Category Archives: laotian

Sabaidee Pee Mai (Happy New Year)

It is been awhile since my last blog.  First of all, I like to wish everyone “Sok Dee Pee Mai” (Happy New Year).  Most of the Lao/Cambodian temples around Northern California are hosting New Year festivals this past weekend.  This year, I only made it to the local temple to celebrate the New Year festivities.  I didn’t make it out to Modesto temple because I was glued to the television watching The Master.  Most people probably thinks golf is the most boring sport to watch on television, but that wasn’t the case on Sunday afternoon.

Anyways, back to the New Year celebrations… Such an event like this brings out a lot of people in the community.  I ran into so many old friends and old neighbors that I normally do not get to see.  Here are some of the pictures I took from the event.

Left: DaoDuangMai from Laos; Right: Ms. Darling from San Diego, CA

Left: DaoDuangMai from Laos; Right: Ms. Darling from San Diego, CA

2 of the contestants show up late and miss out on photo session.

2 of the contestants show up late and miss out on photo session.

Contestant#4 Former Beauty Former Beauty1 Contestants1 The winner The winner1 2nd1st3rd


Human Trafficking

After reading this article below,  I am sad and heart broken to see so many young laotians women are the victims of human trafficking.  Most of these young ladies are probably from small villages and promised good paying jobs in Thailand.  Since, there aren’t much jobs available in villages near them.  Majority of these young ladies are probably misled by the recruiter to work at some fancy hotels or restaurants.  Once they arrived in Thailand, it is totally different story.  Part of the blame is the government, not creating jobs for the people.  It is sad stories for all those young ladies, dreams of making a good living turns nightmare quickly.  I hope the two countries are working hard on battling this issue of human trafficking.

Flesh trade’s newest victims

Dozens of Lao girls have fallen prey to a gang in Songkhla’s tourist district

Young Lao women and girls seeking a better life in Thailand are at risk of being lured into the flesh trade by human trafficking gangs, a senior police officer has warned.

The Anti-Human Trafficking Division has been closely monitoring one gang following the arrest of two Thai women accused of conning girls into the prostitution business and illegally detaining them.

Benjawan Chaiprew, 32, and Pranom Kottirak , 47, both natives of Kalasin, were arrested on Sept 20 following a complaint filed by a woman, who asked not to be named, that her 14-year-old daughter had been lured into the sex trade by Ms Benjawan and Ms Pranom, who were their neighbours.

The two women had persuaded her daughter to work as a waitress at a restaurant in Songkhla’s Sadao district, which is a popular tourist spot.

When her daughter arrived there, she said she was forced to provide sexual service to clients. The girl said she managed to flee the brothel _ for which the restaurant was a front _ after being held there for five months.

After arresting the two women, a team of police from the Anti-Human Trafficking Division expanded its investigation and found at least 50 Lao girls had allegedly been victimised by the gang.

When the girls arrived in Sadao district, they were reportedly taken to a restaurant run by a Singaporean man and his Thai wife to earn their keep.

Another woman, identified as Yupin Chaipaew, allegedly worked with Ms Benjawan and Ms Pranom to procure girls for the brothel.

Police secured warrants for the arrest of the three women. Ms Yupin is still at large.

Ms Benjawan and Ms Pranom denied any involvement in human trafficking, but police believe they have obtained evidence to implicate them and other suspects in the gang. “The gang works systematically to lure women and girls, into the sex trade. They particularly target Lao women. It is human trafficking and it goes against the law and against humanity,” said Pol Col Prasert Pattanadee, deputy commander of the division.

Members of the gang normally looked for victims in remote villages. They try to get close to the families of their targets to gain their trust, Pol Col Prasert said.

The gang would offer to find well-paying jobs at a restaurant for the girls and would then pay a cash advance to the families before taking away their daughters.

If the victims were Thais, the gang would normally take them to Bangkok first to join other girls before a vehicle took them to Sadao.

If the victims were Lao, they would be sent to a halfway house in Nong Khai province before being transported to the same destination in Sadao. Some of the Lao girls who fell prey to the gang had entered the country legally, Pol Col Prasert said.

Most of the Lao victims are aged between 14 and 18 years old.

“The underaged girls are forced to provide sex to male customers for a salary of 2,500 baht a night. Some of them were lucky enough to escape, but others ended up being sex slaves for a long time,” said the deputy chief of the Anti-Human Trafficking Division.

His agency is gathering additional evidence to arrest others members of the human trafficking network.

He has also received many complaints about brothels with Lao workers in Nong Khai, Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Pathom and Samut Sakhon.

Pol Col Prasert warned families to be wary of anyone who tried to persuade their daughters to work with them.

Jujube aka “Chinese Apple”

About 1 1/2 year ago, my dad gave me this little tiny jujube tree and I didn’t it would survive the first winter.  But, it did and also it is the first year of this tiny tree to produce some fruit.  The only regret is that I planted too close to the japanese maple and the european beech trees, but I really don’t have much space elsewhere.

Prior to writing this blog, I didn’t really know the common name of this particular fruit.  Although, I know it is similar to “mark tun” as people back in Laos refers to this fruit.  After talking to my landscape buddy and checking his reference books I managed to narrow it down.  The official name of this fruit is “Zizyphus Jujube” aka Chinese Apple.

This picture was taken last year back in June 28th of 2010. Also was taken with my old camera rebel Xsi/18-200 IS lense.

This picture was taken back in Sept. 15th of this month with new camera and lense. What a big difference:-).

Notices the different sizes of the jujube tree in between the japanese maple and european beech tree.  I’m glad that I planted all those trees as soon as I moved in.

Close up of the jujube tree. I need to get some new tree posts.

I forgot to count the number of fruits. I'm guessing it is probably somewhere between 10-15.

It is almost there, maybe in a week or so.. I can get my first taste

Mom stop by to get some banana leaf to wraps her "kao tome". I didn't think she would clean it all up like this.




Happy 2nd Anniversary

I can’t believe it is been 2 years since I started blogging.  First of all, I didn’t think I’ll last this long.  After 98 posts and 12,372 hits later, I just want to thanks those folks that regularly visits the site.  Although, at times I feel like my rants are boring, but still some of you keeps coming back.  Kob jai der!!  That’s just a simple thanks in lao, for those folks can’t read my lao karaoke.

So, stay tunes for more rants to come…

Making A List, Checking It Twice…..

It has been so hectic at work for the past 2 week…  Most of you probably never seen me blog about my work at all.  My goal in life is to play hard and work less, which I been pretty good at it for awhile. LOL I didn’t even have much time to blog anything in the past 2 weeks.

I am so ready for my summer vacation and I can’t wait to be there.  I been keeping a short list of things I might need for this vacation.

Check List

16 gigs, class 10 SD memory card for a back up…..

batteries for camera are fully charged….


pack lite…. (impossible)

don’t forget the passport….

get some cash…. (if it is still some left)


I hope, I didn’t forget anything important…  Anyways, off I go… See yaaaaa!!!

R.I.P. John Douangdara

One by one, the names of Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan are finally coming out.  I was totally shocked to read the article below at friend’s facebook page.  One of the fallen soldier among 37 killed last Saturday is Lao-American.  My heart goes out to his family.

South Sioux City man among SEALs killed in Afghanistan

By Tim Gallagher | Posted: Monday, August 8, 2011 2:33 pm

buy this photoJournal photo by Tim Gallagher
Sengchanh Douangdara of South Sioux City holds a portrait of her son, John Douangdara, on Monday. John Douangdara was among U.S. Navy SEALs killed in action Saturday when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan.

SOUTH SIOUX CITY – The family of a U.S. Navy SEAL serving in Afghanistan confirmed the death of their son and brother on Saturday in a helicopter crash in Wardak province.

Sengchanh Douangdara, the mother of U.S. Navy SEAL John Douangdara, said military officials came to her door at 10 a.m. Saturday to deliver the news of her son’s death. Master at Arms, Class 1 John Douangdara, 26, was a lead dog handler for the elite military unit. The 2003 South Sioux City High School graduate was aboard a Chinook helicopter with 37 others when the aircraft was shot down during an anti-Taliban operation in the Tangi Valley.

Thirty U.S. troops were killed, including nearly two dozen members of the U.S. Navy SEALs.

Seven Afghan soldiers and an Afghan interpreter also were killed in the deadliest incident for U.S. forces since the start of the decade-long war.

“I didn’t even know Johnny was a Navy SEAL,” his mother said. “I know that he loved his job, it was a job he chose.”

The family’s sadness was tempered with pride their brother and son served his country, a country that welcomed these Laotian immigrants 31 years ago.

“We are proud Johnny fought for the country that embraced our family and gave us the opportunity to reach for the American dream,” said Chan Follen, the oldest of five children in the family.

For more of this story, read the Sioux City Journal and

19 Year Old South African In Laos Jail

I first heard of this story about a week or so ago.  The headline just stated that 19 year-old from South African is being held in Laos jail.  After reading this article below I still feels that this young man is not telling the whole truth of the story.  Also, no words from Laos government or that young laotian lady.

The story he gave seems to come out of some movie scripts.  I don’t buy it at all and the Laos government probably doesn’t either.  So? Somewhere he hitched a ride from this young girl and the storm rolled in??  They decided to pull over and it just happened to be in front of Cambodian Ambassador resident?  Instead of seeking a shelter from trees along the main road or near by shops, they just invited themselves to the Ambassador’s resident.  This is where they both crossed the line, especially when you’re a tourist to the country.  Perhaps he didn’t get a chance to read the Do’s and Don’t pamphlet that Laos government posted everywhere.  I don’t care who you are and what country you are in, you just don’t trespass on to people property.  In some country they both might ending up dead.  Hopefully this will some lesson learned for all the foreigners.

Magistrate’s son in Laos jail

NASHIRA DAVIDS | 20 July, 2011 00:07

Arno Immelman has not been charged

A Western Cape magistrate has vowed to raise hell if her teenage son is not released from an infamous southeast Asian jail by the end of the week.

Arno Immelman, the 19-year-old son of Paarl magistrate Anne-Marie Immelman, has been in custody in the infamous Phonthong prison in Laos for the past three weeks. He has neither been charged nor has he appeared in court.

What makes his mother’s nightmare even worse is that she has been warned not to “set foot” in the country because she, too, will be arrested.

Immelman said if Arno is not released, she will approach Fair Trials International for a legal adviser to “go there and get my child”.

Arno, who is taking a gap year, taught English in Thailand, but crossed the border into neighbouring Laos.

It is understood that, early this month, Arno and a Laotian woman were found asleep on a couch at the official residence of the Cambodian ambassador to Laos.

Immelman said he didn’t mean to trespass – it was just a big misunderstanding.

“Arno and this lady were [riding] on her scooter.

“It started raining and it was cold and they went into what they obviously thought was the guesthouse at which he was staying. The guesthouse is across the road from the Cambodian ambassador’s residence,” she said.

Immelman said the gate to the residence was open and so was the door. There were no security guards and they parked the scooter on the property. Both fell asleep. Immelman said there was no suggestion that the two were sexually involved.

“She woke him up the next morning when the police were already there. They were both taken away. She is a Laotian lady and that seemed to be one of Arno’s problems,” she said.

“Apparently it is tradition there that no foreigner must come near those girls.”

Eventually, South African embassy officials and an executive of the company for which Arno works managed to visit him in prison.

Velelo Kwepile, a consul at the South African embassy in Thailand, said the teenager seemed “okay”.

“We visited him last week. He said he [was] not stressed but he is behind bars and you cannot take that away,” said Kwepile.

He said Cambodian authorities called Laotian police when they came across the “trespassers” on the couch.

But the Cambodians have declined to lay charges against Arno and have expressed their willingness to have him released.

Immelman said she had last spoken to her son on June 30.