Open Field

Staying calm in the face of adversity

Hey guys! Recently I went to Thailand with my mum, and you could call it a sabbatical, a holiday, or whatever you call it. We returned home after 1 day in Thailand. We had received news that there was a bombing in Thailand, about 0.8km from our hotel. My mum was very scared and she was panicking, almost on the verge of a panic attack. She told me that I should have listened to my gut instincts and her sixth sense. But hindsight is only 20/20.


 

 

 

First day:

We disembarked at Thailand’s airport, and the tour guide spoke very poor English, and we had problems communicating with him. We met some elderly couples as well as some aunties who were going on the trip, but their itinerary was slightly different from us. On the first day, we explored the vicinity and the city streets. We did a massage, and we ate at a sub-par restaurant. The food portions were big, but the food was lacklustre, and the service was lukewarm. The massage therapists were good though, they even served us tea. After that, we decided to liaise with the restaurant, and the staff arranged for a driver to pick us up to watch a cabaret show. We were quite petrified, as we had to walk quite a bit, and his car was parked in a dark alley. Also, after the cabaret show, he dropped us at the night market. He did not drive us directly to the hotel, and we actually almost got lost.

The second day:

We heard the news about the bombing in Thailand. My mum was panicking, so I decided to use the hotel’s computer to book two air tickets back to Singapore. It was quite a harrowing experience, as we had to send the tickets to the hotel’s email, and we were wondering if the online transaction would go through smoothly. With the Grace of God, I managed to come back with my mum, safe and sound.

Here are some lessons that I learnt:

– If you have a religion, pray. It helps.

I have to pray to God and rely on him. My church friends think that I should be more pious and devoted to God. I know that I have to run to him, but often I turn away from him and wallow in my own misery. I prayed to God that my mum would be calm and not panic and that God will fill her with strength. After I prayed, she calmed down and she managed to compose herself. I also prayed that we would come back safe and sound.

-Try to think rationally and calm yourself down

It is no use panicking and thinking about the worst case scenarios. As someone suffering from anxiety, I had to psych myself and think through cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques, telling myself that things are going to be alright, and trying to be methodical in planning our trip back home.

-Try to discuss your concerns with people

They say two heads are better than one. I decided to talk to mum about our decision to come back, and we managed to come to a consensus.

-Try to speak in simple English; stilted and broken English if necessary

The locals there may not speak much English, so there might be a language barrier. Avoid using fanciful or bombastic words.  Also, learn some simple Thai words or bring a phrase book. It would be helpful.

-Bring extra cash, or activate your credit card. You might never know if you need it. Luckily, we brought enough cash, as we had to pay 500 baht for a taxi from the hotel to the airport.

-Time is of the essence. The hotel staff asked us why we were leaving, and we had to tell them a white lie, as we didn’t want to cause them any unnecessary distress. Also, I was afraid that they would probe further and coerce us to stay, and we might miss our flight.



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