Editorial December 2019 – Big Day Out!

Citylife's editor, Pim Kemasingki's monthly editorial musing on media, planning, pollution and Chiang Mai's Big Day Out.

By | Fri 29 Nov 2019

I had a rather spicy editorial lined up about our current police-military state of affairs. But as I sit here in November, I am reminded that I am writing for the holiday issue and you all don’t want to flip open the magazine to see my glum face and dire warnings, so let’s get chirpy and positive!

While Loy Krathong ended with a bit of a whimper, our Citylife Garden Fair, went off with a massive blast. It appears that if we want something to happen in our northern city, we simply must do it
ourselves. There has been much talk this year of our economic doldrums and general lethargy of the city. Yet, here we were, little Citylife Chiang Mai, pulling in ten thousand happy residents who shopped, ate, drank, danced and donated with glee. If all the money is collected according to pledges from auctions, then we will have raised just shy of 400,000 baht for local charities. Thank you all.

Look all around us, people are standing up and simply getting on with it, as the decaying status quo simpers and struggles to maintain relevancy and take any action. This can be seen everywhere.

Whereas for the past many decades, Chiang Mai’s reporters would head to the Provincial Hall every Tuesday morning to gather the weekly news put forth by government departments and big businesses, today we simply scour social media, find something news worthy, do our due diligence and publish. Artists and writers who once quivered and cowed at the feet of snotty gallery owners and behemoth publishing houses, today publish bestsellers online, cutting out the middlemen and previous standard bearers of taste and literature, and they are being rewarded — or condemned — directly by the public. While governments dither and obfuscate over climate change, a sixteen year old is inspiring multiple generations to take charge of their own future and if you read this month’s magazine, you will see that many of Chiang Mai’s youths have been inspired to also take to the streets and raise their voices of alarm.

There is one article this month which I think is very important; intern Madeline Walsh has written a concerning report about how our city is reaching a tipping point, and that it is not yet, but almost, too late for us to steer the city towards the right direction. However, what is evident from this story, is that it is not up to government, national or local, to do the job as frankly they are not up to the task. It is all on us, we must demand the city we want to live in, not passively sit here while Bangkok dictates our metastasising growth.

Citizens have formed the Chiang Mai Breathe Council in hopes of finding solutions to our pollution woes, the Blue Sky project is soon to be launched and all sorts of other civil initiatives are popping up, all of which we must actively participate in and support.

There is much to do, the task appears at times daunting, and we have no budget nor public policy to support us. But at the end of the day this is our home and we simply must do whatever we can to make sure it is a home we want to live in.And as for people doing their best, I need to take some space here to thank some people who made this the best Citylife Garden Fair in the past 14 years. Firstly, my staff. The entire Citylife team went above and beyond, pulling off what I believe was a really successful event. I also have to thank the incredible largess of Boonthavorn, who not only gave us that lovely garden, but supported us throughout the year with so many facilities, staff and other support which helped us to make this fair so great. The group of wonderful expat ladies who have tirelessly worked many for years on the lucky draw and auctions, these are the people who have managed to raise hundreds of thousands for our local charities and then of course there are all the wonderful sponsors and donors, big and small, local and international, who dug as deep as they could to give us vouchers, prizes and items which we used to raise money. Also the various teams of people who helped us to be environmentally responsible, picking up garbage, soliciting bio-degradable containers, sorting out plastic and simply helping out throughout the fair. And lastly and not in the least leastly, thank you to all of you who brought your smile and your joy, making this community event Chiang Mai’s Big Day Out!

See you in 2020.