Sirinya Wattanasukchai is a columnist for the Bangkok Post.
Almost the same time the tourism authorities welcomed the first batch of long-stay tourists from China last week, local media reported a new infection, a Thai-French woman, who completed the mandatory alternative state quarantine (ASQ) and somehow, after she left, tested positive for the coronavirus.
Should I, or should I not, take the train today?" might be the question du jour for city commuters right now. Apart from checking if a train is running or delayed, commuters find it helps to remain flexible in case authorities suddenly order the train services to temporarily shut. Such has been the response to the pro-democracy rallies that have erupted daily since the Oct 15 crackdown, when riot police used water cannon to disperse crowds.
It was Sunday morning and a group of Buddhists from Samut Prakan were on their way to make merit at a temple in Chachoengsao. Yet the trip ended in a tragedy as their vehicle crashed into a freight train. Altogether, 19 were killed and a few dozen injured.
Last week, when Bangkok commuters were stuck in the usual nightmare of paralysed traffic, Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang was already warning us to get prepared for the impending annual PM2.5 pollution. He recommended everyone download the AirBkk app to check air quality in the city to ready ourselves before leaving home.
Less than 24 hours after the anti-dictatorship activists installed a plaque symbolising democracy at Sanam Luang before wrapping up the rally, state agencies managed to remove it, explaining that the brass item "damages" the historical site. Wow! Such swift action by state agencies is rare.
At the same time when thousands of shoppers and netizens lamented the closure of 28-year-old Isetan Department Store, Bangkok lost one of its oldest food shops in Bang Rak district, known for its authentic khao mok gai (Thai chicken biryani) and oxtail soup.
As I saw my Bangkok-bound train approaching Yala train station last week, I hoped the ride would be a perfect end to my nostalgic trip to the southern province, my second in recent years. In the latest visit I was glad the time-capsuled town showed signs of change, with new chic cafes, restaurants and hotels opening.