Friday, December 30, 2011

bungle in the jungle

i got this forbes magazine link, "bungle in the jungle," from a guy that used to be in one of my high school groups. what a mess. can somebody cut Laos a break? ugh. and boo to the person(s) building all the casinos in vientiane and savannakhet. yall suck.

check out this link too:

Monday, December 26, 2011

mixed reviews: Lao princess

as much as i love Laos, i really don't think i will be seeing this movie.  watch the trailer for princess of Laos below and you'll see why pretty durn fast:


but what's good is reading all the crazy youtube comments under the preview.  many of them are just people of differing opinions fighting back and forth, but the best ones are the comments from the filmmaker, mychal mitchell, and wow... so many things get lost in translation.  i am going to post a few here, and so if you happen across my blog and see your comment... well, then you and you're comment are crazy. 

i will start with this -- many of the comments noted that the girl playing the princess looks mixed Lao/african american.  see some of them below:

I am not a racist person, but isn't the princess in this movie black? doesn't make sense to me. Laos is in Southeast Asia, not in Africa.

Laos in Asia not in Africa, we have no black people here.

Actually..Lao woman is Beautiful more than women in this Video^^

now just read a few of the many many responses by the filmmaker:

i just googled Laos and i found out it is in Africa.

i filmed this movie, i wrote it, i have been married to my Lao wife for 23 years......then someone who doesn't know anything about making a movie says to me (as if i'm stupid) "Laos is not in Africa" because the lead actress appears to be African anyone with half a brain would think i made a movie with over 50 Laotians, have been to Wat Lao 100 times, and think i don't know where Laos is? In the words of Monday Night Football crew C'MON MAN!!!!!!!!


ur a 26 year old dummy go watch a show thats more befitting to your intellect like Jersey Shore

if you're trying to promote your movie, why would you go the sarcasm route? and did you really just try to say you understand Laos because you found a Lao woman who'd put up with you for 23 years? or even better: "i'm not racist, i cast 50 Lao people in a movie."

now look at this comment from a youtuber:

I'm very interested in seeing this movie but this trailor gives me a headache trying to sum up what the whole meaninng of the film is about. How is she a princess who inherited a Kingdom when there iz no more Royal Family in Laos. Was this supposed to all happen before the end of the Vietnam War Era... How come my contact Prince Solivang Sovang never mentioned anything about this history? This must be fairytale for entertainment reason, but all in all it should be an interesting watch.

here is the filmmaker's response:

Headache? The story is fiction/drama, i hope that clears your headache. Its a movie just like when you went to see Avatar the flying blue alien. The story is modern day. The untold story is the fact that the lead actress is INDEED the great granddaughter of a woman once married to Kind Sisavangvong around 1910. You can meet her family by visiting the website for the movie Im glad you want to see the movie. Have the prince contact me please.

here is one more from our dear filmmaker in answer to a question about when the movie would be released. this comment was coupled with a criticism that the movie was "embarrassing" due to its fictional content:

why do you want to know when an embarassing movie is coming out?....when the movie comes out just stay at home

so my point is this: now i'm not seeing this movie based on my dislike of the guy that made it. mr. mitchell - seriously, why go through all the trouble to make a movie and then bash on people for their crazy comments?  at some point, you must have realized that not everyone is going to like your film; so why not just answer all inquiries gracefully?  or next time, instead of making a film, you might want to just stay home.

but one more comment from a youtuber. i like this one - not because he still doesn't get it that this girl could be mixed-race of an african american father or mother, but because he has such a good explanation as to why she is dark-skinned:

Can a Cambodian/Khmer guy like myself try to explain this. Many peeps here can be shallow. History revealed that the first Lao Kingdom was built by dark skinned Khmers. So there you go.

Also..., during colonial times Laos has 2 kingdoms. Laung Prabang and the lesser known Champasak. The Champasak kingdom was a minor kingdom in the south. And you know how south Laos is, the lower you go the darker the skin. SPOILER ALERT: The girl is most likely from the NaChampasak Royal Lineage.


Monday, December 19, 2011

a christmas carol

so i made it home to louisiana for the holidays! my step mom led the choir singing christmas songs at church on sunday, and she was real nervous, but i thought it turned out alright... kinda like gift giving: it's always been the thought that counts. but here is the one problem with the ward choirs - there ain't a tryout or nothing. so inevitably somebody gets in there that sounds a little less extraordinary than what you wish they did, and the rest of the choir is left teeter-tottering between the howl of a farmhouse hound and the grace of a Higher Power to pull them to safety. in this case the offending party was... well, i won't say his name, but b.h.h. (bless his heart,) he really got all into the christmas spirit, when the other 20+ people up there were wishing he'd gone a bit more scrooge and shut up. my father was one of them people. somehow my dad ended up right next to him when they got up to sing, and i could just see his face trying to remain neutral - but how do you stay neutral when you got that sound blaring in your ear? one woman in the alto section couldn't stop chuckling when he'd hit some real bad notes. well, luckily - there were enough parts when only the women were singing and enough other parts where it was all in unison, so that it weren't too bad. 'cause even the worst of singers do pretty okay during the unison parts.

but my point here - i do like me some christmas music, and they sang some good ones. i know a few of yall get all uptight when the radio goes all christmas, (and i do try to use terms like "holiday tree," and i try to remember to say "happy holidays" to people instead of "merry christmas," cause i know that the latter can be kinda isolating if you ain't somebody that celebrates christmas,) but i really do like this time of year. and especially here in louisiana; manger scenes everywhere, store employees saying merry christmas in the shopping malls (they ain't never heard of a non-christian down here), and 70 degree weather too. yeah, i can get behind a christmas like this one. (last year was in Laos, and the weather was even warmer than this, but there wasn't no christmas tree out in the village where i was staying.)

so here it is - my favorite christmas albums. and i don't care what anybody says, these are the best. (and the harry connick jr album is real bad, so don't even come up to me with that mess.)

5. the forbidden carols, michael mclean (i know the album ain't called that. but i call it that for obvious reasons to anyone that has heard the whole thing. and the story book that goes along with it is really awful. it's this whole mess about john the revelator flirting with this woman who ultimately cries "the day (she) takes the tree down," so i know that i shouldn't include the album on my list...but i can't help it. i still like it... i just do.)

4. our finest gifts, the nw boychoir and vocal point. i guess you can't buy this one no more, but they got a bunch of others; just go to their website. (i found this album in a 2nde hand shop in the university district, and then i looked em up online to see when they'd be performing. so i ended up seeing them back when their concerts were free; now they cost too much, but this is the best alternative. besides, who else can justifiably sing little drummer boy?)

3. the andy williams christmas album (he just sounds better than the rest. he sounds better than bing crosby, harry connick jr, michael bubbly, frank sinatra, adele, and any other similarly-styled singer living or dead.)

2. home for the holidays, amy grant (this might be an unlikely choice, but seriously, the album adds two songs to the bonafide christmas season staples. and also amy grant really believes in christ. some of the other singers only sing about christmas for the money.)

1. a christmas portrait, the carpenters. (i've never heard the original lp release, just the cd version. but that said, it's amazing; the album plays as one complete piece. and of course this is karen carpenter we're talkin bout here, with some unidentifiable input by her brother richard, i'm guessing. but by far the best christmas album of all time, hands down, 100% sure.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

the battle rages on...

i am an outsider; i almost feel like i am watching two students fight on the first day of high school. i don't know who they are, but the joy of watching them punch each other is still the same. only i can't say this is joy that i am feeling. well, below is the clip - posted on youtube of course - and i encourage you to go to youtube's site, (well, maybe the word encourage is too strong. maybe i'll just say "you can go to the site if you'd like,") so that you can read the comments posted underneath, (even after the person that put up the video requested that no hate speech be posted.)

but let me explain: some amount of controversy exists over the present-day borders in southeast asia.

and so the war goes on and on. i've heard this for years: thailand took Laos' land and cambodia's land, and they are still trying to claim the khmer temples as their own. cambodia's land was taken over by the vietnamese. the vietnamese stole land from the cham. well, here is an animated map that shows the rise and fall of these kingdoms from 100-1550 ad. and the video is unbiased - it proclaims the map is based on historical fact. watch those early kingdoms move all over the place. it looks like something from the weather channel when a scary storm front is moving in...

but back to the comments... all that swearing? is it really necessary? be nice to each other. if i've learned anything, it's that southeast asians have much more in common (including ancestry for many of them) than what they have in differences. but for now i guess i'll just sit back and watch.

heading home to louisiana for christmas...

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

hell yeah

woo hoo! this is the best thing ever. finally an easy to follow recipe for the best Lao dish ever: tammakhoung. and yes, she does use padek! Jai Lao padek to be exact. buy your padek on the Jai Lao website! anyways, this makes me very happy. and la is funny too; juicy papaya salad means your husband loves you hahahahahahaha!

hell yes.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

hole-in-the-wall review:

this is actually a complimentary review of northend seattle's semi-new Lao/thai restuarant, savatdee. i have posted on this before, so see what all i wrote here and here

but, the part of the seattle weekly article that gave me pause is where the reviewer called the place a "hole-in-the-wall." seriously? what does that phrase even mean if this restaurant is a hole-in-the-wall? erik, laura? jeannette? somebody back me up on this, please. but maybe i'm all offended because it's late at night and i should be in bed rather than reading restaurant reviews... but look at the comment posted by some reader at the bottom of the link; sounds like something i shoulda said.

you need me to repost it, don't you? well, here is the comment in case you are too lazy to click on the link:

hole-in-the-wall? if this place is hole-in-the-wall, then i don't know what that phrase means. i guess you are used to eating a ruth's chris or some other nasty-tasting high-end chain restaurant. weird. and if you call Viengthong, the only real Lao restaurant in seattle a hole-in-the-wall, i will accuse you of being elitist/racist/etc (because you are only calling it that because it's in south seattle.) so you can't win, so don't try. but i do agree: the food at savatdee (not welcome, more like hello) is awesome.

wow... the person making that comment is even meaner than me.  but look at these pictures and decide for yourself if he/she ain't right: