Family Money: The
Case for Saving (Part 2)
Last week we started looking at the various reasons for
having established some sort of savings programme. Whether this is to fund
your retirement, build a college fund for the children, buy a home, or
yacht, or pay for your daughter’s wedding, there are a wide variety of
excellent plans available with just the features you’re looking for.
However, while you might know what features you’re
looking for, it’s unlikely you’ll know which plans from which
institutions provide them, and give you the best deal.
Even the financial trade press (which few amateur
investors will have access to anyway) are not able to compare &
contrast several plans from several providers at once: they advertise the
ones they’re paid to advertise.
Only an independent financial adviser (‘IFA’) who
deals with several institutions will be able to identify the best plan for
your particular needs & circumstances.
The need for discipline
However, some people say to me: “I don’t like
long-term savings plans.”
Usually, what they really mean is: “I don’t like to
make a long-term commitment.”
All too often, these people have reached their early
forties with comparatively little capital having been built up for
anything significant. And they now have a far shorter window of
opportunity to build that capital. If they intend to retire at, say, 55,
they have less than 15 years to build sufficient capital to last them
perhaps at least another 20 years.
It doesn’t take a brilliant mind to work out that
saving $300 a month for 15 years would have to perform miraculously if it
was expected to produce $1,000 a month pension for 20 years!
Nonetheless, I come across people all the time who have
set up a savings plan for their retirement who expect just this sort of
miracle to occur. It’s just not within the realms of common sense. But
as some sage wit once said, “Common sense isn’t too common.”
As an experienced professional advisor, I can quickly
identify that one criterion these unrealistically hopeful people need to
consider in their future savings plans, if they’re ever going to build
up a meaningful amount of capital - whether for buying a house, educating
the children, or funding their retirement (which usually is last on their
list of priorities, although it really should be the first) - is
To me, saying, “I don’t like long-term savings
plans,” is the same as saying: “I don’t plan to live very long.”
I’m not suggesting that everyone should make a
commitment to pay $X every month for the rest of their working life - just
that long-term savings plans have their place in any sensibly thought-out
financial planning program. And it can be an important one.
For example, at the risk of repeating myself, making
provision for a comfortable retirement should be high on the list of
priorities in your personal financial planning. (As I said earlier, it
rarely is - but that’s another story.)
For most people, a long-term savings plan with some
element of flexibility to allow for changing circumstances is probably the
most appropriate vehicle to build up a retirement fund.
Similarly, for people who have taken out a mortgage on
a house “back home”, the best way to fund the purchase is with an
interest-only mortgage accompanied by an appropriate fixed-term endowment
designed to build the required capital to pay off the mortgage at
An inherently rather disciplined yet highly
cost-effective endowment savings-plan would be the best way to achieve
this objective. You have to pay the endowment each and every month,
otherwise you might lose the house.
Nowadays, there are many different savings plans on the
market, and most have a high degree of flexibility built into them.
They allow you to reduce or suspend contributions
during a period of changed circumstances such as short-term redundancy,
relocation, prolonged ill health, and so on.
Most such plans also allow for regular or ad hoc
increases to contributions, to help combat inflation and keep pace with
your upward mobility.
As touched upon earlier, some people criticise the
charges associated with long-term savings plans. They complain that the
initial charges that many such plans carry - called “front-end
loading” - are too high, and erode the growth in the early years. And if
they wanted to cash up the plan after only two or three years, they might
not even get back as much as they’d put into it.
Well, that’s possibly true. But long-term savings
plans are not designed to be short-term ones: they are specifically
designed for the serious long-term saver. Nobody should commit to a
long-term savings plan if they intend to contribute into it for only two
or three years. They’d almost certainly be better off with one of the
several totally flexible open-ended plans that are available nowadays.
But for serious long-term capital accumulation, one or
another of the long-term savings plans from one or another of the major
international institutions is, in my opinion, still the best way to go.
As mentioned before, most long-term plans are highly
cost-effective if carried through to maturity. Some now offer increased
allocations which reduce the costs very considerably - provided you keep
the plan going.
But there’s always a trade-off between flexibility
and cost-effectiveness. Typically, the more flexibility you require, the
less cost-effective will be the program.
On the other hand, for people who are earning high
incomes on short-term employment contracts - who are generally earning far
more than they’re spending, but perhaps don’t know what the future
will hold for them just a few short years down the road, but in the
meantime want their excess income to be working hard for them - a flexible
open-ended savings plan is probably the best solution.
Nowadays there are various highly flexible and
cost-effective short-term or open-ended plans on the market. Most can be
stopped at any time without suffering any penalty for doing so, and
suitable ones are available for every budget - for those who want to save
comparatively modest amounts, or to accommodate quite substantial
contributions or ad hoc lump sums.
The charging structure and bonuses offered with these
plans reflects the level of input and/or the period of contribution.
Better than the bank?
Both short and long-term savings plans access a range
of funds which can be chosen to meet individual risk-profiles and
Adjusting the portfolio (“switching” funds) in line
with changing market conditions can usually be done at any time, and at
either little or no cost (depending on the plan’s terms &
Such funds access the world’s stock markets, bond
markets - even the commodities & futures markets.
While tending to be more volatile than cash in the
bank, over time stocks have consistently outperformed bonds, which have
Cash in the bank rarely even keeps pace with inflation.
In real terms, your cash deposits are earning negative interest.
Also, cash is subject to fluctuating exchange rates,
which can seriously erode your capital if it’s not in the currency
you’ll be spending. (And even then, if the local currency is devalued
against hard currencies used to pay for imported goods & materials.)
Short, long or both?
Whether a short-term or long-term savings plan is the
most appropriate vehicle for any individual is subject to many variables,
and needs to be discussed with your financial advisor (if you have one),
who would take into consideration your own particular needs and
circumstances before making any recommendations.
In some cases, both a short-term and a long-term
savings plan running together are the most suitable. For example, a
long-term one for your retirement fund, a medium-term one for the
children’s education fund or paying off the mortgage, and an open-ended
one for other purposes, or just to accommodate anything left over.
Both the short-term and the long-term savings plan have
their proper place in a sound financial planning program. And personal
financial planning is something that everyone should take seriously. As
someone once wisely said: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”
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
Further details and back articles can be accessed on his firm’s website
Editor’s note: Leslie sometimes receives e-mails to
which he is unable to respond due to the sender’s automatic return
address being incorrect. If you have sent him an e-mail to which you have
not received a reply, this may be why. To ensure his prompt response to
your enquiry, please include your complete return e-mail address, or a
contact phone/fax number.
Snap Shots: Professional
by Harry Flashman
The photo of the young woman was taken a few years ago
as a lighting exercise. You must admit the end result is a good photo. A
pretty model, soft lighting on the face, and a hair light to make the
final professional effect. Of course, you will say that this type of photo
is easy to do when you have all the equipment at your disposal such as any
professional studio would have, with multiple flash heads and the like.
However, this shot was done with only one light, and it was an ordinary
internal reflector incandescent bulb, the sort of thing you have in your
gardens as spotlights to shine into trees.
The secret here is a sheet of whiteboard, or even white
cardboard and a mirror, such as the type you have in the bathroom. You
will also have to do this shot with Black and White film, as the tungsten
(incandescent) spotlight gives a very yellow cast to normal colour film.
This can be taken out with blue filters, but go and get some of the new
B&W films that can be developed in ordinary C41 chemicals, instead of
worrying about filters. These B&W films are available, and are clearly
marked on the box as being processed in C41. This means you can get it
done at any of the normal photo-processors around town.
For lighting, place the light very much to the side of
the model, with the white board on the other side, fairly close to the
face. Get an assistant to hold the mirror behind and above the model’s
head angling it such as to reflect light back onto the hair.
Move the spotlight towards and away from the model and
see the effect of moving the light. Keep the whiteboard reflector very
close to the model’s face, but just out of the viewfinder, and tell the
assistant to move the mirror till the angle is correct.
Take several shots, with the light in different
positions - at least one will give you a great result.
Many times I have been asked did I know of anyone who
could take some professional photographs. Until recently I had to reply in
the negative (not an intentional pun!), but since then I have come across
Howard Greene, a professional photographer living in Jomtien. I like
Howard’s work and have even suggested to him that we do a Harry &
Howard exhibition later this year. He has also been recommended by Mike
Franklin who was very pleased with Howard’s Golf Tournament pictures. He
is a nice chap too, and you can contact him through 038 251 519.
I was sitting at my work station, surrounded by film
canisters, when my photographic friend Ernie Kuehnelt popped in. “What
do you do with your old canisters?” he asked. “I usually knock them
onto the floor,” I replied, now engulfed in bouncing plastic cans as
they fell off the desk.
Well Ernie has made up a list of uses for the humble
film canister - so here you go, courtesy of Ernie.
When travelling, you can put shampoo and detergent in
them. They make excellent containers for tablets and medicines, especially
powdery ones like Metamucil or Fibogel. In the car, you can keep those
annoying small coins together, and an excellent idea for those in
countries where you need money for parking meters. (Let’s hope mayor
Pairat Suttithamrongsawat doesn’t read this column, we certainly don’t
need them here, thank you!) In the house, the canisters are good for
storing tacks, nails, and small screws. Also in the house, the opaque
canister is an excellent hiding place for small valuables like diamonds
and rings. In the camera bag, the ubiquitous canister is good for storing
AAA batteries and the spare small button batteries that always fail when
you least expect it. Another canister can be used to store spare keys to
the car, so if you drop them down the drain on the next photo trip, you
can at least drive home again!
Modern Medicine: Thrush
- an evil little bird!
by Dr Iain Corness Consultant
Hands up all women who have had at least one episode of
“Thrush” in their lifetime. Half of you have just raised your hands.
Does this mean I am psychic? The next David Copperfield? No. Thrush, or
vaginal Candidiasis as we should correctly call it, is the most common
gynaecological disorder in the world, with more than 50% of women being
So why do 50% of women get this problem? The accusatory
finger has been pointed at glucose metabolism, antibiotic use (or abuse),
diet, nylon knickers, sexual activity, menstrual cycles, hygiene and
While it would appear that the causes are about as many
as the theories, we should look at the basics first. What is the organism?
It is just one of the “Yeast” organisms, of which there are a few, but
the culprit is one called Candida albicans. Pathology slips that say
“Candida species were observed” could be identifying Candida glabrata,
Candida parapsilosis or Saccharomyces cerevisiae, all of whom do not cause
symptoms or require treatment, despite their grandiose names. (I wonder
who gives these things such names, and what they called their children?
The mind boggles!)
Medical science has managed to show that women who are
diabetic or who are immunocompromised are prone to this infection, but
amazingly, the vast majority of sufferers are in other ways perfectly
normal. However, with a little bit of investigation it appears that all
these women have high oestrogen levels in the vagina.
If you are doubtful of this, read on - newborn children
get a rush of oestrogens from their mother at birth, and until those
oestrogen levels fall after a few weeks, vaginal Candidiasis can occur.
Young pre-pubertal girls have low oestrogen levels and do not get
Candidiasis; however, after puberty, when the levels rise, it does become
a problem. During pregnancy is when a woman experiences her highest
oestrogen levels, and a common complication of pregnancy - Candidiasis.
During breast feeding, oestrogen levels are low, and, you guessed it - no
Candidiasis. Women who have passed the menopause, when oestrogen
production falls, do not get Candidiasis, but when put on Hormone
Replacement Therapy (usually referred to as HRT) will get it if the
oestrogen in the HRT is too strong. Believe now?
So what to do about this troublesome condition? Well
there are various agents, called “azoles” which do curtail its spread
and chase it away, the simplest being vaginal tablets inserted one daily
for around a week. There are shorter courses available, but it has been my
experience that recurrences are more frequent with the shorter treatment
For the recurrent cases of Candidiasis, and for some
women this can be a real problem, then oral “azoles” taken for up to
six months, in conjunction with local treatment, may be necessary.
However, these agents when used for a continuous period of time can have a
few side effects, and Liver Function Tests should be done. And don’t
forget, if you are on HRT and are getting Thrush, then see your doctor,
you may need HRT with a lower oestrogen dose.
As a modern farang girl there are times that I find I
appear to offend the Thai sensibility when I do things without realising
that the Thais might be offended by this. I try not to point my feet at
people and things like that; you know what I mean. But there is one
problem, well two actually, all regarding motorcycle taxi boys. When I get
on behind I don’t know how to get them to slow down (I’m sure some of
them are on the ‘beans’) and I also don’t know if I should ride
sideways like the Thai girls or not. I asked some friends and they said I
should say something like “Bow-wow” but I think they could be having a
lend of me, or else they are trying to say I’m a bit of a bitch.
Hillary, you have to help me here. You would understand these things.
The Bikers Moll
Some of you girls certainly try and get yourself in
trouble don’t you. If I were you I would certainly be much more worried
about the state of the rider’s health than whether to hop on
side-saddle, but since you asked, here are Hillary’s rules for motorbike
taxi riding. Do not pick a rider who is asleep when you approach him. This
guy has his body on 2nd Road and his brain in an all-night karaoke. When
you find a good steady rider, try and wait to get him again. This takes a
little patience because the taxi bikes have a rotational system, so like
all good things, you have to wait your turn. There are several ways to get
them to slow down. What you should say is “Chah-Chah” which just means
“slowly” but if he doesn’t slow down then shout it in his ear. If
there still is a problem, try beating on his back with your fists while
shouting Chah-Chah! As regards how you sit on a bike. If you are small and
petite like a Thai girl and wearing a short skirt, then by all means try
it sideways, but if you are tall and ungainly then the leg-over style is
best. Up to you, darling.
This is Baz who had the wart problem on my John Thomas,
I would like to thank you for your advice as I did snap out of it and seek
a professional’s opinion. Instead of the usual cocktail stick and acid
experience which I have endured many a time now the Quack just froze the
things off (nearly got my old chap as well). I would like to bring to your
attention that there maybe a spy in the camp as all my mates know it was
me who wrote in to you and keep saying “here he comes warts and all”
every time I enter my local watering hole. Just a maybe anyway. Also after
my freezing experience I have researched penile warts in the local
internet cafe’s and have since found that there is a tropical cream
called Aldara that has been tested and found to be proven at clearing
warts and the virus (so it seems). After many visits to the pharmacies I
have been unsuccessful at finding this cream (just in case they come back)
and wonder if you could consult Dr Iain your colleague of many years on
this matter too if it is available in Thailand at all. Once again Hillary
thank you for your support and kind words and if I knew who you was I
think you may have a stalker case on your hands, in a nice way. Once again
thank you Hillary,
How heartless of your friends to make fun of you,
especially now you are wartless. Thank you for the kind words and I asked
Dr. Iain about your cream and he said it is a “topical” cream, not a
“tropical” cream (you really have to do something about your spelling,
Petal) but it is definitely not a cure. By the way, I am sure that no one
here is a spy in the camp, your email goes only to Hillary and I even wear
rubber gloves before I open it. A girl can’t be too careful these days.
Your friends probably got wind of it when you were doing the public
flashing in the successive chemist shops. Thanks again for the letter with
the nice ending. Next time send chocolates, too.
One of our mates is talking about going on the upcoming
charity bike ride. The idea sounds great, 25 clicks or 50 clicks, but we
are reluctant to sponsor him as we don’t think he is fit enough to last
the distance. We would hate to see our sponsorship money going on burial
fees! What do you think we should do?
Dear Kim’s mates,
This is so simple, Petals, that you obviously have not
stopped to think about it. You pay after he’s done the ride, then if he
doesn’t make it to the end, or the end comes unexpectedly to him, then
you don’t need to pay. However, if he just needs a little motivation,
why don’t you lot get out there and train with him? You might even go on
the charity ride yourselves, and everyone benefits.
A riot nearly broke out in a Soi Yodsak bar after a
well oiled Englishman tried to tell an Irish joke which was not
flattering to the Emerald Isle. “Just a minute you English runt,”
interrupted a burly six footer from Dublin. “I’m an Irishman
myself and over there are my three brothers, all of whom are amateur
boxers. That makes four of us. Do you still want to tell your Irish
joke?” “Well no,” admitted the English guy, “I don’t feel
like telling it four times.”
An up to date farang this very week asked his
lawyer about the new Pattaya zoning restrictions for noisy bars and
horizontal leisure dens. “Well,” the law expert replied, “you
can’t open a new bar by the sea and certainly not where people are
sleeping.” The puzzled farang asked where he could actually open a
drinking den. “Just any place,” came the reply, “the regulations
aren’t in force yet.”
The wife of a Chinese tourist, who regrettably died
after a sudden heart attack in the bathroom, wandered into the local
mortuary to check how she could organize a local cremation. She was
soon enveloped into a spirited debate about death certificates, police
autopsies and freezer charges. Somewhat confused, she asked if she
could pay by credit card. The administrator disappeared for a full
fifteen minutes before returning with a glum face. “I’m sorry,”
he said, “but your husband forget to sign his Visa card before
leaving the hotel.”
GEOC (Grapevine Eating Out Collective) this week
tried the Hira Indian Restaurant near the VC Hotel. This eatery
hasn’t made great strides to market itself, but has two strong
merits. Many of the prices are most reasonable - chapatti for example
starts at 10 baht - and many of the curries come with lots of tangy
sauce which is a rare treat in the city’s Indian cafes. We tried
vegetable and lamb koftas and were not disappointed.
Whatever you think of Sophon Cable’s Pattaya Mail
Channel - and Grapevine has been advised by the men in dark suits to
say it’s absolutely wonderful - you gotta admit the movies are
great. You rarely see any of them on the UBC satellite channels and
they’re more exciting for the most part. That’s what is says in
these notes anyway. Whilst on the subject of PM Channel, let’s give
a vote of thanks to the delightful Sue who day in and day out reads
the news about Pattaya’s arrested miscreants with just a hint of a
From the police blotter
A charmed farang had a lucky escape after his Thai
girlfriend hit him over the head with a plastic toilet seat. Luckily,
his head collided with only the hole in the middle and he was soon
well enough to apologize to the lady... An Eastern European visitor,
caught in compromising circumstances during a ya baa bust, had time to
flush his passport down the loo before announcing he had forgotten his
name. Alas, he had also forgotten the photocopy of his passport found
in his wallet by persistent investigators.
If it’s now up to nitery owners to ensure that
there are no customers under 20 in their establishments, what about
the workers on stage and off who are 18 up? Well, it’s not as simple
as that. A worker is not necessarily a customer according to the
Shorter Oxford Dictionary, so don’t you jump to conclusions. Further
clarification is available from your favorite lawyer who may, however,
rattle his collecting tin within earshot of your wallet.
For the record
A passenger bound from New York to Hong Kong got
off at Tokyo Airport to make his connection. Owing to language
problems, he was put on the wrong flight and landed up in New York
again. He then had to journey for the second time to Tokyo before
finally arriving in Hong Kong after three twelve hour flights. He
wrote a detailed letter of complaint to the airline which clarified in
its reply, “We regret you are not eligible for extra frequent flyer
miles for additional journeys at our expense.”
For the ladies
Seen in a Walking Street bar, “Special cocktails
for the ladies with nuts.”
Animal Crackers: Punxsutawney
Phil and the Groundhogs
Groundhogs, also known as Woodchucks, are one of the best
known mammals in America. Punxsutawney Phil, having become a cinema star in
the movie Groundhog Day, has given groundhogs an assured place in the annals
of the USA. (By the way, do not rush out and try to get a copy of the movie,
it was one of the most banal movies of all time. I think I must have been on
a plane when I saw it, with the option of keep watching or read the
emergency instructions card. I should have kept reading the card.)
are actually of the squirrel family, but get their name from their squat
appearance, waddling gait and habit of living in the ground. They are not
small; 406-685 mm in length, with short, powerful legs and a medium-long,
bushy, and somewhat flattened tail. The long, coarse fur of the back is a
grizzled greyish brown with a yellowish or reddish cast. They weigh between
1.8-6.3 kg, being lightest in spring when they are just out of hibernation
and heaviest in October prior to hibernation.
Groundhogs prefer to live where timbered areas are
bordered by open land or along fence rows and heavily vegetated gullies or
stream banks. Here they dig their burrows. The main entrance is often
located beneath a tree stump or rock and is usually conspicuous because of a
pile of freshly excavated earth and stones. Side entrances are smaller and
better concealed, and the tunnels lead to an enlarged chamber, one to two
metres underground, which contains the nest.
Groundhogs hibernate all winter, and by the end of
October, most are curled up in a profound sleep in their underground nest.
So deep is this sleep that even if an animal is warmed up, it requires
several hours to awaken.
Emergence from hibernation begins around the first week
of February, but severe cold weather may delay this. This is when
Punxsutawney Phil is supposed to come out of his hole and see what is
happening climate-wise. If he sees his shadow, it means that there will be
another six weeks of winter, so he pops back into the burrow for a 42 day
Groundhogs are almost completely vegetarian, eating
leaves, flowers and soft stems of various grasses, of field crops such as
clover and alfalfa, and of many kinds of wild herbs. Certain garden crops
like peas, beans and corn are also favourites. They occasionally climb trees
to eat apples and paw-paws which they relish.
The breeding season begins in mid-February after the
groundhogs have woken up from hibernation. Pregnancy lasts 31-33 days and
the single, annual litter is born toward the end of March. At birth, the two
to nine young are naked, blind and helpless (but then, of course, we’re
not much better either!). They measure about 100 mm long. The eyes open when
they are about 4 weeks old; and although the kits come to the opening of the
burrow at this time, they seldom venture outside until 6 or 7 weeks old. By
midsummer, the young are 500 mm long and weigh about 2 kg. About this time,
they may dig temporary burrows near the nursery which they use for a short
period. Later, they move some distance away and establish their own homes,
being rather solitary animals.
The role of the groundhog as a builder of homes for other
animals is significant; and because of this, the animal occupies an
important niche in the wildlife community. Skunks, foxes, weasels, opossums
and rabbits all use groundhog burrows for their dens. Whilst, in general,
the farmers are not thrilled by groundhogs living in their properties, the
tremendous quantities of subsoil that are moved in the course of burrow
construction by countless generations of groundhogs have contributed much to
the aeration and enrichening of the soil itself.
Social Commentary by Khai Khem
Out of sight, but not out of mind
Pattaya’s entertainment areas have been zoned. At least
they will be when the Ministry of Interior approves the plan. The main idea
of the zoning seems to restrict the opening of new beer bars, karaoke,
discos, and nightclubs, and new businesses catering to fun and frolic after
the sun goes down should be tucked away out of sight. Ideally, the
implementation of the new zoning restrictions will prevent each area’s
youth from seeing them, thus reducing the influence of drink and drugs on
our young people. Well, I hope it works.
There is no argument that the scourge of drugs and
drunken behaviour is spreading its reach into even the more traditional
societies around the world. As Thailand progresses into a more modern
nation, along with the advantages of a more sophisticated society, come the
less welcome characteristics a young generation which is enticed by
affluence and independence to sow some ‘wild oats’. It is certainly to
the credit of the authorities that they acknowledge the growing problems of
drugs in Pattaya, and are willing to set about tackling them.
However, the rezoning of entertainment businesses must be
only the beginning of a more comprehensive plan to enforce laws which are
already in place in regard to the behaviour which makes the more troublesome
nightspots a problem in the first place. Owners and staff of these
businesses must make a commitment to police their own premises and prevent
trouble before it gets started.
Any crackdowns initiated by the authorities need to be
consistent and constant. We realise that the police here are understaffed in
a city which is rapidly growing, and enforcement of the law can be
intermittent at best. But if we are truly serious about cleaning up some of
the places which flagrantly flaunt the laws, our city needs to send a
message that those laws have real teeth.
Not all entertainment businesses which cater to young
people are dens of iniquity. There are many wholesome venues in this region
where young people can go to spend their leisure time. Thai youth should be
encouraged to participate in the innumerable activities such as sports and
other healthier activities which now abound in our area. Young people who
have plenty of constructive things to do which they truly enjoy, will stay
occupied with productive endeavours and will have little interest in taking
drugs or abusing alcohol.
Parents also have a responsibility to retain their
positive influence over their children. Parents should make the effort to
know where their children are and get to know their children’s friends.
Here in Thailand, the family still has a powerful influence over youngsters
who may be heading down an undesirable path, and parental guidance is still
respected. So while these rowdy beer bars and karaoke joints may be opening
in just a couple of designated areas, rambunctious youngsters can still beat
a path to the door if they are so inclined.
Women’s World: Applying
the perfect look
by Lesley Warner
I was conducting some business one day last week, in an
office where the young ladies were beautifully dressed in elegant suits and
perfect makeup. All but one slightly older woman, that is. This woman had
really gone to town. The lip liner, I hope for her sake not tattooed on, was
far too dark and made her look like a clown. It’s ok to wear makeup, but
try and apply it perfectly. Also remember that as we get older we really
need to keep it softer.
If applied correctly, eyeliner can give the illusion of
bigger eyes. Line the entire top lash line and extend the line slightly at
the corners. Line the outer third of the bottom of your eyes and extend it
slightly past the edge. A soft, smoky look will open your eyes more than a
thin, hard line. Dark, neutral colors with a hint of black for lining will
make eyes seem bigger as bright shades tend to make them seem smaller.
If you don’t like the sharpness of your eyeliner, you
can soften it using your eye shadow brush by adding a little powder shadow
of a similar shade.
Contrary to popular belief, dark, dramatic eye shadow
will not make your eyes stand out. In fact, it’ll do just the opposite.
Never wear more than two shades at once. Brush a subtle base color from lash
to brow, and then use a slightly darker shade to create a suggestion of
definition in the crease.
For blue eyes, use taupe, gray, violet, or purple. For
green or hazel eyes, use brown, apricot, purple, plum, deep khaki or forest
green. For brown eyes use copper, bronze, champagne (soft pink with a touch
of apricot), brown, beige, or khaki-green.
Since we can’t all be blessed with long lashes, thank
goodness mascara can make it look as if we were. Here is a very simple
method of applying mascara for everyday wear.
Fan out your lashes while applying mascara. Brush the
inner third in toward your nose, the middle third straight out and the outer
third toward your temples.
1. Draw wand out of mascara tube and remove access on a
piece of paper towel.
2. Hold wand horizontally and slowly twirl as you move
the brush from the roots to the tips.
3. To set curl, hold wand and lashes together at the tips
for a several seconds.
4. Apply second coat before the first coat has dried to
5. Apply mascara carefully to the bottom lashes, holding
6. While lashes are still wet comb through the lashes
(carefully) with a lash comb to separate each lash.
Remember, mascara is a breeding ground for germs. Be sure
to replace it every three months.
Never pump the wand into the tube. This procedure only
adds air to the mascara, drying it out.
Lip liner is optional but if you use it, it should go on
first. Don’t use liner darker than your lipstick, because if the lipstick
fades and the liner doesn’t, you’re left with just an outline. Use
neutral or lipstick-matched liner.
Starting at the center of your upper lip, draw a line to
each outer corner, following the edge of your natural lip line.
As a base for your lipstick you can try lipsol or
chapstick, which will soften the lips and is not too greasy. Stretch your
lips and starting at the center of top or bottom, apply color to corners
then blot and repeat. A lip brush gives you the most precision in applying
It’s not easy to find a shade of lipstick that suits
you. Just because you have seen a gorgeous shade of lipstick on a model in a
magazine, don’t run out and buy it. There is no guarantee it will suit
you. Try taking advice from a beauty parlor; it will save you money in the
For younger looking eyes, the first step is to reduce
fine lines. So apply a little eye cream on the brow bone and under the eye.
Next, dab on a concealer that matches your skin tones.
The last step is to line the eye with a white pencil just
beneath the lash line. This will give the impression of larger and brighter
Shaman’s Rattle: Levitation
- getting a lift out of life
As a small child I often sat on our hallway carpet and
flew around the world. Unfortunately, with the advent of schooling, and the
worldly realities of grade 1, it was no longer possible to secretly and
carpetly visit the domain of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves. The hallway carpet
remained steadfastly on the wood floor, almost as if it had been glued.
Later in life I imagined being able to fly - just by stretching my arms and
taking off into the clouds, but this flying was only in my dreams. All other
flying was a commercial transaction between Thai International and myself,
with Mr. Boeing supplying the carpet.
However, Levitation is a phenomenon of Psychokinesis (PK)
in which objects, people, and animals are lifted into the air without any
visibly physical means and float or fly.
sale in flying carpets perhaps?
In general, Levitation occurs in mediumship, shamanism,
trances, mystical rapture, and demonic possession - a mixed carpet bag. It
is reported that some cases of Levitation appear to be spontaneous, while
spiritual or magical adepts are said to be able to control it consciously.
Generally Levitation requires a great amount of
concentration or being in a state of trance. Physical mediums who have been
touched during Levitation usually fall back down again (gravity will not be
denied)! It is also reported that Levitations of saints usually are
accompanied by a luminous glow around the body.
Levitation is not a new parlour trick (although
illusionist David Copperfield did demonstrate an apparent Levitation in
Bangkok last month) and has been reported for hundreds of years. Numerous
incidents of Levitation have been recorded in Christianity and Islam. Among
the first was Simon Magus in the first century. Other incidents reported
among the Roman Catholic saints include the incident of Joseph of Cupertino
(1603-1663), the most famous, who is said to have often levitated through
the air. It is reported he often gave a little shriek just before levitating
(funnily enough, I often do the same just before take-off from Don Muang
Airport), and on one occasion levitated for as long as two hours (Thai Inter
and I have gone much longer).
Saint Teresa of Avila was another well known saint who
reported levitating. She told of experiencing it during states of rapture.
(One wonders how many unreported cases of Levitation have occurred around
some of the bars in South Pattaya.) One eyewitness, Sister Anne of the
Incarnation, said Saint Teresa levitated a foot and a half off the ground
for about a half hour.
Saint Teresa wrote of one of her experiences, “It
seemed to me, when I tried to make some resistance, as if a great force
beneath my feet lifted me up. I know of nothing with which to compare it;
but it was much more violent than other spiritual visitations.”
At the beginning of the twentieth century Gemma Galgani,
a Passionist nun, reported Levitating during rapture (she certainly joined
the right order). Levitation has also been recorded by the followers of
Hinduism and Buddhism. Milarepa, the great thirteenth century yogi of Tibet,
is said to have possessed many occult powers such as the ability to walk,
rest and sleep during levitating. Such feats were said to be duplicated by
the Brahmins and fakirs of India. Similar abilities were reportedly shared
by the Ninja of Japan.
Within the Eastern traditions Levitation is reportedly
accomplished through secret techniques of breathing and visualization. The
techniques involve the employment of a universal life force and are called
by various names such as prana, ch’i and ki.
Louis Jacolliot, a nineteenth-century French judge,
travelled extensively in Asia and wrote of his occult experiences. In the
book, “Occult Sciences in India and Among the Ancients” he describes in
depth the Levitation of a fakir.
Jacolliot was further told by the Brahmins that the
“supreme cause” of all phenomena was the ‘agasa’ (‘akasha’), the
vital fluid, “the moving thought of the universal soul, directing all
souls,” the force that the adepts learn to control.
There has always been some doubt as to whether Levitation
was good or evil, but is mainly thought that the determining factor for
judging whether the practice is caused by good or evil influences seems to
depend on the one doing the levitating. For example, Simon Magus was judged
evil while Saint Teresa was said to do it in states of rapture (they’re at
it again)! During the Middle Ages and Renaissance Levitation was thought to
be a manifestation of evil. It was said to be an unusual phenomenon
generated by witchcraft, fairies, ghosts, or demons.
Even today, Levitation is often thought to be involved in
cases of demonic possession. In 1906 Clara Germana Cele, a sixteen year-old
school girl from South Africa, was said to be demonic possessed. She raised
up five feet in the air, sometimes vertically and sometimes horizontally.
When sprinkled with holy water she came out of these states of possession
and gravity won again. This was taken as proof of demonic possession.
Controlled experiments involving Levitation are rare, as
you might imagine. During the 1960s and 1970s researchers reported some
success in levitating tables under controlled conditions. The Soviet PK
medium Nina Kulagina (mentioned last week) has been photographed levitating
a small object between her hands, but there is definitely a lack of
I will deal more with this interesting subject in another
issue, but right now I have to fly!
The Message In The Moon:
Sun in Taurus/Moon in Libra - Mr. Nice Guy
by Anchalee Kaewmanee
Venus rules both signs of this combination, giving these
subjects an enchanting personality and a remarkably even disposition. People
born into the Taurus-Libra sign possess a bearing of tranquility and inner
calm. Graceful and outgoing to others, they seem almost immune to tension
and anxiety. Few friends and co-workers would suspect the nervous tension
and restlessness concealed beneath that charming smile.
As with all natives of Moon in Libra, self image is a
reflection of how others see these subjects, so they need plenty of
socializing to maintain a positive opinion of themselves. Of course
socializing is no problem here, since people are drawn to that magnetic
personality, worldly wisdom, and sensitivity.
Sympathetic and congenial, the Taurus-Libra treats
everyone with equality and respect. This fine combination works in harmony
to produce a character endowed with common sense on the Taurus side, and the
famous Libran sense of fair play and justice.
This is the kind of person who would never knowingly hurt
anyone, nor could they be angry for very long, as tolerance and forgiveness
rule all of their relationships. “Niceness” is a quality that all of
these natives share.
That basically rustic spirit feels a strong rapport with
nature. The best way for this combination to sort out any problems is in a
relaxed, natural environment. When outside tension and confusion become too
much, it is important for these people to get away to the countryside and
into the open air. It is inherently true that the Taurus-Libra has a lower
tolerance for stress, and therefore needs plenty of relaxation and diversion
than others with a less sensitive emotional make-up.
Inner restlessness keeps this sign on the move, seeking
constant diversion and activity. The trouble is, this group is not always
certain exactly where they are going. Setting goals and priorities is
difficult, simply because it is so hard to make up their minds. Like all
Venus ruled natives, they dislike the tension and discord of competitive
society, and are most often drawn to the pleasant and easy-going, rather
than that which challenges and rewards.
The Taurus-Libra actually does have the determination and
luck to succeed in anything he sets out to do, but the temptation of an easy
life often wins over ambition and the desire for self-fulfillment. If
natives born into this sign wish to make a career work, the real challenge
will be to develop a more aggressive attitude. It might be wise to get
involved with people who are hard working and successful themselves, in
order to be surrounded by that positive influence.
It is imperative that this combination sets objectives
and sticks to them. The Taurus-Libra has many talents and a wonderful
imagination. Art, music, film, and design are just a few areas in which this
sign can truly excel. And with that diplomatic nature, a career in politics
or human relations work might be a fine choice of career.
The state of the love life in this sign is the index of
overall happiness. Romantic and sensual, natives of this combination need
lots of love to keep them blissful. And with that abundance of charm, they
will indeed be surrounded by many admirers. It will be important to have a
partner who shares that sensitivity and can understand such emotional
delicacy. There is a problem to watch out for, though: vanity. Too much of
it can make a loving mate feel that he or she is only in the relationship as
a cheerleader and not truly a life partner.
The computer doctor
by Richard Brunch
From Harold McManus, Ranong:
Recently my monitor picture looks slightly distorted and the colour in one
corner is tinged. What should I do? The monitor is 2 years old so the
warranty is finished.
Computer Doctor replies: Firstly use the
‘Degauss’ button found in the Monitor Set-up Menu, frequently the button
is labelled with the image of a magnet. Usually if your screen develops
hotspots and tinged colour, it is probably due to the build-up of stray
magnetic fields in your monitor. Should your monitor display images that are
heavily tinted, check both ends of its cable connection. Then before
reseating the connections, examine the male ends, and look for bent or
sunken pins. If you find one, carefully straighten it or pull it with
needle-nose pliers. Then use similar care in gently seating it in its
connector, and make sure to tighten both securing screws.
From Sharon Onions, Jomtien: I have just bought a
used PC that is about 18 months old. I bought it as a private sale and took
the computer guru from work with me; he checked it out and said everything
was fine. However, I did not test it immediately as we were moving house,
now I have connected it all up, the monitor is very poor and if I try to
view a photograph it is very grainy. Do you think something is wrong?
Computer Doctor replies: It is unlikely that
something is wrong with the PC, if it worked before and now doesn’t and
assuming you took reasonable care during the move it should not have
sustained physical damage. It is more likely that it requires to be
configured. Try to increase the number of colours that are displayed by your
graphics card. The easiest way to do this is right-click an empty part of
the desktop and select Properties to bring up your Display Properties. At
the lower left side of the Settings tab you’ll see the Colors selector.
Clicking on it will display the different colour depth choices that are
currently available. If you only see 16 or 256 colours, then it is likely
that the wrong driver for the video card is selected; reinstall the correct
driver. Assuming that the correct driver is installed you should several
settings, including: 16 colours, 256 colours, High Colour (16-bit, or
approximately 65,000 colours), or True Colour (32-bit, or about 16 million
colours). It is likely that you will find the current setting either 16 or
256 colours. If you don’t have the High Colour or True Colour options,
your graphics board may not support those settings. Once that is set,
increase the refresh rate by clicking Advanced then the Adapter Tab. The
higher the colour depth and greater the refresh rate the better your viewing
enjoyment will be. Try setting a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels, this often
provides a happy medium for size and quality. However if your board is older
you should be able to get a higher colour depth by lowering the screen
resolution. Bear in mind that higher colour depths can cause performance
penalties, make sure the video card has adequate onboard memory to support
A Slice of Thai History:
The struggle to retain independence - Part Four 1885-1893
by Duncan Stearn
In December 1885 the Thai government gave France
permission to establish a vice-consulate in the Lao city of Luang Prabang.
The agreement between France and Thailand tacitly recognised the latter’s
suzerainty over Laos.
However, when Auguste Pavie, the French vice-consul,
arrived in Luang Prabang in February 1887 he soon set about convincing the
Lao that a French protectorate would serve them well and remove them from
Then, in June 1887 a renegade force of Chinese bandits
and local tribesmen captured and sacked Luang Prabang. The ruler barely
escaped with his life and the incident proved to be just the catalyst an
opportunist like Pavie was seeking to further French aims.
The French announced that if Thailand could not protect
Laos, then France certainly would.
In 1889, as unrest continued, France announced the
annexation of the region between Xieng-Khouang and the Black River Valley,
despite Thai protests.
By 1892 relations between France and Thailand had
deteriorated considerably. In September that year Thai authorities expelled
two French traders from Laos after accusing them of engaging in the opium
trade. The French government accused Thailand of expelling its nationals
Then, in March 1893 came the crisis that threatened Thai
Auguste Pavie, acting as the French envoy in Bangkok,
informed the Thai government that France intended to stake its claim to all
territory east of the Mekong River, including the vassal state of Laos. The
Thai government protested in the strongest terms.
In April, when Thai forces resisted an attempt by three
French military columns to take control of Laos, resulting in the death of
one French army officer, France used this as a pretext to force the issue.
On July 15 French warships fought their way past the
Paknam fort at the entrance to the Chao Phrya delta and anchored in Bangkok.
Three French sailors were killed in the action. The Thais lost 25. France
sent a diplomatic note to the Thai government, detailing a series of
The action, however, led to a heated exchange between the
French and the British, although the latter were unwilling to risk a war
over the independence of Thailand, despite the tacit support of Germany.
Instead, the British advised the Thai government to
accede to French demands in order to avoid an all-out conflict.
On July 31 France agreed to maintain Thailand as an
independent buffer state between French Indochina and British Burma.
Thailand was forced to relinquish a large part of Laos and abandon some
eastern provinces that had formerly been part of Cambodia. Thailand also
paid France an indemnity of three million francs.
Three days later the French blockade of Bangkok was
lifted and on October 3 Thailand signed a treaty that officially recognised
France’s protectorate of Laos. The French occupied the port of Chantaboun
to ensure compliance with the terms of the treaty.
On December 4, an Anglo-French agreement was signed
guaranteeing Thai independence.
Antiques, are they
genuine? : Sugar Basins, Argyles and Brandy Saucepans
by Apichart Panyadee
chamber candleholder formed from an inkstand bottle holder, with added
handle, sconce, base and feet.
Large sugar basins were needed for unrefined sugar and
the size of these is such that with the addition of a handle, lid and spout
a small teapot can be created. The argyle (gravy pot) with the internal
insulator removed is occasionally found passed off as a rare bachelor’s
teapot. Brandy saucepans are sometimes found with their handles removed to
be sold as sugar basins. Spouts can be easily added to early 18th century
examples or replaced on later examples. There has been controversy in the
past about a type of cream jug that looks like a 1730’s brandy saucepan
with its turned wood handle removed and a simple wire scroll handle added.
These have now been accepted as genuine, but only if they are made by Exeter
or Plymouth silversmiths who used this style.
basins have been turned into teapots by removing one handle, replacing it
with a spout, and adding a lid. Another easy conversion is to make a sugar
bowl into a tea caddy by simply adding a lid.
Until the third quarter of the 18th century the majority
of table candlesticks were cast. It is possible to make a mould from a
candlestick that has been hallmarked and thus achieve a very accurate
replica, including marks. The innovation of electrotypes in the mid-19th
century added yet another dimension to the art of copying. Taper sticks and
candlesticks were intentionally reproduced in earlier styles from the early
19th century onwards. These reproductions are recognizable by their smaller
bases and fatter stem proportions.
wine funnels can be converted into tea strainers
Candlesticks cast from one another, including marks, can
be spotted by careful comparison of the placing of the hallmarks and any
obvious flaws. With loaded candlesticks there is a possibility that marks
have been ‘let in’ to the edge of the base. The ‘let in” mark is
most likely to have come from table silver, and if a maker’s mark is
visible it will probably be identifiable as a ‘spoon makers’ mark. Seams
where the piece has been soldered in are also likely to be visible. The
detachable drip-pan or nozzle should always be marked with maker’s duty
marks to match the stick.
Always examine candelabra carefully as an old trick is to
solder the nozzle sleeve to a branch so that it bears the same mark as the
candlestick. Candelabra branches should be marked with date letter,
standard, duty, town and maker’s mark, depending on their period. All
detachable branches should also bear corresponding marks. Chamber
candlesticks are now popular as they are ideal for small dining tables.
Again, always check the detachable pieces. Hallmarks will not appear on them
if the chamber stick has been constructed from an epergne dish, (especially
period 1720-60), a wine funnel stand, salt cellar stand or counter tray. Wax
jacks are also known to have been made up from these items.
candlesticks were intentionally reproduced in earlier styles from the 19th
century onwards. Recognizable are their smaller bases and fatter stem
Snuffers and their accompanying trays have been
comparatively free from interference by fakers, but these, too, are
occasionally subjected to the addition of handles and feet. They are also of
a convenient style for converting into inkstands by the addition of simple
rings to hold glass inkwells. The absence of or difference in hallmark on
the inkwell covers will reveal the truth.
Guide to buying a large
by C. Schloemer
Good points: excellent watchdog, loyal to owner,
amiable unless provoked, highly intelligent, good with children.
Take heed: may be more susceptible to diseases than
other breeds which have built up immunity.
The Shar-Pei has finally lost the distinction of being
listed as the rarest dog in the world. Interest in this dog has increased in
many countries, especially in England, the USA, and some countries of
Europe. What does it look like? Descriptions vary. Frankly this dog has skin
which is several sizes to big for its body. This breed has small,
rectangular ears that point towards the eyes, a tail which forms a circle,
and stiff short hair that stands up. And lots of wrinkles.
The man responsible for saving the Shar-Pei from
extinction is Ernest Albright of California. His breeding kennels have
insured that this breed will be perpetuated. Other breeders have sprung up
around the world and will assure the future of the Shar-Pei. In 1947, when
the tax on dogs in the People’s Republic of China rose so steeply, few
people could afford to keep them and most dogs were subsequently used for
The Shar-Pei is extremely intelligent and makes an
excellent guard dog. It is amiable unless provoked, and then it will defend
itself. However, this breed enjoys human companionship, and will make a fine
family pet, affectionate and loyal. People who own this breed swear that
Shar-Pei puppies house train themselves.
Size: Weight 18.1 kg. Height: 46.5-51 cm at the
Exercise: The Shar-Pei, or to give it its former
name, the Chinese Fighting Dog, was used to hunt wild boar and to herd
flocks. It is a breed more suitable to those with big gardens, or owners who
have access to large public parks, where it may have plenty of free runs so
that it can unleash its boundless energy. Lots of daily walks on the lead
are recommended as well. This dog is highly intelligent and easy to train.
It does very well in obedience competitions.
Health care: In their land of origin, these dogs are
undoubtedly fed on rice, a diet which has resulted in instances of rickets,
and other ailments associated with malnutrition. The Shar-Pei is a hardy dog
and if fed correctly will have few health problems. It is, however,
susceptible to entropion, an eye disease which can cause blindness as the
lashes penetrate the cornea. This disease is curable. A veterinarian should
be consulted at any sign of eye irritation. Another unique feature of this
breed is that the bitch can come into season at irregular intervals. With
some females, the first season may not occur until she is fifteen months of
age, and sometimes later.
Origin and history: Works of art depicting a likeness
to the Shar-Pei survive from the Han Dynasty (206 BC to AD 220). It is
possible that the Shar-Pei originated in Tibet or the northern provinces of
China about 20 centuries ago, when it was probably a much larger dog than it
is now. Other sources maintain that the Shar-Pei is a descendent of the
service dogs that for thousands of years lived in the southern provinces
near the South China Sea.
Certainly, for hundreds of years it lived up to its name
of Chinese Fighting Dog. It was provoked and then matched against other dogs
for the owner’s profit. The loose skin of the Shar-Pei made it difficult
for its opponent to get a firm grip on its body during a fight. However, the
breed has a basic gentle and affectionate nature, and is really a loving
Updated every Friday
Copyright 2001 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.
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Tel. 66-38 411 240-1, 413 240-1, Fax: 66-38 427 596
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