Officials in Xayaboury Province have reversed a decision urging civil servants to contribute to the cost of a local cultural festival.
Under the original notice issued by Mr. Kongsy Vongsy, the Governor of Pak Lai District, civil servants and military personnel had been instructed to contribute LAK 150,000 each as part of efforts to fund the Phi Khone festival, a colorful local festival held each year in the district.
The original notice stated that contributions had to be made by civil servants because the provincial budget was insufficient. It noted that as the festival would be held at a larger scale this year, funds had to be sourced from elsewhere.
However, a massive backlash on social media ensued, with members of the public questioning the need to fund a festival by taking money from civil servants, who receive famously low wages.
One Facebook user commented on Tholakong’s Facebook post on the notice saying, “If you don’t have the budget, then don’t do the event.”
Another user stated, “Traditional festival or income festival? At the time of our elders, they did not have to use the money to set up these festivals, yet they still had it.”
Just two days after issuing the notice, the governor put out a new notice recalling the decision to collect funds from government employees and military personnel.
Phi Tha Khon Festival also referred to as the dancing with the ghost festival, is an annual celebration held in Xayaboury, sometime in March or April.
The festival spans a period of three days, with the dates being chosen by the district’s elders each year.