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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
Family Money: Private Portfolio Management (Part 1)
Successfully Yours: Denis Simonnet
Snap Shots: The unglamorous side of Glamour Photography
Modern Medicine: Prostatic Cancer and Diet

Heart to Heart with Hillary

Dining Out: Bay Leaf Restaurant? Garden Beach?
Animal Crackers: Newfs - the Gentle Giants
Down The Iron Road: Some oddities at Boulton’s Siding
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
Guide to buying a small dog

Family Money: Private Portfolio Management (Part 1)

By Leslie Wright

I am often asked how private portfolio management firms go about constructing an investment portfolio. (And in case you didn’t already know, my firm specialises in personal portfolio management for modestly wealthy individuals.)

What criteria are used? What factors determine the makeup of the portfolio? How actively is it managed? How often is it rearranged? How frequently do we report to the client? How do we get paid for our services?

Portfolio construction for any amount of capital - large or small - is an intensive, personalised task, based on both the economic and psychological profile of the client. So let’s take a more detailed look at how my firm (since I cannot comment on how others do it) goes about constructing and managing private clients’ capital portfolios.

Firstly, we ask a series of questions to identify the client’s personal investment profile. There are three main categories.

Risk management

First and foremost, the risk-aversion profile of the client has to be determined and understood by both sides. How much risk can the client accept? And following on from that, the somewhat different question: how much risk should he be taking on, given the investment objectives of the portfolio, and the timeframe over which we’re planning.

For some clients, wealth conservation is the over-riding consideration: the portfolio must not lose money.

For others, wealth creation is the main objective: producing capital growth from which to draw down a regular income (a pension, if you will), or ad hoc amounts of cash as may be needed at some date in the future.

The investment strategy that is applied to these fundamentally differing objectives must take certain fundamental criteria into consideration.

The wealth creation scenario usually requires more risk to be attached to the portfolio, in order to be able to gain the required degree of growth. All other things being equal, it will typically have a greater exposure to equities. And while higher growth can be expected over the longer term, this inevitably means greater short-term volatility.

The wealth conservation scenario can and should have a conservatively stance: it will have less exposure to equities, more to low-risk elements such as cash, bonds, and guaranteed funds. But the return will be lower also.

For most international investors, the risk their portfolio is exposed to is defined as not having money when they need it, or running out of it before they die.

So the time horizon has to be considered. What are you investing the money for? If the capital is being invested to provide a college fund for very young children then you might have a higher tolerance to risk at this point in time. If it’s to build a house in five years time, your acceptance of risk might be lower.

Another way of looking at this question is to ask: what percentage of total assets will this portfolio represent? If it is 5%, you can afford and may want to be more speculative. If it’s 85%, you might want and indeed should be more conservative.

Many retired expatriate residents of Pattaya are living on a modest income stream generated from capital. Most have investment objectives that fall somewhere between the two extremes of wealth conservation and wealth/income generation - or put another way, a combination of the two.

All too often, however, an individual investor will have positioned his portfolio too far towards one end or the other of the risk spectrum: either he’s overly conservative (usually from fear of losing money) or he’s too aggressive (because he needs to produce more income to support his lifestyle than can reasonably be expected from the available capital).

Paradoxically, the high-net-worth individual (HNWI) who can afford to lose a bit without it really hurting will typically be more geared towards wealth conservation, while one with a more modest amount of capital - who should be conserving his capital because he cannot afford to lose it - may have exposed himself to a relatively high degree of risk in the attempt to produce a higher income to support his lifestyle.

That’s all very well when the markets are kind and the investor’s making money. But what about when the markets dip?

Capital investors tend to be fairly emotional individuals: after all, for most people money is an emotive subject. They always say they can take a long-term view until they’re losing money.

Then they look very closely at the money they’ve ‘lost’ - even though this may be only an erosion of profit on paper. They forget the 24% they made last year and look at the 8% loss they suffered this year - even though they were made to understand at the start that growth averaging around 10% per annum was what could reasonably be expected from a strategically balanced offshore portfolio.

If world markets go up by 15% and the manager makes 20%, most would agree that he’s done a good job. But similarly, if the markets go down by 15% and he’s made a loss of only 10%, he’s still done a good job - although many investors might disagree.

But similar criteria are applied by the banks that provide portfolio management services in judging a portfolio manager’s performance.

In fact, most banks have a success-margin of only 2%: if the manager makes 12% when the market has gone up by 10%, he’s earned his bonus; similarly if the market drops by 10% and his portfolio dips by only 8%, his performance is considered to have been equally good.

In both scenarios, he’s beaten the index by 2%. This may not seem much, but it’s not as easy as many people may think!

Nonetheless, limiting losses in the bad times as well as making above-average returns in the good times is, in my view, a fundamental criterion by which you can weigh your portfolio manager’s performance - and whether you should perhaps be looking for another one.


As discussed above, the risk-aversion profile of the client forms the backbone of the portfolio construction process, overlaid with an appropriate currency strategy.

Having first determined with the client what risk he can and should be comfortable with, we determine which currency the investor ‘lives in’. This may well depend on the reason the client is starting up this particular investment account.

An international businessman might live in US dollars, but if the purpose of the account is to buy a house in Spain, his portfolio currency is actually pesetas (or the Euro). Similarly, if the principal objective is to fund the client’s retirement in Thailand, then his base currency is really the Thai baht. The portfolio has to take the currency factor into consideration.

One can look at currencies in two ways. Firstly, you can look at it as a completely separate decision. So, if you’re a sterling client with a global equity portfolio, the selection of the equity portion would take that on board: the objective is to optimise growth in sterling. By way of example, if one thinks the yen will remain weak relative to sterling one could invest part of the portfolio in Japanese exporters.

Alternatively, one could buy globally-diversified equity funds with the best possible return and hedge away the risk; or you can take the view that over the long term currency movements will tend to even out.

But hedging a portfolio should only be done when there is a very strong indication that a currency will strengthen or weaken against another. It should never be done speculatively; only to protect against currency risk.

In a conservatively-stanced portfolio which has higher exposure to bonds and cash, the currency risk actually becomes much greater than with a global equity portfolio. This may come as a surprise to some investors.

The time frame

Having determined the risk profile and base currency, we then look at establishing a time horizon.

For instance, for a client with an investment horizon of less than three years we probably wouldn’t recommend equities at all.

While over the longer term equities outperform bonds which outperform cash, in the shorter term the inherent volatility that accompanies equities might mean that the portfolio suffers a short-term dip just when the client requires the capital.

Clients always say they can accept risk - but find that when ‘risk’ turns into ‘loss’ they become much less risk-tolerant than they thought they were. But as long as clients understand these important aspects, and are able to work with their portfolio manager within realistic agreed guidelines, and have reasonable expectations of performance and acceptance of volatility, clients should have no cause for complaint. (They’ll always find something to gripe about, but that’s human nature.)

(To be continued next week)

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 on

Editor’s note: Leslie sometimes receives e-mails to which he is unable to respond due to the sender’s automatic return address being incorrect. If you have sent him an e-mail to which you have not received a reply, this may be why. To ensure his prompt response to your enquiry, please include your complete return e-mail address, or a contact phone/fax number.

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Successfully Yours: Denis Simonnet

By Mirin MacCarthy

Denis Simonnet the young, charming, French executive assistant manager of the Garden Beach Resort, Naklua knew what his career path would be from age fifteen. Born in Poitiers, a University City near Bordeaux in France, his earlier family existence was “A peaceful standard French life, good but boring.” He continued, with that delightful French lilt to his English, “When I was a young man in the school holidays my parents didn’t want me staying around doing nothing so they sent me to work in bakeries and restaurants. That’s where I fell in love with the job.”

After high school Denis studied for his B.A in hospitality at the Poitiers University for two years. He chose the service side rather than kitchen as, “It occurred to me the waiters were better dressed and had better language than the cooks. The kitchen was like a zoo with everyone shouting at each other. I liked the challenge of being smarter.”

After University he was waiter at the Biblos Hotel for six months, one of the best resort hotels in the area. However, a motorcycle accident put a stop to that, but after his recovery he went to a grand old chateaux in the Loire Valley for a year. “It was a beautiful location, superbly restored, but it was boring as well.”

It was then he really set sail in a different direction. He was nineteen and decided to join the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line based in Miami. He was a waiter on board for a year and it was to be life altering for him. “It was a great experience, nothing better when you are young and travelling the world. Although it was hard work, doing sixteen hours a day every day of the year with not one day off. Now I don’t think I could keep up with the work load.” It was on board he met the love of his life, a young Thai woman, Phunsiri. “When we finished the year I went back to France and she returned to Bangkok but I discovered she went to Thailand with my heart, so I had to go to pick it up,” Denis explained with all his Gallic charm. “That was in May 1993 and we have been together ever since. I will be a father in 7 months,” he beamed proudly.

For the first three and a half years he was working at the Fortune Blue Wave Hotel, first as maitre d’ in the fine dining room, then beverage manager, next assistant food and beverage manager. After that Denis decided to take on the challenge of becoming part of the opening team, restaurant manager of the Hotel Intercontinental in Phnom Penh. “I chose the opportunity because it was a big chain hotel and a great training experience, (but) we had to leave after a year because of the Coup de Etat in 1997.”

Denis then returned to Bangkok for a year as assistant food and beverage manager of the Phathumwan Princess Hotel. Next he became food and beverage manager at the Hotel Equatorial in Yangoon Burma. “I chose it for the position as I would be boss of my department. It was difficult working under those political pressures though. It is a great location, Burma is so beautiful it could be the Switzerland of Asia but now it is more like Sierra Leone. There are no facilities, no infrastructure. In the end I didn’t enjoy it. The dictatorship caused enormous difficulties to work in the country. You cannot import food or drink for instance. It is difficult to provide hospitality in a dictatorship, it doesn’t match.”

After Burma, Denis was director of food and beverage at the Sofitel Central in Hua Hin for six months and has now been flashing his French charm and style at the newly refurbished, luxurious Garden Beach Resort in Naklua since last September.

Noting that all his jobs seemed to be a chosen advancement, is was impossible not to ask if he had deliberately chosen to climb the hospitality ladder. Denis just laughed, “Climbing up is not a good thing, the faster you climb the harder you fall down. No I chose each position for the experience it could give me. Working in the hotel industry is different. You must be able to work as a member of a team. One day I hope to open my own hotel resort or restaurant. I plan on living here in Thailand, having a lot of children and raising them successfully.”

Denis appeared a little startled when asked what values does he live his life by, and what does he think most important to teach his future children. He hesitated, “I don’t think I’ve ever asked myself that. Well of course it would have to be honesty. Starting with yourself. Know what you can do, who you are, and what your limitations are.”

Even if he did not have to work, Denis says, “I would do just this. I would open a hotel training school. The hospitality industry is all about service. When you give hospitality you must like to receive people, be a host, make a party, make people happy. You must like the company of people. Too many are working in this area just because it is a job and not because they love it. Success to me is when people remember me as someone who did a good job.”

When Denis is not working (which is apparently fairly rarely) he loves playing golf and scuba diving, not to mention visiting Bangkok to be with Phunsiri.

It seems that Denis Simonnet is a charming and wise young man who is enjoying being precisely where he wants to be, and loving what he is doing here. And that French accent is just so attractive!

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Snap Shots: The unglamorous side of Glamour Photography

by Harry Flashman

Harry was once contracted to produce a glamour calendar for an international concrete company. On the surface, this sounded wonderful. Good money, full artistic control of both the concepts and final shots and sounded like being fun too.

Being a concrete company, the concept was to present the company’s products and services in a humorous way, complete with the company’s new colour scheme, which was wild and lurid pink. This was to be done by the none too subtle application of “glamour” models.

The concepts for each month were soon hammered out. Such gems as “Concrete foundations” with said models in pink foundation garments on building sites, pink concrete statues with sculptor chipping away, etc., were soon presented to the client and accepted. The real work then began.

First was to make a list of all the props that were going to be needed on the various shoots. This included high heel shoes (12 pairs), underwear (12 sets), shovels (2), wheelbarrow, sledge hammers (2), ball and chains (2), etc.

As you can imagine, balls and chains are not your everyday item, and props such as these had to be fabricated, using mild steel for the ankle bracelet, chain (easily obtained from the hardware shop) plus a plumber’s ball normally used as the float in loo cisterns! After picking these items up from the friendly engineering shop it was a short run down to the auto paint shop for them to be sprayed hot pink. A somewhat incredulous, paint encrusted foreman looked very doubtful, but eventually agreed to get the apprentice on the job after lunch. When Harry came to pick them up, the whole paint shop downed spray guns and came out to see what sort of a pervert had ordered pink leg irons!

The next problem was selection of the models. The client wanted fresh new faces (and the other bits of them), so it was decided we would advertise for amateur models. The phone rang hot - Harry had no idea so many young ladies wanted to take their clothes off for a crack at the Hall of Fame.

Now one very strange part of glamour photography is that a girl who looks a complete knock-out in the flesh (so to speak) may not come out well in a photo - and the reverse holds true too - girls you wouldn’t give a second look to can come out brilliantly on film. The answer to all this is called the Photo Test.

Every day the studio was host to the hopefuls. Similar glamour calendars were shown to them and they all signed a piece of paper to say that they were over 18 and had no objection to being photographed topless. Now this test should have just been a quick film exposure of personal exposure and wait for the results. Nothing is ever that easy! Some girls would come out from the (un)dressing room in dressing gowns and stand in the stage set and then freeze. One girl even asked Harry stand with his back to her - this would certainly have made it very difficult to focus! One hopeful (hopeless) girl came three times and stumbled at the final hurdle every time.

However, we finally managed to get a dozen photogenic young ladies who were no longer embarrassed at getting their shirts off in public. That should have been it - but it wasn’t. On the day of one young lady’s shoot she came down with the measles. While the client’s colour was pink, pink spots on the model did not enhance the company product. At very short notice we had to hire a professional model, but at least she was aware of the requirements!

No, while “glamour” work may sound glamorous, it is difficult and fraught with problems. Embarrassed would-be models was the smallest of these - but more on those another day.

In the meantime, remember our “Day in the Life of Pattaya” (Pattaya Mail, Vol IX, No 1) and let me know if you are interested. Fax 427 596 or email [email protected] 

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Modern Medicine: Prostatic Cancer and Diet

by Dr Iain Corness

Cancer of the prostate gland is very common in the Western world, with 30% of all males over 50 showing microscopic elements of prostatic cancer. This does not mean that 30% of men are going to progress to full blown cancer - but the “start” is there. Sobering thought.

Another interesting fact, from the files of the statisticians, is that Western males have a much higher incidence than those from South East Asia. Even more interesting is that if you then look at the male offspring of S.E. Asian immigrants to America, they have four times the incidence of prostatic cancer, compared to those S.E. Asian males that remained in their own country. This would appear to show that environment is more important than genetic inheritance, and one important part of environment is diet.

Looking further into the diet side of things, there has been shown to be a strong association between high dietary fat and prostatic cancer. The next step in the research was to examine laboratory mice with prostate cancer, feeding them diets with known levels of fat. The results were that with diets less than 21% fat there was regression of the tumours. The mice were thrilled!

Another dietary ingredient is called Phytoestrogen, present in grains, fruit, legumes, soy beans and vegetables. Soy is much more prevalent in the Japanese diet than in the Western. Some research has been done to compare the incidence of prostatic cancer between Japanese men and Finnish men, each taking their own “national” diets. Result? Prostatic cancer is much more common in Finnish men.

Vitamins have also been explored as far as their relationship to prostate cancer is concerned. Men taking Vitamin E were found to have a 34% lower incidence of the cancer. However, Vitamins A, C and D had no effect.

Selenium (recommended dose 70 microgrammes per day - 300 mgms are toxic) also seems to be beneficial, while Zinc is not. Another strange one is Lycopene, found in tomato paste and tomato sauce, which appears to have an association with decreased risk of prostatic cancer.

Also examined have been some of the “alternative” therapies such as Saw palmetto, stinging nettle root and shark cartilage. There was no reliable scientific evidence to show that any of them had any role in prostate cancer prevention or treatment - despite what the “Health Food” shops would say.

So what should you males do? (You women are not at risk here, you have your own particular problem areas.) Undoubtedly there is merit in looking at a more “Asian” diet than the Western one. Decreasing fat intake will certainly help. Vitamin E - easily added with a capsule a day. Selenium and tomato sauce? Don’t think I’d get too excited about them at this stage. The problem with tomato sauce is that one tends to have it with high fat foods like hamburgers and chips, though taken with pizza should be fine.

However, the most important thing for all males over 50 is to have an annual check-up, including a prostate check. The queue forms on the right!

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Dear Hillary,

How could you pillory KCS, that poor Chicago fan, like you did last week (Pattaya Mail Vol IX, No 3)? Surely, if he wanted to listen to his Chicago music he could be left to do this in peace? Why pick on him?


Dear Wondering,

I like the Hillary-pillory play on words Poppet, but you’re barking up the wrong tree here! Old KCS didn’t want to listen to his beloved Chicago on his own, he wanted Hillary and Mott the Dog and everyone else in Pattaya to be exposed to Chicago as well. Mott did try to be fair and listen, but after one track his little ears went so flat and his tail was tucked so far between his little legs that he looked like a dachshund, rather than the noble street dog that he is. As for Hillary, I am still incensed at KCS where he said “when you were younger, Hillary.” How dare he! I hope his record collection suffers from spontaneous combustion.

Dear Hillary,

The other evening, after a few beers, I went and had a Thai massage at one of the many massage parlours in Pattaya. I was very impressed with the treatment and the young lady in question was very sweet, but I didn’t get her name. I went the next night to see her and I thought there was something wrong when I noticed she had a tattoo on her arm that wasn’t there the night before. When I questioned her about this, she said she had the tattoo done one year ago and she didn’t remember me from the night before. What worries me, Hillary, is - am I going mad and dreamed up the whole thing, or is she lying to me, or what?

Massage Mike

Dear Massaged Mikey,

It’s simple my dear boy. On the first night you were too inebriated to remember exactly where (or probably - what - you were) and on the second night you went to the wrong massage parlour! She has nothing to gain by lying. You are suffering from only a temporary form of insanity.

Dear Hillary,

One of my best friends in America just met up with a girl in Pattaya and after three days of knowing her, he returns to the US and tells me that he is going to buy her a house and he is going to throw in his job and move in with her. After three days? I have never been to Thailand, but read the Pattaya Mail on line, after my friend showed it to me. Can you tell me how these girls do it? This is not the first time one of my friends seems to have gone overboard either. Is it the food? Or what?


Dear Jayne,

The fact that this happens means that somehow the local girls are satisfying a need people like your friend is unable to have satisfied in America (or Europe, UK, etc., for that matter). Hillary doubts very much that it just the food, but it seems to be something to do with the rather more free life-style over here. Why don’t you come over with him next time? After all, he must have a spare bedroom in the new house, that is provided the long term love affair is still in place after a week. Romance can certainly go out the window with the reality of smelly socks and the other more unmentionable bits. But if he’s got a fat wallet that does help deodorize.

Dear Hillary,

Is there anywhere a couple can go in the evenings in Pattaya without being hassled? Some evening we would like to just have a quiet drink and a talk and listen to music for a while. We are not trendy’s but have just retired over here and are loving the easy lifestyle of Pattaya, but we could do with a little more socializing. What do you suggest Hillary?


Dear Marjorie

There are lots of places for you, Proops. For good background music in a very social atmosphere you can go to Shenanigans on Second Road. Down in Jomtien, there’s MoJo which is a jazz club with easy listening music. If you want a meal in nice surroundings with some easy music, try the Captain’s Corner BBQ on Thappraya Road or Aloha Diner on Second Road. There are even many of the hotel lounges which offer a quiet area for sipping and listening - try the Royal Cliff Grand, Amari Orchid Resort and the Dusit Resort for starters. There’s lots more, just lay on the champers and I’ll come with you!

Dear Hillary,

I have been coming to Thailand on one month trips as a tourist for many years, but now I have decided I want to stay longer and will plan on a three month stay this year. How do I get a longer visa and can I extend it in Thailand if I want to stay longer?


Dear Visa Vic,

The Thai Embassy in your country is where you should direct your questions, not to Hillary, my love. However, in general you can extend between fifteen to thirty days at the Immigration Police in Soi 8 - but go to the Embassy in your country first. They are there to help you (as opposed to the nice folk at the IRS).

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Dirty marriages

A Japanese company is hoping to make a killing here by importing into the kingdom aerosol cans of liquid muck that you spray onto your face or clothes to make you look dirtier than you really are. The idea is that working men, who have had a secret day off, can return home looking rugged and fool their wives into believing they have been hard at it, or whatever. The product is expected to be popular in Pattaya as market research shows that local men are often anxious to deceive their spouses. Each can retails at 290 baht, which seems expensive, but the instructions leaflet does caution against constant use as the smell may become addictive.

Lesson on line

Joseph Tierney tells us of this encounter when he visited an internet cafe in Soi 17 to surf the net as he had some time to spare before his next appointment. A young lady approached him to ask if he could help her with some fairly basic stuff such as booting up, finding Word 2000 and opening/deleting a file. She particularly wanted to know what an email was and what to do with it. He spent over an hour as a Good Samaritan and said he hoped the lady felt a bit more confident after his explanations. “I hope so too,” she replied, “I started work as the manager this morning.”

Naming your lobster

Enterprising South Korean businessman Kim Chung-Hee wanted to make sure that his seafood restaurant attracted a fair share of the foreign tourist market to Seoul. He wanted a name that would be familiar to most Europeans and Americans. Friends advised him against calling the food outlet The Jesus Christ as this might offend religious sensibilities. The Margaret Thatcher was also rejected as there might well be copyright problems and legal battles ahead. So he finally settled on a commercial name - to which absolutely everybody would respond - by naming the restaurant The Adolf Hitler. Not surprisingly, there was an enormous outcry as business plummeted to near zero. Kim then published a public apology pointing out that the name had been a disaster for a seafood restaurant as Adolf Hitler had been a vegetarian.

French cuisine

GEOC (Grapevine Eating Out Collective) enjoyed an authentically French meal at the well established Petrus Restaurant in Soi Yamoto. There’s a charming French style decor with the quietly played music of Edith Piaf and other celebrities of by-gone days for accompaniment. The creamy vegetable soup, asparagus with tangy sauce and pepper steak were all very good. Tasty brains are also on the menu. The chocolate mousse was up to expectations but would benefit from a dab of fresh cream. There’s an extensive wine list. Prices are reasonable. Most starters are around 100 baht and main dishes weigh in from about 200 baht.

Gun for hire

Reader GR was alarmed to find on his return home that the burglars had visited and asks whether buying a hand gun would be a good idea. No, and for many reasons. Firstly, you would need a police permit and farangs would not normally be able to persuade the fuzz to grant one. Secondly, if you had a gun you might end up using it or, just as likely, an experienced robber might turn the tables and shoot you during a struggle. The best precaution against house thieves is to have an electronic alarm system (they have gotten more reliable in recent years) or to move to a compound with security guards on duty 24 hours a day. There are very, very few shootings in Pattaya which involve farangs and it’s best to give the gun culture a very wide berth indeed.

Ghost town

Visa runners to Penang say how the town has declined. Many premises have shut up shop and a fair number of bars have also given up. Penang made its tourist money in the past as the nearest and most accommodating venue for farangs to renew Thai visas. The overnight train from Bangkok to Butterworth was an institution in its time. Penang’s decline is also related to more attractive and cheaper alternatives now being available, not least the four hour trip to the Cambodian border (for visa renewal or for 30 days on arrival) and sea cruises when available. But if you want a multiple entry visa, valid for up to a year, you must likely return home to Europe where Thai consulates have a lot more discretion than those in the Pacific Rim. Of course, new Thai visas are still available in Penang but mostly single entry tourist ones. If you want non immigrant, take along lots of convincing paper work.

I never knew that

Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.

An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.

Half the world’s population has never used a telephone.

Every day 0.5% of the world’s population visits a MacDonald’s joint.

‘Dreamt’ is the only word in English to end with ‘mt’.

We shed 40 pounds of skin in a lifetime.

Birds can’t burp.

The only word in English with all vowels in reverse is ‘subcontinental’.

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Dining Out: Bay Leaf Restaurant? Garden Beach?

by Miss Terry Diner

The word “Amazing” was absolutely flogged to death a couple of years back in all Thailand promotions, but you can still apply the word amazing to Pattaya. As Miss Terry Diner prides herself on knowing what is happening round town, to find a totally new, fine dining restaurant in a resort I’ve never even seen before, was truly amazing!

The “new” venue is the Garden Beach Resort which was taken over during 2000 and has received a huge ‘make-over’ with refurbishment of its restaurants. To find this resort, turn into Soi Wong Amat off Pattaya-Naklua Road, go to the end and follow the road round to the right, go past Sarangchol Condominiums and you will find the Garden Beach Resort, plus plenty of parking space.

To find the Bay Leaf Restaurant, walk through the foyer, admiring some huge Koi carp on the way (not for eating!) and turn slightly right as you exit the building and you will see the Bay Leaf Restaurant overlooking the swimming pools.

The restaurant has two sections - indoors and air-conditioned and an outside section under umbrellas and the stars. The immediate impression does say fine dining, with elegant padded chairs and alcoves, starched white tablecloths, glasses on the table with white linen napkins, elegant Thai style urns dotted throughout and large hanging art nouveau style ‘fish’ lampshades.

The menu is something else too, coming in a hand beaten metal holder. It begins with cold entrees (180-220 baht) with choices of tuna, smoked eel, Norwegian salmon or souffl้ of Siam bay rock lobster in light fennel aspic and saffron sauce.

Warm entrees are up next, again B. 180-220, with frog legs, prawns, quail breast, scallops or crab-claw and baby calamari ragout with garlic and virgin olive oil vinaigrette. These are followed by soups and consomm้s (around B. 160) with some interesting items, such as roasted eggplant or yellow capsicum soup and a smoked Norwegian salmon bisque in a millefeuille pastry.

Fish is next, generally around B 300 with such offerings as pan-fried fillet of sea bass on a carrot and Chiang Mai honey puree with basil sauce. As I said - fine dining. Meat and poultry next (B. 280-490) with again some imaginative dishes like shredded duckling spring rolls served with green asparagus and raspberry coulis or fillet mignon. Flamb้ at the table with VSOP cognac and in a three peppers sauce. Finally it is desserts (around B 150) including crepes suzette prepared at the table.

We selected a white Muscadet wine for the first course and began with a salmon mousse for Madame, served with a creamy horseradish sauce, and the salmon bisque for me. Madame’s salmon was excellent and the horseradish sauce just sets it off. My soup comes with a pastry cover which was carefully cut away with great ceremony by our waiter. The soup was hot, thick and creamy and a very fine example of the bisque.

To accompany the mains we had a Chateau L’Estang red, a light bodied wine, to go with Madame’s lobster flamb้, done at the table, and my fillet mignon, done likewise. I must admit I do enjoy the performance that goes with the flamb้ cooking. Food should be a celebration, not just sustenance.

Both the mains arrived on large, hot dinner plates and Madame gave her lobster top marks, while my fillet mignon was done exactly to my medium-rare order and the three pepper sauce was exquisite. The portions were also more than adequate and not of the miniscule nouvelle cuisine which I personally find most unsatisfactory.

Our host insisted we finish with the crepes suzette (beautiful) and ‘digestifs’, a cognac for Madame while I am partial to Ricard, taken straight. Whilst this took our host aback, sipped slowly it is a great palate cleanser.

There was no doubt in the Dining Out Team’s minds that the Bay Leaf is a very welcome and deserving addition to our fine dining restaurants. Do find it for yourselves. Recommended.

The Bay Leaf Restaurant, Garden Beach Resort, Soi Wong Amat, Naklua, (038) 411 940.

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Animal Crackers: Newfs - the Gentle Giants

by Mirin MacCarthy

Imagine a dog that weighs more than most Thais. 75 kgs of shaggy canine, around 700 mm at the shoulder, that just loves people. A devoted family dog that will protect children, haul firewood, save drowning people, and work without complaint every day.

The Newfoundland (known colloquially as “Newfs”) is undoubtedly the largest dog you will ever see. Huge black animals, though some can be brown, grey or black headed with a white body (the Landseer type), they came from the maritime province of Canada and were a standard item on every Newfoundland fishing boat.

There was even a “dog walk” on the boats and the dogs hauled fishing nets out to sea and back to the boat, and retrieved objects or people who fell overboard. Equally at home in water or on land, the Newfoundland was large enough to pull in a drowning man or to break the ice to retrieve him. At the end of a day’s fishing, the day’s catch was loaded into a cart, and the dog was hitched up to haul the load into town. Altogether an indispensable member of the fishing community.

The origin of this breed is thought to be from Tibetan Mastiffs brought over to Newfoundland by Vikings and Basque fishermen as early as 1000 AD. However, the breed as we know it today was developed in England and returned to Canada after WWI.

One misnomer is that the Newfoundland is a black St. Bernard. In fact, around 1860, the St. Bernards in Switzerland were almost wiped out by an epidemic of distemper. Since the breeds look similar, the Monks imported some Newfs to regenerate their famous rescue dogs. These crosses led to the birth of the first long haired St. Bernards, a variety that proved unsuited to snow rescue when ice balls formed and clung to the hair, weighing the dog down. To this day, at the hospice, when a long haired St. Bernard is born, it is rejected as a throwback to the Newfoundland.

The Newf may share some similar origins, but it is quite different in many respects. With the aquatic capabilities of the Newf, it has developed an oily outer coat and a fleecy undercoat, and eyes that shut tight to keep out water and infection with no haw, the third eyelid seen in the St. Bernard. A Newf’s drop ears also keep out water, and very loose flews (droopy upper lips) allow him to breath while carrying something as he swims. The breed also has completely webbed feet and swims with a breast stroke instead of a dog paddle.

If you decide you want one of these dogs, you should consider this very carefully. A Newfoundland puppy should never be bought on impulse. Like pups of many breeds, they are irresistible. Unfortunately, cute little Newfs grows into 75 kg dogs who take over the swimming pool. Newfs are also heavy seasonal shedders, and due to the loose lip flews, they drool and can throw it many metres when they shake their heads.

The Newfoundland is not a dog noted for longevity either, generally living between 8 and 10 years only, but anyone who has ever owned one will have no other breed. A 75 kg dog leaves a large hole in any family!

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Down The Iron Road: Some oddities at Boulton’s Siding

by John D. Blyth

The man and his siding

Isaac Wat Boulton (1823-1899) was one of the unorthodox giants of the early railway age. Trained by apprenticeship in a railway works local to his Lancashire home, he set up a general engineering works in Portland Street, Ashton-under-Lyne in 1856. In the same year he built his first tiny locomotive; two years later he had bought two well-used locomotives, overhauled them and offered them for sale or hire. They were duly hired and this was the beginning of one of his major activities. There were others in the business, but he was the best known and the most helpful. A fine figure of a man, he is recalled as making friends easily and keeping them - an object lesson to some railway managers of later eras!

‘Lion’ one of six of this type built by John Smith at the Village Foundry at Coven in Staffordshire. Boulton bought one of these locomotives

New locomotives came thick and fast too, sometimes possibly not entirely new and these were more often for sale. Despite the classic book on the subject (‘The Chronicles of Boulton’s Siding’, A. Rosling Bennett, 1927), the number and scope of the engines that passed through his hands is not known, but it was a lot, and they were varied. Late in the life of his business he devised a type of water-tube boiler, which was not favoured by customers due to the difficulty of carrying out repairs; he stuck to it, and it was partly responsible for the demise of his business.

Not until 1864 was his works connected to a main railway line, and it was this short branch that was ‘Boulton’s Siding’ - for many years its name was a by-word among those in any way connected with railways.

‘Ashtonian’, a very small locomotive built by Isaac Boulton to fit a narrow tunnel

I must limit myself to just three locomotives with which Boulton was involved although there is another article to itself, which I wrote about last week. But for now we have...


A colliery company in Ashton required a locomotive for a narrow gauge line through a tunnel only 5ft wide and 6ft high dividing its workings, and for this Mr. Boutlon provided a new locomotive seen here. Nothing in the drawing would suggest a geared drive, but it was all between the frames and not visible, the cylinders driving a crankshaft on which gearing drove the rear axle with a ration of 1 to 2. Bennett comments that ‘it filled both the specification and the tunnel so neatly that the driver had to swallow the exhaust steam...’ Despite its size, ‘Ashtonian’ did work well enough for many years.


This is certainly not the sort of locomotive that one meets everyday, and was an oddity even when built at Boulton’s works in the early 1860s. In this case the reduction gearing, in the form of chains is plainly visible; the cylinders, with a fly-wheel, were mounted on top of the boiler, the exhausts at once entering a chamber above the cylinders, where they joined to form an orthodox blast-pipe; the nearside chain can plainly be seen to drive a sprocket mounted on the front axle, and this was duplicated by another on the far side. Like ‘Ashtonian’, it had a gear ratio of 1 to 2. There were no springs, but these were provided later.

‘Rattlesnake’, an unusual locomotive in appearance, also built by Boulton and remarkably successful

This curiosity was one of Isaac Boulton’s greatest successes; it was often hired out, was sold and re-purchased, and finally sold again, in the meantime being hired out to railway and bridge builders, mine engineers and others. It was slow but sure: about 10 mph was its top speed with a load, whilst at much less speed it could handle up to about 150 tonnes. A fleet of ‘Rattlesnakes’ might have been an excellent investment! - Not only as a locomotive, but as a stationary engine providing power, with the chains taken off the sprockets.

...and finally, ‘Lion’

An almost forgotten foundry built about six locomotives of this type: John Smith, who had a foundry in the village of Coven, in Staffordshire. In this case, too, the driving mechanism is plainly to be seen: the cylinders above the rear wheels and the jackshaft above the front ones, and geared to the front axle, in this case with a ratio of 1 to 5, making it a slow moving machine. As they were for shunting only, this was not too much of a disadvantage. ‘Lion’ came to Boulton’s siding.

The boiler and firebox were of very unusual proportions, the barrel being only 2ft in diameter and filled completely with tubes; the firebox had a very large casing and prominent haycock dome which provided the steam space. There seems to have been no lagging, and the heat loss must have been great, by radiation, or, in wet weather, condensation when it was wet.

This type of boiler was ‘re-invented’ by Charles Brown, then owner of the locomotive works at Winterhur in Switzerland, mentioned more than once in this series, and was used quite extensively on both rail and road locomotives. One of ‘Lion’s’ sisters was tried in a main line shunting yard near Boulton’s Siding, and performed remarkably well, being able to move about 40 assorted wagons, albeit at a slow speed, not at all bad for a 12-tonner with a working pressure of only 60lb.

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Social Commentary by Khai Khem

Tales of Toilets

Does anyone still remember when the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority introduced the idea of turning old buses into rolling libraries and latrines? That was back in 1993; long before the Sky Train existed. At that time, Bangkok was so grid locked with traffic that nothing and nobody using a motorised vehicle moved for hours on end. (Actually, that’s still true today.) But hope springs eternal in the human breast, and the people of our beloved capital city are no exception when it comes to enterprising ideas on how to survive under fire.

I was looking forward to the travelling libraries. Not that they wouldn’t be stuck in the same traffic, but at least it would have been a chance to pop on, check out a book, and take it back to your static vehicle, to relieve the boredom. However, the libraries were stocked with old comic books, and I gave them a miss. Hong nams on wheels was to be one of those brilliant ideas which is an example of that expression; “invention is the mother of necessity”. This plan was a particularly bright idea by one of our politicians who compared it to the Meals on Wheels scheme which brings food to elderly shut-ins in the USA. I admit that the travelling latrines were probably a godsend to anyone who ever found one. I never did. And then along came the Comfort 100 and the BMA buses meant for that purpose went out of fashion.

For those of you who have not yet heard of a Comfort 100, it is possible you have never lived in the City of Angels, and thus never needed one. This little invention is a portable toilet which you can carry in your car or van, and is used for that emergency which catches you short. All “proper” Bangkokians have one (except perhaps the motorcyclists). Since this is a family newspaper, you will have to buy one for instructions on how to use it. I will say only this; it is fairly easy for the gentlemen to use, but one wonders if the design wasn’t just a bit sexist.

What women are doing to counter this particular problem needs more creative action. I know one American lady who simply jumps out of her car, leaving her driver queuing at the traffic light, and heads for the nearest shop house. Never once has she been refused the use of the owner’s conveniences. To her credit, she is not overly judgmental about the architectural style or decor. So finding toilets in any city has never been one of her problems. And according to her, she meets a lot of interesting people that way, even though the encounter is understandably short. Bangkok’s traffic lights are some of the longest in the world, so apparently she has time for at least a brief chat with the locals, and can sprint fast enough to make it back to her car before her driver needs to move on.

Even taxi drivers seem ready to accommodate her mad dash from their cab to the nearest noodle shop, or rubber glove factory, and back before the lights changed. On a trip across the city, she would do this more than once. Her shriek of “hang nam!” would bring a crowed bus to a halt, and its passengers would part like the Red Sea miracle. All the crowed buses I’ve ever been on were loaded with sleeping Thais who wouldn’t move if the bus were on fire, much less allow me to get off according to my whim. Her explanation was that most Thai people know that “farangs’ can’t tolerate hot Thai food. She would just hold her tummy and look sick. I’m going to try that.

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The Computer Doctor

by Richard Bunch

From Pat Malloy, Pattaya: I enjoy reading your column in the Pattaya Mail. I have a Winows98 computer and use Outlook Express for my e-mail. I recently returned it to Wattana’s for some warranty work and when it was returned to me I found that I couldn’t use my “spelling” correction. When I try to use, the following appears “an error occurred while the spelling was being checked”. The “File, Edit, View” etc are also frozen until I OK the error message. Wattana’s has tried but has no clue as to how to correct the problem nor can any one else I have talked with. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Computer Doctor replies: Although you haven’t indicated what the warranty work was that Wattana’s carried out or the version of Outlook Express you are running, I suspect that they did a certain amount of reinstallation of Windows98. Although Outlook Express is included as a component of Windows98, it is often updated and currently available in version 5.5 far beyond that which the OS would install. I think the initial thing to try therefore is to uninstall Outlook Express, through Control Panel, then to install the current version for the OS (Windows 98) that you have. Outlook Express 5.5 is available by download from the Windows Update site. It is, however, fairly substantial and likely to take several hours, but it is also readily available from the local CD shops. An alternative to this is to upgrade to Windows ME (Millennium Edition). I am assuming as your PC has had warranty work that it is up to 1 year old and therefore should meet the minimum hardware requirements for the installation of ME. Personally I would recommend the upgrade to ME as this will also result in a much more stable PC that often runs faster than its predecessor.

From Paul Robertson: I am for the first time joining the fed up family of Loxinfo subscribers. I read your column faithfully and save many of the answers you have given people. I have two questions. How do we stop Loxinfo from cutting off our Internet connection? I am using a standard phone line for my connection. I was surfing the net the other day and was reading a free software package that claimed to be able to continually talk to the ISP, therefore solving the problem. I was just ready to download and I was cut off and I lost the location of the download. Any ideas?

Number two. I seem to be able to hook up my laptop to my brand new TV and view my desktop and see my cursor moving around. My problem is that when I try to view a DVD it only shows up on my laptop. The actual DVD software skin comes up but no picture will run. Hope you can help.

Computer Doctor replies: There are many variables which contribute to a connection being terminated, which may not necessarily be the fault of Loxinfo. Such variables include your modem, telephone line, PC stability and configuration, etc. Very often the situation can be greatly improved by using a quality modem. However, in the first instance you can purchase an ‘instant connection package’ from one of the other Internet Service Providers then without making any other changes to your system other than setting up the new Dial Up account see if the same thing occurs using the new ISP. If it does then you know the problem is more than likely your responsibility or that of your telephone provider. In any event you will need to eliminate those items of your responsibility first before approaching the telephone company. True, there are many pieces of software that purport to keep a connection alive. These are much of a muchness but go for one that has little overhead.

With regards to your second problem, have you tried using different DVD software to play the DVD? If so, are the results the same? I suspect that the cause is likely to be the configuration or compatibility of your video card.

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Sea Worlds : Open Ocean

by Apichart Panyadee

In Alaska’s blue-green coastal waters, opaque with plankton, the humpback whale feeds. About a third of the humpback whale’s length is its fluke, the end of the tail. Variations on markings and color are as individual as human fingerprints. This makes it easy to track the humpbacks’ migration. For migrating whales and porpoises the open ocean is a familiar highway. For the human diver it is totally alien.


In the gathering hush of the open ocean, humpback whales are the choir. They spread out over thousands of miles of migration route. Their voices come intermittently, and they can be heard for miles. Pods of Dall’s porpoises join the migrating humpbacks. Jockeying for position, directly ahead of the knobby, barnacled, good-natured whale, the porpoise catches a free ride. It borrows the energy of the massive whale, and glides through the water without any effort of its own. The Dall’s porpoise is stocky and muscular, built as powerful as a killer whale, but smaller. It is a gregarious creature which often dallies in the bow waves of boats.

The whale departs the continental shelf. The ocean deepens underneath it, and the water ahead begins to clarify. Sediment from rivers settles out, nutrients from continental upwelling decline, concentrations of plankton thin. And soon the water is a sunlit blue.

Open ocean diving is a peculiar experience. You hang from the surface by your snorkel, rising and falling with the rhythm of the swell. Beneath your fins lies a mile or two of ocean, a bottomless, infinite space of blue, blue, and more blue. Nothing provides any sense of distance or scale. The emptiness is interminable.

Whale breaching open water

Sailors in a dead calm know the awful loneliness of the open sea. Boredom sets in, time crawls by and the sensory deprivation can become intolerable. Hours pass, sometimes days, during which they see nothing at all. The long blue swells are sunny and sparkling, and empty. The surface is featureless and timeless. Those who bathe in the open sea hug their boats closely. What may lurk under the surface is that which they fear. And suddenly something passes under their boat. Glancing over the side they see a gauzy, wraithlike shape, sometimes winged, sometimes ellipsoidal, just passing beneath their boat. More often than not, that something is a ctenophore. They are made like jellyfish, translucent and delicate. They are, despite their lack of physical substance, lethal predators. But only on larval fish and small crustaceans. The open sea is the habitat of jellyfish and ctenophores.

The open ocean seems barren, it’s true. Compared to the complexity of the coral reef, or Antarctic waters in their December bloom, or the nutrient rich currents that upswell along the coasts of Peru or southern Africa, the open ocean may seem like a desert. But look again. It is secretly and variously alive. Here swim the schools of yellowfin and bluefin tuna. And the quarter-ton marlin. Great scores of frigate birds patrol overhead. It is here we find the boobies, shearwaters, gannets, petrels, and the albatross. The seabirds prey on the flying fish, needlefish, and assorted small fry which hide in the ripples of the surface.

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Secrets of The Hand : The Line of Sun

by Anchalee

The Line of Sun is astrologically associated with the Sun. It is an important line on the palm. It is a sign of an extraordinary character and the person possessing a good Sun Line enjoys a distinguished and prominent career with recognition. It is the vertical line seen on the mount of the Sun, which we call the ring finger. This line starts from the wrist and ends on the mount just below the finger. It is one of the most misunderstood of all lines. The mistaken readings of this line have spoiled the reputation of many palmists.

Palmists consider this line a sure sign of success, wealth, and fame. It is essential to examine the remaining parts of the hand, especially the Head Line and the thumb in order to be sure the line is of good formation, to predict success. The Sun Line gives accurate knowledge about the quality of brilliancy and talents. It indicates whether they are genuine or false. The presence of the Sun Line in a bad hand, with crooked fingers is a sign of vulgarity and deception. If the Sun Line is good and the Fate Line is bad, success and fame cannot be predicted.

The Line of Sun tells the person’s proficiency in making friends, wealth and reputation. Its mere presence is not sufficient to credit the subject with great talents, or wealth. The best interpretation is that the line is an indication of tendencies in that direction, and if carefully tended and channelled, the possibility of success is there.

A good Sun Line tells of a person capable of focusing on a way to project himself into the realm of where his exceptional talents will be of most use. The old clich้ of “where there is a will, there is a way”, will apply here. A flabby hand lessons the change for success, as does a defective Head Line, or a weak thumb. The degree of influence can be judged by the length of the line. The longer the line, the more evident the qualities.

The Sun Line which runs from the top of the mount to the wrist depicts a highly talented and gifted person. When this line stops short, it may point to a neglect of exploiting certain gifts. If the line intersects with the Head and Heart Lines, it shows that these talents will be developed in middle life. This nearly always is interpreted as a mid-life career change.

When intermittent breaks along the Sun Line appear, it tells that the special talents of the person are either not being developed or not being used during these periods of time in their life. If the line stays unbroken for a long length, it tells of people who acknowledged their talents at an early age and this will show in life achievements. Sometimes an intermittent Sun Line shows up in people who are multi-talented and have many special gifts in different categories. Artistic brilliancy is often delayed until later years because of traditional family businesses, or choices made in vocations which do not give satisfaction.

These people sometimes stifle their dreams to please others who greatly influence their lives, such as family members. They also often decide that they may not find much financial gain with their gifts.

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Forgotten Classics : Hawkwind - All 200 word review

by Mott the Dog
e-mail: [email protected]

Various Star Ratings

For a band who became famous for having a voluptuous female dancer called Stacia that used to get her kit off, Hawkwind have released a lot of albums in their thirty one year career, and yes this poor mutt’s got everyone of them. They even had a hit single in 1972 when “Silver Machine” reached No 3 in Britain, and they all stood motionless on Top of the Pops.

The line up to Hawkwind has been so unstable that sometimes the line-up on the front of the cover of an album is different to the one on the back, because somebody left, or joined, or split in two, or combusted.

The list of musicians is endless, but to mention some of the more incredible are Ian Kiliminster (Lemmy of Motorhead to you guvnor), Bob Calvert, Hyw Lloyd Langton, Dave Brock, Nik Turner, Simon House, Harvey Bainbridge, Dik Mik, (who was in the band for two whole years before the others realized he wasn’t a musician) and, unbelievably, Ginger Baker, who must of woken up wondering what happened to Eric & Jack.

Through all the turmoil of changes they just kept on going, making Spinal Tap look serious, creating their own genre of music called (roll of drums) “Space Rock”, all the time making bands like Pink Floyd seem very straight. 31 years after the first Hawkwind gig they are still going today. I can’t tell you what the line up is as it will have changed in the last half an hour, but it doesn’t matter, as Dave the Dog said if you can’t headbang all the way through the 11 minutes & 32 seconds of Brainstorm, then your ready for a collar and lead.

If you want to see what I mean about Stacia, get the double CD Space Ritual. I don’t know about Space Rock, but definitely Space.

Some good Hawkwind CDs

1. In Search Of Space
2. Hall of the Mountain Grill
3. Electric Tepee
4. Area 54

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Shaman’s Rattle: Medicine Men - were they really healers?

by Marion

The Medicine Man (or woman, I hasten to add) has been around for almost as long as man has stood erect on this planet. Every culture had its Shamans, who in turn took on the magic mantle of medicine. Even today there are Shamanic practices and rituals performed, and Medicine Men dispense ancient cures for many disease processes.

Primitive man feared disease. The more primitive the tribes, the more they feared the sick. The unfortunates were neglected and avoided. It was not until the evolution of the Shaman’s craft which produced priests and medicine men who consented to treat disease that there was any hope given to those who were afflicted.

These Medicine Men evolved their own theories on the origins of disease. Interestingly, no matter how unscientific the theories, when looked at from the position of modern medicine, the Medicine Men were wholehearted in putting them into effect. They held unshakable faith in their methods of treatment, and that in itself, modern medicine has found, is a powerful element for healing. The faith held by the populace in these ancient Shamans was, after all, no different to the faith we have in our modern day healers.

But the primitive Medicine Man did not have a medicine bag filled with pills and potions, though its contents did hold many of the tools of trade or potent secret symbolic items.

Disease was initially treated by chanting, howling, the laying on of hands, or breathing on the patient. Later, it became customary for the entire tribe to assist the Shaman in howling the disease ghosts away. It was also not uncommon for a woman to be the diagnosing Shaman, while the treatment was administered by a man. Perhaps men were better ‘howlers’ while the females were more able to make contact with the diseased soul or spirit.

However, the treatment offered showed the evolution rather than revolution, of the Medicine Man, but the discovery of cause and effect was a major factor in this development.

Massage was developed in connection with incantation, rubbing the spirit out of the body, and was preceded by efforts to rub medicine in, in a similar fashion to rubbing liniments in. Cupping and sucking the affected parts, together with bloodletting, were also thought to be of value in getting rid of a disease-producing spirit. Both of these practices were still in vogue 100 years ago in the surgeries of British doctors!

Primitive man, through his Medicine Man, discovered that heat would relieve pain and the afflicted were exposed to sunlight, or had salves of hot clay placed on the body. How many of you had hot poultices applied to “draw” a boil when we were younger? Another of the Medicine Man’s bag of tricks still in use thousands of years later.

Many primitives considered that disease was caused by a wicked conspiracy between spirits and animals. This in turn gave rise to the belief that there existed a plant remedy for every animal-caused disease. Modern herbal treatments and pharmaceuticals were born from this concept.

The early Medicine Men also believed that the spirit causing sickness could be eliminated by sweating. Vapor baths were used, natural hot springs became primitive health resorts. Fasting and dieting were used, one of the first edicts of the modern health spa, where special ‘remedial’ foods are given, diets strictly applied and alcohol withdrawn!

The primitive Medicine Men also believed that the evil spirits which caused disease could be driven out of the body by foul smelling and bad tasting medicines. So nothing has changed there, has it? Try eating ‘raw’ penicillin, or hearken back to attempting to force medicines down unwilling children’s throats. If it tasted good there would be no struggle. It still smells and tastes bad!

No, despite their primitive and the sometimes scientifically flawed beliefs, the Medicine Man was, and in fact still is, a great healer. We and our forefathers still owe them a debt of gratitude. Without them, many of us would not be here!

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Women’s World : Don’t fret

by Lesley Warner

Anxiety is something we all suffer at some time in our life for a variety of different reasons. It can be extremely destructive to our health, and a haggard and stressed face is not a beautiful face. Here are some methods of dealing with it that I hope will help.

Obsessive worry is similar to a negative spiral. The more time you spend with it, the deeper you get into it. Only a deliberate act of will can free you from it. You have to make a deliberate effort to “get out of your own head” and turn off the worry by changing to another form of experience, such as an activity, communication, sensory distraction, ritual, expression of emotion, or even an alternative positive obsession.

Here are some examples of alternative experiences that can help pull you out of the negative spiral of obsessive worry:

Physical exercise: dancing, walking, running, swimming, weight lifting, biking, scrubbing floors, cleaning out a closet, sports activities.

Relaxation exercises can both help to relieve stress and help you become aware of your increased levels of stress (sort of an emotional “temperature taking”). This should then trigger the appropriate coping methods - if you have practiced and done your homework!

Preparation: Sit up, in a straight-backed chair, with your legs uncrossed, hands on lap or thighs. Make yourself comfortable - loosen your belt; take off your glasses, etc. Close your eyes to minimize distractions. Take in a deep breath, slowly, hold it for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation: You will relax by tightening and loosening muscles in various parts of your body. (Do not tense too tightly. If pain should develop, you may need to talk to your doctor). Tighten your hand muscles by making a fist. Feel the tension in your hand. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Loosen your hand muscles by opening your hand. Let go of the tension. Feel the relaxation. You may experience heaviness or warmth. Now, tighten and loosen each of the following muscle groups in succession, and notice the relaxation: arms, forehead, face, chest, shoulders, neck, upper back, stomach, lower back, thighs, calves, feet and toes. Remember to notice the tension, let go of the tension, and relax. Take in another deep breath slowly, hold it, and exhale slowly.

Deep Breathing: You will relax by breathing deeply and slowly. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, as if you were breathing into your stomach. Your stomach should rise and your chest remain still. Hold for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat 3 times. Do not hyperventilate - if you should feel light-headed, stop.

If you have difficulty concentrating on these exercises, get a friend or partner to help you, by slowly and calmly reading the exercises. Remember, an atmosphere of quiet and peace is most essential when learning these exercises, although when you have practiced them, you will be able to perform them in stressful settings.

Visualization: You will relax and release stress by visualizing a place where you feel calm. Imagine a place where you feel relaxed, comfortable and safe. This can be the beach, the mountains, a favourite room, a porch, on a boat, with a certain person or pet. This scene can be from memory, or imagination.

Picture the scene completely, in all its details: how it looks (shapes, colors) the sounds you hear (waves, wind, babbling brook) what you feel (breeze, texture of sand, feel of grass) and particular smells (pine needles, salt air, flowers. Imagine this scene, with details, for five minutes.

When you have practiced this exercise several times, you may want to progress to taking an imaginary walk down a path, through a gate, to the place of your choice, where you will feel safe. I realise that all this can sound very difficult to accomplish when all you want to do is cry, scream or pace the floor, but believe it does help, where the alternatives do not.

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Coins of the Realm : Scrooge McDuck and coin collecting

by Jan Olav Aamlid - President - House of the Golden Coin

Uncle Scrooge has always fascinated me. He has three cubic acres of cash and is a coin collector. How much money is three cubic acres of cash? It is five multiplujillion, nine impossibidillion, seven fantasticatrillion dollars and sixteen cents? And why is Scrooge McDuck not on the Forbes list of the wealthiest in the world? This is because ducks so far are not included.

As a coin collector Uncle Scrooge does upset me. He keeps most of his money in the money bin. Frequently, Uncle Scrooge takes his morning swim in the money bin and I assume the coins are knocked and scratched while the banknotes are wrinkled and destroyed. Coin collectors do not like nicks and scratches on their coins, and banknote-collectors like their paper money in nice condition.

Not only does Uncle Scrooge use the money bin as a swimming pool; he also shuffles the coins and banknotes around with a bulldozer. For a coin-or banknote collector the contents in Uncle Scrooge’s money-bin would not have great collectors value because of mishandling.

One might say that Uncle Scrooge does not look at the coins and banknotes in the money bin as a collection, rather than money for his investments. Uncle Scrooge makes investments all around the world, but I rarely see him losing money. There must be more and more money put in to the money bin, so I would think far down in the money bin there are some rarities not harmed by his dives and bulldozer driving.

Anyway, Uncle Scrooge does have his coin collection neatly organized. He still has his first dime or 10-cents, which he keeps for good luck. Several attempts at stealing this dime has been made, and I believe the condition of this dime is very bad from all its adventures. Anyway, this is probably Uncle Scrooge’s most precious possession, even though it must have nicks, scratches and is probably very worn.

Where Uncle Scrooge really disappoints me is when he sits down to polish his neatly organized coin collection. Sometimes the office boy Donald Duck is ordered to do it. Coin collectors should know that a polished coin is worth less than half of a not polished coin. Even cleaning can reduce the value of a coin dramatically.

Uncle Scrooge does have some knowledge of coin collecting. He and Donald Duck were on the way to a coin-dealer to sell some of Uncle Scrooge’s rare coins when they got stuck in a traffic jam and Donald got upset. Uncle Scrooge told him to relax because the price of the coins he was going to sell was increasing every minute.

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Unbottlenecking the Promenade: One of the great attractions for Pattaya is the promenade stretching from the pier in the south to the Dusit Resort in the north. Tourists like to saunter along the beachfront, taking in the sights (on the occasional unhazy day), smells (as long as the wind is blowing in the right direction) and sounds (in some cases ‘noise’ might be the appropriate word) of Pattaya Bay. It’s also free, unless of course one succumbs to the exhortations of the multifarious wall-sitters who offer a look at other interesting but less edifying sights at knockdown prices.

For many Thais, if it were practical to catch a baht bus from the bedroom to the bathroom via a detour to the kitchen for a quick bite to eat they would avail themselves of the opportunity. Therefore, the thought that hundreds of foreigners, both tourists and ex-pats alike, actually want to walk the length of the Pattaya promenade out in the heat of the day seems ludicrous and would bring to mind the famous Noel Coward lines, ‘Mad dogs and Englishmen...’ That is, if they had ever heard of Noel Coward.

Nevertheless, for many foreigners, and not just Englishmen, this is one of the real attractions of being in Fun Town.

Over the last few years, the walkway has been upgraded and beautified, but at one stage it looked as though the beautification process had run amok with the myriad flowerbeds lining the promenade in danger of turning the place into an obstacle course.

One particular spot became Pattaya’s version of the Khyber Pass. Just opposite Pattayaland Soi 1 is a tree that grows at an angle that required even the odd dwarf to duck his or her head when passing by because the bricks containing the flowerbed had been laid so near.

However, just prior to the onset of high season the flowerbeds and their attendant bricks were removed. The city’s promenade beautification committee saw the error of their ways (despite the fact it was a noble idea) and in less time than you could say ‘rhododendron’ had most of the bricks and flowers removed. The question is, after high season, will they suddenly re-appear and wouldn’t the money expended be better served cleaning up some of the unsightly parts of Fun Town?

TIP (This Is Pattaya): How much are your imported CD’s worth? About 90 baht each, over and above what you already paid for them in the shop and the cost of freight to Thailand, if a recent ex-pat’s experience is anything to go by. An American decided to have his collection of some 600 CD’s sent to him here in the Land of Hefty Import Duty and when they hit the docks the local Customs officials determined that they had struck the El Dorado of CD collections and decided to hold the little metal and plastic noisemakers to ransom. Even though it was pretty obvious the collection was personal and the CD’s weren’t going to finish up being hawked in the Soi Buakhow market, Customs decided to demand a five figure sum before the CD’s could be handed over. Either that or they thought the American’s taste in music was so appalling that to have this material released upon an unsuspecting Thai public really warranted a hefty impost.

In the Hot Spots: Cat’s Whiskers (Soi Yamato) has for a long time struggled as an ogling den and the latest management has finally decided enough is enough and turned the place into a Sierra Tango room. It seems the dine and dash style of bar is increasingly being seen as the way to make your fortune here in Fun Town.

Would you like chips or fries with that? One of the great culinary questions here in Fun Town is who makes the best chips (aka french-fries). I will nominate two contenders. T.W. One (Walking Street) for chips that mum used to cook and the Siam Restaurant (Soi Diana) for the crinkle cut variety. For those poor unfortunates who have been raised on a diet of American fast food french-fries (or chips) then I can only (a) feel sorry for you and your taste buds and (b) suggest you try the real thing, and I’m not talking about Coke.

My e-mail address is: [email protected] 

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Guide to buying a small dog : Standard Dschshund

Shetland Sheepdog

Good Points: affectionate, loyal family pet, sense of fun, watchdog with loud bark

Take Heed: prone to disc trouble, self-willed, slightly aggressive with strangers if unchecked

The Dachshund (or Teckel) was bred as a badger hound, with a keen sense of smell, coupled with courage and spunk. This breed was developed to hunt and kill the badger in its own lair. These little dogs can burrow and will demonstrate this ability in your garden unless discouraged. Since they are good barkers with big voices they make excellent watchdogs. They may be wary of strangers and can be a little aggressive unless socialised.

Some Dachshunds are still bred as hunting dogs and will bravely tackle opponents larger than themselves. However, these days their role is mainly as a companion. These sporty little dogs are happy and vivacious little pets, brimming with affection for their owners.

Size: Standard smooth coat: weight up to 11.3 kg for dogs and 10.4 for bitches. Miniature: ideal weight, 4.5 kg.

Exercise: Regular exercise is important, as the tendency to put on weight must be discouraged. This dog will not go on 10 mile hikes. But short frequent walks are advisable, with plenty of runs in a well fenced garden.

Grooming: The Dachshund’s coat is easy to keep in condition. The Smooth-coat needs only a few minutes’ attention every day with a hound glove and soft cloth. The Long-hair and Wire-hair Dachshund should be groomed with a stiff bristled brush.

Health Care: Disc trouble can befall this breed because of its short legs and long back. Care should be taken to prevent this dog from jumping on furniture or endless trips up high staircases. Children should be careful not to drop the Dachshund and injure its back. Careful handling of this breed when picking it up should be practised. The Dachshund’s teeth are prone to tarter and regular scaling will be needed.

Origin and History: The Dachshund was bred as a badger hound or hunting dog and is known to have existed from the oldest breeds of German hunting dogs such as the Bibarhund.

When the German Dachshund Club as formed in 1888, there was only one variety, the Smooth-haired Dachshund, whose wrinkled paws, then a characteristic, have now been bred out. Today there are three varieties, the Smooth-hair, the Long-hair, and the Wire-hair. The Wire-hair was introduced through crossing the Smooth-hair with the Scottish Dandie Dinmont and other terriers. The Long-hair was crossed with the spaniel and an old German gun dog, the Stoberhund. The exaggerated bowed legs and extreme length of the back has been reduced in modern breeding.

In Europe and Britain, during both World Wars, the Dachshund, recognised as the national dog of the Teutonic Empire, was often discarded, abused and even stoned in the streets because of its German ancestry. Happily that sad state of affairs is long past and the loveable little Dachshund is popular again.

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