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Business News





HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
Family Money: Weighing Up Your Risk Profile
The Computer Doctor

Successfully Yours: Kannikar Nguanborm Ottesen
Snap Shots: Correct Exposure
Modern Medicine: Tennis Elbow - for the non-tennis player!

Heart to Heart with Hillary

Dining Out: Alibaba - a real cave of surprises!
Animal Crackers: I smell a rat
Auto Mania: The Dreaded Datto

Fitness Tips: More Quick Tips

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 cautious approach.

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 objectives.

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 towards investments?

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 are you?

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 perspective?

a: “A stock market crash means disaster for investors.” (0)
b: “A stock market crash is a buying opportunity.” (10)
c: “A stock market crash is a natural part of a long term investment cycle.” (5)

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 investments?

a: “I look up share and offshore fund prices every week.” (3)
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 (4)

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 plans?

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 on

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.

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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

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Successfully Yours: Kannikar Ngunborm Ottesen

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.

Kannikar (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 mother.

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 the children.”

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 achieve something.”

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!

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Snap Shots: Correct Exposure

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.

Under 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 help you.”)

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 hand corner.

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!

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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 sufferers.

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 response.

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 doses!

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Dear Hillary,

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!


Dear ABF,

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.

Dear Hillary,

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?


Dear Cheapie,

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.

Dear Hillary,

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.

Saudi Sam

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.

Dear Hillary,

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!


Dear Foodie,

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.

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End of the story
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 some 70,100.

Money laundering
Better 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 town
A 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 mania
If 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 duck
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 rule
In 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 Pattaya
During 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 corner
Pattaya’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.

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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 dishes.

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 brocade jacket.

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.

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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.

Suitable Pets?

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.

Mouse House

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 toxicity.


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 fine.

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.

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Auto Mania: The Dreaded Datto

by Dr. Iain Corness

Autotrivia Quiz

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 very much.

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 $6,200!

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!

Motor Show

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.

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Fitness Tips: More Quick Tips

by David Garred, 
Club Manager Dusit Resort Sports Club

G’day Pattaya, more short and sweet tips that will help all.

Brain Power

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.

Flower power

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 health stores.

Carpe’ diem

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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.