Tag Archives: development

Japan x Sabai: Sounds, Sights, Tastes, Smiles, Friendship a Feast at Tokyo’s Laos Festival ’19

Laos Festival 2019 Celebrated in Tokyo, Japan May 25-26, 2019

Dancing, Friendship, Frivolity & Unmistakable Sound of World Heritage Listed Bamboo-Piped Khaen Among the Greetings to Tokyo’s Famous Yoyogi Park for Japan’s Laos Festival 2019, The Laotian Times reports.

Wildlife In Sights: Pressures On Iconic Tiger, Elephant Draws Media Attention To Challenges Facing Laos

Tiger & Elephant Populations Under Local, Regional, Global Pressure: Laos biodiversity in the international media spotlight.

With the release of a major UN report on biodiversity loss, the state of and threats to wildlife worldwide and in hotspots like Laos including iconic species like the tiger and elephant draw more international media attention, The Laotian Times reports.

The most comprehensive ever completed, the UN Report IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services found Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’ 

The efforts of one award-winning wildlife defender to shed light on the plight of animals kept at illegal tiger farms posing as zoos in Laos was covered by the Washington Post.

Emaciated Tiger (Washington Post)

Emaciated Tiger (Washington Post)

“They all want hope and happy endings,” The Washington Post quotes Swiss conservationist Ammann as saying of many well-meaning yet naive folk at home and around the world.

“And I don’t see any happy endings. I can’t create fiction from what I see as fact,” 

Alleged Tiger Trader Nikhom Keovised (Washington Post)

Alleged Tiger Trader Nikhom Keovised (Washington Post)

Meanwhile, pachyderms were the focus of coverage by US-based National Public Radio (NPR) ‘A Million Elephants’ No More: Conservationists In Laos Rush To Save An Icon.

“The national government also has a reputation of being supportive of elephant conservation efforts across Laos. Within the last 30 years, catching wild elephants and trading wildlife have been banned. Laws severely restrict the logging industry in its use of elephants. Yet, despite these efforts, “if current trajectories continue there will be no elephants left in Laos by the year 2030,” NPR quoted an article co-written by Chrisantha Pinto, an American biologist at the center, as saying.

Challenges Facing Laos' Wildlife including Iconic Tigers and Elephants (NPR)

Challenges Facing Lao’ Wildlife including Iconic Tigers and Elephants (NPR)

The challenges facing the planet, its plants and animals are real.

What Would Buddha Do?

With a biodiversity hotspot like Laos under pressure from regional and global pressures brought by unsustainable human activity and law-breaking, it’s time to get serious about enforcing the rule of law to protect what natural beauty the country has left for the next generations of our and all species.

Revitalized Role: New United Nations Resident Coordinator Ms Sara Sekkenes Assumes Post in Laos

The United Nations in Lao PDR has a new Resident Coordinator, the most senior UN Official in Laos.

Ms. Sara Sekkenes a national of Norway succeeds Ms. Kaarina Immonen of Finland in the key diplomatic and development role.

Laotian Eye: Faster Times At Pi Mai As Culture, Continuity, Change Collide at Lao New Year

Laotian Eye: Faster Times At Pi Mai As Culture, Continuity, Change Collide

Thailand knows the time of year as Songkran. Cambodia has Chol Chnam Thmey. Myanmar marks the occasion with Thingyan. In Laos, Boun Pi Mai.

Also Known as Lao New Year, the biggest festival on the Lao calendar brings three days of celebration and rejoicing across the country and beyond, taking place every year from April 14th to 16th.

Celebrating Pi Mai (Lao New Year)

While it’s said each month has a different celebration for the people of Laos, Boun Pi Mai is certainly a very special one to Laotians at home and abroad.

Please Don’t Rush, It’s Wet!

Times change and social mores are on the move, influencing lifestyles of contemporary Laos.

 

Celebrating Pi Mai AKA Lao New Year in Laos

Celebrating Pi Mai AKA Lao New Year in Laos

The celebration of Lao New Year is no different. Yet one constant throughout is water.

Whether its ceremonially offering respect to elders or playing and throwing or sprinkling it on friends, a primary activity is always to get others wet.

Many folks set up a small paddling pool in front of their house.

Others go around in a pickup with a water bucket and throw water for fun, despite it being officially frowned upon.

The roadsides of Vientiane and other cities brighten up, with shopkeepers offering bold New Year fashions to the passing public.

People dress up for the celebration, particularly in Luang Prabang where traditions hold tightest.

ເທວະດາຫລວງ ໄປບູຊາ ຄາຣະວະ ແລະຟ້ອນອວຍພອນປີໃຫມ່ລາວ ຢູ່ວັດຊຽງທອງ ໃນວັນທີ 15/04/2019

Posted by ນະຄອນຫລວງພຣະບາງ Luangprabang City on ວັນຈັນ ທີ 15 ເມສາ 2019

There is a conflict between the decorum required at places of worship and on the street beyond.

Many don’t know the history of when it’s started and why.

Celebrating Pi Mai AKA Lao New Year in Laos

Celebrating Pi Mai AKA Lao New Year in Laos

As a young and curious boy, I heard from my grandfather that it’s a Buddhist festival.

As devotees, we believe (as followers of many other religions also do) that New Year can take bad things away and bring good fortune.

Of course, the festival known as Boun Pi Mai is not only celebrated in Laos.

Celebrations in neighboring countries all derive from the same Buddhist calendar.

These might have been scheduled to coincide with time between harvest and planting seasons to provide a window of rare leisure in the year’s hectic schedule.

These days I can not remember my childhood New Year celebrations in great detail, yet I am sure we didn’t have so many activities available as recently.

Forgotten memories return when I see the children playing with water in a village in Ngoi district near the town of Luang Prabang province.

Celebrating Pi Mai AKA Lao New Year in Laos

Celebrating Pi Mai AKA Lao New Year in Laos

The village was quite rustic, but the children were having heaps of fun just as I did with my friends some 25 years ago.

They fetched water from a stream in the woods.

In my time we had to pump it out of the ground by hand.

Before throwing it over each other of course!

Growing up, our home was by the main roadside of Nontae village inXaythany district, about 25km from Vientiane.

We had a water pump in the village which was close to my house.

All of our friends would be there playing with water together.

We were delighted anytime whenever some people were passing by, so we hurried up to pump the water out and throw at them. We would never tire of it.

I also remember that at the time, many of our fellow countryfolks of the Hmong and Khmu ethnicity didn’t celebrate Boun Pi Mai so much as they might today.

@Lao Youth Radio FM 90.0 Mhz Lao Youth Union

Posted by Laos Briefly on ວັນພະຫັດ ທີ 26 ເມສາ 2018

Due to the difference in cultures, they were sometimes furious when we threw water at them, but we were not concerned enough to stop.

Whatever they said we still gave a blessing to them all the times while showering them repeatedly.

Back to the Village & Family Homes

My family is big and extended one like a tree.

As my grandparents stayed in my house, most of our family would have an appointment at the new year to visit and have a Somma ceremony.

Somma sees children seek forgiveness from parents and older adults by giving Khan-ha (a set of offerings comprising five pairs of flowers and candles) and also conduct a Baci ceremony as well.

I don’t know when I first experienced the Somma ceremony, but we did it with older family members every year for as long as I can remember.

In the past, we had a long three-day celebration but spent more of that time with family and cousins in our village.

Maybe it’s because we didn’t have a car to take us to go away anywhere.

We would do all the traditional and cultural ceremonies such as Somma, Baci, bathing Buddha statues in our local area.

Of course, the festival was primarily a family and community celebration. It was a timeless joy to experience these together.

Celebrating Pi Mai AKA Lao New Year in Laos

Celebrating Pi Mai AKA Lao New Year in Laos

Today, Lao New Year remains the biggest festival celebration and taking place everywhere nationwide.

Of course, anyone of any ethnic group or nationality can have fun together in Laos these days at Boun Pimai.

However, some things are changing. More and more cultural traditions are being left by the wayside.

Celebrating Pi Mai AKA Lao New Year in Laos

Young people have more time for loud music than culture, especially along the roadsides, house and drinking venues.

Of course, it’s enjoyable to mess around with water and have fun, but we should be aware of the meaning behind it.

Laotian youth at home and abroad should also know what Lao New Year means and continue the traditional forms of celebration for the benefit of current and future generations.

$US10Mil in Deals, Referrals As Laos’ First Real Estate Expo Results Reviewed

The first-ever Laorealestate.la Expo was a huge success, with over 3000 local and international property investors welcomed to Don Chan Palace on the 1st & 2nd of March, 2019. Over the two days, the event generated over 10 million USD in property sales and finance referrals

Time flies! So do real estate investment, advertising, financing and development opportunities…

That’s clearly a philosophy what many folks ascribe to in Laos as some $US10 million in real estate-related deals and financing agreements were inked at the first Lao Real Estate Expo earlier in this month of March, according to organizers.

Lao Real Estate Expo 2019

Lao Real Estate Expo 2019

The promise of prosperity aplenty attracted all comers in March 2019 as Laorealestate.la, and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) teamed up with Laos’ leading online marketplace, www.yula.la for the expo.

RDK Group, publisher of The Laotian Times, Champa Meuanglao and Laopost and contributor Laos Briefly joined to capture the excitement.

Champa MeuangLao Magazine, sister publication of the Laotian Times under publisher RDK Group at Laorealestate.la Expo

Champa MeuangLao Magazine, sister publication of the Laotian Times under publisher RDK Group at Laorealestate.la Expo

First Ever Lao Real Estate Expo 2019 by LNCCI & laorealestate.la Laos Briefly with Champa Meuang Lao, Laotian TImes & Lao Post.

Posted by Laos Briefly on ວັນສຸກ ທີ 1 ມີນາ 2019

Savvy clients & suppliers and B2B’s were out in force, hunting for trade and investment opportunities alike.

Now, footage and imagery from the expo have gone online. Take a look and see if you can spot you and yours (and any other promising opportunities!)

 

ພາບບັນຍາກາດພາຍໃນງານມະຫະກຳອະສັງຫາລິມະສັບ 2019 ຄັ້ງທຳອິດໃນລາວເຮົາ ໃນ ວັນທີ 1 – 2 ມີນາ ທາງທີມງານຂໍສະແດງຄວາມຮູ້ບຸນຄຸນທີ່ໃຫ້ຄວາມສົນໃຈໃນງານເຮົາຢ່າງຫຼົ້ນຫລາມ ຈົນເຮັດໃຫ້ງານເຮົາປະສົບຜົນສຳເລັດເປັນຢ່າງຍິ່ງໃຫຍ່

Posted by Yula.la on ວັນອັງຄານ ທີ 5 ມີນາ 2019

According to organizers Yula.la & laorealestate.la;

“The first-ever Laorealestate.la Expo was a huge success, with over 3000 local and international property investors welcomed to Don Chan Palace on the 1st & 2nd of March, 2019.

“Over the two days, the event generated over 10 million USD in property sales and finance referrals.

“Powered by Yula.la, Lao’s leading online marketplace, and in partnership with the LNCCI, over 50 property developers, banks, insurers, and related businesses were on show at the first expo, along with 20+ informative real estate seminars to educate investors and industry insiders.

“Keep your eyes and ears open for the next Laorealestate.la Expo, coming soon!”

English and Chinese below:ຖືວ່າເປັນການປະສົບຜົນສຳເລັດຄັ້ງຫຍິ່ງໃຫຍ່ສຳລັບງານ Laorealestate.la Expo…

Posted by Yula.la on ວັນອັງຄານ ທີ 26 ມີນາ 2019

 

Lumberings & Longings: Trials, Tales As Domesticated Elephants, Handlers Adjust to A New Era in Laos

Laos Mahout

Like wildlife in biological hotspots worldwide, Laos’ wild and domesticated elephants alike are facing a time of rapid and significant change, amid increased man-made developments and a fast-changing natural and socio-economic environment, Laotian Times writes.

Climate Change: Taming the Waters in Laos’ Xayaboury Province

Villages work with UNDP in Xayaboury for the SDGs on Hunger and Climate Change

Helping farmers in their efforts to adjust to climate change in Laos’ Xayaboury Province alongside Lao government partners, The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was active back in 2015. Now, almost four years later, a return to one of the villages revealed how they have managed to cope with changing weather conditions.

 

The UNDP writes:

Vientiane –
The Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the global community in 2015,  compels us at UNDP Lao PDR to take even more responsibility to ensure that our projects do not only offer a temporary sigh of relief to struggling communities in Lao PDR, but that they serve as an enduring foundation on which they can begin to build a more sustainable future for themselves.

That is why in February 2019, UNDP, along with members of the Green Climate Fund and representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, took a trip to Nasom Village in Xayaboury Province to catch up with some old friends made during a project entitled “Improving the Resilience of the Agricultural Sector to Climate Change”, which was implemented between 2011-2015.

In the early 2000s, the farming population of Nasom had difficulties in adjusting to a phenomenon most of them had probably never even heard of: climate change. Although the small village nestled in a modest valley between the lush hillsides of northern Laos had occasionally suffered from floods, the usual predictability of seasons had become a thing of the past.

While the rainy seasons seemed to gradually get more intense, the dry seasons were getting hotter and drier, barely offering a shower for the rice fields of the village, which resulted in bad harvests. As rice was the primary ingredient of the rather stoic daily diet of the villagers, a bad harvest often marked a serious menace of malnutrition. Even if the farmers could feed themselves with stocks in case of a bad harvest, not being able to sell any surplus at the local market meant a significant dip in their yearly incomes.

Either too much or too little water for irrigating the paddy fields was the biggest challenge for the villagers. The project, implemented by UNDP, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, wanted to devise a way in which they could manage and utilize the dramatically varying rates of rainfall as efficiently as possible.

The project laid out a plan to dig numerous reservoirs in the village in which the rain could be stored throughout the year. Irrigation canals were built through which the villagers could regulate the flow of the standing water to their paddy fields during different seasons.

The ponds were filled with fish to give villagers an additional source of protein. As fish like to indulge in the mosquito larvae that breed particularly in standing waters, they would also protect the villagers from the deathly threat of malaria.

When the project ended in 2014, the results were fantastic. Villagers no longer went hungry and they could once again plan their harvests despite the changing weather patterns. However, it is not uncommon in development work that such achievements slowly fade away as years pass by and the community’s lack of resources or expertise for maintenance take a toll them.

In this case, the concern proved unfounded. Even after four years, the ponds were filled with water, teeming with fish. Even the devastating floods of 2018 that ravaged each province of Lao PDR had not caused the reservoirs to overflow.

“After the project, we have lived much better. Because we have enough water to irrigate the rice fields, we are producing much more food than before”, says Mr. Khamsao, one of the beneficiaries of the project as he takes us around the reservoirs.

The successful project had created further waves in the village: Some villagers had dug their own reservoirs, carved their own irrigation canals and also filled them with fish. In the spirit of true Lao solidarity, the farmers who had originally benefited from the project had allowed others to direct water from the big reservoirs to newly constructed smaller. This water could then be used to irrigate other farm areas. As with the original project, the results had been excellent.

This kind of creative and cooperative spirit is exactly what is needed to achieve the ambitious goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda. Villagers of Nasom show that innovation not only occurs in Silicon Valley or world-class universities but is something that even deprived communities engage in, as long as they are given the opportunity to do so.


United Nations Development Group

The Laotian Times reports on and supports efforts to address climate change and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Laos and beyond.

Villages work with UNDP in Xayaboury for the SDGs on Hunger and Climate Change

Villages work with UNDP in Xayaboury for the SDGs on Hunger and Climate Change

 

Farmers Like Her: Surpassing Opium Proves Personal As Coffee Grows in Northern Laos’ Huaphan Province

Coffee farmer Ms Her from Huaphan.
Bringing fresh hope and a hot coffee like a brand new day, Vanmai Coffee is a community of families in Northern Laos, growing coffee in a bid to leave behind troubles of opium, conflict, and poverty.
Ms Her has a cheeky smile and a weathered grin may remind you of one of your own Aunties. The mother of four’s visage is hearty enough to put a smile on your face like a strong and flavourful morning cup of coffee.
Farmers Switching From Opium Poppies to Coffee Beans in Laos' Huaphan Province with Vanmai Coffee

Farmers Switching From Opium Poppies to Coffee Beans in Laos’ Huaphan Province with Vanmai Coffee

Emerging from around the corner on a cool day among the clouds with a smile, its a warm greeting among the young coffee trees at the cool and high elevations of Laos’ northern Huaphan province.

It’s not only the trees that are growing up. The coffee farming industry up year is younger than the grower.

Producing the popular bean-containing cherries essential to the bittersweet brew is a relatively new pursuit in these hilly parts.

In fact, the trees are so young they are yet to produce their first harvest, which can be expected following the third monsoon, proving that farming truly can be an investment in a more hopeful future.

The previous crop up here?

Opium poppies.

 

 

Farmers Like Ms Her Switching From Opium Poppies to Coffee Beans in Laos' Huaphan Province with Vanmai Coffee

Farmers Like Ms Her Switching From Opium Poppies to Coffee Beans in Laos’ Huaphan Province with Vanmai Coffee

A source of both pain-relief and the suffering of dependency and its side effects, the sap producing opium poppy has been an economic staple, a source of income for many of the hardworking farmers of Huaphan for generations.

For some, like Her’s husband, the substance was to prove a fatal addiction.

Listening to her words and the dangers becomes of dependency on the illicit trade become clear.

“Opium has taken away our lives, it took my husband.”

“I mean I never knew that I would end up here,” she reveals.

“I got married to a handsome man in my village.”

“He was a diligent man who knew how to earn money and make sure his family had enough food.

“I loved him and I was happy, we never got married but we stayed together.

“After we got the news that I had given birth to a baby boy, everyone was so happy.

“In our tribe, a son is a gift who will be a successor of the father.

“Our families were so happy that my first child was a son, my husband was also very happy, our life was going very well.

“I then gave birth to two daughters and a son after that as well.

“We had four children who helped us and we worked together as a family like other families in our community.

“We made a living farming together and worked on saving for our children and their education.”

Farmers Like Ms Her Switching From Opium Poppies to Coffee Beans in Laos' Huaphan Province with Vanmai Coffee

Farmers Like Ms Her Switching From Opium Poppies to Coffee Beans in Laos’ Huaphan Province with Vanmai Coffee

 
 “But once my husband got addicted to opium, our lives changed.

“He became a different husband and a different father. After a while he couldn’t even work because he was ill so often.

“The family situation got worse. Everyone else had to work more to eat.

“Eventually, both my daughters grew up, got married and left the home.

“My husband became worse and was not able to cope with his symptoms. He died at age 49. 

“I know that my life has no miracles in store, but all I want is a better future for my son than I had.”

“I know that my life has no miracles in store, but all I want is a better future for my son than I had.” – Farmer Ms Her

“I know that my life has no miracles in store, but all I want is a better future for my son than I had.”

My oldest son is addicted to opium now.

“After my husband died, my son was imprisoned for his opium use.

“He was in jail for three months.

“They put him through quarantine so they could get him out of his addiction.

“But after he got out of prison his behavior just got worse and he even threatened to use the little money I saved on opium.

“He has moved out now, found a girl and they live together. They will get married soon.

“I thought that maybe if he gets himself a wife then she will be able to help him out of addiction but I don’t know anymore.

“He is still the same. It makes me sad to see my son becoming like his father.”  

“So many times I think I do not want to live on this earth anymore. But I still have my son.

“I have been working alone trying to earn and make a living for my youngest son.

“So I fight for him. He is 11 years old and he is my only hope.

“Ineed to teach him to be a good person.

“So I put all my energy into growing upland rice and now coffee, and I am saving income to buy his school materials and a new uniform.

“I know that my life has no miracles in store, but all I want is a better future for my son than I had.”

Vanmai coffee is supported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) alternative development programme in Lao PDR helping farmers move from cultivating opium to cash crops such as coffee. 

Text Credit: Laotian Times & Van Mai Coffee