Editorial: May 2013

 |  April 29, 2013

She was wailing, sobbing uncontrollably, her face twisted in despair. My heart went out to her. I didn’t know her from Eve, but this well dressed woman in her mid twenties, very pretty under the streaked mascara and smeared lipstick, was blubbering inconsolably about her loss. We passersby were looking on with great concern. She had obviously just lost someone. “But what am I going to do without mun? (Mun in Thai is anything from a very close ‘she’ or a ‘he’ to a mere ‘it’.) Mun has been with me for years. I don’t know where to start,” she moaned to the increasing distress of a gathering crowd.

She went on to cry over not knowing how to live anymore, wondering about how to get in touch with everyone, freaking out about continuing with work now lost forever. It was heart wrenching.

As she continued to talk about ‘mun’, my empathy began to wane as I awoke to the realisation that this pretty pink mun (with feathers, apparently) may not be a recently lost best friend after all. The hysterical bint was whining about losing her iPad!

The crowd snorted with disgust and wandered off…ok, maybe that was just me.

When did we get so attached to these sleek electronic devices, dressing them up like Barbie dolls and sleeping at night with them by our sides?

I must admit that – sans hysteria – I too had a rather embarrassing episode the other day. Mum is recovering from brain surgery and I was told by the doctor that I had to find a way for her to exercise and flex her little grey muscles. An iPad was suggested.

I was worried. You see, I don’t go out at night much further than Nimmanhaemin these days because at least once a week I am called home by my parents to ‘fix’ the TV – the HDMI button was clicked instead of the AV, UBC was turned off by mistake, the DVD was turned on when not needed. ┬áTechies, the Shaw/Kemasingkis are not. So the idea of an iPad terrified me. But being a stellar daughter, buy it I did, and proceeded to download a slew of memory games and brain exercises.

After a week or two mum was beginning to get the hang of it, but for the life of us we couldn’t quite figure out how solitaire worked. We tried swiping cards into place, clicking on them, moving them around, but we just couldn’t get it right. It was all very frustrating and much time was spent over this pesky app when one day my father asked why we didn’t use real cards. I was flummoxed. The idea of using real cards to play, of all things, solitaire, had not even entered my tech-addicted (read tech-addled) head.

So much for brain exercise!

With the advent of one shiny device after another, there is no option but to embrace them, integrating them into our lives, leaning and relying on them for increasing numbers of tasks. Who needs to memorise phone numbers anymore when you simply have so say someone’s name for their photo to pop up on your screen and the dial tone to start up. I still remember the phone number of my first place of work – the British Council – from 1997, but I don’t know my mother’s phone number. Go figure.

Admittedly after having smugly mocked the overwrought woman and her lost ‘mun’, I walked around the corner, surreptitiously reaching into my handbag, to check that my iPhone, iPod and iPad were secure…

Pink, feathers? Hmm.

I quickly added a note to my notepad reminding me to go to the Mac shop and find a pretty new cover for my iPad.

If you can’t beat them and all that…

Citylife this month:

Being an arty farty lot, our editors this month delve into the creativity that is oozing out of Lanna.

Hilary and I were invited, along with half the Chiang Mai press, by Le Meridien Chiang Rai to spend a weekend with them. Their incredible hospitality and stunning property acted as the base for our exploration of Chiang Rai’s exciting art scene – read all about it in Hilary’s article ‘Bridge Over Coloured Water’. I delve further into the whys and hows of this scene by interviewing old timer Chiang Rai resident Rebecca Weldon, who spent the past thirty years living in the northern province and working with the great artists. We also introduce you to a local fashion designer who is making a name for himself and a Thai school in Lampang where kids get creative with, of all things, milk bags!

Our intern Mai Nguyen introduces us this month to Citylife’s new neighbours, the Wat Gate Muslim community, and Tom Fawthrop shows you a quirky side of Cambodia we bet you never knew about.

Have a good read and see you in June!