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TEST YOURSELF: Hoping for better days

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Bar workers and owners face difficult times

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Read the following story by Yvonne Bohwongprasert from the Bangkok Post. Then, answer the questions that follow.

After months of lockdown, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) recently allowed all remaining entertainment venues to reopen, with strict rules in place.

These include venues being open only until midnight, social distancing, not sharing tables with people from different groups, waiters wearing face masks at all times and patrons checking in and out using the Thai Chana platform.

Bangkok Post spoke to people working in the nightlife industry to discuss the new rules.

Nongluck Kiatratsamee

Deejay, Insanity nightclub

Before Covid-19, Nongluck's success as Honey G -- one of Thailand's leading female deejays – saw her working all around the country.

"The tours I planned for this year had all been cancelled, coupled with the fact that I was out of a job when venues were ordered shut. With no income, I was in shock," said Nongluck.

"On a monthly average, we earn around 25,000 to 30,000 baht. When on tour, one can make US$1,000 (31,660 baht) or more. During this period, I lost 90% of my earnings."

Nongluck is happy the government has reopened Bangkok nightlife venues. However, she does have an issue with social distancing and wearing a face shield while performing.

"I feel it would be difficult to wear a face shield while I deejay. I just cannot see it happen. As for social distancing, I think in a bar or club environment this can be a problem, but I suppose we just have to work things out.''

Kreangsak Leing

Gay party organiser, G-Spot Entertainment

Known for organising wild parties, Kreangsak has worked for six years in the gay high-end market in Bangkok, raking in large profits. However, without warning, all of this changed when the Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of nightlife venues. 

"I had to take care of my staff who have been with me through thick and thin. I had to cut their income by half to survive," he said.

Kreangsak thinks the rules need to be changed.

"This could start with changing the closing time for nightlife venues from midnight to 2am. These establishments should be allowed to operate fully.''

Singer/songwriter Herve Bongela

CH3 band's lead vocalist

Besides performing at Novotel Bangkok in Phloenchit each night of the week, Bongela's career in the music industry was on a roll when he had to face Covid-19.

Married to a Thai, and with a young daughter, the Congolese artist found himself suddenly without work.

"Besides looking after my family, I had to think of the well-being of my band members, who have their families in the Philippines and have also been impacted by Covid-19."

In terms of state regulations for nightlife entertainment venues, he also believes early closing is an issue.

"Most of us spend a good couple of hours networking with the audience after we complete our work at midnight. It would be more appropriate to go back to 2am given that Covid-19 cases today are only found among people that are already in quarantine."

Intira Chaipraserdnett

Bar owner, White Rabbit Bar, Silom

When Covid-19 first hit, Intira was confident the two weeks her business was ordered to shut down was just temporary. However, when two weeks turned into months, she was left in a daze.

"My daily income took a beating, from averaging around 50,000 baht during my peak days to being left with zero income. I was fortunate my building owner waived 50% off the monthly rent. To survive, I decided to turn my business into a restaurant, adding a food menu so we could open much earlier than other nightlife establishments."

On the issue of Covid-19 regulations, she strongly disagrees with the closing time of midnight. She said the extra two hours are often the most lucrative.

"Our main clients are patrons of Silom Soi 2. They arrive after 10pm, so it does not make sense to shut businesses by midnight."

Section 1: Write the correct answer in the space provided.

1. Who received a rent reduction? …………….

2. Who lost 90% of their income? …………….

3. Who doesn’t mention midnight closing? …………….

4. Who has a young daughter? …………….

5. Who had to reduce staff salaries? …………..

6. Who has customers arriving late at night? …………….

7. Who has been working for six years? ……………. 

8. Who has foreign colleagues? …………….

.

Section 2: Write the noun form of the following words in the space provided.

9. social ……… 10. cancelled ……… 11. performing ………. 12. survive ………. 13. confident ……….

.

Section 3: Read the following passage. Then, fill in the blanks with the correct words from the choices given.

"Being able to …14… an income feels great, especially after not being …15… to do so for many months. For me, closing at midnight is not a huge …16… . I realise the country has to take …17… steps when it comes to reopening the Thai nightlife industry," said Nongluck. "We can …18… with the regulations as long as we are allowed to work. Thousands of people …19… during the shutting down of the entertainment venues."

14. A. had  ---B. do ---C. earn

15. A. possible ---B. able ---C. banned

16. A. issue ---B. decision ---C. question

17. A. puppy ---B. baby ---C. kitten

18. A. handle ---B. live  ---C. stand 

19. A. suffering ---B. suffers ---C. suffered

.

Section 4: Find words that match the following definitions.

20. demanding that rules are followed ……………

21. a feeling of surprise and upset ……………

22. to continue to live or exist ……………

23. a feeling of confusion …………

24. producing a lot of profit ……………

.

.

Answers: 1. Intira. 2. Nongluck. 3. Nongluck. 4. Herve. 5. Kreangsak. 6. Intira. 7. Kreangsak. 8. Herve. 9. society. 10. cancellation. 11. performer/performance. 12. survival/survivor. 13. confidence.

14.c. 15.b. 16.a. 17.b. 18. b. 19. c. 

20. strict. 21. shock. 22. survive. 23. daze. 24. lucrative.

SCORE 21-24: Excellent! 17-20: Good.   13-16: Fair.   12 or fewer: You'll do better next time!

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