[This editor's note appeared in Koktail Magazine Issue 4.]
I am the worst when it comes to celebrating. Year on year, I make no effort to acknowledge my own birthday—I leave that in the reliable hands of my eager close family members—and I’m the type of person who’ll be either asleep, watching Netflix, or doing errands at Foodland on New Year’s Eve, whipping around in surprise as supermarket staff suddenly exclaim, “happy new year!”
“Celebration”, then, was a topic that took me a while to ponder. In fact, I wonder if I would still be racking my brains for discussion at this point, had I not run into Sati Foundation’s Sakson Rouypirom earlier. When he asked me about a month ago what the theme of the next issue of Koktail would be and I told him, his instinctive response was, “Everyday is a celebration.” I thought about that coming from a guy whose work revolves around disadvantaged youth and displaced peoples—a job I can’t imagine one conveniently shuts off from after 5 o’clock or on weekends. Everyday is a celebration...
If everyday is a celebration, then perhaps I am partially right in treating each day no more special than the next. I just need to be a little more “glass half-full” like Sati’s founder.
As it turns out, there has been a lot to celebrate this year, other than birthdays, nuptials, holidays, the release of Taylor Swift’s new album (I can’t believe I’ve made this joke), and the reunion of Blink-182 (not joking). For instance, Thailand’s cannabis community saw its wildest dreams come true as the government fully removed the plant from the narcotics list, decriminalising growing it, possessing it, selling it, and, of course, using it. The movement also saw the pardoning of prisoners who were incarcerated for cannabis-only charges. Certainly a rare best-case scenario for Thailand, this is no doubt something the country is lighting up about.
As a sign of steadier times, Thailand recently also lifted the emergency decree, which comes with a general relaxing of Covid restrictions for tourists and residents alike. Like everyone else, I’m looking forward to travelling again and being reunited with friends and family I haven’t seen in a while as well as meeting for the first time a few pandemic spouses and offspring.
Related to moving away from the era of lockdowns is the vengeful return of business in Bangkok. Working in lifestyle media, I can’t overstate the number of calls, emails, and Line messages I’ve been receiving for event invitations alone. (Side note: I am in desperate need of a PA and a doppelganger. Candidates who can do both will be highly considered.) While events add their fair share of stress to someone as busy as I am, this great revival also means the return of activities I enjoy, namely those related to music, design, culture, and the arts. In case you haven’t noticed, Bangkok is currently teeming with events of these sorts, not just major headliners like the Bangkok Art Biennale and the recently concluded Bangkok International Festival of Dance & Music, but also more low-key openings in small, independent venues that are as equally good for the soul.
And last but certainly not least, our own magazine turns one, meaning that I’ve made it through one year of putting together Koktail—online and in print. There have certainly been ups and downs with launching a brand new title in this market and getting advertisers to believe in us. While we’re still very much in the throes of it, I’m extremely proud of the unbelievably small team behind this operation, including those who have come and gone and indelibly made a positive mark.
As we close the year with a first anniversary issue celebrating something in each of its pages, I want to thank the team behind it, from our admin and sales to, of course, the editorial team and also our network of incredibly talented freelancers who somehow still want to work with me.
As usual, enjoy the magazine, preferably with your favourite cocktail.
Koktail Magazine can be found at Asia Books and Kinokuniya nationwide. For annual subscriptions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.