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Jan 24, 2023
East Asia’s Depressing Mask Obsession
East Asia’s Depressing Mask Obsession
In the Red Square Rooftop Vodka Bar of the sleekly towering Novotel Hotel, on soi 4, Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, it feels like the last three harrowing years never really happened. By day the sunny rooftop poolside is strewn with happy Europeans, Americans, Brazilians, Indians, consuming excellent wagyu burgers and freely flowing margaritas. As the sun sets, it gets even better, because dusk is the best time of day in Bangkok: the city revives from its sunstruck torpor, the girls in their dancing skirts alight from the Skytrain, the hawkers sell mango, durian, papaya, sliced fresh for twenty baht. The lights of the skyscrapers glisten like looted jewels. Gin tinkles in chinked glasses. And yet, it is at sunset and sunrise that the more perceptive tourist might notice a different aspect of contemporary life in apparently relaxed Thailand: masks. As the office and hospitality workers come and go, you see them donning and doffing their Covid masks, according to their direction in or out. Ins
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