Some people think that the idea of connecting Laos and Thailand is a foreign idea. How dare Lao and Thai be hyphenated together! Hmm. I wonder if these people know that there is a bridge across the Mekong from Nong Khai to Vientiane. And what is it called? The Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge (Thai: สะพานมิตรภาพ ไทย-ลาว แห่งที่ 1, pronounced [sàpʰaːn míttràpʰâːp tʰaj laːw hɛ̀ŋ tʰîː nɯ̀ŋ]; Lao: ຂົວມິດຕະພາບ ລາວ-ໄທ ແຫ່ງທຳອິດ, [kʰǔə mittapʰâːp láːw tʰaj hɛŋ tʰám ǐt]) (from Wikipedia)
And what about Sinxay? Well, look at the image above of the Thai-Lao Friendship magazine featuring Sinxay Day in Vientiane. Yes, the Thai and Lao have worked together to promote Sinxay, a shared cultural heritage. I wonder if that is shocking to some? The fact is people need to realize that Sinxay doesn’t belong exclusively to Laos, nor exclusively to Thailand. In fact there are versions of Sinxay in other countries. As we write in Sinxay:
We’ve discovered through our research, as with the Vessantara Jātaka, there are other ver-sions of Sinxay found outside of Laos, and in Theatre in Southeast Asia, Brandon includes a short summary of a Cambodian version of the Sinxay story, where the character Sinxay is known as Sanselchey. And in Thailand, outside of Isan, there is a version of Sinxay called Sangsinchai, written by King Rama II as an outer dance-drama (Lakon nouk), a folktale meant to be performed outside the palace featuring a mix of sung and spoken text.
It should be celebrated that Sinxay is a shared cultural heritage across mainland Southeast Asia and doesn’t belong to any one country. Our research has only taken us to Laos and Isan, Thailand, which we report on in our book, but we would love to explore in Cambodia and see if there are artistic representations of Sinxay like we have found in Laos and Thailand. My guess there is. So much research remains to be done!