I live in Bangkok, which like other global cities, has been lurching between hysteria, official confusion and stoic pragmatism since the December outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
Beyond the distressing accounts of rising infection rates, travel restrictions and job losses, daily life is being turned upside down. At a recent birthday party I attended, a friend caused near panic by putting candles on the cake. "No candles! No blowing!," several guests shrieked.