Lao community speaks on 25th SEA Games

Posted by samakomlao Monday, August 10, 2009

The 25th SEA Games being held this December will be the most important sporting event so far for Lao people to promote their country to the region

Representatives from several sporting, business and governmental organisations are involved in preparation work to welcome the games, which Laos will host from December 9-18.

Yesterday Vientiane Times reporters surveyed local people, business and government officials on their understanding about preparations for the games, and the results were enlightening.

Minister to the Prime Minister's Office and President of the Lao National Sports Committee (LNSC), Dr Phouthong Seng Akhom said yesterday this was an opportunity for Laos, as the host nation, to increase solidarity and friendship amongst Southeast Asian nations.

“The meaning of medals is not as important as the solidarity and the country's promotion.

We have hopes for it. While regional athletes seem to be stronger because they are professionals, I am sure Lao athletes will try their best for the nation,” he explained.

Many businesses, and the games committee itself, are promoting the event through local media, but it seems this is still not enough because the information has yet to catch on for all community members.

A teenager, who did not want to be named, shared her ideas with the press. She posed an interesting question.

To her way of thinking, if so many Lao viewers tuned into neighbouring countries' TV and radio stations, would it be possible to promote the games through the local media?

“We just know some information about the SEA Games through local radio, we listen at night when there is not so much news about the event,” she explained.

A student at Vientiane Secondary School, Ms Nilanda Lathsavong said if women took more care to wear a sinh (Lao skirt) when they go to religious ceremonies, offices or even shopping during SEA Games, this could teach tourists more about Lao tradition and culture.

“Smiling and greeting tourists with a “Sa Bai Dee” is very important to show we are friendly and the most important thing is that people should be enthusiastic about working for the nation and society in general, and take part in community activities,” Ms Nilanda said.

“Concerned authorities should provide information to residents to encourage them to cooperate with state and private organisations to make Vientiane charming and attractive.”

Many hope that Lao people will pay attention to being good hosts of the games.

Owner of Wasira Junction Beer Garden , Mr Wasira Chanthavongxai said as he was a proud Lao person, he usually followed Lao sports.

However, Laos sportspeople's amateur status put them at a disadvantage to professionals from other countries in this region.

However, all Lao people being of one heart would be sure to cheer them during the games, which would help a lot. “We're just proud to be the host, so don't think too much about victory.”

“Even if they win or lose, they will still have all Lao people and the government at their back, encouraging them through the games. I think this will be a good feeling for them,” he said.

Many Lao people are ready and eager to involve themselves in preparations in for the games.

With this in mind, spreading the information could bring many useful ideas for the committees or involved sectors as they seek to promote this unique opportunity.

By Souknilundon Southivongnorath

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