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  COLUMNS

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
 
Family Money: Things to Come (Part 2)
 
Successfully Yours: Matti Kaikkonen
 
Snap Shots: Compacts - Do good things come in small packages?
  
Modern Medicine: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Heart to Heart with Hillary
 
Grapevine

Dining Out: Yorkies - how English can you get?
 
Animal Crackers: Shar-Pei, the Temple Dogs
 
Down The Iron Road: The very first steam turbine locomotive
 
Social Commentary by Khai Khem
 
The Computer Doctor
 
Sea Worlds
 
Secrets of The Hand
 
Forgotten Classics
 
Shaman’s Rattle
 
Women’s World
 
Coins of the Realm
 
Nightmarch

Family Money: Things to Come (Part 2)

By Leslie Wright

Following on from last week’s offering of what I believe might happen in selected world markets during this coming year, here are the remainder of my forecasts for 2001.

#7: Japan is yet another difficult one to call. Japanese and international investors alike have been fed up for quite some time with no returns on their equity holdings, and cash deposits effectively earning negative interest in real terms.

The wave of bankruptcies that were finally allowed to happen last year have been awaited for more than five years. They had to happen eventually, in order that the dead wood could be cleared away to allow new growth to emerge.

Korea is in much the same situation, and in both countries there’s still more dead wood to clear, and investor sentiment is still cautious-to-negative. So am I.

Once the dead wood has been cleared there is the possibility of growth in both Japan and Korea - but this is going to be a drawn-out and painful process, and I believe it will take most of the coming year before we see any significant amounts of investor capital coming back into either Japanese or Korean equities.

I don’t see the Nikkei rising much above 18,000 unless and until the US economy shows real signs of slowing, when the wall of money that’s been sustaining it will be looking for other homes. And for this, Europe is my first choice, with Japan coming in a rather hesitant third. (Selected emerging markets - those without currency crises of their own - are my second bet.)

I would therefore not advocate holding more than a very modest slice of Japan in your portfolio; but keep a cautious eye open for any buying opportunities that come out of that market.

#8: The political situation in the Philippines, Indonesia, and even Taiwan and Malaysia has been causing anxiety amongst international investors, and uncertainty about putting money back into markets where many have had their fingers at least scorched if not badly burned in recent years.

I believe Asian markets in general will remain sluggish until the uncertainty in the US market is removed, and the economies of both Japan and Korea stabilise and brighten.

Traditionally, Asia experiences a rally prior to Chinese New Year (which comes early this year on 24th January), and a correction shortly after CNY as investors take profits. I expect this year to follow this pattern also, so don’t be too enthusiastic if Asian equities seem to be having a rally this month: I expect it to be short-lived.

I would therefore advocate only a very limited exposure to the emerging markets of Asia in the early part of the year. But the recovery - when it comes - may come quite fast. Nonetheless, there will be nervous profit-talking shortly thereafter, and the markets will continue to be highly volatile throughout the year.

#9: Despite many analysts still singing the song of devaluation of the Chinese Yuan, I would tend to pay more attention to the statements by the Chinese leadership some time back that they will not devalue their currency “for at least five years”, which means again not this year at least.

It should be borne in mind that Face is an important consideration in Chinese decision-making, and China’s leadership cannot afford to lose face by devaluing their currency when their position in the WTO is still so new.

#10: As I’ve pointed out before, Hong Kong - although in terms of capitalisation the world’s sixth largest stock market - is always driven as much by sentiment as by fundamentals. Indeed, the gambling instinct of Hong Kong people is one of the causes of the volatility of that market. It’s always a tough one to call.

But since Hong Kong’s economy depends so heavily on international trade carried out with long-term letters of credit, the peg to the US dollar is vital to the stability of the HK dollar, which is fundamentally important to continuing this system of 180-day L/Cs.

As I’ve said before, neither the Chinese leadership (who are not so daft as some people think) nor Hong Kong’s billionaire entrepreneurs want to rock the boat that has carried them to prosperity for several decades past. So I believe that there will be no revaluation nor removal of the HK$ peg to the US$ this year.

I believe 2001 will see modest, somewhat volatile but relatively unspectacular growth in the Hong Kong economy, with the Hang Seng Index moving erratically around 16,000 for most of the year, perhaps rising to breech the magic 20,000 figure by year’s end.

(Some readers will recall that at the height of the Asian speculative bubble in late 1993, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index had risen to just above 12,000 before that bubble burst a couple of months later at the start of the Global Meltdown of ’94. It is worth noting that in what many see as an Asian depression, the HK Index is now at a higher level than the speculative high of ’93. Herein lies the wisdom of long-term investment in equities, and having the guts to ride out the bumps in the meantime.)

#11: Bonds, in a climate of rising interest rates and euphoric stock markets, are perceived by most investors as unexciting, and the international community is taking a largely neutral stance to both international bonds (which means predominantly US Treasury notes) and gilts (which means UK Government bonds).

However, if the US market does suffer a significant correction (i.e., a drop of more than 10%), then bonds will be seen as a ‘safe-haven’ alternative, and may then perform better than they have over the past year.

As noted earlier, I am anticipating the US will have a soft rather than hard landing, resulting in bonds showing a relatively poor result again this year. (Use limited-risk and/or guaranteed equity funds instead.)

#12: One area of concern is emerging-market debt. Several countries - Argentina and Thailand to name but two - have issued bonds for which the respective governments are having some difficulty finding the money to pay the dividend when it comes due.

Turkey’s economy - after a spectacular 1999 - is in trouble, and its banking sector has needed reinforcement (some would say bailing out) by the IMF, despite local nationalists protesting against foreign intervention in domestic affairs. (That one sounds familiar, doesn’t it?)

The possibility of default always looms in developing economies, and generally speaking, governments have only three alternatives: default on the indebtedness, which doesn’t do their international standing or economy any good at all; float another bond issue, hoping it will be sufficiently subscribed to generate the required money to pay the dividend on the earlier issue (which has been Thailand’s most recent solution to the problem); borrow the money from the IMF (which several emerging nations may have to do in the coming year).

If any emerging nation were to opt for the first alternative - defaulting - it would have serious repercussions and affect investor confidence in those instruments worldwide. Global sentiment will turn decidedly negative, and emerging-market bonds will be dumped by the barrow load overnight. This would in turn have a cumulative knock-on effect, and emerging-nations’ economies would be very hard hit.

This of course is a worst-case scenario which I believe the IMF would forestall because of the ultimate adverse effect on larger nations’ trade if they didn’t. But nonetheless, this is a potentially worrisome situation that cannot be ignored.

#13: On the local scene, I would venture the guess that the various ‘illegal’ structures along the Walking Street section of Beach Road will still be there at year’s end, with much discussion having gone back & forth between the various interested parties, and a few token ‘illegal’ extensions having been dismantled to appease the authorities and save face all round. But the main edifices will still be there and open for business as usual, resulting in yet more deliberations and delays to the construction of the new jetty.

#14: On the other hand, one or two public toilets may have been constructed along Jomtien Beach before the end of the year; but these will not be (how to put it delicately?) up to international tourists’ expectations, so numerous letters will have been fired off to the Editor of this newspaper complaining about their size, maintenance, and aroma (the toilets, that is, not the tourists - although there might be a few letters to the Editor about some of them too).

The Songkran Festival in Pattaya will be traumatic for local residents, with pick-ups roaming around town filled with young loutish farangs, accompanied by scantily-clad local females rented especially for the occasion, whose idea of participation in the merry-making involves soaking anyone within range of their high-pressure pumps charged from 45-gallon drums of water.

It’s especially amusing when they succeed in squirting water in the eyes of unwary motorcyclists, resulting in the driver falling off.

The boys in brown will do nothing to stop them - unless they themselves get their nicely-pressed uniforms soaked.

Great fun for these louts to release their aggression, but not so good for local residents or tourists out for a pleasant stroll around the shops.

But this is all good stuff to keep the image of Pattaya a talking point among the international press, and our city’s nickname of Sodom-on-Sea unchallenged...

#15: The long-awaited water treatment plant will finally be operational this year - but expect a few hiccoughs and breakdowns. However, the resident population will be expected to pay a levy to cover the additional cost-overruns, even if your house is not connected to the sewage treatment system.

#16: Resurfacing works on various roads will be undertaken, mostly during the rainy season, and patches laid on the multitudinous potholes and cracks, making driving about town an ever-exciting adventure.

#17: The baht buses will still be around, and complaining letters published in the Pattaya Mail of tourists having been ripped off, and abused both verbally and physically by their drivers. There will also be an equal number of supportive letters pointing out how convenient and cheap this public service is in comparison to ‘back home’.

The fact that a public bus system was supposed to have been implemented more than three years ago to replace these smoke-belching heaps of tin driven by mirror-ignoring anarchists is beside the point, and will probably remain so for as long as it is the interests of the local authorities to maintain the status quo.

#18: Once again, as happens every year, lots of bar-girls will fall madly in love with ageing farangs, who will have been made to feel ‘special’ for the first time in more than 20 years, and be more than happy to take their new-found playmates out of that miserable life (which of course the latter were forced into out of economic necessity, not because it’s easier to work horizontally for 20 minutes than vertically for 10 hours) to set up house together (in her name, of course, since the proposed bill to permit foreigners to own land will still not have been passed into law by the end of 2001).

#19: Lots of huts in Isaan and other northern provinces will be damaged by inclement weather during the rainy season, or rammed by the family buffalo who went mad in the hot season (and died as a result), requiring a contribution from the farang boyfriend/husband to replace the buffalo and rebuild the family hut (which of course needs to be larger than before, to support the additional cousins who have come to help with the farm while she/he stays with the farang).

#20: Lots of mothers and fathers in northern provinces will get sick a) during the hot season, b) during the rainy season, c) during the cool season, and hence be unable to work, requiring additional financial support from the farang boyfriend/husband.

The fact that father’s sickness was exacerbated if not caused by over-indulgence in Mekhong is neither here nor there. “No money for doctor,” is the plaintive lament usually whined at this revelation.

And because the family does not have a bank account, a trip back home by daughter/son will be necessary to take the money to the family. And the bus fare plus expenses will be at least Bt.10,000, but Bt.20,000 would be better, as presents will have to be taken to the family as well. And of course, new clothes have to be bought for the trip to show how well she/he is doing in Pattaya, otherwise the family would insist she/he returns to work on the farm.

#21: The gold shops around town will do almost as brisk a trade in 2001 as the pawn shops, who always benefit from the subsequent trade-ins. (Now there’s a business venture to get into!)

#22: Motorcycle shops will also do well in 2001, but lots of the bikes will be unregistered and either a) race or b) meander aimlessly around town with no road tax, no licence plate, and no rear lights.

Also, I predict that at least 99% of the drivers will have no money if you have an accident with one of them, 88% will have no insurance, 66% have no mirrors (except little ones strategically positioned for the drivers to examine their pimples at traffic lights), 55% no helmet, and 44% no driving licence - those who are old enough to obtain one in the first place, which constitutes only about 77% of the drivers one sees on the roads of Pattaya, where it is perfectly normal for three or four school kids - all aged around 12 and none wearing a crash helmet - to be piled onto a moped wobbling along in the middle of the road, and carrying on an animated conversation with their friends on a similar vehicle alongside, totally oblivious to other road-users.

#23: And last but not least, after the high season is over, there will be lots of bars, hotels and restaurants for sale in Pattaya - all ‘guaranteed’ by their present owners to make the new foreign owners a small fortune (but better start with a big one...)

But remember that these forecasts are only for fun. We’ll see at year’s end how many (if any!) came true, and how many missed the mark.

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Successfully Yours: Matti Kaikkonen

By Mirin MacCarthy

Who else would you get to put a finishing touch to your kitchen other than someone with a Finnish background? Matti Kaikkonen, the director of the Kitchen Studio, was born in Taivalkoski, Finland and spent most of his young life in harsh conditions close to the Arctic Circle.

Like other notable Finns he is tall, blond, good looking and has a love of speed. Perhaps this is a characteristic common to those born in the land of the midnight sun, for what else is there to do during long winter months but downhill skiing and playing in the snow. At school that’s exactly what Matti excelled at: downhill skiing and soccer, sports and languages.

Here in Thailand, in his rare leisure time, he enjoys jet skiing, go-karting and watching international motor racing. On his office wall he has press clippings and signed photographs of the Finnish ex-world F1 champion Mika Hakkinen, and other Finnish rally champions. In Matti’s words, “I really enjoy watching rallies - rally drivers would have to be the most skilful car handlers in the world. Sure F1 gets more publicity, but it is big business and not for the individual sportsman any more. When I was in Sweden I had skiing as a relaxation. Fishing is fine for some people, but I enjoy speed or just relaxing with friends beside the pool. Everyone needs some sort of escapism if they work six days a week.” (How true, I must have a word with the Editor!)

After he finished his schooling Matti studied economics and marketing for three years at the University of Sweden and during his vacations worked in the hotel industry because, “It was the widest subject possible involving people. I am not the type of person to just to sit in an office all day. I would not be good at it.”

Matti met the woman who became his wife in 1975 and has been with her ever since. After he graduated they started a small shipping supply company supplying food and produce to ferry boats. It was a business that relied on border commerce and the differences in tax rates on agricultural products between Finland and Sweden. It was a business that flourished for the next eleven years until the start of the European Common Market (ECM), which put a stop to the viability of the business.

It was then that Matti heard from a friend about the kitchen studio business for sale here in Jomtien and took the giant leap sight unseen. “Why?” you have to ask. “Well because of the European common market we always knew we would have to start another business. And I always thought that that it would not be such a risk to start in South East Asia as starting another business in Sweden. So I bought the business here in 1996. The first two and a half years here was really hard school. I had no idea of those cultural differences that have an impact on a business of buying and selling. There were so many things you couldn’t predict; you just have to learn by your mistakes. Nobody helps you and there are so many false prophets. But it gives you an inner strength; makes you grow mentally. OK, it was more difficult than I thought but it was an incredible experience I never would have had if I stayed at home supported by the community.”

To Matti, success means: “If mentally I can be a better person to my closest friends and loved ones. If I am emotionally in balance. It is not so much about money. It is about getting satisfaction from my work and a value in my life. Thailand is a place of choices, you can do nothing or you can do anything. Although it is a small holiday community here and you almost feel guilty for working, somebody has to do the work. Pattaya is a normal working environment and I feel good about being part of the service industry. That is success for me - satisfaction and value out of life.”

Matti continued, “I have old fashioned ideas. The family is very important. In northern Europe now they tend to forget the family because of the social welfare system. I believe family values need to be more highlighted here and not just because of financial reasons.”

Matti has not just a kitchen studio which installs and fits kitchens but has a four storey showroom at Jomtien full of the most modern looking furniture that surely must have come straight out of Finland or Sweden - but no, he assured me all the pieces are beautifully crafted right here in Thailand using the latest technology and avant-garde designs.

Matti’s plan for the future is just doing more of the same and enjoying what they have achieved. He has an office in Phuket that is doing well, and as much work in Bangkok as he can handle. “Eventually we want to expand into the south of Thailand,” he said modestly, in that matter of fact way.

His advice to other farang businessmen here is a measured, “Really carefully evaluate the source of all the advice you get. If it comes from a good source it could be valuable. Pattaya is a wonderful opportunity, perfect climate and opportunities, but you have to be self reliant. Nobody helps you.”

Matti Kaikkonen is a man who has avoided the false prophets and is now enjoying the real profits. With his own self reliant nature, he will certainly do well here.

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Snap Shots: Compacts - Do good things come in small packages?

by Harry Flashman

While Harry Flashman has always used top photographic equipment such as the Hasselblad 6 cm x 6 cm medium format cameras, Nikon 35 mm and large format 5"x4" plate cameras equipped with Schneider lenses, there has also always been a compact camera in the inventory. Why? Simply because of the size and ease of use. Point and shoot is the name of the compact game.

If you think you cannot get reproduction quality photographs with a compact, then think again. The cover shot for the New Year’s edition of the Pattaya Mail was taken by Editor Dan Dorothy - with a compact. That shot (reproduced here again) is a wonderfully evocative photograph and deserved its pride of place. This shot also shows that the end result photograph does depend upon the “eye” of the photographer to see the shot in the first place! (For those who want to know, the shot was taken at dawn on Buddha Hill.)

With compacts becoming more and more sophisticated, just what should you look for in your purchase of a compact? For Harry’s money, the deciding factor is all in the lens. No matter how fancy the electrogizmos inside, if there is a rotten piece of glass up front, you will get lousy quality photographs. The good quality lenses come from the good quality manufacturers, by and large. If you’ve never heard of the camera and it’s very cheap, then there’s every chance its got a cheap and nasty lens too. Like everything, you get what you pay for!

The other feature Harry looks for in the lens is the “speed” of the lens. Speed, you ask? Fast glass? I know that normally with speed you think of fast shutter speeds, but with lenses it refers to how large a diameter aperture you can get with the lens in question. This is where you have to eyeball the lens itself and there on the ring around the glass will be the aperture, expressed as f and a number. The smaller the number the better. Generally these are around 3.5-4.5, but some Olympus models are as low as f2.8. The significance of this is merely that a camera with a “fast” lens (low f number) can be used in the hand-held point and shoot mode in much lower light levels than the others. In practical terms, a camera with an f2.8 lens can record a dusk or dawn scene with a shutter speed of around 1/30th of a second (OK to hand hold), but if the compact has an f11 lens, then it will need to select a shutter speed of 1/4 second - a speed at which you won’t hand hold and still get a sharp photograph.

After that, what else should you look for in a compact? Well Autofocus (AF) is important these days, rather than fixed focus as some very cheap cameras have. You should also look for an integrated flash unit that can be turned off, as well as able to be turned on for use in daylight.

Other options such as date imprinting, are for my mind anyway, just a nuisance, but one option that should be explored is that of a zoom lens. Now while most compacts have a very limited “zoom” range, it is still a useful thing to have in your camera. Many times the subject is just that little bit too far away, and the ability to bring it a little closer is invaluable. However, compact zooms are usually in the 35-80 mm range and the “speed” of the lens slows dramatically when you go to the “close-up” range, so this should be taken into account.

Other fancy electrobits tend to be too fiddly and difficult to use in my opinion and most compact owners would never use them to their full capabilities. If you want to programme the camera for portraits or action, then buy an SLR and be done with it.

Having said all that, do get a compact - but keep it simple!

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Modern Medicine: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

by Dr Iain Corness

Have you a child who is inattentive, hyperactive and impulsive? If so, you may have a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, otherwise known as ADHD. On the other hand, you may just have a brat!

ADHD has been around for a few years now and has been widely accepted, with huge relief, by parents with these sorts of children, while at the same time, it has not been so readily accepted by mainstream medicine.

One of the reasons for that is conventional medicine really does strive to show and prove an underlying reason for any condition, before just accepting it and handing out medication. Medicos, especially of my era, tend to be conservative as regards our practice of medicine, so we look to world trends and diagnostic definitions before plunging headlong in ourselves with impulsive diagnoses, including that of ADHD.

Consider if you will, the other conditions that may produce a child with hyperactivity and inattention. These include disorders of learning, disorders of conduct, hearing deficiency, epilepsy, nutritional problems, mood disorders, phobias and even lead poisoning!

However, getting back to ADHD, there now appears to be some world consensus regarding this condition, and the group of symptoms including poor learning, poor concentration and easily distracted, an inability to learn from past mistakes and poor behavioural control are taken to indicate the possibility of ADHD. Psychological testing of the child can also help with the diagnosis, but by and large it is done from parent and teacher descriptions of the child’s behaviour.

ADHD appears to be a condition that arises from a biological metabolic result of a genetic anatomical variation in brain architecture. If that seems a mouthful, don’t worry, it is! What seems to happen in these children is insufficient activity in certain receptor areas in the brain which results in under-arousal and an inability for the sensory input (information) to be retained long enough to be processed and converted into long term memory.

The treatment is geared towards stimulating the “slow” centres in the brain with psychostimulant medication. This is where some of the controversy occurs. Why give stimulants to an already hyperactive child? Surely this would make the situation worse?

Surprisingly, the results with children diagnosed as having ADHD showed 80% of the children improved. The scientific studies did not stop there either. What they did was give children alternating cycles of two weeks of stimulant medication, followed by two weeks on “chalk” tablets (placebo), and then two weeks on active medication again. Neither the child nor its parents or teachers knew which cycle was being given, only the doctor. Now this was the “acid” test.

And what a test! One child had to stop the trial because his behaviour was so bad on the placebo, that both the child and its parents asked to go straight back on the medication. The other children’s parents and teachers also knew when the child had active medication. So it does work - but only for 80% remember.

So where does this leave you, the parent of a query ADHD child? It means there may be help - but you must go through formal channels of assessment first.

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Dear Hillary,

I went out on New Year’s Eve and spent some time at a few bars in Soi Yodsak, then caught a motorcycle taxi to South Pattaya where I had a few times in some bars in Soi Diamond, then I went around the corner into Walking Street where I had a few bars in some time and when I checked my pockets the next morning (well afternoon really) my money was all gone other than 20 baht. Do you think I was robbed? And should I report this to the police?

Jim

Dear Jim,

No, my little poppet, you weren’t ripped off, you were just attacked by the beer bug. This little creature gets into your wallet in pubs and eats into your money, generally leaving you just enough to get home. There was a bad infestation of these little blighters at New Year, though I believe some isolated outbreaks have even been reported since then. The only way to beat the bug is to keep your wallet hermetically sealed every time you go out on a bender. Of course you won’t win too many friends, but at least it stops the money being eaten. The only other thing you could do is to send all your money to Hillary and I’ll treat it with bug spray and see if it happens to me. I’ll let you know whether it was successful by email from Brazil.

Dear Hillary,

It is obvious now to everyone that you are not a dog lover. Your reply to anxious Angela (Pattaya Mail Vol VII Number 52) where you suggested she set fire to her poodle is cruel and vicious, as well as being a ridiculous answer to the poor woman’s philandering husband problem. It is people like you that have allowed beagles to be used by tobacco companies to smoke cigarettes and get cancer. You should be ashamed of yourself. I am disgusted that a woman in your category would put forward such notions.

Disgusted Wife, Pattaya

Dear Disgusted,

Hillary doesn’t know what tablets you are supposed to be taking Petal, but I do suggest you double the dose immediately. They are not working. I did not suggest she set fire to the mutt, I even advised her to watch out that its coat didn’t singe. Is that advocating baby bulldog ribs? And where did the beagles come from? Personally I didn’t think the tobacco companies let their dogs smoke cigarettes, they’d much rather people did. Finally, what sort of “category” do you think Hillary is? One more remark like that and I’ll hit you with my handbag and strangle you with my uplift, cross your heart, lift and separate, Wonderbra. Honestly! I really wish you would check your facts before barking at Hillary. Grrr, woof!

Dear Hillary,

Is there something wrong with me? I’m from America and I am not used to going into a bar to be propositioned. I don’t want to have someone ask me where I come from. I don’t want people to know how much money I make. How many children I have is my affair. Why doesn’t someone in Pattaya tell these girls in the bars that not everyone wants to tell them personal details? All I want is a quiet beer!

Charlie

Dear Charlie,

You’re not the one from Charlie’s Angels, are you? I don’t know, all you strong silent men are the same. No wonder we lonely girls get so-o-o-o frustrated! But look at it this way, Charlie. These girls aren’t from the CIA or the IRS, they are just doing their job as well as they can, in a foreign language too, and you’re lucky they can converse as much as they can. If you don’t want the girls to talk to you then you have lots of choices. You can buy a bottle of beer and sit alone in your room (I’m sure that nobody as secretive as you shares with anyone else), or you can drink in more up-market watering holes for starters. Finally, is there something wrong with you? Yes, Poppet, there is. You wrote to Hillary - that’s enough. The prosecution rests its case!

Dear Hillary,

My husband is a member of an international club here in Thailand and is talking about having an exchange student stay with us for a couple of months later this year. When he spoke about this a few months ago I agreed, even though we only have a two bedroom apartment. Now I find that he is arranging to have a young woman from England come over for work experience and she is to stay for a month as well. This is unsettling for me. This is the first time I have lived overseas, though my husband has been an expatriate most of his life. Is this normal in this country, or is there something wrong about all this? I don’t want to be alarmist or appear mean, I’m just not sure of what happens in these cases. Can you help, Hillary?

Perplexed

Dear Perplexed,

Ex-pats join ex-pat groups to assist other ex-pats and proposed ex-pats. It really is a mutual benefit society, and as part of that they do foster exchange students and work experience. This is good for the host country and for the exchange youngsters as well. Don’t be worried by all this but enjoy showing them your side of Thailand, as opposed to your husband’s work or international club life side.

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GRAPEVINE

Corrupting the innocents

The news media are again awash with stories about how corrupt and unfair this country is. To hear some farangs talk, you would think that every time a cop fines you 200 baht for speeding on Sukhumvit Highway, he puts the money straight into his back pocket. This is plainly ridiculous. Apart from anything else, a back pocket would not be nearly big enough to hold a full day’s takings of flagging down vehicles opposite the Jomtien Ambassador. Or take the much maligned court system. Some farangs argue that you are always found guilty unless you pay a fortune. Nonsense. Only last week a man was acquitted of drunken driving after it was proved in court that his glazed expression was due to having two glass eyes. The week before, another guy got off scot free for possessing an obscene video about cannibals entitled Too Many Cooks Spoil The Broth. It actually turned out to be an old cooking series from the BBC.

Brazil is worse

In any case, all new democracies are bound to have their teething troubles getting things right. Look at Brazil for a start. Last month an unusually rich politician there was asked to stand down from election because of serious allegations. These included assassination, embezzlement, fraud, insider dealing and driving a limousine the wrong way down a one way street. In a written statement, the guy indignantly refused to resign pointing out that he owned nothing grander than a bicycle and, in any case, always used public transport to and from work. Also in Rio, a guy was acquitted of breaking out of the city jail after proving decisively that he was actually a prison guard rushing home for his tea.

Culture vulture

The culture minister for the Ivory Coast, Monsieur de Pellecroix, was once asked to comment on allegations that he had benefited from a huge money laundering scheme. Serious charges had been laid that all the income from concerts and art exhibitions had ended up in his personal Swiss bank account. But he successfully showed in court that his country had not organized a single concert or art exhibition since the French occupation. At this point, the prosecution collapsed as you might suppose. In 1984 the then president of the Philippines was asked to explain how one of his political opponents had ended up in Manila Bay with five gunshot wounds and a plastic bag over his head. Presidential aides held an emergency press conference to explain it was no business of theirs how people chose to commit suicide.

Democracy in action

If we learned one thing from last year’s presidential race in the USA, it was that there is a measure of pot luck whether your vote is actually counted or not. Much the same thing happened in Haiti in 1979 when Baby Doc Duvalier organized a plebiscite to confirm whether the population wished him to continue as president for life. The result was a resounding “yes” vote of nine million votes with only 28 against. Even hardcore supporters of the junta were mildly surprised at the outcome as the population of the republic was only five million at the time. There were rumors at the time that voting machines had been borrowed from Florida which, if true, does make recent US history more explicable. The 28 miscreants voting “no” were eventually identified as inmates of a Port au Prince lunatic asylum. Well, at least they had been given the chance to vote which is more than they would have gotten in the more mature democracies. In Paraguay, elections were held at regular intervals to find out whether the citizenry was still well satisfied with military rule. All voters were offered a free bottle of beer no matter which way they cast their ballot. Those voting “yes” had to queue up at a beer tent on the right of the voting booths, those wanting to say “no” on the left. This system allowed independent representatives of the state militia to check their lists against the actual voting slips.

Judge for yourself

Authorities worldwide will listen to a reasonable argument. In Indonesia, a woman was stopped by the police after they noticed she was speeding in her car with the body of a man strapped to the roof. She was able to continue on her way with a police escort after she explained that her husband had suffered a stroke and she was anxious to get him to the infirmary lying flat and as quickly as possible. In Britain, a spiritual medium was prosecuted after one of his punters complained that she had wasted 400 pounds vainly trying to get in touch with her long lost husband who had deserted her after an argument in 1962. However, the case was dismissed when the husband showed up in court to point out he was still alive and kicking. So the next time you’re in despair about corrupt politicians or biased judiciaries, remember you can’t trust everything you read in newspapers.

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Dining Out: Yorkies - how English can you get?

by Miss Terry Diner

Yorkies Pork Platter has been going for 15 months, but many Pattaya folk have missed it. The guesthouse, with restaurant downstairs, is on Jomtien Beach Road around 50 metres before the well known Nang Nual Seafood Restaurant. Run by Eileen and Norman, originally from Yorkshire - hence the name Yorkies - this is very much a “family” business.

The restaurant is “homely”, overlooking Jomtien Beach, with some large murals depicting Yorkshire scenes, padded chairs and a simple covering over the tables, complete with raffia placemats. There is an outside section, and an inside section with fans to move the cooling breeze from the ocean around the restaurant.

Having tried the evening meals before and liking them, we came to try the Sunday Lunch, which consists of a choice of roast chicken, beef or lamb with three vegetables, mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding (is there any other kind?) and gravy. The chicken and beef are advertised on the blackboard outside for 185 baht, while the lamb is 20 baht more - but still not expensive by any stroke of the imagination.

Yorkies does more than Sunday lunches, with various breakfasts ranging between 35 baht for toast, marmalade and tea or coffee to 110 baht for a large English breakfast with 2 rashers of bacon, 2 pork sausages, 2 fried eggs, fried bread, 2 tomatoes and 2 slices of toast.

Next up are Triple Decker sandwiches generally around 65 baht with choices of hot bacon or sausage or cold ham and cheeses. Light snacks cover soups at 60 baht, burgers around 90 baht and the Ploughman’s lunch which incorporates pork pie, traditional roast ham, cheese, salad, sweet pickles and bread for 160 baht.

These are followed by jacket potatoes (around B 80), some “basket” snacks (70 baht) with chicken, spring rolls and mini samosas and instant pot noodles at B 35.

Main meals include a range of pies 95-110 baht; gammon, eggs and chips (150 baht); pork chop with mushy peas and chips for 155 baht; fish and chips (185 baht); three styles of steak around B.250; then spaghetti bolognaise 95 baht and a couple of curries at 60 baht.

The desserts menu is next with many British items, like assorted fruit pies, sponge puddings and ice cream. The drinks list has most beers around 50-60 baht, a couple of wine coolers (45 baht) and a range of soft drinks, too.

Madame chose a wine cooler to go with her lunch, while Singha Gold filled the bill for me. Madame chose the roast lamb, while I went for the roast beef, with both meals arriving very promptly. The plates were full, with the 3 vegies being carrots, beans and cauliflower. Small side dishes came with English mustard, horseradish sauce and mint sauce.

Both of us were satisfied with our lunches, particularly in view of the very reasonable prices. It was very much like going to “mother’s” for Sunday roast lunch. Nothing fancy, just good wholesome food cooked in a home-style kitchen.

After lunch we sat down with Eileen and Norman and met a man who is passionate about his meats. An “old school” professional butcher, Norman cures his own gammon, and makes all his own pies and sausages. After coming to Jomtien and starting to manufacture his small-goods, the concept of the restaurant just flowed on from there. “It’s proper Yorkshire cooking,” said Norman, “I don’t know any other way.”

Yorkies Pork Platter will appeal to anyone from England, or to those who enjoy real English cooking. The serves are large (the gammon is huge!) but they also do half price half serves for children, who are very welcome. But it’s not only England - on the 25th of this month Eileen and Norman are having a Burn’s Night, complete with a Haggis, so if you have some Scottish blood perhaps you should give them a call.

Yorkies Pork Platter is a good, inexpensive home-style eatery and well worth the trip along Jomtien Beach Road.

Yorkies Pork Platter, 125/4-5 Moo 12, Jomtien Beach Road, Jomtien, (038) 231 918, [email protected] 

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Animal Crackers: Shar-Pei, the Temple Dogs

by Mirin MacCarthy

Once Asia’s rarest breed of dogs, the Shar-Pei of China has a history as ancient and unique as its appearance. The breed is thought to have been in existence since the Han Dynasty in China around 200 B.C. Since then, Shar-Pei have been used as temple guardians, fighting dogs, hunting dogs (boar) and herding dogs in China’s southern provinces.

Certainly one of the more unusual breeds in existence today, the Shar-Pei is prized for its eclectic appearance, looking like a crazy mix of a bulldog and baby hippo wrapped in a wrinkled blanket. It is a compact, muscular dog with a piggy snouted head like a hippopotamus with a wrinkled face, neck and shoulders, tiny flat lying ears, and a short, curled tail. Their tail is carried over their backs either tightly or loosely curled or curved in an arch. An adult weighs 20-25 kg and is 450-500 mm at the shoulders. They have a deep chest, with compact feet and strong and flexible shock absorbers for legs.

Shar-Pei come in just about every colour there is - black, red, red-fawn, fawn, black-pointed cream, sable and blue. Any solid colour is acceptable in the pedigreed, whereas patches and two-tones are not. Their tongues are either black slate grey or lavender.

20 years ago, there were just a hundred Shar-Peis left in existence, and they were the world’s rarest breed. In 1947 all dogs were officially outlawed in Communist China, but some Shar-Peis were exported to the United States from Hong Kong in 1970 and again to Europe in 1980. As fanciers became involved with saving the Shar-Pei, the breed recovered its popularity.

The first Shar-Peis were probably mutations. The name “Shar-Pei” literally means “shark skin dog.” This rough, loose, prickly coat allowed the Shar-Pei to wriggle out of its opponents grasp while fighting in the dog pits. This coat, together with its small ears and strong balanced shape and gait, unfortunately won him an early reputation as an excellent fighting dog.

The Shar-Pei has been described as “a perfect companion that comes wrapped in wrinkles.” Shar-Peis are “people dogs”, preferring the companionship of humans to that of other dogs.

By nature the Shar-Pei is regal, alert, intelligent, and dignified. It is extremely loyal to its family and an excellent watchdog. What is more, Shar-Peis are bright and affectionate and with their advantages of being easily house-trained, exceptionally clean and needing minimal grooming make them ideal for indoor living.

Shar-Peis do better as indoor companions anyway, rather than kept in kennels or allowed to roam outdoors. They are not suited to be kept in extremes of temperature. Some Shar-Peis have a tendency to skin diseases and a susceptibility to mange, inhalant allergies and parvovirus infections, that may be connected to genetically compromised immune systems. Therefore routine inoculations are very important for them.

Shar-Peis do not require any special treatment when bathing. Although they hate water, they are easily trained to stand for a bath, and will not attempt to scalp you like many a cat. Because they are fastidiously clean, they greatly appreciate how they feel after a bath.

Anyone searching for a really different, unusual looking, loyal companion animal might find their ideal in the ancient Chinese Shar-Pei breed.

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Down The Iron Road: The very first steam turbine locomotive

by John D. Blyth

Way back on the 7th April issue of Pattaya Mail I described the almost-successful turbine locomotive built to the designs of the late William Stanier; some of my readers may recall that I made special mention of the attractively smooth turning action of the turbine, as compared with an orthodox steam locomotive, but although used in many steam ships in quite early days, difficulties, possibly over the inclusion of a condenser, delayed the first experiment on rail to the year 1907. The locomotive involved is shown in its turbine form in the rare illustration herewith. Unfortunately, there seem to be two versions of the tale, one an article in an American magazine Railway Mechanical Engineer, the other is in a book published in Britain in 1971, written by the late Peter Kalla-Bishop, well known to the present writer, and notable for his deep interest in railways of Italy. I think both may be correct in certain aspects.

A design of 1907 by Ing. Belluzo of the Ecole Polytechnique of Milano, Italy was in the following year adapted for fitting to a steam tramway locomotive built by the famous locomotive works at Winterthur in Switzerland; the old running gear was stripped off and a steam turbine fitted so as to drive each of the four wheels. Kalla-Bishop states that the two on the front wheels drove the engine forward, those fitted to the rear wheels driving it backwards. I think this may have been a rebuild of the first attempt, which seems a little less likely to succeed - this was that the steam drove each turbine in turn, first the right-hand front, then the right-hand rear, the left-hand rear and finally the left-hand front turbine. Certainly there appears to be a flexible steam pipe from the front to the rear turbines in the pictures. As the steam would lose some pressure during its passage through each turbine, it does seem that the application of power would be very uneven, so perhaps this was the first attempt, and Kalla-Bishop’s version the second.

Each turbine was geared to its adjacent wheel, the gear ratio being 12 to 1; the maximum rotational speed of the turbines was 2,400 rpm, which gave a maximum road speed of 28 mph. The use of all four turbines in turn, for movement in both directions, resulted in the provision of two-directional turbine blades, curved in opposite directions along their length, with the steam impinging on a differently curved axle for each direction of movement. The alternative version, however, would mean that at any time only two turbines, on one axle, were in use, depleting the power and the available adhesion.

Whatever the truth, the locomotive in this novel form was seen as a success and it shunted the works yard at the Officine Meccaniche in Milano for about 20 years.

Nothing further could be done for some time due to the intervention of the 1914-1918 war, but in the late 1920s, when the steam turbine locomotive was in ‘fashion’, two more attempts were made. One was a 2-8-2, using frames the same as used on the State Railways’ Class 746 locomotives, but with a hotter boiler like that of the 2-6-2s of Class 685. Ernesto Breda of Milano was the builder, and the locomotive is known to have been steamed and run within the precincts of that firm’s workshops, but no more. It may be that it was all too complex, for there were three turbines, for high, medium and low steam pressures. There is no suggestion that a condenser was provided, despite the fact that so many engineers deemed this to be an essential ingredient for the success of a turbine installation of any kind.

It will be noted that the successful little four wheeler did not have a condenser, either.

The second attempt in Italy was by the State Railway themselves; they used an obsolete compound 2-6-2 of Class 680; the turbines took the place of the four cylinders of the original design. Of this 1930 experiment very little is known; the conversion was done in the railway’s own shops at Florence and a sortie from there out to Pistoia and beyond was made - it seems just once. After that, all was silence of that special kind that suggests that all had been far from well. The Italians, who had poor coal but cheap electricity, did not take much interest in steam technology, and never tried a turbine locomotive again.

The Drawing in heading

Each week a sketch of a small 2-4-0 tank engine appears as part of the heading of ‘Down the Iron Road’. And I have been asked once or twice what it represents. The sketch is by my good friend and advisor Ray Murphy of Bangkok, and shows the very first locomotive delivered to Bangkok for the then Bangkok to Negara Rajesima Railway, quickly re-named the Royal State Railway of Siam. ‘No.1’ was the first of four, built by the Dbs Company at their works at Queen’s Park, Glasgow, in 1894; it no doubt was used on constructional work until the first train to Ayutthaya ran on 26 March 1896 carrying H.M. King Rama V and his retinue on the first Royal train journey in the Kingdom of Siam. Quite a good representation of the locomotive appeared on one of the special stamps issued for the railway Centenary in 1997. The carriages shown in that picture are a little fanciful, and the concrete building and the lamp standard, bearing a strip lighting tube, are quite out-of-place!

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Social Commentary by Khai Khem

Let’s keep our sense of humour

From the recent letters to our editor, it seems that our fair city is receiving more brickbats from the international press. I will admit that we get more than our share of criticism from reporters who come to investigate the lascivious mischief for which we have become so renowned. Now that the USA finally has a president, the media can get back to the serious stuff, like lampooning Pattaya.

We do appreciate our sincere defenders. The letter by Duncan, published on 15 December, proves we have friends who take umbrage at this slander. And for that we are truly grateful. But surely no one takes these sleazy tabloids seriously. Or do they? Either way, there is no route around this except to develop a sense of humour about it and let them print what they may. We may as well be able to laugh at ourselves, since everyone else is already laughing.

Just to pour fuel on the fire, I thought it was time to dedicate a little verse in Pattaya’s honour.

Requiem for a Seaside City

Here lies a city, stone cold dead.
A place where greed had walked
And laid its deathly hand upon
Each street where it had stalked.
It strode untethered, unrestrained.
The city’s dwellers ne’er
Acknowledged its existence...
They didn’t seem to care.
The city grew in chaos;
Was such an ugly sight.
But most of those who lived there
Thought their way was right.

Disruption was their motto,
Corruption was the code.
Mismanagement and negligence
Seemed its only mode
Of functioning for years and years,
Without a year’s respite
Its only code of ethics was
That might could out-rule right.

Decay began to rot the town.
So slowly it had crawled
Into the hearts and souls and minds,
Observers were appalled
That warnings went unheeded
By those who cried “Beware”!
There were a few
Who wanted change,
But really didn’t dare
To be so bold to make a start,
To try to try to change within,
A city slowly dying,
From greed, and sloth and sin.
So sick at heart,
They spoke no words,
They kept their counsel still.
And silence made the matter worse,
As silence always will.

And so the city by the sea,
Once a place of fun
And happy people’s laughter,
Had finally begun
The wretched death of failure;
A painful, slow demise,
Because its citizens had made
Decisions so unwise.
That final line was drawn,
There could be no retreat.
The city lay in silence,
It’s people in defeat.
A monument outside the gates,
In testimony reads:
“HERE LIES BELOVED PATTAYA
MAY SHE REST IN PEACE”

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The Computer Doctor

by Richard Bunch

From David Grant, Rayong: I am running Windows 98 on my PC and I wondered if you could suggest a way to protect individual folders?

Computer Doctor replies: The short answer is no, not with Windows 95/98 or ME, none of which offer the security feature you are looking for. These are really domestic applications where security is generally not regarded as an issue. You have several alternatives available to you from the Microsoft stable: both Windows 2000 and Windows NT offer the security you are looking for plus many others. However, within your environment, the most effective solution would be to install Folder Guard from Win-Ability. This little program allows you to secure folders with passwords, make them read-only, and hide them thereby making them invisible to Explorer and other programs. It offers the ability to protect files at drive or folder level or based on the file’s extension. Individual users may have different access rights; in addition access to Control Panel and other System Utilities can be either granted or denied. This should provide you with adequate security but will not be as robust as with Windows 2000 or NT. It really is ‘horses for courses’.

From Jeremy Onions, Bang Na: I travel around a lot, both inside and outside of Thailand. Although my company provides me with a notebook PC, it is not always convenient to check my e-mail on it as sometimes I am not close to a telephone line and even if I had a mobile to connect with, the network does not cover some of the areas I visit. So, my question is: if I visit clients in these areas who are lucky enough to have an Internet connection, is it possible for me to check my e-mail without having to change settings on their PC, which I feel would be asking too much?

Computer Doctor replies: Your in luck, there is a ready solution available providing you want to check either a standard POP3 or AOL account. All that is required is access to a web browser. From there, simply go to http://www.mailstart.com, enter your e-mail account, i.e. [email protected] and password. Your mail server will then be accessed and all without having to change settings on your host’s PC. Not only can you check your mail but it also allows you to send mail too. Remember, though, that for security do not save your password on your hosts PC!

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] The views and comments expressed within this column are not necessarily those of the writer or Pattaya Mail Publishing.

Richard Bunch is Managing Director of Action Computer Technologies Co., Ltd. Providing professional information technology and Internet services which includes; custom database and application development; website design, promotion and hosting; domain name registration; turnkey e-commerce solutions; computer and peripheral sales service and repairs, networks (LAN & WAN) and IT consulting. For further information, please e-mail [email protected] or telephone/fax 038 716 816 or see our website www.act.co.th 

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Sea Worlds : Polar Seas

by Apichart

The polar seas, the Arctic and the Antarctic, are not perfect reflections of each other. Not all the animals in one sea have counterparts in the other. On the other hand, many species in both oceans do bear similarities. The Baird’s beaked whale lives in the endless daylight of 60 degrees north. It breaks water and blows explosively into cold arctic air. A world away, off the South Shetland Islands at 60 degrees south, the Arnoux’s beaked whale surfaces on steep southern seas. These two whales are certainly cousins in a matter of speaking. It is truly not known for certain if they are the same or different species. Their populations are now so geographically isolated, that if they were actually once of the same species, they may be evolving into two. But the two whales inhabit mirror universes. The one lies under the North Star, and the pale, shifting curtains of the aurora borealis. The other lies under the Southern Cross and the eerie veils of the aurora australis.

In one universe swims the northern elephant seal, and the northern fur seal. In the southern universe these sea animals have similar species. Both these polar seas are hunting grounds for the sperm whale. Both are habitats for blue whales, fin, the humpback and the minke whales. Each of these polar oceans seems a mirror image of the other. Both seas show examples of gigantism among their simpler, bottom-dwelling creatures. Polar spiders, sea lice, and sponges grow to an enormous size.

The Polar Seas

However, the Arctic Ocean has no equivalent of the leopard seal. The penguins of the north are wonderfully insulated by feathers. And just like their cousins in the south, they are warm-blooded and dress in the same shades of back and white and grey. They amass in noisy colonies. But the northern penguins fly. For the southern leopard seal, which eats the penguin, that would never do. The Antarctic lacks small resident toothed whales like the beluga and the narwhal of the Arctic. It has never had an equivalent of a Stellar’s sea cow, that seaweed eating northern dugong relative that once inhabited the Bering Sea, which was hunted into extinction by 1768. The Antarctic, however, has the numbers. Antarctic seas are among the planet’s most prolific. There are fewer species of seal, but the crab-eater seal is the most numerous seal on earth.

Geophysical characteristics

Actually, the two polar oceans are less reflections of each other than negatives. Antarctica is a continent circled by an ocean. The Arctic is an ocean encircled by continents and large islands. The greatest height of Antarctica, the Vinson Massif at 16,860 feet, makes a fair match with the greatest depths of the Arctic Ocean, around 17,000 feet. These severe contrasts make for large climatic differences. The weather over the Arctic Ocean is influenced by the warming and cooling of the mainland and islands that rim it. As a result, the climate there is warmer and more seasonal. Antarctica is almost entirely covered by thick ice. It never heats up. Strong cold winds blowing down from the high polar plateau cool the surrounding ocean. The Antarctic marine ecosystem is more isolated, colder and more fecund than that of the Arctic.

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Secrets of The Hand : The Heart Line

by Anchalee

The Heart Line has been found to reflect accurately the conditions and operations of the heart. It tells of the cause and effect that tend to make the character of the subject weak or strong. It speaks of affection and sympathy. It points to family, love, success in love, and loyalties in marriage and romance due to the character of the heart of the subject.

In many hands, the Heart Line may be absent. Sometimes only a single line can be seen crossing the palm below the mounts under the fingers. This makes it difficult to say whether it’s the Head Line or the Heart Line. In cases like this, the line should be evaluated as the Head Line. The Heart Line should be regarded as absent in such hands. In order to make a proper estimate of the personality of the subject, it is necessary to examine the Mount of Venus, that fleshy mount at the base of the thumb. The Heart Line indicates the sexual tendencies, love, and feelings of the subject.

The Heart Line of the right hand shows the degree of immediate emotional response, which is likely to be stimulated. The Heart Line on the left hand reveals the nature of our inherited reactions, which may reinforce or modify our feelings. The rousing of an emotion requires an external stimulus. But un-awakened emotion lies dormant and belongs to the subconscious part of our being. In women, the Heart Line plays a more important part than in men. In men, the emotions are also strong, but masculine love can be a more organic and physical substance. In studying this line, we must also take into consideration the indications lined on the mount of Venus.

The absence of the Line of Heart presents the picture of a subject who is devoid of sympathy, compassion, affection and passion. This person may have the selfish character of a child in this area of life. Or it could mean that the person with this type of line is more interested in another endeavour which excludes the realm of the heart. Little chains and circles around the Heart Line shows a fickle attitude toward affection. This person may be a flirt, and in aspects of love and romance may be disloyal.

The Heart Line should be long and deep. It should extend under or through most of the mounts at the base of the fingers. The length and straightness of the line depicts patriotic and philanthropic feelings. The depth of the line shows the intensity of the emotional character of the individual. Pink colour and warmth of the hand represents warmth and steadfastness. It will strengthen these characteristics. If the line is red in colour, these feelings will be very intense. Yellow colour will imply morbidity and suspicion. This subject expects rejection and is suspicious of unveiled passion. A visible break in the Heart Line implies a loss of a beloved person in life.

Occasionally hands will appear with double Heart Lines, or double Life Lines. Interpretations must include scrutiny of the other important aspects on the other main lines to reach an accurate evaluation of these subjects. People with double Heart Lines have enormous capacity for affection. However, it will end in sorrow. Extremely short or shallow Heart Lines indicate a person who is greatly disappointed in his affection and friendships. A good Heart Line which ends in a forked formation is found on those who have good fortune in love.

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Forgotten Classics : Aerosmith Rocks

by Mott the Dog

**** 4 Star Rating

“Aerosmith Rocks” says it all really. They’d soon crash, and hard, thanks to their own excesses. But “Rocks” captures Aerosmith at a crazily driven peak of madness & creativity. This is blues rock cranked up to 70’s stadium level, full of sass and attitude. You can almost hear the sound of the Porches several of these guys (surprisingly) remember driving.

The psychic battering they would succumb to within the next 12 months is foreshadowed in the song “Combination”, but for the rest of the album, Joe Perry, Steve Tyler & the boys celebrate the rock star mythos to the maximum. The party-fueled tension, the tension-fueled party.

The band is raging on “Rat’s In The Cellar”, a million-mile-an-hour rocker with a gut wrenching jam at the end. “Combination” marks Joe Perry’s debut as a lead vocalist - his singing is not that wonderful, but the guitar work is.

“Nobody’s Fault” is one of two Whitford/Tyler songs on this record and is the lesser known of the two. It’s still a strong piece, but is rather over shadowed by the magnificent “Last Child”, one of America’s F.M. radio staples from “Rocks” where Brad Whitford shows his lead playing, while less flashy than Perry’s, is just as solid and perhaps cleaner.

“Sick As a Dog” finds Aerosmith at their poppiest, whilst “Get the Lead Out” is a swinging, swaggering funk/rock song. “Lick and a Promise” says it all. Tyler & Perry living the American hard rock dream, Rock ‘n’ Roll as it is meant to sound, and what it’s meant to say.

That leaves two other songs. “Back in the Saddle”, one of Aerosmith’s signature songs, is a genuine classic. Its main riff is powered by Perry playing a six string bass, which is why that riff sounds so low down, dirty, and evil.

The other song, the closing “Home Tonight”, the obligatory ballad, isn’t a bad song, just filler material, and therefore gets “Rocks” deducted one star, but apart from this minor blemish, this is a great rocking CD to blow away your woofers.

Steve Tyler, Vocals
Joe “Freakin” Perry, Guitar
Brad Whitford, Guitar
Tom Hamilton, Bass
Joey Kramer, Drums

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Shaman’s Rattle: Dingo Wisdom

by Marion

There is a growing interest in all things New Age and the interconnectedness of life. “Shaman’s Rattle” is a column about Alternative Health and Shamanism, as well as Monks, Magic, Mystery and Comparative Asian Religions.

For centuries our ancestors have had animal totems. We still do today. Think of the all the sports teams that are called the Magpies, Tigers, Lions, Bears, Crows, or Hawks. This is not a coincidence; we are, albeit subconsciously, still trying to draw power from our observation and connection with all creatures. However, in today’s stressed out lifestyle, we have become less aware of the animal messages.

Your Animals don’t have to be assigned to you by a tribal elder or appear to you in meditation, they can appear in front of you in a very real and significant fashion. Suddenly seeing an elusive dingo trotting along the roadside would be startling, memorable, and perhaps make you reflect on its characteristics.

A Dingo’s wisdom includes:

A Reborn Human Soul: A number of Native American tribes believed that the dog guards the way of the Departed Spirits. The Scandinavians’ dog was guardian of the underworld. The ancient Egyptian dog headed God, Anubis, is also a canine gatekeeper to the other world. The Dingo, the Australian native dog is telling you that someone close to you has found their way to a better life, but you can still communicate with them. In times of silence or meditation you may speak with them.

The Truth of the Dingo: The Dingo is telling you it is OK to be solitary at times but you must find comfort in companionship, reach out and communicate with others even if it is painful. Develop ways to warm and nourish your spirit especially in times of stress or depression. Do things you enjoy, listen to music, go for long walks, even howl at the moon if that makes you happy!

Tracking Skills: If a dingo has appeared to you and you study its qualities you may be sure that it will reappear frequently. Among its many messages is the important one of honouring our sacred space, take the time to be alone, and be quietly at one with nature. How many of us live close to a beach yet never take the time for a solitary daily walk there?

Loyalty: If you have discovered the dingo to be your significant animal, it is because you are a person who insists on loyalty and honesty as the primary value in any relationship. Dingo is reminding you to be loyal to your friends. And to be there for them when needed, even if just to listen.

Understanding Silence, Finding the Truth: Dingoes are bark-less dogs, although they will howl at the moon. The dingo in its primitive non-vocal way communicates on a different level. So will you. The spirit helper of Dingo will be a dependable guide in your explorations of higher consciousness. Meditation is a way to connect with understanding and insight.

Willingness to Follow Through, Assistance in Hunting: Dingoes practice co-operative hunting when they choose to. Sometimes they will form a group to bring down larger prey. We can learn the beneficial qualities of teamwork and persistence from dingoes.

Protection: A dingo will defend its mate and pups with its life. Its message is not only protection of kin but self-protection. Honouring our sacred space and our integrity is essential.

Correct Use of Intuition: What animal can survive in the wild without finely honed instincts? Learn to trust your intuition. As you practise meditation, t’ai chi or yoga, take time to be alone and connected with nature and your perception and intuition will increase remarkably. A fine tuned sixth sense, keen awareness or intuition, call it what you will, may one day save your life.

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Women’s World : For the rest of my life?

by Lesley Warner

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year and that the new one will be a ‘beautiful’ one.

Over the New Year period I found myself in the country, standing in the blistering sun next to a very good-looking Swedish lady. I could feel the perspiration dripping down my face and taking my makeup with it, but there was nothing I could do as the nearest mirror was probably in Pattaya. As I looked at the lady standing next to me, I noticed that she perspired as well but her makeup stayed firmly in place, so I asked her why. It was permanent makeup. I immediately questioned her as to where she got it done and it was in Pattaya. I got really excited about the thought of never having to worry about my makeup again but since that time I have developed cold feet. I would love to have it done but what if it goes wrong? I decided to do a little research of my own and these are the results. If anyone out there has had permanent makeup done in Pattaya I would like to know where...

Permanent Cosmetic Makeup is a process where pigments are inserted into the dermal layer of the skin, permanently.

The most popular are eyebrows, eyeliner and lip color. You can go for the defined look or a more subtle and natural look, choose your colours carefully.

There is no upper age limit on permanent makeup. Women in their eighties can be good candidates for it if their skin is in good condition.

Women who have a hard time getting a straight eye line or brow or who have eyesight problems are excellent candidates.

Women who are active in sports should consider permanent makeup as it won’t run off or sweat off during exercise.

Women who are in the public spotlight or work under the harsh glare of spotlights see the advantages of not having to worry about their makeup.

Women who are under 35 are often NOT good candidates for permanent makeup, since generally they do not need it as much and they are at an age where they are not as comfortable with a life long permanent look.

Permanent lip color does NOT always work well on people with ethnic skin, as the melanocytes (darker pigmentation) in the lips do not allow for the tattooed pigment to show up properly when healed under this darker skin tone.

If a person has a tendency to cold sores/herpes, an anti-viral prescription is needed prior to getting permanent lip color applied.

A person who spends a lot of time in the sun or in tanning booths is NOT a good candidate for permanent makeup since the UVA rays will alter and change the pigment tones, sometimes even turning brown brows blue.

Permanent cosmetics are a form of cosmetic tattooing, which should be thought of as being “permanent”; however, as is also true of body tattoo work, the degree of “permanency” varies with each individual.

Color can fade due to many factors, including over-exposure to the sun, a person’s own body chemistry, and the degree of care taken to maintain the work. Any process involving the skin, such as facials, peels, or certain medications such as acutane can adversely affect color integrity.

However, the lifetime integrity of the color has nothing to do with the permanent nature of any form of tattooing. Color is injected in molecules and the molecules remain the in skin permanently. Even when you hear about removals via laser, the pigment molecules remain in the skin but the color has been bleached, which is the same thing that happens, to a much lesser degree, from exposure to the sun.

Any person considering this procedure should do some research of their own and be very sure that they want the same makeup for the rest of their life!

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Coins of the Realm : Thai Millennium Commemorative Coins

by Jan Olav Aamlid - President - House of the Golden Coin
http://www.thaicoins.com 

At the end of November the Treasury Department of Thailand closed for reservations for the Thai Millennium Commemorative Coins. The Singapore Mint produced the coins on behalf of the Treasury Department of Thailand to honor His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s contributions to the development of the country and mankind.

Six different coins were produced; all with His Majesty’s portrait on the obverse, and the reverse shows dragons in different special features. The coins have face values of 50, 100, 200, 250 and 2500 baht. The coins are struck in gold and silver, and the weights of the gold coins are ผ ounce, ฝ ounce and up to 5 ounces. The smallest silver coins weigh 20 grams, but there is also a big 5 ounce silver coin, the biggest flat coin ever produced in the history of Thai coin production.

Thailand has produced bigger and heavier coins. During the reigns of King Mongkut and King Chulalongkorn bullet coins with the denomination “chang”, or elephant, were produced. These coins had the weight of 80 baht, more than 1.2 kg. These coins were not produced for normal circulation, but for special occasions. Over the years there have been many complaints about coins being too heavy; for instance in England people complained about the old one-penny. Imagine having a couple of “changs” in your pocket!

The chances of finding the Thai Millennium coins in your change are very small. On November 30, the last day for reservations, the price for the cheapest coin, the 50 baht in silver, was 1,400 baht from the Treasury Department. I also checked the price from the Singapore Mint, and their prices were the same.

His Excellency Mr Pichase Panvichatikul Deputy Finance Minister Thailand (right) admiring the 5oz gold coin.

If you wanted to buy the most expensive set, the 2,500 baht in gold and the 250 baht in silver, the price was 151,900 baht. Only 100 sets were reserved for Thailand, and only 500 sets comprised the worldwide mintage. This is a very small mintage for a coin, so the buyers might be happier with their coins in the future.

The 250 baht gold coins weighing ฝ ounce were sold for 13,300 baht on the last day for reservations, while the set of 250 baht and 100 baht gold coins were sold for 19,480 baht

His Excellency Pichase Panvicatikul, Deputy Finance Minister of Thailand, struck the first coin on 21 June 2000, and the first coins offered for sale were in August. A sales period of only four months might seem short, but the coins allocated for the Thai market were very limited.

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Nightmarch

In the Boozers: The Viking Bar (in front of Pinewood Condo and just up from Soi 6) is one of those well-run places where the boss is always trying out new ideas aimed at improving custom. I’ve previously mentioned the fact that the bar probably has the widest range of local and imported beers anywhere in Fun Town. Well, to help you soak up some of that amber liquid you can now order a snack while you drink. Chicken and hamburgers, sandwiches and chips can all be ordered and will set you back anywhere from 55 to just 70 baht. Pretty good value for the fare. Actually, it’s worth having a libation at the Viking just to watch the antics of the boss’s pet gibbon.

One Night In Bangkok: In recent times I’ve had occasion to spend the odd night or two wandering around the nosheries, beer boozers, ogling dens and sleeping palaces of Bangkok and although the differences between the City of Som Tam Carts and Fun Town are not stark, they are definable.

For example, most ogling dens in Bangkok are awash with dancing maidens and they tend to dance in large groups for four or five songs before exiting the stage to be replaced by a new batch. They don’t, as they do here in Pattaya, move from the chrome pole at one end of the stage to the chrome pole at the other end of the stage and then move off. They simply wiggle about in pretty much the same spot, generally chatting to the other dancers and occasionally scanning the assembled imbibers before going off-stage.

Drinks prices are - perhaps surprisingly - generally cheaper than Pattaya’s ogling dens and the owners do not penalise punters who want nothing stronger to guzzle than hot tea, coffee or soft drinks. Prices for these non-intoxicants are reasonable at around the 40 to 60 baht mark.

The Dubliner Irish Pub, located near Washington Square (Sukhumvit Soi 22) recently picked up Metro Magazine’s High Five Award as the Best Pub/Micro Brewery in Bangkok. Having spent a little time in the place, I can well understand just why they copped the prestigious gong.

Just around the corner from the Dubliner is the long-established Bourbon Street noshery and sleeping palace. Rooms are reasonably priced and breakfast is thrown in. The breakfast includes a continuous coffee refill, perfect for those who might have indulged a little too heavily the night before. A fellow breakfaster commented that the ham he had was the best he’d tasted in Thailand. A pretty big wrap.

One of my favourite haunts has to be the Living Room (Clinton Plaza). I happen to think that Nana Plaza has all the ambience of a condemned outhouse (but I still go there), whereas the virtually brand-new Clinton Plaza is positively hospital-like in its freshness. So, if you’re looking for a place with a cosy atmosphere, imaginative decor and interesting if somewhat offbeat music, then give the Living Room a try. It’s especially good if you happen to be taking coals to Newcastle, er, sorry, your wife/girlfriend to Bangkok.

My e-mail address is: [email protected] 

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