Expats in Thailand join to help Thais in need due to the pandemic

Published:  27 Apr at 6 PM
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In spite of a representative of the Thai government’s verbal attacks on expats, foreigners all over the popular destination are pulling out all the stops to help Thai nationals in need.

The pandemic’s devastating effect on Thailand’s tourist industry has seen small and medium sized businesses, hotels, guest houses and other hospitality sector owners left without any income and with little hope of the situation returning to anything resembling normal over the next few months. As a result, huge numbers of workers in the sector as well as business owners have been left without wages and have little in the way of savings to get them through until normality returns. The same predicament is now hurting small shop owners, market traders and other retail sector businesses as what cash still in circulation is being spent on essentials, and malls as well as entertainment venues are now in lockdown all across the country.

However, in spite of the negative comments about foreigners from a government minister, expatriates all across the land are getting together to provide free food, free rentals and other charitable offerings to Thai people and migrant workers who’ve nowhere else to turn. It’s unfortunate that Thai police officers in several favourite Thai tourism destinations are taking a hard line against these volunteers, mostly as regards the organisation of social distancing during the food donations.

One expat couple giving out free food to migrant workers on Koh Samui were severely reprimanded for not organising their donations in a manner which ensured safety. The volunteers, it seems, weren’t wearing masks and the expat didn’t notify the island’s officials in advance of the donations. It seems the reason behind the police action was that an online video showing the donations could affect Thailand’s international image. However, the expat donation sessions were soon resumed and were aided by several police officers who helped organise the waiting crowd.

On Pattaya, a popular expat-owned pub has been handing out free food boxes to tourists trapped in the city by the lockdown as well as out-of-work Thai nationals. The food donations are funded by the pub owners themselves, who’ll keep donating until the pandemic’s economic strain on the economy has ended. In Chiang Mai, a large group of expat pensioners and their friends came together to purchase and distribute truckloads of rice and basic foodstuffs to those in need. Represented were expats from the UK, Germany, the USA and Australia, and the food was given to the Aim to Kids charity as well as to two Chiang Mai sub-district offices for re-distribution to elderly, bedridden and financially challenged Thais. Across Thailand, similar scenes are taking place daily, as expats recognise the countrywide need for practical assistance caused by the ongoing war with the deadly pandemic.
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