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Trials and tribulations 2. Returning to Thailand in the Covid era – a personal view

The Thaiger

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by guest writer David Jackson

Part II in the series of articles from David who has been writing from his quarantine room. David waxes lyrical as even the tiniest moments seem larger than life in his 25 square metre cocoon…

I begin writing this second article on Day 7 of my quarantine in a Bangkok hotel, so the sentence of quarantine minus hard labour is halfway complete. I am officially ‘covid free’ following my nasal attack from two charming nurses a couple of day’s ago and this result represents some very good news indeed. Nevertheless, I can hardly announce that I am in any way euphoric because I am definitely beginning to struggle with the boredom.

Thoughts of Papillon begin to come to mind as I focus in on my sealed window to my illegal balcony; I can hear the odd sound of humans from the complex, however I don’t think they have set up the guillotine from the 70s film quite yet… pull yourself together David… you can do it!

So, how do I keep busy, maintain spirits and not pile on the kilos too much whilst restricted to the confines of a fairly tiny room with a limited view?

Luckily, I prudently remembered to bring a tube of glue, some poster paints plus a craft knife whilst panic packing last week so I have been surprisingly busy on constructing a Thai temple complex using some of the recycled boxes used to provide me with my three daily square meals. You can see the fruits of my labour when boredom initiates motivation in the accompanying photograph. My apologies to any perfectionists reading this article… I cannot guarantee any specific scale, it was just nice to pass the time.

Trials and tribulations 2. Returning to Thailand in the Covid era – a personal view | News by The Thaiger

The food is surprisingly good and I have used the halfway milestone to switch from Thai to ‘Farang’ food. So, the volumes of carbohydrate in the form of rice have now been replaced by something slightly more familiar to my western palate; the food is adequate and does the job and will probably do a particularly bad job to my rapidly expanding western belly if I am not careful.

Unfortunately, though, the volume of food packaging is quite disconcerting although I believe this is all part of our new neurotic regime; it will probably have to be incinerated to cover the rare event that it might indeed be covered in covid.I can almost see the perplexed faces of all future geologists examining the brief epoch of human expansion and wondering where all my pointless plastic knives, forks and bags surrounded by larger bags suddenly came from in their ice core.

So, back to the boredom…

I decided a few days ago that some kind of exercise routine might be in order. Luckily the wifi in this hotel is excellent so I had no problem enjoying, yet failing miserably, to recreate the shapes from some random yoga sessions on You Tube. In looking for further adventure I discovered that by placing both of my single beds into the centre of the room it was possible to make a figure of eight track and, when augmented by the judicious placing of my huge pile of dirty washing on the floor, it was possible to introduce a small chicane along the home straight. Hence, in classic Schumacher style, my increasingly competitive time for twenty laps of my abode is rapidly reducing as my desire to escape begins to increase, sounds like a kind of weird maths paper… “If X represents boredom and Y represents the number of laps a slightly autistic quarantining expat runs around his room in time T, use algebra, trigonometry or maybe even bananas to express how X is inversely proportional to YxT!”

Oh… what’s that, a sound of a door squeaking and emanating from my deserted corridor? I cautiously open mine less than an inch so as not to upset the rigorous anti-covid regime in place and behold, with eyes peering out at me I spy a fellow human lurking in room 925.Quickly we both realise the poignancy of this fortuitous random timing and, with doors held firmly ajar at less that 5 degrees a conversation of magnitude begins for the first time in a week.

With visions of claxons blaring and boots stomping like some kind of prisoner of war film, my fellow Brit, Michael, and myself begin a quality conversation about nothing. The sheer delight of face to face discussion , albeit sideways through the thin slit of a thoroughly soundproofed door, is amazing as we both quite boringly realise we are both teachers and therefore have nothing seemingly interesting to talk about.

Nevertheless, a human is a human so I wish my fellow expatriate every success in his new international school and we agree to meet in a similar fashion tomorrow to talk about exciting things such as phonics, onomatopoeia and why that man is currently randomly blowing his whistle outside in the car park as no one even bats an eyelid!

My final article, assuming the light at the end of the tunnel finally arrives, will be on Monday where I will go through the pre-departure documentation again more thoroughly as there is some ambiguity in the current process. In the meantime If anyone knows an invisible barber please ask them to breeze into my hotel to sort out my scruffy mop. Thank you.

David Jackson in an English teacher and former headmaster from London working at St Mark’s International School, Bangkok.

You can read David’s previous article HERE.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    TIMOTHY

    September 10, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    He said the second piece would tell about the paperwork needed and instead he publishes this tripe? Seems to think people want to listen to him blather.

  2. Avatar

    Patrick Nouvel

    September 10, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    May Isuggest the government scientists to study the world scientists suggestions of 7 days quarantine enough after tests,it would ease a lot the tourism industry + surrounding economy. After all washing hands, Distanciation and mask can already eliminate 95% of risks potentials easing the return to jobs and normal lives of millions.

  3. Avatar

    Peter

    September 10, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    Dear David,

    I’m sorry to hear that you are a virtual prisoner due to the “Covid-19” hoax. There is no quarantine necessary because there is no virus nor is there any test that can detect it and the sooner people start rising up in the face of these insane restrictions the better our world will be.
    By the way – if you need something to occupy your time I would suggest taking up meditation. Its probably the best way you can spend your time.
    Good luck.
    Peter

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Crime

Man arrested for growing 108 cannabis plants in Samut Prakan

Caitlin Ashworth

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Man arrested for growing 108 cannabis plants in Samut Prakan | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 77kaoded

Police arrested an Argentinian man for growing cannabis at his house in Samut Prakan, just southeast of Bangkok. 35 year old Sagas Nur told police he planned to produce cannabis oil.

Medical marijuana is legalised – with limitations – while recreational marijuana is still classified as a category 5 narcotic. Sagas is facing charges of producing a category 5 narcotic. He could face 2 to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to 1,500,000 baht.

Police were tipped off about Sagas’ alleged growing operation. They searched the house and say they found 108 cannabis plants that were about 1.5 metre high. Sagas allegedly told police he bought the seeds online with the intention to grow plants and then produce cannabis oil.

Thailand legalised medical marijuana in 2018, becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to do so. Recreational marijuana trafficking and operations continue to be busted by police while the government studies medical marijuana with plans to tap into the global market. The Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul even helped plant cannabis seedlings at a government-run facility with 1,300 plants.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | South China Morning Post

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Protests

Opposition MPs petition for Bangkok State of Emergency to be lifted

Maya Taylor

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Opposition MPs petition for Bangkok State of Emergency to be lifted | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.nandy0140.com

A group of opposition MPs and other activists will today petition to have the emergency decree currently in force in Bangkok revoked. Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha imposed the state of emergency last Thursday morning, in the wake of escalating political unrest in the capital. Now a number of Pheu Thai MPs and other opponents of the State of Emergency are calling on the Civil Court to retract it.

Last weeks declaration was “rubber stamped” the next day by an emergency meeting of the Thai cabinet.

One of those petitioning for the state of emergency to be rescinded, is the President of the Lawyers’ Association of Thailand, Narinphong Jinaphak. He says enforcement of the decree is illegal and that there is nothing to justify it, pointing out that political rallies have been peaceful, and protesters have acted within the confines of the law. He also points out that the Thai Constitution guarantees citizens the right to assemble.

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reports that Cholnan Srikaew, Pheu Thai MP for the northern province of Nan, has described the PM’s announcement of the State of Emergency in the early hours of last Thursday as illegitimate. He adds that should the court decide the state of emergency is unlawful, the group may sue the government for having declared it.

The group is also petitioning for an interim injunction, to prevent authorities from using the emergency decree against protesters, while the court considers whether to revoke it altogether.

Meanwhile, national police chief, Suwat Jangyodsuk, says officers are still under orders to avoid the use of force when dealing with protesters, in order to protect them and the general public. He denies that water cannons used to disperse a protest in Bangkok on Friday contained chemical substances known to cause irritation.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Visa

41 foreign tourists to arrive in Bangkok today on Special Tourist Visa after 7 month ban

Caitlin Ashworth

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41 foreign tourists to arrive in Bangkok today on Special Tourist Visa after 7 month ban | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Patrick Tomasso

Just 41 foreign tourists are expected to arrive in Bangkok today, a small, yet major step forward after a 7 month ban on international tourists which was put in place in late-March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The visitors are said to be travelling on the new Special Tourist Visa, which allows a 90 day stay that can be renewed twice, adding up to about 9 months. But the tourists departing from Shanghai, China and arriving in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport this evening will only be in Thailand for 30 days, and that includes a 14 day quarantine, Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn says.

Plans under the new scheme have been sketchy to say the least and reports have been conflicting. Reports circulated about a group of about 120 to 150 tourists under the new visa scheduled to arrive in Phuket earlier this month from Guangzhou, China. The flight was delayed. A few days later, a spokesperson from the Foreign Ministry announced no one from Guangzhou had actually applied for the visa and TAT just passed off a list of those “interested” in the scheme rather than those who were ready to fly.

Things seem a bit sketchy again. The flight arriving today was at first going to have 120 to 150 tourists, but now it’s down to 41, according to Pattaya News. Yuthasak did not say why only a limited number of tourists are arriving today, but says Bangkok’s ongoing protests are not a factor, adding that the tourists plan to travel to beaches outside the city once the mandatory quarantine period is over. He says 100 more Chinese tourists will arrive in Bangkok later this week.

Upon arrival, the tourists will be tested for Covid-19 and are required to register with a Covid-19 tracking application. They will then be transferred to certified quarantine accommodations to stay for the next 14 days.

“If the first batch of Chinese tourists is considered to be potentially successful, TAT might propose the idea of increasing more tourists to the CCSA (Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration) and the government.”

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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