Bakka Magazine was started on the idea that social awareness and change can flow from the ink of the proverbial pen; hence, the magazine takes its name from the Lao word for a writing instrument. Bakka’s mission is to provide a forum for fine writing and original thought with a Laotian angle by offering an eclectic selection of writing in English and Lao, pursuing this goal with sense of humor and irreverence. We at Bakka hope that our content will engage, intrigue, inspire, or make you smile and, thus keep you reading for many years to come.
Bryan Thao Worra, 1973, Bakka Magazine and Freelance Writer
Track Record: Author of On The Other Side of the Eye, Touching Detonations, The Tuk-Tuk Diaries: My Dinner With Cluster Bombs. His work appears in over 60 different international publications and anthologies across Asia, Australia, Europe and North America, including Contemporary Voices From The East, Bamboo Among the Oaks, Outsiders Within, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Journal of the Asian American Renaissance, Asian Pacific American Journal, and Asian American Press. He is also a literary editor for TripmasterMonkey.Com and an advisor to AsianAmericanPoetry.com.
Editing Style: Brevity, precision and innovation rule the day. Show me something from the angle less seen. No italics on passa Lao or similar words or you're out the door. Regarding poetry, I quote Paul Dirac: "In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite." I'm tough, immensely tough. But fair. Write, and let's see what you've got.
Quote: "From the seed comes the tree that gives you shade and fruit, until you turn it into a box and a sheet of paper, just before you become dust to feed seeds. In this all, perhaps deep poetry for those who would see."
Tutu Phimviengkham, 1969, Bakka Magazine and Gokhokho Publishing
Track Record: As an undergraduate, Tutu accepted a page-layout position at the University of Washington school newspaper, The Daily. Became editor of the Laotian Students Association newsletter, Samnuanmai (New Expression). Jumped medium in 2000 to work as a radio broadcaster. In 2006, started Bakka Magazine and currently holds the position of Managing Editor.
Editing Style: Savannakhetite. Saravanhite. Seattlelite. My southern blood sometime gets the best of me. Sometime I can be really blunt and there's just no flowery way to put it. At other times, I can be as gentle as the Seattle drizzle, in Lao it's called fonfoi. Regardless of my mood, I still believe the writing (good or bad) deserves to be read in full. Who knows, the writer might turn out to be the next Hemingway or Steinbeck.
Quote: "It was a fatal day when the public discovered that the pen is mightier than the paving-stone, and can be made as offensive as the brickbat. They at once sought for the journalist, found him, developed him, and made him their industrious and well-paid servant. It is greatly to be regretted, for both their sakes.” Oscar Wilde.
Nancy Penrose, Science writer and editor for an ocean research project at the University of Washington
Track Record: Professional writer and editor for over two decades. Co-authored Behind the Brushstrokes: Appreciating Chinese Calligraphy while living in Singapore; lived in Laos as a child in 1962--1964 and made two trips back in the 1990s.
Editing Style: I view my job as editor not to judge the content, but to judge the writing quality and to point out factual errors.
Quote: "If you have always wanted to know what Chinese calligraphy is about, this is the book." The Straits Times, "An important contribution not only to the art of Chinese calligraphy, but also to the preservation of Chinese heritage." Professor Qi Gong, former President Association of Chinese Calligraphers People's Republic of China.
Justin McDaniel, Professor of Sanskrit, Pali, Tham, and Yuan at the University of California, Riverside.
Track Record: Professor McDaniel has taught courses on Hinduism, Buddhism, Myth and Symbolism, Southeast Asian History, and the Study of Religion. He lived and conducted research in South and Southeast Asia for many years as a Social Science Research Council and Fulbright Fellow, translator, volunteer teacher, and Buddhist monk. His research foci include Lao, Thai, Kheun, Pali, and Sanskrit literature, Southeast Asian Buddhism, and Indic philology. McDaniel's recent publications appear in the Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies and the Journal of the Siam Society, and he has made contributions to collected articles on Buddhism and Modernity, Fragile Palm-leaf Manuscript research, and Pali literature in Laos and Thailand. At present he is finishing writing the first major book on the history of Buddhist education in Southeast Asia.
Editing Style: I pay close attention to detail. I work hard to eliminate repetition, cliche, and jargon. Keep it simple.
Chanthip Phongkhamsavath, 1980, Bakka Magazine and PMF
Track Record: Started on the high school newspaper, a couple articles in undergrad, and a satirical magazine in grad school. Went from photography, to layout, to now editing. By day a federal employee, but all other times are for creative pursuits.
Editing Style: If it doesn't sound right read out loud, it needs to change. Short and concise preferably, but long and flowy always has its place.
Kongphanh Santivong, 1974, Bakka Magazine and Gokhokho Publishing
Track Record: Started as editor of Samnuanmai, a Lao Student Association student newsletter, and co-edited AccessAsia: A Guide to Specialists and Current Research at the National Bureau of Asian Research as an undergraduate student at the University of Washington. Became Note and Comment Editor of the Syracuse Science and Technology Law Reporter while studying law at Syracuse University. Presently working as lawyer by day and Editor of Bakka Magazine by night (and weekends).
Editing Style: Appreciates plain, clear and concise writing. (Please no legalese!) Willing to ignore Microsoft Word’s grammar-check function where adherence to the technical rules only mucks up what is otherwise poetically eloquent. Believe the process of editing means leaving the author’s original voice as much as possible.
Quote: “The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” Plato’s pithy maxim still rings true centuries later.
Nanthakoun Santivong, 1978, Bakka Magazine
Track Record: Started writing articles for an underground high school newspaper. Despised writing through college but developed a perverse penchant for editing and critiquing other people’s essays. Now, critiquing seems second nature – almost borderline obsessive. Joined Bakka Magazine as a contributing writer and devotes time editing articles too.
Editing Style: Reconstructionist meets the dreaded ESL teacher. I pay close attention to grammar, punctuation, and diction. I am continually working on my urge to rewrite articles.
Quote: "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." Verbal Kint.
Brandon Scovill, 1980
Track Record: Co-editor for a college publication and writer for a college newspaper at 16. Interpreter and translator of the Lao language for the last 4 years.
Editing Style: Depends on your writing style.
Quote: "You're what I call a no bullshit talker." Chris T. Ransick, English Department Faculty at Arapahoe Community college in Colorado.
Norasack Pathammavong, 1960, Norasack Design, LLC
Track record: Graduated cum laude with an Associate Degree in Commercial Art. Began career as a designer in the field of advertising. Worked as an Art Director in several design agencies. Created Norasack Design,LLC. Developed numerous successful marketing and promotional campaigns in the Washington D.C-Metropolitan Area for high profile and Fortune 500 companies. For over 20 years, maintained a high level of creative direction in all areas of advertising, yielding more than 100 graphic design awards. Helped to promote young people starting out in the business world and worked with numerous non-profit organizations.
Editing Style: Simple. Distinctive.
Nor Sanavongsay, 1974, nawDsign, LLC
Track Record: Nor was introduced to the computer at age 16. He can create what can and can not be seen. He mastered the computer and does what he loves. Eight years in the making, Nor is now a web master in every sense of the word. He pushes pixels to the limit and kills bandwidths with his files and all the while he does it with style. Sometimes his blogs can be a little wordy, but don't ever call him Lao and nerdy.
Editing Style: Quirky. Witty. Senseless. Formless.
Quote: "Can you design this for me real quick?" - father and people who want free service.