Naphalai's Diary: March 23-29
For someone who hasn’t spent more than five consecutive days at home for a long, long while this is all quite a new experience. My WFH (work from home) started last week. It wasn’t quite a full week, as on Monday many of us were still at the office. But it turned out to be good to have that day to meet among the editorial team so as to be able to discuss preparations for communications and workflow during our self-confinement. We set up a Line group and brought in the art department as well. At that time we thought it would be for a week or two, but with the emergency decree that was announced on Thursday and in force until April 30, it looks like we may be housebound until then at the earliest.
Although sometimes I’ve had to finish a story or bits and pieces at home, I’d always worked on a tablet and never felt the need to get a desktop or laptop. For this reason, I don’t have my own work station in the house and now I couldn’t take over someone else’s. So the first thing to do was to find myself a little corner where I could set up the desktop I had brought from the office. That was the first thing I did on Tuesday. It took a little longer than I thought and finally found a lovely spot in the living room that looks out on the garden. Setting up the necessary equipment and stuff took a bit of effort and although there was no damage done to them, the same thing can’t be said about me. The light stand knocked into my shin as I was moving it around causing an awful pain that three days later had still not gone away. Then the first chair I chose proved to be a bad fit and after sitting on it for several hours, the next morning I woke up with a terrible ache all the way from my neck and along the upper back. Good thing I was able to find a replacement that worked out much better.
You’re not going to believe me when I say I ended up being in front of the computer as much, if not more, than at the office. I had thought that working from home would allow me to also take care of personal things that I normally wouldn’t have time for. No way. I wake up at the usual time (7 am), do my exercises, have my breakfast then I am at the computer. Don’t ask me where the time goes, but often when I turn the desktop off it is already 5 pm. The only positives are that I don’t have to waste hours in the traffic and don’t have to think about what to wear or what events to attend. Just shorts and a top (I do get out of my jammies!) and no make-up—let’s hope WFH doesn’t drag on too long otherwise I might get used to this and Tatler would have to get rid of me for not being representative of its image!
I must say though that during this unprecedented period, I do spend a lot of time watching the news and checking social media to see the latest on the coronavirus spread that has upended life as we know it. And there is far too much news going around, both fake and real, so we do need to consume with care. What is real though is that Thailand passed the 1,000 mark of infected cases last week and the increase continues with over 100 cases each day. The good news is that deaths are relatively low, at less than 10, and we hope it stays that way.
During this pause in normal life, we should use it to still connect with each other. Someone on TV came up with the term “physical distancing” rather than “social distancing” because he said we should maintain contact with friends and colleagues even though we can’t see and meet them. If anything, this is probably an even more important time to make sure our social network remains strong as we need this support to get through what can be quite a harrowing episode in everyone’s lives.
Some of our considerate friends out there have reached out to show their namjai (“water of the heart” in Thai, meaning “concern” or “care”) and some have even sent care packages to the house. The first was from ML Ploynapat and Apichat Leenutaphong who represent Lamborghini in Thailand, who sent a basket with items to ease work-at-home conditions, such as cushion, vinyl record, hand sanitiser and mug. I also received a set of cups from Prakaikaew Na-Ranong of The Slate resort in Phuket, perfect for my afternoon tea. Nopadol Baholyodhin, that super creative of Sansiri who recently opened Rongros Thai restaurant with its magnificent view of Wat Arun, sent some of his special fried rice recipes (they deliver!). Thank you so much for your kind thoughts and friendship.
Health experts don’t think we have reached our peak yet as far as the belligerence of the coronavirus goes and in order to help flatten the curve of infection growth, we must stay as far away from each other as possible. We must all cooperate to fight this contagion. So please everyone, do your part: stay home and stay safe.
Previously: Naphalai's Diary: March 16-22