|  November 29, 2010

It was tough, but we made it through the year, phew!

Cutbacks, cancellation of projects, tightening of that metaphorical belt (just in case you thought I was applying to my literal one, which has sadly been loosened), and the word ‘frugal’ becoming the company motto…while we have not been alone in these painful experiences, it has not been fun. That having been said, we are very proud to report that Citylife has soldiered on and, importantly, maintained our company spirit.

While the magazine is noticeably thinner than it was two years ago, we still provide the same number, and I believe quality, of feature articles _ some months more weighty than others; even though we have not quite fulfilled our target to become completely carbon neutral this year (hence the removal of our carbon neutral logo on the cover in January 2010), we have donated money to the Forest Restoration Research Unit (FORRU) towards this initiative, and intend to, next year, catch up and become carbon neutral again as we were through 2008-9; in spite of the fact that there was not quite enough work for us to do this year, none of our staff were laid off, as a family, we held on together and faced the storm in unity; although we have had to shelve a few ideas, Citylife has organised or sponsored a whopping 16 events ranging from wine tastings to garden fairs, party nights to fundraising events; and while we have been unable to support as many charities as we would like, we have done our best to give what we can.

Every week we send books to foreign prisoners at Bang Kwang Prison, while prisons all over Thailand with foreign inmates receive a copy of Citylife each month. We also currently give scholarships as well as living expenses to five university students. Continuing our efforts since the early 1990s, we donate to the handicapped, some of whom live in McKean Rehabilitation Centre. This year we donated money towards school fees, uniforms as well as a lap top for young children at a temple school and we have gifted a further 75,000 baht to a farming family in Mae Tang, then paid for a member of the family, Bua Gaew’s, hospitalisation, followed sadly by her funeral. We built a house for a poor woman in Vieng Kalong and helped her son with medical costs. Every January we treat the Pa Ha village children (our neighbourhood) on Children’s Days with hundreds of giveaway toys and sweets. We have helped where we can, either through sponsorship, writing stories to spotlight charities or those in need, offering free advertising – of which there have been many for non-profit causes – publicity, and when we can, hard cash.

I have always believed and respected the Thai saying, ‘pid thong lang phra’ (placing the gold at the back of the Buddha) which refers to doing good deeds without having to show off about it. However, many of these donations we have been giving away for years, decades, and we felt that it was time that our readers got to know of some of it and next year, perhaps, you may be interested in joining us to fund even more good causes. If you have books, blankets or anything to donate to charity, we will be happy to receive them for you to disseminate to the needy.

We have been so very grateful to our wonderful clients and loyal readership for allowing us to do all this. Citylife is a business, but for me, it is my life. While we intend – and hope – to be successful, we also must have integrity in what we do, while having a fabulous time doing it!

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year and look forward to our continued relationship in 2011.

Citylife this month:

The Spirit Issue is as varied as the multiple meanings of the word spirit itself…we have stories on ghostly spirits, we have asked those with the sixth sense to ask the spirits to give us a prediction for Chiang Mai’s future, we have visited a distillery, enjoying the spirits provided, we join a shaking mediation class to see if it can lift our spirits and we look at the great community spirit of an exciting young foundation. So, read up and enjoy the spirit of the festive season!

On a side note: Citylife is looking for new columnists for 2011, if you wish to write us a regular monthly column, please email me at pim@chiangmaicitylife.com with your ideas and sample columns.