Chao Anouvong, also known by the regal name of King Xaiya Setthathirath V is the last king of the former Lao kingdom of Lane Xang, who ruled from 1805 – 1828. The statue pictured below and the surrounding parklands are a memorial to a man perceived locally as one of the countries most cherished leaders. During the unveiling of the monument in 2010, Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad gave a rousing speech acknowledging the kings bravery and devotion to keeping the Siamese away. Although the king was unable to achieve victory, and was later captured and tortured by the Siamese,
“…his determination to fight on reflected the depth of his devotion to maintaining the country’s independence.” – Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad.
Chao Anouvong’s statue points across the Mekong toward Thailand, perhaps as a final act of defiance, or perhaps (as blogger Marc Roger Albert believes) he is looking for the 20 million former Lao people living nowadays as Thais in Thailand’s north-eastern Isaan provinces! Personally, I think he is offering an outstretched hand of friendship toward the Thai people whom he once rebelled against.