An Opinion article by Adam Judd, Co-Owner of The Pattaya News and Founder and frequent writer and editor on Pattaya Unplugged.
I have not had much time to write opinion articles here as I have been, as many of you know, very busy with The Pattaya News. Additionally, most of what I have had to write or wanted to write I could do so on our news format. However, this topic I felt was best for Pattaya Unplugged, which is more raw, opinion and submissions oriented, meant to highlight local businesses and help tourists, newbies and even perhaps assist a veteran or two with a tip they did not know.
I wanted to take a moment to first say what I have learned from the Coronavirus outbreak, then I want to open the floor to our readers in the comments and e-mails as to what, if anything, you have learned.
What I have learned (And I’m still learning, we learn everyday, I am far from perfect)
1. Life can surprise you at any moment. This was one of those moments.
2. Be positive. I’ve kept my cool and calm throughout this situation, even as pro-lock-down vs. anti-lock-down people seem to threaten to kill each other and tensions rise all over social media. There is a positive in every situation. I’ll cover more of that further down. I didn’t take the virus as an overall negative, I took it as another life experience (like I do everything) and a learning experience for me. That’s likely why I’ve stayed calm and not panicked, unlike many.
3. Be understanding. This is, for many people, the most stressful incident of their entire lives. It is not for me, without getting too much into my past. In fact, in terms of personal tragedies and problems, it ranks fairly low. However, I understand how major this is to many people and I understand that. Tensions are at a boiling point online. I fell into the trap sometimes at first also to argue with people about my viewpoints and then stopped. It’s better to understand where people are coming from, put yourself in the shoes they have walked in and understand how stressful this situation is for most people versus try to change peoples minds. Even if you win an argument about what should be done regarding the virus, unless you are a politician in a position of power, which is unlikely for most reading this article, it doesn’t matter.
4. If people can’t control the situation around them, they want to at least be able to win an argument. Similar to the above. I’ve had to stop reading most comment and discussion threads around the internet and let our moderator team do their jobs on our news comments and discussion groups. I understand why people are so determined to prove others wrong or sway people to their viewpoints- with no control at all even the smallest “win” or control helps them validate themselves in this difficult time.
5. Be sympathetic. We have people in all sorts of situations here in Pattaya. Tragically, we have many people who were at poverty level before the virus hit and this situation has made that even worse. I have spent a significant amount of time, as has the Pattaya News team, at food charity events all over the city, video taping and writing articles about the countless organizations, individuals and authorities who have held food handouts and charity events. The level of partnership I have seen from the Pattaya community has been inspiring during this situation. However, you also seen many who are not sympathetic to the situation-people who are more concerned about when their condo pool will open or when they can go to the beach again. I understand everyone is in a different financial situation and the level of importance of things is different for everyone…I have personally learned to be sympathetic. I don’t judge those who feel the single most important thing is to open their business, go to the beach or even swim in their pool. However, by being sympathetic and understanding where people are coming from, we only improve ourselves.
6. Life will go on overall. This wasn’t the end of the world, despite some making it out to seem to be. It was a major disruption for many, but for quite a few who work from home (including myself) it didn’t disrupt life that greatly. I learned that some folks seem to really, really want an apocalypse but then when a disruption happens, they figured out this wasn’t as fun or entertaining as they thought. No, we didn’t have any zombies. We will be arguing and debating responses to this incident for decades, but I think it is important to remember that life will go on…and has overall. Tragically, for some this incident was the end of the world-and many people did lose their lives to the coronavirus. We can’t forget that either, even as people battle over if their swimming pool should be able to open or if they should be allowed to go on holiday to an island somewhere this summer.
7. Be kind. I saw a good post about this elsewhere on social media and it has stuck with me. Similar to being understanding, be kind. I have seen so many random acts of kindness in Pattaya during this time that would be unusual in “normal times” that have actually really impressed me. I’m not just referring to major charity events, but even small things and measures, people donating and helping who normally would not. People being respectful of others, even if it means sacrificing some of their own time. Yes, online comments and messages are a nightmare, but many of those posts are from people who are just frustrated and fearful about the future-and that is understandable. As I said, be understanding. I have made a concerted effort to be kind to everyone, even those who may not like me or have had for whatever reason an issue with me in their past. I try my hardest to get along with everyone and I think by being kind and understanding we will get through this situation…and anything else in the future.
8. Be prepared. I hope this incident teaches those, who have the ability (not all do) to prepare for emergencies. I myself have never been the best at saving money or keeping weeks of food around, etc. I am lucky enough to have steady employment during this crisis and I had a few months of savings, something I have been doing for many years now after facing prior personal tragedies that woke me up to life. I don’t believe people need to go over the top and keep underground shelters or years of food (To those who do, no offense, as I said, be kind, up to you) but I do hope this experience will help many people, who can afford it, to put some extra money away each paycheck, keep some extra meals and cans of food around and have a plan if your life as you know it changes on a dime.
9. Use your free time wisely. I have not had much free time during this crisis, but the time that I have with distractions like entertainment, bars and others closed I have walked more than I have in years. I have seen more of Pattaya and its secret side soi’s and streets, different roads and areas then I ever knew was here. It’s been exciting and eye opening and will help for future articles on Pattaya Unplugged. I have seen many seem to use the time given to them to constantly complain that something they used to do a lot is closed or not available…I have used the time and experience as a gift (I am a glass half full guy after all) and every little thing that opens or phase that relaunches is like another gift. There have been a lot of road bumps, but those who used this crisis to get healthy, take up a hobby, pursue a goal, etc. will come out of it stronger. I even know some bar managers who have gone months without drinking and are in the best shape of their lives.
10. Nobody is one hundred percent right. This whole situation was novel for everyone. There is no set playbook. There are experts in every field and much of it, such as health, economic and social, conflicts. History is a decent teacher, but isn’t perfect either. Rather then people battling and warring over who is right and who is wrong, I have learned to listen to all sides, understand their points of view (except, to be honest, some of the over the top conspiracy theories) and make my own, hopefully educated decision, by being exposed to the facts. We may be battling about if lock-downs were right or wrong until the cows come home but we need to understand nobody is perfect-least of all myself.
Thank you for reading. What have you learned from this crisis?