Family Money: Japan
and the Dollar
By Leslie Wright
Many investors are confused by what they hear and read
about Japan, and specifically, what is likely to happen this year to the
Japanese stock market.
One commentator says money is pouring back into Asia
and the Nikkei is going to rise strongly, and the next day another says
there’s no real strength to sustain the tentative recovery we saw last
Who do you believe? And anyway, does it matter?
Well, it matters a lot. Because Japan is the second
largest stock market in the world in terms of capitalisation, what happens
there will inevitably have an effect on the rest of the world’s economy
- just as events in the United States do. And sooner or later these
effects will filter down to you and me here in Pattaya.
Last week and the week before, I offered my views on
what I believe may happen in various markets during this year. But since
in the case of Japan this opinion differs from that of many mainstream
analysts, some readers have asked me to explain my rationale for holding
Huge losses were suffered last year by hedge funds in
their futile attempt to sell the U.S. dollar against the Japanese yen.
Most took this stance based upon the narrow
interpretation of the trade numbers, citing that the U.S. trade deficit
with Japan was on the rise. It makes some sense to expect that a rising
trade deficit means that the U.S. is sending more dollars to Japan and
therefore they in turn will be selling more dollars.
However, global trade is less than 10% of GDP and trade
itself is less than 13% of the entire U.S. GDP.
In other words, trying to forecast the fate of the
dollar based solely upon trade statistics is not merely dangerous to
one’s financial survival, it also illustrates one’s ignorance of the
facts at hand.
It was this fundamentalist (and erroneous) view that
led to losses on the part of the hedge funds in excess of $2 billion in
the first half of 1999 - and they seem set on course to take another
serious loss in the months ahead, along with the equity funds that have
been rushing into Japan and Asia.
Balancing the accounts
The world has changed considerably since 1971 and the
birth of the floating exchange rate system. The old fundamentalist
theories must simply be thrown out the window. Not only are they
dangerous, they often reflect what in fact is the opposite reality.
The two main accounts that all governments keep are
known as the “current” and “capital” accounts. These two accounts
balance so that when one moves into a deficit, the other moves into an
Many people wrongly refer to the “current” account
as the “trade” account. This perhaps was a definition of pre-1971
global trends, but it certainly does not fit our modern economic
The current account includes not merely trade but also
all transfer payments, which includes dividends and interest.
Prior to 1971, 90% of global capital flows were trade
related, and investment tended to remain very much at home.
In the post-1971 period, the fluctuations in currency
values (which are inherent within a floating exchange rate system) have
created the appearance of profit and loss when converted back to the base
For example, in 1985 a major U.S. insurance company
purchased a British insurance company when the pound was worth only $1.03.
By 1987, the pound had recovered, rising to $1.90.
This fluctuation in the dollar/pound exchange rate
resulted in a paper profit of 84% on their investment when the assets were
shown on their books in dollars. However, the pound then fell back to
$1.40, which produced a 26% loss on the very same assets. (And this same
confusing profit/loss scenario equally applies to individuals’
investments denominated in currencies other than their base currency.)
Currency fluctuations nowadays can be as much as 40%
over a two-year period, and have a significant impact upon all government
statistics - including trade. What may appear to be a trade surplus is
often a trade deficit.
In the case of Japan, if you subtract the rise in the
value of the yen you will see that Japan is actually selling fewer goods -
not more. Japanese manufacturers will quickly tell you that sales have
declined, not risen. If Japan were enjoying a real rise in their trade
exports, then why is the economy still in recession and unemployment
In addition to the distortion that currency movements
has added to the current account we also have the issue of globalisation
within the investment community.
If we look at the current account closely, it becomes
clear that the bulk of this statistic is transfer payments. In other
words, accumulated buying of U.S. bonds produces an interest income that
is then paid to the Japanese through the current account.
Because of this factor, a current account deficit no
longer means what it once did prior to 1971.
Today, as foreign capital continues to pour into the
United States to capture the huge interest rate differential (nearly twice
that of Europe and ten times that of Japan), the greater the deficit
becomes in the current account as the U.S. pays out more in interest.
The investment is reflected through the capital account
(purchase of bonds, stocks, real estate, etc.), while the income on those
investments then moves back through the current account.
Thus as more capital flows into the U.S., the dollar
strengthens; but this inflow also tends to expand the current account
deficit. Those who rush out to short the dollar simply because the current
account deficit is rising fail to understand how these two accounts work
under a floating exchange rate system.
Some analysts believe the dollar is poised to rise to
at least 200 yen by 2003 due to the fact that the Japanese economy is not
recovering. The extremely low levels of interest rates that have been the
core policy of the Japanese government are in fact undermining the entire
Japanese banks, pensions in trouble
While low interest rates were hoped to be the answer to
the Japanese banking crisis, after more than five years of such a policy,
the long-term damage to pension funds, life companies and the Postal
Savings System are becoming incalculable.
The extremely low interest rate policy has now taken
the banking crisis and spread it into virtually every sector within Japan.
There is little hope for recovery when consumers live in fear of both
their jobs and pensions.
All savings and pension funds need a base income of
about 4% in order to meet future obligations. The primary concern in Japan
now is that the pension funds are insolvent. Consumer confidence is
starting to hit all-time lows in Japan and there is no hope in sight for
Currently, Japan still represents 40% of total world
cash savings. There has been no banking panic up till now because the
government has stated that they will guarantee all deposits in Japan 100%.
However, the Japanese government announced last year
that by April 1st 2001 all deposits in Japan would be insured only for the
equivalent of $100,000. This move has already caused considerable alarm,
so the Japanese government recently announced it plans to shelve this
move, at least for the time being. (Sounds reminiscent of
politically-motivated moving of goalposts somewhat closer to home,
However, if and when that plan does come into effect
big-name Japanese corporations and high-net-worth private citizens will
start pulling their cash out of the banks, to limit their risk.
In other words, the sizeable deposits in Japanese banks
that once made them the largest institutions in the world will be forced
into a consolidation phase. This may well start a banking panic in Japan,
which will have a ripple effect throughout the world.
U.S. seen as safe haven
In order for Japan to recover, the dollar must
strengthen - not weaken! A weak dollar raises the cost of production in
Japan while a strong dollar lowers the cost structure in Japan, allowing
corporate profits to rise. The market traders that have been rushing to
buy Japanese stocks are doing so because they are looking at the currency
as if it were a stock.
A strong economy is normally associated with a weak
currency, while a strong currency produces deflation. The U.S. economy is
strong, but corporate profits are starting to weaken due to the strong
currency. While analysts expect the dollar to rise into 2003, the U.S.
economy is likely to decline gradually and corporate profits will sink
along with that trend.
The strong dollar in this case is a reflection that the
balance of the world - Asia and Europe - are both in economic downward
This has resulted in the U.S. becoming the safe haven
for capital for several years past, and it is this capital inflow that is
pushing the dollar - and the stock market - higher. Ultimately, the upward
pressure on the dollar is the mechanism that may finally cause a recession
to be imported into the United States.
Political cross holdings
Many equity investors in Europe are not involved in the
U.S. market. Value-seeking fundamentalists bypassed the U.S., opting since
1994 to invest in the Euro, Russia and Southeast Asia - and many got their
fingers badly burned in the past couple of years by so doing. They missed
the entire U.S. move and are not about to buy now.
Instead, they are rushing back to Asia and Japan
looking for value. But just as their “value” interpretation of Russia
failed, their bias against the U.S. is perhaps leading them once again to
another huge loss in Asia and Japan.
About 40% of the Japanese market is held in what is
known as “political cross holdings” of shares. Following World War II,
the industrial corporations of Japan were unable to raise needed capital
on their own. The Japanese banks were in a position to raise capital and
they lent it to the corporations. In turn, cross-ownership of stocks
between the banks and the corporations became the hallmark of the Japanese
Today, this is seen as a major weakness because it has
impacted the banks’ balance sheets on a market-to-market basis. The more
the Nikkei declined, the more the banks lost and hence the less they lent,
setting off a spiral of collapsing economic activity.
The government has been forced to set up loan programs
for small businesses because they are unable to borrow from the banks. The
stated policies amongst Japanese banks and corporations indicate they have
resigned themselves to unwinding these cross-share holdings, which means
that there is an overhead supply of shares that need to be sold. Hence the
likelihood of a sustainable bull market emerging at this time is not very
Add to this the fact that analysts’ models reflect
that a true recovery in Japan will not materialise for about another two
years and the long-term trend is neutral at best. Even the IMF concluded
last year that recovery in Japan is nearly two years away, while a former
board member of the Federal Reserve has stated that the yen/dollar
exchange rate should be at about 140 based upon current economic
No Asian recovery just yet
When the facts are looked at objectively, the
optimistic analysis that has been used by the trading community as the
reason to sell dollars against the yen doesn’t make sense, and it
threatens any recovery by causing a further collapse in Japanese corporate
In turn this only increases unemployment and dampens
any hope of recovery. In short, there is no indication of a real
sustainable recovery in Japan or Asia, only short-term rallies driven more
by speculative sentiment than fundamental economic principles. And
reaction rallies within a broader bear market are always commonplace.
Last but not least, some analysts expect China to
devalue the yuan no later than the end of this quarter - despite the
Chinese leadership having stated several times that they won’t do so.
This would have a serious impact both directly and indirectly, not only on
the whole of Southeast Asia in terms of export competitiveness, but on
Japan and in turn the rest of the world.
So in the end, a dollar rally into 2003 may keep the
U.S. share market alive while it helps repair the damage in Japan and the
third world by increasing their domestic profits. But a weaker dollar will
undermine the entire world economy and threaten the U.S. bull market like
no other event possible.
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. If you have
any comments or queries on this article, or about other topics concerning
investment matters, contact Leslie 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. To ensure his prompt response to your enquiry,
please include your complete return e-mail address, or a contact phone/fax
The Computer Doctor
by Richard Bunch
From Richard Lee Montgomery: In
your reply to Simon Smith, Muang, http://www.pattayamail.com/336/columns.htm#hd2
you said go to http://thaigate.rd.nac sis.ac.jp/refer/thaiio.html for Thai
Fonts. This site says its fonts are for Win3.x/95. Can they be downloaded
and installed on a computer running Win98 (Western)? You also recommended
going to Microsoft’s website. I for one am totally unable either to
Navigate or to Explore Bill’s web; I get stuck on a wrong strand every
Thailand’s D.C. Embassy “What’s New” index
http://www.thaiembdc.org/whatsnew/index.htm gives a shortcut to Internet
Thai’s “How to Use Thai Fonts” http://www.inet.co.th/www/thai/thai_font.html
which only gives instructions for Win98 Thai. INET then gives the same
shortcut you did http://thaigate.rd.nacsis.ac.jp/refer/thaiio.html. The D.C.
Embassy used to give a shortcut to Microsoft’s Thai Fonts page which I
can’t find on my own, but that page explicitly stated it is not for Win98.
I went to your A.C.T. page http://www.act.co.th and
clicked on your Get Internet Explorer 5.01 Now! shortcut and went to bed.
Next morning, I installed IE5 and got a Welcome to Internet Explorer 5,
Let’s Take a Tour, or words to that effect page; but did not have time to
take that tour! Now I don’t know how to get that page back, do you?
This evening while viewing your pcdoctor column, I went
to the IE5 toolbar, scrolled down from View to Encoding/More/Thai (Windows),
and clicked. I also went to Tools, scrolled down to Internet
Options/General/ Fonts, set for [Latin Based] Web [Times New Roman], Plain
text [Courier New]; and for [Thai] Web [Cordia New], Plain text [-blank-].
Next, from Internet options General/Languages, I found
both “English (United States)[en-us]” and “Thai>[th]” displayed
in that window.
I checked http://www.ch7 .com for a Happy Thai New
Year’s Greeting and to .../buddhism.htm for more Thai than I can handle
right now as I only read at a 4th
grade level, but at lest my computer seems able to read Thai on a page,
although not on the placards that show when a page is ‘minimized.’
So, how do I get my computer to write Thai? I really
don’t need an overlay, a keyboard map would do and I’d learn to
Computer Doctor replies: To take your points one at a
time as you appear to have been rather busy! The original site I quoted
http://thaigate.rd.nacsis.ac.jp/refer/thaiio.html although saying for Win95
will quite happily run on Win98 and is by far the best solution for typing
Thai I have come across. I recommend you take this route, you only need the
small executable which is a TSR (Terminate and Stay Ready) program, the .DLL
and DB fonts. A Thai/English keyboard will make the job of typing much
I am sure Mr. Gates will be mortified that you find his
website difficult to navigate, in any event I am glad you managed to
download and install IE5. With regards to taking the tour, from within IE5,
Tour is located on the Help menu.
With regards to reading Thai on web sites, you have
followed the correct procedure, whether the language displays correctly
though is to a certain extent governed by the web site itself, if this is
note coded correctly then it will not display correctly on your system. It
does seem that these sites are becoming fewer as web sites are revised.
Notably, I find some of the government sites to be the worst offenders.
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 Co.,
Successfully Yours: Stéphane
by Mirin MacCartthy
Quietly smiling and almost shy, St้phane Bringer,
the General Manager of the Woodlands Resort, is actually a very well-travelled
Born in Rouen, France, he moved to Paris but later
spent four years in Hong Kong with his family. Next it was off to Belgium
where he finished school and university.
However, after two years in the cloistered halls, St้phane
decided he was wasting his time studying science and the experience of
summer jobs in hotels led him to change his career to hotelier.
He went to Switzerland for three years to study hotel
management, and after his graduation in 1995 he applied to the
Intercontinental Hotel chain for a management trainee programme. He was
accepted and sent to the Siam Intercontinental in Bangkok. That was a
concentrated year’s learning experience as he was rotated throughout
every position in the hotel.
With that experience under his belt, the
Intercontinental group then sent him to Cambodia to be part of the
pre-opening team for their first five star hotel in Phnom Penh. St้phane
recalls, “That was the most amazing experience I ever had. We had to
start from the very beginning, for example the Cambodians didn’t even
know what chips were. We had to teach them everything from service to food
to cleaning, even personal hygiene. At that time I was twenty four and had
a team of fifty people to manage. It was a very interesting experience!”
Then the Raffles Hotel Group invested $US40 million in
the Grand Hotel D’Ankor in Cambodia and St้phane moved there with
them. “My position there was exactly the same: pre-opening training, but
this time it was even more of a challenge. There was nothing at all there,
no supermarket, just a dirt road. Even the telecommunications wouldn’t
work, so we were all using mobile phones. Every single thing for the hotel
had to come by boat and then by buffalo cart.”
St้phane continued, “I stayed another year but
after two years in Cambodia I had enough of that challenge. It was then I
heard that the Woodlands Resort was looking for a manager and doing a
renovation project and I knew I could bring my experience here.”
St้phane arrived at Woodlands in October 1998 and
plans to stay at least another two years here. He likes the contrasts of
Thailand. “You can see two very different ways of life beside each
other, Western and Thai. There’s also some very rich and very poor
people. And Pattaya is a very cosmopolitan city, there really is something
here for everyone.”
In his rare, spare time off, St้phane enjoys the
physical side of life, jogging and water-skiing. In Belgium, in fact, he
used to run in marathons. He also participated in the Tour de Belgium
marathon relay race, a four day stint.
However, his life now revolves mainly around his work.
He starts every day at 6 a.m. and finishes at 9 p.m. “Every morning I am
happy just to be going to work. If there ever were a day that I didn’t
want to, then I would know there was a problem. As long as I am happy what
I am doing then life is great. I think this is especially true in the
hotel business - if you are happy then your staff are happy and your
guests are happy also. At the end of the day, when I go home and I have
had a wonderful day and I learnt a lot and am looking forward to the next
day - then that is success.”
St้phane’s advice to other expats who want to
follow a career of hotelier here in Thailand is: “Come here with a low
profile and adapt yourself to the environment and what people need. I
think the most important qualities to have are to be yourself and believe
in what you are doing. Never underestimate others - you can always learn
something from other people. Every day I am learning something.”
Young St้phane has obviously learned a lot with all his
travelling. A very wise head on his youthful shoulders.
Snap Shots: School’s
Harry Flashman would like to thank all those keen
photographers who contacted him during 1999 and expressed their interest
in the weekly photography column. Thank you - it certainly gives a
columnist the enthusiasm to carry on. Which leads Harry here on to the
next stage - how many of you would be interested in a day’s “Hands
On” photography class?
What is in mind, for the first course, would be a full
day on portrait photography. After all, the most photographed subjects in
the world are other human beings. The first half of the day would be
devoted to the theory of lighting and photography, with the second half
being practical application of the theories. I would expect to cover both
artificial light sources, as well as ambient (sun) light. It would not be
an expensive “high tech” course, but would utilise simple and
inexpensive equipment (some of which you will make yourself) and learn
some easily applied “pro” techniques.
Whilst there would undoubtedly be advantages for all
photographers with all types of equipment, it would be necessary to limit
a course of this type to SLR cameras. Much of the work would be using the
camera in Manual mode and demonstrating the different effects that the
photographer can produce. This includes deliberate over and under-exposure
techniques, something you cannot easily do with a fully automatic point
The pre-course level of photography knowledge required
would not be, however, all that high. The idea of the exercise is to teach
such things as Lens selection, Back lighting exposure techniques, Depth of
Field, Selective focus, etc., as well as How to Pose the model and How to
Light the model. All that really is a pre-requisite is that you have an
SLR and you know where the various knobs and twiddly bits are. Bring your
camera manual if you are at all unsure.
What Harry would provide would be a suitable venue
where we could work both in and out of doors, a happy model, one who would
sit there and not complain too much while we set up lights and diffusers,
etc., as well as providing all the necessary know-how and lectures and
throw in the processing of a couple of rolls of film for good measure.
What you would provide are yourselves as eager
students, with an SLR and a couple of rolls of film. We would break for
lunch as Harry gets irritable if he doesn’t eat. The concept would be
that after all the lectures and then practical application we would finish
the day with a critique of your final shots. (thank goodness for one hour
Now, how much for all this? Provided there are enough
people who want this type of course (and it will be on a Sunday, too) it
should be possible to do all this for around 1000 baht per head (which
includes the D&P for your two rolls of film).
So just how many of you would like to do this next
month? Let’s set the date as February 27th and the venue will be
somewhere central in town. Please fax your expressions of interest to 427
596 or email [email protected] Include your contact phone or fax
number. If there are enough of you out there then we will do it.
My favourite photoprocessor girls are on the move again - The Royal
Express on Beach Road (next to McDonalds) is moving to Second Road down
near the “Made in Thailand” centre and the Golden Beach Hotel and next
to an Internet cafe. I have had consistently good results from them - both
in the processing and the sharpness of the prints, and their cheery faces
brighten up any dull day. If you have found a good place for D&P then
stick to them, but if you are not really satisfied and are looking, Harry
can highly recommend this place. You never know, you could always bump
into Harry as he flashes by in his trench coat!
Modern Medicine: GRRRRR
by Dr Iain Corness
The other night I managed to get bitten by a dog. This
was unfortunately not a well cared for canis domesticus, but one not very
well kempt street dog ordinaricus snarlicus aggressivus.
Not that I totally blame the dog. At the time of my
meeting with it, it had just been bowled over by a baht bus and had
fractured its pelvis and one of its hind legs. It was in no mood for human
intervention, no matter how “well meaning” that intervention might
Being just outside a bar in Jomtien helped, as
immediate first aid was necessary. This took the form of a nip of whiskey
poured over the bites and a beer poured down my throat to calm my insides.
In the meantime, Mrs. Doc (also bitten) had mustered slave labour and said
dog was now on a mat in the back of the car, to be taken to the vet’s if
it survived the night. It did.
The vet was very helpful the next morning, confirming
the injuries and adding that he also thought the dog had rabies. Rabies!
Thank you very much, Dr. Vet. This is a lovely disease, which my good book
told me is “invariably fatal once clinical symptoms develop, therefore
prevention is of paramount importance.” Another reference source added
the comforting news that the initial symptoms included pain at the site of
the bite, proceeding to headache, fever, spreading paralysis with episodes
of confusion, aggression, hallucinations and hydrophobia. I already had
symptom number one and I wasn’t thirsty. A chill wind blew around me.
That morning I stood there before the mirror, foaming
at the mouth while cleaning my teeth, and wondered if I should bite the
boy at work as recompense for his terminal laziness.
Of course I had had all my rabies vaccinations. Had I
thump. Like many things that doctors tell you, sometimes they are a tad
too busy to follow the advice themselves. Guilty as charged, your honour!
I rang the vet again. “Can you test the dog for
rabies please and let me know?” His reply was as cheerful as his initial
news. “Any tests are inconclusive and even examination of the brain post
mortem is not 100% certain.”
So it was off to hospital, with the attendant
mutterings as to why I had not been vaccinated before, head hanging in
shame and all the rest of it. Post exposure immunization schedule was of
course necessary, and that is a course of five injections (after the
initial dose, you get more at days 3, 7, 14 and 30).
The injections are not painful, it is the dragging
backwards and forwards to the hospital Outpatient clinic that is a pain.
But you do get to meet some lovely nurses.
Only one more to go and so far no frothing at the mouth, other than at
toothbrush time, but the message is there for everyone. Get yourself
vaccinated as a PRE-exposure preventive item. It does make sense. And
while you are at it, how is your Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis A and Hep B?
Even if you have had the primary course, boosters are also necessary. See
you at the Outpatient’s clinic!
I must take exception to your response to Frances about
driving in Pattaya (7 Jan). Almost all “educated” Thais I socialize
and do business with are embarrassed by the poor drivers in Pattaya and
the even poorer enforcement of the traffic laws. Your apparent “My Pen
Rai” attitude in your response is part of the problem here. Seven years
ago, the VP of the company I then worked for dismissed Thailand as quote,
“Have you seen a Thai behind the wheel; they’re barbarians.” When a
foreigner gets hurt on the streets of Pattaya, he goes home and tells his
friends - possibly a million baht loss in tourist income. A foreigner gets
killed and it makes the Western Papers - maybe a hundred million baht
impact to Thailand.
As for “If you weren’t there in the first place the
accident wouldn’t have happened” - if the Thai wasn’t acting like a
two year old half-wit and showed some sense of social responsibility
consistent with that of an emerging industrialized nation, the accident
probably wouldn’t have happened either!
I, like most people, came to Pattaya for the climate
and relaxation, not to be run down by some socially irresponsible idiot
with a fourth world mentality. Overall, I enjoy living in Pattaya, but a
more civilized attitude behind the wheel would go a long way to changing
the backward, third world country image many westerners have of Thailand.
In the future, I think that you should take this issue more seriously!
Did you honestly expect Hillary to change the driving
standards here? Be real! Frances wanted to know “why”, not “how”.
My Pen Rai is part of the “why” surely. However, Mark, there are
people who do take this seriously - for example, the Jomtien-Pattaya
Rotary Club and the Ge Laurent Foundation are sponsoring Driver Education
in the schools - surely the best way to change the attitude of
tomorrow’s drivers. Quite frankly, I do not think that your calling
Thais “two year old half wits” or “socially irresponsible idiots”
helps the problem much either. In the meantime, take a leaf out of
Alan’s response and just walk everywhere, you’re safe 90% of the time
on the footpaths.
Reading the letter about traffic rules from
‘Francis’ in last Pattaya Mail reminds me of my first trip to
Thailand, in 1990. I am a professional driver/rider having spent 15 years
in the Sydney Highway Patrol, driving high-speed cars and motorcycles, and
I thought I could handle anything, anywhere, until I arrived in Bangkok.
What a lesson in life, the traffic terrified me, the taxi ride down to
Pattaya was a nightmare. I kept my hands over my eyes and prayed to that
great Motorcyclist in the sky to keep me safe. (You know the prayer you
say when you get into one of those situations, “Please? If I get out of
this one I will never speed again!”)
It was not until a couple of further experiences in the
traffic that I realized a Great Truth, you grow up in the culture and
conditions you are born into, and learn to cope with them. With great
relief I found after a while, the perceived traffic chaos was in fact well
ordered chaos. Most of the drivers and riders seemed to know what they
were doing and appeared to avoid each other, most of the time. So I have
now accepted, that in Thailand, the Thai drivers are much better at it
than I am. As for the comment about the “Farang” always being in the
wrong, it works both ways. I know that when an Asian driver is involved in
a collision here in Auz they always cop the blame. I suppose it is easy to
blame someone who doesn’t have a good command of the local language. I
still don’t drive or ride in Pattaya. I am happy to pay the locals to do
it for me, or walk (and that’s another story).
You got the picture! Hillary, too, has been known to utter that prayer
on Sukhumvit Highway. Though the local traffic around Pattaya is a
relative hay ride compared to Bangers you must admit.
Pattaya’s first case of mobile phone
madness occurred this week when German tourist Arthur Funk was hit by
a beer bottle. He refused to stop using his mobile in a Soi Yamato
bar, famed for its rowdiness, and was assaulted by a non intellectual
British youth who was exasperated by the loud conversations going on
in a foreign tongue. In the ensuing fight, which was won by England,
the mobile phone was stolen by a silent bystander. Fighting fit,
nineteen year old Kevin Plummer from Leeds said it was worth a night
in the cells to see justice done. “I’m not anti German,” he
stressed, “I just hate Crouts.”
Quite fruityA famished GEOC (Grapevine Eating Out
Collective) recently paid an incognito visit to The Wild Mango
restaurant in Soi Six. The premises have been substantially
refurbished and the tables are set adjacent to a mini garden. We tried
mee grob and some particularly tasty prawn toast for starters,
followed by four Thai dishes washed down with several beers. The
coconut milk based curries are particularly to be recommended. The
very reasonable bill for four was just under 900 baht. Ample parking
at the rear. The Wild Mango merits a visit soon.
Frying tonightThe local fire brigade is warning drunken
farangs to be more careful after a nasty blaze in a Central Park
Estate. Eric Lowens, father of two from Sunderland, returned home
after a particularly heavy night on the town and was disheartened to
see that the snack contents of the freezer were limited to an opened
tin of cat food and a milk carton which had turned sour. In a drunken
haze, he lit the gas stove and attempted to convert three unpeeled
potatoes into a portion of chips. The resulting kitchen fire very
nearly converted him into a crisp. Statistics show that kitchen fires
in Pattaya have soared since retirement visas became easier to obtain.
Complimentary yoursA passenger wrote to Lao Aviation to thank
them for a punctual and splendid journey, including the delicious ham
sandwich and small packet of nuts, but has received three letters of
apology. The first offered sincere regrets for the plane being several
hours late and the second apologized that his complaint had not yet
been dealt with. Officials then sent a third letter apologizing for
the confusion and thanking him for his custom. Tourist Sean Michaels
later confessed that he routinely wrote appreciative letters to
airlines in the hope of being upgraded to business class on his next
A local seminar has been told that Thailand
is falling behind in the race to use the Internet as a marketing tool
to promote tourism. Although many countries recognize the Internet as
a medium to provide one stop booking services for air tickets, hotel
rooms and tour packages, Thailand has hardly begun to exploit the
potential. It was stated that there are about 3,000 websites in the
country, but only 9% are used commercially. Only a tiny handful of
Pattaya hotels actually promote themselves on line, it was claimed.
The conference was organized by the National Electronics and Computer
UndercarePattaya’s aging farang population is being
targeted by an American inventor who has come up with a novel way of
helping elderly people from breaking their bones in a nasty fall. Stan
Sessions from Detroit has adopted the principle of the inflatable
airbag used in cars, only this time a much smaller version is attached
to the person’s underwear and inflates on impact, thus saving hip
bones from certain damage. The invention, selling at 2000 baht per
bag, is said to be being studied most seriously by men without medical
Resort statisticsA reader with lots of time on his hands has
sent us his objective summary research of where Pattaya stands at the
moment in the scheme of things. Apparently, there are 2662 places
within the city limits, including Jomtien, where you can get a snack
or a meal. And just over 4000 if you include drinks only
establishments. He has counted 870 night clubs of one sort and
another, with a small Singha beer ranging in price from 40 to 180 baht
(presumably assuming you get the right change). Anyone thinking of
sinking their life savings in a bar or restaurant in our proud city
may care to bear in mind the stiff competition around.
Coming soonHere are ten tourist attractions Pattaya
does not have on offer. Well, not yet.
A Mozart fan club.
Cat racing on Beach Road.
Sex changes on the National Health.
A burned out ferris wheel.
A branch of the Samaritans.
Pigeon fanciers anonymous.
President Yelsin face masks.
A branch of Gamblers’ Anonymous.
Dining Out: PS
Sharkfin Soup - the world’s best kept secret!
by Miss Terry Diner
Some days you can be incredibly lucky. You have done
nothing to deserve it, and a gem just falls in your lap. This week, that gem
was called PS Sharkfin Soup.
The Dining Out Team was intending having a social (non
working) evening with Khun Neera from the Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital. “Where
shall we eat?” was the first question, and we began mentally running through
all the places the three of us might enjoy. Suddenly Neera said, “Do you
like shark fin?” and the decision was made. Now I must admit that my
experience of shark fin is not great, and I had an impression somewhere in the
dark recesses of my mind that it was expensive. “Not at this place,” said
Neera as we headed to Pattaya 3rd Road.
You are going to have to look carefully to find this
restaurant. It is about 200 metres from the North Road intersection on the
left side of Pattaya 3, heading towards Pattaya Klang. Blink twice and you
will miss it. A single shop-house with a noodle cooker outside, with some
sharkfin hanging up inside. There is a small sign saying PS Sharkfin Soup and
that is it.
Inside, the place is spotless. Light coloured wooden topped
tables and chrome furniture sitting on shiny maroon coloured tiles. On the
walls are some photographs of a young girl.
The next surprise - the owner is Payon Chaihuadjaroen, a
career tourism professional who had spent 18 years in Japan with the Tourism
Authority of Thailand and finished his TAT life as the Director of Division 3
here in Pattaya. His partner, Sirirat, is the chef and it is her photographs
that are on the wall. It feels and is a true “family” restaurant.
Unlike the Chinese restaurants with 300 item menus, PS
Sharkfin’s menu is very modest - eight items only, so it is not too
difficult to choose! It begins with Sharkfin soup, three sizes, 200, 300 and
500 baht. Next up is fish maw soup at 50 and 100 baht. Four stir fries -
sharkfin at 300 and 500 baht or fish maw at 150 and 250 baht and kale with
Chinese mushrooms at 80 and 100 baht and finally stir fried morning glory at
30 and 50 baht. Three sizes of fried rice with crabmeat - 50, 80 and 100 baht,
then jade noodles at 35 baht. Drinks are on the reverse side of the laminated
one page menu and includes hot or cold tea and coffee, lemon juice and orange
juice, soft drinks and a choice of Singha, Heineken or Kloster beer, all very
We began with a plate of sharkfin soup each. This came with
a side plate of coriander and fresh bean sprouts, which you add to the soup.
The soup itself was thick and tangy, with large mushrooms and plenty of
sharkfin. Really delicious and Neera beamed!
We followed that up with the jade noodles. These are a
green coloured egg noodle in a large bowl with fish balls. It was quite unlike
any noodle dish we have tried before, and again was fantastic! My personal
pick of the evening.
Our finale was to share a large plate of a very delicate
fried rice with the crabmeat through it. Another beautifully cooked dish, but
we were beaten by that stage and had to ask for a “doggy bag” to take the
Quite frankly, if you enjoy sharkfin - or would like to try - the Dining
Out Team has no hesitation in recommending PS Sharkfin soup. It has only been
open for six months and has been one of Pattaya’s better kept secrets. This
will change with publication of this review! Try it - you will not be
Animal Crackers: Asian
by Mirin MacCarthy
The Sun Bear or Malay Bear is one of the smallest bears
in the world, but even so, still weighs in between 30 to 50 kgs and can be
up to 1 1/2 metres in length. These bears are also called “Honey” bears,
being very partial to wild honey and are found in tropical Asia.
The majority live in Thailand, Burma, the Malay
Peninsula, Java, Sumatra, and Borneo. They were also recently rediscovered
in India, where they had been feared extinct. While Sun Bears prefer
tropical rainforest some sun bears have been reported as high as 7,500 feet
on Borneo’s Mount Kinabalu.
They have a black dense fur with an orange crescent on
their chests, though some also have white or yellow muzzles. With bow legs
and long wickedly curved claws they actually make a very powerful package.
Expert climbers, they spend much of the daylight hours sleeping and
sunbathing in trees.
Termites, bees, and earthworms are important sun bear
food. Other food items include snails, eggs, lizards, rodents, fruit, and
honey. However, like most bears, they are omnivores, meaning they will eat
anything, including tigers and the odd unwary human, it has been said.
These bears have excellent eyesight and will often stand
on their hind legs, just to get a better view. This erect stance is also
used to threaten potential enemies.
Sun Bears have no particular mating season since there is
no winter in Sun Bear territory, and Mother Bear generally has two cubs in
each conception. These are normally twins and are born blind, hairless, and
with nearly transparent skin. The bear cubs then stay with their mother
until they are almost full grown.
Unlike the northern bears which tend to be solitary
animals, Sun Bears can be seen foraging in pairs and adult males will even
accompany the family group.
The largest problem for the Sun Bears is poaching by
humans. Bear internal organs, such as gall bladders, are considered to be
very potent in traditional Chinese medicine. Consequently hunting and
killing has been very prevalent. There is also the use of bear paw in a soup
provided “off the menu” in some Asian kitchens. In some countries they
cruelly kill the bears by lowering the cage with the bear in it into a vat
of boiling water! The bears can sense what is about to happen and cry! Add
to this is the destruction of the Sun Bears natural habitat and you have the
recipe for the decimation of these bears. Currently the Sun Bears are on the
endangered species list. Surely there is room for us all on this planet?
The concept of a Pattaya Animal Refuge Association was
proposed last week in this column. Are there enough concerned people out
there to make it possible? Are we prepared to help?
The objective is to receive stray, injured and unwanted
animals, dogs, cats, monkeys, birds, the lot, provide temporary housing and
veterinary treatment, rabies inoculations and speying before releasing them.
Many of us do have something we could contribute to help; time,
expertise,care, organizational ability, promotion, fund raising,
sponsorship, housing, running adopt a pet programmes, writing newsletters,
telephone answering, volunteering, feeding, cleaning, whatever it takes.
There are already vets and others who have pledged support for the
concept of an Animal Refuge here in Pattaya. No one vet or no one individual
can do it all. For it to become a reality it will need public support - both
money and manpower. Do we want to do this? I am prepared to be the
co-ordination point for this proposal and look at forming a Pattaya Animal
Refuge Association (PARA) to guide and see it through. Please send in your
expressions of interest. To Mirin MacCarthy, at email <[email protected]
pattayamail.com>, fax 038- 427 596, or directly through email <[email protected]
hotmail.com> Let’s see what we locals can do for our local animals -
Anyone for Yunnan?
by Dr. Iain Corness
Fancy a little 7000 kilometre trip from KL to Bangkok? On
the way, drop in to Laos and China, visiting downtown Yunnan. When? Begins
20th May and ends on the 4th of June. The longest haul is the first leg from
KL to Surat Thani, being 850 clicks, but the rest are generally around 330
k’s, so there’s plenty of time for sight-seeing.
Of course it is for 4x4 vehicles (minimum engine size 2.4
litres, so the Suzuki Caribbean contingent can go home now) and you need
three drivers per vehicle.
However, if you really are a hardy soul, there is one
section for motorcycles too. Minimum 500cc so all the Suzuki Crystals can
stay at home.
Amongst the list of requirements, which includes medical
certification of fitness for the trip itself, is an important one called
“A good sense of humour.” For the two wheeled brigade it is suggested
you bring a spare set of handlebars as well as the more usual spare cables
All in all, you will spend 4 nights in Thailand, 4 nights
in Laos and 8 nights in China. If you can afford the time, it sounds like a
damn good way to see and experience a bit of SE Asia firsthand.
My old mate, Captain Sitthichoke of the Asia Off Road
Centre Thailand is organising the Thailand end and you can chat to him on
038-431 672 or on 01-855 4858.
Last week I asked what was the first time a Japanese car
won a championship GP? I wanted manufacturer and the GP and the year. There
were those who insisted that it was the 1967 Italian, won by John Surtees in
the Honda - but it wasn’t! The first championship GP won by a Japanese car
was the 1965 Mexican Grand Prix - won by a Honda driven by Richie Ginther.
The 1967 Surtees win was the first “grande epreuve” for the world
championship, while the Mexican was a national championship. I did say it
was a “championship” GP. I did not say “world” championship! So
So to this week - the emotive name for the Mercedes
McLaren team is the Silver Arrows. However, Mercedes race cars have been
called this for many years. The question for this week is then when did they
get this name, and why? Here’s a clue - Manfred Von Brauhitsch!
Was Nuvolari really that good?
After my article on well-paid wimps in motor sport last
week, some of you questioned me as to just how good the legendary Tazio
Nuvolari really was. Let me assure you that Nuvolari WAS that good.
No physical giant, being only 5 foot 5 inches tall and
130 pounds wringing wet, he was a giant killer on the race track.
Nuvolari dominated European auto racing in the 1930s. He
won the 1,000 mile Mille Miglia three times, and the 24 hours at Le Mans in
1933. The Mille Miglia of 1930 went down in history when Nuvolari caught his
unsuspecting rival, Achille Varzi, by driving in the night with no
headlights. Three kilometers from the finish he suddenly pulled along side,
smiling at Varzi as he flicked on his headlights and powered through to
In 1933 he scored many victories including going to
Northern Ireland for the Tourist Trophy Race to drive a supercharged MG K3
Magnette. After totally dominating the race he was asked if he liked the
MG’s brakes. Nuvolari replied he couldn’t really tell as he hadn’t
used them that much!
Among his many G. P. wins was the German Grand Prix in
1935, which may have been the greatest victory of his career. The 200,000
German spectators had been sure that with Von Brauhitsch, Caracciola and
Neubauer on hand, it would be a German victory; however, Nuvolari, in a very
underpowered Alfa Romeo, never gave up, took the lead on the last lap and
won. The officials were so taken aback it took them five minutes to find an
Italian flag and then they had no recording of the Italian National Anthem.
Fortunately, Nuvolari had brought one and the ceremony was concluded.
After the death of Bernd Rosemeyer in 1938, Auto Union
was desperate for a driver who could master their mid-engine monster. At the
insistence of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche they turned to the Italian, Nuvolari who
then went on to win the British Grand Prix at Donington in one of the most
difficult race cars of the era.
No, the stories about Nuvolari are the stuff of legends.
Yes, he stands up there with the greats - including Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim
Clark and Ayrton Senna.
The REAL Top 10
As soon as you start comparing drivers of one era with
another, you are guaranteed dissension. I also agree that it would be
impossible to predict just whether Alberto Ascari would handle the Ferrari
race cars of today, compared to his Ferrari’s of the early 1950s. One
thing is for certain - he wouldn’t fit in! Alberto was a fairly portly
sort of chap.
However, since the 1950s we have kept encompassing
statistics on the various drivers, and as a reasonable yard-stick you can
look at the number of points a driver scored, compared to the number of
starts he had to get those points. Obviously if a driver averages three
points a start, he’s done better than someone only averaging two points.
So here is the list of the top ten points scorers. The
figure after the name is the average points per GP race. Be prepared for
1. Juan Manuel Fangio (5.43)
2. Alberto Ascari (4.54)
3. Michael Schumacher (4.48)
4. Alain Prost (4.01)
5. Giuseppe Farina (3.86)
6. Ayrton Senna (3.81)
6 = Jim Clark (3.81)
8. Jackie Stewart (3.64)
9. Damon Hill (3.16)
10. Mike Hawthorn (2.84)
So where are all the current world champs and hot shots?
Well Jacques Villeneuve is on 2.81, Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard are on
2.24 and 2.23 respectively and “Fast Eddie” Irvine is on 1.77. Well in
front of the last three are drivers like Mansell 2.58, Lauda 2.46, Nelson
Piquet 2.38 and Jody Scheckter on 2.28.
There is a fair spread of nationalities too, with one
Argentinean, one German, one Frenchman, one Brazilian, two Italians, two
Scots and two English. No one has a mortgage on the world standings!
It is also interesting to note that every one of those drivers in the top
ten is an ex-world champion. Number 11 on the table is the first non-champ
and that is Sir Stirling Moss (2.83), still head and shoulders above the
majority of today’s ilk.
The Iron Road:
Inside the Steam Railway Locomotive (Part 2)
by John D. Blyth
The Chassis (continued...)
To the rear of the cylinders can be seen the rods which
couple the three pairs of driving wheels together and then act in unison.
The piston-rod protruding from the back of the cylinder and joined to the
connecting rod which, at its rear end has a bearing (the ‘big end’) on
the main crank-pin on the middle pair of wheels. This is how the
fore-and-aft motion of the pistons is converted into rotary motion to drive
the locomotive along the track. Above all this can be seen the
‘valve-motion’, in this case of the type invented by Belgian engineer
Egide Walschaerts in the 19th century. This is an excellent and widely used
type, which, like all others has three main duties of admitting and
exhausting steam from the cylinders, altering the point in the travel
pistons from one end to the other at which the steam supply, allowing the
steam to act expansively whilst its pressure is lowered, an essential
feature in assuring economical and efficient function, and lastly, to admit
a small amount of steam, called ‘lead steam’, to the cylinder end just
as the piston approaches the end, to act as a cushion for the weight of the
motion, all of which now has to reverse and move the opposite way.
I have no space this time to go into the question of
brakes. The locomotive and tender are likely to have a steam-operated brake
system, acting in unison with one on the train worked by the removal of air
from a continuous pipe the length of the train and applied by once more
admitting air into this pipe. This has been replaced for diesel worked
trains by one that does almost the exact opposite, quite a high air-pressure
being maintained to keep the brake ‘off’ and air being released to apply
The Boiler Assembly
Other than the driver’s cab (in which the fireman also
rides - and works!) this assembly covers almost all the remainder of the
locomotive. The boiler itself, the cylindrical part, is between the
‘smokebox’ at the front, on which the chimney can be seen, and the
‘firebox’ at the back. These old and very descriptive words date from
the early days of steam and have never been changed.
The boiler has a ‘tubeplate’ at either end; at the
front it is circular and at the back is shaped to conform to the outline of
the inner ‘firebox’, in which there is a grate on which the first is
built up, and below which there is the ash pan, which prevent ashes and
larger, possibly burning fuel dropping through and on the track. It also
provides an access for the necessary air to cause the fuel to burn at all.
The inner firebox may be of an irregular shape and so has to stay to the
outer firebox so that neither will distort under the pressure of the steam.
It is vital that the space between the inner and outer fireboxes is full of
water to at least cover the ‘crown’ (top sheet) of the former. Above
this, and in the upper part of the boiler itself, there must be a ‘steam
space’, where the steam formed from the boiling water can be held under
pressure until it is used. A warning ‘fusible plug’ is normally fitted
in the crown as an indication that the water level is too low but the crew
are expected to watch the level in the gauge glass provided.
The boiler ‘barrel’ contains a large number of tubes,
by which the gases from combustion will flow forward into the smoke box and
out of the chimney. These tubes will be quite small in diameter but there
may well also be some much larger ones, which themselves each have an
element (double return tube) through which the steam is cycled again to make
it hotter still. Hot steam flows better that ‘no-so-hot’ and less hot
steam occupies the same space and so is more economical. This simple device
is call a superheater.
At a convenient high point above the water level is the
regulator valve, which admits steam to a main steam pipe carrying it forward
to the smokebox and then through the superheater, and so to the cylinders.
After pushing its piston the length of the cylinder, the steam is exhausted
into a short upright pipe, the ‘blast pipe’ directly below the chimney
through which the steam and hot gases from the fire are ejected into the
air. Hence the mixture of white steam and filthy smoke emerging together!
The pressure still in the steam is the reason for the puffing sound of a
steam locomotive in motion, music to the ears of the likes of your writer.
It serves another very important function, that of providing a strong
draught on the fire and drawing air through the ash pan and grate to give
more air for the burning fuel. This is a beautifully self-balancing
arrangement that when the locomotive requires the most steam the draught is
at its strongest and the steam is duly supplied. The credit for this must go
to none other than George Stephenson.
At the back of the boiler are two upright brass columns,
which are the safety valves that let out excess steam when the pressure is
allowed to get too high. What they emit is pure waste and avoided as far as
Water from the tank in the tender is admitted to the
boiler either by pump or an injector, a crafty arrangement of cones that
will move steam under pressure at a very high speed; at the right point
water is mixed with this steam and all go into the boiler together through a
one-way valve, the ‘clack-valve’. Pumps are more common in warm climates
as the injector depends on a temperature difference, i.e. the feed water as
cold as possible.
I hope some, at least, of this is of interest and clear. I shall have to
use some of the terms in future contributions and you may like to keep this
for reference if the need arises. You are also welcome to write to me at
P.O. Box 97, in Pattaya. But remember that I am not an engineer, just a
Coins of the Realm:
Beware of fakes
by Jan Olav
President House of the Golden Coin
It is not nice to disappoint people. But
sometimes, in my profession I have to do it. Collectors and others come to
my shop very excited about their coin collection and ask me to evaluate
them. Unhappily I find a majority them to be fakes. Most holiday-makers
today know that coins, antiques and other objects of fine arts offered on
the streets or found in markets are counterfeits or nice imitations.
These venders are very professional in
their operations. Some time ago a coin-collector came to see me. He was so
eager to tell me that this time he had really hit the jackpot. He had been
on vacation in Italy, and at a historical site the local guide hit a stone
by accident. The collector was convinced he saw the guide picking up a
handful coins appearing behind the stone. The guide looked surprised,
studied the coins for a minute, put them in his pocket and continued with
his duties as a guide.
The collector had seen from a distance
that these had to be ancient coins. He knew from books that on this site
some real numismatic treasures had been found. He approached the guide, and
asked if he could have a look at what the guide just found behind the stone.
He was shown the coins and recognized something he had seen in catalogues.
The guide told him that in his many years as a guide, this was the first
time he had seen such rarities. This afternoon he would see the curator at
the museum. The guide hoped for a small reward. Anyway, according to the
law, all coins found must to be handed over to the museum.
coin is a decadrachm (ten drachma) of Syracuse in Sicily. The coin is from
approx. 400B.C. and is struck in silver and the weight is about 40g. It is
an unsigned work by the famous artist Euainetos. This coin is one of the
masterpieces of the ancient world. On the obverse, it is a picture of a
quadriga (four hours and a vessel) and the revers is a picture of the
goddess Artemis-Arethusa with four dolphins around. This is a real coin and
the value is about US$8,000.
The collector boasted about his collection
back home, and asked if he could buy a couple of the coins. The guide gave
him a lesson on morals and how he could not sell him the coins. But after
reviewing the fact that he was a real collector, and the guide had a big
family to support, an exception from the morals and law could be made. The
coin-collector was allowed to pick out the two coins he liked the most. The
deal had to be made in cash, so traveler’s checks were exchanged at a
bank, and the guide paid.
After returning home, the coin-collector
looked up the coins in auction-catalogues, and found that the coins had a
value close to US$ 20,000. He wanted my help to put his great coins in an
auction-sale to get the maximum out of his treasures.
Looking at his two coins for a moment, I had to disappoint
him. The value of his two coins was worth no more than US$ 20 but that is to
say if he could find someone wanting to have them. They would have made good
testimonials of high-quality counterfeits in his collection. And the guide?
Well, he is now placing some more coins under his lucky stone for the next
Top 10 Tips
by David Garred,
Club Manager Dusit Resort Sports Club
Last week in my Rebound and Regain article I gave you a
few answers to the dilemma of rebound weight gain as a result of dieting,
This week I want to go a little further and give you some tips to help you
achieve your weight loss goal and make the change permanent.
1. Don’t Diet. To achieve fat loss, having a “healthy
eating plan” rather than a “lose weight plan” is much more effective,
less restrictive and easier to stick to. This is one of the major downfalls
or restrictive dieting - basically that they are too hard to maintain.
Another major drawback of low calorie diets is that they don’t work in the
long term as they encourage the body’s metabolic rate to decrease (they
reduce your energy burning ability so it is harder to take the fat off).
Starving the body turns on the protective mechanism of fat reserve
conservation (so you can’t burn it off anyway). Therefore your fat stores
are protected and what you’re actually losing is muscle tissue and water.
2. Move More To Lose Fat. The largest contributor to
obesity in our society is lack of physical activity and technology is
largely to blame. Labor saving devices such as washing machines, remote
controls, computers and power tools have not only saved us time but have
prevented us from burning calories. Strangely our eating habits have not
changed much tough, in fact we are now eating a little less that 30 years
ago, and still we are getting fatter. According to Dr Gary Egger, Director
of the Centre for Health Promotion and Research in Sydney we are burning
around 500 calories a week less because of improvements in technology. Over
a year this could mount up to an extra 3-4Kg of fat. The key here is to move
when you can - use stairs whenever possible or walk to your corner shops
instead of driving.
3. Maintain Or Build Muscle. Muscle is the engine that
the body uses to burn fat, so the more muscle you have the more fat you can
use. Muscle also influences metabolism. The higher the muscle mass, the
higher your basal metabolic rate (the amount of energy you burn energy
during rest times). In order to build or maintain muscle you need to do
resistance or weight training. Diet is important too. You need protein to
build and repair muscle. Protein should make up around 20% of your diet. For
an average diet of 600 calories this is approximately 80 grams of protein
4. Eat Smaller Meals More Often. Grazing or eating often
can actually boost your metabolism. Eating smaller meals 5-6 times daily
rather than 2 or 3 large meals encourages fat loss and balances blood sugar.
A large meal can result in larger production of the hormone insulin.
Insulin’s major role is to lower and stabilize blood sugar, but insulin
can also affect the rate at which fat is stored.
5. Avoid Fruit Juices & Soft Drinks. Most people
think fruit juices are healthier than soft drinks. They are because they
have more vitamins but they are also high in sugars. In the preparation of
fruit juices fibre is separated from the juice and many pieces of juice are
needed to produce a glass. When you consume fruit juices you are basically
getting a lot of calories with less nutritional value (i.e. no fibre).
You’re better off eating the pieces of fruit throughout the day.
6. Eat More Protein, Less Fat. The modern western diet is
different to that of the Middle Ages. Research suggests that we have a
greater fat intake (35% as compared to 20%-25%) and protein intake has
dropped from an estimated 37% to 15%. Carbohydrate consumption has basically
remained the same while fibre intake has fallen from over 100 grams per day
to less than 20 grams per day. There is growing speculation that in
combination with changes to daily activity, these changes in our diet have
raised the level of obesity and other problems such as heart disease and
7. Exercise Before Breakfast. After fasting overnight the
body has a low level of blood sugar and stored carbohydrate (glycogen),
which are the preferred sources of fuel or energy for activity - whatever
that may be. As a result, if you exercise before eating breakfast your body
has no choice but to use fat from storage as fuel.
8. Eat More Fish. Fish and fish oils seem to have some
benefits for those on a fat loss programme. Studies have shown that fish
oils are burned or utilised more steadily than other types of fat, but not
all fish have the same effect. Also some fish oil supplements can be
effective. The oils that seem to oxidised fastest are the omega-3 oils found
in cold seawater fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel and herring.
9. Keep Cool. Cold weather has greater effect on
metabolism and there fore fat loss than warm weather or warm temperatures.
The idea of ‘sweating fat away’ by heavy clothing is a myth. In fact
walking or exercising in the cold has been shown to burn more energy than in
warmer temperatures. It’s probably a good idea to avoid artificial heating
if possible, for example heating in cars, buildings, electric blankets etc,
if you are on a weight loss programme. Not that there are many of us who
need those types of things in Thailand, but I am just trying to help and I
wanted to try to dispel the sweat suit idea.
10. Set The Right Goals. Why you want to lose weight and
whether your goals are motivating enough, may well determine how successful
your attempt will be. Most people set specific goals that either aren’t
really achievable or aren’t motivating enough. Something else to remember
is that health and wellbeing may be actually easier to achieve than specific
weight loss goals. For example you may want to aim for better energy levels,
improving self-confidence or improving your mood rather than scale weight
loss - all very realistic and achievable goals. Also, remember quick weight
loss may actually be water and muscle loss rather than fat loss if your diet
is low in calories or if you over exercise.
My final word or tip for long term fat loss concerns the
investment you are willing to make when it comes to achieving your goals. It
may take time, it may take effort and it may take changes to your current
lifestyle. An encouraging word from those who are successful is that feeling
great has been one of their major rewards and fat loss was their bonus.
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 Chinnaporn Sangwanlek, assisted by