While my parents made a quick stop to visit some friends near Hospital 103, I made a phone call to Fong and told him that I was in town. Before I went to Laos I made a promise to his wife that I will call him and have a visit with him. I met Fong and his wife, Phin at the First International Conference on Lao Studies. After the conference we spent a couple of days in Chicago together and have been friends since. Fong said we should have dinner together and I agreed.

Hospital 103 in Vientiane, Laos

This area used to have a market where my aunt took me to buy Dhom Khem when I was like in the first grade. I can’t even recall what the place used to look like now. This is what is left of the old market. Urbanization is changing the face of Vientiane.

a market in Vientiane

Lao Postal Savings Bank

Lanxang Avenue

Lanxang Avenue

Lanxang Avenue

Kualao Restaurant

Lao Plaza Hotel

As we were driving to the National Library of Laos, my aunt got a call from my cousin Bee. He needed my aunt to buy some fish nets for the next morning. Bee said he will pick one of his chickens and make dinner for us. I told my aunt and my parents that I will be out with Fong and won’t be able to make it with dinner. I have not seen Fong for two years and wanted very much to have a chat with him about his new career and life in general.

Nam Phu Fountain lies ahead

Nam Phu Fountain

National Library of Laos


One Comment

  1. Hi DJ,

    My name is Jamie, and I am writing from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

    I am part of a team of 14 student journalists that will be heading to Laos this Sunday through to Saturday (29 July to 4 August) for a reporting trip. We are going there to find more about the country, and write up some articles with the aim of selling them later to various publications.

    I was reading with great interest about the mobile libraries in Laos and the programmes offered by the team at LaoPlanet, and wondered if I could get more information about it?

    We also hear that there is increasing demand for English classes, and would love to get some idea about this trend — how old are these students, are they mostly city kids? And what are some of their aspirations — what do they hope to become when they grow up, and where do they want to work at?

    I hope that by writing a story about these reading programmes, we could highlight the importance of reading and education in Laos to more people.

    I would really appreciate it if you could drop me a note at leew0016@ntu.edu.sg with some details about the book programme. At the same time, I would be grateful if you could point me to some contacts in Laos that I could call please?

    Meantime, here are some details of what the project is about. Our school mates have since covered the tsunami stricken areas in 2005, and Nepal. http://www.ntu.edu.sg/gofar/

    Should you need to contact me directly, plesae do not hesitate to call me at +65-96950587.

    Thanks so much for your time and attention. I hope to hear from you soon.

    Yours sincerely,
    Jamie Lee, Ms
    Fourth-year journalism major
    Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
    Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

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