Change is terrifying.
We all say how good change is; it mixes things up, it offers a clean slate, it challenges…it’s like pressing the refresh button. But the reality of change is that it does mix things up, it wipes clean the familiar, it puts up challenges, the refresh button deletes the known, and that, surely, can be very unsettling.
I admire my entrepreneurial-spirited Thai friends, many of whom have started multiple businesses or tried out numerous careers, daring to cut their losses or to simply take a wild leap. I am constantly impressed with my expatriate friends, many of whom have made huge life-changing decisions, not once, not twice, but over and over again, uprooting themselves from all that they know to embrace The Other.
I too am going through some changes _ and no, I am not that old yet! The biggest of which is that I will be selling Citylife’s office, the house I grew up in and home of the company I have worked for my entire professional life. The trees which used to support and shield my tree houses will all be torn down, the tiny handprint I pressed into a wall will be bulldozed, the room where I spent endless nights dreaming of boys will most likely be replaced by apartment units, filled with university students…dreaming about boys. It is unsettling, and frankly, I am not happy about it. One gets attached.
Thousands of you have been to our office over the years; some as friends of the family when we lived here, others as British citizens seeking help when my father was honorary consul, and for the past decade and a half, customers, readers and visitors to our various fairs, parties and events have sat on our lawn, had coffee on our sofas and flirted with our pretty receptionists (you know who you all are!). Our staff have fallen in love here; in spite of my finger-wagging ‘don’t screw the crew’ lecture, nearly half a dozen couples have actually been married off.
So while it terrifies me to have to go out looking for offices to rent, thinking about having to drive further than two kilometres to get to work every day, writing my editorials without seeing squirrels leaping through my mango trees and bright orange butterflies flittering through the canopy of fuchsia bougainvillea – seriously, there goes another one! – I am going to have to learn to embrace this much-touted change.
I am not entirely sure when we will be moving, but it will be in the next few months, so please get in touch with us by email or phone first to find out our new location. It won’t be this fabulous house, built by National Artist, Chulathat Kitibutr; it won’t have a garden that could feed a village post-Armageddon; and it won’t have the wonderful neighbours of Pa Ha Village, who have looked out for us for nearly forty years, but it will still be Citylife because at the end of the day, we are all in this together and will be shaping our new home together…I remember how upset so many people were when the old British consulate was sold off, and yet today we can enjoy a lovely meal at the Chedi Hotel. OK, maybe I am getting a bit excited now!
Citylife this month:
Having scrapped the themed issues, we are now back to filling our pages with a variety of articles we hope will appeal to our broad-based readership. Our cover story is a feature by Tom Fawthrop who talks about the dawning of the age of The Lady in Burma and to add to the Burma coverage, we also interview an Australian expat working for Human Rights Watch on Burmese issues. Our intern Ben Friedman takes a close look at the goliath tobacco industry and the Thai government’s very financially rewarding monopoly and Grace Robinson goes ‘Oy oy oy’ with a bunch of Australian expats this month.