore – This Week In Lao Social Media

This Week

The Laotian Times brings our readers a round-up of some of the most shared topics this past week, based on reach and engagement on Facebook.

Dry River

According to this post last Sunday, the Nan River (Luang Prabang) has lost a significant amount of water. Resident villagers took the opportunity to use the dry area where the river used to be as the location of a wedding reception! Some observers conjectured that the drought may have been caused by an environmentally-unconscious upstream banana plantation whose logging activities may have led to the drying up of the river.


Here is the same above mentioned river in October of 2019.

Drunk Driver

A driver under the influence of alcohol lost control of his car, which flipped repeatedly and crashed into a house near the street. The driver is gravely injured. There are no known casualties reported from within the house. The incident happened in Pong Village (Huaphanh).


Khaen By The River

Famous Khean Champion Khamphan Meuansitthida took to social media to spread his love of and skills with the beloved bamboo instrument. Playing lamlongkhong, the musician’s performance was appreciated by people of all ages.


Egregious Parking Fee

A 30,000 kip parking fee was levied on vehicles at the car park near the annual Naxaithong Flea Market Festival 2020. Some commenters complained that the fee for motorcycles was astonishingly high at 10,000 kip.


Beautiful Thalath

Have you ever been to Thalath? It’s a lush, verdant, and relaxing area in Keoudom District, Vientiane Province.


Views at the Phoukhoun Strawberry Farm

Incredible pictures of the famous Phoukhoun Strawberry Farm in Luang Prabang started to circulate wildly on social media. More details of the visitor attraction can be found here.

Volunteers Clean Up After Wat Phou

Every year, a band of environmentally conscious volunteers takes it upon themselves to clean up after the festivities at the Wat Phou Festival had finished. Observers lamented the unfortunate situation and wished that next year’s festival would see a more structured and less volunteer-dependent response to the garbage situation.

The Monk and the Large Teddy Bear

Pictures of a Buddhist novitiate seen holding a huge pink teddy bear in a phone shop and on a motorbike incited mixed reactions from social media. At first, people criticized the monk for violating the sacred oath of the monkhood (to renounce worldly pleasures and human indulgences), believing he had purchased the bear for a special someone on Valentine’s Day. Others defended him for perhaps wanting to give the teddy bear to his sister or mother on this international day of love. However, it turned out that he had bought a new phone and had been given the teddy bear for free. The mobile phone shop had apparently been offering a “buy one phone, get one huge pink teddy bear for free” deal. Surprisingly, no one complained about the fact that he had purchased a phone.

Why is that? Is the phone not a worldly pleasure that Buddhist monks are required to shun? In practice, mobile phones have become essential for modern communication within the Buddhist organization, for both mundane administrative purposes and religious activities. Many temples tolerate the use of mobile phones, for various reasons including contact with lay members of their families who sent them to study or undergo temporary ordainment. Moreover, the mobile phone is a common substitute for a laptop, which is incredibly useful as a learning tool.


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