Feature writer of the Life section
Melalin Mahavongtrakul is a feature writer of the Life section of the Bangkok Post.
I don't think any of us could have anticipated that we would be where we are now. A year ago, or even months ago, nobody would have thought it possible for a modern society like ours to be hit by a pandemic on a level that seemed to exist only in the long-gone past and in movies. Panic buying. Toilet paper hoarding. Convenience stores no longer open 24/7. People ordering hair clippers online to cut their own hair. Face masks becoming a necessary entry pass for most public venues. They're now normal. A new normal, so to speak. Life has surely changed a lot.
'Let's go to Khao Yai," a friend recently suggested via text. Along with her invitation, she attached a picture of a woman sitting amid beautiful flowers, clouded with faded hipster filter. It was an online review saying a blossoming garden in a Khao Yai resort was now open to all visitors for free. The sight of the gorgeous winter flowers drew me in. I said yes.
Would you pay to set something free? A poor, small creature locked away in confinement perhaps? From behind bars, its eyes meet yours as if to say: "Save me." So delicate. So pitiful. And if you do nothing, who knows what's going to happen to it? You take your wallet out. Hand over a few bills to the seller, who has handful of cages on him. And soon you let it go. Be it bird, fish, turtle or other. Fly free. Swim free.
Thai people are considerably kind. We like making merit to help unfortunate souls. And especially in an era when everyone can easily connect through social media, the ways of merit-making have changed and expanded even further. From previously making physical donations at temples and charities, people now reach out to help individuals -- many times a stranger -- they see online. Pictures of sick dogs, cats, humans, or even a call for blood donations appear on our Facebook feeds often on a weekly basis. The plea for help -- coupled with touching stories and photos -- always tugs at our heartstrings. And it doesn't take long for many of us to lend a helping hand, mostly through making a swift donation to help with the cause.