Hot Seat

Martin About

We're chatting to expats who live and work in Thailand about the pandemic situation here. Martin is a French software contractor and has been in Thailand for about four years.

Q

Could you introduce yourself (where are you from? how long have you lived in Thailand? and what do you do for a living?)

A

I'm French, and I arrived in Thailand in 2017. I am an independant software contractor.

Q

In general, how do you think Thailand has handled the pandemic up to now?

A

Very well at the beginning I guess? Not so well in the past few months. Enforcing a two-week mandatory quarantine is what kept Covid away in 2020, I would guess. Mask-wearing has been well accepted and probably useful. Temperature checks everywhere is a fat joke though. They never caught anyone infected from these temperature checks. If you're too high and a human does the temp check, they usually just tell you to wait a minute for the temp to go down. 

Communication from the government has been ever changing: Zero transparency or accounting on the reasoning behind certain restrictions. Vaccine management has been a big failure.

Q

If you were put in charge of things right now, what would be the first rules or things you would change?

A

Allow all hospitals to order vaccines, open things that make sense (parks, outside areas, etc) Stop this dual pricing bullshit everywhere (Phuket entry Covid test is the latest example).

Q

Let’s talk about you personally. What is the most regrettable thing that the pandemic has robbed you of or changed about your life?

A

I got stuck in Europe during 7 months last year (exited the country early March, as I used to do every year) and lost my visa, work permit and condo in Bangkok. Got back in October 2020 after a very difficult entry process. The good side of this is that I spent some time with family and I ended up staying in Phuket (which I would probably never have during normal times), not having a place in Bangkok anymore  

Q

From a work point of view, how has your situation changed (if indeed it has) and has there been any significant financial impact?

A

Zero change. I've been working remotely from Thailand for the past four years.

Q

Has the pandemic had any positive impacts on your life?

A

I drink even less, I guess? Not that drinking was ever a problem for me.

Q

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?  

A

The world is a big place. Some places will return to normal well before others. By the end of the year for Europe, hopefully. Not before mid-2022 for Thailand realistically, because the vaccination of the population is slow and will take a long while. And a lot of Thais are against getting vaccinated (curious to see numbers, I know a few).

Q

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?

A

Neither I'd say. But it's worst at home so...

Q

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?

A

Haven't thought about it yet to be honest.

Q

For someone who doesn’t know how to get through the days and is perhaps suffering mentally, what would be your advice?

A

Exercise an hour every day, make calls or meet friends regularly (while being careful) to stay social, read a book to get off the screens, meditate, talk to a shrink, learn something new, start projects (personal or otherwise) to keep busy.

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