Recent Australian volunteers have told me they were given a most warm reception my the Lao Ambassador in Canberra during their pre-departure training. He was generous with his time and put on a BBQ at his residence.

 The ambassador was really excited about showing the volunteers a home video he had of an ASEAN meeting from a few years ago. The video turned out to be of the famous ASEAN talent contest, where foreign ministers are required to perform at the end of the conference.  The Lao Ambassador thought they would find it really amusing to see Australia’s Foreign Minister at the time, Alexander Downer, belting out some number. I’m pretty sure that the talent contest isn’t accessible to filming for the general media. It’s impressive that someone from the Lao delegation snuck in a video camera.

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