pattayamail.gif (2145 bytes)



HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
Family Money: Hoping for Rewards
Successfully Yours: Bruno Keller
Snap Shots: Making food good enough to eat
Modern Medicine: Stress seminars - do they work?

Heart to Heart with Hillary

Dining Out: Purple Star - star ascendant?
Animal Crackers: Breeding Cats Part 2
Down The Iron Road: In praise of steam
Social Commentary by Khai Khem
The Computer Doctor
Sea Worlds
Forgotten Classics
Women’s World
Guide to buying a large dog
Shaman’s Rattle
The Message In The Moon
Coins of the Realm

Family Money: Hoping for Rewards

By Leslie Wright

Hope springs eternal and hope usually precedes any decision to invest. Few investors seriously contemplate the risk of losing money. But that risk goes hand-in-hand with most investments.

Never mind the highly volatile dot-com companies in which so many private investors got their financial fingers badly burnt last year. Just remember the likes of Marks & Spencer, for decades the darling of UK investors looking for reliable dividends and steady capital appreciation. Alas, the company has been teetering for the last couple of years, leaving its loyal investors nursing losses and unsure what to do next, and contemplating whether or when to pull out.

Indeed, according to one performance-tracking system, investors in M&S have seen their returns fall by more than any other company in the FTSE 350: 67% between December 1997 and December 2000. Other high profile British names showing similar falls include British Energy, Rank Group, Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) and Tate & Lyle.

Assess before you invest

So it’s worth pausing to assess risk before you invest. The experts tend to give different investments different risk gradings.

Pure cash is regarded as the lowest risk - Risk Rating 1. Bonds from stable governments (UK, USA, Europe) are rated 2. Major-market equities (US, UK, Europe) are rated 4; emerging-market equities (Thailand, Mexico, Brazil, Hong Kong, etc.) are rated 5. Most investors don’t go beyond this - but the ‘standard’ scale goes all the way up to 10.

Risk rating 6 applies to commodities, futures & options; 7 is foreign-exchange dealing (‘forex’ as it’s popularly known); 8 is mineral exploration; 9 is venture capital; and 10 is establishing your own business. (Yes, folks, setting up your own business is the riskiest of all, because at least 50% of firms fail within the first two years of being formed - and this figure may be higher in Pattaya, by all accounts. Setting up a beer bar in Pattaya probably deserves a risk-rating of 11+...)

Careful readers will have noted that risk-rating 3 is missing from the list. This is assigned to a globally-diversified balanced portfolio which is actively managed.

Fund managers usually assign three ‘risk profiles’ to portfolios: growth (higher risk - RR 4-5), balanced (medium risk - RR3), and conservative (low risk - RR 1-2). A highly-personalised portfolio can of course be adjusted between these ratings: a slightly conservative portfolio might have the aggregate risk rating of 2.5, for example.

With any investment, however, at worst you risk losing all the money you invest. Usually, though, you risk losing only some of your money if the value of your investment falls.

And it is worth mentioning that the loss is not locked in until you sell out. Many investors track their investments closely and complain they’ve lost money, which in fact they haven’t unless they sell now. If they sit back and wait for another year or so, their investment may well climb back above the point at which they bought in, and then that same investment will have made money.

With investments as with anything else, patience is a virtue - especially when one’s going through a difficult period for markets as we are in now.

Shrewd investors see this as a buying opportunity for the longer term; many people on the other hand are panicking and converting their equity investments to cash, bemoaning the loss they will inevitably suffer as a result.

It is worthwhile to remember why the investment was made in the first place. Was it a short-term speculation, or to achieve a longer term goal?

If a short-term speculative investment, the risk was there all along. If you were investing for the longer term - to build a retirement or college fund, for instance - then you can afford to wait for your investment strategy to pay off.

Over the longer term - 5 years or more - equities outperform bonds which outperform cash. And usually by quite a wide margin. In the short term, however, they will be more volatile, and you can suffer a loss. But this is only a paper loss, unless and until you cash it in.

Nonetheless, with any investment, you might get back no more than you put in. Or you might get back less in real terms than you put in because your investment fails to keep up with inflation. Or you might get back less than you could get because you chose a dog - an investment that performs less well than others. More subtly, you risk missing out on investment returns.

If choosing the right investment wasn’t hard enough, another risk is currency risk - one expatriates are especially exposed to. An investment that does well but is denominated in a currency other than your own base currency - the one you live in - may not provide you with maximum returns if your main currency rises in value in relation to the other currency.

If the US dollar shoots up, your euro funds may suffer. Risk is relative, but is no sure-fire indicator of whether you’ll be a winner or a loser.

Some investors have done very nicely by being the first to invest in shares of new companies, despite such shares being higher-risk investments.

At the same time, cautious investors have lost money through lower risk deposit accounts even in the relatively well-regulated UK or US banking market. They have spotted a small bank that, maybe for years, has topped the “best buy” deposit tables, only to become a victim when that bank suddenly goes belly up. (And remember that banks make their money, from which they pay you the higher interest, by lending money to others. Invariably it is less creditworthy customers who borrow from banks which offer higher interest to depositors - and charge borrowers accordingly - because they were unable to borrow from cheaper ones. The BCCI fiasco was a prime example, although fraudulent practices and malfeasance had a lot to do with that as well.)

Investors who consider themselves as sensible rather than cautious can lose out - such as those who entrusted their money to Equitable Life, the solidly respectable UK insurance company. The company was recently forced to close its doors to new investors because it misjudged future inflation and interest rates. It gave guarantees on annuity rates that it can now meet only at the expense of other investors.

Cash on deposit

Deposit accounts are reckoned to be the least risky investments. Assuming the savings institution does not fail, your capital will never fall in value.

Some advisers say that deposit accounts are unsuitable for investors who want capital growth. But you can grow your capital simply by re-investing all the interest.

Larger banks and building societies may be a safer bet than smaller institutions. In well-regulated markets deposit protection can help investors should an institution get into trouble. But protection is limited. On the Isle of Man, for example - one of the best jurisdictions for offshore building societies - the maximum you can get back if a bank or building society fails (regardless of the size of the investment) is ฃ15,000.

You can reduce the risk by spreading your cash around different institutions. The best sterling accounts are currently paying 6%-7%, while euro-denominated and dollar-denominated accounts offer slightly less.

According to, the savings account comparison site, the best current savings rate offshore is Isle of Man-based Britannia International’s Rate Tracker Plus 30 Day Notice at 6.8%.

But the top rates typically require quite substantial amounts of money to be deposited (in excess of ฃ50,000), and for quite a period of time - typically six months. If you can tie up your money for such a period you may want to lock in to a fixed interest account, especially at a time when variable rates are expected to fall.

A safe but flexible alternative would be offshore money funds from one of the highly reputable houses such as AAA-rated Rothschilds, for example, based in Guernsey.

Wholesale rates of interest are paid (what the banks pay each other), and your money is still instantly accessible - and when required, will be transferred to your local service-bank account for free. (As compared with typical bank charges for a telegraphic transfer, which range from ฃ15-ฃ35, depending on the bank and the amount.) But the interest rates fluctuate from day to day.

Such rates may not offer a route to instant riches. But, with the benefit of hindsight, investments in cash did better than investments on the stock markets in 2000. Indeed, the average equity investor lost money in 2000.

Fixed-interest investments

Fixed-interest investments - government and corporate bonds - are those that pay out a regular fixed income and (in most cases) promise to repay the investor a fixed amount of capital at a predetermined redemption date.

They are, however, traded on the stock market. When interest rates are falling, bonds look more attractive and the market price tends to rise. When interest rates are rising, bonds are deemed less attractive than the accessibility of cash accounts, so their price tends to fall.

The term “fixed interest” is widely misunderstood. It is not the same as the fixed rate of interest paid on a time-deposit bank account. The “fixed” element refers to the amount of dividend that will be paid out on the bond throughout its lifetime, fixed at the start.

While this remains fixed in relation to the promised repayment value of the bond at maturity, it varies as a percentage of the traded price of the bond on the open market. Thus the yield is always inversely proportional to the trading price, which fluctuates depending on supply and demand.

The market value of bonds tends to be affected by changes in the general level of interest rates and on how close a bond is to its redemption date.

For sterling-based investors, UK government gilts are reckoned to carry the lowest risk - but investors can still lose money. This is because investors may want to sell them on the stock market at a time when their market value has fallen since they were bought - when the return on equities looks more enticing, for example, or when bank interest rates have risen to almost the same level as the dividend on the bond.

For dollar-based investments US government bonds (Treasury bills) have outperformed equities for the first time since 1992 and future interest rate cuts will boost them further.

Companies and other non-government organisations also issue tradable bonds. Private investors tend to invest in these bonds through investment funds such as UK unit trusts or offshore funds.

Some funds offer higher potential yields than others. Always find out how they manage this trick. The highest-yielding funds are almost certainly investing in higher-risk bonds - referred to as ‘junk’ bonds - issued by companies that are at greater risk of defaulting on their commitments. Dabble only if you have money to lose.

Even the most stable of bond markets can under perform: according to fund monitor Standard & Poor’s Micropal, the average return for offshore Fixed Interest UK funds over three years is just 8%.

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.

Back to Columns Headline Index

Successfully Yours: Bruno Keller

By Dr. Iain Corness

The Community Services Director of the Jomtien-Pattaya Rotary Club is an active, determined, and hard working man. He is Bruno Keller, a successful Swiss businessman who came to Thailand to retire, but here in Pattaya experienced his first failure in life - he was unable to sit by the pool and twiddle his thumbs. He needed to get back to work, and that he has done with a vengeance.

By looking at the early life of Bruno Keller you can get an insight into the Bruno Keller of today. He was born in Schaffhausen, in the German speaking region of Switzerland, and was the second son of a successful father who was the director of the local water authority.

He was a good student, who found that even as a young boy he had an ability to move and motivate his fellow pupils. At that stage schoolboy Bruno thought he might like to be a defence lawyer, but this was not to be his future. Something else became apparent which was to shape his future from then on. This was a very strong independent streak.

This independence first manifested itself when rather than just accept parental handouts (which he admits were freely available), he worked in vacation jobs to give himself a feeling of financial self-sufficiency. These jobs also gave the young Bruno an interest in marketing and sales - the career direction to which he then applied himself, going to Zurich University to study and graduate in Economics, Finance and Administration.

At this point he joined the workforce proper, taking a job as a product manager for an international pharmaceutical company based in his hometown. However, he had only been in it a short time when he returned to his studies, graduating in Communications and Marketing from INSEAD in Paris.

Bruno Keller, the marketing man, was now ready for the world and he joined part of the Rothmans group as a sales director where he stayed for two years before moving onwards and upwards to become the marketing and sales director of British American Tobacco S.A. based in Geneva and London. He was also the youngest BAT director in the world at that time. He was on the ladder of success, being promised the position of CEO within another three years. But even dream runs such as this could not hold Bruno - he wanted a new challenge.

That challenge came in the form of the position as the managing director of a sporting goods business in Switzerland. “For the first time in my life I had full responsibility for everything in a company.” That he rose to the challenge is a matter of public record - Bruno successfully headed the company for eight years before being approached by the Puma Group in Switzerland where he became their managing director for another seven years.

Part of the position with Puma necessitated travelling the world three times a year and it was on one of those tours that he had a stopover in Thailand in 1986. This in turn led to further stopovers and by 1990 Bruno had bought a house in Pattaya, but at that stage considered it to be a real estate investment, rather than anything else.

The Puma contract ran out in 1993 and it was then that Bruno made another of his “all or nothing” decisions - he was going to retire and come to live in Pattaya! “When I make a decision I go for it. I go for all, I never go for half.” In fact, Erika Keller, his wife of 23 years says, “Bruno goes through a wall if it is necessary!”

So Bruno, the “grey eminence” as he jokingly referred to himself, threw himself into retirement and failed miserably. He took his books to the pool to read (he reads a complete book at one sitting), he jogged and he swam every day - but this could not possibly be the life for someone who had previously co-masterminded the most successful product launch in the cigarette industry in Switzerland. He spoke about the early retirement, “This was the big failure. I thought to myself that this was not the life I wanted to follow.”

So in a typically Bruno Keller way he began working again, making things happen, forcing the pace, motivating people and turning businesses around. He commutes to Switzerland like you and I travel to Rayong. He has businesses going full steam ahead over there with one of his brothers, with his son (from a previous marriage) and with another international Internet consortium. And Bruno’s position? Chairman and CEO, of course! If that is not enough, he has another Swiss based business about to open a branch in Pattaya. It too, will be a success.

For Bruno, the motivator, success is not just financial. It is the satisfaction that comes from the creation, the motivation and the movement. However, make no mistake about it, Bruno Keller is a man who gives 100% to his projects, be they business ventures or fund raising for charities such as the Jomtien-Pattaya Rotary. “Hard work cannot fail at the end,” he says with complete assurance.

He admits that he can get annoyed if others do not perform to the best of their abilities, but says that in all endeavours, “Someone has to lead.” He followed that with, “I would never ask someone to do something I would not do.” And you get left with the feeling that Bruno has just given you a 100% guarantee.

His advice to others is simple. “Try everything, do not let yourself get too dependent, go for your visions and try your best to achieve.” And that has been the life plan that Bruno himself has followed. Very successfully!

Back to Columns Headline Index

Snap Shots: Making food good enough to eat

by Harry Flashman

Harry has noticed that a number of restaurants in Pattaya have “photographic” menus, with colour prints of the various dishes. Letting the diners see what each item consists of is an excellent idea in principle, but if poorly executed is a sure fire way to execute the business as well.

Photo by Jordan Miller Photography

The strange aspect about food photography is that what you see (in the viewfinder) is not necessarily what you get (back from the photo processing shop). Just like photographing people, where some subjects are not as ‘photogenic’ as others, likewise, some food is not as photogenic as some other food items. This is the reason that food photographers command such high rates in the commercial photography business. Not only do they enjoy high rates, but they employ an army of helpers as well, including food ‘stylists’, whose job it is to make the food look appealing, so that the photographer only has to worry about lighting the food in the most spectacular manner.

What brought all this on was the sight of a new restaurant owner the other day busily keeping his kitchen gainfully employed while he snapped away as the waitress brought out their entire menu repertoire, one after the other, dumping them down on the same tablecloth. For some reason known only to him, he was photographing with the neon light inside the restaurant as the source, rather than his on-camera flash. By the time the fourth dish had appeared, there were gravy stains on the aforesaid tablecloth and everyone was getting edgy. I left before it became all too much for me! He expects great mouth watering shots. What he will have got is dull flat and lifeless food with a peculiar green tinge. Definitely a turn off.

So how should you photograph food? Well, the first thing is attention to detail. If you are going to photograph the dish in a place setting, then the tablecloth has to be immaculate, the cutlery polished, the glassware spotless and no gravy stains! The food has also to be artistically arranged on the plate - and no splotches of gravy!

That is just for starters. The next item you have to look at is how you are going to light your culinary masterpieces. In the commercial photography studio, the dedicated food photographer would erect a “light tent” of white polystyrene and bounce electronic flash inside - but for the non-photographer restaurant owner, a brightly lit corner of the restaurant with the light source being a large window will work, or even, at a pinch, the camera’s own electronic flash. Brightness is necessary to stop the food looking grey and dull. If you want a “warm” look to the food, then you can use internal reflector tungsten bulbs as well, but be warned: if you use the tungsten light as the sole source the food will turn out very orange. Lighting is just so important. If you do not have bright sparkly light then potatoes will look grey, and even the china plates look drab and dirty.

In places such as the USA, there are very firm rules about photographing food. Mainly the fact that you are not allowed to use substitute materials which “look” like food, but are actually not. This covers the old trick of using shaving cream as the “cream” on top of cappuccino coffee for example, or polystyrene foam as “ice cream”. Personally I think this is a load of ballyhoo, because the photograph is just to represent what the food will look like - you don’t eat a photograph, now do you!

Another trap for the unwary - red wine photographs far too dark - in fact it often looks almost black. The trick here is to tape some white paper to the back of the bottle and dilute the wine to around half strength. This allows the camera to “see” through the wine and give it a pleasant colour.

No, food photography is difficult, so try different lighting ideas till you get something that looks appealing. And don’t show dull photographs to your customers!

Back to Columns Headline Index

Modern Medicine: Stress seminars - do they work?

by Dr Iain Corness Consultant

I have been to quite a few seminars on stress in my medical lifetime - most were like the curate’s egg, good in parts. One reason for this is that until recently “Stress” did not exist in medical textbooks. The medical pedagogues of my day were far too busy hammering anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and all the other “ologies” into our unwilling skulls, so that “unimportant” bits like stress were not covered.

My freshly graduated doctor son, Jonathan, having been taught in this more “enlightened” age, of course does not believe me. The psychological aspects of medicine are now being given their rightful place these days, in the hallowed halls of academia world-wide. In my undergraduate day we came out of medical schools with shiny doctor’s badges on our freshly starched white coats, ironed lovingly by our proud mothers. We could in theory diagnose the 8th beta cell adenoma of the pancreas in the world, but had no idea what to do for tonsillitis, the second most common disease of childhood. Stress was much the same.

Our first introduction to stress was exactly the same as today’s new doctors. In young Jonathan’s words, “All of a sudden, people actually expect you to know something.” This responsibility can sometimes be just too much, and a fair swag of the first year graduates suffer from stress. The fact that they work incredibly long hours just adds to this, and the fact that the first year residents emerge from under all this stress is a testament to the resilience of the young. I, for one, would not like to go through all that again.

However, stress is something we all have met and know, and for many people, stress is what makes living exciting. Stress is the impetus to make them perform. A kind of “perform or perish” threat they give themselves - a self induced stress, and in many ways quite different from the stress forced upon you from outside. In the old terminology we used to call these people the Type A personality.

The Type B laid back sort of person was supposed to be the opposite of the Type A, but I’m afraid the “lazy” Type B is also exposed to stress - the kind the new medical graduates get. Other people’s demands on you. Other people’s expectations of you.

This Saturday 24th, there is an interesting seminar on just this subject. “Stress in Thailand? How do YOU cope?” It will be an interactive seminar, so you will not be subjected to the speakers (I’m one) droning on for hours and sending everyone to sleep. We are looking for all the positive ways that the ex-pat community have managed to overcome the stresses of daily living in a “foreign” country. And no matter how long you have been here, you are a foreigner - your passport says so!

If you would like to attend, and it’s free, come along to the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital at 1.30 p.m. this Saturday. The principal speaker is Dominique Norz a psychologist from Bangkok. We’d love to see you and get your input too.

Back to Columns Headline Index

Dear Hillary,

I always seem to be running behind time and get late for appointments. I don’t try to be late, it just works out that way. My husband gets very annoyed if he has to wait for me and is threatening that next time he will just drive off and leave me at home. Do you think he means it, or is he calling my bluff? Or should I try to work out how to be on time? Everyone else in Thailand seems to run late, so why shouldn’t I? Why can’t he just take things as they come like everyone else I know?


Dear Tina,

You certainly are a mixed up chick with lots of questions aren’t you? One minute you sound as if you want to be punctual, but in the next breath you want your husband to change. You are going to have to make up your mind girl before you’ll ever be on time. Who’s got the problem? Clock-watching Clarence or Timeless Tina? Hillary gets the more than sneaking suspicion that it’s you. However, it is easy to be on time. You already know how long it takes you to get ready, so start getting ready, no matter what the excuse, that much time before you are due to leave. Anyone who is consistently late is either totally disorganised or doing it deliberately as an attention seeking device. Next time set your alarm clock and drop everything when it rings.

Dear Hillary,

A very good friend of mine has fallen in love with a girl in England when he was back there for his holidays over Xmas. All he ever does is talk about her and tell us all how wonderful she is. If she were that wonderful we wouldn’t mind, but another of our workmates says he knows the girl and says that her girlfriends say she is married already. Our friend wants to get engaged to this girl, should we tell him that she is already married, or what?


Dear Barry,

Butt out, Barry! Keep mum, chum. You are perpetuating unsubstantiated rumour here, aren’t you, my Petal. This is a private matter between the girl and your friend. This is a classic lose-lose situation. If you are a good friend, just be there for him if the rumour is correct.

Dear Hillary,

After years of being a non-smoker my husband has taken up the filthy habit again. The whole house smells of cigarette smoke and when he’s around all weekend it’s even worse. I have asked him to smoke outside the house but he refuses, saying it’s his home too. What should I do, Hillary?

Browned-off & Housewife

Dear B&H,

You have certainly got a problem, poppet. Men are unreasonable enough to begin with, but when someone looks like interfering with their addictions, they really dig their heels in. But both of you live there, so draw a line down the middle of the house and tell him to select which half of the house is his, and he can smoke in that side only. In the meantime I would suggest you take up indoor rhubarb farming, and use lots of fresh fertilizer. You know, the really runny “pongy” kind. Of course moving out is another option. For either of you.

Dear Hillary,

I met a woman at a party last night and I can’t get her out of my mind. I didn’t even get her name as we only saw each other across the room, so I haven’t even spoken to her, but there was the spark of magic there in her eyes promising just so much. How do I get to find her again? I think I am going mad with desire.


Dear Robert,

What sort of a love-struck calf are you? How would Hillary know where to find her? I wasn’t even at your party. Have you had your hormone levels checked recently? You are not going mad with desire young man, you are just mad. Wise up.

Dear Hillary,

In the midst of so much pulchritude, it is amazing that any young swain survives holidays in Thailand. At every turn there is temptation awaiting the unwary and unknowing. My sister’s son, my nephew, is a shy young man, of eligible status and has been told by my sister that he is to come to Thailand to spend three months with me. She has spoken to me too and wishes for me to see this young man blossom into adult life. I believe that she is asking too much of me, her brother, and the responsibility is too great. Do you concur with my opinion on this Miss Hillary?


Dear Monty,

I must concur (love using words like that). I think the young man should just be brought over here and Hillary will do the honours for you, so to speak. By the time he is ready to return to his mother he will know all about wine, women and song, provided he has been given a decent sized well filled wallet for his and his tutor’s use. Oooh, Hillary is quite looking forward to this. I’ll teach him all about French champagne first, we’ll go and see that nice young man Ranjith at the Royal Cliff and onwards and upwards from there. By the way, Monty, you do come across as a bit pompous, petal.

Back to Columns Headline Index


Brief encounters

Authorities throughout Asia are clamping down on the latest disco threat to social order known as funk dancing. This phenomenon involves extremely close and zestful dancing between two partners, who are most scantily clad, with the result that one becomes pregnant. Owners of gay clubs are stressing that they have not had any problems yet.

Tint reprieve

The proposed law whereby car windows must let in at least 40% daylight is to be scrapped even before it has been adopted. Law enforcers are disappointed with the findings of a transport commission inquiry which had been asked to find out what was so special about 40%. The report said that the only significant thing about 40% was that it was midway between 30% and 50%.

Choice checkout

A football fan who died expressly insisted that his son take along his ashes to every home game of his favorite team. But the son went one better. He renewed his father’s season ticket so that now the ashes have their own seat.

Not for farangs

Virtual Card, issued by Siam Commercial Bank, and E-Web from Thai Farmers’ Bank, are the latest credit cards to be issued specifically for Internet shopping. They have pre-set spending limits and added safety features to prevent fraud. But a flock of farangs applying for the latest technology have been told they are not eligible. Unless, that is, they have a work permit.

Visa reinstated

The Laos government’s suspension of visa on arrival for foreigners only lasted a couple of weeks pending high level government meetings in Vientiane. Farangs report that you can now once again cross the Friendship Bridge or land at the main Laos airport and obtain your 15 day visa on the spot.

New start in Malaysia

Malaysia has launched its Silver Hair Programme to persuade British retirees to go and live in this Commonwealth country. You must deposit around 18,000 British pounds in a local bank and show an income of at least 1,800 pounds a month which is much more restrictive than the Thai regulations. However, the publicity blurb does make clear that Malaysia has three pin electric plugs at 240 volts which is more than Thailand can claim.

Popular venue

Seventh Heaven bakeshop in Soi Seven is doing a roaring trade in English style breakfasts and light meals. Or if you fancy pie and chips or some delicious home made bread give it a try. Baked by the guy who has made bread in most continents of the world. Recommended by GEOC (Grapevine Eating Out Collective).

Overland to Angkor

The cheapest way to see the Cambodian temples at Angkor Wat and nearby Angkor Thom is to go by road via the border town of Aranyaprathet. The architectural wonders are about 150 km from the Thai border. Expect to pay between 5,000 and 8,000 baht for a four day tour, but you need a Cambodian visa in advance.

Tintin sleaze

Tintin, the boy reporter of comic strip fame, has been caught up in a new adventure. More than 600 forged copies of Tintin in Thailand have been confiscated. The lewd stories show Tintin with his friends Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus indulging in outrageous behavior in Bangkok red light district bars. Fortunately, the group hasn’t discovered Pattaya yet so keep it secret.

Tax surprise

Reader SD asks whether a salary paid outside Thailand may be liable to tax here. It could be. Once remuneration is paid for work performed in Thailand or the business of an employer in Thailand, a tax liability could arise whether the actual cash is paid in this country or abroad. Just because you are paid in, say, dollars in the United States does not in itself preclude the interest of the tax authorities here. In practice, the level of enforcement is low for expats working in the kingdom on a temporary basis.

In a Soi Eight bar

“Due to the present economic recession, the light at the end of the tunnel will be turned off at weekends.”

Back to Columns Headline Index

Dining Out: Purple Star - star ascendant?

by Miss Terry Diner

One of the amazing aspects of the restaurant business in Pattaya is the never-ending plethora of eating places, trying just so hard to be all things for all people. So when Paul Fleming, one of the directors of the newly opened Purple Star Coffee Shop and Restaurant asked Miss Terry to come for breakfast, the Team went with some trepidation - in what direction was this new restaurant heading?

Regular readers will also know that mornings are not Miss Terry’s finest hours, so it was with relief that I found out that breakfast began at 10 a.m. and finished at 9 p.m. A true “all day” breakfast.

Open for just one month, Purple Star is situated where the Portofino Restaurant once stood, in the soi alongside Day-Night Bazaar. The restaurant is on the corner of the building and is opened up on two sides, allowing a fresh breeze to come through. The floor is tiled and the restaurant appears spotlessly clean. The tables are topped in black Melamine complete with padded metal chairs, and a table top cane basket holds the salt and pepper, tomato sauce and tooth picks. There are also lounging woven cane chairs around the outside of the restaurant with matching glass-topped tables. Brightly painted murals (done by a local Thai painter), continue the “Purple Star” theme, as does the crockery, which has a decidedly Clarice Cliff look about it, but is manufactured in Bangkok, according to Paul.

The menu is small and very simple, very English, and revolves around the concept of a 99 baht “English” breakfast. This consists of two eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, baked beans or tomatoes, toast, and marmalade or jam. Of course there is coffee to go with this, or even Darjeeling tea.

Another page is devoted to sandwiches. These are not the usual skimpy version seen around town, but full triple deckers with smoked chicken, tuna and cheddar cheese, BLT, ham and cheese, chicken club, egg mayo and egg and sausage fillings for 69 baht. The available drinks are also in the menu and cover the six most popular beers (55-60 baht) and house wines, milk shakes and soft drinks. There is also a page with “shorts” generally around 80 baht. Being a new restaurant, Paul says that the menu items are in a state of flux, being very much demand driven. The English breakfast has been popular, but the feeling is that there should be just a little more choice for later in the day. It is coming, says Paul.

But breakfast was what I came to try and I was asked my choice of how the eggs should be cooked (fried, scrambled or poached) and whether I wanted tomatoes or baked beans and marmalade or jam. The waiter quickly understood my “scrambled, beans and marmalade,” and scurried away to return very quickly with a large Purple Star painted ceramic plate, filled with my English breakfast. Well, “almost” English, because Paul confided that the baked beans were from Australia!

So how was my breakfast? It was very filling and very tasty and the scrambled eggs were cooked to perfection. The freshly brewed coffee came with either milk or cream, and again in the “Clarice Cliff” crockery. I was certainly not hungry, and in fact missed lunch, still feeling quite requite.

Purple Star is in many ways different from the usual Pattaya restaurant. Neither of the directors has to “live” out of the venture, so the restaurant is free to follow its own “star” - hence the steadfast “English” direction, without the usual need to add on a “Thai” menu to try and cater for every taste.

Purple Star Coffee Shop and Restaurant will be one to watch, especially if you are a fan of English food. It is not pretentious, but is definitely a cut above the average English eating house around town. Worth a visit.

Purple Star Coffee Shop and Restaurant, 20/212 M 10, Soi Day-Night Bazaar, tel. 01-903 2447.

Back to Columns Headline Index

Animal Crackers: Breeding Cats Part 2

by Mirin MacCarthy

Mamma and Papa

Suitable breeding stock has to be selected with special care; however, it is not always an easy task. Responsible breeders with hygienic premises and well-fed bright eyed and bold young kittens must be located. Do not be tempted to buy from a crowded market here or you will certainly come to grief.

The weak or the strong

Choose potential breeders more carefully than you would your own partner. Never be tempted to buy sick, weak or dependent kittens for hand raising, and certainly not for future breeding stock. Take a vet or an experienced breeder with you if you are uncertain. Potential breeders are ideally healthy, strong, vaccinated, independent kittens from award winning unrelated parents.

Know your type

So you have researched what breed of cat you want to reproduce. Research into the demand and market for the gorgeous little kittens is vital. The next step is to view the parents.

Ask to see the parents

After learning a little about heredity and breed types as covered in previous articles, then check out the parents. Expect to able to see the mother at least. Ask to view her and the sire’s pedigree papers to check for champion quality; also for any inbreeding.

Papa can’t come too

Owing a breeding stud cat is not practical unless you can keep him in a huge outdoor run with a neutered companion for company for his whole life. You cannot keep entire toms inside the house unless you wish your home to smell like a ripe urinal. Entire studs spray, yowl and must be mated frequently. Which means you must be able to supply him with a constant supply of other people’s queens you will have to board for a week.

Studs for hire

It really is far more practical to farm your queens out to mate. A queen indicates she is in season by crouching with her rear raised and usually treading with her front paws at the same time. This position is called Lordosis, and she repeatedly calls too. There is no mistaking what she is telling the world. The Queen is boarded with the stud and hopefully comes home pregnant. Most stud owners offer repeat matings if the queen fails to conceive. It is important not to let kittens conceive before they are at least nine months old. If they come into season before this they can be given hormone-suppressing injections. Discuss this with your vet.


The queen indicates she is pregnant by her nipples turning pink. This is termed “pinking up”. Make sure she has an adequate diet. If you are providing meat and not commercial cat food then add calcium powder. Most cats are lactose intolerant, which means they cannot digest the milk sugars in cow’s milk. If no lactose free cat milk replacer is available, then give them soybean milk and supply fresh preferably filtered water to drink daily with added baby vitamins.


Supply several large cardboard boxes well lined with newspaper for her to kitten in. Put them in dark quiet places. However, many cats are contrary and may choose the most inconvenient places to kitten in, such as your bed.

Get Help

If you are a new breeder, then get help. Sure the queen does most of the birthing and nurturing work herself, but the middle of the night is not the time to be trying to find a local vet or another experienced breeder. Find the vet before hand; let them know her expected due date so they will be prepared.

The Bible

Buy the book, “Veterinary notes for Cat owners.” It really is invaluable and reassuring. Breeding pedigree kittens is usually a problem free delight if careful thought is given to all the consideration outlined above. Enjoy.

Back to Columns Headline Index

Down The Iron Road: In praise of steam

by John D. Blyth

I have sometimes been accused of ‘too much about steam’ in these articles. The reasons are simple, firstly that it is a better subject for short, simple articles than more sophisticated diesel or electric trailways; secondly that I was brought up and trained on a steam railway and know that best - although I will admit that one of the most interesting periods on the railway was that when we had to turn over from steam to eventually unsuccessful diesel-hydraulic locomotives.

Steam has always been with us, but when it was first used as a form of power is uncertain - even the famous turbine owned by Hero of Alexandria could have been some kind of water wheel. But eventually steam, as power, had to come to the top, and so we come to James Watt, and the well known (in the past!) children’s fireside story beginning, ‘A man sat watching a kettle boil...’ Whether or not he saw the power of steam in the simplicity of the lid being forced up to let it escape, or not, doesn’t matter. Watt did not ‘invent steam’ any more than George Stephenson invented railways - I have seen such claims for both. Watt and his contemporaries harnessed the power latent in steam and turned it to good use, albeit in most primitive engines.

The secret of transmitting linear movement into rotation had yet to be solved, so the products of the day were all in the form of pumps, raising water from deep down supplies, or later coal from the depths of a mine. When the simple ‘connecting rod’ or ‘con-rod’ was mastered all was clear for all kinds of stationary engines; steam-worked railways became a possibility, and in the internal combustion engine is the same principle enshrined - so it is in your car and was in mine, and had we been around a little earlier we could have had a steam car - my grandfather had one, which my mother could well remember.

Road building was made easier and better by the use of the steamroller (rare now, but one has just been spotted in Bangkok, hard at work), the new roads were taken advantage of by the moving of heavy loads by traction engines, the latter were adapted for use in place of horses (or water buffaloes) for ploughing work on farms - and of course there was the railway locomotive, possibly the most significant of them all. Great factories were built with a steam engine driving a system of pulleys and belt, one engine to power a shop full of machines for all purposes, and thus began, in Britain, the Industrial Revolution. It couldn’t have happened any other way; the sheer scope of work done by steam power is bewildering.

Great steamships plied the seven seas, and they were steam driven, commonly, until quite recent times. Even the last big liner built in Britain, the famous ‘Q.E.2’, which used, on its annual world cruise, to visit Pattaya, was at first steam turbine driven; it is not many years ago that I traveled on a Borre Line (Swedish) boat between Sweden and Finland, and overnight I could hear the compound engines quietly passing the steam from one to another group of cylinders in their triple expansion system.

I can remember when steam called the worker to his work; every factory had a steam whistle or hooter, all different notes, and they could be heard, and responded to, all over town. The factories were of course, steam powered, and if they were heated at all, that was done by steam, too.

Even the steam railway engine is not dead - it is still in use in many places where suitable fuel is available and cheap. How many? I cannot even guess! Thailand’s State Railway system was early in experimenting with diesels, as, even then (1928 - 35) there was some anxiety about inroads into supplies of timber. Even now our railway keeps five or so steamers in working order for special occasions, and although the once-planned railway museum did not see the light, almost fifty locomotives are on show at main stations, usually on a plinth on a platform or outside the station front. But back home in the U.K., the National Railway Museum at York is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the country, yet equally well-placed railway museums in other European countries do not seem to have caught on in the same way. The U.K. is also very much to the fore in restoring ‘old’ locomotives to working order, many by private individuals at their own considerable expense. More than this, the official ‘National Collection’ numbers more than 200 steam locomotives, most in working order.

The steam road locomotive lobby has a big following too; smaller by far than most railway engines, a road roller or traction engine can often be housed in a big shed or garage, and gatherings, under the general name ‘Traction Engine Rallies’, are numerous in the summer months. Here you can still see such unlikely games as ‘Traction Engine Musical Chairs’ or Steam Roller Tug-of-War’ being enjoyed, and the skill of the operators of these rather cumbersome machines is outstanding. And on the ‘work’ side, it is not many years since I watched, in filthy weather, two big Fowler Ploughing Engines turning their special equipment to good use in an unusual direction in dredging a lake in a park south of London.

There are countless other activities to which steam has lent its gentle power over more than two centuries; they can still, in suitable places, be as economical and reliable as anything supposedly more modern; there are still steam pumping engines at work daily in water distribution to premises in our great cities; one such group of engines, at Kew Bridge in West London, made redundant by scheme of rationalization, has been opened to the public as a ‘Live Steam Museum’, and one by one its great Cornish beam engines are being restored to working order. It is another top attraction; the lure of steam is not to be belittled!

And a final word... In about three years it will be time to mark the bi-centenary of the first successful use of a steam railway engine anywhere in the world. In 1804, the ‘Cornish Giant’, Richard Trevithick, brought his steam engine to an iron works in South Wales, at Pen-y-Darren, near Merthyr, and showed that it was capable of hauling a load otherwise calling for a number of horses. It was crude and did not last long, and the light track was not strong enough even for its small weight. But it was a start, and when Trevithick’s locomotives began to appear in the North East of England, they were seen by the Stephensons, and other engineers such as Hackworth, Hedley, and others who had been working along similar lines, and great steps forward were quickly apparent. I have not heard of any proposals to celebrate this bi-centenary, but it is hoped that it will be marked in a suitable manner.

Back to Columns Headline Index

Social Commentary by Khai Khem

Is Pattaya really hazardous to your health?

If has often been suggested that the driving habits of those who use the highways and byways of Pattaya and its environs are maniacal, and that enforcement of traffic laws are not as stringent as they could be. Not long ago, a highway patrol car ended up in a ditch tying to avoid a wayward motorcyclist. Will anything ever change the driving habits in our city? Probably not.

30 years of police crack-downs in Bangkok were in vain. The endless construction and over-crowding of our capital city finally slowed the average speed to a mere kilometre or two, so that now the traffic which is totally grid locked doesn’t move fast enough to highlight dangerous driving on the streets. Only the motorcyclists flying down the footpaths get up any speed these days. A few years ago a young traffic policeman on Silom Road simply cracked up mentally and turned all the lights green in every direction. Traffic piled up for miles and a large part of the city came to a standstill. All the while the poor cop danced madly in the streets while the TC cameras rolled.

Pattaya’s police know they can’t actually enforce laws here if the citizens prefer to drive recklessly, either because they simply don’t know any better or are too drunk to care. And just to be fair, there are plenty of foreigners who’s driving techniques are just as deadly as the locals’. Hailing from countries which do have strict laws, these people should know better. Many don’t use their seat belts or fasten the straps of their helmets, either. I have run over so many motorcycle helmets which have flown off blonde heads while screeching around a corner I have lost count.

Public safety is not a major influence in Thai society. Neither is discipline or a lot of serious responsibility. Thais don’t like to be bogged down with too many rules and regulations. This is a country that likes a party, to laugh, and esteems sanuk. Traffic police are undermanned, and besides, they have a similar mentality which doesn’t like to confront a traffic offender outright, and spoil the day by writing a summons or revoking a licence. They do things “Thai style”, which may include a small donation to something akin to the policeman’s ball, or his favorite charity. That might leave the motorist just as light in the wallet, but it hardly puts him to the trouble it would take to drive to the police station and pay a legitimate fine. And why do Thais ignore traffic lights here? Could it be that many of them don’t work on a regular basis, so it is easy to ignore them when they do. And driving on the wrong side of the road is simply not an offence unless a VIP is using that lane. The police, model examples, do it all the time.

Newcomers to Thailand must understand that no formal driver’s education is available to most Thais. How and from whom they learn to master a motorised vehicle is pretty much an individual choice. Children usually begin at the age of eight or 10 and the learner’s vehicle is probably the family motorcycle, or if they grow up on a rice farm, the itan, or iron buffalo. If they are city kids, Daddy’s new Mercedes will be off limits for awhile, but Mom’s pick-up truck is most likely up for grabs to anyone brave enough to ask her for the keys.

Of course, Pattaya is a dangerous place to drive in. No one denies that, even the Thais. But we are a nation of fearless individuals, and simply because our lives are in constant danger from one thing or another, this is not a reason to miss the fun of speed and possible mayhem and/or annihilation. It is said about Thai society that Thais don’t think beyond their own toes. Think and planning ahead is not a strong point here.

Think what an effort it would be to actually make very real and major changes in Pattaya’s traffic enforcement. The city would have to tender the whole endeavour over for open bidding to a foreign management team, much in the same way Indonesia turned their customs and port authority over to a Swiss conglomerate more than a decade ago. City management is unlikely to consider measurable changes to traffic enforcement in the near future. We don’t yet have the basic transportation services such as taxi and city bus service, which should be normal for a city of our population. Instilling safe driving habits with the general public is so far down on the list of priorities in Pattaya, I doubt whether it even appears on a page.

Back to Columns Headline Index

The Computer Doctor

by Richard Bunch

From George: I recently replaced my hard drive on my laptop with a new never formatted drive (Toshiba). Unfortunately, when booting from the Windows98 CD-ROM to install Windows I did not choose the “Large Drive” option when asked about the initial formatting. Now my Windows98 identifies my HDD as a 2 GB when in fact it is a 6 GB. How can I re-format the drive so Windows recognizes the 6 GB? I have tried to re-install Windows but it skips the “unformatted” drive option, since the drive is formatted. I have reformatted the drive but since that original format put it at 2 MB, it seems that I am stuck with that. I haven’t figured out how to “unformat” the HDD. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Computer Doctor replies: George as you haven’t specified the model of laptop you have I cannot be totally precise, but in addition to the problem you perceive you have, you may also have a further problem since it is possible that the BIOS on your motherboard is not capable of addressing the larger hard disk. You should be able to ascertain this from Toshiba’s website. If your BIOS does support it then there are a couple of options open to you. It is possible to modify partition sizes using a third party utility like Partition Magic, but personally I prefer the FDISK option. Although this will necessitate a total reinstall, it may be quicker as third party utilities can take a long time to modify the partition because they preserve the data. If you choose the FDISK option, boot from the Windows Startup disk, type FDISK at the Command Prompt then from the menu presented, select the option to delete the Primary DOS partition, though if there are logical drives and secondary partitions these must be deleted first by selecting the appropriate options. This will return the disk to a virgin state, then you can create a new Primary DOS partition choosing the option to use all space. It should also make the disk Active. Once this is done then you will need to reboot, once again with the Windows Startup disk, then from the Command Prompt, type format c: /c. Your disk will then be prepared for a clean installation.

From Robert C Miller: I’m recently new to this area, and enjoy reading your column. I also print booklets, using a Hewlett Packard Model 6, laser jet printer. I have tried to get the toner cartridge refilled at several places in Pattaya, but most people look at me like it’s impossible or they have no idea what I’m talking about. Do you know where I can have them refilled? It is less than 1/3 of the price of a new cartridge. Thank you for your time and effort.

Computer Doctor replies: The short answer is that I am unaware of a refilled market here in Thailand. If any readers know differently and would care to share this information, please contact me and I will gladly pass the information on.

However, one word of warning, whether it be toner or ink, using refilled units will invalidate any warranty and in addition could cause some fairly dramatic damage and expensive repair bills. One such incident that springs to mind is that toner can have either negative or positive charge, use of the incorrect polarity in a machine will result in something akin to an explosion and the toner will be coated in virtually every nook and cranny of the machine rendering it completely unusable. If you think the risk is worth it then by all means go ahead but bear in mind that the savings you make can easily be wiped out with a single repair bill.

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 services which include: custom database and application development; website design, promotion and hosting; computer and peripheral sales service and repairs, pro audio solutions, networks (LAN & WAN) and IT consulting. For further information, please e-mail [email protected] or telephone/fax 038 716 816 or see our website

Back to Columns Headline Index

Sea Worlds : Tropical Oceans

by Apichart Panyadee

Reefs in Peril

Marine biologists are finding that the world’s coral reefs are more fragile than first imagined, and that the balance of their ecosystems is more delicate than was first supposed. Plagues of sea stars have helped change the view on the reef’s stability. The crown of thorns sea star is a coral eater. The Acanthbaster planci is normally found in very low concentrations on Pacific reefs. In the 1960s its populations exploded, and destroyed large areas of reefs in Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, the Philippines, Guam, Samoa, Tahiti, and other Pacific islands. At first it was supposed that some human interference was responsible for this phenomenon. But further study revealed that even though some human element may have been involved, they were not the sole culprits. What it was exactly, which tipped the balance of productivity of the crown of thorns, is still not yet understood. It is supposed that some identified disturbance resulted in the triggering of over-reproduction of this single species, which in turn, tipped the balance of the delicate equilibrium of the system.

Reef shark

Reefs do, in time, rebuild themselves. But the resilience of the coral communities is being severely tested in all of the warm seas. One of the ironies of coral science is that as quickly as we discover new species and wonders, those species and wonders are being erased. (This is an irony which is also being echoed in the tropical rain forests of the world.) Silt runoff from deforestation and dredging, exploitation for construction materials, uncontrolled collection for aquariums, dynamite fishing, pollution and over-fishing are all devastating the world’s coral reefs.

Queen parrot fish

Modern coral reef biology began in 1928, when Dr. Charles Maurice Yonge led the first major marine biology expedition to the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. The site of the expedition was Low Isles, east of Port Douglas on the Queensland Coast. Low Isles make the most minimal of archipelagos; just two islands; the one, a small sunny cay of coral sand, and the other, a dark wilderness of mangroves. These two islands made a good polarity because they represent companion ecosystems of shallow tropical seas, the coral reef, and the mangrove forest. This expedition spent 13 months exploring the surrounding reefs of Low Isles. They also did extensive studies on the mangrove forests.

Mangrove forests

If science came late to the coral reefs of the oceans, it came even later to the world’s mangrove forests. The mangroves are still a relative mystery of salt loving trees which adapt to their ambiguous existence halfway between land and sea. Mangroves are most common in the tropics, where they cover about 20 percent of the coastline. They are to tropical shores what salt marshes are to the temperate seas. Like the salt marshes of the north, mangroves are important nurseries for sea life. Hatchling and juvenile fish, plus crustaceans find sustenance in the mangrove leaf decay and the rich nutrients in the thick layer of mud along the shoreline. Wetland birds gather here, for the life which wells out from the mangrove forests. Sheltered along these shores are numerous coral reef creatures in various stages of their life cycles.

Mangroves are disappearing fast. These forests have been reduced by large percentages in most countries in which they were once abundant. For example, defoliants which were sprayed during the Vietnam War killed most of the mangrove forests in the Mekong Delta. Statistics in all tropical nations in which these precious forests are found show they are vanishing at an alarming rate.

Back to Columns Headline Index

Forgotten Classics : Aerosmith - Just Push Play

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

***** 5 Stars Rating

One realizes that this certainly cannot come under the title forgotten as it was only released on the 5th March 2001, but I think you’ll find that classic is a word that will be used a lot in conjunction with this master work of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

So here we are with Aerosmith’s 543rd album (actually their 13th Studio album, not counting live albums & compilations) and it’s situation normal, good old guitar rawk, sexiest lyrics, and more sass than you can shake a stick at.

These days they’re even a little bit fashionable in a kitch sort of way, and the world’s premier lounge lizard Steve Tyler might even be cool in a “What a great guy! Is he still alive” kinda way. But does the music still cut it? Of course it does, it’s the original Toxic Twins, these days they can do no wrong.

It’s difficult to separate Aerosmith from their glorious / inglorious past - one that’s seen more revivals than West Side Story. For better or worse the stalwart Boston quintet carry a load of preconceptions that are impossible to shake. At the end of the day as an out & out dance rock band they wipe the floor with all the competition. After two rather below par albums in “Get a Grip” (far too many slushy ballads) & “Nine Lives” (Aerosmith as if written by numbers) the original American bad boys of Rock ‘n’ Roll have come storming back with “Just Push Play” four years in the making, but it was worth every minute.

If comparisons still have to be made between Aerosmith, & The Rolling Stones, Steve Tyler playing Mick Jagger to Joe Perry’s Keith Richards, then if “Get A Grip” was Steve’s album & “Nine lives” was a management album, “Just Push Play” is definitely Joe Perry’s album. As soon as the guitar solo on opening track “Beyond Beautiful” kicks in, all down and dirty, the guitarist has stamped his authority on this collection of fine Funk / Hard rock songs.

The guitar solo on penultimate track “Light Inside” is probably the best studio take that Perry has ever laid down and would bring a tear to his nemesis eye Jimmy Page, such is it’s cool.

If this 12 song set was the product of young 2001 upstarts, would it have caused so much of a public commotion? The only answer to this is ABSOLUTELY! Working with co-producers & song collaborators Marti Frederiksen & Mark Hudson, Aerosmith have forged an album that gracefully fuses 70’s hard rock grit with contemporary gloss.

The funk-infused likes of first single “Jaded” and the insistent “Drop Dead Gorgeous” best demonstrate the formula that Aerosmith have settled on for now, as the beat carries you over Tyler’s patented screech and the no nonsense grind of the four instrumentalists.

Definitely a contender for rock album of 2001.

Steven Tyler - lead & background vocals, harmonica, squeezebox, piano, percussion

Joe Perry - guitar, background vocals, hurdy gurdy, pedal steel, slide guitar
Brad Whitford - guitar
Tom Hamilton - bass, fretless bass
Joey Kramer - drums

Track Listing.

1. Beyond Beautiful
2. Just Push Play
3. Jaded
4. Fly Away From Here
5. Trip Hoppin’
6. Sunshine
7. Under My Skin
8. Luv Lies
9. Outta Your Head
10. Drop Dead Gorgeous
11. Light Inside
12. Avant Garden

Back to Columns Headline Index

Women’s World : Annie Oakley (1860-1926)

by Lesley Warner 

This is a woman who succeeded in ‘a man’s’ world, long before women were even considering that they needed to. I thought she was a myth, that her character had been made more interesting to use in a film, but after some research I find she was definitely a real woman and another one that we can be proud of her achievements. Where most of the general public have probably heard her name is from the musical ‘Annie Get Your Gun’.

Annie Oakley was born in Darke County, Ohio in 1860. Her name was Phoebe Moses and she could shoot the head off a running quail when she was twelve years old. Annie made money for her family with her sharp shooter skills, bagging game and selling it to the local general store.

Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany got her to shoot the ash off his cigarette while still in his mouth; he must have had faith or a death wish! She could handle a rifle or a six-gun with an artistry unsurpassed by that of any human being before her time or, probably, since.

Early in her life Annie developed her shooting skills and when she was 15 she met her future husband when she out-shot the great exhibition marksman, Frank Butler. He fell in love with her and they were ideally happy the rest of their long lives. It was after this in 1875 that the world heard about her incredible shooting skills.

She joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1884 and performed as a star for 16 years, astonishing Americans and royalty abroad with her feats. In 1901 she was injured in a train accident, ending her career with the Wild West Show, but after she recovered she went on to give shooting exhibitions.

She appeared with Sitting Bull and other notables in Colonel Cody’s Wild West Show, and thrilled audiences as “Little Sure Shot,” the immortal Annie Oakley.

Annie gave shooting lessons to more than 2,000 women at no cost, and was widely loved for her charity toward orphans, widows and young women wanting an education. Oakley gave benefits to raise money for these causes, and helped more than 20 young women through college and nursing school.

Annie Oakley, the poor backcountry girl who made her way to worldwide fame, was the very spirit of personal independence. Whether she was beautiful or not is a matter of opinion, as I have said before, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As people looked at Annie with awe for her talent I’m sure they perceived a very beautiful woman.

Back to Columns Headline Index


I still got the Blues for you: If you are prone to get the ‘blues’, although why you would if you happen to be fortunate enough to live here in Fun Town, then The Blues Factory (Soi Lucky Star, off Walking Street) is the place for you.

Featuring live Blues, Rhythm & Blues and Rock N Roll, the place also has a collection of young, and not so young, lasses prancing about the stage in bikini tops and short skirts.

The place opened on March 2 and has billed itself as a ‘new concept in entertainment’. The live band swings into action at about 10 p.m. every evening and I know a number of Blues aficionados have already begun making the place a regular hangout.

In the Boozers: In the humble opinion of this writer one of the better-run booze houses in town is the Coral Reef (located at the quieter end of Soi 8). It’s a nice place to just sit and watch the street or check out the music videos that seem to consist of mainly British pop and rock from the 1970s and 1980s. Drink prices, both for intoxicants and light libations, are reasonable, and lady drinks are also more than fair. The bar has a fairly regular clientele and one of the best features is the ‘wash facilities’. The material put up around the walls will keep you amused long enough for other patrons to consider organising a search party.

In the Hot Spots: Tahitian Queen 2 ogling den (Soi BJ, Walking Street) has for a long time lived in the shadow of its more illustrious and longer-running Beach Road namesake. The den runs three happy hours a night, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. with Singha and Carlsberg Draught at 65 baht and Heineken and Kloster Beer at 70 baht. For those who are really into liver destruction, TQ2 has a special price all night long for Kamikazes (650 baht for 10).

Anything You Can Do: Most people are probably well aware of, and been subjected to, that strange policy of charging foreigners more than local Thais for anything from food to park entrance fees. Well, just to show it’s not all one-way traffic, one ogling den in town has decided that if Thai nationals want to come in and check out the dancing maidens they will have to cough up 100 baht a drink, be it Happy Hour or any other time of the night. Foreigners are charged around 60 to 80 baht for the same booze. The service girls are told to tell the local infiltrators - before they order a libation - that the liver waster will set them back 100 baht. Many turn on their heels and walk out while others just shrug and utter the Thai national motto, ‘mai pen rai’.

In the Hot Spots: The early opener as far as ogling dens go in Fun Town has to be Far East Rock (Soi Post Office). The playhouse kicks off at midday and bats on until 2 a.m. The den was formerly known as Porky’s until changing hands and names a couple of months ago. The den has two Happy Hours, from opening until 1 p.m. and again from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. with draft beer and soft drinks at 50 baht and spirits priced between 60 and 75 baht.

The den follows a similar style to its sister (Las Vegas) across the road, with a number of the dancing damsels appearing to have forgotten to bring sufficient apparel for the purposes of chrome-pole hugging. In some cases this is unfortunate, as quite a number really would look better donning more attire. For some I would heartily recommend fireproof overalls.

Got the Visa Run Blues: It’s something we all have to do at one time or another (unless you happen to be a child molester on the run from Interpol), and that’s take ourselves and passport and cross over a border before coming back to the Land of Rubber Stamps. Recently I went by train down to Hat Yai and then scooted across into Malaysia for about five minutes (approximately 300 seconds too long) before returning. There’s not a great deal happening down in Hat Yai at the best of times, but there is one nosh-house that I feel deserves a recommendation if you happen to be looking for somewhere to fill the stomach. Called the Dao Thiam, it’s a straight walk of about 400 metres down the road from the train station on the right hand side. It opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. (like the rest of Hat Yai), it’s air-conditioned, clean, the nosh is good with reasonable portions and mostly priced between 40 and 70 baht.

My e-mail address is: [email protected]

Back to Columns Headline Index

Guide to buying a large dog: Labrador Retriever

by C. Schloemer

Good points: equable temperament, excellent gundog, good family pet, kind with children, easy to train, intelligent, first class show dog

Take heed: no drawbacks known

Like the Golden Retriever, the Labrador Retriever cannot be too highly recommended as a breed tailor-made to suit the whole family. It is an excellent retriever and can be trusted with the children. This dog’s gentle nature is very compatible with family life. It will also give a good account of itself in obedience trials. Highly intelligent, this breed will train easily and will reward its owner with its loyalty. The Labrador Retriever is also a breed which is highly favoured as a guide dog for the blind.

Size: Height: dog, 56-57 cm. Bitch, 54.5.

Exercise: Needs an hour a day at the very least, with plenty of runs in an ample garden. The Labrador Retriever does not adapt easily to apartment dwelling. This breed needs space and lots of exercise. A good game of fetch and carry with a stick or ball will keep him happy and healthy. This dog will not adapt happily to a small apartment, nor will an owner who lives in a crowed urbane area be particularly happy with his selection of a Labrador Retriever. This dog can adapt to home living with training, but needs a task or job to do too.

Grooming: Regular brushing and good nutrition is all that is needed to keep this breed’s coat in fine condition.

Origin and History: The Labrador Retriever came to Britain with fisherman from Newfoundland (not Labrador) in the 1930s. The dog’s task at that time was to land the fishing nets, and retains its powerful swimming abilities. In Britain, this breed is among the most popular gundogs, and is also much sought after as a family pet. The Labrador Retriever is also often selected as a guide dog for the blind. Its gentle nature and intelligence makes it easy to train for special tasks such as this.

Back to Columns Headline Index

Shaman’s Rattle: Rational recovery from alcohol addiction

by Marion

What’s in a name?

There is an old joke that says the definition of an alcoholic is someone who drinks more than their doctor!

A name is a label with either positive or negative connotations. There are widely differing traditional and non-traditional descriptions of alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse. Ask your medical practitioner and they may give you the traditional position of alcoholism as a disease.

The ASAM, American Society of Addiction Medicine jointly with the NCADD, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (1990) state, “Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuous or periodic impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial.”

Vince Fox in his brilliant book “Addiction Change and Choice” says, “The traditional position includes the disease notion, genetic influence, loss of control, personal powerlessness... dependence on a Higher Power generally defined as God as essential to the attainment and maintenance of sobriety.” This opinion is held both by medical and quasi-medical associations. The AMA, the American Medical Association, AHA, American Hospitals Association, A.A, Alcoholics Anonymous, ASAM, NCADD and others.

Fox points out that the non-traditional perspective is very different. “It centres on heavy drinking as a learned behaviour that can be changed. It focuses on social and cultural influences, psychological factors, personal capability, personal responsibility, and on an array of possible physical and genetic influences. It asserts that heavy drinking can produce disease (ataxia, liver failure, cirrhosis, etc.), but is not in itself a disease.”

The Choice is Yours

The individual concerned is the only person who can make the choice to drink to excess or not. If you are still mentally capable enough to recognize or admit that your regular alcohol drinking is excessive, to the extent it is causing physical symptoms and social, mental and spiritual dysfunction; then you and you alone can decide to quit, with or without help. It is as simple as that, stopping alcohol abuse is the same process as quitting smoking, rough for the first 72 hours, but after that you are mostly home free, provided that you make a commitment to alter social habits. The commitment and decision to recover must come from within the alcohol dependant person themselves. There are three routes to go, traditional - Alcoholics Anonymous; non traditional - Rational Recovery; and - DIY, Do It Yourself.

Alcoholics Anonymous

A.A. can be a valuable support group for Christian orientated people who wish to relinquish their own personal power. It can be and is a life saver for those dependent individuals who choose to label themselves as ‘alcoholics’ and who make the choice to rely on the psychological frame work of a religion to manage their lives. AA is not the subject of this article. AA can be contacted through the clubs listings elsewhere in the Pattaya Mail.

Rational Recovery

Non Institutional recovery is ‘self-directed’ as distinct from ‘other-directed’ recovery from addiction. Non traditional programmes offer choices and options tailored to the individual. To research more information on these self-help groups:

Abstinence Orientated: “Rational Recovery”, CA, USA. Telephone 9166214374. Website: and/or “SMART Recovery”, OH, USA. Telephone 2162920220. Website:

Moderation Orientated: “Moderation Management Network, Inc.” Minnesota, USA. Website;

DIY Do It Yourself

As Fox points out the DIY model is one of the best-kept secrets in the addictions field. It takes four forms. 1. Recovery expedited through a private therapist. 2. Recovery with the help of a self-help support group, as above. 3. Recovery as a bottomed-out instant decision. And 4. Recovery through the natural process of “maturing out.” (This has nothing to do with age or treatment centres, rather involves a gradual diminishment of addictive behaviours over a period of time.)

Consult your Doctor

All alcohol dependent persons are seriously advised to consult their physicians for medical assessment and blood tests before commencing any alcohol abuse recovery programmes. Blood tests that your doctor or hospital are likely to advise are liver function tests, cholesterol levels, blood count and cardiac evaluation if indicated. Do not consider taking the drug Antabuse without direct medical supervision, as it can be lethal.

Recommended Reading

Vince Fox “Addiction Change and Choice” (ISBN 09613289-7-5. Published, See Sharp Press). Available Kinokuniya Books, Emporium, Bangkok or <>

Fox recommends, “Yet another tool available. ‘Problem Drinkers: Guided Self-Change Treatment’ by Mark and Linda Sobell, Addiction Research Foundation Toronto Canada (Guilford Publications NY). This book is a marvellous tool with which clinicians can help any problem drinker, and which any problem drinker can help themselves. Anyone with a reasonable degree of intelligence can benefit, and when used in co-ordination with a professional counsellor, the book can work wonders.”

Another good read: “Alcohol, how to give it up and be glad you did, a Sensible Approach” by P. Tate. Published, Rational Self help Press Florida, USA.

More on the DIY model next week.

Back to Columns Headline Index

The Message In The Moon: Aries

by Anchalee Kaewmanee

Sun in Aries/Moon in Aries: The Daredevil

Patience is simply not a forte here. An Aries-Aries can never completely shake off the self-centered impulsiveness of childhood. Driven by a seemingly endless reservoir of energy, this sign combination makes it difficult for these people to remain idle. They seek instead, to live life to its fullest. There will be no substitute in their minds for experiencing whatever is out there in life. Reckless and combative, this is the Evel Knievel of the Zodiac combinations. Whether the person is involved in love, work, play, family, or just plain living, it may never be any real fun to do unless it is a challenge.

Many people are attracted to the Aries-Aries charm, freshness, and love of life, it is true. How can they not be dazzled by all that courage and energy? But they will find others will actually be put off by such insensitivity. It is hard for them to listen to well meaning advice from friends, relatives and associates, and harder still to find time for other people’s problems. This Sun-Moon combination implies high intelligence which borders on brilliance. And the intuition of this sign is matchless. But they cannot be right all of the time, so they must be more open to what others have to say. Rather than acting on impulse, it is best to consider one’s actions more thoroughly. Most Aries-Aries natives live primarily for the moment, and have very short memories. That means they are rather quick to forget their past mistakes and the lessons they should have learned by making them. So naturally, these same mistakes are made repeatedly. Experience with this sign should be its best teacher, as long as these people focus on consequences. Learning from past lapses will promote more maturity for this sign.

Natives born into a Sun and Moon combination of Aries-Aries, must find an outlet for all the abundance of energy they possess; it is imperative. Physical activity of some kind, such as sports or even manual labor taken as a hobby, is necessary for their well-being, and should enable them to accomplish much more in other areas of life, such as a career choice or in love relationships. All of that raw energy should be channeled into some productive field. If that energy is positively directed, the possibilities for success are unlimited.

This combination of personality will never be happy in a restricted or routine career. That inner drive must have increasing challenge and variety. Individuals who possess these signs will work best where the competition is tough, and the responsibility is piled on high. If trapped in a dull job, feelings of frustration can lead to dangerous, even self-destructive actions. Being tied down to a boring grindstone will only produce a burning flame of rebellion in this double fire sign. Subjects in this category are all pioneers of sorts, usually in the front ranks of those working for progress and change. Science, social activism, even surgery, are excellent fields for the Aries-Aries. When a truly rewarding career or lifestyle has been finally sorted out, chances for lasting happiness for these people are very high indeed.

In close relationships with lovers, friends and family, this combination must remember to try to become more sensitive to the needs and feelings of those he or she feels closest to. Although these individuals are extremely passionate and enthusiastic in their pursuit of love, their basic selfishness can interfere with a happy, and well balanced life together with their loved ones. Highly sexed, it may be an unfortunate truth for their lovers that the Aries-Aries views this subject as a competitive sport. On the other hand, once these subjects find a compatible and understanding mate, they are loyal, and are determined to work at being a generous and giving partner.

Back to Columns Headline Index

Coins of the Realm: Julian II

by Jan Olav Aamlid

Julian II 360-363 Æ 1 (large bronze) struck in Constantinople. This coin is in good shape and is of very high grade.

Julian II was the nephew of Constantine the great and the half-brother of the Caesar, Constantius Gallus. He was born in Constantinople in 332 A.D. He was arrested together with Gallus by the order of Constantius II in 354 A.D. Gallus was executed, but Julian’s life was spared. The following year he was restored to Imperial favor, and given the rank of Caesar (Nov. 6th). At the same time he married Helena, the youngest sister of Constantius. He was appointed governor of Gaul, he campaigned successfully against the Barbarians invading this province. But in 360 A.D. his soldiers rose in revolt against Constantius and proclaimed Julian the rank of Augustus (Emperor). He set out to meet Constantius, but the latter died on the way to put down the revolt.

Julian was then the sole emperor of Rome, but less than two years later (June 26 363 AD), he was killed in a battle against the Persians. Julian was a man of literary attainments and some of his writings are still extant. He strongly favored the old religion and not the Christian religion he was forced to adopt. He was nicknamed by Christian Historians “The Apostate”, but the title “The Philosopher” which he was also given is probably more correct.

The most famous of his coins is a large size bronze coin ca. 28 mm. On the front there is a picture of the emperor wearing a philosopher’s beard. (Since Christianity became the state religion in 337, no emperor had worn a beard.) On the backside the holy bull Apis (from Egyptian mythology) is pictured. At this time Christian symbols and symbols of the military victories that the Romans still achieved were a normal reverse motif. This coin was completely different from any other coin from the period.

The coin is not especially rare, but is very popular among collectors of Roman coins. It is normally a little worn and in bad shape. A piece like that is normally in the price range of 100-250 dollars, but a top piece in good shape will demand prices in the range of 500-1000 dollars.

Back to Columns Headline Index

News | Business News  | Features | Columns | Letters | Sports | Auto Mania | Kid's Corner 
 Community Happenings | Classifieds | Sports Round-Up

Copyright 2001  Pattaya Mail Publishing Co. Ltd.
370/7-8 Pattaya Second Road, Pattaya City, Chonburi 20260, Thailand 
Tel.66-38 411 240-1, 413 240-1, Fax:66-38 427 596; e-mail: [email protected]