Friday, 29 July 2016

Laos (4) - Abstract Vientiane 老撾(4)- 包羅萬象

Vientiane has become a familiar name in the past few days because of the 49th ASEAN foreign ministers meeting. Lao’s capital Vientiane, aka Viangchan, aka Wiangchan, means City of Sandalwood in Lao to some, City of the Moon to others. The community is believed to have been established in the 11th or 12th century. Since then, it had been ruled by one lord after another, with a brief spell of unsustainable independence in the 18th century which the Siamese promptly squashed. During WW2, Vientiane surrendered to the Japanese without much of a fight; Laos was a French colony at the time.


Sunday, 17 July 2016

Laos (3) - Beautiful Laos 老撾(3)- 美麗的老撾

I'm still wondering if the two figures I saw at the magnificent Phapeng Falls are real or not
我到今天還懷疑 Phapeng 瀑布石頭上的人,是真是假

We entered Laos by bus at Boten(磨丁). The immigration officer asked politely for RMB20 “service fees” to fill my entry form. It wasn’t necessary but I paid anyways. Most of my travel mates were at another line, and not asked to pay anything. Jobbery — if it isn’t too serious an accusation for a minor transgression — like everything else in life, should be viewed with a sense of proportion. Poor folks wanting to make a few bucks is understandable human nature. Monstrous greed from rich people, in the name of “economic freedom”, is grotesque and pathological. To simple-mindedly measure them with the same yardstick would be unfair, unintelligent, and possibly hypocritical. Anyways, we visited villages and temples, markets and waterfalls, from Boten to Luan Prabang to Pakse. The natural scenery was stunning.

Beautiful sunrise at 4000 Islands 四千岛日出

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Laos (2) - The Bombed People 老挝(2)- 被疯狂轰炸的人民

Digging for the truth  發掘真相

Nothing much happened in the ensuing centuries; just the usual merging and splitting, rebellions and suppressions. From 1893 to 1945, Laos was a French colony. After WW2, it declared independence but the French promptly returned. Independence? Not so easy mon ami. Finally, in 1954, France receded from Indochina. But guess what, the Americans were starting to pivot everywhere, including Laos. Irritated by the prospect of peace and unity in the Laos People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), a constitutional monarchy, the USA supported a pro-American faction to overthrow the coalition government, a subversive tactic which would become commonplace in the decades to come.

跟著的幾百年,老撾人民過著樸實單純的生活。政治上則離不開分分合合,侵略抵御等陳年老調。在十九世末,殖民地霸權興起。當時亞洲科技落後,當然難逃一劫。由1893 到 1945年,老撾成了法國殖民地。二戰後,據說「二等民族」可以「自治」,老撾不懂霸主們說一套做一套的慣技,誤以為真,宣佈獨立,隨即被法國禁止。到1954年,殖民地時代疲態畢露,法國撤出印支。誰料一雞死一雞鳴,大美「民主」帝國隨即補上,在乳牙未出的老撾人民民主共和國支持親美力量,推翻聯合政府。「顏色革命」這玩意,當年名義上雖未上色,卻已經開始猖獗,到處蠱惑人心,破壞和平,禍害人間。

What?   吓?

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Laos (1) 老撾 (1)

I know it’s downright silly to attempt summarising a country’s history in a hundred words; but let’s do anyways. It’s the internet age you see. Laos shares a rich diversity of ethnicity with neighbouring China, comprising dozens of ethnic groups. From the 6th to 13th century, the region was settled by mostly Chinese and Kmur. Hinayana Buddhism was introduced in the 14th Century, and quickly gained prominence through compassionate talks rather than bloody crusades. Mountain tribes are roughly demarcated by altitude into high, middle and low clusters, though low altitude mountain tribes are technically not so mountainous aren’t they?  Here we go: nine centuries recapped in a hundred words.

用三兩百字去概論一個國家的歷史,是荒誕行為。但在互聯網活動,非要這樣。否則沒有朋友,沒有讀者,哪來順手 「贊」 呢?老撾的人口成分跟毗鄰的雲南相似,比較豐富,由幾十個部族組成。於六到十三世紀期間,游移到老撾定居的民族主要來自中國山區和高棉地帶。小乘佛教自十四世紀傳入,很快被接受,從沒有搞過十字軍式的屠殺來釋放靈魂。導遊說山地民族一般按聚居的高度分為低,中,高,三類。不過把在低地生活的人划成 「山地人」,似乎有些矛盾。反正九百年的一段日子,就這樣被我三言兩語歸納啦!

The mountain villages are fog locked every morning 每天早上被浓雾困锁的山区寨村