Kilkenny beer is back in town, having returned to Delaneys Irish Pub on Second Road next to the Royal Garden Plaza. Saddle up to the bar, order a pint and get Manager Kim Fletcher to retell all the Limericks he learned while in Hong Kong - once the limerick capital of Asia, but soon to be replaced by Delaneys in Pattaya.
Work at it
Where theres a will
Advice for idiots
the rumor mill
A confident company is said to be trying to buy all freehold and long lease properties in Pattayaland Soi Two to create girlie bars, restaurants, the works. Pattayaland Soi One now has more gay bars in it than the so called Boystown in neighboring Soi Three, but two new establishments for Friends of Dorothy will be opening in the latter around November. Plans to set up a series of outside stalls selling English style fish and chips along Beach Road have run into problems with licensing authorities who say more paper bags will create a litter problem. Its nice to know somebody out there cares.
Midnight in Moscow
The final drag
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I love my husband dearly, but weve got some problems we cant get past. Let me first say that he has got some great qualities... hes caring, a hard worker outside the home, very intelligent, good looking, and loves his kids. There are a few problems, but the biggest for me is the lack of help around the house. He works outside the home, I stay at home with the kids. I get a little work done during the day while hes at work, but I cant do it all. Im trying to be very brief here, so what I basically want to say is that I would like him to help out when hes home from work, and not spend his time lounging around, or doing projects that could wait. I would like him to take notice of what needs to be done, and just do it, and not wait for me to say something or blow up about it. I would like for him to set a good example for the kids, by showing them that he respects the work I do. Last, but certainly not least, I would like acknowledgment that my job doesnt end... Im doing my job 24 hours, I dont get to clock out at the end of the day and relax for the rest of the night. So, what it boils down to is responsibility and respect. Ill let him post his thoughts before I go any further.
First of all, you didnt say how many children you have and what age they are. I understand children can keep a mother very busy all day long. On the other hand, I assume you live in Thailand and usually it is not too hard here to get a helper. Do you have a housemaid? If not, try to get one. She can take a lot of burden off your shoulders. In case your children are still too small to go to school, I am sure you can find a good Kindergarten where you could bring your children for at least half a day. It wouldnt be only a relief for you, but it could also help your children to be busy with something else and at the same time find some friends.
As far as I know, working schedules in Thailand are quite different to those in Western countries, and somehow I do understand your husband when all he wants to do is relax after a hard days work.
Of course, I agree with you that your husband should respect the work you are doing and should be helping you in matters of children rearing. Try to work out a plan with your husband, but also try to understand him - he is surely as tired as you are after many hours of work and probably not in the mood to do the dishes in the evening. You have to see his assignment here as a rather short period of your life and as soon as you return to your own country, things will turn to normal again.
I am absolutely beside myself with the news my parents gave me this morning. They drove over here and calmly announced that after forty-four years of marriage they are getting a divorce! I honestly believe they have taken a leave of their senses.
They have had their differences like all married couples, but they have never separated - not even for one day. I cant imagine what has come over them. Dad says that since he is seventy, if the good Lord gives him another five years he wants to live them in peace. Mother, who is sixty-nine, says she feels the same way. I suggested a larger apartment with two bedrooms, frequent separate vacations, and a trial separation - anything but divorce. But they insist they have thought it over and this is what they both want. But they have children and grandchildren who love and respect them. How can parents disgrace their families that way?
Your parents have a right to make their own decisions, for their own reasons, without loss of love or respect from their children and grandchildren. And if they terminate their marriage after forty-four years, where is the "disgrace"? Perhaps they stayed together as long as they did out of consideration for you. They need compassion, not criticism.
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Modern Medicine: Jet-Lag
Presented by Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital
by Dr. Iain Corness
As modern aviation becomes faster and faster, your chances of getting "jet-lag" becomes greater and greater. Its "official" description is a De-synchronisation of body rhythms caused by the bodys inability to adapt to time zone shifts of four or more hours.
In real terms, this just means that though your heart may be in San Francisco, your brains been left in Bangkok! So there you are, in an important breakfast meeting with Bill Clinton, and your brain is still programmed for "sleep" mode in Thailand. The end result doesnt bear thinking about!
Fortunately, your body does learn to adapt to new time zones, but it does take some time. That length of time depends on many factors, including whether you are travelling East-West or West-East, with the Eastward leg being the worst. Some very bright human biologist of mathematical bent even came up with a formula to show how long it will take to return to normal. Included in the formula are factors dependent upon your time of departure and your time of arrival, the number of time zones crossed and the length of the flight divided by two. After youve done all that you get an answer expressed in tenths of a day. So forget the mathematics, its too hard. Just accept that for a trip to San Francisco you need around 30 hours to get over the jet-lag, or 15 hours for Japan.
The symptoms of jet-lag are varied and include sleep disturbance, fatigue, gastro-intestinal upset and impaired mental performance.
There are some things you can do to minimize the effects of jet-lag. Probably the first is to break your journey with a mid-distance stop-over of 24 hours. The next is to use a mild hypnotic like "Temazepam" to avoid sleep deprivation on the plane. I have found that an eye mask and ear plugs definitely helps maintain sleep on the long hauls.
The other major factor is to maintain adequate hydration during the flight. That means lots of natural water, not water diluted with alcohol or water extracted in a complex fermentation process from hops, grapes or grain! Even coffee is a no-no or any beverages containing caffeine.
At your destination, try to fit into the new time scale as soon as possible. In other words, stay awake till the "new" bedtime and get up at the "new" breakfast time. It will help readjustment.
Finally, no matter how tempting it looks, do not buy any Golden Gate Bridges in the first 24 hours!
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Family Money: Doom & Gloom for Asia?
By Leslie Wright
In recent months the Thai Baht had strengthened against the dollar, returning to the same exchange rate it had been at the beginning of the year.
This prompted some investors to believe that the crisis was over - at least as far as Thailand was concerned.
Some were asking whether it would be a good time to switch Sterling (which many regard as being over-valued) into Thai Baht, in light of this positive swing.
Others have seen the situation as offering good buying opportunities for Thai stocks; yet others have expressed deep concern on the Asian situation generally.
While it is my job to be a long-range financial planning advisor, I am not a seer, nor (as Ive stated in this column before) do I have a crystal ball.
All I can do is pass on the comments and opinions that I receive daily, weekly and monthly from various investment institutions analysts.
These have been, virtually without exception, gloomy on the general economic outlook for Asia for the rest of 1998, and many are pessimistic for the regions recovery within the next 12 months.
Most major institutions have not been investing in Asian stock markets, preferring to keep their Asian funds heavily in cash as far as the parameters of their individual funds permit.
Now it appears that global fund managers are finally pulling out of Asia altogether. This is understandable on the basis that Asian markets now form a much smaller proportion of the MSCI World index, and they will be reporting to clients during July.
Have we reached bottom?
In these days of living in a global economy, what happens in one market will almost inevitably have an effect on all others.
This is especially true of the smaller countries of Asia which are producing goods for export to larger ones.
As noted earlier, in the past three months the Baht had strengthened against the US dollar, reaching the same exchange rate it had been at 6 months earlier, albeit still some 33% below its position 12 months ago before the crisis hit (which tended to put a damper on those who had transferred substantial proportions of their hard currency into Baht deposits at seemingly attractive rates of interest.) Then last month news of further problems in Asia started it moving south again.
Some analysts, however, believe that we are now reaching the end game period.
Long term money is being invested
Some very successful well-run international companies have in recent months been selectively buying Asian assets. These same companies were themselves battling deep recession conditions in the US and Europe during the late 80s and early 90s. They know how to survive and manage through recessions.
In South Korea, for example, where the stock market index is some 40% off its position 3 months ago and nearly 75% off its position a year ago, Procter & Gamble recently purchased Sangyong Paper, Metropolitan Life has bought Korea Life Insurance, and Volvo has taken over the construction equipment division of Samsung Heavy.
Here in Thailand, another country which also has too much debt and too little in the savings account, Ahold of the Netherlands and Tesco of Britain have both recently bought up local retail chains, while Ford Motors is potentially purchasing Kia Motors.
Most media commentators however are becoming increasingly gloomy.
Recent comments by Mr. Severino, Vice President for Asia at the World Bank, would lead one to believe that Asia is on the brink of recession.
The World Bank, and the IMF for that matter, completely missed the build-up of debt and mismanagement of many Asian economies and are now falling over themselves to predict a global economic slump triggered by a depression in Asia. The World Bank seems not to have noticed the robust non-inflationary growth being enjoyed in Continental Europe and of course the USA. Both these areas dwarf Asia in global economic importance.
In a recent presentation on the "Asian Crisis" by the investment bank ABN AMRO in Hong Kong, four of their Asian equity analysts (three of whom were Asian and all aged thirty-something) gave what was reportedly a most depressing series of presentations, and then invited the audience to join them in getting drunk! The fact is none of these analysts has worked through a deep recession and therefore are losing all sense of objectivity and perspective.
The $:Yen rate is the current key
The key factor that is currently blamed for driving the markets down is the depreciation of the Japanese Yen through 140 to the US$.
While the $/¥ rate is important it is not as important as the $/DEM. Many commentators in Asia have completely missed the fact that the US$ is not appreciating against the Deutschmark at all. The movement in the $/¥ is essentially Yen weakness.
It is clear that the U.S. administration, fed up with bailing out the Japanese, has for the time being decided not to support the Yen. U.S. Treasury Secretary Rubin has stated that "intervention would only be a temporary tool".
The long term solution to the weakness of the Yen is for the Japanese authorities to accelerate deregulation of the economy. Until they do so foreign exchange speculators will continue to sell the Yen.
However, there is always the potential for a sharp Yen rally as short positions are squeezed.
The Yens depreciation has caused the media to speculate that the Hong Kong Dollar peg will be broken and that the Chinese may devalue the Renminbi (RMB).
Certainly the Yens depreciation is making life difficult for China and they have expressed frustration with the Japanese lack of activity. Indeed, leaders all around the region are applying pressure on Japan.
However, it seems unlikely that Premier Zhu Ronji will devalue the RMB for at least five years. In fact, the difficulties in the region just underline the need to maintain the RMB and the link between the HK$ and the US$.
Currency volatility centred in North Asia
The recent wave of Asian currency volatility has centred upon the north Asian currencies of the Korean Won, Hong Kong Dollar and New Taiwan Dollar.
In part this is because the volume of trade in SE Asian currencies has collapsed and even speculators need some volume to close out their positions.
It seems that in Indonesia, Thailand and to a lesser extent Singapore, the governments have given up defending the currency and we are seeing the first signs of interest rates being set for domestic liquidity conditions rather than to defend a notional currency level. This is good news.
In Hong Kong the Yen depreciation has placed renewed pressure on the Currency Board and interest rates have risen to around 15% to 20%. In the current environment the local banks main fear is being caught short of funds - and their source of funds is limited. They are reluctant to borrow from the interbank market because it is unsecured, or from the Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF) - the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) discount window - for fear of being penalised.
Consequently, they are competing for funds from depositors and deposit rates are rising sharply. The HKMA is trying to assist the banks by making the liquidity flows within the banking system more transparent thus helping them to plan their borrowing from day to day.
A further factor which is generally adding to the tight credit conditions in Asia is the retrenchment of Japanese banks as they try to repair balance sheets at home.
A collapse of trading volume is also symptomatic of the bottom of a bear market.
Daily trading volume on the Hong Kong Exchange - the worlds sixth largest stock market - recently has been down around HK$3-5 billion. Over the past few years more normal volumes have been around HK$10 billion, while in the recent bull market phase volume was around HK$15-20 billion with exceptional days of HK$25 billion.
These conditions sound very similar to what we have been seeing in Thailand.
Banks getting desperate?
The Thai stock market has been depressed, having dropped over 40% in the past quarter after regaining some of last years lost ground in the first quarter of the year.
Local banks have been desperately competing for limited cash deposits, and it seems that different branch managers of the same major banks even have discretion to offer widely varying interest rates over and above those displayed to the public in the attempt to dissuade depositors from withdrawing their cash and placing it elsewhere.
For example, I recently learned that while one branch of a certain major bank is offering 11.5% interest on 90-days time deposit of 1 million Baht and 13% on 3 million, another branch of the same bank just a few miles down the road recently offered a customer 15% if he would leave his 1 million Baht on deposit rather than withdrawing it.
And this is one of the major, more "stable" banks - not one of the "iffy" ones which many believe are on the brink of collapse, desperately offering 16-17% to entice those with more greed than prudence to place their hard-earned cash in what is essentially a totally unsecured institution. (What amount of your money is secured by law in Thailand? Not merely guaranteed by a pacifying government statement, but actually secured by law?)
So to predict what will happen to the Baht or the Thai stock market in the coming six months with any degree of certainty is almost impossible. We may be at the bottom of a bear market, as some analysts believe. Many investors thought that some six months ago, and bought into Asian stocks only to see the markets take another nose dive. (I hate to say "I told you so," but I told you so!)
Some analysts have rethought their positions and are now finding evidence to support their view that the bottom has been reached. Well, its certainly lower than it was six months ago, but whether it will come back up to where it was 12 months ago seems doubtful in the short term.
My guess is that it will take another 12 months or a collapse of the European and USA markets before serious money starts to come back into Asia. But those of you with crystal balls may see things differently, and the analysts and I might be wrong...
If you have any comments or queries on this article, or about other topics concerning investment matters, write to Leslie Wright, c/o Family Money, Pattaya Mail, or fax him directly on (038) 232522 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Further details and back articles can be accessed on his firms website on www.westminsterthailand.com.
Leslie Wright is Managing Director of Westminster Portfolio Services (Thailand) Ltd., a firm of independent financial advisors providing advice to expatriate residents of the eastern seaboard on personal financial planning and international investments.
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Health & Nutrition Facts: Combating Constipation
by Laura Zubrod,
Constipation is a very common problem and perhaps not a favorite topic of discussion. However, it is a subject of great importance when it comes to your diet. Constipation can be caused by several things. Among the possibilities are diet (including inadequate intake of fiber and fluids), stress, illness, pain from hemorrhoids, certain medications, pregnancy, and lack of exercise. You can often remedy constipation and prevent further occurrences by making some simple changes in your lifestyle.
Constipation is defined as the infrequent passage of stools which are often drier and /or harder than normal and can be difficult or painful to eliminate. Regularity varies greatly from person to person. It may be normal for some people to have bowel movements several times a day, while others have them three to four times a week. Common symptoms of constipation include bloating, sluggishness or feeling fatigued, a feeling of fullness in the rectum, headaches, and a general sense discomfort.
One of the most important things you can do to keep yourself regular is to eat a high-fiber diet. Fiber is the undigested plant residue that holds water, helping to soften and add bulk to waste. Bulk in the colon also helps to keep the intestinal muscles strong and allows stool to pass through more quickly with normal frequency and ease. When stools are soft and pass easily out of the body, it helps to avoid straining which can cause hemorrhoids. Diverticulosis may be avoided too. With diverticulosis, tiny sacs form when the intestinal wall gets weak. These sacs can become infected and painful.
Foods high in fiber include brown rice, whole grain breads, bran cereals (Raisin Bran, Musili, Bran Flakes, etc.), oatmeal, all beans (green beans, black beans, pinto beans, lima beans, legumes, red beans, etc.), carrots, corn, potatoes (baked with skin), broccoli, spinach, kale, cabbage, and asparagus. Apples and pears (with peels), oranges, bananas, pineapple, mango, kiwi, guava, and dried fruits (raisins, prunes, figs, etc.).
There is very little fiber in white rice, noodles, pasta, biscuits, cakes, white and Italian breads, lettuce, celery, and fruit juices. You wont find any fiber in animal products such as meat, cheese, milk, eggs, ice cream, and yogurt.
Drinking enough fluid each day is very important for bowel health, especially on a high-fiber diet. You need at least 10 cups of fluids each day, including water, milk, fruit and vegetable juices, and soups. Beverages with caffeine (coffee, tea, sodas) and alcohol are not included. Caffeine and alcohol act as diuretics, which take fluids from your body. They should be limited when constipation occurs.
Chewing food thoroughly and slowly can help prevent constipation. Regular exercise stimulates normal bowel function. You dont need to become a great athlete. A 20 to 30 minute walk every day will do the trick. Respond to the first urge for a bowel movement when it occurs. The longer waste remains in your large intestine, the harder it is to eliminate. The body continues to draw out water, and stools get harder.
If you have a problem with constipation, check with your doctor about medicine you may be taking. Some medications may cause constipation. They include calcium pill, pain pills with codeine, some antacids, iron pills, diuretics, and medicines for depression.
Generally, constipation can be corrected with a few changes. You should see your doctor, though, if you experience any of the following: a recent, unexplained onset of constipation; constipation that persists despite appropriate increases in exercise and changes in diet; constipation that occurs alternately with diarrhea; blood in the stool; or intense abdominal pain.
Taking mineral oil to keep regular is not recommended. It can decrease absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Avoid taking laxatives as well as fiber pills and powders unless your doctor recommends them. Food may pass through your intestinal tract faster than vitamins and minerals can be absorbed. Some laxatives may cause your body to lose fluids and potassium. Chronic use of laxatives can make the body become dependent on them for bowel movements.
For a natural laxative, try one of these first thing in the morning: hot cereal, a warm bath, warm prune juice, or a cup of warm water with lemon. Also, an early morning walk can help stimulate bowel function.
Constipation can be easily managed and avoided with a proper diet, adequate exercise and the relief of stress-related activities. A healthy bowel is yet one more benefit of following a healthful diet.
Readers may write Laura care of the Pattaya Mail with questions or special topics they would like to see addressed.
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