HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Family Money

Snap Shots

Modern Medicine

Women's World

Heart to Heart with Hillary


Shaman's Rattle

Antiques, are they genuine?

Animal Crackers

The computer doctor

Social Commentary by Khai Khem

Roll over Rover

The Message in The Moon

A Slice of Thai History

Family Money: Land of the Free?

By Leslie Wright,
Managing director of Westminster Portfolio Services (Thailand) Ltd.

For many nationalities, investing “offshore” is easy and perfectly legal. For others it can be complicated or even impossible, due to regulations in their own country. For instance, investing outside the US is difficult for Americans because of restrictions imposed by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The Securities Act of 1933 was created to compel full disclosure in public offerings and prevent fraud in connection with the issuance of securities. The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 was intended to ensure a fair market for the trading of securities once in the market, but the SEC has severely limited the ability of Americans to purchase securities outside the US.

Section 5 of the 1933 Act requires all offers or sales of securities in the US to be registered with the SEC. Section 12 of the 1934 Act requires registration and reporting of foreign issues that have securities listed on a US exchange. In effect, all foreign investment opportunities - unless they have been properly registered with the SEC - are prohibited to US investors.

If an American invests offshore in non-SEC registered securities, a second challenge arises: tax liability. People who invest offshore seek not only flexibility & diversity, but want to minimise the tax consequences on their profits. US citizens, however, are taxed on “world-wide income”, no matter the source. Many Americans do not understand, and rightly so, why gains earned offshore should be taxable when the ventures have not enjoyed US protection.

The corporate route

The solutions are not necessarily complicated. A corporation formed in a jurisdiction outside the US is beyond the reach of the SEC. By virtue of its domicile outside the US, a foreign corporation enjoys access to all the markets in the world and all the securities issues that exist - not just the ones registered with the SEC. This is economic freedom and a limitless opportunity for growth and diversity.

The first important point about the tax challenge is that many offshore financial centres don’t impose taxes on their corporations if they don’t carry out business locally. From a US tax perspective, foreign corporations are not liable for taxes under certain conditions. The tax liability for foreign corporations is articulated in IRC Section 882. This states that, “A foreign corporation engaged in trade or business within the US during the taxable year shall be taxable as provided in section USC on its taxable income, which is effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business within the US.”

Taxes accrue, therefore, only when business is carried out in the US. Capital gains from securities’ trading by foreign corporations fall outside this definition. This is further clarified in IRC Section 865 (a2), which states the general rule: “Except as otherwise provided in this section, income from the sale of personal property by a non-resident shall be sourced outside the US.” Hence, foreign corporations do not incur capital gains tax liability.

This leads to some conclusions about how SEC and IRS rules may be legally circumvented. Clearly, what cannot be accomplished from within the US may be accomplished internationally using corporate vehicles. Investing and tax mitigation may be accomplished through a corporation established in a number of tax-lenient international jurisdictions.

But that’s not the whole story. What has not been addressed is how a US citizen may avail himself of these benefits - and how he may still fall foul of the US tax authorities if he’s careless. It’s not as simple as buying a personal international business corporation. There are a host of concerns which must be addressed.

For instance, if a US citizen owns the foreign corporation, the tax avoidance effort has been for nothing because of IRS provisions concerning Controlled Foreign Corporations (CFC). Where CFC rules do not apply, other circumstances trigger tax consequences, such as when the foreign corporation makes a distribution.

Further, in the course of these activities, if a US citizen has had “an interest in or a signature or other authority over a financial account in a foreign country, such as a bank account, securities account or other financial account,” this must be reported. Finally, any funds that are repatriated to the US must be classed as income and taxed accordingly.

It is important to note that if funds are accumulated offshore through transfers from within the US there could be withholding or gift tax consequences. Therefore, anyone seeking to secure wealth offshore should consult a professional advisor who has expertise in US tax matters

The exemption for offshore issues is Regulation S, which comprises rules 901-904 of the 1933 Act. It clarifies that the registration requirements of the Securities Act do not apply to offers and sales outside the US.

To qualify for the Regulation S exemption, there can be no direct solicitation of US investors, no buy-orders placed within the US or share delivery within the US. Hence, while this is an exception to the registration requirement, it effectively minimises the chances of an offering outside the US reaching US citizens. This is clarified in Internal Revenue Code section 61 (a).

Another exemption for offshore investments is the American Depository Receipt. This technique interposes an American bank that makes the securities purchases, which are held in trust for the beneficial ownership of the investor. But this does not afford the flexibility that American investors seek.

Clearly, for a US citizen to be able to invest directly offshore, it is necessary to have a foreign vehicle through which transactions are performed, and to be dealing at arm’s length with that vehicle. This is the only way in which goals may be achieved while remaining in compliance with SEC and IRS rules.

Snap Shot: Nobody forgets Marilyn Monroe

by Harry Flashman

But who were Miss Idaho Potato, Andre de Dienes and Tom Kelley?

There would be few people in the world who have captured the imagination of the male population of the world more than Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn shot to stardom on the expertise of one photographer, who paid her $50 for an afternoon’s shooting on draped red velvet. Wardrobe assistance was not necessary, Miss Monroe was fully nude. The year? 1949.

Miss Idaho Potato

Some misconceptions abound over the shoot, now known as the Red Velvet session. Photographs from it appeared in the first edition of Playboy, Hugh Hefner’s groundbreaking men’s magazine. Before this, Hefner worked for a magazine called Children’s Activities! Quite a change from his later “adult” activities, I am sure you’ll agree!

Tom Kelley did the shoot in 1949 and is quoted as saying, “She (Marilyn) lived right around the corner at the Studio Club. I asked her to do the calendar. It wasn’t much of a job. Only fifty dollars. She said no. About a week later she changed her mind. She said she could use the dough.” However, the actual calendar was not published until 1951, and the Playboy shots were printed in 1953, not 1952 as some would have it.

Although Kelley may have been instrumental in getting Marilyn off the red velvet and onto the red carpet, he was not the first to shoot the then aspiring actress. Andre de Dienes photographed the then Norma Jean Baker in the desert in 1945. This was the same Norma Jean who won the title of Miss Idaho Potato, dressed in a potato sack. On looking at the photograph, I prefer the red velvet myself!

Now if you want to own a part of history, I am told that rare portraits of Marilyn Monroe at various stages of her short career are available. The collection of mostly black and white prints does, however, include some of the Red Velvet series. The exhibition runs from 12 to 16 February at Gallery 27, 27 Cork Street, London W1. The plane leaves from gateway 44.

Pro shoot costs

With professional photographers apparently able to command sky-high prices, some people wonder just how these shooters can justify their fees. Let me tell you, good professional photography costs big bucks - just the same way that good restaurant food costs big bucks and good cars cost big bucks. You can get noodles off the cart at the side of the road for 20 baht, or pay 200 baht in the restaurant. One is food, the other a gourmet paradise. You can go to work in a Toyota Corolla or a BMW. One is transport, the other automotive enjoyment. You can get sneaky snapshots of some lady with no clothes on taken at Nasty a go-go or look at photographs taken by the late Norman Parkinson for the Pirelli calendar. One is porn, the other is art.

When Harry was a pro shooter, if a quote for say, $1000 was queried I would amend it to read - To photographic costs, film, Polaroids, props, processing and printing $100. For knowing how to do it, $900. If they still queried the quote I wouldn’t do the job. There’s no point in photographing something for people who have no appreciation of what goes on. Don’t forget, you are not only paying for “art” you are paying for expertise.

Take the shot of the “operating table” for example. There was one day involved in building the set, getting the props and getting the basic lighting. At the same time an assistant found the models to play the parts of surgeons and nurses. The second day was the final shoot, monitored by Polaroid to ensure what we were getting was what the client (the advertising agency’s art director) wanted. The shots were taken on 5"x4" slide film and had to be ready before the end of the working day, so that re-shoots could be done before the actors went home. These days, that one shot would be worth $2,000 all day, every day.

Modern Medicine: Heart Attack? What are your chances?

by Dr Iain Corness, Consultant

Overweight, hypertensive smokers, with high cholesterol, may as well skip this week’s column. You may be dead before you get to the end of it. Well, perhaps that’s being a little bit too melodramatic, but it does describe the majority of the cardiac high risk people in the population.

Before launching into the pros and cons of the situation, a little understanding of what constitutes a “heart attack” is in order. I think everyone understands that the red blood cells carry oxygen to the tissues, so that the tissues can survive. The heart muscle is no exception to this rule. This hollow muscle needs oxygen just like all the others - spleen, kidneys, lungs, bowel and so forth.

However, the inside lining of the heart (muscle) is smooth and impermeable to the oxygen tied to the red cells. In other words, the heart does not get its nutrition from the blood it pumps through it. In fact, the blood supply to the heart is through some specialized arteries called the “Coronary” arteries. These run along the outer surface of the heart muscle and then split up into smaller tributaries which dip into the muscle to “feed” it.

Now, if we are to consider that the heart muscle is probably the most important muscle in the human body (well, physiologically it outranks one other more highly publicized muscle!) then it becomes important that this heart muscle gets a good supply of blood. And the way that the supply can get altered is by blocking off the coronary arteries. This is most usually done via a slow process by which a small obstruction in the artery slowly gets bigger and bigger until eventually it blocks off totally and the heart muscle “starves” of oxygen and that section of the heart muscle, supplied by that artery, just dies. This event of blocking is called a Coronary Occlusion, which may end up as a Coronary Conclusion! The actual death of the muscle resulting from this is called Myocardial Infarction, often shortened to the simple M.I. (The heart muscle is called the Myocardium.)

In short, cardiac health is mainly involved in keeping the coronary arteries clean and clear. This is where our old friend Cholesterol comes in. You see, the deposits inside the artery are generally made up of this chemical and other blood fats. This makes a “sticky” patch in the artery and some blood cells get stuck there. This causes a clot to form and you have all the precursors needed to block the artery, with the occlusion leading to the infarction, to claiming early on your life insurance policy.

To be able to keep your arteries clear you need to have a nice low cholesterol, which can be done by diet plus medication if required. But first you need to know what your cholesterol level is. This requires a blood test, and the good news is that the first 200 people who register with the Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital to have this done next weekend can have the test free (see the item elsewhere in this newspaper). However, if you are the 201st, don’t run away. Getting the levels checked could be the most significant event in producing a long and happy life - and what price is that? Think about it.

Women’s World: Poles apart

by Lesley Warner

“A strong hand means a strong family,” according to an old Polish proverb.

Women of other lands are interesting subjects so I shall carry on with my series; this week I have chosen the ladies of Poland. It’s a country that we do not hear very much about these days.

For generations, the man has been head of the household in this predominantly Catholic country and his word was never questioned. When a woman complains of abuse at the hand of her husband, more often than not she is told it was her fault. There are only a handful of shelters for battered women in Poland. In fact Warsaw, the capital of this country of 38 million, has 2 million inhabitants - and no women’s shelters.

Polish communists treated women as political tokens, and their Solidarity union successors opposed abortion, divorce and equal rights. Twelve years after the fall of communism in 1989, Polish women are still almost nowhere in terms of political influence, but they are becoming major players in the new economy as owners and managers.

During the communist regime in the mid-1970s, nearly half the Polish work force was made up of women. On a purely statistical basis, Poland, like the rest of the Soviet alliance in Eastern Europe, offered women more opportunities for higher education and employment than did most West European countries.

The end of communist government had the opposite effect that one would have thought. Society considered that communism had forced women into the workplace and weakened the Polish family. The political transformation was considered an appropriate time for women to return full-time to the home.

Surprisingly, in 1992 Poland elected its first woman prime minister, Hanna Suchocka. She was an exception. She was a successful Solidarity trade union prime minister for nearly 18 months before she was ousted in early 1993 by a no-confidence vote on the budget put forth by Solidarity’s parliamentary group. Also in 1992 another very powerful position went to Ewa Letowska as the head of the National Bank of Poland.

Even with this background of successful women, Polish society still does not view women as individuals, with aspirations and interests of their own. Studies show that one-third of the population believe higher education is more important for men than for women.

Stereotyped opinions about women’s role in society form the basis for girls’ upbringing in average Polish families. They maintain the belief that girls and boys have different personalities, needs and values and that the social roles of men and women should be different. Women are expected to be skilful homemakers, not professionals. This appears to be deeply rooted in the historically shaped image of the “Polish Mother,” whose only role is to raise sons, fighters for national independence.

The teachings of the church have a strong influence on girls from early childhood. They are taught religion from kindergarten to primary school. These teachings are abiding by the Catholic Church that maintains the educational ideal for girls is based on the image of Holy Virgin; this reinforces the traditional role. Consequently, Polish parents raise their daughters to be tender, polite, caring, submissive and willing to make sacrifices in order to be good wives and mothers. At the same time, boys are brought up to be able to cope with life and to form professional careers; they are encouraged to train and compete to achieve success.

As in many instances feminism has been accused of being the source of all social and moral evil and women’s higher education and professional aspirations have often been criticized as “corrupt equality,” incompatible to the true nature of women and the largest contributing factor of women’s personal unhappiness.

Generally, it appears that more women in Poland are better educated than men. More young women complete secondary schools and pass final examinations, and more women enter and complete universities. Moreover, an increasing number of women now choose fields of study, which, only a decade ago, were considered improper for their gender. Interestingly, nowadays, more women than men become students of business and management, a fact that provides hope that the future’s more influential and lucrative positions will be filled by women.

Heart to Heart with Hillary

Dear Hillary,

With Valentines Day coming up this week, I would very much like to show my affection to a certain Thai lady I have met. We haven’t even dated yet, but I think she has a hint of how I feel, and I am getting certain “signals” that she feels the same way. This isn’t and won’t be a quick, bar girl type relationship. She works in a department store and is a friend of a Thai friend of mine, so I have actually met with her outside her work. I’ve been biding my time and trying to do this right. My question is: is there a traditional Thai gift or custom pertaining to Valentines Day? I know it’s a Western “holiday”, but Thais do like to celebrate all holidays, and I don’t want to miss out on this opportunity. But at the same time, I want to try to continue to do things the “right way”.

Clueless on Thai customs

Dear Clueless,

Hillary is certainly disturbed by your letter, my Petal. Whilst claiming to be “clueless” you are at the same time telling me that this young lady has a hint on how you feel. This must be hard for her, since you haven’t dated yet. “Is that a roll of film in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?” springs to mind. Likewise you think she feels the same way about you because she has been giving you certain signals. Blowing her hooters I suppose. However, presuming that you are a genuine chap chasing Miss Supathais from the nylon stocking department, the traditional Valentine’s Day card and a bunch of roses goes down well in all societies, including Thailand. For your information, doing things the “right way” the Valentine’s Day card is not signed, other than “From your Valentine” and you do run the risk of Supathais thinking the card and flowers were from your arch rival Police Constable Pisinurai. Horrible thought! But be brave, put your mobile phone number in the card and see if she really rings your bell.

Dear Hillary,

Since Purachai the Puritan’s big crackdown, the police have been closing down many of my favorite haunts. It’s no fun, but that’s not why I’m writing you. You see, I have a different “girlfriend” at each of more than one of these places, and, of course, they all know where I live. When their bars are open, I can visit whichever one I like, when I chose. But when more than one are “out of work” at the same time, they show up at my doorstep looking to “barter”, if you know what I mean. It’s not a bad situation, except when more than one shows up at the same time. I suffer no illusions that I am “the only one” in their lives, and believe they are smart enough to realize that they aren’t “the only one” in my life. But it can be a little embarrassing. When this happens, what should I do?

An Exhausted Victim of Purachai’s Moral Crackdown

Dear Exhausted Victim,

To think that the old proverb used to run “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” For you, it’s the exact opposite it seems. But now to your problem. You could try appropriating one of the “Closed by order of the Police” stickers that they have been posting on certain hotel rooms recently (you know the ones where people only seem to sleep for such a short time), and applying to the outside of your door after the fleetest of foot has got there, thereby discouraging all the others. The other solution is to change your address so that none of them know where to find you on those “slack” nights. Of course you could always do your nightly tour of the bars a little earlier and tell all your paramours about your hospital visits for the interesting little disease you picked up recently. Any of the above answers should be enough to cure your embarrassment.

Dear Hillary,

Can you help me? I have a favourite pair of shoes that have become so thin on the soles that I can practically see through them. The heels have also worn down so far the shoes have become flatties, instead of the fashionable high heels they once were. Please don’t say just buy a new pair, as I have not seen this particular design anywhere in Thailand. Do you know anywhere in Pattaya that does heels and soles?


Dear Pamela,

The churches are usually the places that advertise they are the best places to go for healing souls, but I do sympathize with you, Petal. Hillary used to have to go to Bangkok to a little chap on the corner of Soi 4 Sukhumvit, but finally I found one in Pattaya. Right beside the Leng Kee Restaurant on Pattaya Klang, about 50 metres before the Second Road intersection there is a very good and inexpensive shoe repair man. In fact, if you are dining at Leng Kee’s he will lend you a pair of flip-flops to get back to your chair while he heels your soles. There is also the option of having your favourite shoes copied. There are a few places in Bangkok that do this, but I am not aware of any in Pattaya.


A fair swap

A local man has been arrested after he admitted driving away a car which doesn’t belong to him. Expat Mrs Olga Fregetti was dismayed as she emerged with her trolley from a Pattaya superstore to see her Nissan Macra disappearing up the main road. The local man later explained to police it was a mistake anyone could make as many cars look similar. However, the prosecutor is not convinced after it was revealed that the only transport registered in his name is a three wheel tuk-tuk.

Yours eternally

A moonstruck farang from Stockport is devastated after convincing himself that the girl he met in a nightclub (before 2 a.m. so no problem on the social order front) was the love of his life. The whirlwind romance had made him feel twenty years younger. He asked his sweetie pie whether she could survive without his sexual attentions for four days during his absence on a visa run to Penang. She replied No Problem as several other guys had already offered to step in. As it were.

Casino Royale

News that a group of MPs has started a debate about allowing casinos in resorts such as Pattaya is not leading to rush orders of roulette wheels and Las Vegas style slots. Not yet anyway. We have been having debates about baht buses, parking on Beach Road and the future of Walking Street for ten years. Old hands say to expect a decision by 2022. Although legalized casinos would raise billions of baht in revenue, it is not absolutely clear in whose pockets the money would end up. Check out what happened in Phnom Penh before the big halt.

Crackdown continues

The Pattaya social order campaign has had its ups and downs, but its success is measured by the fact that boozing after 2.00 a.m. is now mostly done in darkened streets without background music or entertainment. The next stage, insiders say, is a renewed, concentrated attack on child prostitution which has moved from bars to the streets. Cynics might be surprised by the amount of photographic evidence already said to be in the hands of undercover cops from out of town.

Prophet of doom

Taken from the latest chairman’s annual report of a company based in the Eastern Seaboard. “Ladies and gentlemen, shareholders and guests, I told you last year at this time that the economic meltdown had placed us all on the edge of a bottomless precipice. Things looked bleak. Our prospects were, to say the least, uncertain. This year, I am delighted to report to you in all sincerity that we are determined to take a giant step forward.”

Awesome food

GEOC (Grapevine Eating Out Collective) paid a surprise Friday visit to Warbler Two Pub and Restaurant in the Baiyoke Hotel, South Pattaya. The dinner buffet, under 200 baht, was good value. And there’s a wide a la carte menu including Mexican, Lao and Indian dishes. Carlsberg draught is 50 baht before 9 p.m. Provided you like live music, this is a place to include on your itinerary.

Legal eagle

GD asks why deportations of farangs convicted in a court take a week or even more. Surely, he laments, all you need is an air ticket. Not so. There are documents such as the kam sang saan or court order which the police need before they can pass the file to the immigration authorities. Permission must also be sought from immigration headquarters in Bangkok which requires many documents to be faxed back and forth. A lawyer may be able to speed up matters, but be prepared for a hefty bill. It’s difficult to hurry the Orient.

Happy pussy

A reader, Mrs T (not Thatcher) asks which supermarket has the best selection of cat food. Apparently, her puss Fang soon tires of any particular flavor and makes life difficult at meal times. Well, Mrs T, if you had sent a request like that to petulant agony aunt Hilary, she would have doubtless thrown it in the bin. However, we at Grapevine are made of kinder stuff and award the accolade to Friendship Supermarket. There you will find eight plus flavors of Me-O as well as the full range of Friskies hard biscuits. Love to Fang.


Overheard in the Asylum Bar. “What’s the difference between a baht bus and a limousine taxi?” “I don’t know.” “Good, then we’ll go to the airport in a baht bus.”

Shaman’s Rattle: Jumpstart your days

Can you recall how you spent the first hour of each day during the last week? Was it spent struggling with the inadequate water pressure in the shower or with monosyllabic groans and grunts directed at unlucky spouses or tripping over animals and children on your headlong dash out the door?

How you spend your first hour sets the pattern for each and every day. Your first waking thoughts and actions are the programme for success or failure, fun or misery. It is vitally important to get out there and be a part of nature before you do anything else. The one single action that will turn your life from misery to magic is giving thanks every day for a chance to be a part of the miracle of life.

Dedicate your day to what it is you believe in, pray if you will to Buddha, the Universe, God, the Great Spirit. Spend the first thirty minutes walking on the beach or in the park, thanking the powers that be that you are alive, determining to have a positive productive day. It is essential to your mental, physical and spiritual health to take a walk on the wild side first thing every day. Don’t allow worries or frantic schedules or grief or anger or apathy to intervene. Determine to do it until it becomes a life saving habit.

Most people these days spend the majority of time indoors separated and alienated from nature, forgetting our bodies are genetically programmed and have a deep instinctual need to interact with nature. Many of us have forgotten how to be a part of the great outdoor life cycle. Sadly we distract and distance ourselves from the natural rhythms of tides, wind, sun, rain and seasons.

It is a telling indicator of your mental health how you spend your first hour. You do not need a genius psychiatrist to diagnose serious stress or depression if it is weeks or months since you have taken a walk first thing or just given thanks to celebrate being alive.

Living in extreme isolation from nature in air-conditioning and fluorescent lighting constantly, as many of us do, causes illness, depression and energy depletion. Walking on the wild side means actually getting out there in nature. The majority of us have easy access to the sea here yet how many of us walk barefoot on the beach daily? Even here in a holiday resort town we get caught up with the craziness of the daily merry-go-round and become progressively exhausted and burnt out. Resolve to start each day with a thirty-minute walk on the beach or a swim or even sitting outside in the garden. Just quietly sitting and watching the sunlight and the birds and the leaves in the early morning is amazingly renewing, restoring, life enhancing.

Being a part of nature does not mean jogging down the street, red faced and breathless, or running to keep up with your dog. It means the magic of walking slowly and seeing everything with appreciation, smiling and talking to people you meet.

Get out there and feel the rain and the sun and the birds and the sand and the waves, be glad you are alive, be grateful you have the freedom to do it. Feel the sand or the grass under your feet, give food to the monks or just sit in the garden with an attitude of gratitude. Yes even if it is raining enough to drown an elephant or snowing enough to freeze a polar bear, put a coat on and get out there in it. Even if you have to get up an hour earlier than everyone else in the house.

Your brain is your dedicated servant and responds obediently to your subconscious commands. If you wake up with an attitude of extreme reluctance you can bet your life your day will be negative, playing out your silent wish to be asleep or elsewhere. Most people are not aware they create their own circumstances. If you tell yourself ‘today sucks’ or ‘life is a drag’ then your mind will work very loyally to make it so, if you tell yourself you are miserable and depressed then you will most certainly be so.

The Kahunas of ancient Hawaii had a philosophy they lived by - “Makia - energy goes where attention flows”, which Serge Kahili King explains in his book, “The Urban Shaman.” Literally, Makia means your life experience is the result of sustained focussed attention. If you are unhappy with your present circumstances, then change what you are thinking and focussing on. This is readily demonstrated by the popular metaphor, “Accidents happen in threes.” There is absolutely no logical support for this statement; it is simply the incorrect result of losing the sense of perspective, focussing on the negative and inviting something else bad to happen to support a victim mentality. Your focus can save your life. In the brilliant book, “Notes From a Friend” Anthony Robbins emphasises, “Whatever you think about most you’ll experience.” He also describes one of the most life enhancing tools for changing focus and making dreams into a reality, and that is simply asking yourself a set of questions every morning.

“Morning power questions. What am I happy about, excited about, proud about in my life right now and how does that make me feel? What am I grateful for, enjoying most, committed to in my life right now and how does that make me feel? Who do I love, who loves me and how does that make me feel?” Morning power questions set you up for feeling great all day,” and go hand in hand with celebrating life.

Starting each day with a celebration and appreciation of being alive by facing the sunrise and giving thanks, even just listening to inspirational music if you are confined to bed, will fill your days with light and laughter and positive energy. This is a promise.

Antique, are they genuine? Punch bowls, candlesticks and beakers

by Apichart Panyadee

Cased glass had been exported form Czechoslovakia for over 150 years following its reproduction in Bohemia. A great popularity arose for the cased-glass effect and in keeping with the times and fashion, the technique spread quickly throughout Europe and America in the 19th century. Cased glass is still popular with glassmakers and collectors. Such a vast output creates enormous difficulties in attribu- tion and dating. The collector of rare pieces will be wise to acknowledge that many of these items are not so much fakes as reproductions of styles.

Here, the cased glass bowl is an example that has been exported from Czechoslovakia for over 150 years following its introduction in Bohemia. The English punch bowl and stand was easy to date because the bowl was a popular Edwardian shape which continued in production well into the 1920s.

Many English punch bowls and stands were relatively easy to date because the bowl is often an Edwardian shape which continued in production well into the 1920’s. The idea of bowls on separate stands first appears in the late 19th century but some can be proven to be from the 1840’s. They could actually be mistaken for modern glass because of the clean and bright appearance. Perhaps the most difficult items to date precisely are the ubiquitous hock glasses with colored bowls on tall, clear stems.

These three 20th century “bubbly” glasses raise a number of questions about date and origin. The candlestick on the right is a 1985 replica from Jamestown Glasshouse. The center vase is probably from the Mediterranean and the glass with the snake is probably an Egyptian piece.

Twentieth century ‘bubbly’ glasses raise a number of questions about date and country of origin when viewed out of context. There are many fine replicas manufactured in the 1980s from the Jamestown Glasshouse in the American state of Virginia. Egypt produces fine ‘bubbly’ glass which is usually a pale green color but does not have much detailed design or definitive shape. Glass from north Mediterranean glasshouses is often seen in antique shops. Whatever the shape it always has the standard engraved ship with oarsmen and is always pale green. Many of these were made in the 1960s.

Transparent enameled beakers in the Biedermeier style were manufactured in the late 19th and 20th centuries. They should be seen as a part of a continuous tradition of an extremely popular style originating in the early 19th century rather than as fakes or forgeries. Many of these rare pieces come from Stienschonau in Bohemia and some are late 19th century.

Animal Crackers: Seagulls live to fly and feed

by Iain Corness

Jonathan Livingston Seagull where are you now?

Most Australians take “seagulls” for granted and would be of the impression that there are two different kinds of gulls to be found generally on the beaches (when not following fishing boats or over-flying the Melbourne cricket ground). A red billed, red legged variety and a black billed, black legged type, both of roughly the same size, about 16 inches or forty centimetres from beak to tail. (In Aussie speak, a bit bigger than a parrot and much smaller than a crow!) With a third type being a mythical bird named Jonathan Livingston Seagull who is ostracised from his flock because he lives to perfect his flying ability.

Further study reveals that the best bird known to all Australians (and undoubtedly the odd Kiwi or too) is the Silver gull and there are not two varieties at all, really it is a matter of age with young silver gulls starting off black and maturing to red.

In the birding fraternity these birds are termed ‘gulls’ rather than ‘seagulls’ for although they generally live by the seashore, gulls are opportunistic scavengers and will fly hundreds of kilometres for food.

Silver gulls, like all their overseas cousins, are very adaptable and will take any food offered. They are happy to share your fish and chips or sandwiches in riverside parks, collect food garbage from beaches or rubbish tips, follow fishermen and ferries in the hopes of a handout and dine off flying ants and shrimps in shallow lakes.

Aussie preconceptions are in for further big surprises when they venture overseas. Some beaches in Thailand for instance are noted for their absence of gulls. America, the land of the large, has huge gulls (raucous winged gulls) eight or nine inches longer than the Aussie (silver gull cousin) and twice the body mass of a crow!

Herring gulls of North America as well as European countries such as England, Scotland, Sweden, and Greece are large also. Actually worldwide there are 44 different varieties of gull, which vary in length from 11 to 31 inches (27 -80 cm).

Although environmentally friendly birds, gulls are generally not highly regarded by locals, for as well as chasing schools of fish they are fond of scavenging on the ground behind farmers’ ploughs, pestering airfields, flocking to rubbish dumps and insistently decorating harbour side statues and washing lines.

Gulls are known to roost many miles away from where you see them foraging during the day and usually far from predators such as humans. They can be found on otherwise uninhabited islands, in abandoned buildings, sea cliffs, and other remote areas.

Eggs are laid and incubated two to three at a time, and take about 26 days to hatch. Like mallard ducks, the mother gull talks to her chicks while they are still in the egg. Identifying a mother’s call is a vital survival skill for gull chicks in wild colonies, where they are just as likely to be killed by a highly aggressive territorial neighbour as by a predatory hungry hawk.

Young baby gulls are very rarely seen, as gulls are very protective of their young. Before six months of age chicks continue to stay around the nest as their parents bring back food and regurgitate it for them. As soon as a returning parent hears the cry of its own chick it gives a long ‘mewing’ call and the hungry baby runs back to be fed. Only after reaching juvenile age, you’ll see these young gulls flying with their parents.

Some gulls do migrate, especially ones in the northern parts of the world, such as Alaska. Like other Northern Hemisphere migratory birds, they fly south during the winter to where the pickings are better. The Australian silver gulls limit their flights to home, following the sun and the food, like other Aussie tourists.

The Computer Doctor

by Richard Bunch

Continuing from last issue, this week we look at other things that can be done to help prevent the integrity of your PC being compromised.

In a similar vein to virus problems, here’s a quick run-through of some utilities that can assist you to keep your PC clean of undesirable invaders in one shape or form.

A firewall is a good idea, as this will allow only authorised Internet traffic in and out of your PC. This should be regarded as an essential if your PC is permanently connected to the Internet. Probably the best application for this is ZoneAlarm 2.6 which as a bonus is also free to non-commercial users. Also available from the same company is ZoneAlarm Pro 2.6. This is ‘big brother’ and includes extra levels of security, including for e-mail attachments. It is also ‘intelligent’ and largely automatically configures itself although there are innumerable customizations that can be made. This version is suitable for deployment within networked environments and priced at $39.95 for a single user license, which is also very affordable. Download either product from

It is also worth mentioning, although I am a great exponent of Windows XP, its integral firewall is to say the least, leaky, so I advise disabling this and installing ZoneAlarm for a watertight solution.

You can test the vulnerability of your PC by downloading LeakTest from and then running the LeakTest.

The next utility, Ad-aware will scan your PC and if detected give you the opportunity to remove what is known as Adware. These programs are installed as a by-product of many freeware and shareware programs; to name a couple, GoZilla and Gator. Fortunately Ad-aware will rid you of these pesky things, but be mindful that by removing them the program that installed them may cease to work, so there could be a trade-off, it’s all a matter of choice.

Also check out which will check your PC for Spedia SurfPlus and Ezula TopText.

Another annoyance is Cookies which many websites add and use to identify you and monitor your browsing activity. Cookie Crusher is an excellent utility at $15 available from It is easy to use and can be configured, and another nice feature is that it tells you what the cookie does, monitor your surfing, bombards you with advertisements or possibly a shopping cart for an on-line-store.

Lastly, another free utility which will amongst other things block adverts and prevent pop-ups while you surf: download WebWasher 3 from Unfortunately the current version does not work with Windows XP, other versions are, however, fine.

Remember, should disaster strike, be prepared, and make regular backups, preferably to CD using a CD-RW, also a second hard disk is a good idea. Backups don’t have to be that tiresome with utilities like NTI’s BackUpNow, which is feature rich and backs up to a CDR or CDRW and for local backups the somewhat lighter SecondCopy from

Send your questions or comments to the Pattaya Mail at 370/7-8 Pattaya Second Road, Pattaya City, 20260 or fax to 038 427 596 or e-mail to [email protected]

The views and comments expressed within this column are not necessarily those of the writer or Pattaya Mail Publishing.

Richard Bunch is managing director of Action Computer Technologies Co., Ltd. For further information, please telephone 0 1782 4829, fax 0 3871 6816, e-mail: [email protected] or see the firm’s website

Social Commentary by Khai Khem

Are elephants destined to become dinosaurs?

The irony is touching. They are the largest mammals on land. A titan tough enough to survive since the last Ice Age is now one of the most vulnerable creatures on earth. And man’s treatment of the elephant is a study in breathtaking contrasts. But a growing understanding of the elephant and our confused relationship with it may actually help manage and protect these giants and perhaps offer real hope for other species. Will the human race be friend or foe?

Threatened, endangered, but definitely revered and respected, how the elephant is treated depends on where the elephant is living. To more than one billion people, more than a fifth of the world’s population, the elephant is sacred. In Sir Lanka, it is an official national treasure. In Thailand, it has been ultimately tied to national history and culture for more than 800 years. And in Indonesia, it is a legally protected species.

Yet, throughout the world the impact of human numbers has decimated the elephant. In Africa alone, the human population grows by more than 50,000 every day; creating direct competition with elephants over resources. Described as perpetual eating machines, an elephant, in fact, consumes more than 350 pounds of food every day. But the conflict not only involves food. Instead, elephant survival is often decided by humankind’s desire for luxury items; namely ivory.

Survival for the elephant will partly depend on knowledge and respect. There are actually two species of elephant. The African is larger and may weigh six tons. The Asian is smaller with smaller ears. Ancestors of both descended from creatures about the size of a pig that roamed northern Africa some 45 million years ago. Today elephants are enormous. An elephant’s molar alone weights about nine pounds. And a calf weighs about 200 pounds at birth.

While elephants are incredibly strong, they are also surprisingly agile. It is their trunks, measuring about six feet long with a hundred thousand muscles, which are a source of strength and agility. Its trunk allows an elephant to lift a log weighing a ton or more, shell a peanut, and detect odors up to five miles away. Their trunks act as snorkels and elephants can swim across rivers completely submerged. But trunks aren’t an elephant’s only impressive physiological feature. They are also equipped with built-in air-conditioning. They cool themselves with their ears.

We all need to understand the behavior of the elephant in order to help preserve this magnificent beast. Elephants lead fascinating social lives. They make sacrifices for one another. They hold together in tight family structures. These social characteristics have strong implications for herding and relocation. The protection and education of calves are the keystones of their families. Elephants spend their long childhood learning the ways of their kind and developing personalities. But perhaps most intriguing is their obvious capacity for feeling which are akin to human-like emotions. They become extremely distressed when left on their own. They also experience fear and confusion when they are relocated.

Wherever they are, they greet each other and reassure and touch each other frequently. This attention is also evident when it comes to the remains of their dead. Touching and smelling the remains of their own kind is interpreted by some as an attempt to identify the dead elephant. This gives an implication that within an elephant’s brain lays an awareness of death.

Living in harmony with elephants and managing their numbers have been challenging experiences for man. Villagers in many countries have attempted to scare off elephants by burning tires and blaring rock and roll music. Fortunately, such efforts have given way to more sensible solutions such as wildlife preserves and selective relocations. Some countries are setting up training centers to actually educate relocated wild elephants. Projects and studies are being done by governments and researchers.

But there are no definite answers at the moment. In much of southern Africa elephants are protected in national parks. But their numbers often become too great. And in places like South Africa, a method called culling is used to reduce the population. Culling means that the animals are simply killed. Fortunately Thailand does not practice this ruthless method. However, more needs to be done in Thailand to keep elephants in a safe and secure habitat, and out of the nation’s cities.

Understanding nature and respecting the elephant’s natural environment will help manage the species’ and our own resources. We need to be more idealistic and wiser in our management of these wonderful animals. Elephants have served and entertained us for thousands of years. But now they are challenging us all to take a new look at this relationship to insure their survival. No one knows for certain what really became of the dinosaurs. But the elephant’s story is being written by man’s own hand in our lifetime.

Roll over Rover: A Welcoming Wag

by C. Schloemer

Welcome to a new column which is aimed as a guide to training for the everyday person and the ordinary dog. Before we jump in, however, I want to clear the air about something. There is no such thing a perfect dog, no single animal that embodies every expectation a dog owner might have for his or her beloved canine. In fact, there are as many ideals of perfection in dogs as there are in people. Perfection, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, and a very personal thing.

As some readers are probably thinking, perfection is not what they are seeking at the moment. Some would be perfectly happy if they could only figure out how to get their new puppy from peeing on the carpet, or get their darling dog’s snout out of the waste paper basket. This alone might satisfy the owner for awhile.

Well, whether the owner’s goals are short-term problem-solving or long term off-lead control, with a dog or a puppy, training your dog is vital to a continued successful relationship with the owner, the family and any social contacts the dog will have. An untrained dog is as unhappy as the frustrated owner. Dogs need discipline and consistency so they understand their roles in each particular situation. Like children, a well trained pet needs boundaries and rules to feel secure and understand what is demanded of them.

I know that it might be hard for some owners to imagine, but you and your dog really do want the same things. You both want to get along with one another and be happy. When Rover jumps all over you, runs when you say “come”, or nips at your trousers, he may appear to be having a blast. Actually he is having no more fun than you are. He’s confused. He interprets your frustrated behavior, your body language, your human shouting as interactive, not corrective. You are the one out of control. So instead of correcting his activities, you are encouraging them. He gets wilder. You get more frustrated. Wild. Frustrated. Frustrated. Wild. Help!

Whether this scenario sounds all too familiar, or the reader is simply striving to preserve his or her dog’s already wonderful disposition, there are always ways in which even a rather amicable pet can become better behaved.

The Message in The Moon: Sun in Cancer/Moon in Sagittarius - The Romantic

by Anchalee Kaewmanee

This combination does not have that typical doom and gloom approach to the world, since the Sagittarius Moon gives this subject great hope, optimism and faith in the future. No matter how many ups and downs the Cancer-Sagittarius may experience, that cheerful and tolerant perspective prevails. The inner nature is expansive, idealistic and spiritually inclined. These people don’t stay depressed or withdrawn for very long.

Often these natives have many dreams and lofty ambitions during their lifetime. And with their high standards, they are never content to settle for less. Narrowing down specific ambitions can be difficult since the vision of these individuals is so broad. Sometimes they simply lose themselves in contemplating all the wonderful things they could do, but the problem is in deciding on one. Once they learn to focus on a special interest or develop a particular talent, and invoke the discipline to keep at their chosen field, they are usually successful at a variety of endeavors.

There are two sides to the nature of this combination. People born into this sign will have the Cancer personality which has a strong need for security in a home or a vocation. But the Sagittarius’ inner soul longs for freedom, adventure and romance. After much experimentation, they may finally opt for a conventional career. However, they will never fully shake off that longing for adventure. Because of this, they will often experience capricious moods than can undermine their serious efforts to buckle down to life’s more mundane necessities. Whenever these natives feel overburdened with work or responsibility or drudgery, the temptation to drift off into exotic daydreams can be overwhelming. They will suddenly drop what they are doing and drift away to follow some romantic whim. Naturally this will undermine whatever productive work they have managed to achieve.

Instead of surrendering to impulse and possibly abandoning responsibility, it is necessary for the Cancer-Sagittarius to structure his or her activities and make sure they set aside plenty of time for travel, thought, music-anything that fulfills that need for escape and adventure. They will eventually learn that they can give their soul the chance to take flight now and then and still stay tuned to the real world.

Known for their candor, these individuals are never afraid to speak their mind. Likes and dislikes for them are often based on gut reactions, for this is essentially an emotional Sun-Moon sign. When emotion takes over, they frequently say things they later regret. It is vital that they learn to cultivate a little tact, or certainly loss of friends will be the outcome.

Outgoing, trusting and enthusiastic in social relations, this combination seems carefree and easygoing. Yet, these natives are actually a lot deeper than most people realize. Philosophically inclined, they love to explore new ideas and, never content with the superficial, they prefer to probe deeply into the meaning of things.

When in love, the Cancer-Sagittarius is always trustworthy and loyal. But since this sign craves experience and variety, it can have difficulty focusing on affection, and is easily bored with just one partner. When these natives actually do settle down, they may find themselves continually thinking back on their many past affairs. The good news is that they do respect their partner’s freedom, and as lovers, they are extremely tolerant, affectionate and generous.

A Slice of Thai History: The Opium Trade

Part Six 1955-1958

by Duncan Stearn

By 1955, the Thai police force was the largest opium trafficking syndicate in the country. If the opium was due to be exported, police border patrols would escort the KMT caravans to police-controlled warehouses in Chiang Mai. From there it would be taken, under guard, to Bangkok by train or aircraft, loaded onto small boats and escorted by the maritime police to a mid-ocean rendezvous with freighters bound for Singapore or Hong Kong.

If, however, opium were needed for the government Opium Monopoly, then the police border patrols would stage shoot-outs with KMT smugglers. The results were inevitably that the KMT troops would drop their smuggled opium, flee back across the Burmese border and there would be no casualties on either side.

The border police would then bring the ‘captured’ opium to Bangkok and collect a reward worth 12% of the retail value. The opium would then disappear.

However, in July 1955, one of Phao’s staged incidents came unstuck and was to contribute to his ultimate downfall.

Thai border police allegedly snared some 20,000 kilos of opium during a raid and escorted it to Bangkok. General Phao congratulated his men and then signed a request for a reward of over one million US dollars, forwarding it to the Ministry of Finance.

As he was also the Deputy Minister of Finance, General Phao signed the cheque and then claimed to have personally delivered it to an ‘informer’.

Curiously, when the press asked him about this informer, Phao stated that the man could not be contacted because he’d left Thailand in fear of his life.

When the United Nation’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs censured Thailand and specifically named Phao, it was clear that he had become a liability.

With the tacit support of Prime Minister Pibul Songgram, the press began attacking the previously too-powerful Phao and in August 1955, he was stripped of his position within the Ministry of Finance. He then decided to go on a tour of Japan and the United States and while he was away, Pibul lifted press censorship, took control of the police and ordered those in business to either give it up or resign from the force.

When Phao returned in September, he delivered a public apology before the National Assembly, claiming that the police were in no way implicated in the opium scandal. However, a series of newspaper articles exposing police corruption as well as claims that Phao was an American puppet further weakened his position.

Phao made a reasonably successful comeback following the February 1957 elections. The election campaign, one of the most violent and rigged of all time, saw Phao and his cronies do well enough for him to be appointed Interior Minister.

However, on September 16, 1957, Sarit Thanarat launched a successful coup, which ousted Prime Minister Pibul Songgram (who fled to Japan) and saw Phao leave the country for a life of high living in Switzerland.

Sarit broke the power of the police force, disbanding the armoured and paratroop units and transferring a lot of equipment to the army.

All of the CIA agents attached to the police force were asked to leave the country.

Following elections in December 1957, Sarit ruled through General Thanom Kittikachorn as Prime Minister, but in October 1958, at the head of a clique called the Revolutionary Group, he launched an internal coup and proceeded to rule openly.

Sarit and the Revolutionary Group recognised the need to cement their power and to this end, they recruited potential military opponents by offering large monetary bonuses as well as other inducements to remain loyal.

All this came at a price, and Sarit decided the easiest and most lucrative approach was to re-organise the opium trade. Military officers were sent to Hong Kong and Singapore and given carte blanche to arrange opium deals while senior police and army officers went into northern Thailand and began arranging for the collection of the opium poppy from growers. The harvest proved successful and the money earned placated the middle ranks of the military to the extent that most opposition to Sarit and his government evaporated.