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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
Family Money: A Balanced Approach
Snap Shots: First Aid
Modern Medicine: Lowering Cholesterol after Heart Attacks

Heart to Heart with Hillary

Animal Crackers: Buffalo die
Social Commentary by Khai Khem
Women’s World
Shaman’s Rattle
Guide to buying a large dog
The Message In The Moon
Down The Iron Road
Antiques, are they genuine?
The Computer Doctor
A Slice of Thai History

Family Money: A Balanced Approach

By Leslie Wright

Conventional wisdom suggests that falling money rates are inherently good news for equities.

Relatively high levels of cash held by investors provide good background conditions for equity investments in subsequent periods, and difficult US economic and market conditions can be particularly trying for the Asia Pacific markets. However, there are strong reasons to suggest that investors will resist the temptation to rush into US equities and will look to diversified, balanced portfolios in a period of uncertainty.

The argument for an upturn in equity investments following a rate cut usually goes like this:

Firstly, given that value is a relative concept, a reduction in yield from one asset class automatically makes anticipated returns from other assets look more attractive. Thus, if we assume that prior to an interest rate cut the prices of all assets are at equilibrium, in principle a reduction in cash rates will allow a reduction in yields and a rally in prices for other assets also.

Secondly, an easier money environment will prop up corporate earnings numbers. These are what so many investors have been anxious about since the last quarter of last year, and much of the cause of the slump in US equities over the subsequent period.

History offers some support to the conventional view. Since 1945 there have been eleven periods in which US monetary policy has been upgraded from tight to neutral and the average gain for the S&P 500 in the following twelve months has been 21.0%.

The historic record also confirms that declines in bond yields have almost always translated into high US stock prices.

In only three (1960, 1977 and 2000) of the nineteen calendar years out of the last forty five, in which average bond yields have finished lower than the year before, have there been negative price movements in the S&P 500. The average return has been close on 18%.

Thirdly, market participants generally assume that relatively high levels of cash held by investors provide good background conditions for equity investments in subsequent periods.

US mutual fund data show cash levels in US mutual funds had risen to 6.5% by the end of November 2000 from 6% at end October 2000, and cash levels were at their highest since November 1997.

Data from Micropal covering five years of returns indicate that when US equity mutual funds have allocations to cash that are above 6%, the S&P 500 has returned an average of 8.5% over the following three months, whereas when the cash rate in mutual funds has been below 6% the S&P 500 has returned an average of 1.4%.

Intuitively these numbers shouldn’t surprise - after all, cash allocations will naturally be invested if managers anticipate rising stock prices, and the process of investing cash naturally drives up prices. When funds have been invested, the performance of markets can no longer be propelled by mutual fund re-allocations to stock, and instead investment will be dependent on new subscriptions.

Fourthly, it is generally anticipated that difficult US economic and market conditions can be particularly trying for the Asia Pacific markets.

The arguments that Asia Pacific equities and markets can suffer from an economic slowdown and market correction in the States are also relatively straightforward.

The arguments show that when US equities fall, they become relatively attractive against other assets, and investors may seek to repatriate monies to the States, driving non-domestic equity levels lower.

In addition, it is a commonly held view that the Asian economies are highly leveraged to US economic activity, so any downturn in US economic growth feeds through to a tricky period for the Asian economies.

This time round we see reasons why conventional wisdom may not be appropriate.

When investors consider the outlook for markets and decide how to respond to an easing of US money rates they may focus on how long it will be before a decent recovery can be anticipated.

With current markets, there will be a number of cases where it is expected that share prices had been held up by what are now classed as unreasonable expectations. Quite simply, investors may not be prepared to return to the prior earnings expectations or valuation levels that had driven share prices.

Thus we can guess that a chunk of US internet company valuation will now be seen as the stuff of bubbles - just as the Japanese equity market now stands at roughly a third of the peak for the Nikkei 225 of 38,915.87 points seen on December 29, 1989. At this peak there was no shortage of analysts, commentators and other market participants assuming that the only way was up.

We also need to question what retail and corporate investors will do in the face of lower interest rates, but faced with significant declines in equity prices.

In the third quarter of 2000, mutual fund purchases reflected an annual rate of purchase of $292 billion whereas purchases in 1998 were $657 billion and in 1999 were $595 billion.

The reason for this is that personal savings have fallen dramatically. Based on Federal Reserve numbers net of investment and consumer durable goods, personal saving was minus US$74 billion in the third quarter last year.

Hence, given that there has been virtually no net saving out of current income, American households have been purchasing financial assets with debt.

Looking back to 1996, around 3% of household financial asset purchases in the States were funded by debt, and by 1999 the proportion had risen to 12%. In the first quarter last year, when equity markets were making further extravagant progress, 49% of household total purchases of financial assets were done with borrowed money.

It is easy for investors to support leveraged investment positions when their mindset is that equity prices only go up, but they may be materially more cautious when prices fall.

As a result, the markets should be prepared for substantial net realisations of mutual funds, rather than pencilling in fat support from mutual funds’ new money in the months ahead.

Preliminary data support this concern. AMG Data-Services numbers show that last December, an average of $11.1 billion was liquidated from domestic equity mutual funds in the US.

Even if the view as to what happens next is too cautious, it does look as if it will be proper savings that are needed to drive a pick-up in financial asset purchases.

Unfortunately there is a catch. A pick-up in savings must imply a slower pace of consumer spending.

Asset allocation of cash to savings, and to the investment markets, may look like good news for equity prices; but a reduction in consumer spending may have the reverse effect, delivering a greater than expected slow-down in corporate earnings growth.

And this trend to get out of US equities is likely to be reflected in other markets.

If we assume that non-domestic investors are motivated by performance we should not be surprised if we see disposals of US equities in the pursuit of alternative opportunities. Well-diversified, balanced portfolios are likely to be the order of the day.

In addition, whilst reductions in industrial commodity prices suggest that US equity earnings numbers may continue to disappoint for some time, we cannot assume that this will be good news for equities.

As and when the markets begin to discount a resumption or re-acceleration in growth, then it is highly possible that US bond yields will rise.

Of the nineteen calendar years in the last forty five in which earnings increased and bond yields have risen, the S&P 500 has provided capital returns of around 1% per annum.

Nevertheless, there is a risk that in the current environment a bubble now develops in US Treasury prices.

A section of the support for the US equity market in recent years has been the inflow of funds from Asia (resulting from the Asian Crash of 1997) in pursuit of superior and safer returns which would be available in the major markets: the much-vaunted Flight to Quality.

A reduction in confidence in US equities and continued lack of faith in Asian markets may leave these inflows directed to a far greater extent at US Treasuries, driving yields much lower and creating true bubble conditions.

An alternative scenario would be that as the perceived opportunities in the US decline, local Asian investors will begin to place greater focus on their own domestic opportunities. Support for both primary and secondary market capital may be a result, thereby driving up equity prices.

Asian stock prices have, in aggregate, sat on very depressed levels and have looked cheap, relative to other markets and against their own history.

Tactical investors who anticipate that history will not repeat itself may well be rewarded for looking at Asia Pacific, taking account of the significant structural changes which have taken place since the crises of 1997 and 1998.

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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Snap Shots: First Aid

by Harry Flashman

First Aid for wounded cameras is quite similar to First Aid for wounded people. However, it can often be avoided by some worthwhile forward planning. It is always better to have a fence at the top of the cliff, rather than an ambulance at the bottom! So let’s begin by thinking about all the disasters, how you can avoid them and what to do if the ultimate disaster does occur.

The first, and often the most common, is dropping the camera. Cameras are very complex devices full of electronic trickery and mechanical movements. The shutter on even the cheapest camera can open and close in 1/500th of a second. You can imagine that it doesn’t take much to knock the delicate shutter around. The camera is also a lightproof box, dropping it and distorting the case will soon let light in.

So what should be done beforehand? First is to have a decent padded camera bag. I recently purchased one which cost Harry over 1000 baht - but it will keep the camera safe in the situation of it falling out of the car or slipping from the shoulder. Throw that silly leather case as far as you can, or feed it to a goat.

OK, so you have the camera hanging on the strap around your neck, ready for action. What can go wrong here? Well the strap can slip or the eyelet rings can break, and the whole lot hits the floor unless you have lightning reflexes. Answer? Check and make sure that everything is correctly attached and not worn. Replace regularly.

So it did hit the floor, what now? Turn it on. Is it still electrically OK? If no power, take the batteries out and then put them back in - they may just be jolted out of position. Unscrew the lens and put it back on. Look through the viewfinder - if it looks normal, then try to take several shots at different shutter speeds and apertures and rush to the closest 1 hour processor. Pray a lot. You may be lucky.

After dropping, the next disaster is water. Cameras are not like children, you cannot “drown proof” them. They stay drowned. If you are going out to photograph in wet (or Songkran) weather, then you must take precautions. A plastic bag wrapped around the camera with just the end of the lens poking through, and held on with rubber bands is the way to “safe photography”. Even then, as soon as possible you should take the camera inside and dry the outside of the case thoroughly. Take the lens off and dry carefully around the lens mount too, making sure you do not touch the mirror. Take the batteries out and thoroughly dry the battery compartment and the contacts. Batteries and moisture do not go well together.

Now we should think about the great shots you can get on board the speedboat and similar situations. Resist the temptation to take your good camera - you can buy a waterproof Kodak for very little money and you can relax with peace of mind. Do not take your good one!

So what do you do when you have ignored the above advice and drop the whole camera in the drink? If it is a modern electronic camera you have probably just lost your investment - especially if it is salt water you drop it into. One camera technician’s advice under that circumstance is, “Leave it there!” However, you can try flushing the camera in running tap water for at least an hour, then drying it and taking it to the repair shop. An audience with the Pope would be a good move as well.

Drowning the camera in fresh water is not quite so bad, but you have to pull it apart as much as you can and then dry it out as thoroughly as you can - a hair dryer set on “No Heat” can help, but again your chances are slim. This time it’s three Hail Mary’s and hope a lot.

First Aid is possible, but prevention is much better!

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Modern Medicine: Lowering Cholesterol after Heart Attacks

by Dr Iain Corness Consultant

By now, most people understand what physical changes bring on a Heart Attack. Quite simply, the heart muscle gets its oxygen from its arteries (called Coronary arteries) which are applied to the heart muscle itself, not from the blood that it pumps around inside itself. If there is a reduction in the volume of blood running through these arteries then the heart muscle ‘starves’ of oxygen and portions of the heart muscle can die - this is a true Heart Attack.

The most usual reason for a blockage, complete or partial, in these arteries comes down to the effects of excess Cholesterol in the body. Yes, the old Cholesterol bogey again. Deposits of Cholesterol attach to the inner wall of the arteries, they in turn attract blood cells and slowly a blockage is built up.

One of the older terminologies for a Heart Attack was a Coronary occlusion (literally blockage of the Coronary arteries) which we used to laughingly refer to as a Coronary ‘conclusion’, which it mainly was in the days gone by; however, these days with Coronary artery by-pass operations, the chances of dying are much less.

Very useful (but unfortunately expensive in Thailand) is the Statin group of drugs to lower Cholesterol. Many of you, if found to have elevated Cholesterol, will have been prescribed these by your doctor, and the tablets do a great job in bringing down the levels, and eventually bringing down the potential blockages.

However, we medico’s wondered if after you have had a heart attack is it worthwhile to give a Statin to the patient. A Swedish study has probably answered that. They have looked at almost 20,000 patients who were discharged after heart attacks and looked at the relative risk of turning up one’s toes within one year after discharge. The two groups were those who were given Statins after the Heart Attack and those who were not.

The results were very interesting. More than 9% of the untreated patients died within the 12 months, while only 4% of those on Statins made their way to the Higher Physician. This relativity was the same for all sub-groupings such as age, sex, previous disease and physical characteristics.

While it is impossible to say this will be the same in every case, it certainly points to the effective nature of these Cholesterol reducing drugs. That the Statins are effective in the prevention (or reduction) of Coronary artery disease has long been shown, but now this study appears to show the importance of starting a Statin after a Heart Attack, even if the patient had not been on it before. The horse may have bolted, but apparently you can get him back in and bolt the stable door behind him! However, the important thing is to check your Cholesterol before - how long since your last check-up?

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Dear Hillary,

Every time my husband goes out with me, to dinner or to a pub, he drinks too much. This would not be too bad if he did this quietly, but he is a most aggressive drunk and picks fights with people all the time. Even that would be tolerable if he knew how to fight, but he always comes off second best. He is hard enough to put up with when he is sober, but in his cups he is dreadful. It really is a case where you can only take him anywhere twice - the second time to apologise. This is doubly difficult for me as I do not drink alcohol, mainly because someone has to be sober enough to drive the car home. What suggestions have you got, Hillary? There must be something I can do, surely. This problem has been going for five years.


Dear Amanda,

There’s lots you can do, Amanda. You could send him to the gym for a boxing course so he could learn to defend himself a little better. You could refuse to go out with him if he is intending drinking. You could take up drinking yourself and try beating him up. However, I think that after five years of this you should take a stronger stance and tell him to shape up or ship out. Nobody has to put up with that sort of nonsense any more. Don’t you either. Does he drink beer or champagne? If it’s the latter Hillary will take on his rehabilitation for you.

Dear Hillary,

After a heavy night in the bars my head seems a little thick in the mornings and my tongue seems to be stuck to the roof of my mouth. Do you think this means I am a mouth-breather?


Dear Joe,

You certainly are a little thick, aren’t you my precious Petal. What you are is hung over. By the way, have you got a wife called Amanda? In the meantime, either drink less or sleep on your face.

Dear Hillary,

My girlfriend and I parted company after a few months when I found she was back working in a bar behind my back, although I had got her a good job in a small hotel reception desk. I took all of her stuff out of the unit and dropped it off at the bar and told her I didn’t want to see her again. She wanted to come back, but I had lost faith in her by this stage, as this was not the first time I had caught her out. The next thing I know is she must have had a spare key to the unit because she had come in and put a knife through all my clothes. Everything! Do you think I should make her pay for the clothes she’s damaged? I estimate there must have been about 400 quids worth.


Dear Boyd,

Have you never heard about a woman scorned? Hell hath no fury, they say, and you have just found that to be true, haven’t you? You were just lucky you weren’t wearing the clothes at the time. Next time when you reject a lady change the locks on the front door beforehand! Do I think you should press for damages? No, Petal. It was probably time for a new wardrobe anyway. Chalk it up to experience.

Dear Hillary,

What do you do with a man who comes home at night with lipstick on his shirt? Almost every night my husband goes “out with the boys” he comes back with lipstick marks on his shirts, although he says that there was nothing but harmless fun in the bar that he and his mates generally drink at. I know the bar in question and must admit the girls are all over me too when I’ve dropped in. What do you think, Hillary? Should I worry?


Dear Glenda,

Don’t worry, Glenda. Soap and water usually gets it out. In the worst cases use bleach. I think you answered your own question when you say the girls are all over you too. Perhaps you need to get them to use “kiss-proof” lippy in future.

Dear Hillary,

The visa requirement to go out of Thailand every three months is a real pain. Is there any way around this (legally) that you know of? I have been getting extensions at the Immigration Police and then catching the train down to Malaysia but it takes so long and I dislike the trip. Any suggestions? I really don’t want to do this any longer!


Dear Mike,

Of course Hillary has some suggestions for you. The first is to start using your eyes and read the Pattaya Mail newspaper (after you’ve gone through the pictures, of course). Every week there are several companies advertising their visa runs by bus, coach, or plane. The choice is yours. Just pick on one, Petal and try it. They remain in business because they do a good job. Sorry I can’t do anything about changing the visa, but there are one year visas available for people with work permits or retirement visas if you are over 55. Go and talk to a good lawyer, or the nice people at THOSS (Thailand One Stop Service) and they can advise you.

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Not sexy enough

A Pattaya video store customer was made to look foolish after mistaking a flesh free tape for a hard core romp. He rented for a boozy night at home with his mates “Secrets of a Sensuous Nurse”, hoping it would reveal literally the whole naked truth. But the party soon broke up after they realized that the movie was a 1970s comedy starring Ursula Andress and Jack Palance which you could certainly show your grandmother. Helpful warning: other movie titles in stock which are not nearly so interesting as they sound are “Lassie Rides Again”, “The Gay Divorcee” and “Flesh for Frankenstein.” By the way, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” isn’t worth 30 baht either.

Gnome what I mean?

Those who would prefer to put gay pride behind them, as it were, will be devastated to discover that there are several Pattaya based members of The Garden Gnome Liberation Front. They believe that gnomes suffer intolerable discrimination, e.g. by being regarded unfairly as dwarves or fairies and having people kick them up the backside if they miss a putt at the crazy golf park. Garden gnomes, says the society, should have full freedom of the decks and be released into their natural habitat. Anyone who wants to start an interesting debate in the readers’ letters of this newspaper should go first of all to

Intentionally or not

Taken from newspaper TV schedules round the world. From the Philippines: “On Wednesdays throughout June, you can see a rerun of that popular British comedy series, Are You Being Surfed?” From Chile, “Starring Errol Flynn, the movie channel presents a bird’s eye view of the 16th century English navy - The See Hawk.” From India, “This episode about the goings on in a Brighton hotel is called Flowery Twats.” From UK, “Yet another boring repeat at 11.00 pm from the horror stable of George Romero - “Yawn of the Dead.” From Canada, “This unusual tale of a Mongolian nomad is entitled I’m Alright Yak.”

Great Mexican

No complaints about the food at Larry’s Dive near the traffic lights at the intersection of Pattaya Tai and Second Road when GEOC (Grapevine Eating Out Collective) paid a surprise visit this month. The New England clam chowder at 85 baht is a Larry speciality and quite delicious whilst the various Larryburgers can’t be beaten but should certainly be eaten. If you like Mexican food, including nachos, tacos and chili con Larry (created after an infamous trip to Santiago), this is certainly the venue to head to. The menu comes inside a great takeaway, in-house newspaper which is a Pattaya first for them. Don’t forget to try the ingenious cocktails including Larry’s Navel (vodka, peach schnapps, orange) and Slippery Nipple (Bailey’s, Sambuca). Music lovers and haters please note a live band arrives nightly at ten o’clock.

Odes to beer

Buy a man a beer and he wastes an hour. Teach a man to brew and he wastes a lifetime. (Yates’ Winelodge)

Beer - helping ugly people have sex since 1872. (Capital Brewery)

I drink to make other people interesting. (Homer Simpson)

When I read about the evils of drinking, I give up reading. (Henny Youngman)

Beer is the world’s greatest invention. The wheel comes close but it doesn’t go as well with a pizza. (Dave Barry)

The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind. (Humphrey Bogart)

Why is American beer served cold? So you can tell it from urine. (David Moulton)

Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world. (Kaiser Wilhelm)

Abstainer: a weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure. (Ambrose Bierce)

I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast. (Robert Ley, Hitler’s labor minister)

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Animal Crackers: Buffalo die

by Mirin MacCarthy

Send money for new one

The Water Buffalo, which can be seen in great numbers in Thailand, was domesticated thousands of years BC. It proved to be such a hardy and adaptable animal that it was introduced to Europe in the Middle Ages by the returning Crusaders and herds still exist in Italy and Bulgaria; however, it had arrived even earlier (about 600 AD) in the Near East and North Africa. In recent times, the water buffalo has prospered in South and Central America, while Micronesia and Australia have also introduced them.

For the native societies, the Water Buffalo has played a very large part in the domestic village life, and we certainly have enough of these domesticated animals in SE Asia. The estimated numbers of Water Buffalo in the world are around 150 million, with the Asian total being around 140 million, of which half is found in India.

Some people are under the misapprehension that the American Western Buffalo (Bison) is related to the Water Buffalo, but it is not. In Africa there is the Cape Buffalo, Syncerus caffer, which is actually only a distant relative. Their reputation for a mean-tempered disposition has spilled over onto the Water Buffalo, which in fact is a very docile animal, and anyone who has visited country areas of Thailand will have seen small children leading the family buffalo or riding on its back.

The major genetic divisions of the water buffalo are the Swamp Buffalo (Bubalus carabanensis) of the eastern half of Asia, which are slate grey, droopy necked, and ox-like with massive swept back horns. They wallow in any water or mud puddle they can find or make, and the River Buffalo (Bubalus bubalus) of the western half of Asia which usually is black or dark grey with tightly curled or drooping straight horns. They prefer to wallow in clean water. Certain subgroups seem to have specific characteristics. The buffalos of Thailand are noted for their large size, averaging 450-550 kg and weights of up to 1000 kg have been observed. Elsewhere Swamp Buffaloes range from 250 kg for some small animals in China to 300 kg in Burma and 500-600 kg in Laos.

There is an old joke in Thailand called “Buffalo die”, but this is more mythical than factual as the Water Buffalo is a very hardy animal indeed. When compared with other domestic livestock, the water buffalo is generally a healthy animal. This is particularly impressive because most of them live in hot, humid regions that are conductive to disease, and the buffalo is a bovine potentially susceptible to most diseases and parasites that afflict cattle.

The greatest buffalo losses are often among calves. Newborn buffalo calves, like bovine calves, can succumb in large numbers to viruses, bacteria, and poor nutrition. This is largely due to poor management during the calf’s first 2 months of life. For example, villagers in some countries often sell the buffalo milk, thus depriving the calves of their basic nutrition. Buffalo calf losses are often similar to those of the cattle around them, but the animal’s proclivity for wallowing exposes calves to waterborne diseases. Further, a young one occasionally drowns when an adult rolls on top of it.

Water buffalo will often totally submerge themselves in water, leaving only their nostrils exposed, to escape from insects. In the wild, they can often be seen completely caked in mud - another defence mechanism against insects.

No, the Water Buffalo continues to be an important beast of burden in Asia, a much maligned creature and one that has been in many ways given a bad reputation it did not deserve.

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Social Commentary by Khai Khem

Beloved Baht Buses

Love them or hate them, the humble baht bus is a firmly entrenched part of the Pattaya landscape. I remember when discussions on the introduction of a city bus system used to be part of the political rhetoric every couple of years. Not only do we still not have our bus system, but even the discussion seems to have dried up. Does that mean that Pattaya residents don’t want a city bus system? How about taxis? We don’t want them either? Is it possible that we are all so enamoured with the motorcycle taxi and baht bus we can dispense with other forms of transport which other cities of our size and vitality take for granted? Could be.

The baht bus does have some loveable traits. It is cheap, for one thing. And they pick up and drop passengers anywhere, anytime. A bus system would be a nice addition to the existing transport system, but a bus line does have its limitations. Our baht buses seem to have very few limitations. From hauling plants from the nursery, or animals to the vet, few drivers seem to care what we stuff into the back, as long as the price is agreeable. I once saw a small herd of goats tethered in the back of a baht bus travelling up Siam Country Club Road, all happily chewing at the padded seats which ran down the sides. About once or twice a year, we read about a woman giving birth in the back of a baht bus, with a crowd of well-wishers circled around to cheer her on. Massive palm trees, king sized mattresses, and the contents of a family home are common cargo, which without this Thai innovation could be a more difficult logistical endeavour.

When school lets out, uniformed school children pack the baht buses to over-flowing, and then some. Teetered on the edges of the back bumpers, they seem to float in the air like fragile butterflies, swaying around the turns. Foreign visitors cover their eyes and murmur a prayer for their safety. I cannot say whether Thais are just more graceful and have a better sense of balance than other nationalities, or whether they only appear nonchalant while one hand is gripped like a vice to a railing. I suspect they bounce just as heavily on the road during a road accident as anyone else.

The baht bus driver can often be a source of irritation for many patrons. Some drivers simply don’t have the ‘people skills’ to deal with the low paid job they do every day. In the past, there have been attempts to set up “charm schools” for drivers to teach them the basics in service and good manners. I have a feeling that well-mannered and charming people probably don’t stay baht bus drivers very long.

Bad-tempered, hot and tired, these gentlemen can give passengers a hard time, usually about the fare. The ones who ply the main business district seem to have a lot of grouches in their midst. One could say they were ‘opportunists’, who set the fares according to their whims. Then there are the drivers who are simply drunk or drugged, and dealing with them can be a hair-raising experience. On one journey to from Naklua to Jomtien, I had a driver who was so wrecked on cheap whiskey, he completely forgot I was in his bus, and, afraid to upset him, I kept quiet all the way to Sattahip, for fear of startling him out of his reverie.

I have often asked tourists what they think of our baht buses here, and to my surprise, many gave me rave reviews. Personally, I expected a lot of complaints about not having a proper city transportation system. Being jammed into the back of a rickety pick-up truck with only a flimsy metal top for protection from the blazing heat and driving rain would seem to be a real topic of complaint for visitors. Not necessarily so. Perhaps it is the novelty. But mainly, tourists appreciate the convenience, even if they have to forgo comfort. I’m not really sure how much the residents here still want a city bus system. It doesn’t seem to be a priority anymore. Looks like we’re stuck with the baht buses.

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Women’s World: Mud

by Lesley Warner

I was busy dusting the other day (don’t laugh, I find it quite therapeutic on odd occasions) and suddenly ‘mud’ came into my head for some unknown reason. One of the main benefits of mud is that it’s safe to use, and the clay can be mixed to suit your own particular skin.

Clays (‘mud’) are the perfect base material for facial masks - they stimulate circulation, generate heat upon drying and draw out the impurities of the skin tissue like a magnet, which then attach to the clay minerals. Do always use high-quality clays (they are not at all the same - superfine grade is best). Please don’t use pottery clay!

The basic facial mask is easy to prepare, effective, and positively relaxing! Don’t use metal utensils and do use distilled or spring water. Get superfine clay and sprinkle it into a bowl of water, mix it into a soft paste and let stand for a few minutes. Add any accessory ingredients, depending on your skin type, such as fruit juices, essential oils, etc. (keep it creamy). Apply to the skin, covering the whole face except for the eyes and lips. The clay is working as long as it is still moist, usually around 15-20 minutes. Rinse with warm water (it’s best to use a soaked towel).

This can be done once or twice a week.

Normal Skin

Use red or pink clay. You might try adding pureed cucumber to the mix. Instead of water, try lavender, rose, myrtle, or geranium water, as these are appropriate for all skin types. For a particularly effective liquid combine 2 parts mineral water, 2 parts perfumed water, and 1 part aloe vera juice. To the prepared paste you might also add a few drops of hazelnut oil or lavender.

Dry Skin

Use white clay. To this you could add avocado, cucumber, honey, yogurt, or egg yolk. For the liquid, the recommended include rose or chamomile water. Essence of rose or chamomile can also be added to the prepared paste, but add only a few drops. Sandalwood and jasmine are also often recommended for dry and sensitive skins. Evening primrose, wheat germ, and rose hip seed oils all make fine additives to this mask. Try adding the pulp of a fresh peach or apricot to the blend. Apply the mask for about 15 minutes, once or twice a week.

Oily Skin

Frequent mask treatments with green clay are recommended to deep cleanse, remove toxins, and stimulate circulation. Sometimes the powerful green clay will at first cause more pimples. This is OK; however, to avoid this use red clay instead, or reduce the time and thickness of the mask. Again, scented water is recommended - lavender, geranium, and chamomile are all well suited for this mask. A few drops of geranium, ylang ylang, niaouli, lemon, rosemary verbenon, or spike lavender essence can be added to the prepared paste. (Note: research seems to indicate that occasionally green clay may cause dryness or itchiness to the skin.)

For combination skin, geranium and lavender are perfect.

Sensitive skin, try honey and aloe vera.

For prematurely aging/wrinkled skin, use additives such as avocado, yogurt, kelp seaweed, brewer’s yeast, rose hip seed oil, evening primrose oil, or carrot root oils. Also try replacing the water with fresh carrot juice! Yarrow, myrtle, and especially rose hydrosol enhance the treatment.

And now, for something a little bit different - sagging breasts can also benefit from tissue-tonifying clay treatment. Mix 2 lbs green or pink clay into sufficient water to form a paste. Add 4 drops myrrh essence. Apply 1 inch thick layer over the bust, and then remove after 20 minutes. Rinse in cold water. Repeat this once a day every other day for one month.

Genuine Moroccan Rhassoul is another exciting clay material with interesting benefits for skin and hair. It is valued in the Near East for many uses, including shampoo and cleansing cream. The natural forms are the rocks - they are mined from shafts beneath the Atlas Mountains. Rhassoul powder consists of pure crushed rock - it has not undergone any further treatment. Both rock and powder will expand in water to form a cream or paste - they are immediately useful (without fancy formulation) for natural skin and hair care.

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Shaman’s Rattle: Clairvoyance

by Marion

The correct meaning of Clairvoyance is simple - ‘Clear Vision’ - but is much more than polishing the lenses of your spectacles! Clairvoyance is the art of ‘seeing’ with senses beyond the five we normally use. Clairvoyance is therefore often called the ‘sixth sense’ and is related to the images that are always present in your mind but you do not necessarily connect to.

Clairvoyance is a term that is often used incorrectly to describe other psychic abilities than just the visual ability to receive and perceive information. These include Clairaudience “clear hearing”, Clairsentience which is the ability to feel spirits or atmospheres.

We talk about being able to “see into the future” and describe psychics as being “seers” or “visionaries” though we all have to some degree clairvoyant abilities - images can come in dreams, or daydreaming; although maybe not any so called predictions, you still receive images, and that is Clairvoyance, and can be developed by anyone.

Here are some good examples of these abilities. Do you sometimes think of someone two minutes before they telephone you? Do you walk into a room and pick up an atmosphere? Do you receive strong mental images or hear the answer to a question that you have inside your head before you have even voiced it?

And while all of us can say “yes” to at least some of those examples, the sad part is we all used to have this ability, but we have slowly lost it. Young children and teenagers still can do this - but adults, unless having accessed these gifts in childhood, generally forget and move into the hard realms of the physical “realities”.

Opening your clairvoyant gifts has to do with DNA activation of your encoded cellular memories, activations of your chakras, raising your frequency, balancing your energy bodies, your self esteem and the ability to trust in what you ‘hear’ and ‘see’, your emotional state (clearing issues that block or influence the information you get), and expanding your knowledge base and understanding. You can’t read someone on a subject - or understand symbols on a specific subject if you have no knowledge of that subject. The brain will have no way of interpreting the language into something you can understand. You can explain what you see - but we like to give meaning to our imagery. Even with the archetypes we see in meditation and dreams our brains need some sort of frame of reference if we are to understand.

In clairvoyance we ‘see’ with what is commonly called the ‘third eye’. In the human body there is a gland called the pineal gland located in the brain almost in the centre of the head. This gland has degenerated from its original size, comparable to a ping pong ball, to its present size comparable to a pea, because we forgot how to use it a long time ago.

We can all develop these abilities again, although one may be stronger than the other and easier for some than others. If you are a visual person who easily thinks in pictures and whose language is visually orientated, then it is very likely you will be able to receive psychic information visually. For example, when asked to describe something you talk about the visual elements, rather than the sounds or smells of the object, then you will easily develop clairvoyance. People with Clairvoyant ability may also work in jobs with an artistic element to them, like drawing or painting and design and you will notice they will say things like, “I see what you mean,” “I see your point,” and similar visual phrases, with the emphasis on SEE.

So how can you develop a method of opening your inner eye? This exercise will help. Find a place where you can comfortably relax, you can use candles, aromas or whatever makes you comfortable, in a place where you will not be disturbed, and sit with back straight and arms and legs uncrossed.

Start by focusing on your heartbeat and breathe in for 3 beats hold your breath for 2 beats and breathe for 3 beats then hold for 2 beats. Repeat this until you are completely relaxed. You will know when you reached this stage, by your body feeling heavy, and a tingling sensation all over.

Then when you’re ready, imagine your third eye as a real eye in the middle of your forehead but imagine the eyelid is closed. When you are ready picture your whole forehead bathed in golden light then imagine your third eye opening, see the eyelid rise up, imagine your third eye opening wider, so you can see clearer, stronger and healthier. At this stage be aware of any feelings, images or sensations you feel, since opening your third eye can affect your other psychic senses, so make mental notes of what you perceive, and write anything down after this exercise is complete. To close your third eye just repeat the process, by imagining the eyelid closing again.

If you do this exercise on a regular basis, you will notice a big change in your clairvoyant abilities. Don’t expect to see things overnight, but with a regular session of this exercise you notice will a big improvement in a matter of weeks.

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Guide to buying a large dog: Rough Collie

by C. Schloemer

Good points: attractive appearance, affectionate, easily trained, excellent pet, loves children, loyal, good guard

Take heed: not too keen on strangers

No breed causes so much consternation to buyers and those giving breed information than the Collie. People tend to have a fixed idea of the type of Collie they want, be it Rough, Smooth, Border, Old English, or Bearded. The Smooth Collie is identical to the Rough Collie except in coat. There are also long-hair and wire-hair varieties. If it is a dog like the film star ‘Lassie” that you want, you are thinking of a Rough Collie. They are sometimes erroneously called Scottish Collie, the Sheltie, or Shetland. But the Shetland Collie is a Rough Collie in miniature.

The rough Collie makes an ideal family pet. This breed loves children and has a predictable and affectionate temperament. Loyal to its owners, it makes a good guard as well. Since this dog is intelligent it is easily trained. The Rough Collie is a devoted breed and is eager to please. It is, however, a little wary of strangers, so is not as affable, as for example, the Irish Setter, who adores everyone. The Collie is not fierce, but can be aloof around those he doesn’t know well.

This breed seems to adapt happily to modest surroundings as long as it gets sufficient exercise. Therefore, it makes a good house pet. A modest home and garden will suffice as long as the dog gets plenty of walks and free runs. Since this breed is a working dog, it will be in its element in the country. It is hardy and fairly easy to care for. All working dogs need space and do not do well in confinement. Owners must make time to exercise their Collies. The herding instinct in this breed is strong. Families with toddlers will notice their pet Collie herding the children occasionally.

Size: Height at the shoulder: dog 56-61 cm, bitch 51-56 cm. Weight: dog 20.5-29 kg, bitch 18.1- 25 kg.

Exercise: Normal exercise with plenty of walks and runs will keep this breed healthy.

Grooming: Daily brushing. The Rough Collie has a beautiful, thick coat which is surprisingly easy to care for.

Origin and history: The Rough Collie is generally spoken of as a Scottish breed. In fact, its ancestors were introduced into England and Scotland from Iceland 400 years ago. But it was as guardians of the flock they acquired their name in Scotland, where sheep with black faces and legs were knows as colleys. Queen Victoria kept a Rough Collie at Balmoralin in 1860, and in the same year a breed member was exhibited in a Birmingham show.

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The Message In The Moon: Sun in Aries/Moon in Sagittarius - The Space Cadet

by Anchalee Kaewmanee

The Aires side of this personality is energetic, impulsive, and restless. The Sagittarius’ inner nature is idealistic, freedom loving, and drawn to the spiritual and philosophical. Like a child just beginning to understand its environment, this Sun/Moon sign approaches everything with na๏ve curiosity and total eagerness.

Others admire the zest for life which is so characteristic of the Aries/Sagittarius, and find it hard to resist all that charm. Intensely curious, this combination is always on the lookout for something around the next corner, or underneath the next rock - something which might have been missed. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm is usually short lived, and seldom does the curiosity last long enough delve deeper into the object of interest. Even when intensely involved in a project, a person born under this Sun/Moon sign will unceremoniously drop everything, and pursue whatever new thing that has caught the eye. Lack of concentration is the enemy.

Probably very ambitious, this individual sets high goals. All too often, these goals remain only lofty dreams. It is imperative for individuals in this category to discover just what it is they want and try to find a mission in life. Otherwise, they simply drift from one scenario to another, without fixing their sights on any one thing. Some Aries/Sagittarius combinations are in danger of becoming lifelong drifters, or what used to be called ‘hippies’. Many of them get permanently lost in a world of their own making, uncharted land which is only found in the landscape of their own daydreams.

However, those who do set attainable goals, and buckle down and learn to focus, can be models of unwavering dedication. Courage, personal magnetism and sharp intelligence combine to make these people brilliant leaders when it comes to the management and execution of original ideas. Thomas Jefferson and Charles De Gaulle are outstanding examples of natives born into the Aries Sun and Sagittarius moon sign. Professionally, this sign makes excellent teachers, for their love of life and alacrity are inspiring to others.

Honest to a fault, this Sun/Moon sign never represses emotions, preferring to deal openly and straight from the heart. Malice and hypocrisy is unknown to this sign, but these people are capable of speaking their mind in the bluntest of terms, thus the risk of hurting other people’s feelings is high. With a little help, the development of more diplomacy would be of benefit. Because these individuals are so open and trustworthy, they expect others to be the same. Unhappily, the world doesn’t always work that way, and this group is often taken advantage of by more devious types who are not so scrupulous. They just don’t see trouble coming. It is well advised that this personality acquires some sense of self-preservation. Their generosity and kind hearted nature leaves them open to predators.

In relationships, the Aries/Sagittarius is usually sincere and giving. It is essential that these people find partners who will share their enthusiasm, and will allow them a certain amount of independence. In love, as with everything else, these persons will seek variety. They appear to be the ‘love-them-and leave-them’ type of lover, therefore do not have the best reputations for fidelity. Their idealism is of a personal kind, and not necessarily in tune with the morals of the day. It will take them years to settle down. But if and when they ever do, they have the capacity and emotional passion to be devoted and loyal.

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Down The Iron Road: Brunel’s Amazing Great Western Railway

by John D. Blyth, P.O. Box 97, Pattaya City 20260

From the very beginning, the railway planned to run from London to the Port of Bristol was known as the Great Western Railway (GWR). The first section was opened in 1837, and the name kept until midnight on the last day of 1947, when it was to become part of a unified national system, over 110 years, during which it had been extended to Penzance in the far west, to Swansea and beyond to Oxford, thence as a famous and disreputable line, to Worcester and Wolverhampton; it opened the Cheltenham & Great Western Union Railway in 1847 and had its first serious encounter with the Birmingham & Gloucester. It went to many other places but I mention these specifically, as they were built to a new track gauge, the brainchild of its engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Brunel was the son of a French engineer who had built the first underwater tunnel in the world, under the River Thames on the East Side of London; it is still there, still in use.

Locomotive ‘North Star’, built by R. Stephenson & Co. of Newcastle for the New Orleans Railway, USA, not delivered, and modified for use on the Great Western. Built 1836, modified 1837

Brunel did not subscribe to the advice given by old George Stephenson on track gauge: ‘make them all the same; now they are far apart, but the time will come when they need to join up’. George was right! - But Brunel thought that as his line to Bristol was to go where none other was planned, he was not running any risks, so he chose a gauge of 7 feet, just about half as big again as the standard gauge (S.G.) as it became. Brunel’s was the broad gauge (B.G.) - and time showed that he was wrong! I’ve heard the suggestion that he increased the wrong dimension: that provision for greater height or width for rolling stock and locomotives would have had much benefit, but 50% on the width between the rails had little to offer. But the ‘error’ duly went into the Act of Parliament, and the line was built to the B.G. The first London terminus was temporary, near Paddington, where a very fine station was built, with a classic arched roof that stands to this day.

Brunel’s masterpiece, the Royal Albert Bridge, taken from the riverbank at Saltash, Cornwall in 1954.

There was novelty in the track itself; Brunel was to break away from the crude track of earlier lines with what was called ‘bridge rail’, laid on longitudinal beams, the latter in turn joined by cross-beams. All this at first gave a very rough ride, but eventually the troubles were overcome, and remarkably high speeds could be achieved. Brunel also seems to have thought himself an expert on steam locomotives, and gave specifications to firms in the north for machines that were plainly not going to be satisfactory; some of these were delivered and found wanting, but by this time a locomotive superintendent, Daniel Gooch, had been appointed, not yet past his 21st birthday, but far more experienced in locomotive work. He was a ‘Geordie’ - that is to say he came from the north-east of England, where railways were born. One only of the early locomotives was success, as it had no ‘Brunel’ features; named ‘North Star’, it had been built for an American railway who couldn’t pay, so it was on the makers’ hands; converted to B.G. it was delivered to the GWR, and was a good worker. I have included an illustration of this locomotive.

A more distant view of the Royal Albert Bridge, taken from a westbound train passing Antony Passage. On entering Cornwall, the railway turns sharply southward, making views like this possible (but for the new road bridge!)

Quite soon the significance of the B.G. was seen, and in and out of Parliament there arose the ‘Battle of the Gauge’; tests were run, committees of enquiry set up, learned counsel taken, and the decision taken that for all new work the S.G. must be used. Much work on B.G. lines was in hand, and had to be completed; this included many of the lines mentioned earlier, and especially the Bristol & Exeter, the South Devon, and the Cornwall and West Cornwall Railways were to take the railway (with all these incorporated into the GWR) no less than 345 miles from London to the Western terminus, at Penzance.

Brunel has been acclaimed as a genius, as the first 90 miles or so from London were almost dead level - 4 feet per mile rise! - But the summit west of Swindon was 360 feet higher than Paddington and so there were two sharp drops, one at Dauntsey, another involving a steep gradient in a tunnel at Box; a route somewhat more to the south could have placed the summit in a different place and saved the steep grades. Little is ever said about this - the ‘genius’ was to build a straight level road on a section where nature had provided the needful! Brunel was, of course, involved in all these westward extensions, and west of Exeter he seems to have made another error, selecting a route along the sea shore between Dawlish and Teignmouth, and then turning inland to Newton Abbot, with a particularly difficult section for the final 36 miles to Plymouth. This was not intended to be worked by steam at all, but on the ‘atmospheric’ system, already tried and failed on a line in the London area, and a failure here, too. So the GWR and successors have been left with legacy of this section of steep grades and sharp curves ever since. The Dawlish - Teignmouth section, too, has its troubles when winter storms are all too prone to wash away ballast, and sometimes even track so that the line has to be closed and an alternative route used.

But let us leave Brunel - for the time at least - with a note on his noblest memorial - the Royal Albert Bridge, which spans the River Tama west of Plymouth, giving a rail connection from England into Cornwall. (I am Cornish, and many of us do not choose to adopt English nationality as well as Cornish!). The close-up picture is taken from the riverbank on the Saltash (Cornish) side, and I hope will give an impression of the majesty of the structure; the western suburbs of Plymouth can be seen on the far shore. Each of the ‘tubular’ sections was assembled on the shore, floated out on the river on a pontoon, and lifted into position resting on the towers that were already constructed; only a single line of rails crosses the bridge. The more distant view is from a train passing Antony Passage, down the river from the crossing. The stonework at each end bears to inscription in the stonework ‘I.K. BRUNEL 1859’. This was the year of completion of the bridge. By the date of completion Brunel was a very sick man indeed; history records that he was taken across the river in a launch to view his completed masterpiece only a few days before his death. With their usual disregard for history and fine engineering, the local authority has seen fit to erect a modern ‘cheap and nasty’ road bridge alongside the Royal Albert Bridge; this has totally ruined any views of Brunel’s bridge, and photography is a waste of effort.

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Antiques, are they genuine?: Old Sheffield Plate Electroplating

by Apichart Panyadee

The technical innovation that hastened the decline of the Sheffield process was the introduction of German silver, in which a mixture of nickel and brass was applied between the copper and the silver. By 1836 a refined nickel called Argentine was used as a total replacement for the copper. Then in 1840 a patent was registered for an electroplating process which was to prove the end of Sheffield Plate.

Authentic Old Sheffield tea caddies dated from mid-1760s

However, by the end of the 19th century there was a considerable demand for the Old Sheffield ‘look’ and electroplating onto copper, as well as Argentine, became popular. This is where mistakes can occur. When silver is worn through to expose the copper underneath it is called ‘bleeding’. Many assume that the article must be Old Sheffield. But this can only be so if the silver is of sterling standard. Electroplating is done with pure silver. Initially the sharpness of colour and the feel may be a guide. But the forger can now create an old ‘skin’ or patina. As a last resort, a solution of nitric acid dropped on the surface will decide whether the piece is faked. Nitric acid will turn sterling silver blue. But it has no effect on pure (electroplated) silver. A replated Old Sheffield item can be told by its slightly greasy feel.

Collection of Sheffield Plate coffee pots dated from 1760-1810

Most of the Sheffield Plate that appears on the market is in relatively good condition, whereas much of the 19th century electroplate is very much the worse for wear. This is in part because the method of making Old Sheffield articles; annealing and raising, actually strengthens the metal. If an article can be easily impressed or dented, it is not likely to be Old Sheffield.

Style and Decoration

Gradually, Sheffield Plate became as popular as silver, and not only because it was cheaper. In some houses, plated articles were used in preference to their equivalents in sterling silver. For Sheffield Plate to be this popular it had to be as fashionable as silver. Shapes and forms or ornament had to be fully up to date in fashion and taste, and every bit as stylish as their sterling counterparts.

Old Sheffield Plate candlesticks circa 1815

An item that is offered as early as Old Sheffield that is not stylistically true to its period is unlikely to be authentic. This rule of thumb does not, however, apply throughout the whole period of Sheffield Plate. In the last two decades of the process, fused platers kept their expensive Regency steel dies in use.

The collector should be reminded that the change of patterns over the period will be evident. Therefore, all Old Sheffield Plate made prior to 1830 should be made to a completely authentic pattern for the period in which the item purports to come. An example is the popular sets of wine coolers dating from the 1800’s which have rubbed-in engraved armorials. Early items of genuine Sheffield Plate will reveal the copper underneath the silver skin made by the engraving tool. Candlesticks of true Old Sheffield are so fluidly made as to appear cast. Yet, upon close inspection, the front and back of each figure will be made separately, and soldered together. A seam is therefore detectable. Some tea caddies from the mid-1760’s had seams when the construction required them, and can be difficult to trace. On these items, the seams should be discernible on the inside at the corners.

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The computer doctor

by Richard Brunch

From Al Deins, Pattaya: Maybe you have an answer for the following question. One year ago I downloaded Windows 98, including the free McAfee virus scanner. Later I installed a firewall - Zone Alarm and I thought everything was OK. But surprise for me: I received a virus with the following note: Attachments File CFGWIZ 32 EXE, Virus name: W 32Magistre@MM. Maybe you can write an answer about this that virus scanners and firewalls are not 100%, same for many of your readers who are interested in this answer.

Computer Doctor replies: Firstly, it is essential that Anti Virus software is installed, but it is equally important that both the ‘engine’ and virus database are regularly updated. McAfee Clinic will update daily but if your software doesn’t automatically update then I recommend you diarize to manually update weekly. You need to bear in mind that with ‘boxed’ software and sometimes with that downloaded from the Web the ‘engines’ and databases are not current and an immediate update is necessary.

Firewalls provide a different kind of protection and personally any network or stand-alone PC that connects to the outside world needs protection against unauthorized use and entry, and a firewall provides this protection.

In essence, a firewall is a program that protects the contents of a private network from external users and programs. The firewall will prevent outsiders from accessing private resources (e.g., confidential business data) and also control internal access to Internet resources.

Firewalls use different methods for screening the data.

Dynamic packet filtering monitors the state of active connections, utilizing this information to determine which network packets to let through the firewall and which to block. By recording session information, like the IP address and port numbers, a dynamic packet filter provides much tighter security than a static packet filter. When the system records a request, the dynamic packet filter opens an inbound door just long enough to let in only the expected data. Once the system receives the reply, the filter closes the door, dramatically increasing the firewall’s security capabilities.

A proxy server receives a user’s request for an Internet service, a Web page for instance, and if the service passes filtering requirements, the proxy server (assuming it’s also a cache server) looks in its local cache of previously downloaded Web pages. If it finds the page, then it returns the page to the user without forwarding the request to the Internet. If the page is not in the cache, the proxy server uses one of its own IP addresses to request the page from the Internet. When the Internet server returns the page, the proxy server matches the page to the original request and forwards the information to the user. The proxy server is invisible to the user; all Internet requests and returned responses appear to be direct with the addressed Internet server. By necessity, the proxy server displays its own IP address on all requests so that traffic can return back to it. Another advantage of using a proxy server is that its cache can supply all users with frequently requested Internet sites thus speeding up the response time and reducing external traffic.

Stateful inspection. Stateful inspection is a newer firewall screening method that doesn’t examine the contents of each packet; instead, it compares certain key parts. The most recent method introduced is known as Stateful inspection, which monitors information traveling from inside the firewall to the outside, looking for specific defining characteristics, and compares these characteristics with incoming information. If the comparison is a reasonable match, the firewall lets the information go through; otherwise, it discards it. A limitation of this is that as it does not inspect the whole packet, malformed packets could get through the firewall and some things like ASP and CGI scripts may not work correctly. There are currently some improvements afoot in this area which should address this issue.

Firewalls will help protect your internal network or stand-alone PC from outside intrusion, but they do have limitations. They can protect against the actions that Trojan horse viruses take once installed, but they can’t prevent a virus from entering. Although some firewalls offer limited virus protection, this is often cumbersome and difficult to update. I personally recommend a firewall and separate virus scan program.

With regards to firewall programs, one of the best available is Zone Alarm, downloadable from which is free for personal use. It is easily configurable in a stand-alone situation and also works with a network with a little more configuration. It is intelligent and so can remember the responses as to what applications and traffic to allow through.

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.

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A Slice of Thai History: Arose by any other name (part one)

(compiled by Nightmarch)

On May 11, 1939 the government of Siam officially changed the name of the country to Thailand (meaning ‘land of the free’).

That same year saw the start of the Second World War and seven days after the German invasion of Poland and five days after the British and French declaration of war on Germany, the Thai government announced it would remain neutral.

On June 12, 1940 a treaty of friendship was signed between Thailand and Japan in Tokyo. Not putting all their eggs in one basket, the Thai government also signed treaties of non-aggression with Britain and France in Bangkok on the same day. Of course, no one was under any illusion about the true value of any of these treaties. As with the German and Russian 10-year non-aggression pact, they weren’t worth the paper they were written on.

The Japanese Fifteenth Army invaded Thailand at nine separate points on December 8, 1941, but after just five hours of resistance the Pibbul Songgram government ordered a cease-fire and gave permission for the Japanese to travel unhindered through Thailand. On December 21, the government signed a 10-year treaty of alliance with Japan.

Then, on January 25, 1942, Thailand, honouring its alliance with Japan, declared war on Britain, the United States and their allies. Seni Pramoj, the Thai ambassador to the United States, refused to deliver the declaration of war to the US government and organised a Free Thai movement.

By May, Thai troops had been in operation against Shan forces in north-eastern Burma. In July 1943, the Japanese rewarded Thailand by giving her the four northern Malay states of Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu and two of the Shan states in upper Burma.

Having also been given large slabs of the former French Indochina, the war was looking good for Thailand in terms of increased territory.

However, by July 1944, it was clear Japan was going to lose the war and on the 24th of that month Pibbul Songgram was forced to resign as Prime Minister by the National Assembly.

In June 1945, Admiral Louis Mountbatten, the British supreme commander for South-East Asia, recommended that the Free Thai Movement (a group of dissidents composed mainly of the elite of society) be given arms and training by British special forces.

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