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Sponsoring a Lao student

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toronto
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Sponsoring a Lao student

I travel to Lao several times a year on business and was often approached to sponsor a student there. My hesitation to do this proved me right as during the last year I received disturbing information. Some students , former Monks and Novices , met their sponsors at their former temples. But many of the students , now at University or Colleges in Vientiane showing not much interest to learn , but using the money for alcohol and drugs. Or in the case of former Novice Boun Lord Vat Nong temple , now studying at Lao American College in Vientiane , who was so insincere "collecting" 6(six) sponsorships for himself , each sponsor not knowing the other , which gives him now a monthly "income" of around 600$ per month, almost the twice the average yearly income in Lao.

This is a classical example how corrupt people become , abusing the generousity of visitors and sponsors.

Luang Prabang, Laos
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11. Re: Sponsoring a Lao student

No, I'm not surprised at all. As you said, neko, monks and novices are all too human despite westerners tendency to elevate them to 'sainthood' or being very spiritual. And I've heard some very apalling stories such as monks and novices sleeping with westerners. Just a little more than a month ago, a monk at Wat That Luang in Luang Prabang got busted by Thai tourists with having sex with a 'farang'. But I also wonder what these women are thinking in having sex with monks and novices? A couple years ago at Wat Paphay around 8pm in the evening I saw a 30ish women in a black cocktail dress going into the gates by herself. Made us wonder what she was up to. It just made no sense that a farang women wearing a short cocktail dress would enter the gates/wall of the temple complex at that time since there's very little lighting at the entrance.

Anyways, to the above Lao expat, I do hope you do return to Laos to help your country because education is so important as Lao develops. Those with a good education have a far greater chance to land a good job in the future.

UK-London
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12. Re: Sponsoring a Lao student

I am very happy that you help students. That is a good point.

Melbourne
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13. Re: Sponsoring a Lao student

I have hacrually said something to 2 novices on top of Mt Phou Si. There were many tourists up there at dusk....so was I. I saw 2 novices having a 'good' perve at some foreign tourists who were (inappropriately) dressed in bikinis !!!! I tolf the novices to get down from the Mt...and also told those female tourists to respect the place and the culture of Laos. Some other 'loder' tourists actually applauded me.

I did not want the applause...but I was appalled by the tourists.

As you said that those boys and men are in orange robes but they are also humans, with earthly desires. Laos and LP had been shut from outside world for so long.....and when the 'outside world' brings something so 'new' (as in flesh and $$$$), ofcourse human beings will have problem with the lure of those things.....

I have read with alarm that there are signs everywhere in LP about the behaviours that should be upheld when observing the almsgiving....but not many people do respect. Shame, really.

Mane and every one here should mention to older monks or someone with the authority (or even to the guset house owners, restaurant owners, general Lao people) to deal with these problems...both the tourists and monks/novives.

I am just too far away to do anything. I do not wish to see our culture being destroyed or looked down by others.

Sorry, it has been a long 'pontification' from me.

Jack.

Kurashiki, Japan
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for Kurashiki, Cambodia, Myanmar
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14. Re: Sponsoring a Lao student

Good on you for doing that, Quidnunc!

When I was there in September, I noticed quite a few "hippy chicks" obviously fresh off the boat from Thailand, with VERY low rise pants, and tattooed back showing, flabby midriff hanging out. Cleavage galore in Vientiane, nowadays. Some folks have no shame...

toronto
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15. Re: Sponsoring a Lao student

Yes, Maneki you are absolutely right. At the beginning , I came first to L.P. in 1998 and found it very spritual and had much respect for the Novices and Monks , who choose to enter the Temple .

But soon my eyes were opened, it is not more as a "boarding school" for poor boys whose parents have no other means to provide for them or send them to High School. But sadly the discipline of Boarding School is missing and often I find the Abbots of the Temples far to lax. TV , CD-Mp player on from morning to late night , smoking is very common.

But I heard the new Head Abbot of all the Temples in L.P. tries to curb the time the Monks and Novice spend at the Internet Cafe.

I am no prude and they should have some fun too after all they are often still children , but it should be within reason and they should recognise the chance to go to High School there as most of them come from very remote villages and should use the time to study at their best.

Kurashiki, Japan
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16. Re: Sponsoring a Lao student

Moose- (did you change your handle? or is it a different Moose?)

I heard, from one of my monk friends, that a couple of years ago several monks were caught having sex with women(some were foreign women) and that lead to a crackdown on the monk/foreign women mingling situation in LP. I hear it is quite strict nowadays. I also heard from many a monk that it depends entirely on the abbot of their temple how many hours they are allowed to spend studying, on the internet, etc. Some absolutely forbid studying of any kind (outside of Pali, Buddhism, etc) and I hear that some guys have to "sneak off to school/English classes, computer classes" etc. Some you can darn well guess are sneaking off to be with women, too...

toronto
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17. Re: Sponsoring a Lao student

still the same moose

Melbourne
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18. Re: Sponsoring a Lao student

I can understand that some abbotts allows monks/novices to mingle with foreigners (both males and females). After all, by mingling with them will give the monks/novices chance to practise their English.

But....some monks/novices go too far. This aided by (female) foreigners to be TOO close/intimate (as they come from different cultures) and the monks/novices just feel difficult to resist the 'sin' of flesh.

I have read (from blogs) about some female tourist taking a novice to an internet cafe and showed him the usa of internet and also paid for the service(internet). It was innocent enough but for those novices, there is an opportunity to LEARN and also someone to pay for the usage of the comp. I am afraid that some people would think of those novices are taking advantage of the toursits generosity...and certainly not acceptable for Lao community to see an orange robe being mingling with females (being a Lao or foreigner).

Personally, I think the abbotts should make stricter rules. If tourists wish to help, they can always volunteer to teach (say, convesation, etc..) for an hour or so at the temple with a lot of monks/novices in a classroom setting.

What do you think? I believe in this strongly.

This will minimise the one-on-one intercation (especially) between females and monks/novices.

If I see that kind of behaviour from the monks/novices, I CERTAINLY will say or do something to remind them of their "ROLE" as the followers of Bhuddism.

Like to hear what you think.

Kurashiki, Japan
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19. Re: Sponsoring a Lao student

Did you read my last post? Each temple and each city/village has different "rules" when it comes to what their monks and novices can do. I sometimes travel with my monk & novice friends, which is first approved by the abbots at their respective temples. Vientiane is far more lax than Luang Prabang because of the incident that I wrote about in my last post. One of my monk friends said that even in Vientiane, in his former temple (they sometimes change if the place gets overcrowded, or if they don't get along with the people there), the abbot would not allow him to sign up for English classes and this really had him upset. Since the classes were held on teh weekends, he would tell the abbot he was off to the market and instead joined the English classes.

My novice friend said that in Vientiane, monks and novices are not allowed to ride bicycles, however when we were traveling together, he was allowed to rent and ride a bicycle in Vang Vieng. I have never had any problems being in public with the boys, but some locals on the island of Don Det got very upset at me and said I should not even be in the same room (restaurant) as him! They threatened to call the police so we left.

Yes, perhaps if each temple was to be a bit more strict on the rules with these guys, there would be less trouble. Some of the abbots are trying to instill fear in their young men by teaching them that all foreigners have AIDS and or carry disease. This I have heard from several monks over there...

20. Re: Sponsoring a Lao student

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