This horrific year is finally drawing to a close and with vaccinations rolling out to healthcare workers starting today, the end to the pandemic is finally (somewhat) within sight.
2020 was a time when the luxury industry, and everything adjacent to it faced an existential crisis.
People are dying – does anyone really care about what flowing fabrics designers are sending down the runway or which restaurant is trendy? For the first time in my entire career, I found myself asking: Why does Lifestyle Asia exist? Why do editors like myself exist?
As the world tightened its financial belt and people bolted themselves behind doors, we found ourselves doing the unthinkable and spun our coverage to include the latest COVID-19 news.
The cynical would say that it was a desperate measure at lobbying for page views, but as an editor who entered publishing as a rookie journalist 10 years ago, I had a mission: To tell the stories that matter.
The stories that matter in 2020 just happened to be everything else but the ritzy things we were covering. Every publication is a public resource, and in times of crises, we need to answer the clarion call of spreading as much relevant information as far as possible.
In between came the realisation that 2020 too was a time of social change and so we covered Black Lives Matter, dipped our toes into electoral coverage and began amplifying minority voices. This was a year when everybody from racist influencers to
Mad King George Donald Trump faced their reckoning (the latest being Alexander Wang’s history of sexual harassment).
But as the pandemic got better in Singapore, we switched our focus yet again.
This time, we sought to distract our readers from the doom and gloom and put out our usual type of lifestyle stories underlined by a very important message: life has to go on.
We reviewed staycations, we uncovered rising new restaurant talents, we threw our weight behind causes that led to a better society and a better world. We wanted to be a break from the harrowing stream of news that clogged up all our feeds.
Ours is a message of hope; that despite all the darkness that 2020 has brought, there was still much to live for.
So what now? What’s for 2021, and why do we exist? While we all await for better days when we can move freely, when planes take to the skies, when we can all smile without masks and dance till dawn, we’ll keep doing what we know best. We go back to basics: To inform, analyse, entertain, and where needed, to distract.
The Lifestyle Asia of today is not the Lifestyle Asia of 2019. If there’s anything that the pandemic has done, is that it has allowed us to peel back our shiny veneer and show that this publication is run by a team with a heart.
So thank you for staying with us. We’d like to wish everyone a happy 2021.