Although falang have multitudes of hobbies, perhaps the one to which they are most devoted is complaining about the place where they live.
The opportunities for complaint are endless, and they common fodder for small talk, much like talking about the weather. In fact, the first one is the weather.
Falang test: Give yourself one point for each of the following things that you have found yourself bemoaning in the past two weeks. Tally up your complaints to see how you rank.
- Neighbors’ music
- Having nothing to do
- Places closing too early
- Service at restaurants
- Unreliability of shops being open
- Coworkers’ annoying habits
- Loud kids at Joma 2 or Common Grounds
- Your tailoring taking too long
- The price of flights out of Vientiane
- Being landlocked
- The ‘wrong kind of falang‘
- Digestive problems
- Burning garbage
- The inconvenience posed by Lao holidays
- Air Asia (they lie!)
- Internet speed
- Falang from _______ (insert nationality of your choice)
- Ant invasions
- Power outages
- Vientiane Times headlines
- Being charged ‘falang’ prices
- The disrepair of Sengdara equipment
- The town being “too small”
- The dating scene
- Random curfew enforcement
- Inadequate air conditioners
- Senglao not having the latest movies (before they come out in theaters)
- No clothing available in falang sizes
- Not being able to find a preferred product, brand, or specific food item from home
0-9 complaints: You are either an experienced or novice falang. Experienced falang have been there, complained about that. They’re so bor pen yang about life in Lao that they rarely get worked up over Vientiane’s inevitables. They’ll be sure to remind you that ‘you’ll get used to it soon’. On the other end of the spectrum, the novice falang also rank low on the complaining scale. They’re so eager to live their adventurous developing world life that they readily embrace every inconvenience they come up against. 41 degree weather? The novice falang relish this opportunity to take a screen shot and marvel at the heat on the Facebook.
10-19 complaints: You are an average falang. The average falang has embraced the fact that complaining is just a integral part of the falang existence. Their honeymoon period with Laos has worn off and suddenly they no longer find their neighbor’s 5am karaoke sessions endearing, but rather terribly off-key. This falang will have something to add to most gripe sessions about Vientiane, and will remain respected unless they turn into…
20 complaints and above: …the jaded falang. No matter how long this falang has been around, they will find something to complain about. After a conversation with this falang you might be convinced that they lead a completely miserable life, or even be tempted to ask “Why are you possibly living here?” Marvel at this falang’s ability to complain about things that have never even crossed your mind.
What else do you complain about? Comment on Facebook!