COVID-19 Days: Some Thoughts and Reflections

A few days shy to three months since the country was put under the movement control order. What I thought was probably going to be a short “partial lockdown” turned out to be longer than expected.

But this marks the first time I’m feeling so settled, after all these years of moving from one place to another. Although it’s been a year since I relocated back, it is only recently when things are beginning to feel more in control.

This adjustment period happens to me every single time after I’ve relocated to a new place – the need to make your new dwelling more like a home; the need to firefight some random, unforeseeable problems that crop up at the wrong time; adjustment to the new work environment and culture, etc.

But the sense of “settledness” probably also coincides with my post-marriage life and the fact that I got to relocate back to my very own crib in Peninsular Malaysia – you can call this my second, third, fourth and whatever else home and it doesn’t matter because I’ve lost count.

But what it matters is that I no longer need to rent places to dwell in. Sometimes it’s just amazing how things have been arranged for you. This is certainly a very interesting round – I have come a full cycle to return to serve where I started my teaching career some ten years ago, despite it being at a different campus this time around. I’m also back to my current dwelling that I left five years ago and thought about selling off at one point.

Despite the crazy number of tasks I have at hand, I feel I’m finally having enough rest at home, sans the travelling and moving around during this Covid-19 period.

Being a rather hyperactive person I am, on the one hand, it’s not easy to sit still without feeling agitated (reminds me of the Phangan experience and the need to recreate it at home). On the other hand, it’s probably a blessing in disguise on many levels. The crisis definitely signals a need for us humans and Mother Nature to take a break.

Although working from home has kept me busier than usual during this period, not having to travel means I get to channel my energy and more focus into the tasks at hand. There is no need to waste so many meaningless hours driving, getting trapped in the traffic or looking for parking spaces.

It is also a test for managers to see how trustworthy an employee can be working from home unsupervised. If things get moving as effectively in the virtual setting, it probably means we can look into cutting down some of the unnecessary bureaucracy and protocols in the office or physical setting, and not do things for the sake of doing them.

As a teacher and now having to do all teaching and learning activities online, no doubt there is a lot more work to be done and skills to be learned. But that’s just the way it is now in the era of IR 4.0.

I think it’s dangerous to be slacking around when others in the same industry are moving towards digital preparedness. It’s either we change our mindset or we may find ourselves being driven into irrelevance in the near future.

I’ve seen my older colleagues from my previous workplaces – some past their retirement age – still being so tech-savvy and probably even more so than myself. Being so much younger than them, who am I to not learn?

The Covid-19 period certainly is not a welcomed one and has disrupted many things. But there must be a window of opportunities that comes along with it. I think that’s just how the nature works.

Anyway, I don’t know about others. But during this time of crisis, the physical disconnection between us and some of the people we meet on a daily basis, had made me want to connect more with those we don’t meet everyday – at least virtually. It is amusing as much as it is surprising.

Songkran 2020: What You Need to Know in View of Covid-19 Outbreak

It’s the time of the year when people will be planning their trips to Thailand to experience Songkran, or the Thai New Year festival.

Unfortunately this year, due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, things have taken an unusual turn.

Earlier on, it was reported that the Thai government had plans to extend the Songkran 2020 holidays by two days, thus giving the Thais a total of nine-day long break including Saturday and Sunday. This was so that the measure could help stimulate the national economy. However, the cabinet did not give this proposal the green light.

Songkran 2020: What You Need to Know
Songkran 2020 amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Songkran 2020 will fall on April 13 to 15. However, unlike past years, Thailand has cancelled all public Songkran celebrations in a move to prevent and reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading.

Here’s what has been reported about all major Songkran 2020 celebrations in Thailand so far:

Khao San: World’s biggest water fight Songkran on Khao San Road scrubbed, with beauty contest, religious events also cancelled (Source)

Pattaya: Official Songkran events cancelled (Source).

Chonburi: Bang Saen district cancels all official Songkran activities (Source).

Phuket: Patong Songkran official events cancelled (Source).

Khon Kaen, Phetchabun, Buriram: Also cancelled their Songkran festivities (Source).

Koh Phangan: Signature full-moon party on March 8 cancelled (Source).

While these official, state-sponsored Songkran may have been cancelled, it is believe that small-scale celebrations in major areas would still take place, and could be just as wet as usual.

If you are planning to take the risk to participate in the Songkran celebration this year, please exercise extra precautions as Covid-19 is highly contagious.

At the time of writing, Thailand current records a total of 53 cases of Covid-19.

I’m Ken, a passionate traveller from Sarawak on the exotic island of Borneo. Currently a teacher in a rural town in Southern Thailand, from time to time I share on this blog my experiences teaching the kids and living a laid-back lifestyle here. With its focus on all things Thailand, also features a handful of stories about my travel adventures in other Asian countries.