24 in 2024: first job, making money and avoiding ghosts in Thailand

<span>Titapa Thaipreecha, 24, says living in Bangkok, Thailand can be difficult if ‘you don’t have a lot of money’.</span><span>Photograph: Lauren DeCicca/The Guardian</span>
Titapa Thaipreecha, 24, says living in Bangkok, Thailand can be difficult if ‘you don’t have a lot of money’.Photograph: Lauren DeCicca/The Guardian

Twenty-four in 2024 is a series on the lives, hopes and fears of 24-year-olds around the world in a year of election uncertainty, conflict and climate change.

Where do you live?

At the moment, I’m living in Bangkok. I used to live with my friend but I graduated last year so I came back to live with my parents because I didn’t have enough money.

Bangkok is very good if you have a lot of money; you can do everything you want. It’s easy to order everything – when you’re too lazy to go out you can just open your phone and order something to eat. It’s hard if you don’t have a lot of money because transport is so bad.

Related: 24 in 2024: dancing, home-cooked meals and celebrating little wins in Fiji

I’ve just got a job, but I’m waiting for the company to assign me. Wherever I go it will be outside Bangkok.

What do you do?

When I applied [to university] I thought: “I like physics, I like mathematics, right?” so I got into environmental engineering. But after I studied for four years and graduated I thought … I don’t like it. So I wanted to change and find a different job , so I applied to be a management trainee. It pays a good salary and it can open up more opportunities, but you need to work hard.

There are good companies that pay a lot of money for environmental engineering but the competition is high. It’s a field that’s hard to find work in, in Thailand. I think it’s good in other countries, like the US or Canada, but other countries care about environmental issues more than Thailand.

What apps do you use?

Line, Instagram, Shopee and Twitter/X. Thai people use Line to send messages, send pictures, to do everything. We send stickers and emojis to be polite. We might say thank you and then “a bowing bear”.

I have a cat so I buy everything for her on Shopee. Her name is unchi – it means “poop” in Japanese, but it’s cute. She’s two years old.

What do you listen to?

I listen to Taylor Swift or Shawn Mendes or Thai songs. When I listen to English songs, sometimes I can’t translate – I just think, oh good song. Then I can focus on my reading or driving.

What do you eat?

I eat everything except vegetables and spicy food. When I go to eat with my friends, we order tom yum kung soup, fried sea bass, chicken wings and som tum [papaya salad] – but som tum is spicy so they order one plate spicy, one plate not spicy.

How do you socialise?

Gossiping. If I’m with a close friend I will talk about something deep, something secret that I only want to tell them. When I’m with groups of friends we just drink alcohol and talk – stupid things like stories from when we were young, like old people!

I like to drink beer more than whisky because beer is easy to drink – just one or two bottles, you don’t need to have a mixer. We go to friends’ houses to talk and eat barbecue with them, and have beer. When some of my friends want to dance maybe they go to a pub and dance together. Maybe every few months we go to another province to travel – a one-day, or two-day trip.

What do you wear?

Just T-shirts and jeans. I used to wear black or white colours but my mom didn’t like it, she wanted me to wear pink, green, every colour. In Thailand they don’t like the children to wear black or white, they say “it’s not lively or colourful”.

At university almost all of the students wear Birkenstock sandals. For girls, there’s a brand called Holster, it’s like a trend.

Tell us about your Saturday

Last Saturday I went to my aunt’s bungalow hotel in Nakhon Nayok, central Thailand. Ten years ago it was busy because a lot of customers stay after spotting it while driving past. But now it’s hard because a lot of young people find resorts on Facebook or Google. So I helped them to open a Facebook page.

Related: 24 in 2024: career anxiety, travel dreams and ‘meme studies’ in South Korea

How do you relax?

Watching TV like a Korean series or drama. A lot of my friends love to watch Korean series and read manga on Korean comics platform Webtoon.

What do you want?

I want to be rich and have a lot of money. If you have money you can do everything you want to. I could go to travel around the world, but I would need to have money first.

What do you fear?

I am afraid of ghosts. When I was young, I read ghost stories, but then I couldn’t sleep for a month. I’d need to wake my dad up for him to stay with me before I go to sleep. I’ve never experienced any ghosts though, I don’t want to dare them.

What’s next?

I have a plan to study for a master’s degree in Taiwan so I need to take the exam and get a high enough score to get the scholarship fee. I thought about Australia, but in Taiwan it’s easier to get a full scholarship. Also, in Taiwan they speak Chinese and so I will learn another language if I go there.

What does the world in 2024 look like to you?

2024 is my pee chong [a bad year according to astrology] – so I don’t hope for that much. Maybe I will go to do kae chong, a tradition where we visit a temple or shrine to mitigate bad luck.