Hot Seat

Vaibhav Gupta

We're chatting to expats who live and work in Thailand about the pandemic situation here? Vaibhav is involved with online marketing and has been in Thailand less than a year.

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 am Vaibhav Gupta and I run the marketing for Eatigo in Thailand. I primarily come from an online marketing background and have been lucky to live and work in three Continents and seven countries. I moved here last year in September from Estonia (so it's been less than year for me here)

Q

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

A

I would say it has been decent. As someone who had to do all the formalities to get here, it was definitely difficult but after landing here things have been pretty decent. The second wave is primarily due to slow vaccination (according to me) but I don’t think there are many nations that have done this perfectly.

I must say that the general public has been great with masks and that is definitely a marked improvement from some countries.

Q

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

A

I would open parks for sure. I would also ensure that there is clear communication for expats and even Thai nationals. Vaccine hesitancy can be a huge challenge if clear guidelines aren’t set. I would also push for private hospitals to get the vaccine asap. Most expats I know are up for paying the 3,000 Baht that was set if they [the private hospitals] can get either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

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 personally feel really blessed that I am still able to work and earn decently considering everything. Considering I  worked in the aviation industry before moving to the F&B side, I saw the damage the pandemic has done to players in the market. So considering everything, I still feel lucky to be doing relatively okay.

The only thing that I feel a bit down about is not being able to be around when my grandfather passed away. He wasn’t well for a long time but it would have been good to have the whole family around to say goodbye to him. Since my uncle lives in the US, he wasn’t able to be there for the last rites for his father. That definitely wouldn't have happened in a world without this pandemic.

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

I had to take a pay cut when I moved from Estonia to Thailand. It feels petty to say out loud when I see people struggling to make ends meet but it definitely has made me cut my expenses a bit.

Q

Has the pandemic had any positive impacts on your life?

A

I do think companies have started to embrace the Work from Home culture (maybe not so much in Thailand), which I think long term will help us get towards a more flexible work culture.

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

Not sure. To be honest, we need to vaccinate the world and not just a few countries. Currently, the EU and US have sort of just bought out the supply and the rest of the world is struggling to get anywhere close to the rates where they need to be. I think it will not be before mid-2022 before things get anywhere close to normal.

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

Since I wasn’t around I can't say much about March 2020. All I can say is that Thailand has had its hurdles but to be honest, I don't see any country that nailed every aspect of their approach. I think Thailand could do well to vaccinate everyone asap (including me).

My enthusiasm is more or less at the same level since I came here. No country is perfect and clearly the differences between expats and Thai nationals bother me, but at this point I can also see the benefits of being in this country :)

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

Not really, I do appreciate my life and the privileges I have had more. I also want to work long term with companies that are open to letting me work from anywhere. I want to say that I will work on my fitness as well, but let’s be honest, I used to say that every Jan 1st before the pandemic as well.

Q

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

A

I won’t really say it will get better (because i don't know what that person is going through). I would just say that it's critical that they talk to someone. It’s important to have a support system so if they don’t have one, I am happy to lend an ear and help by listening as much as possible :)

Follow Vaibhav on Twitter  

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