ANNIINA IS A PHUKET LONG-TERM RESIDENT GIVING US A WEEKLY DOSE OF THAI LIFE. READ FROM HER WEEKLY BLOG WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE LAND OF SMILES.
I have followed with interest the social media channels how masks have appeared on my friends faces. And even more I’m amazed at how normal their use has become for me in the last months. I personally can’t stand masks; they’re ugly, impractical and a pretty big hassle in every way. In this heat, the already existing face sweat just goes worse.
A quick motorbike trip to nearby grocery store becomes a real hassle when in the middle of the trip you notice a strange feeling of freedom and realize that that you forgot your mask and you can't go anywhere without it. Then, with one hand, pull the shirt sleeve to protect your mouth and with the other, balance it with the motorbike back home to pick it up.
Glasses and mask are also quite an impossible combination; there is a continuous fog in front of your eyes. When you take photos, you smile, but it doesn’t matter, only the wrinkles in your eyes are the ones visible. Most masks are also so large that they cover the entire face and don’t even stay in place.
However, the most discomfort creates putting the mask back on after eating the deliciously spicy Tom Yam Kway Teaw noodle soup. Your breath burns nicely in the mouth but also all over your face from your spicy exhales. What about the plastic visors that I always feel like I look like “Doc” from the Back to the Future movie. At least they show facial expressions behind them, but the constant “sorry what did you say” is super annoying as you just can’t hear anything with those things on.
Thais are used to the masks for long time already so here it seems that when you Europeans have enjoyed the summer there wild and mask free, so putting the masks on so late have just decreased your chances to come here for a holiday anytime soon.
I can imagine how it feels in the world of individual rights if a mask is forced on everyone’s face. I hope it doesn’t happen, but if it does, then welcome to the club! Apparently, they are expensive there too, luckily here they cost almost nothing. But as they cost nothing, all educational work done here to reduce waste is flushed down the toilet when more and more rubbish ends up to the streets and the ocean.
When humans are put into tight spot the talks of conserving the nature is no longer relevant. How can you think future generations if you’re not sure how to get your daily meal. We just got rid of plastic bags here and now we’re drowning in masks and rubber gloves.
I just want to know how long this phase in our lives is supposed to last? Is it so long that Covid-19 has disappeared from the whole world? Now Thailand is doing really well with the pandemic but we still can’t open the borders because many other countries are in a very different situation. I would be happy to wear a mask without complains and disinfect myself from toes to my head all day if the borders would be opened.
It’s devastating to see how this country is like a diver running out of air. No “travel bubbles” will help us with the situation. Realistically, who wants to come to a holiday to Thailand getting involved in endless paperwork and to be controlled by the big brother 24/7? What if you go to the sea to swim and there happens to be someone else swimming? Where did you come from, was your hands washed? I wonder if we will stay on our own for long enough will they come up with something more sensible. Seems like things won’t change until the vaccine arrives. It’ll then just suddenly open all the doors like magic.
It’s weird that we can controls pigs with computer chips mounted on their brains but while waiting for one vaccine, the whole world is on pause. In today's world many useless inventions have been made much faster. Viruses have been battled through the ages: the spread of Ebola was prevented by effective collaboration between the treatment and research. Somehow the Covid-19 has put us in a situation never seen before.
I guess SARS is still running somewhere but who remembers it anymore? Also, what will all the vaccines help if these old viruses come back as more fierce mutations. But what do I know, I’m not a doctor or the one who spins the world, but these are just my own thoughts revolving around themselves. It’s hard to look at this moment and believe that all these precautions are really necessary when the human suffering it causes to the locals is right in front of my eyes.
Thailand has been so dedicated to keep it a Corona-free area so when all this is over I hope to see the same dedication to eliminate corruption, improve road safety and equality among the people. Last week I saw photos of a Thai kindergarten where thirty children were making sandwiches together, with no masks or any knowledge of safety gaps.
Pretty risky. However, it gave me a wonderfully normal and hopeful feeling that one day I could responsibly dispose of or reuse all the protective gear I own.