Lao-American writer Bryan Thao Worra has a post on the possibilities of Lao steampunk:
In real life, the industry could not be sustained due to financial issues and social upheaval in the region. But what would have happened if things had been successful? The outcome of the Nguyen-France War in what is now modern Vietnam might have ended very differently. Would the technology have spread to Luang Prabang, Vientiane or Champassak? Or perhaps, what if Minh Mang had failed, but research in the technology succeeded elsewhere? In an era of gunboat diplomacy, things could have been very different.
What would have happened if Lao had been successful in integrating steam engine technology into their society? Besides the likely rapid deforestation?
A writer could have a very interesting time exploring what the presence of lighter-than-air airships, analog or digital mechanical computers such as the Analytical Engine might have had on events in Southeast Asia. – read the full post.