On top of building stadiums and other facilities, there have been unprecedented efforts to ‘beautify’ Vientiane in anticipation of the SEA Games, now only two weeks away. But not everything, it seems, is going to plan.
As part of the sprucing up, the flower pots in the attached photos have been slowly laid along the road to the airport – previously Luang Phrabang Rd now Souphanouvong Road (renamed earlier this year after the ‘Red Prince’ on the hundredth anniversary of his birth). However, people have objected that they look like coffins, and especially coffins for children, so a couple of nights ago the laborious task began of removing them entirely from the median strip lest they bring the Games bad luck. It was only half done by yesterday, when this shot was taken, so they capture the ‘here now and gone tomorrow’ scene.
Thanks to an astute observer in Vientiane for picking up on this tale, which provides a revealing local alternative to the ‘national glory’ narrative of the Games and a fascinating insight into the lengths organisers are willing to go to in order to ensure the SEA Games are a success.