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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
 
Family Money: The Value of Money - Part 1
 
The computer doctor

Successfully Yours: Chart Jantarasittipol
  
Snap Shots: What Camera Should I Buy?
 
Modern Medicine: Not another Migraine!

Heart to Heart with Hillary
 
Grapevine

Dining Out: William Sydney Porter’s
 
Animal Crackers: Readers Tail “Dog Bite”
 
Auto Mania: Teutonic Rivalry

Fitness Tips: “When am I burning fat?”

Family Money: The Value of Money - Part 1

By Leslie Wright

Money is one of the most important inventions of humankind.

Without it a complex, modern economy based on the division of labour, and the consequent widespread exchange of goods and services, would be impossible.

We all use money, but few people bother to stop and wonder why the bits of printed paper (or plastic in some cases nowadays) we habitually use every day are universally accepted in exchange for goods and services of all kinds.

Face value not real value

The real intrinsic value of a thousand-baht note is only a few satang, but everyday millions of people use such notes to buy goods to the value of the amount printed on the note’s face, and shopkeepers accept them without question.

This is a very important point, and fundamental to understanding inflation as well.

So long as people tacitly agree to accept pieces of multicoloured printed paper in place of gold (or cowry shells or various other commodities that have been used as money over the centuries) the paper-money system continues to operate.

However, in times of hyper-inflation or civil unrest, people stop accepting paper money which they fear may become virtually worthless overnight and may never recoup the purchasing power previously accorded it.

At such times, people prefer to dea l in bullion or jewels which, although less convenient to carry than a wad of bank notes, will continue to maintain their intrinsic - and therefore exchangeable - value.

An example was at the end of the Vietnam War when many people wishing to flee that country were able to do so only by buying their way out with gold or gemstones, since the general perception was that the paper money would soon be worthless.

Similarly in Germany at the end of World War II, a barrow-load of paper money was needed to buy a loaf of bread.

Multiple Functions

Because many things (ranging from gold to dead rats to entries on computer tape) have been used as money, it cannot be defined as some particular object but must instead be defined by the functions it serves.

First, to act as a medium of exchange and second, as a standard of value.

A third function of money - as a store of wealth - is something money shares with many other types of objects.

A medium of exchange is simply an item used to make it easy to exchange things.

In a very primitive economy, and in a few isolated cases in a complex economy, people directly barter goods and services - for example, in Russia since the break-up of the Soviet Union and breakdown of their monetary system.

Direct barter is extremely inefficient, however, because it requires that one locate someone who wants the particular good one provides, and just by coincidence happens to have available for exchange a particular good one wants.

In a modern economy with millions of products it would require an extensive search to locate such a person, but the use of money as a medium of exchange allows one to split this barter process into two parts.

All one has to do is locate a person who wants one’s particular good, receive money in exchange for it, and then locate another person who has available the good one wants and who is sure to take money in payment for it.

We all carry out these transactions on a daily basis, and it has become so much a habitual part of modern life that we don’t even stop to think about it. It’s become an entirely standard everyday function.

But it’s really only a convention, not an absolute.

We accept paper money by tacit agreement in place of the commodity we accept it represents - although we may never see the pile of gold that most people imagine is sitting in some bank vault somewhere, giving credence to the value of the currency, and despite this belief and the perceived credence that goes with it being in reality entirely false.

The mountain of gold that everyone believes is sitting in Fort Knox is in fact no longer sitting there. But it doesn’t have to so long as people continue to believe in the paper-money system and continue to accept bank notes at their perceived and tacitly-accepted face value.

Measuring Value

Another function of money is to serve as a standard of value or unit of account - so that economic values in terms of money can be measured.

In this respect, money serves as an abstract unit.

This standard-of-value function is overwhelmingly important because a modern economy requires numerous comparisons of values.

In principle, this standard of value need not be the same as the medium of exchange.

In colonial America, for example, merchants kept their financial records in British pounds, but most of the medium of exchange they received consisted of Spanish coins.

Obviously, however, it is convenient to use the same item both as a medium of exchange and as a standard of value, and modern money normally fulfils both roles.

Storing wealth

The third function of money is to serve as a store of wealth.

This is not a distinctive function of money, but money has certain peculiarities as a store of wealth. Unlike most other forms of wealth, it has no transactions’ costs.

Someone who decides to hold wealth in, for example, corporate stock has to undergo a certain amount of trouble and cost - first to buy stock and then to sell it again in order to buy another item.

These costs and inconveniences can be avoided by holding one’s wealth in the form of money.

This relative ease of using money (as opposed to other forms of wealth) as a medium of exchange is termed ‘liquidity’ by economists. (Although the potentially greater profit to be obtained from trading corporate stock rather than holding liquid cash tends to outweigh the trouble and costs involved. But that’s another issue entirely.)

Fulfilling its function

How well does money fulfil its functions? Generally speaking, the medium of exchange function is fulfilled very well.

The occasional inconveniences of being unable to pay a bus fare with a 500 Baht note, or in cashing a check other than on your own account at your own branch (or the inordinate delays local banks seem to delight in advising customers will occur when attempting to clear one through the international banking system), are relatively trivial when looked at in a larger context.

However, money does not perform well as a standard of value or a store of wealth because the value of money itself is not stable or predictable.

For example, someone who lends $1000 at 15% interest does not know whether the purchasing power received back, both as repayment of principal and as interest, will be more or less than the purchasing power of the $1000 lent because of the effect of inflation or deflation.

This becomes even more significant when dealing in currencies that are perceived as less stable than the US dollar - as indeed became painfully apparent in Asia two years ago.

Then again, stability is a relative notion. Stability measured against what?

One can easily measure the stability of the Baht against the US dollar on a daily, weekly, monthly or annual basis; but against what standard does one measure the stability of the dollar?

The answer of course lies with purchasing power.

If a certain basket of goods costs the same today as it did, say, twelve months ago, it could be said that the currency in question has remained stable.

And this not only applies to purchasing power within the country of issue of that currency, but internationally as well.

Alternatively, one could say that inflation has remained in check. But that’s a separate issue which we’ll look at in a couple of weeks time.

Several forms

As far as most readers are concerned, money comprises cash in the bank plus cash in their pocket, and that’s the end of it.

For economists and financiers however, there is not one single form of money, but several. For convenience these can be broadly classified into three types.

One is full-bodied commodity money - money that has a value as a commodity (gold or silver, for instance) fully equal to its value as money.

But because coins or bullion can be awkward to carry, representative full-bodied money was developed, which consists of paper money that is freely convertible into full-bodied money.

Before the British pound note became worth so little that it was replaced by what looks like a miniature ten-baht coin, the words "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of One Pound", and the signature of the Governor of the Bank of England were emblazoned across it.

Just like the baht, a pound is a measure of weight. In theory, therefore, one could have walked into the Bank of England and demanded a pound-weight of - well, do you know what commodity you could have demanded a pound of? Read on and you’ll soon find out.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries most Western countries based their currencies on gold. However, neither of the two types of money described above now exist in the United States, nor in most other countries.

All U.S. money is in fact credit money, or fiat money - money that does not have a value as a commodity equal to its face value and that cannot be exchanged for full-bodied commodity money.

One might well ask why people are willing to exchange valuable goods and services for pieces of paper called $10 bills, or 1000 Baht notes, or any other paper currency you care to mention.

The answer is that these pieces of paper are valuable because we know that other people are willing to take them in exchange for their goods.

Or rather, and slightly more accurately perhaps, because we assume other people are willing to accept them.

If and when traders or shopkeepers lose confidence in the ultimate purchasing power of that currency, they stop accepting bank notes, and the monetary system effectively stops functioning, or the government is forced to devalue its currency to a level where a larger number of bank notes are once more accepted in exchange for the same goods or services.

The same is ultimately true of gold - it is considered valuable because we know that other people treat it as valuable.

Hence, those who advocate a return to the gold standard do so primarily because this would limit a government’s ability to create money rather than because of any inherent value attached to gold.

So, just as in olden times, both the British Pound and the Thai Baht represented a certain weight of precious metal, the purchasing power of these units of money has depreciated to the point that it now costs several thousand Baht to buy a baht weight of gold.

(to be continued next week)

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 [email protected]. Further details and back articles can be accessed on his firm’s 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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The computer doctor

by Richard Bunch

From John Dearden: Hope you can help me. Yesterday, I was at a friend’s place and we looked on their laptop and it only had 5kb of free space left! I then suggested that she compress it and when we looked at the compression program it indicated that there would be over 50% of free space after compression. After 3 hours of compression (and defragmentation) all that was left was as follows: Command.Com 93,812, Config.Sys 0, Dvspace.BIN 65,271, Autoexec.BAT 0, DBLSPCE.BIN 65,271, 224,354 - Used, 258, 400,256 - Free.

Also of course HIMEM/IFSHLP & WIN.COM were all missing or corrupted. Is there any way of opening this all up and have I deleted everything in mistake! Thanks for your time and effort.

Computer Doctor Replies: This is a slightly tricky one and I do not have enough information to go on. You have not said what compression utility you have used but I am assuming it is the one bundled with windows. Personally, I have never liked using compression utilities since they degrade system performance and can as you have found out cause more problems than they solve. The amount of free space is estimated and depends on the make up of your files; some things compress more than others. For instance a text document will shrink considerably but a graphic will hardly move and in some instances take up more space after compression. Usually there is no way back when things go wrong which is why you should back up all you data and settings so that if disaster does strike you can reinstall and restore the data, at least preserving the status quo. Although you haven’t mentioned the age of the laptop, it may be worth investing in a new hard drive for which a ball park figure would be 10-11,000 Baht. I think that the best thing for you to do is reinstall and restore the data from your backup.

From David Creasey, Sattahip: I have an Acer Extensa 503T Notebook PC that I purchased about three months ago. I would like to attach a scanner to it, albeit only for use in the office so it doesn’t have to be portable. I wonder if I need to buy a docking station or can attach it directly? Any recommendations or advice would be appreciated.

Computer Doctor Replies: Your Notebook along with most other quality notebooks sold recently have a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port. This would be the most logical interface to use. Personally I like the Hewlett Packard ScanJet 4200C which will cost around 9,000 Baht. It is extremely easy to use, having buttons for scan, copy and fax. Also being a USB device, it is a breeze to install. A docking station is not necessary. I hope that helps.

The comments contained within this column are not necessarily the views of the author or Pattaya Mail Publishing Co., Ltd. Letters may be edited.

Send your questions or comments to the Pattaya Mail at 370/7-8 Pattaya Second Road, Pattaya City, 20260 or Fax to 038 427 596 or E-mail to [email protected]

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Successfully Yours: Chart Jantarasittipol

by Mirin MacCarthy

suc.jpg (17636 bytes)Who less likely to be managing director of a chain of English eateries selling typical English food like pork pies and roast beef and Yorkshire puddings than a Thai construction engineer? Try Chart Jantarasittipol!

Chart, of Pat’s Pies Pattaya, grew up in Bangkok in a large family with seven siblings planning to go into his father’s construction and property development business. So when he was sixteen it was off to Hull in the UK to complete his education, then on to engineering college.

This is where his path took a different direction. Unfortunately, his father died while he was in his final year, which meant Chart’s return to Thailand to help with the family business. It was to be two years before he would return to the U.K. The only job he could find on his return was packing shelves in Tesco’s Supermarkets, although it did not take him long to progress. After eight months he advanced to management level. It was not long before Chart was training new management staff.

Chart spent a total of fourteen years in the U. K. and he met and married his present English partner Pat in 1986. Pat was the Tesco’s customer service manager at that time.

Chart eventually returned to Bangkok with Pat eleven years ago to help with the family company. Pat had always wanted to move to Pattaya, indeed the couple spent every weekend and holidays traveling down here.

After the recession and his family business had slowed down, Chart heard the super highway was being built from Bangkok to Pattaya. He could see future potential in Pattaya with increasing property values, so two years ago they relocated.

Still, English cooking was nowhere in his vision. That happened by coincidence when some English friends came for dinner and Pat cooked them some pies. They liked them so much they took some home and shared them with friends at work the next day. The pies were so popular they were deluged with requests. Word of Pat’s recipes spread and when an agent from Bangkok asked Chart to supply 200-300 pies a week he decided it was time to open a shop.

He explains away this quantum leap by saying his retail training from Tesco’s served them well. He opened the first Pat’s Pies in July last year and has already expanded. Pat trains the staff in English cooking and customer service, while Chart is there with his "finger in the pie" every day, running the business. The expansion plan already covers takeaway to eat-in and another shop in Soi 8 with further shops for Nakula and Bangkok and eventual franchising.

Chart and Pat have one adopted Thai son Jake. Family values are most important elements in this hard working man’s life. "It is important in Thai culture to work hard and save hard for children. I think it is best to make sacrifices at the start and work long hours to make the business successful and retire early. I work hard but I play hard too."

It is only when you ask him why does his marriage to a farang work that you begin to scratch the surface. Chart laughs. "I know of several successful Thai / Farang marriages actually. The first and foremost problem is the language barrier. Couples have to be able to really communicate. I spent fourteen years in the UK so I don’t have that language problem. It is also important to discuss differences before they become major issues. You see, nobody is wrong - they just have different opinions and do what they believe is right."

His views of success come from two different sources. Firstly, his father taught him everyone would come to you if you were an honest man with a good reputation. The other advice came from a chance meeting with a multimillionaire in the U.K. who told him, "Never invest money that you cannot afford to lose in any business. Do not mortgage your house so you will always have that safety net, but that security alone will ensure the success of your ventures."

"That man was the owner of Tesco’s and that advice has always stuck in my mind," Chart said.

Chart’s advice to anyone who wants to start in business here is hedged with caution. "It is not easy to start a business in Thailand, but in Pattaya it is worse. You hear so many stories of people losing all their money. So never jump into anything. Take a second and a third opinion. Work hard and be honest."

A successful recipe from the engineer turned "pie-man"!

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Snap Shots: What Camera Should I Buy?

by Harry Flashman

The question about what camera to buy is one that pro shooters have to meet every day. Just last week, Harry Flashman was asked by a restaurateur here just what camera he should buy to take pictures of food. Unfortunately, the choice does not depend on what it is you want to shoot - it is more important to know what you want to do with the final shots.

Sounds a bit cart before the horse I know, but that is probably the most important factor. You see, if all you want to do is get some family snap-shots that you will look at for 5 minutes and then put them in a drawer where they will stay for the next decade, then it does not matter what camera they were taken with. The cheaper the better. Any old 35mm point and shoot compact will do. Use the money you save for wine, women and song and waste the rest.

snap.jpg (10878 bytes)Camera for taking close up photos.

Now let us look at the restaurateur’s needs. If he wants to make large blow-ups of pictures of his food to fit into a light box in his restaurant he is going to need very precise, high resolution lenses that can give a sharp enough negative to stand the degree of enlargement. He is also going to need good lighting, f32 aperture lenses and a tripod. He needs a good quality medium format camera giving a 6 cm x 6 cm negative, with top class lenses and needs to study lighting techniques if he wants a "professional" result. It is probably cheaper for him to hire a professional to do the shots for him! The money he saves can be used to invite women to eat and drink at other restaurants and waste the rest.

Now look at the enthusiastic amateur. This photographer enjoys the art of photography. He or she probably has a good "eye" and wants to end up with photographs that would be good enough to have enlarged and hung on the wall. There is also a hope that one day, these images might "sell". In addition, this photographer wants to be able to "manipulate" the images to produce results that are out of the ordinary, surreal or even hyper-real. To do this, the equipment required is a manual 35mm camera with a series of good quality interchangeable lenses. This will be the start of a camera "system" that can be built on and enlarged over many years. This will be good quality equipment. There will be no money left over for wine, women or song and the photographer will have to get used to water and noodles till the photographs are good enough to sell.

The next types of results wanted are wildlife and action sports. Funnily enough, the camera equipment needed here is almost identical. These pictures are destined for magazines and other editorial work. Whether you want to take photos of charging rhino’s or Michael Doohan on his F1 motorcycle, the needs are the same. You will need a 35mm SLR with very fast shutter speed and capable of carrying a 600mm telephoto lens. For this type of photography it is a case of bringing the action close to you - not taking yourself close to the action! The lens will be more expensive than the camera. You will need to meet a rich widow if you want any wine, woman or song. You have just blown a year’s wages on the photo gear!

So what camera does Harry Flashman have? In his studio overseas he had a 5" x 4" Cambo plate camera, three 6cm x 6cm Hassleblads with five lenses and three 35mm Nikons with three lenses. Add all that lot up. No wine. No women. No songs!

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Modern Medicine: Not another Migraine!

by Dr Iain Corness

Headache is the commonest form of pain that will necessitate a doctor’s surgery visit and Migraine is the commonest form of headache. In fact, around 20% of the adult population suffers from this malady. However, even 5% of children get this condition. Females also outnumber males at 3:1, although getting pregnant seems to provide a short term relief for these women.

The tendency to get Migraine is another of those ailments that your parents pass on to you with 70% of sufferers having one or more parents with it.

"Classical" Migraine starts with an "aura" - that premonition that a Migraine is coming, but the most frequent form has no warning and is known as "Common" Migraine.

The pain from Migraine is generally pulsating and on one side of the head. It is often associated with nausea or vomiting and most people become very sensitive to bright lights and loud noises. Many people report visual disturbances as well, such as flashes of light or often bright zig-zags coming across the field of vision.

These headaches will last anywhere between 4 to 72 hours and generally blow up into a full blown attack in under one hour.

For many people there are well known "trigger" factors that can precipitate a Migraine attack. These include emotional stress, physical stress, certain foods and drinks such as alcohol, chocolate, cheese or even the old big-bear MSG. The oral contraceptive pill can also produce Migraine in some women.

Treatment is multi-fold, with different regimes being tried by many doctors. To manage the acute attacks, most treatment agencies suggest that simple analgesics be used first. This should be followed up with an anti-nauseate to decrease the chances of vomiting, and it has also been found that this combination increases the effectiveness of the pain killer. After these comes the ergot derivatives, one of the standbys of Migraine treatment for the past forty years.

There is a newer drug available, going under the chemical name Sumitriptan. From all reports, this is very effective with the acute Migraine. It comes in two forms, both tablet and injectable but should not be used after ergot has been taken within 24 hours.

All Migraine sufferers should, of course, try to eliminate any known triggering factors from their lifestyle. This can be difficult where such factors can include alcohol and cheese, and the migrainous chocaholic is really caught between a rock and a hard place!

Those with regularly recurring Migraine also have to look at what can be safely taken to attempt to ward off the attacks. There are several medications available, but the results of the preventive treatment take some time to assess. It is necessary to take the treatment for at least two months before it is judged to be ineffective and another treatment regime instituted.

If it is some time since you saw the doctor about your Migraines then perhaps you should pop in for another review of your condition. Why suffer when you can be helped?

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Dear Hillary,

My boyfriend has a moustache and every time he kisses me it leaves a rash on my face. What can I do about it?

Tiny

Dear Tiny,

You have only one option, explain to your boyfriend sweetly that you will have to change boyfriends unless he shaves off his moustache or wears a ski mask or balaclava every time he kisses you. You could also just try shaking hands.

Dear Hillary,

My girlfriend and I live in an apartment in town. We have a good relationship except for the fact she keeps losing the keys and mobile phone. This is very annoying, how can I stop her doing this?

Annoyed

Dear Annoyed,

Have you ever considered the fact that your girlfriend is losing keys and telephones as a subconscious way of expressing her lack of satisfaction with the relationship or simply as a device to annoy you? It is very difficult if not impossible to change someone else’s behavior unless you change your own behavior first. I suggest you change the way you respond to her. One quick fix is to either don’t let her see that it annoys you or simply don’t speak to her for days every time she loses things. The best way though is to "Give her the monkey and let her feed it." Which is a Thai expression for allowing her to take the consequence of her own actions. Do not let her have or use your mobile phone ever, keep a spare set of keys for you, but never unlock the apartment for her, and never give her another set after she has lost one. If this is too tedious, maybe losing this girlfriend would be less frustrating.

Dear Hillary,

I find this habit of social kissing here disgusting. People just making an excuse to slobber all their germs over you, it is just frightful and unhealthy too! How can I avoid it?

Yukky

Dear Yukky,

Where have you been all your life? It seems as though you don’t like socializing either? Most people have social kissing down to the fine art of just kissing the air beside the victim’s face. What you do on greeting occasions is to step into the person’s space first, grab them by both upper arms & kiss the air nosily, even wetly beside each ear. Then watch them like a hawk and if they seem inclined to reciprocate, just duck or say, "Don’t come too close, I’ve got rabies." The other alternative is to stay at home and watch TV solo.

Dear Hillary,

I have a question that you might be able to answer for me. I am a night time person. My life style is perfectly suited to Asia, which is one of the reasons why I retired here. My ambition has always been to sleep during the day and party all night. I just love to go to bed about 2 a.m. and not wake up till ten a.m. I am more interested in catching the sunset than the sunrise. I would be happy if I never heard a rooster crow again and mornings only have a five a.m. if I have to catch a plane somewhere. In my previous marriage we had an agreement not to ask each other questions and not to answer the phone until after ten a.m. Unfortunately my young girlfriend here now is just the opposite. She loves to get up at dawn and sing, clatter around and carry on and just can not stay awake after 8 p.m. which is just when I’m really getting into the swing of things. Is it just the age difference do you think? Or will we ever be able to meet in the middle?

Bill

Dear Bill,

My sympathies. No, I do not think it is the age. Some people are night owls, some are day dogs. Whether you can meet in the middle or learn to live with it, is a different kettle of fish. I suggest you try earplugs and eye shades for yourself and chewing gum and slippers in the mornings for your girlfriend. An afternoon nap might have benefits for both of you and firecrackers and bribery at night should keep her awake. Good luck.

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GRAPEVINE

Vive la France
A farang conman is touring bars in South Pattaya offering to sell the secrets of the French Foreign Legion for 500 baht. The varlot’s revelations turn out to be a photocopied pamphlet telling you how to join and what to expect thereafter. For example, you can be put in solitary confinement for a month for failing to top up jeep batteries and there are French translations of such useful phrases as "The latrines have been bombed again by rebels". It is difficult to see how your typical Pattaya farang, over 50 and happier holding a beer bottle than an AK47, would actually pass the entrance exam. But then, as one barfly told Grapevine, Laurel and Hardy both managed it.

Fag law progress
It is reassuring news that the Tobacco Products Control Law of 1992 is at last to be enforced in Pattaya. This means that selling cigarettes to anyone under 18 will result in a rigorous penalty of 20,000 baht or one month in jail. About time too, many will say. The trouble is that in the resort after dark there are still street children hawking cigarettes round the sois. Someone had better remind them not to sell the contents of their trays to kids the same age as themselves. Incidentally, the same law criminalizes drivers who endorse cigarette products on their vehicles by way of sticker or sign, which will surprise many baht bus operators. Passing a law is easy enough. Enforcement, and not for the first time, may be another matter in our fair city.

No alternative for farangs
The fall in bank interest rates means that no-one is getting much more than 5% interest on fixed term deposits and, for call accounts 4.5%, or 1% if you are a farang. There’s a lot of liquid money sloshing around in the system and the Central Bank is more interested in reducing borrowing rates for Thais than in rewarding individual cash investors. Now there’s news that a five year bond is on the market with a fixed annual interest rate of 6.75%. But this in practice is available only to farangs with either a residence or work permit. For foreigners generally there was a one off chance to make megabucks by transferring big cash here when the baht was over 50 to the $US and 90 to the UK pound early last year. If you performed that jackpot move, you won’t be worried by poor interest rates now.

Freak accident
A circus dwarf, nicknamed Od, died recently in the North when he bounced sideways from a trampoline and was swallowed by a yawning hippopotamus which was waiting to appear in the next act. Vets on the scene said Hilda the Hippo had a gag reflex which automatically caused her to swallow. They added in mitigation that the hefty creature was a vegetarian who had not previously digested a circus performer. Unfortunately, the 1000 plus spectators continued to applaud wildly until common sense dictated there had been a tragic mistake. Police said the trampoline has been sent for forensic analysis.

Watch your swing
Serious golfers should consider visiting the multimedia golf academy training room at Laem Chabang clubhouse. The hi tech, split screen computerized equipment imported from Japan will certainly show up why you have not won $1,000,000 this year on the golf courses. A PGA certified instructor is available by appointment. Note that video playback in your own home assumes you have NTSC TV system capability on your recorder. Not cheap without the 50% discounted soft opening, but excellent feedback for hookers and slicers. And those who don’t follow through.

Taking the plunge
Reader JL sends us these insights into monogamous relationships.

Getting married is very like going to a restaurant with friends. You order what you want, then you see what the other person has. Then you wish you’d have ordered that.

After a quarrel, the husband said, "You know I was a fool when I married you." She replied, "Yes, dear, but I was in love and didn’t notice."

80% of married Americans cheat in the United States. The rest cheat overseas.

"Is it true, dad, that in some parts of Africa a man doesn’t know his wife until he marries her?" "That happens in every country, son."

Head case
Tourist archaeology freak Virgil Clarke from Maine was delighted when he paid a bomb after finding an ancient Japanese stone head for sale in a Bangkok market. His own on the spot analysis, enthusiastically supported by the vendor, verified it was a very rare example of a stone cutter’s craft from a shogun dynasty of the thirteenth century. But laboratory analysis this week has proved beyond doubt that the sculpture is actually the face of General Tojo who was hanged for war crimes in 1947. An American serviceman after the war probably chipped out the likeness whilst bored on military duty in Tokyo. Virgil admitted he should have been warned by the fact the subject appeared to be wearing glasses.

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Dining Out: William Sydney Porter’s

by Miss Terry Diner

What do William Sydney Porter and Auguste Renoir have in common? Perhaps it was a love of fine food and wine - but read on. The literati amongst us will know that Bill Porter is better known under his pen name of O. Henry, which leads us into this week’s review.

Off South Pattaya Road behind the Day-Night department store, in the bottom of the Flamingo Hotel, there is a restaurant called O’ Henry’s. Not related to O. Henry, but let us continue...

dining.jpg (26839 bytes)Auguste Renoir.

This restaurant we reviewed some eight months ago and concluded that it was "one to watch". At that stage it was struggling to find its identity, but had good vibes about it. In the ensuing time it has found its direction, it has found a top chef and improved its ambience. Like a butterfly from a chrysalis, this place has emerged. Believe me!

The décor is excellent, with a mix of classical Thai/Lao and Victoriana. The chandeliers are just wonderful with light bulbs imported from Europe and French impressionist paintings adorn the walls. Sounds improbable on paper, but it works.

The menu is now starting to show the results of Chef Helfred’s mastery with new items being added, but the charges are still very reasonable. Appetizers range between 95 Baht for an Asparagus Vinaigrette through to imported Salmon at 225 Baht. Three very traditional European soups between 95 - 115 Baht, several salads 80 - 135 Baht, mains covering chicken, meat and seafood from 155 - 380 Baht plus a Chateaubriand for two at 675 Baht. There is also a 45 item classical Thai menu with average prices between 80 - 120 Baht.

Mine host, Jaap (pronounced "Yaap") suggested we try a couple of these new items and how could we refuse a Mussels Meuniere? This turned out to be a plate of very succulent mussels done in a meuniere sauce. With some ground black pepper this dish scored ten out of ten. Reminiscent of a Coquilles St. Jacques, but with more flavour.

To wash this down we selected a bottle of the excellent South African Lost Horizon Cabernet/Sauvignon/Merlot. This is an interesting melange of grapes and gives a light red with very little tannic acid in the finish. Recommended.

For our main course we tried an as yet un-named dish. This was interwoven strips of beef and pork, plaited with a green vegetable and a parsley garnish. With a béarnaise style sauce and served with a brown rice, this was another brilliant piece of culinary artistry and with a projected price of around 200 Baht is great value. Top marks again.

Jaap insisted we try the Apple Crumble and ice cream, which was then followed with liqueurs and coffee.

This had been a great evening in a great venue. Jaap has managed to move the eating place towards his aim of making it a "Gallery" restaurant. Later this year he will be hosting art and photography exhibitions as well as wine tastings. All this leads to Auguste Renoir - O’ Henry’s is now officially "dead" and Jaap has now changed the restaurant name to that of the famous painter.

So what does O’ Henry and Auguste Renoir have in common? The answer is a little jewel of a restaurant in South Pattaya. Try it. We really liked it.

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Animal Crackers: Readers Tail: “Dog Bite”

by Mirin MacCarthy

animal.jpg (11270 bytes)I have a story but it is not a good one. Three dogs were constantly at our door last year. At first we ignored them but eventually began feeding them as we felt they had been abandoned. British people like us have been subjected to a major campaign, "A Dog is for life - not just for Christmas."

We didn’t allow the dogs into the garden but fed them outside. We felt we were being responsible, we took them to the Vet, got them rabies injections and even had the two females spayed.

Not surprisingly, one of the dogs became very territorial and began barking furiously when people walked by. A week ago neighborhood children came to scare us, dressed as witches. It was the dogs who were scared though and one little girl was bitten. It wasn’t a bad bite and we hoped that it was a one off.

Next day one of the Thai maids was walking by with her son and the same dog bit her two-year-old. This time it was more serious and I had to take him to the hospital. The Doctor there told me that dogs were a big problem.

It was a most unfortunate situation, although we love animals we cannot risk another child being hurt. In the U.K. if a dog bites a person it is generally put down immediately. In Thailand this is impossible.

The local vet told us to take the dogs to the temple and the monks would feed them. The first temple, Wat Yarn refused. The next temple agreed. We gave the monk some dog food and 600 baht for more. We left the dogs to settle for a couple of days and then went back with more food and money. The Monk just laughed and said our dogs had gone but he didn’t know where. We had the impression they hadn’t been fed. However, the next day a Thai interpreter friend told us where we might be able to find them.

We have found two of them and a young village boy will feed them daily. We are still hoping that the third dog will appear and re-join his old friends.

Did the monks ever intend using the money for dog food or were they going to be left to join the rest of Pattaya’s starving and mangy mongrels?

We think the moral is - Don’t feed dogs unless you are able to bring them into your home.

Dear Reader

As you have discovered, it is better not to feed strays. If you must, then adopt the animal and make it yours. This includes training (not an easy prospect here), housing and inoculations.

The Vet’s advice was excellent. I am also certain that the monks fed the dogs. Stray animals are fed twice a day at wats, even if only kitchen scraps. The reason the monk laughed was probably embarrassment at not understanding, rather than sarcasm.

As an after thought, there is a vet here who will euthanase animals. His name is Dr. Nop. He cares, speaks English, and wants to start a programme to inoculate and sterilise the stray animals here. Dr. Nop is at the Pattaya Veterinary Clinic, Pattaya-Nakula Road, (038) 423410.

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Auto Mania: Teutonic Rivalry

by Dr. Iain Corness

Many people do not understand the importance the German manufacturers place on comparisons between themselves, in the international market place. Thailand has been one of the few countries where Benz outsold BeeEmm. Do not expect that to continue.

The new manufacturing facility at Amata City being constructed for BMW is no small bikkies affair. The BMW people may have a few problems in Europe right now, but they were not enough for the parent manufacturer to pull back from its Asian commitment.

auto.jpg (19711 bytes)BMW Stone Laying Ceremony.

While I would not normally publish one of those photos of tens of people standing in a row, as beloved of all Thai socialites, this week’s picture is significant in the line-up of dignitaries. From the left you have Juergen Preissler (International Manufacturing, BMW AG), Jesus Cordoba (President BMW Thailand), Dr. Horst Teltschik (Board member BMW AG), H.E. Suwat Liptapanlop (Thai Minister of Industry), Luder Paysen (Group Executive, Sales Division BMW AG) and Staporn Kavitanon (Secretary General of the BOI). There are enough of the German "heavies" in there to show that this is no insignificant flag waving. Cordoba is not over here for R&R I can assure you. He was the guy the Fatherland send to Mexico to get them back on the rails, and he did. The future of BMW in this country certainly looks very rosy.

In the other camp, M-B seems to be a little headless chook over here at present, but with some major shake-ups expect the three pointed star to be ascendant again soon. 2000 will be an interesting year, mark my words!

Mercedes really fly at Le Mans

The 1999 Le Mans 24 hour race was not a great race for the mighty M-B conglomerate. In practice this year, young Aussie star Mark Webber, in a Mercedes CLR, moved out of the slipstream from another car and immediately took off, doing two flips in mid air and coming to rest right side up. The car was somewhat bent but repairable and Webber was only shaken.

It was almost history repeating itself as 44 years ago, a Mercedes 300 SLR driven by Pierre Levegh, flew off the circuit and ploughed into the spectators, killing 87 and the unfortunate driver.

Despite the drama, Webber lined up for the warm-up, only to have his M-B again do aerial loops but this time destroy itself, leaving Webber further shaken. M-B knew they had a problem by this stage and modified the aerodynamic front splitter and sent the other two cars out for the race.

During the event, at close to 300 kph, Peter Dumbreck in his CLR moved out from behind another car and immediately took off, gaining altitude to 15 metres and flipped in the air four times before crashing into a vacant field off the circuit. It was just fortunate that this was not a spectator area or we could have seen the repeat of the 1955 disaster. The driver was concussed, but did walk away from the accident.

What this shows is the imperfect "science" of aerodynamics. While we can obviously design planes to remain aloft, we are not so clever at keeping cars on the ground. The different effects on race cars as they move in and out of other car’s slipstreams is not well known. Sure we know that it changes things - but how much probably ends up as a PSWAG (pseudo-scientific wild assed guess)!

The effect of aerodynamics on cars is incredible. In the early 70’s Porsche came out with air dams, spoilers and wings on their road cars. I had a ’73 911 at that time and it was certainly a handful at 100 mph. However, I then fitted it with the full "Turbo" air dam and big rear wing and it transformed the car. It was possible to drive with one hand, doing the "ton", and scratch around in the glove box for chewing gum at the same time. After that, I began to dabble with aerodynamics for my race cars and came up with a fully aerodynamic Escort in 1980. This thing had all the trick bits - huge front splitter and five foot wide wing on the rear. In those days our crew knew absolutely nothing about aerodynamics and everything was truly PSWAG. There were no real regulations to cover all this as even the rule makers were unsure of what to do at that time.

We took it out for its maiden voyage and the wings ‘n things really worked. They worked so well that the down-force pushed the car onto the ground at 120 mph. As it went down the straight, the car just compressed its springs till we hit the ground with the chassis! It was then we realised we had stumbled on something really good - we just had to learn how to harness it.

Unfortunately, the M-B disaster at Le Mans shows that we still are unsure of how to harness it. M-B is no bunch of back-yard blokes like we were. They have wind tunnels and aerodynamacists on payroll - and even they can get it wrong. Perhaps now is the time we should have a re-think on the aerodynamic issue and remove the wings and such from race cars. It just might make F1 more exciting to see cars sliding and drifting through the corners again. What do you think?

Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I asked who was the owner of Jaguar these days. The answer was Jac Nasser, representing FoMoCo, aka Ford Motor Company! Now that really was simple. The first ten correct have been notified and we are all playing at Pattaya Kart Speedway, off Thepprasit Road (next to Paintball Park and Bungee Jump) tomorrow.

So to this week’s question and let’s look at Thailand. GM are busy finishing their factory at the ESIE to produce the Zafira (so they tell us), but GM had a production facility here long before this latest venture. What was the company that produced the General’s vehicles, and what brand were they? The first correct answer to fax 427 596 or email to [email protected] wins this week’s FREE beer.

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Fitness Tips: “When am I burning fat?”

by Dvid Garred,
Club Manager,
Dusit Resort Sports Club

G’day Pattaya,

If this headline seems familiar to you then thank you, you must be a regular reader. Apparently, some of you regular readers have been discussing this very topic quite a bit since I first wrote this. So much so, that there have been several requests for a reprint.

If you have never seen it before then it contains very useful information for all. For those of you who have seen it before, consider reading it again, there is a large chance that you will get something new out of it.

People ask me two questions that relate to my field; "When is your next step class" by one group of people who know the answer to the next most popular question, "When am I burning fat" - something we all would like to know the answer to.

So let’s go there.

Questions like "When am I burning fat?" and "What kind of exercise is best for losing fat" need to be addressed very carefully. Dieting does not work for far too many physical and psychological reasons and we know that low to moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise has been the ‘pop’ answer until very recently. A recommendation such as this is prudent, especially for individuals beginning an exercise program, and it is consistent with health related fitness goals for the general population. This still holds true, but is there another way, which possibly is better for some people?

Yes, and we will examine that today.

Total Energy Expenditure

This recommendation regarding fat reduction stems from the text book axiom: the lower the intensity and the longer the duration of the exercise, the greater the reliance on the body’s fat stores as the fuel source. Hence, a greater overall amount of fat will be used. This is true (at least during the exercise period), but it is not so relevant with regard to total fat oxidation over a 24 hour period. Here what is important is the total number of calories burned (even if those calories are mainly derived from carbohydrates). This is contrary to the popular notion that high intensity exercise, which is driven mainly by carbohydrate, is inferior to low-moderate intensity exercise as far as promoting loss of body fat.

24 Hour Fat Oxidation

This seems paradoxical! How does an individual reduce body fat through exercise that uses mostly carbohydrate as fuel? The answer lies in what takes place after high intensity exercise, when the body’s glycogen levels (which are very small) are reduced. It appears that the restoration process is assisted through a greater reliance on fat as an energy source after exercise.

In a recant benchmark study, subjects exhibited similar 24 hour substrate oxidation (‘off’ hours fat burning) after low intensity exercise when compared with high intensity exercise. In this way, more carbohydrate is then available to restore the body’s glycogen supplies, and over a 24 hour period, total fat oxidation is similar for low-moderate intensity and high-intensity exercise.

The implications are that all physical activity is beneficial, that the total energy expenditure is most important and that performing a variety of activities of different intensities is probably most beneficial. It should be considered that the prescription of high intensity exercise is, more often than not, impractical and generally not advisable. Thus for the non-regularly training masses low-moderate intensity exercise still makes the most sense especially for maximising well being, minimising the risk of injury and optimising enjoyment.

As a result, for anyone who has been working out for a long period of time (6 months +) and regularly (3-4 times per week) during that time, the occasional hit out of high intensity exercise will be great for variety and you still get all your usual benefits. Be careful so as to not do it too often (1-2 times per month) for you will put yourself at risk of sustaining a repetitive stress/strain injury. Such injuries normally take months to heal completely, all of that time you are basically inactive and going backwards on the goal achieving path.

FOOT NOTE: None of these results include the affect of resistance (weight) training on the body. Remember that a good resistance training program that is adhered to will increase the body’s lean muscle mass, and this new muscle requires energy to perform the prescribed low-moderate intensity exercise. Thus a good weight training program in conjunction with cardiovascular exercise ensures that you are burning your body fat to your optimum potential.

Carpe’ diem

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