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.

see http://laopost.net/2011/01/26/the-lao-flags/

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:)

http://alao.wordpress.com/2008/05/02/meaning-of-the-lao-flag/

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?

7 comments:

NOTSONUTSO said...

Are you serious about Christians basically "owning" the American flag? I think that would be very offensive to Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, etc., Americans. Of course I don't really care if it would offend Atheists or satan-worshippers.

Katie said...

How about a dollar sign instead of our friend Jesus?

Anonymous said...

Why so serious....?

Anonymous said...

Some do take flags seriously.

I've forgotten when, it was a few years ago, maybe a decade. There'd been some sort of retrenchment amongst the true believers. I think they'd tossed the finance minister for having a degree in economics and jailed those politburo members who had dared suggest multi party democracy.

Every single government office of any size and business flew not only the stripes with the circle but just as large a yellow hammer and sickle on a red red field. Huge banner draped down from Patouxai.

somsai

jrm said...

dollar sign would work. hahaha

yeah, you still see the hammer and sickle there a lot don't you? (i know its everywhere in vietnam.) glad to see you are posting again!

S Soumphonephakdy said...

This is a very interesting post. Buddhism and Christianity in one flag. They are nothing alike. And if you are going to add Jesus to the American Flag, you might as well add the Star of David in there too.

jrm said...

s: exactly. thanks for your comment!