What Are Lao Women Like?
Posted 12 November 2011 - 06:42 PM
spoiled, snobbish, humble and/or modest etc.? Are there many behavioral differences between rural and non-rural women, or do they all pretty much have the same ideals and mannerisms etc.?
I'm just curious...it's not really important.
Posted 12 November 2011 - 08:11 PM
For me, people from Myanmar, Cambodia and Malaysia are clearly different from the Thai, but I see little difference between rural Thai in Isaan and the Lao people.
It is not so easy for a foreigner, not experienced in that area, to see a difference who is from one and who is from the other side of the river.
I am not experienced, despite I travelled around that area several times for vacation and I find these people from Laos quite similar to the people from Isaan, even their language is very similar.
Posted 12 November 2011 - 09:53 PM
Posted 13 November 2011 - 12:24 AM
Some of OE's members have met and married Lao women. I only recall hearing good things.
Consumerism baggage and 'trampy' clothing is something I've grown tired of seeing here in the States.
Is courting the norm, then?
If I'm not mistaken, I believe I recall you having a relationship with a woman in Laos before meeting your wife. Why didn't that ever pan out; if you don't mind me asking?
Posted 13 November 2011 - 04:32 AM
I found this area of Laos/Isaan more open to foreigners than expected. By the way, a lot of Christianity there, plenty of churches.
French as second language is almost gone however, unfortunately - younger people are all into English only.
Widely spoken? Not really, but there is always somebody around who will try to understand you. This area from Isaan into Laos is a friendly area, without these people trying to cheat you, foreigners welcome.
Do not expect however something to be really so cheap in Laos, often it's the opposite, as many items have to be brought into Laos from Thailand. -
Unlike Thailand, Laos is still full with restrictions regarding long-stay of foreigners. Nothing like large condominiums for foreign ownership like in Thailand. Politically all is moving very slowly on in Laos.
Posted 13 November 2011 - 05:54 AM
Thai girls have to wear a dress in school, even in university, but as soon as they are out of it, the dress/skirt gathers dust in the wardrobe.
The majority of girls in Bangkok wear trousers/jeans. Or shorts and skirts at the same time, only country I know where girls do that.
Posted 13 November 2011 - 07:00 AM
Very quiet, will ask me if I am happy with what clothes she is wearing when we go out. Will not hold hands or show any sign of affection whilst in public.This is typical of her generation. Until a few years ago would not walk beside me but one pace behind.
Goes out the odd time dancing with her friends but will not stay out too long, and now takes our 14 year old daughter with her. Drinks alcohol in moderation.
Will ask me for my permission if her family wish to come to visit in Vientiane. We do have our little differences of opinion but we talk over the problem to reach a mutually happy ending.
Our daughters, 5 and 14 go to the same private school and wear uniforms, no jeans.
So all in all Lao people even younger ones are more conservative than their Thai counterparts. However,this is changing , albeit slowly, with the younger generation being exposed to western society with it's inherent problems of consumerism , expections etc.
Posted 13 November 2011 - 07:21 AM
This is a statement that bothers me a bit, not specific to Laos.
Women having to ask permissions from men.
I'm not at all feminist but I'm finding it wrong.
In a couple, everything should be discussed and everything should be agreed upon.
Posted 13 November 2011 - 08:25 AM
Regarding your wife walking behind you...I've seen this with Chinese women too. I never knew if this was intentional, but I had my suspicions. Although, I suppose it could have been due to their legs being shorter.
I also think things should be openly communicated and agreed upon. Having someone ask for permission all the time may create an imbalance in the relationship...unless, of course, you're always asking for permission to do things as well.
Edited by METHOS, 13 November 2011 - 08:25 AM.
Posted 13 November 2011 - 10:00 AM
I'm not at all feminist but I'm finding it wrong.
I see this a bit different, it is about considering the other spouse.
In this case the family is coming, how many are they and how long will they stay (to the expenses usually of the foreign husband).
It's not only her house. The question is also how good is the relationship between the foreign husband and her family members.
Posted 13 November 2011 - 02:46 PM
Her family have welcomed me with open arms as I have known them as long as her.
She asks permission for family to come to Vientiane as I do not like 10 + arriving and staying for a month at my expense even though 2 or 3 were originally coming. If it is to discuss a family problem the wife and I will fly to Pakse to find out what has to be done. If it is a sick family member it is a no brainer and they can come up no problems. My wife does not have to ask permission, she chooses do do so.
The house we have in Vientiane is joint ownership, my wife and 5 yr old daughter, the Pakse house joint ownership with our 14 yr old daughter.
Traditional Lao society has women subservient to men in days long gone now thank god. Still traces of male dominence in the fact that If I leave Laos to head overseas to work I am considered single. This doesnot apply to women.
Our wedding was done in the traditional fashion, first the priests blessing the animals for allowing us to kill them for the wedding, then the ceremony to let her dead parents know that she was getting married. Then the batchelor party in her brothers house, me in Lao costume getting escorted to her house, being challenged by the family then having my feet washed then led into the house for a 2 hour ceremony. The chants went on for the 2 hrs done by one man alone, the words are passed down from father to son and are not written down at all.
Then the drinking, eating and dancing.
We are happily married.
Posted 13 November 2011 - 06:45 PM
What do you mean, 'being challenged by the family'?
Posted 13 November 2011 - 10:02 PM
The big thing for girl's school uniforms in government schools here are culottes. Kinda look like a skirt but are actually joined up in the crotch like a pair of shorts. I think it's to stop boys (and men) looking up them to see their knickers. Either that or they wear a skirt with skintight boxers underneath, which can't be too hygienic.
Posted 13 November 2011 - 11:41 PM
One of the biggest cultural differences I have noticed is that they dont value privacy like we do. To go off and be by themselves seems to only happen if they are depressed. If you are a person that likes some alone time, you better discuss this with them and explain. Asian/lao women are not the docile husband fearing kind. I have always wondered why this myth ever got started. My conclusion is perhaps they dont correct a husband in public so he doesn't lose face? I'm not sure, but people that think they are more submissive or subservient are wrong.
Posted 14 November 2011 - 01:22 AM
I think, for most of OE's members that have spent some time in Asian and/or have been paired with an Asian woman, it is understood that there are different kinds of relationships that aren't necessarily founded on love. There is nothing wrong with it. If two people are happy together, and each are content with the fact that they are filling a role and/or providing a need etc., so be it. Two people can grow to care for each other, in some way, eventually. Who cares what anyone else thinks about it, one way or the other? If a woman wants to cuddle up with me and be affectionate with me...I don't care if she really loves me or not. As long as she doesn't cheat on me or something, I really don't care. If we're both happy, awesome.
I have seen Chinese women disregard the concept of face altogether - except when they are looking out for themselves. Not all of them are like that, though. But some of them are selfish, spoiled brats. I can attest to the privacy issue all around.
Edited by METHOS, 14 November 2011 - 01:23 AM.
Posted 14 November 2011 - 03:09 AM
I have known two Laotian women in the U.S.A. that have adapted very well to American life and they are definitely not conservative. These women came to the U.S.A. in the mid 70's or so as refugees.
Posted 14 November 2011 - 04:54 AM
Posted 14 November 2011 - 05:27 AM
Posted 14 November 2011 - 05:27 AM
Being challenged means, I walked in a procession from her brothers house to her house where a gold chain was placed across the gate barring entry. I was asked by her uncle what I was doing there, my answer was to marry his niece, next was asked if I could support her and look after her. Answer yes and then the chain is dropped and I was welcomed in to the house. All symbolic.
Our wedding was the first in the district between falang and Lao many years ago so I chose to keep with tradition. The paperwork took 12 months to orginise and luckily I had the local governor on side.
I cannot say with any certainty if the name is found in Pakse. Those who left the country after the war had to adapt to whever they were. Lao people are all over the world, Mongolia, Australia, UK, and of course many Mhong people in USA. Your friends would have been young when they went to the States and with no family elders to infuence their upbringing in the Lao way they therefore have taken on the influences of their adopted country.
20 Down The Drain.
Agreed there are spoilt brats in SE Asia due to the western influence creeping in and having more time and money to indulge in these things. They are however, in the minority and in my humble opinion they will continue to be so for a long time to come. To add to that I think in a generation or 2 Laos will slowly evolve, westernise under the flow of overseas goods, infuences, higher education standards and monetary wealth. For them the slower the better as this will change the charm of the country and it's laid back friendly people.
A Bloody Yank.
Yes I agree with your statement that Lao / Asian women are conscious of the losing face thing so do not openly chastise people in public. I speak from experience. My wife and I do have our moments but not in public and in front of family.A sense of humor helps .Yes you lose your privacy but my family know that I do value my pricavy and I do get my quiet time at home and I do go out on my own. You marry an asian women you marry the family and you must be prepared to accept this. Ihave done so and also I work away overseas and sometimes dno not get home for 3 moths or more so I am not exposed to family fulltime 24 / 7.
Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:35 AM
btw, my wife comes from vang vien. She likes money, but will rarely spend. So just because a woman might be a money grubber does not mean she will spend your money frivolously if she looks at it as her own money. In fact, if you are deep in a relationship and you sense she is blowing your money, then she might not be into anything more than just money. If I was after a life partner, I would act poor. If I am after a good time, I'd act rich. When I met my wife, I was broke and lived in a condemned house. If she thinks your poor and still likes you, then you have something.
Posted 16 November 2011 - 04:17 AM
My wife likes money too but does tend to spend it on the kids or the house. Last month I got home to find a carport added to the house.
Posted 06 December 2011 - 01:37 PM
Stumpy: I know a man who told me that he was one of the first falang who married a Lao woman too. He stayed in the Khong Disctrict (Champasak Province) for a couple of years.
Posted 06 December 2011 - 02:41 PM
Fiercely protective of their family.
Not really a western concept, but if you accept it and they make you part of the family, they sure make nice wives, wives that will fiercely protect you.
Posted 07 December 2011 - 11:38 AM
You are spot on with your last post. Asians are more family oriented than westerners and do have more of a sense of family. They tend to do things as a family. I like it when they get together and prepare food, all chatting, laughing and having a good time doing it. I also find that they often get our 5 yr old daughter involved in the preparation which assists with her learning.
I have found the same with pacific island families in my travels through the pacific.
Westerners are more money oriented which means more pressure to work longer so less time spent with family.
Posted 08 December 2011 - 02:00 AM
My turning point started with a conversation with my sister in law. She is from Vientiane and had come to America to work. So, she only had to want USA citizenship to get it.
I assumed she would want to and asked her when she would become a US citizen. She responded that she wouldn't.
As we were having this conversation I was just getting a new deck on my house finished. When I asked her,why would she not want to be an american?
She responded by talking about my deck. She said "in my country if I wanted a new deck, We would gather our whole family. We would get beer and probably butcher a pig or goat. We would have them over for the weekend, everyone would pitch in and help build the deck. And, we would make it fun. We would visit and laugh and just enjoy our being together. In America, your family is too busy to help or they are to far away. So, you have to hire someone to build this deck'.
She said "In America you have money but you have no time. In laos we have time but we have no money. In the end, I think time is worth more than money so I want to go back to laos someday'. I thought this a rather profound statement from a peasant girl. The more I thought about it the more I suspected she was right.
The reason this is pertinent to this discussion is because it shows that there are some very intelligent, free thinking Lao women out there and all of them are different.
Edited by a bloody yank, 08 December 2011 - 02:09 AM.
Posted 08 December 2011 - 02:08 AM
Posted 08 December 2011 - 03:28 PM
I agree with what your sister in law said re the deck. Have had the same here in Vientiane when I wanted the concrete wall around the property painted. The wife got 3 family to come up, supplied the necessary items. It took a few days a lot of beer Lao and food but it was great.
I am thinking of building extra bedrooms on the house and if it goes ahead we will again get her family up to do the work, house them feed them and pay a nominal fee for their services.
Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:21 AM
In regards to how Lao girls are like, me being one myself, I can only truly say that we are very traditional and grew up in a strict upbringing. We're taught to be reserved and polite, know how to cook and clean as it's part of our duty as a woman, and most importantly, we were supposed to wait until we're old enough to be married, which are usually arranged by our parents. That's the ideal way to be for us Lao girls, but I'm not sure how much of those old customs are still intact.
And yes, it's correct that we're supposed to walk one pace behind our husband as well as wash his feet with a wash-cloth once he comes home from work. It's to show appreciation and respect for our husband and caretaker.
Myself, personally, I don't agree with many of those old customs lol.
Posted 04 April 2012 - 11:18 PM
I could never stand having my wife walk one pace behind me. Never had my feet washed though !!
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