Posts Tagged ‘handycraft’

I don’t know how to start this tale about my last trip to Luang Prabang (Laos) ? How will i ever be able to translate all the magic of that city ? Imagine a little peninsula surround by a stream (Mekhong) and a river (Nam Khan). Covered with luxuriant nature. With temples at every corners and monks walking like ghost at dawn. If i was only listening to me, this post will end-up way too long and covering way too many subjects. So since i mostly write about fashion, design, textilles and… Let’s talk about a young girl i met there. 


Ta Dam is her nickname (More easy for falang to pronounce) She lives and work in a little house on the opposite bank of the Nam Khan river. In front of her house which is also a ”boutique” there is some ”weaving mills” (not sure i’am using the good term for that ?) , where she works calmly, in open air, kissed by the sun that peak through the palm tree leafs, with members from her family and freinds. So every time your passing by her place, you ear the slow rythim of the mills, chit chat and giggles, the songs of the insects hidden in the green surrounding… A certain serenity long lost in our occidental cities.

 I discuss a lot with her (since i splurge myself a little too much with her silk scarfs). And even if she is really happy about her little ”cottage industry” and the fact that she is taking some expansion and need to hire more people because of her second store opening on the peninsula soon. She says that lao handycrafts are in fact threatened. The increasing number of tourist passing by this city since the country opened his door to the rest of the world in (i think) 1999 have a side effect. The local craftmens and store owners, find it faster, easier, cheaper… to buy already made products from Thailand, Vietnam and China to sell them at the market or in the stores. Like us, they’re attracted by easy money and the main category of tourist passing there (backpackers) just don’t help with their always present desire to live, buy, eat, drink cheap !!! In fact, as i alraedy lived there before, i could judged it with my own eyes, they just don’t want to pay ! The gouvernement don’t really bother with that either since he have many things to deal with already (developing country remember ?) I was sad to ear that. What would happened with all that knowledge ? That amazing craftmanship ? That small country and the people living there, will then just be swallowed by the bigger, more advance, powerfull… countries surrounding them ? Will their culture be forgoten ? So please, if you ever pass by this city, encourage local craftmens !!!



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