What’s your assessment of the country’s development as we celebrate 43 years of the Lao PDR?
Laos celebrates December 2 as National Day every year. This year marks the 43rd anniversary of the establishment of the Lao state. Vientiane Times asked members of the public for their thoughts on Laos’ progress and what more should be done to achieve development goals.

Mr Chanthy Inthivong, an official in Vangvieng district, Vientiane province: So many things have changed compared to 43 years ago. I remember when I was young my village didn’t have electricity or any transport.  We had to walk 30 km if we wanted to go to the district centre and it was difficult to communicate with other communities. I’m happy that today more villages have electricity and transport. But as our world becomes increasingly developed, so people’s needs grow. While Laos is much more developed than before, we must recognise that many people are still poor and we must do more to improve their lot in life. Some villages still don’t have regular electricity and people cannot easily get appropriate healthcare, clean water or schooling.

 

Ms Laddaphone Souphaphone, a student at the National University of Laos: I’m happy that Laos has developed so much compared to 43 years ago. Everything is modern now such as infrastructure, the heath service, and education. When everything is developed of course Lao people will be better off. But alongside the drive for development we should not forget environmental protection. As we all know, the world is suffering from global warming and many countries are battling natural disasters, including Laos. This year we had severe flooding which caused much loss of life and property. I think that natural wealth and a healthy environment are important for everyone so we should try to preserve it for successive generations.    

Ms Saeng Phanthaxard, an official in Xaysettha district: Lao is still developing and lags behind other countries in some ways. There are many reasons for this, and nearly everyone knows this, so we have to come up with appropriate ways to resolve these issues. But things are much better now than they used to be. Laos still needs a lot of help, especially with education, because many children in remote areas don’t go further than primary school. And we still can’t produce enough goods and almost everything we use is imported. From what I see we’re not investing enough in this critical area. 

Ms Palita Chanthavong, a college student in Chanthabouly district: It true that Laos has developed rapidly, especially in Vientiane. I have been here since 2009 when the city hosted the 25th SEA Games. Since then, Vientiane has developed a great deal. I’m impressed that we’ll soon have a railway that will make transport easier and faster. I’m grateful to the government for working hard to improve our country. What I would like to see is more development in rural areas to reduce crowding in our towns. I also think this would ensure more peace and security and improve our chances of sustainable development.    

Ms Phuang, a resident of Nakhounnoy village, Naxaithong district: Well, when comparing the present to the past everything is so different and has changed for the better in so many ways. In the past we lived a long way from a hospital and didn’t have healthcare. We didn’t take medicine or have any health checks. We just used the medicinal plants we found in the wild. We also didn’t have clean water. If we wanted to go anywhere we almost always walked because there was very little in the way of public transport and the vehicles that did carry passengers weren’t as comfortable as they are now. I would like to say that what we have today is vastly better than before. But I would like to ask the younger generations to enjoy and preserve our fine traditions because if we can maintain our culture we will also preserve our country. 

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update December 1, 2018)


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