The Beat - A pulse on our findings and adventures

Paper Making Season in Luang Namtha with the Lanten

Posted by Emi Weir on

February in Luang Namtha province is “paper making season”.  The Lanten people make bamboo paper for three months during the dry season.  Made for their own ceremonial use, they also sell it to Hmong people. They prepare the bamboo, letting it get soft in large buckets before they mash it into a pulp that is mixed with as glue-like substance, made from another wood also soaked in water. Then the pulp is spread over the frames, which are positioned in direct sunlight. In each Lanten village I see large bamboo frames, with cloth strung between, holding the paper in the...

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What is Jungle Vine?

Posted by Emi Weir on

Jungle Vine or "Piad", pronunced pee -ad, in Lao, is a versatile plant fibre used to make nets and bags. A while ago I visited a Khmu village near Udomxai where they make a lot of jungle vine. A marketing group in Udomxai fashion the vine into different products, purses and bags, to capture a wider audience. Without lining the bags are great for fishing or going to the beach, as water, sand can go through the bag. With lining it can be a fashion statement.  Below is a slide show showing the cutting of the vine, splicing, drying and then...

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De-clutter & Purchase "Sparks of Joy"

Posted by Emi Weir on

Do you often think about how much stuff you have? Every time you move home, does the amount of contents always surprise you? A wonderfully, maybe a little overtly, organised Japanese woman is making a living out of creating home order and concentrating on posessions that "spark joy!  "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo. You can even watch her Google Talk  and see her passion her simple yet effective method.    The office is always needing a de-clutter. Many would recognise the stripey bag syndrome.   I have always been fascinated by...

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Wearing a “sinh” or Lao skirt - a brief guide for foreigners

Posted by Emi Weir on

No it is not a confession, a “sinh” is a Lao skirt.  When in Laos, a foreign woman who wears a sinh is showing respect, whether she wears it for ceremony, to work or just around out about. I suggest try it. It gives you kudos, partly because many assume you are working here or even better still, volunteering.  Here are some things about the sinh, some, my Lao colleagues have taught me, some I love, and some, just noteworthy enough to share. As the wearer adapts to the sinh, she tends to become more adept at showing her own...

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