Family Money: Hedge Funds
Managing director of Westminster Portfolio Services (Thailand) Ltd.
Although hedge funds have existed since 1949, this
specialist niche market has seen rapid growth only in the past few years.
For a long time, it was a shadowy world, designed only for rich and
sophisticated investors. It is suggested that there are now over 6000
active hedge funds with more than $500 billion of assets under management.
What is a hedge fund?
A hedge fund is basically an investment structure for
managing a collection of assets that can be invested in both cash and
derivative markets on a leveraged basis. Unlike traditional equity fund or
bond fund managers, many hedge fund managers try to create value primarily
through positions that are uncorrelated to traditional capital markets.
Instead, their focus is on generating performance regardless of the
direction of the markets.
Opportunities for growth come from two sources: an
ever-increasing world of assets and securities within which to trade, and
a wider array of trading strategies. These strategies are an advantage as,
for the most part, they can be implemented without the constraints of the
common regulation controls imposed on normal securities.
For example, hedge fund strategies may access both
financial and commodity markets. They may then take long, short, option or
other positions in any of these markets. Therefore, hedge funds provide
unique risk and return characteristics that are not accessible to
traditional asset management approaches.
The hedge fund structure encompasses diversity that
attempts to create value by exploiting specific opportunities. Underlying
investment objectives vary tremendously among hedge fund managers.
Fund of Hedge Funds
A common and popular type of hedge funds is the
so-called ‘fund of hedge funds’. These simply invest not in just one
but in several hedge funds, and thus provide a diversified exposure to
multiple hedge funds.
A fund of funds may, for example, be overweight in
certain strategies based on a particular outlook or using certain
specialized trading or analysis techniques. A typical fund of funds could
easily provide a spread of 8 to 10 different investment strategies and
over 30 managers.
Managers usually charge a management fee as well as a
performance-based fee in addition to the normal underlying fund
administration fees. This exposes them to the accusation that hedge fund
management charges are high. That may be so - but as the charges are
generally related to performance, which has to be above average for the
managers to earn the higher fees, investors accept the higher charges in
return for a higher return on their investment.
However, the question of performance-related fees,
particularly in respect to a hedge fund of funds, is still much of an
argument. Consider the case whereby one of the fund holdings inside a fund
of hedge funds has done well. It thereby creates a fee based on
performance. Another holding in the fund of funds does not perform. In
fact it counters the growth of the former. The overall fund of funds will
generate no return but the performance-related fees due on the first
holding will still have to be paid. This creates a questionable scenario
and one that is still under scrutiny.
Nonetheless, hedge funds do provide, without question,
new opportunities for improving portfolio performance in today’s
environment of lower, and maybe unstable, returns from equity markets.
While traditional investments derive the majority of
their return from the capital markets, many hedge fund strategies are less
affected by the direction of underlying capital markets. Given their
generally low correlations to traditional investments and the intent to
“hedge” market risk, hedge fund strategies are worth considering
alongside traditional investments.
As more is written about how the various types of hedge
funds work, and investors become more familiar and therefore more
comfortable with the potential risks and rewards associated with then, we
can expect hedge fund allocations to increase over time.
Some hedge funds have been around a long time - but
have been available only to millionaire investors with at least $100,000
or more to invest in a slice of the fund. (George Soros’ famous - some
would say infamous - Quantum Fund required a minimum of US$1 million).
More recently, a plethora of funds have been launched
with more modest investment thresholds, to appeal to the more modest
punter who is looking to invest a few tens of thousands into a fund that
looks different or “interesting” - or who thinks major market equities
are not going to perform well for quite some time to come, so is looking
for an alternative investment strategy.
Certainly hedge funds provide this alternative. But the
top performing hedge funds still have minimum investment thresholds that
are out of reach of all except high-net-worth investors. The hedge fund
club is very exclusive - but becoming less so.
Balancing a portfolio is an art but one should consider
having secure, risk-exposed and non-traditional funds all in one portfolio
so that the long-term benefits are not focused on one area. This leads to
better real gains while reducing volatility and therefore risk.
Snap Shot: DIY Special Effects (or as the movie buffs would say “FX”)
by Harry Flashman
Special Effects Photography can be a great way to spend
all of your money. On your next visa run, go to Singapore and you can come
back with a complete special effects filter set plus compendiums (or is
that “compendia”?) which are the special holders you drop the filters
into. That little lot will cost lots of baht and you’ll have to hire a
golf caddy to carry it all around every time you feel like taking
pictures. This is not the way to go.
Hands up anyone who has got Scottish heritage? This
week’s article is for you! This is the DIY approach which will cost you
very little. There is a 1 baht coin to be sacrificed, plus a mild
misappropriation of somebody’s hair spray. Do not buy a can! This method
also appeals to Harry Flashman’s Scottish heritage, or as my nearest and
dearest used to say, my mean and penny pinching nature! Remember that the
first rule of DIY living is NEVER BUY ANYTHING, IF YOU CAN MAKE IT
One of the nicest special effects is what is called
“soft focus centre spot”. Now this just means the centre is in focus
and the edges are nicely soft and blurred. This effect is used by portrait
and wedding photographers all over the world to produce that wonderful
“romantic” photograph. You have all seen the kind of photograph. Used
sensibly it does impart a dreamy quality, and it is worthwhile trying this
effect on young (and older) ladies, or even to isolate one single flower
in a garden. The good thing is that to produce this type of picture is
exceptionally simple and you can do it, no matter what kind of camera you
use! I don’t care if it’s a Nikon state-of-the-art F whatever or the
cheapest and nastiest pocket point and shooter.
The secret is in the filter used. It is literally a
clear piece of glass or plastic over the lens that is clear in the middle
and opaque (but translucent) around the outside. Let’s make one.
You will need one can of hairspray, a 1 baht coin and a
clear piece of glass or plastic (perspex) around 7.5 cm square. This piece
of perspex needs to be as thin as possible to keep it optically correct.
Put the coin in the centre of the perspex and then
gently wave the hairspray over the lot. Let it dry and gently flick the
coin off and you have your first special effects filter - the centre spot
If you have an SLR (single lens reflex) camera you
actually look through the lens when you are focussing and what you see is
what you get (the WYSIWYG principle). For the compact camera users it
needs a little more imagination, but do not worry (worry is bad for the
soul and produces camera shake).
SLR people first - set your lens on the largest
aperture you can (around f5.6 or f4 is fine). Focus on your subject,
keeping the face in the centre of the screen. Now bring up your magic FX
filter and place it over the lens and what do you see? The face is in
focus and the edges are all blurred! You’ve got it. Shoot! Take a few
shots, especially ones with the light behind your subject. Try altering
the f stop as well, as this changes the apparent size of the clear spot in
Now for those with the compact point and shooters, what
you see is not what you get, as you are not looking through the lens. What
you have to do is position the centre of the filter over the lens and,
while keeping it there, bring the camera up to your eye, compose the shot
and then shoot. Takes some fiddling and manual dexterity, but all those
with at least two hands should be able to master it. Just make sure you
are not blocking the light sensors on the camera.
Modern Medicine: Alzheimer Disease - or I’ll never forget whatzisname
by Dr Iain Corness, Consultant
There is a general feeling that Alzheimer Disease is on
the increase. Roughly speaking this is correct, because it is a disease of
aging, and with all the other advances in medicine, we (as a group
inhabiting this planet) are living longer. The older you get, the more
likely you are. It’s that simple.
For those who delight in figures (of the mathematical
kind, as opposed to the go-go kind) the incidence of Dementia (and
Alzheimer is the main one) in Australia is 1 in 15 aged 65 or more, 1 in 9
if aged 80-84 and if over 85 it is 1 in 4.
I must say I am glad that my 85-year-old Mum is one of
the 3 that hasn’t got it! This is a twofold relief. I do love my Mum and
look forward to her newsy letters, but the chances of me getting Alzheimer
Disease also depends on family history. The longer my Mum is fine, the
better my chances!
Dementia is really “brain failure” - just as we can
wear out our hip joints and other parts of us, we can wear out our brains
too. Unfortunately, this brain failure tends to be progressive, robbing
the person of the ability to think and eventually the person becomes
unable to take care of themselves.
The symptoms include memory loss (the earliest one
usually), difficulties with language, judgement and insight, failure to
recognise people, disorientation, mood changes, hallucinations, delusions
and the gradual loss of ability to perform the usual tasks of daily living
such as hygiene and dressing.
The onset of these symptoms is gradual with most people
slowly getting worse over a period of some years - but everyone is
different and while the average length of time a person will live with
Dementia is around 10-14 years there are the short lived exceptions and
those who drag on for many, many years.
Dementia is a killer too, being the 4th greatest
numerical cause of death of adults after heart disease, cancer and
diseases of the lungs. However, as I have written many times in these
columns, despite all the advances, the death rate will always be the same
- one per person! We have to die of something, and for me, please let it
not be from boredom!
So if we can see this gradual onset, is that it? Lights
out and goodnight nurse? No, there have been quite some advances recently
in the Alzheimer field. The first of these is the use of Cholinesterase
inhibitors which seem to assist in the break up of the “fatty”
deposits in the brain called Amyloid protein. Studies using these agents
have shown some real benefits and a slowing of the rate of progression of
Another treatment has been with Vitamin E and Vitamin
C. Here we have the anti-oxidant theory which seems to have some value
with Dementia caused by vascular problems, but no real effect with the
There is also research going into the effects of
anti-inflammatory agents, beta amyloid peptide immunisation, and the
cholesterol reducing Statins. Before we can wholeheartedly endorse some of
these, prevention studies have to be designed and followed through for
some years. We may have the answer, but it will be some years before we
can prove it.
Women’s World: I will survive
by Lesley Warner
I have spent the last few weeks trying to help a friend
with relationship problems; I could only help by email but I know both
parties well. In the process of listening and trying to be there for this
couple I have found it interesting to note the difference with how men
handle emotional problems and how women do. I have no answer to the ‘all
consuming’ power that love can have over a woman. It’s as if it’s
running through our veins and when a man hurts us the body feels destroyed
from inside out. I’m not really sure where love rests within a man but I
am fairly sure that it is not ‘all consuming’ for them.
For those ladies who are suffering at the moment or
have in the past, these few paragraphs are just to let you know that you
are not alone.
Does this sound familiar? When you have a hard knot of
pain inside, food tastes like sawdust, music is an assault on your
emotions, sleep is something to crave for and you cannot focus on anything
but your crumbling relationship.
It never seems to matter how worthless the man is, how
badly he treats the woman, she still suffers when the relationship
inevitably comes to an end.
Even if you knew it was coming or made it happen
yourself, you may find yourself unprepared for the initial impact of your
breakup. Suddenly, you’re no longer half of a couple. Breaking up can
feel a lot like having a wall collapse on top of you. Things that you took
for granted yesterday may no longer apply to your life today. Although you
are still intact, many of your dreams and plans for the future, as well as
your day-to-day existence, may suddenly be unrecognizable bits and pieces.
Try thinking, reading, writing and talking - remember there is no
‘’right’’ way to feel. Don’t make any big decisions, as you will
find yourself unfocused. You’ll lose keys, money and time without
knowing where they went.
The truth is, there is no set way to get through a
breakup. There are no ground rules to follow. Because of this, it’s
important not to be too hard on yourself. It’s normal to sway from
strength to depression and despair. This is not weakness; it’s a process
leading you towards freedom from the pain and the strength to walk through
the new doors that will open.
Although at the time no one wants to listen, it’s
true to say that many women’s lives are improved by a relationship
breakup. New opportunities come along and it’s a chance to expand your
life and start again.
But before you can begin to move on, you must sort
through the rubble left from your breakup, choosing what to salvage and
what to leave behind. By identifying what went wrong, what your part in it
was and how you’d like things to be different in the future, you can
better ensure that you won’t find yourself in the same situation in
Although it’s important to acknowledge your feelings
of anger in the beginning, it’s generally best not to act on them. It
will fade in time and you must let it, anger can turn to hate and hate can
only destroy the hater. You may feel compelled to reunite with your ex or
jump into another relationship at this point. This is a mistake. Remember
the saying “from the frying pan into the fire?”
Many women find themselves obsessively reviewing their
relationships, asking themselves questions: Did my partner still love me
during that last vacation? When did things start to go wrong? Should I
have done something differently? At some point you have to let go.
How long is this going to take? The only answer to this
question is; it takes as long as it takes. For some women that means
months, for others years. It all depends on the length and nature of the
relationship, the way the relationship ended and the kind of person you
are. Be patient with yourself and try to learn the difference between
giving your self-time for recuperation and reflection and becoming stuck
in a pattern that doesn’t allow for growth.
Heart to Heart with Hillary
Dear Hilary (sic),
Hope you’re OK. I need some help from people au fait
with legal issues in Thailand. I’m currently writing a book and need
some info regarding the extratdition (sic) process. If you don’t
want to publish the letter “is no problem”, but if you could point me
in the right direction that’d be great.
Dear Literary Lawrence,
If you wish to be a man of letters, young man, then
first you are going to have to learn to spell, and even more importantly,
learn to spell people’s names correctly! Hillary has two “l’s” in
it, my Petal. Regarding extradition, which direction are you travelling
from, or to? If it is extradition from Thailand, consult a reputable Thai
lawyer. If it is extradition from another country, consult the legal
experts in that country. Sorry I cannot be more specific, but all
countries have different laws. The various embassies should give you some
indication too. Hillary deals more with love issues than legal issues.
I read in your column about a Thai lady asking if
farangs did not like Thai ladies not working in a bar. To this lady, and
to all other Thai ladies who maybe ask the same question I will say: Yes,
farangs indeed like Thai ladies not working in a bar, but it’s maybe too
difficult for a farang to meet a Thai lady somewhere else. But I can help
you to meet a nice farang for marriage. And I can also help farangs to
meet a nice Thai lady for marriage. I take care of introduction to a
farang. I take care of your passport and visa application in Bangkok and I
take care of your air ticket to your new husbands home country. So if you
want you can visit my new English website at www.pattayathailadies.com
Thank you for advising me of your service. Obviously
Hillary cannot “endorse” your marriage agency as I have no knowledge
of it, but you are probably offering “hope”, which is something that
many people need. However, there are many traps and pitfalls for the
lonely people. Everyone should be watchful and remember “Caveat
Emptor’ (let the buyer beware). That goes for many personal services
that you may require in your lifetime. There are a lot of people who have
been unhappy with the treatment they have received from some agencies,
with some less than truthful descriptions of the women looking for their
life’s partner, or anyone! Desperate and Dateless would describe most of
them. Some of the men are not much better.
My boss is driving me crazy. He is the most untidy man
I have ever met. I used to think I was untidy until I saw his desk. Even
his car looks as if someone just turned it upside down looking for loose
change. He loses important papers and blames me for it. What am I supposed
to do with this situation?
You certainly do have a problem, my Petal, but there
is an answer to all this. All you have to do is say to your boss that the
filing has got behind and you have decided to come in on Sunday and bring
it all up to date. Then when he is not there file everything on his desk
and on the floor around his desk (if he is as messy as you say he is) and
when he comes in on Monday and cannot find a thing, you will be able to
triumphantly produce it all, showing him how much better it is when the
filing is done. You then have to strike an agreement with him that you
will spend the last hour at work doing the filing for every day. Just be
firm and show him how much better and more efficient the office will be.
I have this girl I take out twice a week, who does work
in a bar. This does not worry me and we have had a great relationship for
more than five months and she never goes out with anyone on “our”
days. This week I went round to pick her up and the other girls said she
was away seeing her mother, so I rang her mobile and she switched it off.
Then I found out from one of the other girls that she was not up country
to see her mother at all but had gone to Rayong with an American. Hillary,
how could she do this? Doesn’t she understand it is better to be with me
for two days each week, than being with somebody else for just a couple of
days, or even a week? She would have got more money out of me than she
will from the American, but now I can not trust her. Should I tell her why
I will not be seeing her any more or just not bother? She didn’t bother
telling me what she was doing.
Dear Jilted James,
Your girl is a free agent in a free market economy.
Perhaps she considers the American a good catch. Perhaps she has been
going out with him for five days a week - would you know? There’s no
such thing as a “part time” girlfriend that you can pick up and put
down like that James. You are discovering the perils of the
“profession”, my Petal.
A Slice of Thai History The Growth of Bangkok: Part Three
by Duncan Stearn
Rapid development 1890-1947
From the 1890s onward, the traditional city expansion
of Bangkok, based on the Chao Phraya River and its attendant canal system,
underwent a marked change with the building of roads.
Despite the number of new canals dug in the half
century prior to 1910, Bangkok slowly began to lose its almost symbiotic
relationship to the water, expanding ever further inland and away from the
Chao Phraya River and its network of canals. Indeed, in the 35 years
between 1890 and 1925, some 135 roads were laid down, thereby seeding the
beginnings of urban sprawl and the growth of suburbs. Of course, the
introduction of trams, bicycles and the automobile slowly but surely
encroached on the former supremacy of water-borne transportation.
In the decade between 1890 and 1900, areas such as
Hualumphong, Bangkapi and Samsen were turned from fields of farms
providing the necessary victuals for the royal capital into commercial,
industrial and residential districts.
The government responded to these rapid changes by
creating the Ministry of the Capital in 1892. This department was charged
with overseeing the development of Bangkok, controlling and regulating
urban construction, road building and maintenance, sanitation, water
supply, street lighting, public markets, the police, pawnshops, public
health and safety.
Another important factor influencing the expansion of
Bangkok was the formation, in 1890, of the Privy Purse Bureau. Many
streets in the capital were laid out in the form of rows of houses, with
the King and members of the Royal family investing via the Privy Purse
Bureau. In 1890, no less than 15 percent of total state revenue was
allocated to the Privy Purse. Because of its unique position, the Privy
Purse was able to obtain land in prime locations at reasonable prices.
Equally, once a section of row houses were constructed,
the Privy Purse (through the auspices of the King) could bring pressure on
the Ministry of Capital to build access roads, thereby enhancing the value
of the new properties. Between 1890 and 1932, the Privy Purse Bureau was
the largest owner of row houses in Bangkok.
Between 1913 and 1929, Bangkok’s population accounted
for around four and a half percent of the nation’s total.
The Great Depression that struck worldwide in the
months and years after the Wall Street Crash of October 1929, followed by
the internal revolution that overthrew the absolute monarchy in Thailand
in June 1932, served to inhibit Bangkok’s rapid growth.
By 1938, the Japanese invasion of Mainland China led to
a significant downturn in the number of Chinese immigrants to Thailand.
The war in China and the Great Depression also drastically reduced the
amount of trade conducted between the two countries, with a corresponding
fall in the demand for labour also affecting migration.
As late as 1940, there was not a single major road
linking the capital with the provinces.
These factors in turn led to Bangkok developing from a
capital city largely reliant upon its port facilities to generate income
and business, to encouraging a more diversified status, fostering the
establishment and expansion of industrial, commercial and financial
enterprises. This in turn made the city a more attractive place for
internal migration, with Thais moving from the provinces in the hope of
finding better jobs and earning more money.
The Second World War (1939-1945) and Thailand’s
alliance with the Japanese led to great hardships in the countryside,
especially after 1943 and continuing until around 1947.
Rice production fell in 1945 and was sluggish in 1946,
with many farmers deserting their lands and seeking better opportunities
in Bangkok and other major centres. Equally, the teak industry was thrown
into disarray by the war, with logging cut in half. Allied bombing of key
industrial sites in Bangkok and other cities also slowed growth and its
effects were still felt some two to three years after the end of
Antiques, are they genuine? Spurious marks
by Apichart Panyadee
marks of Chinese porcelain. On the left is the seal mark of the Emperor
Quianlong (1736-95) but pseudo seal mark on the left was made by Samson of
Paris and is usually found on “Chinese” export ware.
The use of spurious marks was widespread. In England
the Meissen crossed swords mark was copied or parodied by Worcester, Bow,
Longton Hall, Lowestoft and Champion’s Bristol in the 18th century and
by Derby and Minton in the early 19th century. In France the interlaced
“L”s of Sevres and the “VP” monogram of the Marseilles factory
were universally abused for commercial gain. The Meissen crossed swords
were copied by a large number of minor Thuringian factories in the late
famille-verte vases; the smaller one on the right is a genuine example of
Kangxi porcelain, while the larger one on the right is a Samson copy made
The situation as far as the Chinese and Japanese
porcelains are concerned is quite different. Few pieces of Chinese
porcelain or pottery made prior to the 14th century bear reign marks and
those that do should be viewed with suspicion. It was not until the early
15th century that the practice of inscribing the Imperial wares of
Zhing-dezhen with the reign was adopted.
genuine 19th century crossed sword Meissen mark.
There are a small number of pieces with the reign mark
of Yongle (1403-1424). It was during the reign of Xuande (1426-35) that
the number increased dramatically. These marks were usually written in
under glaze blue enclosed within a double circle or more rarely, a double
square. The Japanese almost invariably used only a single circle. Towards
the end of the 15th century we see retrospective marks for the first time,
when a small group of slightly provincial looking wares were given the
mark of Xuande.
famille-rose vase of the Quianlong period (1736-95) decorated in the
Chinese taste of the period. These wares were made for the domestic market
and were not intended for export.
The most common reign mark on Chinese porcelain is
probably that of the Ming Emperor, Chenghua, who reigned between 1465 and
1487, and closely followed by that of Kangxi, who occupied the Dragon
Throne from 1662 through 1722. These six character reign marks usually
appear on the late 19th century blue and white export ware painted with
hawthorn or May Blossom, or with panels of tall elegant ladies (Long
genuine Worcester mug c. 1753.
Another way of writing the reign mark is the use of
stylized characters arranged within a square seal. This is rather like
using capital letters as opposed to normal handwriting and we are
therefore faced with much greater difficulty in ascribing pieces. A
thorough understanding of the idiosyncrasies of each reign mark or seal is
vital for sorting out the right from the wrong. One of the best guides is
the section on marks in Sir Harry Garner’s book titled “Oriental Blue
Social Commentary by Khai Khem
It’s how you play the Game
I recently had a phone call late at night from a young
man standing in a pay phone booth in South Pattaya. No, not a ‘heavy
breather’ but a friend who had just finished his contract working on an
oil and gas facility in the Middle East and had come to Pattaya for a six
month sabbatical. An email gave me his estimated time of arrival and he
landed in Fun City just in time for the Songkran celebrations. By the time
I got the call he’d been in town for two weeks. Not a problem since I
had anticipated delayed contact until he got “settled”, which, in
Pattaya, means got drunk, found a woman, and located a place to live.
How does an intelligent male with a high IQ, a fine
education and a terrific job get into so much trouble in 14 days? He met
one of Pattaya’s nubile nymphs in Walking Street and fell in love,
As he sweltered in the phone booth and told me his tale
of woe, I felt an urge to invite him to our Breakfast Club on Friday
morning where he could share his story with a lot of Old Hands and they
could advise him on how to save his sanity and his bank account. On the
other hand, at the pace he was going he could have been ruined for life by
Friday. He was already on the run and needed a place to hide. His pursuer
was a delicate beauty who probably weighed 45 kilos, but apparently had
the power to reduce my tall, strong friend to an emotional wreck because
he hasn’t been here long enough to know how to play the game.
Poker is a man’s game. It’s simple, basic, and very
macho. A player keeps his emotions to himself and plays by the rules that
are stated right up front. Women play chess. It’s more complicated and
the components are infinite. Thai women play Shibumi, sort of like chess
but the cross-stitched pattern of life is their game board.
My friend thought his new love was innocent and honest
because when he met her she was respectably dressed; no plunging necklines
and micro-mini skirts, no pierced naval and spoke English rather well.
According to her she had lost her job in a factory and had only been in
Pattaya four days. Two lunches and one dinner later she had moved into his
hotel room and although not pricing her services, she was definitely
growing roots in his space. A couple more days passed when she finally
asked for money for her sick father and produced the details of her bank
account. My tender hearted, but brain dead friend gave her cash and then
tried to delicately finish the relationship. In the end he had to have
hotel security remove her from the premises.
The first move on the chessboard is friendly
conversation and a mutual attraction. A total stranger who asks for money
should set alarm bells off and the opponent needs to make a counter-move.
Say “no” and mean it! My friend had stopped off in Paris for a week
before arriving in Pattaya. Had a strange French woman in a cafe asked him
to pay for her father’s cancer operation he would have paid his bill and
left post-haste. On arrival in Pattaya he checked his brains with left
luggage at the airport and acquired an alien mentality he will use only
while in Thailand.
These girls are actresses par excellence and should
really be awarded with Oscars for their performances. Any moves involving
money and bar girls will only reinforce their obnoxious behavior. B. F.
Skinner, the famous behaviorist called this “intermittent
reinforcement”. For example, if you feed your house dog at the table one
or twice, even though he doesn’t get fed every time you eat, he will
patiently wait and drool each time food appears, until he finally wears
you down. Pattaya bar girls, having perfected the same hound-dog look,
will pet, please, cry, laugh or rant on command; whichever produces the
desired affect. The gentleman is not supposed to see this is an act. In
fact, why limit this observation to bar girls? I have had the same
scenario played out in department stores when I changed my mind about
buying an item after the lady finished her pitch!
My friend is now hiding from his girlfriend and wants
to set a time and place to meet her to tell her the relationship is over.
But he doesn’t intend to pay her off. This is a bad move and will open
him to more moves on the board. To mix a few metaphors, I told him to let
this die a natural death without more contact, and disappear from the
radar screen. Bar girls cannot afford a long attention span. Lying low
will force her to find another mark and he’ll soon be off her menu. In
other words, two can play that game.
Roll over Rover: Assessing your dog’s behavior
by C. Schloemer
Read over the following categories to see where your
dog fits in.
1. Do tornado winds start to blow every time you let
your dog loose in your house?
2. Home alone with you, your dog is a gem, but once the
kids get home from school or friends ring the doorbell, her personality
does a 180?
3. Your dog is Little Miss (or Mr.) Perfect, is
mannerly in the home and polite around guests. No problem.
If your dog fits into the first category, you need to
use the teaching lead whenever you are around, either stationing or
leading. Remember that this is not forever, but for the moment your dog
must learn from the bottom up.
Owners with dogs falling into the second category must
practice leading periodically. When at home the owner must get the dog
used to the procedure. Use it full time when you are expecting deliveries,
arrivals of guests, and so forth.
Anyone who has a dog who fits into the third category
should get a round of applause. The rest of us are all jealous. Owners of
Perfect Dogs need not worry about the teaching lead inside, but they might
want to assess their dog’s behavior when off its own property. It may be
handy for obedience and off-lead training.
Those of you who fall into the first or second category
should not worry. Using this technique is better than losing your sanity
or your favorite shoes. It’s much better than confining the animal and
certainly better than giving up! The method is temporary and is
necessarily only until your dog learns to listen to you. It does take a
while to get used to, but remember, to teach your dog anything, you must
be the leader and the boss. Leading your dog communicates this passively.
Where you go, he goes. If directional decisions are to be made, you make
them. The teaching lead will eliminate arguing for control. No fooling
around, no pleading, and the owner will find he is the only decision
If your dog is a household maniac, leading enables you
to keep him with you under control. Instead of your blood pressure going
up when you are correcting the dog, you can use the leading technique to
administer simple corrections quickly and encourage him through loving
attention to adopt a calmer mind set.
Before you start with the teaching lead technique you
must understand how a dog learns and thinks. He thinks his owner is just
another dog. Being a dog, he will need to have a secure place in the
hierarchy. A dog’s place in the pack is determined by behavior. An owner
often relinquishes control by becoming a follower and allowing his dog to
be the leader. Owners with this attitude will need to reverse rolls.
Bowing to your dog’s every need will not induce obedience. You must
decide to be the leader; always. This is the big moment and the decision
is up to you.
The Message In The Moon: Sun in Leo/Moon in Sagittarius
by Anchalee Kaewmanee
No matter how mature, hardworking and responsible these
natives may be, they will always be a child at heart. Open-minded,
fun-loving and enthusiastic, they have a taste for adventure and romance
that will last a lifetime. Depression is almost unknown to these
individuals because they are all so optimistic and active that they have
little time for self-pity or the blues. Individuals born into this
combination always have bright and sunny dispositions and will accumulate
Somewhat na๏ve, the Leo-Sag will never repress a
feeling. Honestly and integrity are the codes for these natives and they
are well-known for their forthright opinions, candor and directness.
Self-assured and courageous they have the confidence to put their
wonderful ideas into action. In fact, action is the word that describes
them best. Others know when these people are around because of all that
moving about. Those rare moments when a Leo-Sag is quiet are the times
when they are planning some new activity or project. Never content to just
sit back and fantasize about excitement, they go out and find it! Seething
with enthusiasm and a profusion of energy, this is not a personality
content to sit in a corner and let life go by.
These individuals will set high goals for themselves
because everything under the sun intrigues them. With so many lands yet to
explore, so many new people to meet, and so many ideas to ponder, it is no
wonder that they often can’t find the time to finish anything.
Controlling their restlessness is a daily challenge. In order for this
combination to be truly creative and constructive, it will be necessary to
focus certain talents and energies on a more narrow range of activities
and involvements. This combo must make sure that the job or whatever is
actually fulfilling that need for excitement and variety. If boredom or
drudgery sets in, this Sun-Moon combination will take flight. However,
once these people have found something that holds their attention they
will stick to it tenaciously.
Since these natives are so uninhibited and unrepressed,
they will not likely have many psychological hang-ups. It is nearly
impossible for them to be dishonest with themselves or with others. Pride
is perhaps one of the only barriers to their emotional fulfillment. All
are born aristocrats, and their bearing is dignified, even though at times
it is also a tiny bit arrogant and patronizing. For a Leo-Sagittarius,
taking a subordinate role is tantamount to oppression. This sign is not
endowed with much patience when it comes to following someone else’s
orders. Independent to an extreme, these natives must be the boss at work
and home. A certain amount of conformity and compliances is necessarily in
everyone’s life, however, so these natives will eventually learn to
humble themselves now and then. Sooner or later they are bound to become
their own boss anyway, since their charm, dynamism and luck will lead them
Sometimes high ideals can cause trouble. So strongly
does this combo believe in loyalty and honor, that at times life will heap
confusion on these naive souls when they discover that others are less
scrupulous. Those closest to the Leo-Sag will probably tell them they are
too trusting and that it is fine to trust others as long as a little
discrimination is practiced. This is good advice. The world is full of
people who will never measure up to the high standards of the Leo-Sag and
they may as well learn it and the sooner the better.
As a friend or lover, these natives are generous,
forgiving and sympathetic. They place as high a premium in loyalty in
their love life as they do one everything else. Dyed-in-the-wool
romantics, one and all, they are in love with love. Adventure seekers are
likely to have many intense and passionate affairs. They may all be
short-lived because of that drive for variety and excitement. To settle
down with one person for very long is not easy for these natives.
Coins of the Realm: Thai banknotes 100 years
by Jan Olav Aamlid
President - House of the Golden Coin (http://www.thaicoins.com)
The first International Association for coin-dealers
was founded more than 50 years ago; the Constituting Congress for
International Association of Professional Numismatists (IAPN) took place
in Geneva in 1951. Twenty-eight founding members were present.
logo of the IAPN
Today there are 115 numismatic firms in membership,
situated in twenty-three countries on all five continents. The General
Assembly is the supreme organ of the Association, and this is convened
annually in different countries.
The 50th General Assembly was held in Rome last year.
In 1983, the Assembly took place in Singapore, and for the second time it
will take place in Southeast Asia, this time in Bangkok from May 17 to 22.
It is expected around 60 participants will take part, and about 25 will
also join the post congress tour to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
During their stay in Thailand, several meetings will
take place. One very important committee, founded in 1975 by the IAPN, is
the International Bureau for the Suppression of Counterfeit Coins.
Counterfeiting coins has been an ongoing problem almost from the first
time coins started circulating. There are two kinds of counterfeit coins,
the ones made to be used in normal circulation and the ones made to cheat
The ones made for the intention of being used in normal
circulation are normally dealt with by the different governments. Today it
seems like counterfeit banknotes are a bigger problem than counterfeit
coins. Many try to compete with their government using scans and printers
at home, but when caught, they usually end up behind bars for years.
Older coins are often not legal tender any more, and
come under different laws than counterfeiting legal tender coins. Older
coins are made to cheat collectors and often sold for far more than the
metal and face value, and IAPN have for years been fighting this crime,
working closely with mints, police forces, museums, collectors and
dealers. Coins can be sent to the IAPN, and if the coin is genuine a
certificate will be issued for a fee. The IAPN publishes both a
half-yearly bulletin on counterfeits and specialized reports on
Since 1982, in order to encourage the publication of
books of scientific and general interest, the IAPN has been giving an
honorific prize for the best numismatic publication of the year.
The prize consists of a medal, a diploma and a monetary
award. Books suitable for the prize must be submitted to the president of
the publication committee 90 days before the General Assembly of the IAPN.
A few of the books awarded the IAPN Book Prize are:
“Gold Coins of the World from Ancient Times to the Present” by R.
Friedberg, “Greek Imperial Coins” by D. Sear and “Money a History
& The Story of Money” published by the British Museum.
The IAPN have published several books about
numismatics, the first in 1959. From 1985 till 1995 four volumes called
“A Survey of Numismatic Research” were published with funds from the
The members of the IAPN guarantee the authenticity of
all coins and medals they sell - this is a condition of membership - so
collectors may purchase numismatic material from any IAPN dealer with the
knowledge that any item that proves to be counterfeit can be returned. The
purchase price will be refunded, without regard to date of purchase.
During the IAPN General Assembly the members have been
invited to visit the Bank of Thailand Museum, and The Treasury Department
have extended an invitation to visit The Coin, Medal and Decoration
Exhibit at the Grand Palace. The Royal Thai Mint has struck a special
medal for the IAPN. A presentation of the medal will be made in this
column next week.
Animal Crackers: What’s with Magpies?
by Mirin E. McCarthy
Magpies, the long legged back and white songsters, are
infamous both in the U.K and Australia. These birds are renowned for
puncturing the caps on milk bottles and drinking the cream in jolly old
England, and in Australia have a scary rap for chasing small boys and
Magpies are black and white birds, which are almost as
big as crows but with little longer legs and far more musical voices.
Apparently Australian and English magpies are not close cousins although
they have similar feathering. The Australian bird has a much shorter tail.
These birds are social and territorial. They live in
groups or tribes of anything from six to twenty birds, with territories in
good country covering a range of about 40 hectares. Frequently there are
an even number of males and females in the group with twice as many young.
The juvenile magpies, although the same size as the parents, can be easily
distinguished when they forage around suburban lawns for the odd worm, as
they are brown and white not black and white like their parents.
In the breeding season the female does all the nest
building, incubation, and most of the chick feeding. Magpie nests are
usually high in trees, bulky structures of sticks lined with grass.
An intruder into the group can easily be recognized as
they fly high and fast and silently. Occasionally a juvenile magpie not
well taught on territorial boundaries will wander into a danger zone. They
are immediately mobbed by the group and may escape to fly away and sing
again another day, but sometimes they are killed.
Boys will be boys and younger versions are generally
more obnoxious than their sisters, and often take great delight in
flinging stones at birds and robbing nests of eggs.
Magpies have their revenge, being rather intelligent
and observant birds they have come to appreciate the ways of potential
juvenile delinquents over the years. They defend their nests very
aggressively in season and will dive bomb passers-by, even drawing blood.
Remarkably they frequently target the male of the human species,
especially poor unfortunate postmen in Australia. They have been seen to
aerial bombard mailmen, even buzzing them down streets and through traffic
lights. Unfortunately, in some areas where magpies have been generally
persecuted they do not make such a fine distinction, with all birds, male,
female and young taking part in vigorous attacks on human intruders,
regardless of shape, size or sex.
In the dry season they will strut around suburban lawns
foraging for the odd juicy worm, beetle or grasshopper. They are not at
all afraid of domestic cats and usually display the attitude of, “Come
on, make my day.” Meat eaters, they will come readily to the hand for
mincemeat or strips of beef, even cheese, in dry times.
Magpies are classified as protected wildlife in
Australia; however, if you are fortunate to raise an orphan magpie or two
for pets then you are in for a delight. Young magpies love playing games
such as “tug of war” and “chasey “ and “feigning dead.” It is
impossible to release them into wild though, even into the surrounding
garden because they will certainly not be accepted but rather killed by
the rightful owners of the ‘space’.
Apparently the defensive territorial nature of these
birds appeals to male sportsmen worldwide, with many a football team
adopting the name “Magpies”. With the black and white plumage
certainly making it easier on team colours too.