Lao pop idol Alexandra Thidavanh Bounxouei puts her acting and singing career on hold to pursue higher education at Keio University, Kanagawa, Japan. Alexandra started singing and playing the violin at an early age. Her Bulgarian mother, Jordana Bounxouei, who was a music teacher, did make sure that Alexandra took music lesson seriously, learning both the piano and violin.
In an interview with VOA, Alexandra said her singing career started in her early teen years. She performed in Laos at many functions with her parents and friends. Soon Alexandra established herself firmly in the singing arena and became an idol to many Laotians, young and old alike, both inside Laos and abroad, who felt she was a novelty and fell in love with her beautiful face and voice. Another thing that made Alexandra unique to the Lao music industry is her talent with violin.
Alexandra became instantly famous because of her multi-talented skill in singing in many different languages and playing the violin. While attending the American University in Vientiane, she held on to her singing career and came out with two albums. Her popularity spread to neighboring Thailand where she was invited to perform at musical events and on TV many times. She finally snatched a leading role in two Thai soap operas, "Peng Rack Rim FangKong," and "RayRai Looksao Pa," which were well received on both sides of the Mekong river, and added many more members to her already large fan club.
In spite of her fame and an acting career that was going well, Alexandra put her career on hold and decided to go and study for a master's degree in Japan. "It has always been my determination to get a master's degree, and I am so happy I decided to go for it. I put everything aside so that I could come to Japan to further my education in Media Design. When I told people about what I am studying, they go like huh? They have no clue. Media Design is a new field that combines four different media areas: technology, administration, policy making and design. I have been in Japan for nine months now, and I have more than a year to go to finish my program," she said.
Alexandra is very happy living and studying in Japan even though, she said, life there is very hectic. Her reply to my question about the similarities and differences between Laos and Japan, if any, is that…"Laotians and Japanese are very much alike; they are very polite and humble. The huge difference would be….life is fast in Japan, unlike in Laos. People walk fast, everything is in a rush. I am so tired and I've to be very active and quick about everything. Rush to get in the metro and going about my business," she replied.
Alexandra also told us that there is a good-sized Laotian community in Japan; she got to meet many of them and eat Lao food. And sometimes, the Lao Embassy in Japan would organize a function so that Lao students can meet up and enjoy Lao meals together.
Listen to our interview with Alexandra for more details about her student life in Japan. VOA will bring the second part of the interview to you in the near future. Please stay tuned!