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A Look Back at 2013 Vol. 23 No. 1 January 2014

   

Pim Kemasingki,
Citylife Managing Editor

What Citylife story had the most profound impact on you?

The interview of the lady tuk tuk driver Plaa in October 2013's Life of Plaa. For me it was personal, I had - OK I will say it straight - been rather snooty about her for many years (we had some personal interaction) seeing her as a mistress to her stepfather and a surly, grumpy woman with no discernible redeeming qualities. When I sat down, over many sessions to interview her, I learnt of her horrific life experiences and her valiant struggles to overcome them all and felt utter shame. I now have nothing but admiration for her. By interviewing her, I had actually put a mirror up to my own prejudices…and it wasn't pretty. Sigh. 


Craziest thing you did in 2013?

I am a lady! I don't do anything crazy…well, apart from that night, oh, and that one. Oh, yes and that other one…

Describe something that will always make you nostalgic for 2013.

That my parents are in good health and I get to enjoy them. Hopefully it will last a long time, but age is a mean thing, and I live in fear of the day they are not as healthy as they are now. 

Best weekend getaway?

Mountain Float at Mae Ngad dam on my 40th birthday. Ahhh, bliss. Floating sunset lounge, aqua trampoline, kayaking, champers on the deck and swimming with floating cow poo - that bit wasn't so grand.  

Most embarrassing moment of 2013?

Most likely leaping off the bluff at the quarry in my dress, with a photographer poised to capture my elegant moment of descent. Ended up…in the buff. Pictures have all been deleted from camera ans server and photographer has just finished his therapy.


Hilary Cadigan,
Citylife Deputy Editor

Strangest thing you ate in 2013? 

Probably flying termites. You know, those nasty winged bugs that always swarm the streetlamps at certain times of the year? Yeah, I ate those. We were in the mountains and there were a bunch around the light bulb so my friend, a Karen mahout who is very astute at living off the land, grabbed a piece of cardboard and a bucket of water, knocked the termites into the bucket where they drowned, and then saut?ed them up in lemongrass and garlic. Granted, I was a few beers deep, but they tasted pretty good, kind of like pork belly. And to add a public service announcement, bugs are actually one of the most healthy and sustainable sources of protein on the planet!

Best weekend getaway?

The Chai Lai Orchid in Mae Wang, a beautiful place with an even more beautiful mission - to provide education for local children and job training for women at risk of sex trafficking. It's also baby animal heaven: elephants, puppies, kittens, piglets, parakeets, guinea pigs… every time I go there's a new batch of cuddles. 

Craziest thing you did in 2013?

Other than things I'd rather not print, the two craziest things were both done in the name of journalism. One was getting totally naked in front of a bunch of strangers for my nudism story, and the other was holding a baby bear (and walking her on a leash) for the piece I wrote about the Wildlife1 Sanctuary in Chiang Dao. Thanks, Citylife.

What Citylife story had the most profound impact on you?

My story about the Kayan "Long Necks" was something I wanted to write for a long time. I spent several months doing research, interviewing experts and visiting different "villages" all over Northern Thailand. It was often heartbreaking, but I met so many incredibly strong Kayan people who inspired me with their ability to separate themselves from their personal struggles, from the trappings of culture and politics, and move forward, even when stuck in a seemingly unwinnable situation. 

Best/worst song of 2013?

Best is Valerie June's "Wanna Be on Your Mind." Worst is anything and everything by Maroon 5. Please, Thailand, let 2014 be the year we finally retire "Moves Like Jagger."




James Austin Farrell,
CityNews Editor

Craziest thing you did in 2013?

Worried about the future and so made the present almost uninhabitable at times. 

Describe something that will always make you nostalgic for 2013?

Reading The Possibility of an Island on an island, and considering a world without love. 
 
Best/worst song, film, or book from 2013? 

Best song: If you're talking about released this year, Fruit Bats, "You're Too Weird." I love the simplicity, and how positive it sounds. Best song I heard for the first time was Darren's "Allo Darlin'."

Best film: I don't know, I saw so many. The adaption of Irvine Welsh's Filth was very good, so I'll say that. Worst: Take your pick, all the bullshit propaganda from Hollywood…thank God for the Coen brothers. 90 percent of the films showed in Chiang Mai cinemas.

Best book: Theory: Why Marx Was Right by Terry Eagleton. Fiction: The Possibility of an Island by Michel Hollenbeauq.

Best/worst thing that happened in Thailand this year?

The worst is that human beings of all cultures still think buying products is the most fundamental meaning of life and so spend their lives in abject competition with other buyers who equally cannot satiate their desires under the influence of an out of control media and deadly marketing, and all the time ignoring the suffering and pain in the world, unaware of their own reflection, and the fact they stuck to a giant rock spinning in an infinite universe. 

The best thing? Thousands of people protesting for their freedom of speech in Thailand. 

New Year's resolution for 2014?

Finish my second novel. Talk to more people, offline. 



Wipawan "May" Dunmek,
Editorial Assistant

Describe something that will always make you nostalgic for 2013.

Firstly, it's the year I turned 25. I was waiting for it since I thought it would make me feel like a real adult, and it really did! Secondly, it's the year that I started working at Citylife and experienced a lot of new things through the job, like riding an elephant, going to cool places, and trying delicious foods or drinks for free. It's also the year that I started reading about political news everyday due to the big protest in Bangkok (the biggest I've ever seen in my life so far).

Best weekend getaway?

It's my short trip to Singha Park in Chiang Rai for Farm Festival in November. What could be happier than being surrounded by green mountains, fresh air and great atmosphere while sipping beer and dancing along to the concert? Chiang Rai is so close to Chiang Mai so I didn't have to be fussy about the transportation either. 

Best movie of 2013? 

There are a lot of great movies in 2013 but the best for me was Thor. I just like any movies Natalie Portman plays and her role in Thor made me think of Queen Amidala in Star Wars which is one of my all-time favourites.

Most embarrassing moment of 2013?

Should I say it? Haha well… it was when I farted in a yoga class. Only my friend and another woman next to me knew [Ed. And now we all do!] it but I felt embarrassed. I don't want to protect myself but my friend said it's really usual that someone farts in yoga class, isn't it? Maybe she just wanted to make me feel better...

New Year's resolution for 2014?

I will start doing something I hate the most: cook something and making it edible. Since I had a lot of problems with my stomach in 2013, I realised that it's really time to pay more attention in what you eat. Learning to cook for yourself (and your family or friends if they dare try it) is the best way since the market doesn't always sell what your body needs when you need it. By the way, my New Year's resolution failed last year. It was… well, also to eat healthy. I must achieve it this year!




Nitkanung "Ja" Watanakun, 
Production Manager 

Best weekend getaway? 

When I snuck off from work to join the mob for one day in Bangkok to get rid of the corrupt government. It was great to be able to stand there and shout "Get Out!" in unison with so many people. Very satisfying!

Best/worst thing that happened in Thailand this year? 

I became a mummy for the first time; that is my news. But for Thailand, the corrupt government was the worst. Unacceptable. 

Favourite new business that opened this year in Chiang Mai? 

Central Festival is fabulous. I am a shopaholic anyway, and to get to buy so many great things on my days off means I have to work harder to pay for it all. 

Strangest thing you ate in 2013? 

This is weird, but my breast milk is a bit sweet and is strange to taste. I didn't make a milk shake with it or anything! Just samples! 

New Year's resolution for 2014? 

I have always been skinny and used to weigh 40 kilos until I got pregnant! Now I am 56 kilos (down from 66 kilo during pregnancy) so I need to get rid of this new belly of mine. I haven't had one since I myself was a baby myself. It is very distressing. 





Tinnakorn "Neung" Nukul, 
Photo Editor

What Citylife story had the most profound impact on you?

The black and white Rohingya photo essay by Andrew Stanbridge. A picture says a thousand words. When we see photos we can imagine more than words can say because you can actually see the situation and the people, what life is like for them living under persecution in Burma.

Best/worst song of 2013?

I am really old style. I don't listen to any new songs anymore. Movies, I usually just stream from online. I work at Citylife; I don't have time to go to the cinema or learn about new music! [Ed. Ouch!] So I still love the Beatles. And all the songs from the 90s.


Most embarrassing moment?

We went to the HIP Magazine event at Good View Restaurant, but Pim lost her invitation so we didn't know what day it was and we went twice - both on the wrong days. Then a few days later the old photographer, Oat, came to the office (it was deadline) and asked us why we weren't at the event - so we ran over! Luckily it is very close. We finally made it! [Ed. Ouch…again.]

Best weekend getaway?

Chiang Dao. I'd never been there before and it was good to see some new scenery, not too far from Chiang Mai. We went to the hot springs, which have Japanese-style private huts. It was a great place to relax. We also went to a temple on the mountain that was really nice. 

New Year's Resolution for 2014?

I want to finally quit smoking! I went to get acupuncture three times to make me quit - it was good…but I'm still smoking. I smoke less now, but I hope I can quit for good.




Adrian Fleur,
CityNews Writer

Describe something that will always make you nostalgic for 2013?

I think I will always be able to look back at this time in my life spent living abroad and feel proud of where I was and how much I had achieved by the age of 23. 2013 was the year I realised the future I wanted wasn't just a dream. 

Strangest thing you've eaten this year? 

When I stayed at the Rabaeng Pasak Treehouse Resort, they made me vegetarian dishes that all contained something I was convinced was beef. They assured me it was a kind of mushroom, and I went on to eat that delicious/suspicious, flesh-like mushroom elsewhere in Thailand. I am always amazed at the creative assortment of vegetarian food you can find here, especially at the little strictly-Jay shops. 

Best weekend getaway?

Fern Paradise, if you have the cash to spare. Otherwise, nothing beats packing up your tent and coals and heading out somewhere remote to camp for the weekend.

Most embarrassing moment of 2013?

Too many to count, from casually falling down in the middle of crowded markets to regularly missing high-fives and handshakes. I also enjoy blinking during photos, and dropping ice creams.

New Year's resolution for 2014?

Finish my book, and carry on trying to live a meaningful, more selfless life. And also, cuddle more puppies.



 
A Look Back at 2013   
 
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