Thursday, October 28, 2010

October Break - Assholes - October 29th, 2010

(October break at the French School. We all head north. Here are some of the things we saw)

Don’t be an asshole. Don’t go tubing.

Vang Vieng is full of people. A lot of foreigners come here from other rave party centres throughout South East Asia. I wish they would just stay away.

Really, I have nothing against people coming and enjoying Lao hospitality or Lao cheap prices. I know I do.

And I have nothing against people taking all the drugs their bodies can handle.

What I do mind is the blatant disrespect these people have for Laos and the Lao and Lao traditions. They come here and imprint on these fine sweet people their fat white bellies and absurd meaningless “tribal” tattoos, in a country where it is impolite to walk around without a shirt. Girls wear bikini tops in the streets. Miss Universe they are not.

But the worst is the noise. Let us take the Organic Mulberry Farm (OMF) as an example. A few years ago, a fine group of visionaries founded the OMF as a project of promoting healthy food sources with outreach programs to the poor. They work hard to provide education and transport to kids who would otherwise have no access to either.

On their land they planted organic fruits and vegetables and built a guesthouse with mud rooms. Some of the rooms are built in the long-house pattern.

Beautiful, tasteful … and DESTROYED.

Because assholes feel the need to listen to ear-shattering and bowel-shaking techno crap when they tube.

Tubing looks like a lot of fun and I’m sure it is. It’s also quite dangerous and all the better. You take a tuk-tuk north of the city and get in your inner tube and float down the river. Along the way are tubing stations built out of bamboo that jut into the river. If you want someone to pull you in you wave your hand and they throw you a pole. Then you buy beer and drugs and dance until you’re crazy enough to get back into your tube to the next tubing station.

There are rocks and rapids and every week there are broken bones and sometimes people die. Me no cry.

On these tubing stations are very powerful sound systems.

One such station is right off the land belonging to the OMF and early in the afternoon until sunset these poor people have their lives and thoughts destroyed by mind-crushing music. Boom boom boom boom, rata rata rata tata … all day long.

It seems that everyone benefits from this operation. Everyone, that is, who doesn’t give a damn about the country.

Obviously we could not stay at the farm and an important source of revenue is being lost for people who really deserve it.

So please, visit Laos respectfully and stop supporting the destruction of an age-old and venerable culture.

1 comment:

  1. J'ai passé du temps dans cette Organic Mulberry Farm en 2005 (mon copain de l'époque était en stage là bas, a travaillé avec les animaux et pour les cultures), et c'était en effet un lieu très beau dans son idéologie et ses projets de développement. Mais le centre du village rempli de touristes est un ENFER je suis bien d'accord !Plein d'indécence, de vulgarité... choquant.
    Je suis contente d'avoir de vos nouvelles via ce blog, et contente de vous savoir de retour en Asie !
    A bientot j'espère
    Claire (rencontrée à Hanoi)