To Mark First Year, TownMax Parties On For a Good Cause

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To Mark First Year, TownMax Parties On For a Good Cause

"Work hard and party hard" could have been the motto of the night for the crowd gathered at the Hilton hotel on Thursday. Dressed in varying forms of business attire, 800 expatriates and Koreans celebrated TownMax's first anniversary with an all-night bash that doubled as a benefit for KBS' program "Request for Love." "Request for Love" supports various disabled children's charities.

Brett Nicholls, one of the founders of TownMax, explained the two-pronged purpose of the party with a nonchalant, "You can't really just hold a party." TownMax ( is a Web site targeting the expatriate community. "The expat community is into giving to charity. It used to be a corporate scene, but now individuals want to contribute to Korean society."

With lighter wallets - tickets cost 20,000 won ($15.50) - people helped a good cause, met old friends and rubbed elbows with guests of honor Kim Joong-kwon, chairman of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party, Kim Han-gill, minister of culture and tourism, and Yoo Jay-kun, representative of the unification, foreign affairs and trade committee.

After speeches, a buffet and a video presentation by the 2002 World Cup Organizing Committee, guests got ready for more serious partying. The TV hostess Susan MacDonald emceed, a troupe of female bartenders known as The Flair put on a cocktail show and the United Service Organizations band performed. A Labrador retriever puppy was also auctioned. The partying continued at Pharaoh's, the Hilton nightclub."It's been amazing," said Mr. Nicholls of TownMax's first year. Mr. Nicholls, along with Stella Drewitt and Young-kwan Koo, created TownMax to unite isolated expatriate communities.

East Promotions launched TownMax last spring with an online calendar page that lists party, business, sightseeing and arts and culture information. TownMax threw an opening party in May 2000 that drew more than 1,000 embassy staff, business people, foreign correspondents and English teachers.

TownMax has expanded to include information on such services such as tuxedo fittings, car rentals, relocation services, realty services and obtaining an Internet connection at home.

Membership includes people from more than 60 nations. Membership, while free, is required to navigate the Web site. Since its launch party, TownMax has hosted two charity events, for the Ton-a-Month club and "Sounds of Peace Music," a music concert at the Olympic Stadium last winter.Next up for TownMax is an English-language shopping site launched with Wizwid. The goal is to make TownMax a brand name known throughout Asia.

by Joe Yong-hee

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