The Laotian Times brings our readers an updated list of some of the most shared topics this past week, based on reach and engagement on Facebook.
Sticky Rice Scandal
Following two atrocious mass shootings in Thailand, a delirious Thai woman took to Twitter to express scandalously racist views on the possible cause of the murders. The woman falsely argued that since the recent shooters in Lopburi and Nakhon Ratchasima (both in northeastern Thailand, an area known as Issan) had two things in common: that they were both soldiers who loved guns and that they loved to eat sticky rice. She concluded by saying that the people that love to eat sticky rice are Lao. In many segments of Thai society, the term “Lao” is used pejoratively to refer to someone who is low-class, reflecting socio-economic class and cultural dynamics between the more affluent Thai of Bangkok and other traditionally Siamese-based provinces and the poorer northeastern Issan region of Thailand, that is historically and culturally closer to Laos.
Social media on both sides of the Mekong River erupted in furor as the spark of racial hatred was ignited, prompting a famous Lao celebrity popular in Thailand, Apple Miniberry, to launch a vitriolic response against the obscure Thai woman. Many members of the Thai media also stood by all those who ate sticky rice and strongly rejected these racially charged statements, which unsurprisingly had a few but noticeable subscribers.
Nevertheless, an overwhelming number of Thais (even many non-Issan Thais) showed solidarity with all who loved sticky rice as evidenced by the hashtag #saveເຂົ້າໜຽວ (save sticky rice) trending number 1 on Twitter Thailand for a long period of time.
Danger on Tortuous Phou km9
A driver is in critical condition after his large transport truck had lost control and rolled over while navigating on Phou Km9. This happened only several hours after a pick-up truck had also met with the same fate, testifying to the danger of the tortuous roads surrounding the mountains.
Police Crackdown On Prostitution In Vientiane
From Jan 29-Feb 8, Vientiane police cracked down on several restaurants and bars acting as fronts for prostitution rings: two establishments in Xaysettha district, two in Xaythany district, and one in Sisattanak district. A total of five restaurant owners have been arrested and fifteen suspected prostitutes are currently being investigated.
Prostition is currently illegal in Laos.
During a rehearsal for the annual elephant festival in Sayaboury, an elephant startled both spectators and trainers when it became aggravated and tried to mount another elephant. It is suspected that the elephant was in sexual heat. No casualties have been reported so far.
Road Tax 2020 Reminder
Vehicle owners are urged to pay the 2020 Road Tax or face a penalty. Those who have not yet paid the 2018 tax will be fined 60% of the value, and a 40% fine will be imposed on those who haven’t paid the 2019 tax. The road tax can be paid at various banks including BCEL, with digital solutions that make it more convenient for motorists.
While everyone agreed that road taxes should be paid, many on social media decried the state of many of the public roads and wondered whether the taxes were being used judiciously.
Lucky Lady and the Lottery
A lady by with the FB profile R Muay Soukdakhom Muay (nicknamed Honey) managed to win not one but two lottery draws from the Lao Digital Lottery (LAK 300,000,000) and the Sokxay Modern Lottery (LAK 930,000,000).
Many social media users articulated their suspicion, arguing that the fact that the woman won two different lottery draws on the same day was evidence of foul play or that it was just a marketing scam.
Thief Sentenced to Electrocution
A man from Luang Namtha is in critical condition after he had been electrocuted by an electrical wire he tried to steal (for reselling).
A seemingly clueless driver drove through the central island structure around the That Luang roundabout.