Family Money: Eggs
in a Basket - Part 2
A growing niche
Last week we started looking at what for many is a very
suitable vehicle for a capital investment: the Personal Portfolio Bond.
Ten years ago, there were only 12 names in this branch
of the offshore financial services industry, now there are 25 names in the
offshore insurance bond market alone.
PPBs offer flexibility and added security to investors.
For instance, say an investor likes the fund of a particular provider but
not the provider itself; they can decide to create a wrapper under another
In addition, since most of the large offshore life
companies operate from well-regulated regimes with a high degree of
investor protection in place, you have the peace of mind of knowing that
no-one is going to run off with your money.
The more aware investors become of the investment
arena, the more portfolio bonds become part of the process.
But not everyone from the industry supports the
provision of a wide choice of funds from which the investor can select
within a portfolio bond. The argument is that investors are engulfed in a
profusion of choices that causes disarray.
Because of the virtually unlimited range of offshore
funds available in a typical PPB, some investors prefer to choose from a
smaller, more reliable pool of funds.
To cater to the less sophisticated (or interested)
investor, the life companies have developed a range of products. The best
known such vehicle - generically called an offshore insurance bond (or
‘OIB’ for short) - permits you to hold a number of funds from a
standard ‘menu’. This menu includes the life company’s own funds,
and typically a wide choice of good-performers from other investment
houses as well.
Hence you can still create an actively managed, widely
diversified portfolio which can be adjusted to meet changing market
conditions in an administratively simple and cost-effective manner, and
without the need for highly sophisticated fund-tracking information and a
bewildering array of choices.
The total freedom of choice with a Personal Portfolio
Bond (‘PPB’) offers a very high degree of flexibility to the client;
but it has its drawbacks.
For one, a PPB may carry higher dealing or
administration costs than a simple Offshore Insurance Bond (‘OIB’).
This is especially relevant to comparatively small amounts of capital -
less than ฃ100,000 or $150,000.
On the other hand, the PPB market is characterised by
sophisticated and experienced investors who are looking for a degree of
flexibility at the expense of higher costs. The market is not dominated by
first-time investors, but rather by high-net-worth individuals (‘HNWIs’).
PPBs serve the top end of the market and predominantly
aim at HNWIs who would use the services of an independent adviser or
discretionary portfolio manager.
While the charging structure of all such bonds is quite
transparently set out in the product literature, the effect of these
charges is not quite so clear.
Ideally, your IFA should show you an illustration of
how the differing charges will affect the growth of your money.
Also, some funds may not discount their standard entry
costs to zero, or have complex charges that kick in after reaching a
certain pre-set performance threshold. Many hedge funds charge in this
Before including these in your PPB ‘basket’,
you’d need to be aware of the entry, management and exit costs that
might be associated with them, as well as the dealing charges that might
be applied by the life company and/or its custodian trustees.
As these latter range from about ฃ15 up to about
ฃ40 per deal, you wouldn’t want to be switching around small
components too often! Nor should you take on a large number of funds (to
achieve greater diversification) if the dealing charges are going to
constitute more than a tiny and acceptable percentage of your invested
With the simpler OIB, quality administration and
transparency of charges are key success factors of the industry. Clients
know the total cost of the product they are investing in and the charges
quoted include the charges of the underlying funds.
Moreover, the administrative service provided is of
high quality. In most cases, switching between funds, for example, is
effected on the same day the client sends his instruction through to the
More and more funds are dealing daily rather than
weekly as in the past - although some of the more esoteric funds still
deal only monthly or even quarterly. But these are specialised funds for
the longer-term investor who fully understands the mechanics of these
highly sophisticated instruments.
By the same token, life companies and fund managers
have strengthened their information systems through providing online
information on products and in some cases setting up a system allowing
So nowadays there are a lot of investment ‘baskets’
to choose from. Some would say a bewildering and confusing choice.
But each was designed for a different demographic in a
highly competitive market. The investment vehicle that is appropriate for
a relatively unsophisticated investor looking to invest $25,000 for 5
years may not be appropriate for an investor looking to invest $250,000
for 25 years, and vice-versa.
It’s a matter of selecting the right basket to hold
your particular nest-eggs. And that means seeking objective, independent
financial advice to help you select that basket.
Snap Shots: How
to bag your heads!
by Harry Flashman
The most common subject that people take pictures of is
other people. However, most people shots get left in the drawer, because
most people shots are so bad that everyone wants to forget them. This is
the reason that in every town there are “professional” photographers
making a living out of shooting portraits, photographs that anyone can
take with just a little planning and technique. So here’s all the
planning and technique you need to take pleasing portraits.
off, rule 1. No matter what kind of camera you have, walk in closer.
It is the single most important tip to better portraits. Even with a point
and shoot compact, walk in till the subject fills the viewfinder from the
Rule 2. If you have a camera with a “portrait
mode” then use it! This is one area where Harry and the manufacturers
agree. The portrait mode does work. It maximises the settings to produce
the most pleasing effect, gets rid of backgrounds and sets the exposure to
allow for the best skin tones. Use it.
Rule 3. Use the flash in daylight. If you have a
fancy camera with “Fill Flash” facility, then turn it on and you will
see the prints you get back from the photo processor have got sparkle and
punch. If you have not, but have a flash you mount on top of the camera,
use it, and turn it to around f2.8 to f4. This will not overpower the
daylight, but will give catch-lights in the eyes.
Rule 4. Watch for horrible backgrounds. It is so
easy to concentrate so hard on the subject that you do not really
“see” the background, which can be confusing and cluttered. Try to
keep the subject as far away as possible from all backgrounds and if you
have manual mode or aperture priority mode, then set the aperture f stop
at around f5.6.
Rule 5. Shoot in the early mornings or in the late
afternoons. At both of these times the light is more flattering than it is
at mid-day, where you will get harsh shadows cutting across the face from
Rule 6. If you have a zoom or a telephoto lens then
now is the time! Using around 135 mm (some people call this the ideal
portrait lens), then you again flatter the face and help throw the
background out of focus - particularly if you have followed Rule number 4.
Rule 7. Turn the camera on its side so you have the
viewfinder in portrait mode as well. People are taller than they are wide,
so it makes sense to have the maximum dimension vertically, doesn’t it!
By all means, take a couple of shots in the so called horizontal
“landscape” view, but the majority should be verticals.
Rule 8. The nose is not the central point of any
portrait. In the centre of the viewfinder there is generally a small area
which you can use for getting the focus point. After you have set the
focus, move the central point off the person’s nose! The more likely
central point will be the mouth or chin.
Rule 9. Super trick! Use a gold coloured reflector
to give the skin that healthy glow. Just glue some gold wrapping paper to
a piece of cardboard about 1 metre square and get an assistant to move it
so it reflects “golden glow” into the subject. This is particularly
flattering for pale skinned folk.
Rule 10. With older folk stretch a piece of nylon
stocking tightly across the lens. This will act as a soft focus filter and
smooth out many of the wrinkles we like to pretend we haven’t got!
Follow those ten simple hints and you will soon be
taking shots as good as, if not better than the local neighbourhood
portrait photographer. After all, he’s only doing those 10 steps as
Modern Medicine: Dementia
With distaste, the dying’s right to choose.
by Dr Iain Corness, Consultant
How does this grab you? You have a 20% chance of
getting Dementia if you live to be 80. What a great fun future to look
forward to. Of course, if either parent had Dementia before the age of 65
you can multiply that by a factor of four! Oh, more fun! But there’s no
real need to get depressed, in this environment you’ll probably drop
dead from “natural” causes like alcohol excesses long before then. In
the meantime, while waiting for medical science to find the magic cure (or
the magic bullet), here’s the low-down on Dementia.
The illnesses under the general heading of Dementia are
made up of a group which cause a progressive decline in mental
functioning. It is a broad brush approach to describe loss of intellect,
social skills and emotional reactions, and the commonest of these
illnesses is called Alzheimer’s disease.
Unfortunately, there is no instant diagnostic kit or
test available, and the diagnosis generally takes about two to three
years. It begins with poor memory, especially for recent events (has
anyone seen my glasses?), but this can also be caused by depression. The
next difficulties are with language and planning and organising, finally
deteriorating into wandering and behaviour disturbances resulting in a
change of personality. The saddest feature is the report from the carers
of these people that they not only have “lost” the person they loved,
but are now caring for someone they don’t even like, with around 50% of
the sufferers by this stage having delusions and hallucinations.
People will say, “If I ever got like that, I’d want
the doctor to give me a big sleeping pill so I’d never wake up again.”
The sad part is, that by the time you have got to this stage you are so
far out of reality that you don’t even understand what is going on
around you. You don’t even know how to ask for help.
Early referral to a nursing home is my advice. The
patient is no longer “your mother” but someone of a poor intellect
using the physical body that your mother used to use. There is no point in
sacrificing yourself and your own family for someone who does not know who
you are. The stresses on the carers are far worse than the stresses on the
If all that has depressed you, sorry, but here is a
poem I wrote in 1970 about the subject of euthanasia, long before it
became a fashionable topic for the world’s parliamentarians. It was the
result of being asked to see a patient with a terminal disease following
the rejection he had received from my fellow medical colleagues. Be warned
- this will really depress you!
The end is near, he cried exalted,
Ghostly visions his mind’s eye assaulted.
But the price to enter this Paradise Lost
Is Death itself - too high a cost.
So therapeutics come into play,
To drag him back to his dismay.
In being born you have no choice,
In shuffling off they don’t hear your voice.
So man’s noblest form of self expression
Is considered subject of sinful confession
And modern medicine unctuously views
My Thai girlfriend and I have been together for three
months and we seem to get along OK except for one thing - money. I give
her 2000 baht allowance every month and I cover all the food and
consumable expenses for the condo as I am employed here and the company I
work for gives me an allotment to use for this. My girlfriend is forever
saying she has run out of money, but when I ask her what she spent it on
she gets sulky and won’t answer me. Is this “normal” for Thai girls,
or have I just got a gold digger?
As far as your girl being a “gold” digger, she’d
be lucky to find a brass razzoo or a dud Bombay rupee in your piggy bank,
James. Talk about long pockets and short arms! You’ve got them both, my
Petal. How far does 2000 baht go these days? How much do you spend on
yourself every month? If you are going to live with this girl in a
conjugal relationship (look it up in the dictionary, James) then it’s
high time you took a good hard look at yourself and your miserable nature.
If you want to share a life, then share a little of the fruits of your
labours. 2000 baht doesn’t buy Hillary a decent bottle of wine these
days. I certainly wouldn’t live with you. Gold digger, you ask! You
don’t want a girlfriend, you want a slave but slavery was abolished in
Thailand many years ago. I hope she leaves you when it is most
The proper way of greeting people is a little worrying
for me. My husband attends lots of functions and parties so it does not
seem to worry him, and he knows all the people anyway, but they are
strangers to me. Should I “wai” when I meet the Thais at these
functions, or just shake hands? I am aware that we are guests in this
country so I do not want to offend.
The Thai people are just as cosmopolitan as the farangs
at these types of functions. They too do not want to offend. The best way
is to just follow their lead. If they wai to you, then return it. If they
extend their hand, then shake their hand. All terribly simple really. Stop
worrying and enjoy the parties.
One year ago I set up home with a Thai girl who is many
years my junior. This does not seem to bother her, though it bothers me at
times. Her family comes from the northeast and I have been up there and
met them. They accepted me quite readily, but I always felt a little left
out at the family gatherings as they can only speak Thai and my girl had
to translate all the time. For this reason, and because I am busy at work,
I have not been back up there, though my girl does go up frequently. Is
this the usual way families behave in this country? If it is, I will say
nothing, but she will often go back for two or three days, the last being
the end of Buddhist Lent. Have I anything to worry about?
You may have lots to worry about, or nothing at all.
Are you worrying because you think she is not going back to the family
rice paddy? Hillary is having to try and read between the lines too much
here. It is very usual for daughters to go home and pay respects to their
family, and often contribute financially as well. Does your lady have
children there that are being looked after by Mama? Honestly, it sounds
very normal to me. Talk to your friends who have been married to a Thai
girl for some time. You’ll find it is the norm in this country. Caring
and following the family principles will carry over to you as well, if you
allow her to follow her traditions.
How many “Maid” questions do you get every week?
Mine is driving me batty. She was such a treasure when she first came to
work for me, always cheerful and couldn’t do enough around the house,
watered the garden and everything. She was punctual and would work
overtime without a murmur. However, over the past few months she has got
sulky in her attitude, gets to work late, wants to leave early and as far
as I am concerned, does the absolute minimum. We pay her good money, but
my husband won’t do anything about it as he says the domestic issues are
mine, he has enough to do at his company. I have pointed out on the clock
the times she is supposed to work for me. I have tried speaking firmly
with her, but all this has had the opposite effect. What do you suggest I
do Hillary, and how to go about it?
Dear Wits End,
If you have a good command of the Thai language, then
speak directly to your maid, but if you do not, then you need a trusted
intermediary. She may have problems at home, she may have problems with
you, she may have financial problems. Thais in these situations tend to be
a trifle obtuse and the “real” reason can be difficult to find out.
Get a Thai friend to talk with her, without you being present, but don’t
take offence at what you may find out. You may have to re-examine your
There are many perils to starting a business in Sin
City. A young waiter this week caused a stir when he asked the farang
owner for his first week’s wages even though he had worked only for
a few shifts. “But you have only worked here for three days,”
exclaimed the indignant farang. “OK,” came the reply, “So I
trust you for the first half of the week and you trust me for the
One of Manchester’s intellectuals, a rare breed
in Pattaya these days according to some, walked into Empire Records
and spent about ten minutes fruitlessly browsing the shelves. Finally,
he approached the cashier and explained he wanted to buy a classical
music CD for his brother’s birthday. The cashier said she would
check on the computerized index if he would give her the musician’s
name. “Anything will do,” he explained with measured slowness,
“provided it’s by Joehand Batch.”
Informed sources say that “immigration bail” or
pakan taa mor has all but been abolished. This was the type of
bail, lasting up to 14 days, which allowed convicted foreigners
(with surplus cash of course) to wait for their deportation to the
airport in their hotel room rather than in the police lockup or the
immigration detention center. Now immigration bail is available only
in cases of serious and documented ill health and must be specifically
approved by immigration headquarters in Bangkok. In a nutshell,
wealthy farangs sporting a guilty verdict will no longer be able to
party whilst awaiting their flight home.
The name’s a bit pretentious perhaps, but August
Renoir Restaurant in the Flamingo Hotel, behind the old Day and Night
Bazaar, should be on your list for tasty international dining. The
best value, though it’s not prominently advertised, is the three
course daily special for around 150 baht. The a la carte menu is
substantial and there’s a good Indonesian section too. GEOC
(Grapevine Eating Out Collective) tried the salad bar, lobster
cocktail, New Zealand steak and a proper chocolate mousse for around
Citizenship not for you
There’s been a bit of a stir amongst the bald
heads on Jomtien Beach after the government announced it was extending
citizenship to foreigners working here. The plan is a limited one –
to grant citizenship to selected guest workers from neighboring
countries and is all about identified skill shortages. The proposals
have nothing whatever to do with farangs who are thinking of opening a
barber shop by the waterfront or sinking their severance pay into yet
another bar in South Pattaya. Sorry, lads, choose another route if you
believe the kingdom really needs your services.
Pattaya is to charge for private parking along
Beach Road in a bid to counter mounting traffic congestion, according
to reports from City Hall. The idea is to remove the vehicles for rent
which presently clutter up the pavement from Orchid Lodge Hotel to
Siam Bayshore and spoil the scenery. Quite how replacing one set of
vehicles by another improves traffic flow or benefits the environment
is not crystal clear, but doubtless all will be revealed Pattaya style
in early course.
JH asks why a farang must leave the country even if
acquitted of a serious criminal charge and suggests this is unfair.
Not really because you are by now probably on visa overstay. But
persons found not guilty by a court are free to leave under their own
steam rather than being deported by the police. That said, visas in
any country in the world give you right of entry, not a guarantee to
stay until the terminal date… MC wants to know where to find a
chiropodist in Pattaya. We don’t know of any, but the main hospitals
tell us they can deal with corns and bunions.
Day to day philosophy
A buffet dinner is one where the guests outnumber
A tanned appearance by Londoners is not sunburn,
From the number of ants which show up at a picnic,
it’s probable there were more than two in the Ark.
Some people are no good at counting calories and
have figures to prove it.
Social Commentary by Khai Khem
First separate bedrooms, now separate kitchens
Perhaps it is true; the very, very rich are different
from you and me. As a child I used to marvel at the old Hollywood movies in
which the plot revolved around the extremely wealthy. More than the story
line, I was fascinated by the settings of the old manor houses in England,
and New York City’s magnificent penthouse apartments in which the ‘smart
set’ dwelled. A movie like Grapes of Wrath had the whole family
sleeping 6 to a bed. In Asia, that is not much of a novelty. However, in the
more glamorous films, the man and wife had their own bedrooms, and the
husband usually knocked before he entered. Gosh. Our family sleeping room
didn’t even have a door. I’ll discuss the common water jar outside the
door where we all bathed at the well in our sarongs in another column.
Suffice it to say that I spent the best part of my childhood in cockroach
infested cinemas in large cities.
Now health articles in glossy Western magazines are
telling us that the battle of the sexes has moved to the kitchen. Apparently
the newest research into healthy eating lists five foods that women need
most and five foods which men need most. Of course these lists were created
with Western cuisine in mind…but as we all know, food crosses national
boundaries faster than illegal immigrants looking for work, so I am going to
list them here.
I do not think, however, female readers are going to be
happy about the findings. Life always seems to be harder for women than men
for some reason. Childbirth may be the first thing that comes to mind, but I
also think that pantyhose, hot flushes, and preoccupation with hair should
be right up there near the top of the list. Voting rights and affirmative
action seem to have taken care of what Freud called ‘penis envy’, but
now the women of the upper classes may one day suffer from ‘diet envy’.
If you are a man reading this, the list may come as a welcome surprise.
Women readers with catholic tastes in food may want to go on strike.
Apparently men need to eat a lot of broccoli which is
said to fight bladder cancer. Well, broccoli is okay I suppose. Not bad with
lots of cheese sauce poured over it. Men are also advised to increase their
consumption of watermelon due to the high level of potassium contained in
this fruit. Ladies can get away with an occasional slice. According to the
last article I read, men can eat their way through whole fields of them,
just like they did when they were children. Oysters are next on the men’s
list. Surprised? Yeah, me too. And I thought the ‘aphrodisiac factor’
was an old wife’s tale. Oysters are full of zinc. And zinc may cause
levels of testosterone to rise, which is never a bad thing if you are a guy.
Next on the list is peanut butter. Oh goodie, I can hear the cheers already.
Apparently men can eat peanut butter every day if they choose. It is one of
those basic food groups a real man doesn’t even have to mix with anything
else, such as jelly, bananas, or even bread. He can just scoop it out of the
jar with a spoon. The final food on the list for men is tomato sauce.
Particularly tomato sauces which are cooked with some sort of fat. It
appears to fight prostate cancer. That’s a good thing, of course. But not
as good as the pizza, spaghetti and lasagne that comes with the tomato
And now comes the list a woman must eat if she is to
remain healthy. First is papaya, since it is full of vitamin C, and has more
kick to the gram than an orange. Next are collard greens. Well, what can I
say about those except they are full of calcium and vitamin D? Who cares.
Next on the list is - buffalo meat. Noooo. Not the family water buffalo here
in Thailand. This should be American Bison. That big, shaggy-headed beast
which used to be an endangered species, but has now re-appeared on the menu
in fancy Chicago restaurants. The good news is that at least the women
don’t have to go out and shoot their own meat. The ladies’ list also
includes flaxseed. I am not sure where one goes to buy flaxseed. I thought
linen was made from flax. Last on the list is tofu. Thankfully lots of great
Thai cuisine includes tofu. Unfortunately, I got the impression that ladies
should eat the tofu and leave the rest.
If married couples are really going to take this list and
their health seriously, I suggest in the same way ‘his’ and ‘her’
bathrooms are now so popular, new homes will be designed with separate
kitchens. While the wife nibbles on her flaxseed like a parakeet, her
husband will be joyously indulging in another slice of pizza. Of course this
dietary exclusivity is only for the upper classes. The rest of us will
continue to fling the family dinner into a giant wok for a few minutes and
pour the whole mess over a mountain of rice.
Women’s World: Women
at War - Cynthia
by Lesley Warner
With a code name like ‘Cynthia’ you would not expect
to be remembered as well as the famous Mata Hari, but Cynthia was a World
War II version of the legendary Mata Hari.
She was born Amy Elizabeth Thorpe on November 22, 1910,
in Minneapolis. Amy’s father was a U.S. Marine Corps officer, which put
travel high on the family agenda. By the time she made her debut in
Washington society, 18-year-old Amy was a beautiful, mature, well-bred and
graceful young lady, with green eyes and amber-colored hair. She exuded a
magnetism that drew men to her.
Amy married the second secretary at the British Embassy,
Arthur Pack, which gave her a second citizenship. She had a son that she
gave to foster parents and later a daughter that she kept. The marriage was
not happy and when Arthur Pack was transferred to Madrid on the eve of the
Spanish Civil War, Amy immersed herself in secret operations. She helped
rebel nationalists to safety and to coordinate the evacuation of the British
embassy staff from northern Spain.
In the fall of 1937, Amy’s husband said he had fallen
in love with another woman, so Amy took her young daughter and left. Amy
boarded the Warsaw Express in Paris; she wanted to become a member of his
Britannic Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service.
The British Intelligence Service employed Amy and gave
her an entertainment allowance of 20 pounds sterling to cultivate her
high-placed Polish sources.
She apparently was once reported to have said of her
first official lover, “Our meetings were very fruitful, and I let him make
love to me as often as he wanted, since this guaranteed the smooth flow of
political information I needed.” It was in this way that Amy obtained
critical information. Later, when she was in Prague, she obtained conclusive
proof of Hitler’s plans to dismember Czechoslovakia.
When World War II started, Amy offered her talents to the
British Intelligence Service. She was soon writing political articles for
Spanish and English language newspapers in Chile. Britain was then gearing
up its intelligence and propaganda efforts in the hemisphere and in the
spring of 1940 placing them under the British Security Coordination (BSC),
headed by Canadian William Stephenson.
Amy then sailed to New York, where she was given her code
name, “Cynthia” and an assignment to set up shop in Washington, D.C. As
her cover, she posed as a journalist.
Her first major assignment was obtaining the Italian
naval cryptosystem. For this Amy remembered an old admirer who was now an
admiral and naval attache in Italy’s Washington embassy. It has been said
that Cynthia’s amorous success with her old lover contributed to British
victories in the Mediterranean.
In 1941 Cynthia introduced herself to Charles Brousse,
the press attache in the French embassy, posing as an American journalist.
He became besotted with her and from him she elicited a great deal of useful
In March 1942 Cynthia was told that London would like to
have the Vichy French naval ciphers. Cynthia put herself at considerable
risk to obtain the Vichy ciphers. Whether it was those obtained by Cynthia
or from another source, they were used to great effect when the Allies
landed in French-held North Africa in November 1942.
With the United States now in the war, Cynthia worked for
the U.S. Office of Strategic Services as well as for the British. She
considered herself a patriot. “Ashamed? Not in the least,” she was once
reported to have said. “My superiors told me that the results of my work
saved thousands of British and American lives...It involved me in situations
from which ‘respectable’ women draw back but mine was total commitment.
Wars are not won by respectable methods.”
After the war Amy married Charles Brousse and they had
their happy ending, settled in a medieval castle on a mountain in France
until Amy died of mouth cancer on 1st December 1963.
Amy put her life in danger every day to do her part for
the war. She is remembered today only by those who were closely connected
with her or have the interest to research these matters. She didn’t do it
for glory, because she knew there would be none. How many of us could commit
ourselves to such bravery?
Animal Crackers: Why
keep cats indoors
by Mirin MacCarthy
Indoor cats live longer
Many people believe the only reason to keep cats indoors
is to discourage indiscriminate mating and for the safety of the
neighbourhood wildlife. Although free range cats do decimate wildlife, one
of the main reasons for keeping pet puss indoors is for its own health and
Cats in danger
are nocturnal hunters and nighttime presents the greatest risk to cats from
other stray cats, cars and wildlife, including snakes. Cats that are allowed
to prowl around in the outdoors at night are at a great risk of contracting
feline Aids. It does not even need mating to contract feline Aids, a cat
bite alone is enough to transmit it. Catfights also cause nasty abscesses
that result in pain and trips to the vet for puss. Rabies is endemic in the
majority of warm-blooded mammals in Thailand, including rats and mice,
cat’s favourite prey. A cat has to catch and kill only one rabies infected
mouse and it too will be dead and buried long before it lives out its nine
lives. If flattened road kill cat is not a consideration in your secluded
area, then snakes will be. Thailand and Australia have the worlds’ most
venomous snakes. My own Korat cat was bitten by a Russel Pit Viper in
Jomtien and only by rushing it to the vet Dr. Nop in Naklua were we able to
save its life, with two injections of antivenene in 48 hours. It was close
to death for a week and still bears the scar. If I had not seen it in the
late afternoon bleeding profusely (vipers inject anticoagulant) it too would
be dead and buried now.
Then there is the issue of indiscriminate mating and
unwanted kittens, say no more.
What my cat a predator, rubbish!
Many people say their cats are so well fed that they
won’t hurt small animals. Wrong! Cats are natural predators and they hunt
for sport even if they aren’t hungry. Most cats just play with their prey
until it ceases to interest them, usually when it stops moving. This is
their instinct, their nature; they were made the perfect killing machine. In
this cats are neither right nor wrong, it is just the way they are. Cats
cannot be expected to curb their natural instincts and neither do they
understand those small native animals such as lizards and birds are vital to
a healthy environment.
What is the answer?
At the very least keep the cat indoors between the hours
of sunset and sunrise when both cats and wildlife, including snakes, are
most active. Have your cat wear a flea collar with an ID tag and a bell on
it. It is not cruel to keep pet cats totally indoors, they do not need big
territories. Provided they have some potted grass to chew on and plenty to
do, most cats will be perfectly happy.
Do not make the transition from outdoor cat to indoors
overnight. It would be enough to make anyone neurotic and pee on the floor
if locked up with no warning. Cats are creatures of habit, so gradually and
slowly shorten the length of time the cat is outside until it is no longer
let out at all.
You have two options if you wish your cats to go outside
and be safe. First, you can lead train cats, it is possible, I have done it
but it takes time and loads of patience. Then you can take puss outside
fully supervised on a collar and lead whenever you want. Alternatively you
can buy or make a cat enclosure for your yard, veranda or balcony. These
enclosed “outdoor environments” protect the cats yet allow them to get
fresh air and sunshine.
(For ideas refer www.catnip.com.au)
Next week, “How to keep puss happy and contented
A Slice of Thai History:
Prince Wan: Diplomat and Philologist
by Duncan Stearn
Part One: The Early Years 1891-1952
In 1991 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) listed the-then 72-year-old HRH Prince Wan
Waithayakon Krommun Naradhip Bongs-praband - better known simply as Prince
Wan - as one of the great personalities of the world in the categories of
diplomat and scholar.
It was a singular honour for a man who had dedicated his
life to the service of his country and who was also responsible for coining
a vast number of Thai words still in current usage.
Prince Wan, a direct descendant of King Rama IV, was born
on August 25, 1891 in Bangkok. After early education at the prestigious Suan
Kularb School and then King’s College, he was awarded a King’s
Scholarship and in 1905 went to study in England.
An outstanding student, he collected no less than 17
prizes over the next five years before graduating and going on to Balliol
College, Oxford. He majored in history at Oxford and then went on to Paris
to study diplomacy.
Prince Wan’s career commenced in 1917 when he was
appointed Third Secretary at the Thai Embassy in Paris. In 1919, he returned
to Bangkok and worked at the Foreign Office under Thailand’s
longest-serving foreign minister, Prince Devawongse. Aged just 31, Prince
Wan was also appointed as an adviser to King Rama VI.
In 1924, he was made under-secretary for foreign affairs
while in 1926 he went back to Europe as minister accredited to Great
Britain, the Netherlands and Belgium. At the same time, he was also
appointed head of the Thai delegation to the League of Nations.
Prince Wan returned to Thailand in 1930, accepting a seat
on the Faculty of Arts at Chulalongkorn University.
Just two years later, the country was thrown into
political turmoil by the overthrow of the absolute monarchy. It was at this
time that Prince Wan became an active philologist and over the next 44 years
he was to bequeath to the Thai language around 300 words. Indeed, books and
writing were his lifetime passion, the bibliophile amassing a large
collection throughout his long life.
Prince Wan saw the 1932 revolution as, “not just a
change of government but a fundamental change in the way of life of the Thai
people...” He wanted to give the revolution a reasoned voice and so he
began a newspaper, the Prachachat.
Via the newspaper, as well as through his continuing
public service, Prince Wan introduced words such as association, bank,
company, family, service, supply, demand, freedom, pollution, revolution,
reform, war and zone to the Thai lexicon.
Between 1934 and 1947 he was president of the Royal
Institute, a position he again held from 1973 until 1976.
In February 1941, Prince Wan was appointed to head the
Thai delegation to Tokyo and charged with negotiating peace between the
Vichy French government of Indo-China and Thailand in the undeclared war
that had broken out a few months earlier.
The negotiations proved exceedingly difficult and it
wasn’t until early March that an agreement acceptable to both sides was
hammered out. Even then, it was an agreement that Prince Wan felt was less
than favourable to Thailand.
After the Second World War, he participated in the
negotiations that led to Thailand’s admission to the United Nations in
December 1946. The following year, Prince Wan was appointed ambassador to
the United States as well as ambassador to the United Nations.
Finally, in March 1952 he became foreign minister,
assuming the office held for so long by his mentor, Prince Devawongse.
The Message In The Moon
: Gemini Sun/Leo Moon - The Ham
Gemini is self-expressive, high strung, nervous and
excitable. Leo is flamboyant, extravagant and dramatic. Combine the two and
you get a non-stop soap opera with few station breaks.
Melodrama was probably invented by a Gemini-Leo cave
dweller. No matter what people born into this particular combination do, it
is done with flair and fanfare. A deep need to express thoughts and feelings
is a hallmark of this sign. Never mind if it is with a perfect stranger;
these individuals have got to let the world know what they have been going
through. They are usually high-profile people who never go unnoticed, even
in a crowd.
Perfectly charming, wildly exuberant, and always
optimistic, natives of this Sun/Moon combo are always popular and well
liked. Others simply cannot resist all that magnetic appeal. (Besides, no
one can wait to hear the latest episode of whatever high drama the
Gemini-Leo has been engaged in).
In addition to that somewhat exaggerated sense of their
own importance, they also possess an air of authority. There is nothing
really frivolous about natives of this sign. In fact they actually take
their actions far more seriously than anyone can imagine.
Friends and associates have trouble second-guessing the
Gemini-Leo. For there are actually two sides of this personality. One is
carefree, witty and sophisticated, the other, the willful executive issuing
advice and opinions that take on the tone of commands. When one of those
bossy moods descends on this person, it is usually more for show than
substance. This combination loves to show off those leadership talents and
will secretly delight in the fact that others actually believe in the role
being played. The Gemini-Leo should try toning down the act somewhat. Even
though a bossy command was not meant in quite the way it was said, a victim
may still be left cowering in a corner!
As with all natives of Moon in Leo, people in this group
will have a tendency to follow their own sets of rules in life, and will
probably ignore the advice and opinions of others. Yes, they are open-minded
and willing to listen to reason. But in the final analysis they prefer to go
their own way because inside, they always feel intuitively right. There are
times when stubbornness or desire to prove to the world that they know best
can lead to reckless and impulsive actions which can undermine their
constructive efforts. They must watch that pride. It is better to try to
become more responsive to the ideas and contributions of the people around
them, instead of always wanting their own way.
Professionally, this combination has strong creative
drives. Aside from artistic careers, natives of this Sun/Moon group can
excel in business because they are actually more down to earth than others
realise. Whatever they choose to do in life will be accomplished with a
sense of responsibility, loyalty and dedication.
Highly romantic and adventurous, all Gemini-Leos actively
search for (and hopefully find) the perfect partner. This must be one who
shares their enthusiasm and interests. Possessing a Moon in Leo means that
these individuals will be far more loyal to their mate than their fellow
Geminis. Loyalty is one of their highest ideals, and extends to marital
life. Family centred, these people take great pride in their spouse and
offspring. It is, however, possible that sometimes they view them solely as
an extension of themselves.
Antiques, are they
genuine? The importance of exhibitions
by Apichart Panyadee
Exhibitions, together with important sales of great
collections in England gave rise to copies being made by both French and
English craftsmen right up to the Great War of 1914-1918, and to a lesser
extent, during the inter-war years. It can be very difficult to tell the
differences between English and French cabinet work of this period. London
was certainly a great centre and its political stability was an incentive to
many French craftsmen to settle in England in the mid-19th century.
20th century lock is a straightforward type used in France from the second
quarter of the 19th century to the 20th. It still has a double throw, but is
made of brass and is smaller than its predecessors.
There is constructive evidence to support the theory that
French firms supplied mounts for English carcase work and there was
considerable to-ing and fro-ing of trade, especially from Paris to London. A
further theory which is gaining rapid credence, maintains that Paris firms
not only exported copies to New York, but that they also exported ‘spare
parts’ and marquetry. The psychology of buying or commissioning copies in
the 19th century was altogether different than it is today. Snobbery did not
enter into it. Indeed, Francis Watson in the Yankee Collection catalogue
points out that Lord Hertford was paying more for a commissioned copy than
he was for many of the original pieces he had purchased for his extensive
This is a prime example of the fact that these early
exhibitions did inspire fine copies, and create the clientele who would pay
for them. It is an interesting point in that it appears to confirm the
theory that English craftsmen of the period were equal to the French and
that it was simply a question of expediency as to who actually made the
copy. The commissioning of fine copies had been a popular one throughout the
18th century, especially with paintings, so that the copy could be admired
on the Grand Tour which was a cultural must for the elite of society of
Britain and Europe. This trend continued well into the 19th century and the
pieces were in no respect intended to deceive. In fact, as we have already
discovered, some of the copies were more finely made than originals of the
same models. Lord Hertford also had his commissioned copies vary slightly
from the originals with an intention to prevent the perpetration of frauds.
steel lock dates to the Louis XVI period c. 1700. The steel has rusted and
the lock shows traces of hand filing.
It is difficult to obtain a clear picture of the quantity
of 18th century furniture that was copied exactly in the 19th century.
However, the proportion of chair frames made as exact copies of Louis XVI
models is high compared with that of cabinet work. As an approximate guide,
possibly as many as one in five pieces available on the market today would
fall into this category.
The main discussion inevitably centres on French copies
and their English counterparts. Other European countries however were quite
capable of making copies, but rarely on such a grand scale as the French.
There were fewer royal items of an international flavour and access to royal
pieces was possibly restricted. What had started out in France as copying
the finest pieces of the Louis era with a sincere desire to emulate their
sophisticated forms became, in some countries, a race to produce copies of
sometimes very ordinary items. As the rapid development of the 19th century
progressed, each country chose to copy the very best that it produced,
whatever the period. Whereas the French had only to go back to the
monarchies of the 18th century, the Dutch, for example looked back into the
Shaman’s Rattle : Liver
Fad or functional?
Suddenly the latest fad everyone is talking about is the
liver cleansing diet. Proposed by a real doctor and best selling female
author Dr. Sandra Cabot, it was and still is a hot topic. Never one to be
easily swayed I remained sceptical, aligning it with other faddish natural
healing such as the Pritikin diet and Homoeopathy. However, all that changed
radically when I actually tried it.
Four months ago I consulted my doctor for frequent
allergies, lowered immune system with chronic fatigue syndrome, overweight,
slightly high cholesterol and excess alcohol intake. She immediately
requested blood tests including liver function tests. When the liver
function test results were assessed they were slightly elevated with
marginally high cholesterol. Therefore the Dr. strongly recommended getting
a copy of Dr Cabot’s “Liver cleansing diet” and adhering to it for at
least eight weeks.
In spite of my reluctance I did and the results have been
amazing. This is purely anecdotal; however, four months later I have lost
weight, I no longer drink more than two standard glasses of alcohol a day
and don’t miss the hangovers! I have lost my chronic hay fever, and no
longer have to take antihistamines and sunglasses with me everywhere.
What’s more I can walk up stairs for the first time in years without
gasping for breath. I am still on the diet (though have an occasional
grilled steak now). The LCD has become an easy to follow a way of life. What
is better yet, my blood tests have returned to normal.
Not without its price
The gentleman in the bookshop amazed me by saying,
“Fabulous book but don’t expect to do anything the first week you are on
the diet!” Be warned, he was right, you are definitely not able to do
anything but sleep the first week on the diet. Many people have reported the
same. It is not such a radical diet, it just that the body is getting rid of
years of toxins and cleaning up its act and its liver, the main vacuum
cleaner of the system. That’s exhausting work.
Who needs it?
Purported as a life saving breakthrough for men and
women, in my opinion the LCD certainly is. As Dr. Cabot herself says, “The
liver, the supreme organ of metabolism has to be the missing key to great
health. It seemed so simple and yet so incredible; why hadn’t someone
thought of this before?”
“Everyone can benefit from the Liver Cleansing Diet as
it is designed to improve overall health and immune function. Those who are
in greatest need of this diet are the persons with the following complaints.
Excessive body weight, and liver disease as evidenced by blood tests or CAT
scans. Those who test positive for hepatitis B or C. Gall bladder disease,
high blood pressure, general digestive problems, and irritable bowel
syndrome. Immune system imbalances as evidenced by allergies, hay fever,
hives, skin rashes, auto immune diseases, some types of arthritis and
chronic fatigue syndrome. Headaches and migraines, women on hormone
replacement therapy, those who drink too much alcohol and those who have
taken recreational drugs. Even older persons will find the LCD a great tool
for increasing longevity and vitality and staving off degenerative
12 Principles of the LCD
First Principle: The first principle is listen to your
body and do not eat if you are not hungry. This applies even at meal times
when you are on the LCD - have a glass of water instead. Stop thrashing your
liver and conversely eat when you are hungry even if it is not a “set
mealtime”. Don’t starve yourself into hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar).
Two: “Drink at least eight to twelve glasses of
filtered water daily.” This is really vital, and if you do nothing else
just do this. It is not so easy either but it pays off, as it will reduce
your chances of degenerative disease. Like all plants your body functions
better when it is not wilted with dehydration. Adequate fluid intake avoids
brain drain and Alzheimer’s. “This is because a dehydrated brain will be
more prone to the build up of toxic chemicals and shrinkage of brain cells (neurones).”
Three: “Avoid eating large amounts of sugar, especially
refined sugars and flours, as the liver will convert this into fat, such as
cholesterol and triglycerides.” Honey and fresh fruit are ok in small
amounts and carob not chocolate, also soy yoghurt not ice cream. Avoid all
artificial sweeteners found in diet drinks and some diabetic foods as these
are toxic to the liver and can cause hypoglycaemia and fatigue.
Four: This is good news. “Don’t become obsessed with
counting calories and do ignore the bathroom scales.”
Five: “Avoid foods you may be allergic to or you know
from past experience upset you. The most common allergenic foods are wheat
and dairy products (milk, butter, cheese, cream, ice cream, chocolate.)”
Six: “Be aware of good intestinal hygiene. Do not eat
preservatives, preserved delicatessen meats, sausages or contaminated,
reheated food. (Eating acidophilus yoghurt and papaya, pawpaw or papain
powder at the beginning of meals may help those with weak digestive
systems.) When overseas avoid peeled fruits, vegetables and salads and
especially raw foods, oysters and shellfish. Drink bottled filtered
Seven: “Do not eat if you feel stressed or anxious.”
Eight: “Eat organic, fresh produce free of pesticides
if it is available.”
Nine: “Obtain your protein from diverse sources
(including legumes - beans, soy beans, chick-peas, lentils), and seeds and
nuts; not just from animal products such as meat, eggs and fish.” The LCD
diet does contain some chicken, preferably free range, fish and eggs, but
avoids all red meat in the first eight weeks.
Ten: “Choose your breads and spreads wisely. Buy breads
free from artificial chemicals, improvers and colourings, or make your own.
Try rye, corn, oats, rice, barley and other breads from health food shops.
Alternatively try Ryvita crackers, yeast free pitta breads or sourdough
loaf. While on the LCD it is essential to avoid all margarine and / or
butter, use fresh avocado, houmos or tahini instead as spreads.”
Eleven: “Avoid constipation by eating plenty of raw
fruit and vegetables and drinking plenty of water throughout the day.”
Twelve: “Avoid excessive saturated and damaged fats.
The type of fats you eat on a daily basis is so important to your health and
longevity and will have the greatest influence on your liver function and
your weight. Therefore it is important to understand good and bad fats.
Margarines, hydrogenated vegetable oils and shortenings are liver enemies,
definitely out during the LCD. Some Oils are less damaged by heating than
others, and the best for stir frying are canola, sesame, peanut, high oleic
sunflower, safflower and virgin olive oils.”
Next week we will explore healthy fats, essential fatty
acids Omega 3 and Omega 6, oils ain’t oils, unhealthy damaged fats,
cholesterol and liver tonics in Dr. Cabot’s book. In the interim rush out
and buy a copy, “The Liver Cleansing Diet” by Dr. Sandra Cabot. ISBN
0-646-27789-8. It may even save your life.
Guide to buying a large
dog: Large Munsterlander
by C. Schloemer
Good points: affectionate, easily taught, good
multi-purpose gun dog, good house pet, loyal, trustworthy
Take heed: needs plenty of space for abundant
Large Munsterlander is officially recorded as the youngest pointing
retriever gun dog breed. It has, however, been known in Germany for as long
as all the other German gun dog breeds. It resembles a setter in both build
and coat, and has a head like that of a spaniel. Smart and easy to train,
this breed has an excellent nose and wonderful staying power. For the owners
who aren’t interested in shooting, this dog’s sincere desire to please
and fine temperament makes it ideal for a family pet. Trustworthy around
children, the Large Munsterlander is a loveable companion.
Size: Height: dog approximately 61 cm, bitch 58.5 cm.
Weight: dog approximately 25-29 kg, bitch approximately 25 kg.
Exercise: This is an energetic working dog and needs
plenty of space for exercise.
Grooming: Fortunately a daily brushing is enough to
keep this dog’s coat in good condition
Origin and history: In bygone days, the best working
dogs were mated to the best working bitches, with little regard to the
colour, breeding, or coat texture. Early in the 19th
century, however, people became conscious of breeds and colour, and records
of the best dogs were kept. So it was with the Large Munsterlander, which
was then classified as a Long-haired Germain Pointer.
When the German Kennel Club was founded and the general
stud book came into operation, only brown and white Long-haired German
Pointers were permitted registration. The litters containing odd-coloured
puppies were frequently given away, finding their way into the hands of
farmers and gamekeepers. This group was delighted to have such well-bred
dogs which could work. The farmers were not bothered by the dog’s lack of
colour registration. And this was fortunate, for it resulted in the saving
of the breed now known as the Large Munsterlander. (The Small Munsterlander
weighs in less than the Large).
Updated every Friday
Copyright 2001 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.
370/7-8 Pattaya Second Road, Pattaya City, Chonburi 20260, Thailand
Tel. 66-38 411 240-1, 413 240-1, Fax: 66-38 427 596
Chinnaporn Sungwanlek, assisted by Boonsiri Suansuk.