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What Are Lao Women Like?

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Posted

In the general sense, for those of you who have had Lao girlfriends/wives, what are/were they like...

spoiled, snobbish, humble and/or modest etc.? Are there many behavioral differences between rural and non-rural women, or do they all pretty much have the same ideals and mannerisms etc.?

I'm just curious...it's not really important.

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Posted

Just my general impression.

For me, people from Myanmar, Cambodia and Malaysia are clearly different from the Thai, but I see little difference between rural Thai in Isaan and the Lao people.

It is not so easy for a foreigner, not experienced in that area, to see a difference who is from one and who is from the other side of the river.

I am not experienced, despite I travelled around that area several times for vacation and I find these people from Laos quite similar to the people from Isaan, even their language is very similar.

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Posted

I've had a few flings with Lao women over the years. I'd suggest they're pretty much like Thais but without the same consumerism baggage... and even more conservative. Everywhere you go, you'll see women wearing the traditional 'sinh', even in the workplace, whereas you'll see Thai women go to work in a pair of jeans... but indeed, Isaan people probably have more in common with Laotians than Bangkokians. In the larger centres of Laos however, you'll still find a smattering of discos with girls in hot pants, if that's your thing.

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Posted

Are Lao women and their families generally open to the idea of marriage/relationship with a westerner? What about the language barrier; is English widely spoken, or is this something that only exists in larger cities?

Some of OE's members have met and married Lao women. I only recall hearing good things.

Consumerism baggage and 'trampy' clothing is something I've grown tired of seeing here in the States.

Is courting the norm, then?

If I'm not mistaken, I believe I recall you having a relationship with a woman in Laos before meeting your wife. Why didn't that ever pan out; if you don't mind me asking?

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Posted

..... is English widely spoken, or is this something that only exists in larger cities?

I found this area of Laos/Isaan more open to foreigners than expected. By the way, a lot of Christianity there, plenty of churches.

French as second language is almost gone however, unfortunately - younger people are all into English only.

Widely spoken? Not really, but there is always somebody around who will try to understand you. This area from Isaan into Laos is a friendly area, without these people trying to cheat you, foreigners welcome.

Do not expect however something to be really so cheap in Laos, often it's the opposite, as many items have to be brought into Laos from Thailand. -

Unlike Thailand, Laos is still full with restrictions regarding long-stay of foreigners. Nothing like large condominiums for foreign ownership like in Thailand. Politically all is moving very slowly on in Laos.

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Posted

you'll see Thai women go to work in a pair of jeans

Thai girls have to wear a dress in school, even in university, but as soon as they are out of it, the dress/skirt gathers dust in the wardrobe.

The majority of girls in Bangkok wear trousers/jeans. Or shorts and skirts at the same time, only country I know where girls do that.

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Posted

My wife is from Pakse Champasak province.

Very quiet, will ask me if I am happy with what clothes she is wearing when we go out. Will not hold hands or show any sign of affection whilst in public.This is typical of her generation. Until a few years ago would not walk beside me but one pace behind.

Goes out the odd time dancing with her friends but will not stay out too long, and now takes our 14 year old daughter with her. Drinks alcohol in moderation.

Will ask me for my permission if her family wish to come to visit in Vientiane. We do have our little differences of opinion but we talk over the problem to reach a mutually happy ending.

Our daughters, 5 and 14 go to the same private school and wear uniforms, no jeans.

So all in all Lao people even younger ones are more conservative than their Thai counterparts. However,this is changing , albeit slowly, with the younger generation being exposed to western society with it's inherent problems of consumerism , expections etc.

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Posted

Will ask me for my permission if her family wish to come to visit in Vientiane.

This is a statement that bothers me a bit, not specific to Laos.

Women having to ask permissions from men.

I'm not at all feminist but I'm finding it wrong.

In a couple, everything should be discussed and everything should be agreed upon.

Together.

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Posted (edited)

How old is your wife, stumpy? Do you think your in-laws are/were receptive and/or accepting to the fact that you are a western/foreign man? How long have you been married, and are you happy?

Regarding your wife walking behind you...I've seen this with Chinese women too. I never knew if this was intentional, but I had my suspicions. Although, I suppose it could have been due to their legs being shorter. :unsure:

I also think things should be openly communicated and agreed upon. Having someone ask for permission all the time may create an imbalance in the relationship...unless, of course, you're always asking for permission to do things as well. :w00t:

Edited by METHOS

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Posted

Women having to ask permissions from men.

I'm not at all feminist but I'm finding it wrong.

I see this a bit different, it is about considering the other spouse.

In this case the family is coming, how many are they and how long will they stay (to the expenses usually of the foreign husband).

It's not only her house. The question is also how good is the relationship between the foreign husband and her family members.

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Posted

My wife is 36 years of age. I have known her since she was a baby in circumstances I do not wish to divulge save to say it was a turbulent time in Laos and the south east asian region.

Her family have welcomed me with open arms as I have known them as long as her.

She asks permission for family to come to Vientiane as I do not like 10 + arriving and staying for a month at my expense even though 2 or 3 were originally coming. If it is to discuss a family problem the wife and I will fly to Pakse to find out what has to be done. If it is a sick family member it is a no brainer and they can come up no problems. My wife does not have to ask permission, she chooses do do so.

The house we have in Vientiane is joint ownership, my wife and 5 yr old daughter, the Pakse house joint ownership with our 14 yr old daughter.

Traditional Lao society has women subservient to men in days long gone now thank god. Still traces of male dominence in the fact that If I leave Laos to head overseas to work I am considered single. This doesnot apply to women.

Our wedding was done in the traditional fashion, first the priests blessing the animals for allowing us to kill them for the wedding, then the ceremony to let her dead parents know that she was getting married. Then the batchelor party in her brothers house, me in Lao costume getting escorted to her house, being challenged by the family then having my feet washed then led into the house for a 2 hour ceremony. The chants went on for the 2 hrs done by one man alone, the words are passed down from father to son and are not written down at all.

Then the drinking, eating and dancing.

We are happily married.

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Posted

Thanks for the info, stumpy.

What do you mean, 'being challenged by the family'?

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Posted

The majority of girls in Bangkok wear trousers/jeans. Or shorts and skirts at the same time, only country I know where girls do that.

The big thing for girl's school uniforms in government schools here are culottes. Kinda look like a skirt but are actually joined up in the crotch like a pair of shorts. I think it's to stop boys (and men) looking up them to see their knickers. Either that or they wear a skirt with skintight boxers underneath, which can't be too hygienic.

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Posted

Mostly all anyone can offer here is anecdotal. I am married to a Lao woman. She comes from a big family and all the sister's are different. The disadvantage of looking for love in asia is that it is difficult to know when you really have it. This is because poverty makes some of them say whatever you want to hear about love. If you have seen their lives from close up you will have a better idea of why. People in the west meet, fall in love and get married. People in asia might do the same or they might marry first and then maybe, fall in love.

One of the biggest cultural differences I have noticed is that they dont value privacy like we do. To go off and be by themselves seems to only happen if they are depressed. If you are a person that likes some alone time, you better discuss this with them and explain. Asian/lao women are not the docile husband fearing kind. I have always wondered why this myth ever got started. My conclusion is perhaps they dont correct a husband in public so he doesn't lose face? I'm not sure, but people that think they are more submissive or subservient are wrong.

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Posted (edited)

My only experiences with Asian women were Chinese, Vietnamese & Filipina. All of the women were pretty vocal about what they wanted. I have never seen a subservient woman...anywhere in the world. That doesn't really interest me. Like most men, I'm sure, I just want a woman to be open and honest...and never cheat or do anything to harm herself and/or our family etc. I don't need a woman to cook for me...besides, I have yet to meet a woman that can cook better than me.

I think, for most of OE's members that have spent some time in Asian and/or have been paired with an Asian woman, it is understood that there are different kinds of relationships that aren't necessarily founded on love. There is nothing wrong with it. If two people are happy together, and each are content with the fact that they are filling a role and/or providing a need etc., so be it. Two people can grow to care for each other, in some way, eventually. Who cares what anyone else thinks about it, one way or the other? If a woman wants to cuddle up with me and be affectionate with me...I don't care if she really loves me or not. As long as she doesn't cheat on me or something, I really don't care. If we're both happy, awesome.

I have seen Chinese women disregard the concept of face altogether - except when they are looking out for themselves. Not all of them are like that, though. But some of them are selfish, spoiled brats. I can attest to the privacy issue all around.

Edited by METHOS

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Posted

Stumpy. I ask this question because you live in Pakse. Would Xo​uaysleumsak be a family name that could be found in Pakse?

I have known two Laotian women in the U.S.A. that have adapted very well to American life and they are definitely not conservative. These women came to the U.S.A. in the mid 70's or so as refugees.

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Posted

Methinks selfish, spoiled brats is far more common amongst women in SE Asia these days than that old chestnut of docility and subservience. And for my own reasons, I hope that more than few OE members tell me I'm wrong for believing the former. :unsure:

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Posted

It isn't common to find selfish, spoiled female brats in Thailand, but for various reasons there is now less need for an alpha-female to suppress her natural behaviour to conform with society's expectations. So what I'm seeing these days is more and more independent women unmarried in their late 30s and 40s. Thai men have been slow to adjust to the idea of independent women.

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Posted

Methos.

Being challenged means, I walked in a procession from her brothers house to her house where a gold chain was placed across the gate barring entry. I was asked by her uncle what I was doing there, my answer was to marry his niece, next was asked if I could support her and look after her. Answer yes and then the chain is dropped and I was welcomed in to the house. All symbolic.

Our wedding was the first in the district between falang and Lao many years ago so I chose to keep with tradition. The paperwork took 12 months to orginise and luckily I had the local governor on side.

Daneric.

I cannot say with any certainty if the name is found in Pakse. Those who left the country after the war had to adapt to whever they were. Lao people are all over the world, Mongolia, Australia, UK, and of course many Mhong people in USA. Your friends would have been young when they went to the States and with no family elders to infuence their upbringing in the Lao way they therefore have taken on the influences of their adopted country.

20 Down The Drain.

Agreed there are spoilt brats in SE Asia due to the western influence creeping in and having more time and money to indulge in these things. They are however, in the minority and in my humble opinion they will continue to be so for a long time to come. To add to that I think in a generation or 2 Laos will slowly evolve, westernise under the flow of overseas goods, infuences, higher education standards and monetary wealth. For them the slower the better as this will change the charm of the country and it's laid back friendly people.

A Bloody Yank.

Yes I agree with your statement that Lao / Asian women are conscious of the losing face thing so do not openly chastise people in public. I speak from experience. My wife and I do have our moments but not in public and in front of family.A sense of humor helps .Yes you lose your privacy but my family know that I do value my pricavy and I do get my quiet time at home and I do go out on my own. You marry an asian women you marry the family and you must be prepared to accept this. Ihave done so and also I work away overseas and sometimes dno not get home for 3 moths or more so I am not exposed to family fulltime 24 / 7.

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Posted

I think it is always good to keep in mind that city girls will be different from country girls. I think you will find city women are more money hungry than country women. but, as always it depends on the woman. My guess is your own country is the same. In the usa, for example, california women are known for their money hunger whereas a place like Montana, not so much. The city offers them up more competition with the availability of iphones, cars etc. You already have been here long enough to know how important face is to them. Big face costs big money.

btw, my wife comes from vang vien. She likes money, but will rarely spend. So just because a woman might be a money grubber does not mean she will spend your money frivolously if she looks at it as her own money. In fact, if you are deep in a relationship and you sense she is blowing your money, then she might not be into anything more than just money. If I was after a life partner, I would act poor. If I am after a good time, I'd act rich. When I met my wife, I was broke and lived in a condemned house. If she thinks your poor and still likes you, then you have something.

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Posted

ABY.

My wife likes money too but does tend to spend it on the kids or the house. Last month I got home to find a carport added to the house.

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Posted

I'm new here. Very nice to see an active forum about Laos!

Stumpy: I know a man who told me that he was one of the first falang who married a Lao woman too. He stayed in the Khong Disctrict (Champasak Province) for a couple of years.

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Posted

Lao girls are not very different than Isaan girls or North Thailand girls.

Fiercely protective of their family.

Not really a western concept, but if you accept it and they make you part of the family, they sure make nice wives, wives that will fiercely protect you.

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Posted

Bluecat.

You are spot on with your last post. Asians are more family oriented than westerners and do have more of a sense of family. They tend to do things as a family. I like it when they get together and prepare food, all chatting, laughing and having a good time doing it. I also find that they often get our 5 yr old daughter involved in the preparation which assists with her learning.

I have found the same with pacific island families in my travels through the pacific.

Westerners are more money oriented which means more pressure to work longer so less time spent with family.

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Posted (edited)

I used to believe western culture to be clearly superior. This belief comes easily to anyone untravelled.

My turning point started with a conversation with my sister in law. She is from Vientiane and had come to America to work. So, she only had to want USA citizenship to get it.

I assumed she would want to and asked her when she would become a US citizen. She responded that she wouldn't.

As we were having this conversation I was just getting a new deck on my house finished. When I asked her,why would she not want to be an american?

She responded by talking about my deck. She said "in my country if I wanted a new deck, We would gather our whole family. We would get beer and probably butcher a pig or goat. We would have them over for the weekend, everyone would pitch in and help build the deck. And, we would make it fun. We would visit and laugh and just enjoy our being together. In America, your family is too busy to help or they are to far away. So, you have to hire someone to build this deck'.

She said "In America you have money but you have no time. In laos we have time but we have no money. In the end, I think time is worth more than money so I want to go back to laos someday'. I thought this a rather profound statement from a peasant girl. The more I thought about it the more I suspected she was right.

The reason this is pertinent to this discussion is because it shows that there are some very intelligent, free thinking Lao women out there and all of them are different.

Edited by a bloody yank

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Posted

That's much the problem in most industrialised countries. Not only have they sacrificed time for money they've sacrificed family too. Undoubtedly many of the issues of 'feral children' are down to the demise of family and community.

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Posted

ABY.

I agree with what your sister in law said re the deck. Have had the same here in Vientiane when I wanted the concrete wall around the property painted. The wife got 3 family to come up, supplied the necessary items. It took a few days a lot of beer Lao and food but it was great.

I am thinking of building extra bedrooms on the house and if it goes ahead we will again get her family up to do the work, house them feed them and pay a nominal fee for their services.

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Posted

Isaan actually used to be part of Laos, historically, until the Thais took it from us, hence why the language and cultural mannerisms are quite similar. In essence, Isaan is Laos influenced by Thais. In some parts, they still consider themselves Laotians.

In regards to how Lao girls are like, me being one myself, I can only truly say that we are very traditional and grew up in a strict upbringing. We're taught to be reserved and polite, know how to cook and clean as it's part of our duty as a woman, and most importantly, we were supposed to wait until we're old enough to be married, which are usually arranged by our parents. That's the ideal way to be for us Lao girls, but I'm not sure how much of those old customs are still intact.

And yes, it's correct that we're supposed to walk one pace behind our husband as well as wash his feet with a wash-cloth once he comes home from work. It's to show appreciation and respect for our husband and caretaker.

Myself, personally, I don't agree with many of those old customs lol.

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Posted

rofl. Tell that to my wife!

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Posted

Yes, many of the old customs have died out.

I could never stand having my wife walk one pace behind me. Never had my feet washed though !!

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