Ginger’s post at Laoplanet, ” What it means to be a Laotian” motivated me to write a response to what I think it means to be Laotian. The main reason why I started this word blog was because I wanted to open a dialogue about Laos and what it means to be Laotian. I grew up in a very traditional Laotian household and am convinced that many people, my generation included, have forgotten what it really means to be a true Laotian. There are so many people I know from my generation who have become americanized since they have emigrated here. It’s one thing to assimilate into the American culture to fit in, but that doesn’t mean you have to forget your own culture! If that is the price to fitting in then it’s not worth it to lose your own cultural identity! It saddens me to see such a large number of Lao people who have forgotten or are ignorant of their roots, their culture and heritage. Screaming ” Lao pride” or “Lao forever” is not going to cut it! That doesn’t prove that you are a true Laotian. It only shows that you have a big mouth! Actions speak louder than words! What I find ironic is that some of us can’t even say ” Lao pride” or proud to be Lao in our own language. This is a tragedy because how are we to impress upon our children the importance of keeping our language alive if we have to explain it by using the English language only. How can we expect our children to have pride in their cultural beliefs and traditions if we don’t value it enough to remember or model it. Parents are responsible for passing on that knowledge to the younger generation, the ones who are born here need all the help and guidance they can get. A true Laotian is …1. someone who speaks the language 2. someone who values their cultural beliefs enough to practice it 3. someone who remembers Lao traditions and is not afraid or embarrassed to live by it 4. someone who remembers their roots and is proud of it. I wrote an essay earlier, Ten Indicators that you grew up in a traditional Laos household that complements this topic so please read it because it will help you understand what a true Laotian is.The Lakorn “Pleng Ruk Rim Fang Kong” is a good example of what it means to be Laotian. Yes, I do realize that Pem the main character is Thai as well as the other cast members, but the story itself expresses the ideal or typical characteristics or traits of Lao people. For example Champa, the young girl in the lakorn is portrayed as modest, sweet, proper, obedient, shy, respectful and conscientious. Traditionally many Lao girls are brought up to be modest in dress, manner, and behavior just like Champa and in fact like Alexandra the actress who portrays her. As a Lao girl you are taught to always be proper in front of others to show them that you respected them and are conscientious of your behavior, word or deed because you are a representative of your family. That means no walking around half naked or acting heekill when they are not with you. When Champa spent the night in the forest with Pem and the others , she could have taken advantage of the situation by doing whatever she wanted with him because her mom was not there to tell her no, but she didn’t. She continue to act properly and so did he. Another valuable traits among Lao people is obedience and this characteristic is depicted by Champa and Pem. They both try to obey their elders in every situation and respect their opinions by complying with their wishes . Both characters show their deference and respect for their elders in the way they act towards them. The majority of the time they listen to their parents without talking back. The Lakorn is a good example of ideal behaviors for Lao people of all ages and sex.