Jam and her housemate on COVID-19

By May 29, 2020 Learning, Newsroom

Chatsuda Hanbag, APCOM

My name is Chatsuda, and my nickname is Jam. I am originally from Surin province which is in the Northeast of Thailand, famous for its annual elephant festival. I have been living in Bangkok since I attended university in 2006. I am in relationship and I have two cats. I live in a big house with my boyfriend, my sister, and my best friend and her boyfriend.

I live about 40 kms from the office and spend 1.50 hours to taking a bus to office and back home every day. During the rush hours, the bus can get very crowed.

In 2017, I volunteered for the APCOM’s HERO Awards, and got to experience working for a regional community organisation, and I was impressed. I know that I can improve my English and other skills and knowledge if I join this team. I was so happy that I was successful in my application as finance and administrative assistant under the operations section and joined the team in August 2019.

Our work was not suited to the working from home measures – we deal in hard copies that I cannot take all the documents home so when COVID-19 pandemic hit Bangkok, I was quite scared about my commute on the crowded bus. It was great that APCOM allowed us flexible working arrangements, and I can some in the office later, and leave the office earlier to avoid the crowds during rush hours. We were determined to make sure that some of our vital work can continue.

My boyfriend, my best friend and her boyfriend lost their jobs during the COVID-19 lockdown, only me and my sister were still working. After APCOM had the COVID-19 office protocol, most staff were working from home so the office had less people, it also reduces the risk but I was worried about my sister’s health because she works in a clinic and she had to face many patients every day. Late March Thailand also had the crisis of the short supply of face masks and sanitizers, even in the hospitals so it increased my nervousness about her safety, we had to make our own masks. When we go out of the house everyone must have alcohol gel, alcohol spray, and wear mask. APCOM also supplied staff with alcohol gel and spray.

I grew many vegetable in the backyard because I was afraid of not being able to buy them as markets and department stalls were closed, and was not sure how the lockdown will last and how it will affect the food supply.

While everywhere was closing, our office used Zoom to connect for daily check-ins, and also had a series of training via Zoom. My favourite trainings were on using MS Team and Fundraising. These were trained by experts that gave up their time. I can see good use of MS Teams for collaborative working from different locations, it is perfect like we are sitting in the meeting room together. The fundraising training gave me insights into an area of work that I don’t have knowledge of.

As Bangkok and Thailand opens up, and we will be in the “new normal” I hope we will be able to put more resources to build on APCOM’s digital presence and using that to diversify funding as well – our GayOK series are very good and many people want to see the next season.

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