Family Money: Weighing
Up Your Risk Profile
By Leslie Wright
No two investors are ever the same, and one person’s
attitude to risk may be very different from another’s.
For instance, if you’re young, single and have no
plans for children, you are in a position where you can probably accept a
relatively high degree of risk for the ultimate benefits that may accrue
from your savings and investment programs.
On the other hand, if you’re in your fifties with
dependents (or even without them) you should probably consider a more
When formulating a portfolio to recommend to a client -
whether for a lump-sum investment or a savings plan - my first
consideration is always his or her individual risk profile.
Recommending an aggressive mix of funds to a cautiously
conservative client would be inappropriate, since the client would
constantly fret about the inevitable volatility of such a portfolio.
On the other hand, recommending a cautious portfolio to
an aggressively adventurous client would likely result in the client being
disappointed in the relatively low returns such a portfolio could achieve.
It’s a matter of choosing horses for courses.
Nonetheless, some investors may be overly aggressive in
light of their resources or circumstances, while others may be unduly
cautious. The “greedy” ones may need some fear injected into them,
while the “fearful” ones may need a bit of greed dangled under their
noses, in order to have a realistic chance of achieving their investment
There are numerous influences at play in determining
what is the right blend of savings and investments for you, and there is
no short cut to finding a solution that is finely tuned to your particular
needs and circumstances.
As a quick and easy acid test, however, the following
exercise can help identify if your present financial setup is in harmony
with your attitude to risk and current needs. It is also worth noting that
the two sets of circumstances outlined earlier could be the same person
twenty years apart - a fact that reinforces the need for regular
reassessment. What’s right for you today will not remain so forever.
Section 1: Assessing your circumstances and
approach to investment risk
Your age is:
a: under 30 (score 12 points)
b: 30-40 (score 9 points)
c: 40-50 (score 6 points)
d: 50-65 (score 2 points)
e: over 65 (score 0 points)
Which of the following best describes your attitude
a: “I like to see a certain return on my money in a
short space of time.” (0)
b: “I wouldn’t accept the risk of any loss, even if it meant higher
potential returns.” (5)
c: “Accepting short term losses is a price I’d willingly pay for
longer term growth.” (10)
How many years away from your planned retirement date
a: Already retired (0)
b: Less than 5 years (2)
c: 5-15 years (5)
d: 15 years or more (10)
Do you have pension provisions that will allow you
to maintain your living standards on your expected retirement date?
a: Yes, definitely. (10)
b: I have a plan in place which will fund retirement. (7)
c: I’m actively looking at my position. (3)
d: No. (0)
Which of the following statements best describes your
a: “A stock market crash means disaster for
b: “A stock market crash is a buying opportunity.” (10)
c: “A stock market crash is a natural part of a long term investment
Do you own your own home?
a: Yes, without any outstanding mortgage. (10)
b: Yes, with a mortgage of over 50% of the property value. (7)
c: Yes, with a mortgage of less than 50% of the property value. (4)
d: No. (0)
Which of the following best reflects your attitude to
savings and investments?
a: “You have to speculate to accumulate.” (10)
b: “Better safe than sorry.” (0)
c: “You should only risk what you can afford to lose.” (5)
How closely do you monitor the value of your
a: “I look up share and offshore fund prices every
b: “I evaluate my investments every 3-4 months.” (5)
c: “I review my savings and investments about once a year.” (7)
d: “I don’t keep a watch on how my investments are performing.” (10)
Section 2: Your financial situation
In which of the following do you have 10% or more of
your savings and investments?
a: Instant-access savings accounts (1)
b: Notice or fixed term bank deposits (3)
c: Fixed-income bonds and/or Guaranteed income bonds
d: Guaranteed capital investment bonds (5)
e: Fixed-interest (bond) funds (7)
f: Managed offshore funds with a mix of bonds and
international equities (10)
g: Stocks and shares in individual companies in
established markets (USA, UK, Europe) (12)
h: Investment property (15)
i: Emerging market offshore funds (20)
j: Stocks and shares in individual companies in smaller
emerging markets (e.g. Thailand) (25)
k: Commodities & futures (23)
l: Currency (forex) trading (28)
Do you have life insurance that would cater for your
dependents in the event of your death?
a: Yes, fully covered. (0)
b: Covered, but not to the degree I would want. (5)
c: No. (10)
d: I have no dependents that I need to consider. (0)
Which of the following best describes your retirement
a: “I know when I’m retiring and have fully
provided for that time.” (0)
b: “I have a programme in place which will ensure
that my retirement will be provided for.” (3)
c: “I’m making provision for my retirement, but I
know I’ll need to make more provisions.” (7)
d: “I haven’t really got my retirement provision
sorted out yet.” (10)
How frequently do you review your savings and
investments with your financial adviser?
a: Every year without fail. (0)
b: When I’m reminded. (4)
c: Every 4 or 5 years. (6)
d: Rarely or never. (10)
e: I don’t have a financial advisor. (12)
Total score from 1st section: _______
Deduct total score from 2nd section: _______
Your Risk Rating is: _______
What your results mean
First, it is worth mentioning that it just isn’t
possible to achieve the same insight into your financial circumstances
with a short quiz as is possible with a detailed review with an
experienced independent financial advisor.
You can’t assume, therefore, that if the outcome
shows a good balance (i.e., a risk rating around zero) that you have
everything under control. However, if you find that your risk rating shows
a high positive or negative score, it suggests that you need to take a
closer look at your savings and investments.
Here’s what your answers indicate:
Your score for Section 1 reflects your present
circumstances and attitude to investment risk.
Below 40: Your personal circumstances and a natural
aversion to risk mean that you should tend to err on the side of caution
with your savings and investments.
Between 40-60: You have a balanced approach to
investment risk and whilst your circumstances require a degree of security
in your approach, you need to consider taking on a degree of risk for the
potential of long-term rewards.
Over 60: You are by nature a confident and aggressive
investor and your circumstances mean you can afford to take a higher
degree of risk with your investments.
Your Risk Rating lets you see how well the make up of
your savings and investments fits with the way you have described your
circumstances in Section 1:
A positive Risk Rating: Your circumstances and
attitudes to risk suggest that you might consider a less cautious approach
to your investments than you do at present. If your Risk Rating is above
+20, it would be advisable to get a financial health check from an
independent financial advisor.
A negative Risk Rating: If you scored below minus 20,
your circumstances and attitude to risk seem to be at odds with your
current approach to saving and investment. Again, it would be advisable to
get a financial health check from an independent financial advisor.
But whatever your score on this exercise, your
financial health should be looked at in the same way as your physical
health - regular check-ups and no over-indulgence.
(Westminster Portfolio Services is indebted to HSBC
Guernsey for the questionnaire format used in this article.)
If you have any comments or queries on this article, or
about other topics concerning investment matters, contact Leslie Wright
directly by fax on (038) 232522 or e-mail [email protected]
Further details and back articles can be accessed on his firm’s website
Editor’s note: Leslie sometimes receives e-mails to
which he is unable to respond due to the sender’s automatic return
address being incorrect. If you have sent him an e-mail to which you have
not received a reply, this may be why. Please ensure your return e-mail
address is complete, or include a phone/fax number, to ensure his prompt
response to your enquiry.
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.
The Computer Doctor
by Richard Bunch
From Ross Chalk, Australia:
Long ago I found something in a computer magazine that told me how to
programme my computer so that if I accidentally hit “caps lock” my
computer would beep and warn me of what had happened. It worked perfectly
but after having computer problems resulting in work carried out on my
machine I lost that facility but cannot remember how it is done. Can you
please tell me how to put it back into my system?
Computer Doctor replies: I am assuming you have
Windows 95/98 installed, so the procedure for this is: Open Control Panel
and check you have an icon for Accessibility Options, if this is not
present, then go to Add/Remove Programs and select the Windows Set-up tab,
from the presented list, check the Accessibility option, OK you will
probably need your Windows CD at this point. Assuming the Accessibility
Options icon is already present or installed in the previous step, then
click it, select the Keyboard Tab and check the box Use Toggle Keys. It is a
good idea at this point to restart the system. You should now have sounds
when you hit the Caps Lock, Scroll Lock and Num Lock keys.
From Peter, Pattaya: I have heard a rumour that ISDN
is becoming available for the Internet connection; can you tell me if this
is true? At the moment I am using An Internet East Dial up Account.
Computer Doctor replies: So far as I am aware, ISDN
is becoming available in more areas in this locale. The installation and
other costs are the same as a standard line. However, in order to use it to
connect to the Internet, using an Internet East connection, you will need to
upgrade to their corporate service.
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].
Richard Bunch is Managing Director of Action Computer
Technologies, on South Pattaya Road (900 metres from Sukhumvit Road).
Providing total computer, IT solutions, website and advanced graphics design
to corporate clients and home users on the Eastern Seaboard. Please see our
advertisement or call 038 374 147 or 411 063 www.act.co.th.
Successfully Yours: Kannikar
by Mirin MacCartthy
Khun Kannikar Nguanhorm Ottesen has only been in
Pattaya for seven years, but in that time she and her husband Ib Ottesen
have built two businesses, literally from the ground up, as well as
building a family. Kannikar was construction supervisor and designer for
the Captain’s Corner restaurant and the adjoining “Residence
Suites”, 32 executive serviced apartments. As Managing Director of both,
she is fully occupied, but like a typical Thai businesswomen (should I say
superwoman?), seems to effortlessly breeze through all the work while
additionally caring for her young family.
(2nd from right) and her beautiful family.
Born 30 odd years ago in Ban Pong Ratchaburi, close to
the floating markets, into a family of six children she lived a quiet up
country life until the age of twelve when she moved to Bangkok with her
Kannikar showed a natural flair for art and drawing at
school so later on she chose to study fashion designing. When she finished
commerce school in Bangkok, she worked for a travel agent for two years.
“I had a sideline selling women’s fashions and products, but I still
felt it was boring. I wanted something more in my life. When I had the
chance I went to London for two years to the Central School of Fashion to
study fashion design and cutting. I liked it in the summers there but the
winters were cold and lonely.”
After returning in 1988, Kannikar opened a shop, Miss K
Fashion, in Bangkok and ran that for two years. “It was so much fun for
me then.” The next “something more” in her life was to meet her
husband, Ib. He was a partner in the Mermaid Guest House and Restaurant in
Bangkok. “We started dating, then Ib asked me to move in with him and
get married. However, after our first daughter was born and I was pregnant
with my son, we decided to move to Pattaya because it would be better for
Ib did return trips to Bangkok for two years and then
with some friends opened the Mermaid Beach Resort in Pattaya. Kannikar
said, “I used to travel backwards and forwards along this road for two
years and then I saw some land for sale. I suggested to Ib that we buy it
to do something on our own without partners. That is how we had the idea
for serviced apartments. I designed all the apartments myself, as I
didn’t need to spend any money on interior design. I don’t like
plastic and all white. Ib likes wood and teak is easy to live with.”
They bought the land in November 1995 and the Residence
Suites took a year to build. However, being construction supervisor was no
easy task. “This business was a very good learning experience. I would
personally walk up and down a hundred times a day from the first floor to
the fifth floor to look at every detail. It taught me so much, next time I
will be a lot better.”
The next venture was the Captain’s Corner restaurant
they built next door. This has just celebrated its 2nd anniversary and is
also doing very well. Kannikar puts this down to service. “If you have a
good product and give good service at a reasonable price, then you can’t
go wrong. Ib had the barbecue experience from Mermaid’s restaurant
before. Service is very important, I make sure all the staff can speak
English and they are always polite and never argue with the customer.”
However, family and children are most important to
Kannikar. “I work for them now because then they can have good education
and help themselves in the future.”
She spends all her spare time being with, and playing
with her children, including her two year old baby daughter and sixteen
year old step daughter. Although she is torn between work and her family,
success to Kannikar means doing exactly what she is doing. “Most women
want only to marry and have a good family. But for me, I like to work and
Asked for advice for other business women Kannikar
demurred, “I am still young and have a lot to learn; I need someone to
advise me. I could not have accomplished many of these things without the
driving force of my husband.”
They are not standing still and already have plans to build again.
Kannikar will supervise the construction of more apartments next year. She
says that with all the experience she has had it will be easier. Given her
grace, flair and style, I am sure she will take it in her stride. Indeed,
definitely another Thai superwoman!
Snap Shots: Correct
by Harry Flashman
There is a tendency these days to think that with the
latitude available in film stock, and the latitude inherent in the printing
process that correct exposure is a thing of the past. The photographic film
companies have now produced 200 ASA and 400 ASA film that supposedly will work
from 100 ASA right the way through to 600/800 ASA. The auto-processor in the
shop where you get your prints done is also supposed to be able to handle two
stops of under or overexposure. As long as you get some sort of image on the
film emulsion, the clever chemical boffins will do the rest - hey presto! A
great print! Great colour! Accurate tones!
What this means in layman’s terms is that when the
correct exposure should be, let’s say, 1/60th at f8, you could shoot at
1/250th and still get a great print.
and over exposure
Unfortunately this is one of photography’s great lies
almost rivalling the cheque’s in the mail and other such stories! (My
favourite is “We’re from the Income Tax Department and we’re here to
Despite all the chemical trickery, to get correct colours
in a print you need correct exposure. Harry here is not saying you won’t get
a picture - but it will be grey, washed out, horrible skin tones and
definitely not a print you will be proud of.
The other problem is that today we all tend to let our
marvellous electronic cameras work out the exposure details for us. Again, no
matter how many areas the electronic eye reads from, you are getting an
“average” reading. The electronic eye does not know that the main subject
you want is actually the fluffy thing the sun is glinting off in the top right
The other thing the auto camera exposure meter can’t do
very well is work out the correct exposure for white, or jet black. Have you
noticed just how the whites in your prints come back as off-white or even grey
and the jet blacks also comes back as dark grey.
So how to get over all this? Well, it is actually not too
difficult because you can use your biochemical brain, which outsmarts
electronic chips any day! The first principle you have to master is called 18%
grey. Way back, when we all used black and white film, there was a wonderful
system to work out exposure and it relied on a special “grey scale” card.
This was called 18% grey and the method was called the “Zone System”. You
set the camera on the settings for the 18% grey and the dark bits in the
picture to be taken would come out dark, the whites as white, etc., etc. After
we invented cheap colour film the world began to forget about the Zone System,
more’s the pity.
So here is how to keep the whites white. When you look
through the viewfinder at a white object just remember the camera will suggest
settings that will produce 18% grey. You want white, therefore you need more
light into the camera than it thinks you should have. If the camera’s eye
says 1/60th at f8, give it 1/30th at f8 and you will be much closer. Likewise
if you want the new black car to look black you are going to need less light
into the camera than it thinks you need. Again if 1/60th at f8 is suggested,
then go for 1/125th instead.
So it is a simple rule - if you want white whites - give it more light. If
you want black blacks - give it less light. Next time you are out taking some
shots, don’t believe your meter but use your noodle and see the difference!
Modern Medicine: Tennis
Elbow - for the non-tennis player!
by Dr Iain Corness
Tennis Elbow is a most annoying condition. You don’t
die from Tennis Elbow, but it certainly can make life difficult for the
Another interesting feature of Tennis Elbow is that
only between 5-10% of people with this condition actually play tennis at
all! So why do we persist with this incorrect name for the condition? The
answer really lies with you, the general public, as it is you who
continues to use the incorrect name - because we doctors call it Lateral
Epicondylitis or Extensor Tendinitis or even Extensor Tendinosis. So
perhaps “Tennis Elbow” isn’t such a bad name for it after all!
The symptoms and signs of Tennis Elbow are pain on the
outer aspect of the elbow joint (around the knobby bit) especially if you
grip anything tightly, like a hammer, screwdriver - or even a tennis
racquet. The pain produced makes it such that you cannot continue gripping
the object and you have to give up hammering, etc. In severe cases it
becomes impossible to shake hands as even the handclasp produces the pain
Now the good news - Tennis Elbow does get better! Now
the bad news - it takes time and lots of it. Because the pain stops you
doing too much with the affected arm, we call this a self-limiting
condition. By resting it, the elbow does get better. The Orthopaedic
specialists say that the bulk of cases last between one week to eighteen
months, with the average around thirty six weeks. With the pro tennis
players, the really difficult bunch to treat as they have to continue
playing, less than 2% of them have not fully recovered after two years.
One little tip, for the tennis folk, is to reduce the tension on the
strings of the racquet by around five pounds. That comes from a Dr. Max
Kamien, who has written several scientific papers on the subject.
The specific treatment for Tennis Elbow is about as
varied as the causes of the condition. Probably the mainstay is still
judicious hydrocortisone injections directly into the overstrained region
of the elbow. In my own practice I used to mix some local anaesthetic with
the hydrocortisone as it is a fairly painful injection! After that there
are manipulations to stretch the tendons (called Mills Manoeuvre), a bunch
of anti-inflammatories and a calendar to count the days off for the
average of thirty six weeks.
Having had Tennis Elbow a couple of times myself over the years, I
sympathise with anyone with it. But remember it does get better, using the
famous physician Osler’s classic treatment - time taken in divided
I often come to Thailand and have stayed at many
different hotels. The thing that confuses me is when they quote a price
with ++ after the number. I am sure there is a simple answer, but I am a
simple person and it escapes me at present. It took me years to work out
that ABF stood for American Breakfast! I know I could probably ask them in
the hotel, but I don’t want to appear ignorant. I can ask you, Hillary
without appearing like a goose!
It means plus service charge and V.A.T. (value-added
tax). Hillary always asks on every occasion, as she likes to know exactly
how much and what she is paying for. Sure you won’t look like a goose,
just smile and the Thais will be glad to explain anything to you. Like you
I also took some time to work out the American Break Fast acronym.
The other week you gave advice to a family who wanted
to come out here on a budget of 300-400 Baht a night and I felt you turned
them off Pattaya by suggesting they go to Brighton instead of the cheaper
hotels that we have here. In fact there are some places just off Beach
Road advertising 250 Baht, and others at the top end of Soi Diana Inn
under 300. Are they not worth going to, or were you just being facetious
telling them to go to the Royal Cliff?
What? Hillary being facetious? The requirements of the
Miserly’s were as Hillary recalls - “A nice hotel close to the beach
and all the millennium celebrations. A pretty garden to sit in while we
eat our take-aways, a large room with a sea view, air con, satellite T.V,
and an electric kettle and a mini bar too. A huge en suite bath tub
preferably a spa with lots and lots of hot water. The hotel staff to be
friendly All Of The Time. And the hotel to pick us up free of charge at
the airport with two cars.” After a great deal of consideration Hillary
came to the conclusion that the Miserleys were either searching for an
“Eire-leggender-wol-milch-sau”, (German for
“Egg-laying-woolly-milking-pig.”) or having a lend of Hillary. If you
know a place with all that for 300 Baht, please let me know and I’ll
move in with you! Please tell me you don’t leave dirty dishes in the
sink, or socks all over the bedroom.
We are a bunch of oil workers from Saudi that will be
coming over to Jomtien every couple of months (we have done a deal on a
condominium down that way). Since you seem to know the answers to
everything, can you suggest a couple of good bars for us to frequent? We
are looking for places that won’t rip us off when we get too drunk to
know what we are doing.
Dear Saudi Sam,
There are lots of good bars in Jomtien, but since
Hillary is a teetotaler, (if you believe that you’ll believe anything!)
it is hard for me to recommend one place above another. The K.R. Bar in
Jomtien is a fun place. The Admiral’s Pub (great food too) and The
Winchester (good BBQ’s at weekends) are also very popular, I am told.
Hillary strongly suggests staying at least half sober.
Be alert enough to enjoy yourself and know you are doing it. It is also a
very good idea in any city to stop drinking before you get too drunk and
become legless. Being ripped off would be the least of your worries.
Landing in hospital or jail could be distinct possibilities.
What restaurants would you recommend for new arrivals
to Pattaya? We will be having relatives coming to stay in our house over
Xmas (we will be away) and we will have to advise them on places to eat.
They will try Thai food, but will eat European most times. Middle of the
road and not too expensive please, Hillary!
What a brilliant idea! Going away while the rellies stay. Try the Food
Court on the top floor of the Royal Garden Plaza. Lots of variety there
and moderate prices. The Boat Bakery in Pattaya 2nd Road is inexpensive
and popular, often crowded so go early. Cheap brekky too. The top floor
food court of Lotus Supermarket when they want to try Thai food. Other
than that, just read the Dining Out column in the Pattaya Mail. Our Miss
Terry Diner always has some good recommendations.
|End of the
Expat Fester Pearson from New York is really
disillusioned after yet another disastrous entanglement with the fair
sex. He said he was utterly alienated by his girlfriend Wok’s
complete obsession with money and spending. Morning, noon and night
apparently. Wok fiercely denied the charge saying that she loved
Fester and only requested money to pay for basic foodstuffs, second
hand clothes and washing powder. As proof of her good intentions, she
has returned 100 baht to him after cleaning out his bank account of
Money launderingBetter off Pattaya farangs are bracing
themselves for a new banking law operational next month. Under the
praiseworthy Money Laundering Act 1999, cash transactions of two
million baht or more must be notified on a special form (yet to be
devised) by the bank to a government committee. As usual the devil
will be in the detail. Will a transaction be held up pending approval?
Will buying a condo have an additional bureaucratic layer? There are
said to be more than 300,000 transactions of this amount every day in
the kingdom’s banking system. Of course, everything just might go
without a hitch.
Around townA phone card machine on South Pattaya Road
is displaying a notice saying, “We have been passed over as regards
Y2K”… A restaurant in North Pattaya announces, “It is advised to
be dangerous for a wheelchair to climb our steps”… A garage on
Sukhumvit wants you to know, “We are open all seven days but closed
on Mondays”… Overheard when a farang exited from a nightclub in
Soi Post Office advertising A Live Show Tonight. He told his mate,
“Don’t bother, Fred, The Live Show’s completely dead…”
Beetle maniaIf you see two beetles cuddling, but only of
the diaprepes abbreviatus variety, don’t be surprised if they
are of the same sex and only pretending. According to the latest
research, they indulge in this suggestive behavior in order to attract
the sexual interest of the opposite sex. Trouble is that beetles have
as much difficulty telling which of their friends is male or female as
you do without a very thorough examination accompanied by a good
sniff. This coupling of same sex beetles is an indication they want to
mate with an insect of the opposite sex. Diaprepes abbreviatus
is found extensively in notorious South Pattaya after dark.
|Try the Thai
Nobody offered GEOC (Grapevine Eating Out
Collective) a free banquet this week, so we tried the long established
Fra Pattaya restaurant, just off Beach Road by the police box. It’s
as good as ever. We enjoyed rich sweetcorn soup with crab, tasty roast
duck and an assortment of rice and vegetable dishes. Four people dined
almost to the point of excess for around 500 baht. Afterwards you can
retire next door for coffee and cakes, European style, at Ice Caf้
Berlin. Some of Pattaya’s elite make a habit of it, we’re told. Or
what’s left of them.
90 day ruleIn spite of much speculation, farangs in
Pattaya holding a one year visa, retirement or linked to a work
permit, are still required to confirm their address at the immigration
bureau every three months. The Pattaya office has established a
counter, to the right as you go in, specifically for this purpose. It
is not necessary for tourist and ordinary non immigrant visa holders
to observe this particular bureaucracy because, if they are to be in
the kingdom longer than 90 days, they will need to fill in the usual
extension application form at the main counter.
Delaney PattayaDuring December, Delaney’s have been doing
a promotion with 2 Dogs’ Alcoholic Lemonade. With every bottle of 2
Dogs bought, the customer receives one free shot of tequila. And
anybody who can tell a joke with the words 2 dogs in it also gets a
free tequila. The Friday Irish curry nights with 15 different curries,
plus rice, tikkas and samosas starts at 5.00 p.m. every Friday. 345
baht for as much as you can eat. Delaney’s are becoming famous for
their promotional offers. To check what’s afoot now, call by on
Second Road near the Royal Garden Resort.
Egghead cornerPattaya’s internationally renowned
quizzers, sober to a man, have been arguing about the longest sentence
in the French language. Such debates are certainly the stuff of
champions. Actually, the literary winner is Victor Hugo in his novel Les
Miserables which has 823 words without a stop. Fortunately, the
several pages of text do have an intermission, so visiting the rest
room is not a problem. Whilst on the subject of quizzes, the Pattaya
Wednesday league will not meet on December 15, 22 or December 29. The
Sunday league has been abandoned December 19, December 26 and January
2. Bars expect to be so busy over Christmas that scratching your
brains has been postponed until the millennium is safely past.
Dining Out: Alibaba
- a real cave of surprises!
by Miss Terry Diner
The Dining Out Team went to Alibaba on Pattaya Klang (Beach
Road end), where we were joined by the owner, Nanni Grover, to explain any
The restaurant itself has been themed to the Alibaba legend
and the entrance to the “cave” is via stairs lined with pearls, rubies and
diamonds. At the top we were met by a waitress in a glittering bodice and
pantaloons, followed by the wide smile of the Maitre d’ in a glittering gold
Dining is mainly alcove style, with some excellent
impressionist paintings done by Nanni’s wife, again in the camels, desert and
40 Thieves theme. The subdued warm glow in the interior of the restaurant
imparts just the right ambience.
The cuisine is mainly Mughlai and Punjabi and the menu is
enormous with 142 items. If Nanni had his way we would still be sitting there
eating our way through to number 142. Not that this would have been a trial, let
me assure you - please read on!
While perusing the fare on offer we munched on a beautiful
green Mint and Yoghurt dip and another Tamarind variety. Madame being so
impressed with the Mint one she would not leave till she had the recipe.
The menu starters include Samosas, Chaats, Pakoras, Papadoms,
Prawn butterfly and fish fingers (65-200 Baht). Next up is kebabs (meat, lamb
and chicken 150-220 Baht), salads with a choice of nine (50-80 B.), 17 Tikka and
Tandoori dishes, including some interesting mixed grills for groups of up to
four people. From there it is into the curries - chicken, lamb and seafood
(generally around 170-200 B.) followed by 13 vegetarian dishes. If that is not
enough, there are the grain curries, rice dishes and breads. Finally, and a good
touch, are a couple of set menus, one vegetarian and one non-vegetarian.
Alibaba has an excellent wine cellar and Nanni selected a
Chateau Lafon-Rochet Saint-Estaphe 1990 to go with our dinner, which, if you can
afford it, is simply excellent.
We began with some very good Popadoms and “Ladies Finger”
(deep fried Okra). The Popadoms were easily the best we have tried, non-greasy
and mouthwateringly light. These were followed by the Sheesh Kebab. This was
served on a sizzling hot plate and consisted of spiced marinated minced meat
which was skewered and then barbecued. Again excellent and tasty. Two varieties
of Samosas came out next - chicken and potato with peas. These deep fried
“puffs” were very flavoursome and it was about now that the team began to
realise that we were being treated to Indian flavours and spices, not Indian
fire. There was none of the “harshness” that is so often experienced with
this type of cuisine.
The next dish was, in Madame’s opinion, the dish of the
night. This was their prawn butterfly, a deep fried shrimp done in a very tasty
batter. These were so good we backed up for another plateful.
More food came out and we were into the Tikkas and Tandooris
accompanied by a plate of garlic Naan. The chicken tikka, marinated in the
Tandoori spices and then BBQ’d was succulent, not dried out in any way at all
and the lamb - it just fell apart. For me, this was also another “dish of the
night”. These two came out with a beautiful yoghurt accompaniment, plus a
Paneer Korma, cubes of cheese made in the Alibaba kitchen with a creamy sauce.
Nanni then said, “Now we will go into the next courses.” “No we
won’t,” was our reply, “We are full!” It had really been a great Indian
experience and we can very highly recommend Alibaba for some of the best Indian
food in Pattaya.
Animal Crackers: I
smell a rat
by Mirin MacCarthy
When I was thirteen a fellow classmate brought
beautiful little furry white mice to school. I was immediately certain
that they would make ideal pets. My mother was not, after she discovered
them and neither was my cat. Not having a cage, I had ingeniously lined
the pull out drawer of my bed with newspaper leaving a minute gap for air.
The cat immediately took up patrol in the bedroom. Mother took a few more
days to detect the typical musky mouse odour. Sadly they were all fostered
out to a family with no cats.
Meeting the needs of pet mice is neither complicated,
time consuming nor expensive. Get permission first as they are obviously
not suitable in homes with cats or parents who loathe the cute little
critters. Mice are so easy to care for, and less work and just as
enjoyable to watch as a tank full of fish.
Mice are excellent escape artists, so they do need
roomy, well ventilated escape-proof and easy clean housing. Cardboard
boxes just do not fit the bill. The cage needs separate areas for feeding,
bedding, a water bottle and an exercise wheel. If the cage is plastic it
must be cleaned at least daily because of the poor ventilation. Small
natural wood branches should be provided for climbing fun and gnawing to
keep their teeth in trim. Line the cage with white paper or tissues, not
newsprint. Soft-wood shavings are also not recommended because of their
Rodent blocks are best. If these are not available then
a high quality dry dog food (not over 8% fat content) fed equally with a
rat/mouse grain mixture is a good substitute. Add small amounts of salad
greens (clean, freshly washed, non-contaminated or sprayed), fresh fruits
and vegetables and whole wheat bread. Be sparing with oily seeds, nuts,
and grain mixes.
Do not give your pet treats such as chocolate,
biscuits, potato chips, or other junk food. Treats such as dry, healthy,
low-sugar cereals, plain popcorn, wild bird seed, and dry oatmeal are
Do not feed your pet through the bars of the cages, as
they will think that anything poked in is food and grab everything,
including your finger. Fresh water bottles should also be available at all
times. Water bowls are not recommended as they quickly become contaminated
leading to illness and disease.
Mice love company. Therefore, keep two instead of one. Get two females
(males fight). Female mice are also preferred by many because they do not
have the “musky” odor of male mice. A male and a female is definitely
not advisable unless you have a huge supply of friends with understanding
parents ready to adopt the many babies.
The Dreaded Datto
by Dr. Iain Corness
Last week we spoke about the crazy couple, the Hon. Mrs
Victor Bruce and her husband, who towed a petrol bowser behind their car,
trying to set endurance records by not having to stop for fuel! The answer
to the quiz was the name of the car they used and it was a Jowett flat twin.
I am sure both the Jowett and its drivers have long since departed for the
great race circuit in the sky (probably still towing their bowser).
So to this week. One of the most famous rallies in the
world is the Monte Carlo Rally. Famous also for some of the world’s
craziest scrutineering decisions. Remember the British Mini Coopers that
were disqualified because the headlight bulbs were too strong? The French
still think the Norman Conquest was just yesterday.
However, the Monte Carlo Rally has only once been won by
a driver in a car bearing his own name. For the now famous autotrivia FREE
beer, what was the name of the driver and car, and what year? (just to make
it a little more difficult) Be the first one in with the correct answer. Fax
427 596 or email to [email protected] Best of luck!
The Dreaded Datto!
The Datsun 510 (AKA Datsun 1600 in some countries) is one
car that spawned generations of motor enthusiasts. Built between 1968 and
1973, they were very successful in rallying, circuit racing, slaloms and
auto-cross. Even today, the Datsun 510 clubs are alive and well, thank you
Whilst I was never a dyed-in-the-wool Datsun enthusiast,
I did own one of the quickest 510 sports sedan in Oz and the tale is worth
repeating. During Xmas 1995 I was holidaying in Pattaya and received a call
from my mad mate in Brisbane who knew I was on the lookout for a race car to
run in the new Australian Under 2 Litre Sports Sedan category. “Got the
car for you, Mate. It’s a Datsun 510 and it’s only six grand.” The
price was immediately appealing so I said OK and we had a done deal.
On my return to Oz I rang Mad Mate, “Where’s the
car?” “In Sydney,” was the reply, “but he’s bringing it up next
weekend.” So here I was, having not only bought the thing sight unseen,
but my mate hadn’t seen it either!
It arrived and was undoubtedly the ugliest thing I had
ever clapped eyes on. It was not only ugly, but it was very old as well! I
had the sneaking suspicion I had just bought a race car which had probably
done several London to Sydney marathons!
However, Datto had an interesting history. It was built
by a young fellow in 1984, from his Mum’s road car and promptly ran out of
money after three race meetings. He then left it in Mother’s shed till it
was sold to an airline pilot. This guy wanted to run it in amateur
“club” meetings but found that his flying schedule and race days hardly
ever coincided. So the true facts were that I had purchased a 26 year old
Datsun 510 that had done a grand total of five race meetings in its entire
life. Before then it was driven only to church on Sundays by a little old
lady. It was hardly run in!
We took it to the workshop, cleaned the cobwebs and dust
off it and marvelled at the way the young fellow had done things. Everything
was correct - adjustable rose jointed suspension, braided brake lines, big
Weber carburettors, the works. All that was missing was disc brakes for the
rear, which we soon added. The only other item was the paint. It looked as
if he had drunk the paint and pissed it on. Fortunately we had a panel shop
in the sponsor line-up so it got new livery and it was ready to compete in
the first Australian National U2L Championship at Wakefield Park in New
South Wales, just a mere fifteen hours towing trip away!
This new championship had attracted all the young
hopefuls in Australia, and as the drivers and their cars assembled in the
pits they showed great interest in each other’s machinery. All except an
old Datsun 510 with a grey haired old driver from Queensland. You could
almost hear their pitying looks. “Poor old bugger, he just doesn’t know
how good we young blokes are and what rocket ships we’ve all got!” Ah
the impetuousness of youth!
They certainly had the machinery. The chaps in the next
pits had Porsche transaxles and space frames with carbon fibre bodywork.
Several race cars had cost over $50,000. Datto? Well, it was now up to
After Qualifying it was a different story. Datto and its
geriatric driver sat fair on the front row, clear of the rest by a good
margin. This was “grey power” with a vengeance! It was an interesting
moment watching the drivers as the news went buzzing down pit lane. It was
even more interesting when the TV interviewer came up. He had been asking
all the young chargers what their ambitions were in motor sport, every one
hoping to be the next Michael Schumacher. When he asked me the same question
I just replied, “At my age, living till tea time is enough!”
But suddenly Datto was the centre of attention. The ugly
duckling was rapidly turning into a swan. There were people lying on the
ground trying to see what the hell we had underneath. Lifting the bonnet
produced a mass of motor racers all looking to see the engine, only to be
disappointed to see a Datsun L20 lump, sitting in the place where Datsun
designed for it to be. No mid engine, no twin cam screamer, no fuel
injection - just a big lump of iron.
But it certainly was a brilliant race car that the young
chap in Sydney had built all those years ago. The independent rear managed
to put all the power down on the ground so even though we had probably 50
horsepower less than some of the others, we got it all on the deck where
they had terminal wheel spin.
It is not difficult to see just why the 510’s are still
so popular. Some of them are still winning!
The Siamese International Motor Trade Exhibition (SIMTE 2000) is on again
in Bangkok between the 4th to the 12th of December. Being held at Muangthong
Thanee (out near Don Muang Airport) it is another showcase for local and
international traders. My old friend Capt. Sitthichoke has more details.
Give him a ring on 01-843 0645 or 038 431 672. By the way, I also have a
book of discount tickets (50% off) so if you’re thinking of going up
there, call into the Pattaya Mail office on 2nd Road and ask for a bunch at
the downstairs office.
More Quick Tips
by David Garred,
Club Manager Dusit Resort Sports Club
G’day Pattaya, more short and sweet tips that will
It’s official – exercise is not only good for your
body, it’s great for your mind too. A study published in Nature
shows that building aerobic fitness leads to certain improvements in
certain mind processes such as planning, scheduling, inhibition and
working memory. The six-month study looked at 124 previously sedentary
adults aged 60-75 years. They were randomly assigned to either Aerobic
(walking-exercise for the heart and lungs) or anaerobic (stretching,
toning exercise – i.e. for the body’s voluntary muscles). The walkers
began with 15 minutes of exercise three times per week, progressing to 45
minutes, while the stretchers met for 1 hour three times per week.
Researchers found that those who engaged in the aerobic training showed
significant improvements in performing tasks requiring mental processes
than those who had undertaken the anaerobic programmes.
Considering this, the next time you are feeling
sluggish – it may well be better to take a hike than take a nap.
Red wine protests against cancer
Interesting little study this one: Men who drink red
wine have a lower rate of lung cancer than those who drink beer according
to a recent report from the Institute of Preventative Medicine in Denmark.
The 30-year study concluded that when drunk in moderation, wine could
actually offer some protection against cancer. The research project
involved 28,000 men and women and found that the incidence of cancer
dropped by 22 percent for those men who drank 13 or less glasses of red
wine per week. Cancer incidence increased by 9 to 13 percent for those men
who drank beer and climbed to between 21 and 46 percent for drinkers of
spirits. Researchers believe anti-oxidants in the wine could be a
contributing factor. Unfortunately, no discussion was made along the
social environment line. The correlation of pub verses restaurant, beer
verses wine and passive smoking in either situation or even similar
situations was not discussed in the report. Further studies are required
but the report is well worth considering.
A report in the British Journal of Nutrition suggests
that it may be time to spice up your diet a bit. Studies were recently
conducted in both Japan and Canada to assess the affects of red pepper on
participants’ consumption and subsequent energy intake.
Thirteen Japanese women were given a breakfast
containing sizeable amounts of spice, while 10 Caucasian were assigned
lunch appetisers laced with pepper. The women showed significant
reductions in protein and fat intake at lunch (as much as 20% and 17%
respectively), while the appetisers resulted in substantial decreases in
caloric intake at lunch and throughout the remainder of the day.
The results contradict the commonly held belief that
red pepper stimulates hunger, particularly in hot climates, such as Asia
– have a look around you next time you are out on the Eastern Seaboard
and remember that chilli is a base ingredient in the staple diet here.
Does Chilli make you want to eat more? When was the last time you saw
someone who eats this stuff alone or the usual Thai, looking overweight?
Further studies hope to clarify just how much of the
hot stuff we need to spice up our lives.
St John’s Wort has been getting a lot of good
publicity recently and apparently can do no wrong. Why? According to
nutritionists, the herb (Hypericum perforatum) is a natural way to
balance and even out moods. Its ingredients – hypericin and
pseudohypericin – have been identified as key components in reducing
dramatic mood swings often associated with PMT and depression. Whether the
yellow-flowered plant is just this year’s craze or will continue to be a
top seller remains to be seen. Available in capsule form from all good
Copyright 1999 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.
370/7-8 Pattaya Second Road, Pattaya City, Chonburi 20260, Thailand
Tel.66-38 411 240-1, 413 240-1, Fax:66-38 427 596; e-mail: [email protected]
Updated by Boonsiri Suansuk.