“The Eternal Fatigue of an Incomplete Dream” is a work in progress series that aims to explore visually the dichotomy of Laos’ culture that is on the brink of change, from an agrarian society to one heading towards modernity. A poor, landlocked, communist country, Laos has a reputation for being a quiet country in a dynamic region. But the rapid modernization in Southeast Asia is beginning to touch Laos as well. Being one of the last countries in the closely knitted region to remain underdeveloped, Laos is looking towards their more affluent neighbours for financial and developmental aid. The lack of financial means, coupled with a small population size and being landlocked, Laos is constantly facing frustrations in its ambitious development plans.
Where no train has run, the Laos government aims to build a highspeed rail route across the country, connecting it to neighboring China and Thailand. The entire project is estimated to cost US $13 billion, and Laos is seeking funding and technical advise from the Chinese government.
For my photo project, I adopted the proposed highspeed railway as a geographical guide. The impending highspeed train exists as a metaphor for techological progress, which aims to carry Laos towards its goal of modernization with immense and unstoppable energy. I travelled along the proposed route and choose to depict the ordinary daily scenes, which are already showing signs of changes. I seek to portray the collision of new and old. I hope my introspective images will evoke a sense of nostalgia for the present cultural system in Laos, which will soon be disintergrated due to forces of capitalism and external influences.