Time of the Storm

Zop is a Thai who grew up in Chiangmai and lives in Chiangmai right now. There’s never worldwide epidemic disease experience in his whole life, so the breakout of coronavirus caused a big impact on his life both physically and mentally. He is a devoted Christian and works actively in the church as the translator during preach. His work is in a nonprofit organization as well, which largely involves physical contact between individuals. However, his life altered due to coronavirus.

I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand, when the coronavirus outbroke, where my hometown is. When I first heard about the virus, I thought something special is happening, but I didn’t have any unique feeling about it. However, things changed around me because of the coronavirus.

Due to the requirement of my job, which needs interaction between people for organizing and participating activities, as well as working in church and helping communities. All of these are based on face to face communication, but coronavirus stopped all of these works, and we have to make cancelations. I was sad as the coronavirus becoming more serious in my country and the trust between people is disappearing since everyone is scaring of each other. People started to get emotional easily when there is someone start coughing or coming back from a crowded place such as hospital. This change is kind of annoying.

I think there are good-side and down-side about quarantine. One of the bad things is we converted all the communications into online form and have no chance to meet others in person. At the same time, the thing that I feel heartbroken is the friendliness and peace in the community is gone but brought scare in between. But the good side is I got more time with family, especially the family members who live quite far and I have no chance to visit them usually, but I can see them now and have some good time together.

The time period of quarantine is Thai New Year, and coronavirus made unprecedented changes to Thai people. In all the generations, even in my grandfather’s time, there is never once cancelation of Songkran (Thai New Year), but this year it happened. Usually, during this time, we pour water to each other for good luck, buy gifts and say a blessing to elders, and reunion with family. But this year, due to this event, we have to keep space between each other and I am really worried about the elders but can’t get close to the for their health. Since I am a Christian, I don’t celebrate religious Thai traditions before anyways, but I always played water with my kids either around a waterfall or at home in the previous years. However, this year we just stay at home and spend like a normal day.

As a Christian, the shutdown of church brought changes in my life. Since going to church is my normal routine, but now I don’t have any spiritual shelter to go. But there are some new things happened of church, which we have never seen before. Christians communities started to interact from the internet actively and they really have a good virtual environment to praise God in a new way, which I think is a good and beautiful thing that happen during the storm.

The coronavirus brought changes to my country as well. Since Thailand is a tourist country and many businesses depend on the tourists, many companies have to close right now. I think it(the economic industry) will take some time to be recovered. Also, I think only the successful invention of vaccines can truly enable the safety of the population. If my country opened in a couple months without the existence of vaccines, the situation will be still under danger.

I think the opinions of Thai people toward Chinese is not really racism but the concern due to safety. As the news announced that the virus is from China, people thought the Chinese around them are suspected of carrying the virus at the early stage of coronavirus outbreak, but now everyone is suspected as the corona spread so quickly, not only limited to Chinese.

I have big hope for humans and pray that this pandemic disease to go over as fast as possible so that we can see the clear sky after this huge storm.

Zop takes this time as a bless to spend with family, but he hopes to go back to work as soon as possible as well. At the same time, he expects more from his country to make more changes about the current situation.

Interviewed By

Yian(Ann) Zhao


Mr. Z (Zop)

Interview Date



Manager of an NGO organization