What do you think of the army’s trade fair?
To mark the 70th anniversary of the Lao People’s Army on January 20, army personnel from 43 units staged an exhibition of the goods they produce, with members of the public attending the event from January 4-9. Vientiane Times went along to learn people’s thoughts about the work of the army.

Ms Pany Duangmany, an exhibitor from the Kaysone Phomvihane Military Academy: In the past, the Ministry of National Defence held trade shows at its football pitch when the only shoppers were army personnel because members of the public were not allowed in. But this time, the event is taking place at the That Luang esplanade and is open to everyone. I think the fair’s a good idea as it might educate the public about the Lao People’s Army. I’m very happy to participate and to sell our products here.  Many people who visited our booth were interested in our products, especially the artificial flowers we are selling. Some visitors told me they didn’t realise that women in the military were involved in the production of items like this. I hope there are more opportunities for participation in similar government events.    

 

Mr Bounchan Xaybounheuang, a visitor from Xaysettha district: I like the fair - everything on sale has been produced, grown or raised by army personnel, including watermelons, vegetables, oranges, chickens, eggs, and other things. Most of the products are good quality but not everything is for sale. Some are intended only for display, such as army uniforms and boots. I’m proud to see so many things on display here – all made by the army – and am frankly amazed because I didn’t know the army made so many products and is obviously doing good business. I think 70 years is too long to wait before publicising the army’s achievements in protecting and serving Laos. If possible I would like to see a fair like this held every year.

Ms Souphavanh Kilachanh, an exhibitor from the Ministry of National Defence: I would like to thank the leaders who gave our unit the opportunity to participate in this fair. Our products are hand-made bags and silk items, which are attracting a lot of attention. I’m very happy to see so many members of the public here and clearly interested in the things we make. If a similar event is organised in the future, I certainly hope to participate.

Ms Phouvieng Sitthivong, a visitor from Chanthabouly district: I’m amazed to see all these things made by the army. I used to think that army personnel were all soldiers who worked to defend our territory and fought to protect our sovereignty. I never paid any attention to their work. Now I see the army in action and know that they work hard to protect our country. Clearly, the army is getting stronger and is making a wide range of products for their own use as well as to sell in public markets. I would like to suggest that the authorities hold this kind of product exhibition every year, as I’m sure it would meet with public approval and generate more interest in the army.

Ms Kongthong Thammavong, an exhibitor from the Kongthong handicraft group in Vientiane: It’s a really good idea to hold this fair to mark the 70th anniversary of the Lao People’s Army.  Celebrating this day across the country definitely helps the public to know more about the army. It’s very important to know what the army does and to support its activities because it will make more people in Laos and other countries more aware of the strength of the Lao army. I represent a silk and cotton handicraft products scheme in my district and the things I’m selling are attracting a lot of attention from visitors. I’m pleased to participate in this fair and hope that it takes place again next year or as soon as possible. 

Ms Khonesavanh Manivan, a representative of Phouluang Corporation Co., Ltd: I’m very happy to represent my company and exhibit our products here. This is the first time I have been to this fair. I think it will certainly familiarise the public with our company and the army. It’s a good time to teach people about the development of the military. Many people, especially young people, have no idea what the army does but events like this enable everyone to see the work of the army and its achievements in protecting Laos.

Ms Bountome, an exhibitor from a bamboo handicraft group in Sangthong district: I’m proud to represent my group and display our bamboo products here. We would like to thank the authorities for giving us this opportunity to promote our products. There are many visitors here and they have shown interest in what we have to offer. I would also like to thank the organisers for the security and safety arrangements. There should be more information about the work of the army for people of all ages, especially schoolchildren, so that they learn to respect and support the army at a young age.

By Lamphone Pasanthong
(Latest Update January 12, 2019)


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