Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lao Magazines?

Over the last decade it feels like we've seen a lot of magazines come and go for the Lao community.

When larger mainstream magazines are giving up in the age of the internet, I admire that we still have many aspiring publishers who believe Lao will read about our own community. That's great faith and trust, an optimism I hope we never lose, even in the toughest times.

Sometimes I wonder if some of our magazines tried to be too many things for too many. Some try to be hip and traditional, or try to be flashy and documentary, or try to create change without causing offense. But that's not what the best magazines do.

A good magazine is unafraid of having an opinion. It goes forward into the world knowing their point of view will be appreciated by only a small segment of our community. But for that part of our community, those readers will find what it's looking for.

We need many magazines, to offer many perspectives. That's healthy.

Maybe someday, we'll see a few Lao Golf Magazines, or a magazine dedicated to Lao beverages, from rice whiskey and BeerLao to cocktails and drinks in a bag.

Given the rise of Lao designers from Be Inthavong, Nary Manivong, Nithaya Somsanith and Chloe Dao among others, a magazine dedicated to Lao fashion, textiles and accessories seems only a few years away.

I see so many Lao who want to write children's books that a magazine for them is not improbable.  A magazine on best practices for Lao Buddhism and sustaining a wat will eventually come into being.

The commonality? Passion. A specialization.

Will Lao Basket Weavers Quarterly ever make someone millions of dollars? That's hard to say. But I hope in the years ahead we will not be afraid to take risks. That we feel free to put ourselves out there and share what we're deeply passionate about. Only then, can we build our society. Only then, can we start a discussion that lets us be the very best Lao we might be.

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