Mahason Magazine from Vientiane, Laos

Mahason Magazine from Vientiane, Laos

September 12th, 2009  |  Published in Business

Mahason Magazine — run by Sengdara Communications Ltd.,  a Vientiane-based advertising company established in 2006 — is coming to the US for nation-wide distrbution.

Their Mission, in the words of Managing Editor Aditta Kittikhoun:

Established in 2006, Mahason Magazine currently holds the title of the most popular and most widely read variety magazine in Laos. Anyone strolling through downtown Vientiane Capital will instantly recognize the Mahason signature logo M+ (our 2nd generation revamp of the magazine changed the capital M into a more sabai sabai lowercase m+) affixed on the back of motor vehicles, office building doors, textbooks, TV and computer screens all over Laos. In addition to the immediately identifiable M+, Mahason Magazine is known for its unique size, superbly written modern Lao style articles (thanks to the team of outstanding columnists), talented graphic designers, fantastic art/fashion/photography specialists, an impressive marketing team and competent editors.

Mahason in Lao means the people/public/populace. This name was selected precisely because it embodied the essential vision of our magazine: the people. One begs the question: so, who is among Mahason’s target market? That, fellow compatriots, is the million dollar question. And of course the answer is: everyone. Well, everyone who can read Lao, that is. 90% of our content is Lao.

The idea is that anyone who picks up a copy of Mahason will be able to find at least one article that interests him/her. Whether you are the hardworking 37-year-old Deputy Division Director from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the unabashed 24-year-old graduate of the National University of Laos, the laidback 59-year-old souvenir shop owner in Savannakhet, the studious 11-year-old 5th grade student of Sinxay Elementary School, the hilarious local marketing consultant, the perseverant garment factory laborer, the beautiful 22-year-old hotel receptionist, the cheery Lao carpenter in New Jersey, the frugal Lao businessman in California, the proud Lao lawyer in Texas, the irrepressible Lao PhD candidate in Melbourne, the lovely Lao yoga expert in Paris or the brilliant Lao university professor in Toulouse, there will be an article that will appeal to you, somehow.

Having articles for everyone constitutes not just another marketing strategy to increase our readership and revenue (although that is one of our main reasons 555). It is in fact not purely about the money. Instead, Mahason prides itself on generating the most interesting stories in the most creative of styles possible to encourage Laotians to love reading. It aspires to promote the use of the Lao language. It embodies the idea of Lao-ness in all its stripes. Ultimately, Mahason’s raison d’etre is to promote and re-unite the nation of Laos. Nation? The geopolitical territory between Thailand and Vietnam that is the Lao PDR? We thought that was already united!

Not exactly. By nation, we mean a distinct imagined community – and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign. It is imagined because the members of even the smallest nations will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them….yet in the mind of each lives an image of their community.

This is Mahason’s dream. The nation of Laos extends beyond the geographical boundaries of the Lao PDR. We are saddened by the fact that many Laotians have in the past been displaced and scattered by conflict and poverty, separated from their homeland, but who are courageous enough to tenaciously hold on to this image of their community. Mahason hopes to reanimate this image and reunite these individuals through the power of words.

By reading texts that are born from the land of our ancestors, we all can get a more nuanced understanding of what it means to be Lao in the 21st century. Some might argue that those in the Lao PDR do not have a monopoly on being truly Lao. This is a legitimate point. However, Mahason wishes not to dictate what it means to be Lao. We simply endeavor to bring a new flavor of Lao-ness into the sphere of print media. And it could very well form the connection that has been missing between the Laotians of the Lao PDR and the Laotian diaspora, wherever they may reside. Simply put, it is our most fervent desire to reconnect Laotians of all colors, political, ethnic and religious affiliations. Please join us in recreating the Mahason dream of a united populace!


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