Thursday, September 22, 2011

Laos: where you can buy anything...

i was on vientiane times website and saw this article... it appears that this Lao guy tried to bribe some immigration officer in new york and got caught. see the article here:

and then to make matters worse, he decided to say, "i thought it was like my country, where you can buy anything." i am not sure what he really means, but the newspaper sure seemed to get a kick out of it.

because i'm pretty sure that you can buy anything in america; in fact, "buying anything" is what defines our great nation. and so i think i will buy a jumbo jack (with four tomatoes!) from jack in the box tomorrow. (you can't buy that in Laos.) and i am guessing there's plenty of public officials in america who are willing to be bribed; you just gotta find the right one.

so good job joe, making Laos look bad.

Monday, September 12, 2011

just like a waving flag...

so i was finishing up a meeting with a client the other day, and he gave me a Lao flag; he had a few of them.  (they were from a relative's funeral, he'd explained.) well, i happily accepted the flag - it's pretty small, and i used to have a big one hanging in my office, but i finally gave it away to this Lao kid that wanted it a lot more than i did.

but as i was looking it over, i noticed something strange:

a closer look in case you didn't see it the first time:

yeah... there is a cross on top of the parasol. and the real Lao flag... well, it aint got no cross. see below, (held proudly by some Lao-american rapper i aint never heard of:)

but not that it matters, right? this isn't even the flag of Laos anymore; it's defunct, having been traded in (by the communist regime) for the less ornate, much easier for the school kids to draw, version:

but what's funny is that the Lao flag (the former) contains a bit of buddhist symbolism - the three-headed elephant (while representing the three kingdoms of Laos to many of the Lao people) is a buddhist/hindu symbol for greatness. and the parasol is also of buddhist origin.


here is a link to a summary of the present Lao flag's meaning, and it seems to jive with what i have heard before. (and interestingly, it is one of the few communist countries whose flag aint got a star on it:)

well, i guess if the flag is a mix of hindu, buddhism, Lao history and legnd, then why not throw in a little christianity too by sticking a cross on top of it all? in the end, i believe that everyone has the privilege to worship according to the dictates of their own conscience, and that we should allow everyone that same privilege, (i.e., let them worship how, where, or what they may.) so do what you will with the former flag of Laos. in fact, maybe christians should do something with the american flag too... (and maybe they already have..) maybe something like this?