I’ve decided to revel in the little things. And at this very moment, I’m thankful I get to write this note to you today — nearly two weeks into Phase One — when the feelings of anxiety and strangeness has had some time to wear off.
Around the world, the coronavirus stats are heartbreakingly grim, even as cities are starting to lift lockdown restrictions. The pandemic hasn’t been some great leveller that is blind to status, income or race — instead, it’s magnified disparities and prejudices.
My family and friends have their health, as do those I work alongside, so I count my blessings. Even as many of us worry about the post-pandemic era of carefully considered economics. In the case of publishing, if it’s going to take creative thinking, a relationship with the audience, a die-hard attitude and plain old mad scramble to make a mark, then we’re already there.
Packaged for you while in lockdown, this issue is one that I’m proud of. (Mind you, I’m rarely effusive about the work we do.) I’ll even admit the best part of being the “chief” of anything is choosing to work with people who out-talent and out-intellect you in every way.
Min Chen, a 2017 Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship recipient, has written for this magazine since day one. This time, from her Brooklyn apartment, she filed the piece: The cost, colour and cosiness of Covid-19 in New York (pg 136). And in A solidarity beyond extraordinary times (pg 114), Human Rights Press Award recipient Kirsten Han salutes Singaporeans’ outpouring of care while reminding us that that it is time to recast giving as an act of empathy and solidarity rather than a hierarchical relationship.
There’s also Daven Wu, a veteran in the industry who cringes each time I remind him I’ve been reading his articles way before I even knew I wanted to work in magazines. To file his insightful piece More than just food for thought (pg 82) on the #Savefnbsg movement, he spoke with restaurateurs Loh Lik Peng and Beppe de Vito. And I can’t not mention Stella Thng, who, just because we asked, has been so painfully open about her struggles with depression in our three-part series on mental health (pg 142).
A whole list of noted artists also collaborated with us (we introduce them on pg 2) and countless important people — Loh, de Vito, Darius Lim, Glen Goei, Mike Horn, Alex Chua, Rebekah Lin et al — said yes to being interviewed. It further took every single name on pg 9 to ensure this magazine reached your hands, and that our website and social media accounts are filled with content we, too, enjoy.
I’m also thankful for a whole cast of supportive advertisers and brand partners, who have not only lent weight to this new kid on the block but continue to do so even through this semblance of a new norm.
It’s now dawned on me that this has become one of those never-ending TV acceptance speeches and you’ve long since zoned out. There’s no award, but you’ll just have to indulge me this once. Pandemic or not, this issue marks our first anniversary and the show must go on.
We’ve had so much fun demonstrating that luxury lifestyle magazines can showcase all the spoils of the high life as well as offer thought leadership and mindful reads.
And we’ve only just begun.
P.S. It’s our birthday, and we’re asking you for a gift. Purchase an annual subscription of A Magazine and every single dollar will be channelled to Beyond Social Services, a non-profit that works to break the cycle of poverty in Singapore.