What is it like serving in the military?
January 20 is Lao People’s Army Day and this year the military celebrated its 70th birthday. Recently, the army organised a trade fair in Vientiane exhibiting many of the products and goods it manufactures. Vientiane Times went along and asked some army personnel what it was like serving in the military.

Ms Phouvieng Panpervong, sales assistant at the Military Traditional Medicine and Medical Institute in Vientiane: I am a happy and proud female working for the army and serving the nation. It’s an honour for me to serve the Lao people and to work with both male and female personnel for the betterment of our nation. The Lao army continues modernising across all aspects of its operations.  The institute I work for specialises in the production of medicines for military personnel and civilians too. The products we make are effective and so are a popular remedy choice for many physicians and patients. I am very proud of what we do to keep people healthy and well. I think many Lao people don’t fully understand and appreciate all the things that the military does for our nation. Besides our main task of national defence, the army carries out many forms of development. We are also quite creative when it comes to making products and things.  People in the military have the knowledge and skills to accomplish a wide variety of tasks.

Ms Phouthaly Duangouansin, sales assistant at the Military Traditional Medicine and Medical Institute in Vientiane: I’m proud to work for the army. Female soldiers are as strong as the men.  Here in the military it is plain to see that women can do anything men can do. Sometimes they’re even better. Soldiers play an important role for the country and its people. I have been working for the military for quite a long time and try my best to discharge my duties as responsibly as I can. In the future, my colleagues and I will continue our programme of developing medicines for use by all the Lao people.  I think all of our military units take their mandated duties seriously. Our main duty, or course, is to serve and protect the nation and its people.

Mr Khanthaly Kounnavong, a sales assistant from the Army Garment Factory No. 1 in Vientiane: I am happy and proud to be working for the army and serving the nation and its people. Everyone in our factory has been working to make the 70th anniversary celebrations as memorable as possible. The army manufactures products that meet global standards and are as good as anything people make in other countries. I think some people might misunderstand what the army and soldiers actually do for our country, believing national defence to be our only role and responsibility.  However, there are many units in the army which do different things. My unit, for instance, is a production unit making and selling uniforms, costumes and other garments.  Because Laos isn’t actually at war at the moment, people might think soldiers don’t have much to do.  In fact, there are always many things to do and we work very hard every day.
Lieutenant Colonel Ouan Chansavang, sales supervisor from the Pasanlao Luang Prabang Factory in Luang Prabang province: Soldiers have an important role to play in national defence. Protecting the people is its number one priority. And when people face problems and hardships the army will always step up to help and very often to save lives. I am proud to be a soldier and feel privileged to have been allowed to serve the country and its people over so many years. Stability, peace and prosperity is ours if we all continue to work hard and help each other.
Captain Sisouphanh Omdala, production manager from the Army
Thread and Leather Shoe Factory No. 1 in Vientiane: I believe that serving in the army and helping the nation and its people is important work. Our factory makes thread and leather shoes that are of a very good standard. We plan to expand our production capacity and always have ideas for new and better products to sell. I am happy and honoured to do this work. The army’s manufacturing units have been growing steadily over many years now. Lao soldiers are mostly well-educated and skilled so the army has a ready supply of talent that enables us to manufacture all manner of things.

Captain Bounphan Thammavong, deputy director of the army dry rice factory in Vientiane: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the army. Besides protecting the nation and its people, the soldiers of Laos have a long tradition of manufacturing goods for the people.  In the past, soldiers worked hard to fight for the country’s liberation.  Today, soldiers are working hard to develop the nation. Today’s soldiers work in various military units as well as in manufacturing and research warehouses.  We make things that are definitely on a par with products produced internationally. I’m very proud to be an officer in the army and to be playing a role in the protection and development of our nation.

By Visith Teppalath
(Latest Update January 21, 2019)

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