All posts tagged: History

Dear Guru: How do Lao last names work?

Hello there,  I am currently staying in Laos and got interested in Lao names. It would be interesting to me to get to know more about how and if Lao people change their names after getting married. Also if there are any dynasties of families with famous names, as some other South East Asian countries seem to have those.  Hope you can help me out here 🙂 Thanks and cheers! -Curious Reader in Laos — Dear Curious Reader in Laos, Up until the late French colonial era, Lao people did not typically have surnames. French enforcement was weak and then the country fell into turbulent times, so even today in some remote areas people still do not have surnames. Unfortunately, also due to these factors, there is a great deal of duplication of surnames even when two families are not related at all, unlike in neighboring Thailand where surnames are not allowed to be duplicated when there is no relation. When a rural family wants access to social services, such as enrolling a child in school, …

5 years later: Reflections on Laos, Bombs and the UN Convention on Cluster Munitions

In 2010, I was part of a delegation from Legacies of War that joined 1,200 other participants in Vientiane to attend the first meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It was the most significant international disarmament agreement in decades and it was unexpected – that this dynamic and fast-moving international process, initiated in Norway, and negotiated in Peru, Austria, New Zealand, Ireland and Uganda – would enter the important phase of implementation in Laos. On the one hand, it made perfect sense. Laos was the most affected country per capita by cluster munitions, but on the other hand, Laos was one of the smallest state parties to join the convention, and historically did not play a key role on the world stage. But under the bold leadership of Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith, of the Lao PDR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and with support from other governments and civil society members of the Cluster Munitions Coalition, Laos had the honor of hosting the historic gathering. As I joined in the celebration with other …