We're chatting to expats who live and work in Thailand about the pandemic situation here. Gerry has been in Thailand for 15 years and runs his own web development company.
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 Gerry. A Malaysian (born in Australia) who's been living in Thailand for 15 years. I have my own web development company here.
In general, how do you think Thailand has handled the pandemic up to now?
I was so proud of Thailand during the start of the pandemic and I was bragging to friends and family all around the world. Unfortunately, complacency and lack of planning has led us to where we are now. I dont see any way out of this situation now for the next couple of years
If you were put in charge of things right now, what would be the first rules or things you would change?
I would put all our efforts in getting more vaccines. The lack of vaccines (as well as poor decisions along the way like not locking down for Songkran) has been the major downfall.
Let’s talk about you personally. What is the most regrettable thing that the pandemic has robbed you of or changed about your life?
Travel. Before the pandemic, my wife and myself liked to travel outside of Thailand a couple of times a year. She even started her own Japan travel planning company, which was taking off nicely before the pandemic hit.
From a work point of view, how has your situation changed (if indeed it has) and has there been any significant financial impact?
In 2020, yes. Some of my biggest clients ran expos so there was a huge financial hit in losing those contracts. Thankfully other clients have used the Covid situation to think outside of the box and expand - so things have a way of balancing out.
Has the pandemic had any positive impacts on your life?
It's made me appreciate my family more. I would love to get back to Australia to see them but can't see that happening in the next couple of years (so I guess that's a negative really)
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?
Not until at least 2023. Maybe I watch the news too much? It's nothing but doom and gloom on there
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 decreased a lot. The 'Thais first' mentality of the government has been really disheartening. Despite paying our taxes, etc, we are unfortunately only seen as incovenient guests to them. If it was for my wife and dogs here, I think I would have left already.
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?
Not really. I generally lead a pretty healthy lifestyle anyway.
For someone who doesn’t know how to get through the days and is perhaps suffering mentally, what would be your advice?
There is always help out there. You don't need to go it alone. Unfortunately, being an expat of 15 years, I've lost quite a few friends who have taken their lives here. I'm always open to people messaging me if they're struggling and just need someone to lend an ear