Editorial: December 2015
I’m a glass half full kind of girl. Always have been. And while my Pollyannish outlook has often led me into all sorts of trouble, I believe optimism makes me a happier person. That isn’t to say that I don’t treasure my cynicism. Cynicism is a healthy state, it makes us question the world around us and challenge status quos. Which leads us to search for solutions to make things better, which brings us right back to that brimming glass. So my cynicism is in fact most sunny in its disposition.
Of late, I can empathise with those who are finding it hard to maintain a positive outlook.
The world suddenly seems to have shrunk right in front of my eyes of late. An old school friend was stuck in lockdown and separated from his young daughter in Mali’s Bamako during the hostage crisis. Along with old friends around the world, I followed updates breathlessly on Facebook until she was returned safely to her family. Earlier in the month a university friend and her fiancé were stuck at Sharm el-Sheikh, following the Sinai crash. Then, without even knowing that I had to worry, eight friends checked in on Facebook to declare that they were safe in Paris.
It’s been quite bewildering and alarming experiencing the news via a mere degree of separation. It seems as though terror is at our very doorstep. In fact, a family friend here refused to go out to celebrate Loy Krathong this year, and it wasn’t for the annual fear of lack of parking.
It appears that the world is a hot mess of paranoia, anger and blame. There is heightening xenophobia as people cling on to the familiar.
But as the holiday season approaches and we are supposed to have goodwill for all mankind, let’s look around us in a bit of appreciation.
Citylife recently held our annual garden fair which was attended by thousands of people from what must have been dozens upon dozens of nationalities. I was reminded that we are, as a world, coming together. Borders are being crossed, blood and ethnicities blended, conversations had and we are learning more and more about one another. Of course it’s not going to be easy playing with each other when for millennia the only thing we knew about ’em foreigners was that they were enemies. Sure, there has always been trade, but for the average Joe farmer, which was pretty much the vast majority of our ancestors, the Other was something to be suspicious of and feared.
Today, ignorance is being replaced by an overload of information, and that too can be terrifying. We are all getting to know new cultures, religions and languages and along with the exotic and fascinating, comes the flaws and idiosyncrasies. Problems are bound to happen.
So for me I am going to appreciate my overflowing glass – the new friendships we are making, places we are visiting, and cultures we are absorbing and sharing. These are good things and in spite of some people who wish to return to a world of cultural singularity, so focused on protecting what was they are unable to envision what could be, I know we are heading in the right direction.
Happy holidays all of you wherever you are from and whatever crazy and wonderful beliefs and ways you have.
Citylife this month:
We have a wee reunion in our pages this month with Citylife editors past and present being featured. James Austin Farrell interviews a successful entrepreneur who has lived in Chiang Mai for a couple of decades, Sergio Carnale of Buonissimo. Aydan visits a tea house and learns about Fu. I fail miserably to escape from a locked room in sixty minutes and Hilary Cadigan writes about her reverse culture shock after returning home to the United States for six months. See you in 2016!