Coronavirus has negatively impacted the economy in Thailand and the livelihood of the Thai villagers. Our scholars Sangthong Sodsaijumpa and Chureepon Srisopawiman, who are currently working as school teachers, open up about how the pandemic has impacted their families, work, and financial situations.
"2019 and 2020 are the hardest years of humanity due to the spread of the Coronavirus. Going home is very hard because the dock has been closed since March 2020. When I try to go home by car or motorcycle, it takes more than 4 hours to drive. Going home by boat is more efficient because takes only 1 hour. However, the journey is still very difficult for me and other villagers. As a result, I rarely go home."
Social studies teacher
"The spread of Coronavirus changes our daily life because we have to keep social distance from friends and neighborhoods. In the first wave of the spread of Coronavirus or COVID-19 in Thailand, the government locked down cities, villages, provinces, roads, airports, and docks. Thailand boundary ports were closed for 5 months, including Thai-Myanmar docks in the rural area, northern of Thailand. Then, roads were opened in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, but docks and boundary ports are still closed. Traveling by boat is the fastest way to go to work, but the dock has been closed for years. I decided to travel by car although it takes lots of time. Moreover, rural roads are bumpy which makes travel difficult. Villagers cannot travel by cars in the rainy season because dirt road becomes muddy. Because of the COVID-19 lockdown and difficulty of transportation, goods are more expensive than normal, but incomes are decreased. The spread of Coronavirus impacts my family members directly: my father is a fisherman but he cannot sell fish because the market is closed. Next, my brother lost his job in Bangkok and had to come home. There are no marketing activities between Thais and Burmese. Not only my family is affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, but other families in the village are too."
"Dock areas will not be allowed to reopen soon because of the disease and political conflict in Myanmar. Nevertheless, reopening of slow boat rides will be beneficial for people to buy and sell goods and gain more income."
Social studies teacher