“Pheng Xat Lao,” or “The Hymn of the Lao People,” is the national anthem of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, one of the world’s few remaining Communist states.
The tune has remained the same for seven decades but the lyrics have changed.
The original lyrics were written in 1941 and adopted by the Kingdom of Laos in 1945. When the Pathet Lao proclaimed the Lao People’s Democratic Republic in 1975, the old lyrics were replaced by new verses written by the Minister of Culture Sisana Sisane.
The original lyrics began:
“For all time, the Lao Nation has been well-known all over Asia. Laotians establish relationships united with love and care and staying together. Love the people! Love our country! Love the King, the Ancestors, and the Old Citizens.”
The revised lyrics abolish reference to and reverence for the deposed King and ancestor worship.
“For all time the Lao people have glorified their Fatherland,
United in heart, spirit and vigour as one.
Resolutely moving forwards,
Respecting and increasing the dignity of the Lao people
And proclaiming the right to be their own masters.
The Lao people of all origins are equal
And will no longer allow imperialists and traitors to harm them.
The entire people will safeguard the independence
And the freedom of the Lao nation.
They are resolved to struggle for victory
In order to lead the nation to prosperity.”
The patriotic images chosen by Lao TV for this video depict a militaristic, Communist society quite the opposite of the laid-back, freewheeling Laos you will find as a visitor.