We're chatting to expats who live and work in Thailand about the pandemic situation here. Alex has been in Bangkok for 7 years and works in IT.
Could you introduce yourself (where are you from? how long have you lived in Thailand? and what do you do for a living?)
I'm from the UK originally and grew up in Guildford. I will have been in Bangkok for 7 years next month. I'm in IT and I'm currently Technical Lead for an online insurance broker.
In general, how do you think Thailand has handled the pandemic up to now?
If you asked me this question last year, I'd have sung its praises - but now it's a total mess. The vaccine roll out is a farce and it seems they cared more about making money for Siam Bioscience than saving lives. Coupled with the two avoidable out breaks this year, I think they just got lucky last year.
If you were put in charge of things right now, what would be the first rules or things you would change?
Get vaccines into the country as quickly as possible. If needed, then get the army involved setting up vaccine centers. Start with the old and vulnerable and work down from there. Also put extra focus on tourist areas that have their own international airport (Phuket, Samui, etc) so they can fly tourists in once the number of vaccinated is high enough.
Let’s talk about you personally. What is the most regrettable thing that the pandemic has robbed you of or changed about your life?
My parents are in their 80s and I've not seen them or the rest of my family in over two years.
From a work point of view, how has your situation changed (if indeed it has) and has there been any significant financial impact?
I lost my job last year. My notice period was 3 months but they cut my hours by 70%. This year a big bonus I was expecting (and relying on) was nixed due to Covid.
Has the pandemic had any positive impacts on your life?
I got on Twitter during the first lockdown and I've met some amazing people and have a whole new group of friends, some very close. I think it's this interaction that has kept me sane.
When do you predict the world will return to some sort of normality and we will be able to travel abroad and maybe get to remove these damn face-masks, etc?
I think most of the world could be getting back to normality within six months. Our slice of the world (Thailand) I don't see any real difference until next year.
Things started to go pear-shaped in March 2020. Over the past year or so, has your enthusiasm for living in Thailand increased or decreased?
It's about the same. Last year I was so happy to be here but that's been cancelled out this year. But I'm no less happy about living here than I was pre-covid.
When we get to the light at the end of this long tunnel, have you promised yourself to make lifestyle changes or do some things differently?
Nah, I probably wouldn't end up doing it anyway.
For someone who doesn’t know how to get through the days and is perhaps suffering mentally, what would be your advice?
Take it day by day, don't pay too close attention to the news and doom-mongers on social media, Try to keep in regular contact with your friends and family. Tell someone close to you if you're struggling.