18. Sweeping Generalizations

In an effort to show off just how knowledgeable they are about ‘life in Laos’, falang can say some pretty stupid shit. Everyone is guilty of it, even those who envision themselves as a paragon of political correctness. Advanced falang can make slightly more complicated sweeping generalizations, peppered with personal anecdotes. But is also common practice for a novice falang to go from admitting they know next to nothing about a topic to becoming a regular expert on all things Lao in four weeks flat, making statements such as ‘Lao people don’t like to read’. While most falang are capable of contributing sweeping generalizations to almost any dinner table conversation, they do have a few favorite topics. In no particular order, they are:

  • Lao people
  • Vietnamese people
  • Chinese people
  • Thai people
  • Other Asian people
  • The government
  • Development
  • Corruption
  • The UN
  • Miners’ wives
  • Backpackers
  • Lao-falang dating
  • Buddhism
  • Lao culture
  • Lao work ethic
  • Rural lifestyles
  • Each other. (For example, see here.)
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