Monday, July 28, 2008

OUR ICONS: The Patuxai | Laos' Middle Finger

Some say it looks curiously similar to the one in Paris. Well, maybe because the one in France is famous all over and it is the only point of comparison for description.

Patuxai is very Laotian, that’s for sure. It is Southeast Asia’s only structure of its kind and no other country in our region has actually imitated it because Vientiane had it first.

Believe it or not, Patuxai is one of the highest points of Vientiane. You can climb the top and have a 360 degree view of the city. This makes Patuxai a tourist-must-see. Very daunting, very majestic.

Notice the intricate designs of the structure. Kinnari figures all over! Very Laotian, very Southeast Asian!

The Kinnari (half-woman, half-bird mythical creature), by the way, is the only iconic figure that connects almost all of Southeast Asia – from Siam to LanXang (Laos), from Khmer Empire (Cambodia) to Surigao (Philippines), from Java to Burma. Our ancient people have Kinnaris in their cultures one way or another.

Patuxai means “Gate of Victory” in Laotian. It was built in 1968 and was first called the Anousavari Monument dedicated to those who fought in the struggle for independence from France.

This is a good place to meet local yuppies and youngsters on weekends and practice your Laotian (or practice THEIR English!).

To those calling Patuxai the “Vertical Runway” in an attempt to be sarcastic – piss off! In reference to America giving the funds to Laos to build an airport but built a monument instead…shut your faces!

Do you even know how much bombs America dropped on Laos in the Vietnam War? Laos wasn’t even in that war! Even if America pays $10 Billion a month to Laos for 20 years, it won’t be enough payment for the damage America cost the Laotians. There, take that!

The Patuxai is one big middle finger aimed at America.

The Patuxai – Pride of Laos, Treasure of Southeast Asia.


--Pisanu in Vientiane
27 Jun 2008

Note: Patuxai is pronounced as /Pa-‘too-‘sai/


H. Trousseau said...

Very orginal analogy. I have read a lot about Southeast Asian politics and this is the first time I encountered < big middle finger aimed at America>

I just love your originality. Very refreshing indeed.

Yaori Hamada said...

a very refreshing approach to an otherwise old boring history. where do u get ur ideas?

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

Wow! I'm glad you guys liked it.

@ h.t...kind words you got there. I appreciate it.

@ ms. hamada... I sent you an email =)

This actually gives me an idea for a new blog post!


In referrence to the monuments we built with hidden political message. I LOVE IT!

Allen Yu said...

You're right. It looks more like Paris' Champs d'Elysee?

Patuxai looks like the Arc d'Triomphe! Amazing! And they mean the same! Arch of Triumph=Gate of Victory.

Im starting to love Lao PDR. I'm excited for their very first hosting of the SEA Games next year.

-your friendly filipino neighbor

Anonymous said...

Interesting! At first, one would think it's another travelogue...but alas! Its not! lots of information in the article, including those we don't have to know. lol!

typical bisean blog post...

...hidden political message within a travelogue article.

curbside_puppet said...

yeah, that structure looks really nice. i don't mind at all if laos made a monument instead of an airport.
i felt a lot more sorry to laos because of what had happened to them during the vietnam war.
it made me feel that as a filipino, a lot more sensitivity to my neighbors would actually make a lot more sense than agreeing with my past conqueror. it doesn't mean that i would have to disagree with everything they would say and become anti-american in a heartbeat. but this issue somewhat touched a cord within me and feel awfully bad for the laotians.
i don't know, maybe i would get a little emotional once i would get to set foot on patuxai. this amazing structure and the sensitivities that make it is really one of those things that justifiably should be slapped over across the pacific.

Line Thamawat said...

Went there with my family some time ago. It is really a beautiful city and a beautiful monument.

bariles said...

Hahaha! Couldn't wait for that SEAsean Middle Fingers Post. For sure, Rizal's Monument at the Luneta Park in Manila will be there... or the Quezon City Memorial Circle.


Anonymous said...

The Lao gov't should compensate you for this very effective promotion! haha xD . I've never heard of this landmark before and am very amazed that SEA has one!

Thanks for sharing Pisanu, what would SEA be w/o you! haha.


Carlos Javier said...

"...shut your faces!"

Haha! I love it when you rant. Heheh.

Tayla said...

I love going here everytime I go back to Laos. Thanks for sharing with everyone the history behind it. You're also right that if America were to give billions to Laos it wouldn't be enough to compensate for the suffering they've been through.

TAO said...

Oh, the Laos us money that was intended for an airport to build a monument...that now everyone takes as a middle finger symbol to America...

Hey, I am no fan of American foreign policy...but, America's foreign policy can only be successful if there are enough royalty, politicans, and greedy businessmen in a country willing to sell their country up river for their own personal benefit...

Personally, I see the monument as a desire on the part of the elite of Laos to imitate the French....

Oh, and lets not forget that the commies were really benefitial to S.E. Asia also....

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

Thank you all dudes and babes for leaving a comment. I'm all smiles!

@ TAO ...hey big guy! it's been a while! I knew I'll struck a string on your ukulele with this post.

Y'know what... it may sound like I don't like America much on most of my blog posts...but it isn't that bad.

Mickey Mouse is American, and I looooovvveeeee him! LOL

TAO said...

Pisanu...I am actually more anti American than you are because I believe that our policies are short sighted and do not benefit our country in the long term...and they have not as history has proven.

But, at some point you have to own up to the decisions that are made and you cannot continue to point to outsiders and blame them for everything that is wrong with your country.

While it was America that could rape and pillage at its pleasure, then the Japanese, and now....the Chinese?

At some point you have to wonder why you are always being raped and pillaged?

lawrence said...

That monument kinda reminded me of the Arc du Triomphe(lol, i hope i spelled it right) when I first saw it. Really majestic piece of art.

"The Kinnari (half-woman, half-bird mythical creature), by the way, is the only iconic figure that connects almost all of Southeast Asia – from Siam to LanXang (Laos), from Khmer Empire (Cambodia) to Surigao (Philippines), from Java to Burma. Our ancient people have Kinnaris in their cultures one way or another."

Kinnaris are all but gone in the Philippines now. But I was able to watch a documentary that was able to unearth golden artifacts from the 1100s and one of the pieces shown there was a Kinnari. It was amazing....

@tao..........i think the reason our countries are being raped and pillaged by these more powerful nations is because we have the natural resources that they have long exhausted(or are trying to exhaust) in their countries.

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