11 July 2024

Losing jobs hurts, and the knife is being arguably twisted with the state of emergency. Staying home, having repeated or sloppily-cooked menus and watching TV around the clock can be deeply unpleasant to many. Some are starving while others have gained weight avoiding salads, shifting to fried foods and staring at the fridge all day. Adding to that, there is a lot more time to absorb increasingly bad news or blood-boiling commentaries on the social media.


Through all these, the bright side emerging from the world’s fight against COVID-19 can be easily overlooked. There are plenty of positives, actually:


  1. Nature is smiling. A LINE video, apparently produced for the environmental cause, states that the planet is having a much-needed rest from the “frantic pace of humanity”:
  • Pollution levels in cities have dropped significantly. After two months of lockdown, air quality in Wuhan improved by a remarkable 21.5 %. In fact, the video said, “the sky turned blue all over China, which was responsible for 30 % of the world’s emissions of CO2 every year. Air quality in Barcelona and Madrid has improved by 50 %.
  • In Italy, the canals of Venice have had their beauty restored. As humans breath a bit harder through masks, fish in the Italian city and some other places are breathing more happily and are swimming in much clearer water.
  • Positive reports on the environmental front are expected soon from other countries which have significantly reduced sea, air and road traffic and make factories suspend their works. (Admittedly, all the said measures mean some people somewhere were losing their jobs.)


  1. From the above information, experts are getting better ideas how to deal with the climate change, which, like COVID-19, can send the world descending slowly but surely into chaos.


  1. Many Thais are consuming less alcoholic drinks. The local habit of not drinking as much as when being with friends or at parties is helping Thais. Self-isolation has led to a noticeable decrease in alcohol consumption in the country, experts believe.


However, the same cannot be said for many other countries where alcohol consumption is more associated with loneliness. The closure of bars and restaurants along with other restrictions prompted panic stockpile of liquor in western nations.


  1. We care more about hygiene. People are washing their hands a lot more often, showering more often and changing clothes more often. Microwaves are working more than they have been and “raw” foods have been avoided.


  1. We are exercising more. With plenty of time on our hands and being unable to play cards with friends, treadmills can be all we’ve got. Moreover, we need to build a stronger immunity during the COVID-19 era, don’t we?


  1. It’s time to start or finish that TV series. To the Thai middle class, one of the most frequently-asked questions on the social media has to do with what the best paid-TV contents are. There are a few things that should have been watched if we weren’t too busy trying to please clients or getting struck in traffic.


  1. The same goes for books.


  1. People are having more quality time with the family. Without high-stake games to play against their rivals and training sessions to participate in, popular football players are kicking the ball with their children. Many describe the experience as invaluable. That is just one of various examples.


  1. In Thailand, there is less divisive political news. There remains criticism and counter punches, of course, but it’s far better to have politicians argue about hygiene masks, medical equipment and food prices than abstract, ideological stuff, long portrayed as a matter of life and death.


  1. Governments, politicians and ordinary people have had to “readjusted” their priorities. In other words, they have known what truly are important.


  1. The following is not “bright” but it’s an interesting point all the same. During this period, people can get more philosophical about many things, not least “equality.” While every victim deserves full sympathy, it’s worth noting that a lot of poor nations have so far escaped the full wrath of COVID-19.


  1. Work from home with the use of technologies allowing group chats and remote assignment is being given a full-blown test. The convenience of finishing work at home had long been mooted or experimented, but never on this scale. Employers must love the reduction of utility costs, for example, while employees can have more time for family and themselves.


By Tulsathit Taptim