Did You Know- Laos Edition
Southeast Asia has always struck me as a land of mystery. From the haunting architecture, to the ancient ruins- Laos has a lot to offer. Did you know:
- Trains are uncommon is Laos, so rivers act as a major source of transportation
- Theravada Buddhism is a dominant influence on Lao culture and affects literature, art, language and other important parts of the Lao culture
- Sticky rice is a main staple in Laos and is thought to have originated in this country
- Laotians are divided into three major people groups: the lowlands (ethnic Laotians), the midlands (ethnic Lao Theung majority) and the highlands (ethnic Hmong majority)
- Laos has the youngest population of any country in Asia with an average age of less than 20 years old
- Laos is a part of the Golden Triangle- one of the largest opium producers in Asia.
The government exercises tight control on all parts of society. Small independent congregations are under pressure and have been refused recognition. Local authorities regard them as enemies; Buddhist leaders and village shamans also watch them closely. Most believers are ethnic minorities. Christians from the Katin or Hmong tribes have been detained, pressured to renounce their faith or even killed, often in army clashes. In 2011, church buildings were destroyed and their possessions confiscated. At least four Hmong Christians were killed in April and several others were arrested.