Programmes Officer: Community Based Monitoring
Once hailed as a success story for its Covid-19 control, Thailand is currently going through a huge surge in Covid-19 cases due to the delta variant. As of 6 August 2021, Thailand recorded 693,305 Coronavirus cases and 5,663 deaths.
APCOM office is based in Bangkok, and since July 2021 Bangkok has been on lockdown until further notice, and we asked our staff to do a reflection on their Covid-19 experience in 2021.
After being shifted to Bangkok from Mumbai for work, Selvan has lived in Bangkok for almost five years. He does home visit yearly to meet his loved ones back in Mumbai. However, Covid-19 has prevented him from visiting his loved ones since 2020. He’s hoping to visit Mumbai by the end of this year, if Covid-19 restrictions ease down. Fingers crossed for Selvan.
Selvan shares his thoughts and hopes, and what he has learned during the Covid-19 period.
- What is the COVID 19 situation back in your home country?
The COVID 19 situation in India, and in Mumbai, is getting from bad to worse. It is critical across the country. Since the lockdown brought most activities to a halt, there have been several horrifying stories; Street vendor’s food selling got suspended, migrant workers were left stranded, people lost their jobs, and some got salaries cut, and there was discrimination against people suspected to have caught the virus.
During this pandemic crisis, some heroes from NGOs in Mumbai supported the local communities and other people who got affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Heroes packed daily essentials and food into boxes and delivered them to poor people in the slum area. I wish and pray for their good health for many years.
- How have you supported your loved ones being far away from them amid the Covid-19 pandemic?
I think that staying alone in another country, without family or loved ones around you, is not easy, and it may affect you mentally, especially during a pandemic, During the Covid-19 crisis, I keep in regular contact with my loved ones back home, to see how I can support them during the lockdown in Mumbai. But it is hard for me to help them with daily necessaries. However, I learned to come up with other plans to help them, for example arranging and delivering groceries through friends at the doorstep of my loved ones and spending more time on phone calls with them for virtual support and togetherness.
- What do you think you have learned during this COVID 19 pandemic?
Be more kind to yourself. When things don’t go as well as planned, accept it, or speak to your loved ones for help. Have patience, and don’t overthink about future goals and aims. This bad situation is just temporary, and it will disappear soon. Be in regular touch with your loved ones, and provide extra care and support to them.
- Has Covid-19 disturbed you? What is your coping mechanisms?
Like others, Covid-19 disturbed me for a while, and this situation is continuing to disturb me. However, I have been doing mediation, as I think this is one of the good coping mechanisms to avoid mental disturbances. Also, I watch cartoon videos to bring happiness to myself.
- What is your hope?
I hope that people around us will be kinder, and more compassionate to one another.
I hope that employers will be more accepting of flexible workplace arrangements, for example allowing employees to work from home, if they’re able to.
I also hope for more funding towards the marginalised and vulnerable communities for their health, rights and well-being.
I also hope that the Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan speeds up to cover all people.