Laos: Time for Poets

Laos' pro-Western Premier, Prince Boun Oum, called a rare press conference in Vientiane last week, but never said a word. Smiling and silent, he sat for an hour while Education Minister Nhouy Abhay, who is also the poet laureate of Laos, chattered on. In mid-conference, Nhouy casually remarked that the government had asked help from the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization in dealing with the Communist-backed insurrection in Laos. Reporters were startled, and Nhouy hastily explained: "We simply wanted to reassure our people that we have friendly nations with us. Foreigners in Vientiane...

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