Viral Post Sparks Storm Over Shutdown of Undergarment Stall in Vientiane

Viral Post Sparks Storm Over Shutdown of Undergarment Stall in Vientiane
Latdavanh's garment shop (photo: Lathdavan Em Noy)

Social media in Laos is buzzing with disbelief and criticism following a viral Facebook post by a shopkeeper detailing how authorities had ceased her from selling undergarments.

The post by “Lathdavanh Em Noy,” who owns a garment shop in Chao Anouvong park, ignited a debate over the reason behind the government’s decision. Much to the owner’s confusion, Lathdavanh also doubted whether other businesses elsewhere had met the same treatment as her.

“Can somebody explain to me how selling underwear goes against the authenticity of Laos’ tradition and culture,” she wrote. 

Lathdavanh’s post, in which she describes her frustration with her shop getting shutdown

Lathdavanh, questioning the forbiddance, citing tradition and culture as the authorities’ justification, emphasized her basic need to earn a living and revealed that the officials’ order was very sudden. Her post quickly gained traction, with many expressing solidarity and condemning this particular case of ban as “nonsensical.”

One Facebook user commented  “The prohibition would make more sense if the shop owner was selling near the temple.”

Others suggested that the authorities could have handled the situation differently. “The authorities could have come up with a better reason instead of saying it’s not culturally authentic. They could’ve told the shop owners to keep the undergarments behind the shop where people wouldn’t see.”

Despite the uproar, there has been no official statement from the government regarding the said prohibition on underwear sales.

The controversy highlights the growing role of social media in holding authorities accountable and facilitating public discourse.

As discussions continue online, there are calls for a more transparent and reasonable approach from the government when implementing regulations that impact people’s livelihoods.