• James Tam 谭炳昌

Laos (4) - Abstract Vientiane 老撾(4)- 包羅萬象

Updated: Apr 15


Vientiane has become a familiar name in the past few days because of the 49th ASEAN foreign ministers meeting. Lao’s capital Vientiane, aka Viangchan, aka Wiangchan, means City of Sandalwood in Lao to some, City of the Moon to others.


The community is believed to have been established in the 11th or 12th century. Since then, it had been ruled by one lord after another, with a brief spell of unsustainable independence in the 18th century which the Siamese promptly squashed. During WW2, Vientiane surrendered to the Japanese without much of a fight; Laos was a French colony at the time.

上星期的東盟與中國外長會議,把萬象這名字報道得熱了起來。從前遼國的首都叫永珍,別名文單或雍田。遼國改名老撾後,永珍才易名萬象。萬象這名字無論中英法文都有好幾個版本,就算在老撾原文也有不同解讀:一說是「檀香城」,另一說是「月城」。


萬象大概建於十一到十二世紀左右,一千年來被很多不同的大佬管治過。十八世紀時還曾經獨立,威風了幾十年才被暹羅征服。隨後老撾淪為法國殖民地,二戰時法國對日本沒有招架能力,皇軍不費吹灰之力便佔領了這座首都城市。



Colourful and often painful vicissitudes have left Vientiane with a complex character.


From an abstract mix of old and new, east and west, north and south, a new order is emerging from apparent chaos. The first thing which caught my eye is the bewildering réseau of power cables which enmeshes the city. They appear impossible to maintain, yet are evidently functioning. What’s the secret, I wonder.


The sun sets over Mekong, right in the centre of town, next to a market, glowing amongst strolling lovers and families. It looks far too brilliant to be “real”, at least when viewed through the camera. Can nature be ostentatious?


After sunset, I walk into a French restaurant operated by young immigrants from Nice. Oolala! French cousin is much better and cheaper here than in Paris. If this century is indeed one which will reintegrate the Eurasian landmass, what city is better poised than Vientiane, in body and spirit?


My favourite cables 令我目瞪口呆的電纜

充滿國際色彩的紛紜變化,在萬象留下了複雜豐富的文化層次。


除了隱約帶著東西合璧,南北共融的歷史味道,今天的萬象更遇上新舊替換的發展契機,在混亂中醖釀著新秩序,很有抽象感。隨街可見的電纜,一捆捆吊在木柱上,凌亂交錯,十分吊詭。雖然頗有藝術趣味,卻完全不可以想象維修。但事實上電力供應基本正常,其中操作秘密令人費思!


城中心湄公河畔的日落,絢爛得有些「過火」。我身在現場也覺得不真實,心想略為恬淡的話,這景色會更加上鏡。看完誇張的日落,到一家由幾個年輕法國移民經營的餐廳晚膳。沒料到他們的法國菜,水平比巴黎名牌餐廳要高,價錢卻不到三分一!這個世紀真的屬於亞歐大陸的話,萬象不論身心都會是一個重要樞紐,現成的橋梁。


Street Scene 街景

An ostentatious sunset by the Mekong 湄公河畔誇張的日落

The Night Market is starting up 夜市剛開

Past Big Shot 過期大人物

Emerging modernity 新舊替換的建設

Street Artist 街頭畫家

Midget Chinese "Ghost Doughnuts" 縮水油條

The label in the museum display says "Training Documents", Five times!I thought it amusing

博物館內的標籤說通通都是“訓練手冊”,可以說解說並不算詳盡!

From the Plain of Jars still full of unexploded bombs 在滿布炸彈的古蹟發掘的古物

A truly enlightened person can nap anywhere 真正開悟的人什麼地方都可以入睡

That's all for Laos! 老撾影集完!


Link to Sishuangbanna & Laos: Meng Zhe Market

链接西双版纳 勐遮市场

#Laos #Photos #老挝 #摄影

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