Family Money: Short-term versus long-term
Managing director of Westminster Portfolio Services (Thailand) Ltd.
Some people say to me, “I don’t like long-term
savings plans.” To me, as a professional financial advisor, that’s the
same as saying, “I don’t plan to live very long.”
I’m not suggesting that everyone should make a
commitment to pay $X every month for the rest of their working life - just
that long-term savings plans have their place in any sensibly thought-out
financial planning program. And it can be an important one.
For example, making provision for a comfortable
retirement should be high on the list of priorities in your personal
financial planning. (It rarely is - but that’s another story!)
For most people, a long-term savings plan is probably
the most appropriate vehicle to build up a retirement fund.
Noadays, there are many different such plans on the
market and most have a high degree of flexibility built into them. This
allows for reducing or suspending contributions during a period of changed
circumstances such as short-term redundancy, relocation, prolonged ill
health, and so on.
Most such plans also allow for regular or ad hoc
increases to contributions, to help combat inflation and keep pace with
your upward mobility.
Some people criticise the charges associated with
long-term savings plans. They complain that the initial charges that many
such plans carry (sometimes called “front-end loading”) are too high,
and erode the growth in the early years. And if they wanted to cash up the
plan after only two or three years, they might not even get back as much
as they’d put into it.
Well, that’s possibly true. But long-term savings
plans are not designed to be short-term ones: they are specifically
designed for the long-term saver. Most long-term plans are highly
cost-effective if carried through to maturity.
In fact, to the best of my knowledge, the most
cost-effective longer-term savings plan on the market does not have a
front-end loaded charging structure, but a back-loaded one.
What this means in layman’s terms is simply that the
plan is extremely cost-effective provided you keep it going for as long as
it was intended to run, but can be comparatively “expensive” if you
decide to stop it early and incur the associated quite heavy
But frankly speaking, nobody should commit to a
long-term savings plan who intends to contribute into it for only two or
three years. They’d almost certainly be better off with one of the many
excellent short-term or open-ended plans that are available nowadays.
Nonetheless, for serious long-term financial planning,
one or another of the long-term savings plans from one or another of the
major international institutions is, in my opinion, still the best way to
For people who are earning high incomes on short-term
employment contracts - who are generally earning far more than they’re
spending, but perhaps don’t know what the future will hold for them just
a few short years down the road, but in the meantime want their excess
income to be working hard for them - a flexible short-term savings plan is
probably the best solution.
Nowadays there are various highly flexible and
cost-effective short-term plans on the market. Most can be stopped at any
time without suffering any penalty for doing so, and suitable ones are
available for every budget - for those who want to save comparatively
modest amounts, or to accommodate quite substantial contributions. The
charging structure and bonuses offered with these plans reflects the level
of input and/or the period of contribution.
Better than the Bank?
Both short- and long-term savings plans access a range
of funds which can be chosen to meet individual risk-profiles and
preferences. Adjusting the portfolio (“switching” funds) in line with
changing market conditions can usually be done at any time, and at either
little or no cost (depending on the plan’s terms & conditions.) Such
funds access the world’s stock markets, bond markets - even the
commodities & futures markets.
While tending to be more volatile than cash in the
bank, over time stocks have consistently outperformed bonds, which have
outperformed cash. Cash in the bank rarely even keeps pace with inflation.
In real terms, your cash deposits are earning negative interest.
Also, cash is subject to fluctuating exchange rates,
which can seriously erode your capital if it’s not in the currency
you’ll be spending. (And even then, if the currency is devalued against
hard currencies used to pay for local imports.)
Short, Long or Both?
Whether a short-term or long-term savings plan is the
most appropriate vehicle for any individual is subject to many variables,
and needs to be discussed with your financial advisor (if you have one),
who would take into consideration your own particular needs and
circumstances before making any recommendations.
In some cases, both a short- and a long-term savings
plan are the most suitable. For example, a long-term one for your pension
fund, a medium-term one for the children’s education fund or paying off
the mortgage, and a short-term one for other purposes, or just to
accommodate anything left over.
Both the short-term and the long-term savings plan have their proper
place in a sound financial planning program. And personal financial
planning is something that everyone should take seriously. As someone once
wisely said, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”
Snap Shot: Portraiture made simple
by Harry Flashman
Study the photographs with this week’s article. The
originals were done in Black and White and were done in one quick sitting
in my studio some years ago. These portraits are notable for many reasons,
not the least of which was this stunning African girl who just came in and
asked if I would take her picture.
skin was very dark, almost black and I decided it was an opportunity to go
for something that would really stand out as far as a portrait was
concerned. That was what gave me the idea of photographing a black girl
against a black background. It is too easy to imagine shooting a dark
skinned person against a contrasting white background, but how would I go
with the same coloured background as the sitter?
answer, as with all things photographic, lies with remembering just what
photography is all about - “painting with light.” To bring this girl
out from the self coloured background should be done with the light
itself. This meant I needed total control over the light that was going to
be used in this portrait, and the first item to attend to is bounced
light. The last thing you need is light bouncing all over the place and
giving you illumination where you do not want it.
The solution to this is called black velvet. Any pro
shooter will have several metres of black velvet on the shelf. I hung one
length of material behind her head as the background and placed the other
two one either side of her face, about one metre away. She was now in a
non-reflecting black three sided box.
Now it was time to direct the lighting. For the first
shot (photograph on the left) I placed two lights at 45 degrees to the
axis of the camera to sitter, facing forwards, not back. The lights were
about a metre behind her head to each side. This way the lights gave her
hair a bright halo, which automatically “lifted” her away from the
black velvet background.
However, I still had to light her face, but this was
where I got crafty. I did not want the frontal lighting to overpower the
lighting coming from behind, so the way I did this was easy. I did not use
a front light - I used a reflector! Light that was streaming around the
girl from behind her was then reflected back into her face. You always
lose light intensity doing this, so the front light would not be brighter
than the back lights. A 2 metre square white reflector was placed beside
me to my right, to angle some light back into her face. The black velvet
also took care of any “bounced” light, so my lighting was “pure”.
After taking a few shots with that lighting I decided
to experiment even further. I turned off one of the back lights and
allowed her hair on that side to melt into the black background, but the
other light was left to make the halo on the other side, and partially
illuminate her face. The same reflector was used to throw some light back
into her face and we popped off a few more frames, getting her to change
the angle of her head and facial expressions between each one.
While the first lighting arrangement was very pleasing,
for me, the second single source lighting was even better. Don’t you
agree? There is a sense of mystery as the side of her face and hair blends
into the dark background, contrasting with the bright rim lighting on the
other side of her face. The reflected big catch-lights in her dark, dark
eyes just completes the picture.
So there was a portrait done with one light and a white
reflector plus a couple of bolts of black velvet. You can do this simply
at home too and some of the local girls would look stunning photographed
in this way.
Modern Medicine: The Hewers of Stone and the Drawers of Water
by Dr Iain Corness, Consultant
I attended an interesting seminar at the
Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital a couple of weeks ago. Given by one of their
specialist Urologists, Dr. Wanchai Nairakseree, it was on the topic of
prostate cancer, one of the important diseases of mankind. That’s right,
mankind, you women do not have a prostate. You should think yourselves
lucky. Prostatic cancer is not the way I would wish to shuffle off this
In the medical trade, urologists are known as the
hewers of stone and the drawers of water. The rationale behind this is
simple. Much of their work is involved with fishing stones out of kidneys,
ureters and bladders, or opening up the tube from the bladder to the
outside to allow you to have an unrestricted pee again! Ahh! That’s
Cancer of the prostate gland is very common in the
Western world, with 30% of all males over 50 showing microscopic elements
of prostatic cancer. This does not mean that 30% of men are going to
progress to full blown cancer - but the “start” is there. Sobering
Another interesting fact is that Western males have a
much higher incidence than those from South East Asia. Even more
interesting is that if you then look at the male offspring of S.E. Asian
immigrants to America, they have four times the incidence of prostatic
cancer, compared to those S.E. Asian males that remained in their own
country. This would appear to show that environment is more important than
genetic inheritance, and one important part of environment is diet.
Looking further into the diet side of things, there has
been shown to be a strong association between high dietary fat and
prostatic cancer. The next step in the research was to examine laboratory
mice with prostate cancer, feeding them diets with known levels of fat.
The results were that with diets less than 21% fat there was regression of
the tumours. The mice were thrilled!
Another dietary ingredient is called Phytoestrogen,
present in grains, fruit, legumes, soy beans and vegetables. Soy is much
more prevalent in the Japanese diet than in the Western. Some research has
been done to compare the incidence of prostatic cancer between Japanese
men and Finnish men, each taking their own “national” diets. Result?
Prostatic cancer is much more common in Finnish men.
Also examined have been some of the “alternative”
therapies such as Saw palmetto, stinging nettle root and shark cartilage.
There was no reliable scientific evidence to show that any of them had any
role in prostate cancer prevention or treatment - despite what the
“Health Food” shops would say. Even Vitamin E and tomato sauce have
So what should you males do? Undoubtedly there is merit
in looking at a more “Asian” diet than the Western one. Decreasing fat
intake will certainly help. Vitamin E - easily added with a capsule a day.
Tomato sauce? Don’t think I’d get too excited about it at this stage.
The problem with tomato sauce is that one tends to have it with high fat
foods like hamburgers and chips, though taken with pizza should be fine.
However, the most important thing for all males over 50
is to have an annual check-up, including a prostate check. The queue forms
on the right!
Women’s World: You don’t have to have sex to cheat
by Lesley Warner
Last week I wrote briefly about the pain of finishing a
relationship. This week I have looked at some of the possible causes. This
article relates to men and women, and the causes can be the same for both.
I found this quote by Gary Neuman, author of Emotional
Infidelity, a little unnerving but it certainly makes you think.
Is having lunch with a friend of the opposite sex
betraying your spouse? What about telling jokes to co-workers before
sharing them at home? “If you’re doing any of these things, you’re
being emotionally unfaithful,” says Gary Neuman. “You’re effectively
relocating vital marital energy into the hands of others. Forget about
where it might end up. Even if you never touch this other person, you have
still used another person to relate to, and in doing so, you relate away
from your spouse.”
We all know that sex outside the marriage is one of the
gravest blows to a marriage as well as a painful rejection for one
partner. But according to Neuman’s book you do not have to have sex with
anyone else to be unfaithful. Emotional infidelity is just as, and at
times even more, destructive to your marriage.
According to Neuman, either sex having a casual
relationship outside their marriage is depriving their spouse of essential
energy. If you spend time laughing and talking with friends or colleagues
and have nothing to say to your spouse you could be in trouble.
Do you go out alone to lunch or after work for drinks
with members of the opposite sex? Who do you discuss your problems with,
whether they are to do with your work or private life? Do you enjoy a
harmless (by your definition) flirtation with someone of the opposite sex?
Do you give someone of the opposite sex a lift to work every day and look
forward to your morning chats in the car? Or maybe you enjoy a lift home,
chatting over the day’s events? Do you talk about your spouse with
someone of the opposite sex?
Neuman is a counsellor; he maintains that using
emotional energy outside the marriage is being unfaithful and can
seriously damage your relationship. He says it has been proven to him time
and again when counselling couples. Neuman says the answer is, if you can
establish the problem quickly enough and channel all your energies into
your marriage you can save it. Maybe that is what is meant by quality time
to spend together.
Signs to look for: when your spouse does not come
straight home from work or there is no invitation for you to join the
‘works do’ even though you participated in previous years. Suddenly
you find you are no longer eating together, your spouse has already eaten,
with whom? There are no more cosy chats over the breakfast table or curled
up on the sofa. In fact there is little conversation at all. Ask yourself
what do we talk about?
I am not sure that I totally agree with Neuman’s
theories but I do feel that if a person spends all their energy discussing
their problems with a friend or colleague they no longer feel like
discussing it again when they get home. I know that when a couple stop
talking it is the beginning of the end!
Statistics say that the highest percentage of
infidelity is between colleagues, friends and family. So what is the
answer? Are we never to speak to a member of the opposite sex once we are
in a serious relationship? It has to be balancing and prioritising, any
intimate and personal discussions should be saved for your spouse. Do not
exhaust your energies on your colleagues and friends so that you arrive
home too tired to talk. Even if you never touch this other person, you
have still used that person to relate to, and in doing so, you relate away
from your spouse.
I am sure that after reading this everyone will feel
unfaithful to his or her spouse. But remember, you are only unfaithful
when you do not include him or her in your times of trouble or happiness.
All discussions on intimate or important issues should be reserved for
Heart to Heart with Hillary
This is a real question for you about a real problem.
Back in the old country you could always find a tradesman to do odd jobs -
fixing the toilet cistern, replacing electrical fittings and the like.
These problems happen here too, but where are the tradesmen? I have tried
a couple that have been recommended by my maid - but frankly I do not
think they were real tradesmen as the job was at best slip-shod. Hillary
have you any advice for me?
There is an answer to your problems, and it lies
within the pages pf the Pattaya Mail. There are building companies
who advertise in there and what you have to do is to contact them and ask
for a client list and ring the people who have used the company’s
services. This way you will get a first hand and unbiased opinion. If a
company will not give you contact details for their customers, then move
on to the next one. Some of the better established real estate companies
also have some service providers, so you can try there too. Lots of luck,
The other night I got “knocked back” by a girl in a
bar. It shocked me so much that I haven’t been able to tell my mates
that it happened. It is the first time I have ever heard of this
happening, and I wonder have you heard of it? I am a reasonable chap, mid
40’s and only a little overweight, not mean and I wasn’t drunk. What
do you think was the reason?
Dear Jilted John,
There are plenty of reasons this can happen, Petal.
Perhaps someone else had already asked her out. Perhaps she was not
feeling well. Perhaps she was waiting for her “boyfriend England” -
there are so many reasons. Why don’t you just ask her again and if she
says “No” then ask her why. I am sure she would tell you. And when all
else fails there’s always more of the same out there. If you receive
several knock-backs, then please contact me again!
Having just recently arrived in Thailand, I have had
the “fun” of setting up another complete home. This has meant buying
appliances, which is almost the subject of another Dear Hillary letter -
how some of these supermarkets sell anything is almost beyond me. The
problem today is that when you get your new appliance home, the
instruction manual is in Thai. Totally in Thai with no English at all.
Surely the manufacturers realise it is the English speaking section of
Thailand that buys these things. The microwave I have just bought is
unintelligible without the instruction book and I can’t use it! Where do
I get English instruction books?
Dear Appliance Andy,
Hillary is unsure of how to take your letter, Petal.
Do you think that only the English speaking community buys microwaves? Let
me assure you that Thais do as well, and guess what? In this country Thais
outnumber farangs hundreds to one. So the fact that a locally made
electrical appliance has its instruction manual in the local lingo should
come as no surprise. You will also find that the instruction books are not
in French, German, Dutch or Swahili. If you want English manuals - go back
to England. Some days you people make me totally amazed.
We turn to your column every week just to see what
silly questions you have been asked, and your replies (which are sometimes
even sillier). We notice that sometimes you are really bitchy. Is there
some reason for this or are you just naturally bitchy?
The boys from Bognor
Any bitchiness you perceive is from having to put up
with letters like yours filling my pigeon hole at the office. Either that
or it is that time of the week - Thursday and the editor is shouting at me
to finish my column. Sweetness and light to you all. Blaaaahhhhh!
My girlfriend’s family has just “moved in” with
us from Khorat. Now I have Mama and Papa, two other sisters and three kids
as well as Noy and our kid. That makes ten people in our small bungalow.
They may be used to living like this, but I am not. What should I do?
If you do not want to live “Thai style” that is
fine, but did you tell Noy about this beforehand? No, you probably just
kept quiet and hoped it would never happen. It would have been better to
get this out in the open first. However, now you have this situation you
must face it. Tell Noy that you cannot live like this, with 10 people
cramped in the living quarters. You have to save her face in front of the
family too, so put a time limit on it and say they will have to leave by
the end of the month because your parents and family will be staying for a
while. You will have to be firm. This will not be a fun scene, Jack.
A Slice of Thai History: The Growth of Bangkok: Part Four
by Duncan Stearn
Capital city to megalopolis 1947-1990
In most countries, the differential between urban and
rural wages is quite pronounced, and this was - and is - certainly the
case in Thailand. In May 1947, the government imposed an immigration
restriction on Chinese migrants, permitting a pitiful 200 arrivals a year.
This restriction tended to force wages to rise in Bangkok as cheaper
labour became harder to find. This, in turn, made Bangkok an enticing
place to work for those looking to increase their income.
The victory of the Communist Chinese forces of Mao
Zedong (Mao Tse Tung) over Chiang Kai Shek in 1949 saw a corresponding
fall in the amount of money sent by Chinese migrants in Thailand to
relatives in mainland China. This, in turn, led to the Chinese expats
turning their attention and their finances inward and resulted in them
forging long-term investments in Thailand.
By 1950, Bangkok numbered some one million inhabitants.
Chiang Mai, the second-largest city in the country, had a population of
some 50,000 people. The capital has grown at a rate at least twice the
national average since 1950. Urbanisation grew to such an extent that by
1959, the bicycle pedicab, a reminder of a by-gone age, disappeared from
the streets of the central areas of the city.
In 1950, Thailand had only 6,000 kilometres of national
highways, with a mere 800 kilometres paved. By 1966 this had increased to
just over 11,000 kilometres, half of it paved. The improvement in the
roads led to the rise of bus services from the provinces to the capital,
thereby aiding the migration of the rural population into Bangkok.
It was during the 1950s that wages in Bangkok began to
significantly outstrip those in the rural regions, thus making a move to
the city more attractive.
The downside of this influx to the great megalopolis
was the rise of the urban slum. This was especially noticeable during the
1960s and continues to be a significant factor today. This growth in slums
was paralleled by the building and extension of major highways linking the
countryside to the capital as well as the spread of television and radio.
This encouraged rural dwellers to make the move into the bright lights of
the city; a phenomenon experienced by every major capital in almost every
country in the world.
The Second Indochina War, better known as the Vietnam
War (1965-1973), saw an interesting economic phenomena with the large
numbers of American servicemen and women who were either based in Thailand
or came here on leave, spending the equivalent of 30-40 percent of total
By 1975, people working in the capital were on average
earning twice that of any other region in the country, while during the
1980s Bangkok accounted for some thirty percent of GNP.
In 1986, the export of manufactured goods exceeded that
of agricultural products for the first time in Thai economic history. It
was also in this decade that tourism became the number one export earner
for the nation.
Between 1960 and 1990, industrial production grew at
around 12-13 percent annually, compared with agricultural productivity
that increased at a mere three percent on an annual basis. In 1951,
agriculture accounted for slightly more than 50 percent of Gross Domestic
Product. This had dropped to just over 12 percent by 1990. Manufacturing,
which contributed just 10 percent in 1951 had grown to slightly over 39
percent of GDP by 1990, most of it concentrated in and around Bangkok. It
was this labour-intensive sector of the economy, providing a cheap
workforce for manufacturers that saw the population of the capital
increase to nearly seven million by 1990.
Bits ‘n’ Babs
We are pleased to welcome back Tippler to the
PM Team with his new Bits ‘n’ Bobs column. Tippler will give you
a light-hearted insight into day to day life in our Fun City by the
sea from the expat perspective as he shares odd snippets of gossip
and personal anecdotes. Feel free to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you have something you would like to share.
PNG for a holiday
I have never been to Papua New Guinea, but if the
Aussie’s floated it off from their shores then that is not much of
a recommendation. I am actually referring to the ‘PNG’ for which
Pattaya has become known in recent years, particularly during the
last crackdown before the appointment of the Grim Reaper. In this
case, PNG stands for persona non grata. I hear from reliable
sources of an imminent purge on ‘undesirable’ farang in our fair
city. Last time when the likes of ‘Elvis’ were ‘invited’ to
leave the ‘building’, lists of those who had not yet been picked
up were leaked. Not so this time. It will be interesting to see how
certain bars in Pattaya fare without their low-life regulars...
Dual pricing alive
I bought some take-away kao pat gai from a street
vendor near my home. Whenever my maid buys from there, it costs
twenty baht but I was charged forty baht. I queried the price and
the old hag sneeringly said, “You farang!” I had lost my spare
key and stopped off to get one made. They wanted 200 baht which
seemed way over the top so I did not bother. I sent my maid off to
the same place later. The price? Fifty baht.
According to a UK tabloid newspaper, some 100
plus UK football hooligans are due to arrive in our fair city, en
route to the World Cup finals in Japan. They are going via Thailand
in the hope of evading the attentions of the UK authorities as many
are banned from attending England soccer matches abroad. These so
called ‘fans’ are nothing more than violent, moronic thugs. They
are a disgrace to genuine British football supporters and I
sincerely hope their mission fails.
Top ten ways to get
beaten up in Pattaya
10. Take the Mickey out of bar girls making their daily
offerings to Buddha.
9. Use Thai swear words against a Thai male.
8. Step into a Thai Boxing ring ‘for a laugh’.
7. Ask a drunken 6’4" German: “Who came second
in 1918, 1945 and 1966?”
6. Pocket some bar slips when you think no one is
5. Turn off the TV in a bar when the World Cup is on.
4. Poke a baht bus driver in the chest when disputing
3. Give a Thai driver the finger and then get stuck at
the next traffic lights.
2. Tell a UK football thug that David Beckham is gay.
1. Wear an ‘I Love Bin Laden’ T-shirt when the US
Marines are in town.
Maid in Thailand
Mad Max, my lunatic neighbour has had maid problems
since I had the misfortune for him to move in next-door. He has been
arrested for non-payment of a maid’s salary three times to my knowledge,
costing him 10,000 baht each time. About a month or so ago, all hell broke
loose. Mad Max was bellowing at the top of his voice in Pidgin English at
his maid. She could only speak Khmer, her Thai being worse than mine if
that is possible. The mighty mad one then threw her out on the street with
her worldly possessions contained in a Lotus-Tesco carrier bag. She was
also owed one month’s salary. The next day a pick-up truck pulled up
outside. Out jumped two rather unsavoury-looking local men: had I been
unsure of their names, I would have automatically called them ‘Sir’.
There was one woman in the delegation, clearly the ‘boss’. She had
most probably been refused a ‘Mamasan Licence’ on the grounds of being
the ultimate of hard-nosed stalking the planet. When the exchange started,
the air was blue. Mad Max was at his diplomatic best: ‘I not pay monkey
you one baht more! She lazy buffalo want only eat, sleep and steal money
me!’ The rally of harsh words came to an abrupt end with an ear-piercing
squeal and a thud. The swarm of moths that darkened the sky clearly
indicated that Mad Max had paid his account in full. Max’s voice remains
an octave higher than normal...
Practical Thai Law: Social
Security / Workmen’s Compensation Funds, what are they?
by Premprecha Dibbayawan - MCL Miami University, Chairman - International Swiss Siam Co., Ltd.
Even though the Workmen’s Compensation Act was first
annexed in 1972 and the Social Security Act came into force in 1990, many
were not aware of the two acts until recently when it was announced that
the Social Security Act requires that any enterprise with at least one
employee must contribute to the Social Security Fund starting from April
Workmen’s Compensation Fund
The first Workmen’s Compensation Act came into force
upon the Announcement of the National Executive Council No. 103 in 1972
and was replaced by the Workmen’s Compensation Act B.E. 2537 (1994). The
purpose of the act is to prescribe the employer’s liability when
employees are injured, become sick or disabled or die from work-related
incidents. Therefore, this fund has to do with employment and injury
derived from employment only.
An employer who employs more than 10 people must
contribute to the Workmen’s Compensation Fund and shall continue to
contribute even after its workforce is subsequently reduced to less than
10 persons. An employee has no obligation to contribute to the fund. The
amount of contribution depends on the nature of the work, the scale of
which is published by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, and which
shall not exceed 5% of the total salary of all employees. Presently the
scales of contribution are less than 1%. The contributions are made
annually. The employer must register as a contributor to the fund within
30 days from the date it employs 10 employees. The registrar for the fund
is the same as the registrar for the Social Security Fund. For the
Chonburi region, the Social Security Office is located at 101/10 Moo 1,
Sukhumvit Road, Tambol Samet, Chonburi 20000.
When an employee is injured or sick, the employer must
pay for medical treatment on the actual cost basis but not exceeding
35,000 baht. If the injury or sickness of the employee is severe and
35,000 baht does not cover the medical costs, the employer shall pay an
additional 50,000 baht but total payments shall not exceed 85,000 baht.
The employer shall then be entitled to claim for reimbursement of payment
from the Social Security Office (SSO).
In addition to the medical costs, if the employee is
not capable of working he will receive a cash benefit of 60% of his
monthly wages with a minimum of 2,000 baht and a maximum of 9,000 baht per
month for a period of one year.
If the employee loses any organs, similar benefits will
be received depending on the seriousness of the loss, and the duration of
the benefits are various. In the case of permanent disablement, the
maximum period of compensation is 15 years.
If the employee dies (or proven to have disappeared)
the allowance for a funeral is 100 times the announced minimum wage
(presently 168 baht - so the funeral allowance is 16,800 baht). The
survivors of the deceased shall receive 60% of the wages for 8 years.
Social Security Fund
The Security Fund, although mainly involving
employer/employee relations, has nothing to do with work related sickness.
The Social Security Act came into force on September 2, 1990 to cover
enterprises with 20 or more employees. It extended the coverage to
enterprises with 10 or more employees on September 2, 1993 and then from
April 2002 the coverage was extended to enterprises with one employee or
Employees who are not covered by the Social Security
Act are: (1) Government officials and regular employees of the central
administration, provincial administration and local administration except
temporary employees; (2) Employees of foreign governments or international
organizations; (3) Employees whose employer’s offices are in Thailand
but are stationed abroad; (4) Teachers or headmasters of private schools
under the Private School Law; (5) Employee of state enterprises; (6)
Employees in the agricultural, fisheries, forestry and livestock sectors
that do not hire employees all the year and; (7) Domestic workers of a non
The fund shall be contributed to by employers and
insured employees at the rate of 3% of wage to cover six types of
benefits. The government will contribute one part. The employer shall
deduct wages of the insured person and pay contributions of both parts by
the 15th day of the following month at the local Social Security Office.
Employers must register for the Social Security Fund within 30 days after
the number of persons employed reaches 10 in number (originally) now all
before 30 April 2002 for existing employers before that date.
Any employer who intentionally does not submit the form
to provide name lists of insured persons, wages or any data required to
the SSO within 30 days or does not notify any changes or additional
information to the SSO within 15 days of the following month shall be
liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not
exceeding 20,000 baht or both.
Next week: The benefits of insured persons
Antiques, are they genuine? Methods of dating
by Apichart Panyadee
Every piece of pottery and porcelain possesses certain
characteristics which identify it or relate to a particular group or type.
These groups or types have been located and identified by various methods,
and each grouping is based on an accumulation of evidence garnered from
copy of a Chenghua Doucai “chicken” cup made during he Kangxi period
(1662-1722). The Emperor encouraged not only the development of new glazes
but also the revival of the classic wares of the Song and Ming Dynasties.
In the first place, crucial archeological evidence has
been produced by excavations of the Imperial Chinese tombs. Certainly
until the early Ming Dynasty most artifacts discovered in the burial
chamber were more or less contemporary with the emperor’s reigns. We
have also gained much in recent years from marine archeology; for example,
from the expedition in 1976 to excavate the wreck of the Dutch East
Indiaman, the Witte Leeuw, which sank on June 3rd 1614 after her powder
magazine exploded during an engagement with a Portuguese carrack off the
island of St Helena. Among the cargo of this vessel was a consignment of
contemporary Chinese export porcelain, or kraakporselein, as it has been
termed since. As this type of porcelain is never marked; the haul gave us
an invaluable key to dating.
late 14th century dish decorated in an underglaze copper red. The
reddishness of the unglazed portion of the dish is characteristic of early
Ming porcelain. Quing wares (from the late 17th century onwards) are
generally white or gray, but if they do oxidize a little, it will be to a
brown or honey color rather than a strong russet.
Many examples of similar kraakporselein and of the
“Transitional” family are found in Old Dutch still-life paintings.
This again helps with dating. Another important source is factory records
listing what they manufactured and sold, such as those of Meissen, Sevres
and Chelsea. Contemporary accounts of visits to factories are for the most
part too vague to be of much use in identifying exact forms or objects,
but they can give an insight into conditions or current fashion. The visit
to the manufactory at St Cloud by Martin Lister, court physician to
William III, gives an account of the earliest French porcelain and a
comparison with the Chinese variety. Reign marks on Chinese porcelain
should be treated with caution since ninety percent are purely
Ming “chicken” cup of the Chenghua period (1465-87) painted in Doucai
enamels. These are very rare cups and are regarded by many as the finest
wards produced during the Ming Dynasty.
Inscriptions on ceramics can often provide confirmation
of origin and date, although it is wise to remember that the celebrated
Percival David Foundation vases had both date and locality. These were
presented to the temple at Hu-Quing-I just over 100 kilometers (60 miles)
from their place of manufacture, Zhingdezhen, but before World War II they
were considered to be wrong on the grounds of their complexity and
sophistication. Now, however, they are accepted for what they are, namely:
the earliest and most important specimens of Chinese blue and white.
late Ming Wucai saucer dish of the Wanli eriod (1573-1620). Wucai
translates as “five color”.
Another good example of the difficulty of accurately
dating Chinese porcelain is the Ming Wucai made during the Wanli period
(1573-1620). Wucai translates as “five color”. It is a bold palette
which uses underglaze blue and several (but not necessarily five) other
colors. The designs are generally more loosely drawn and more
sophisticated than those executed in the Doucai palette. Wucai evolved in
the late 17th century into the “famille-verte” palette, in which
overglaze blue was used instead of underglaze blue. Sometime the collector
will find a very good copy but authentic reign marks must be thoroughly
examined. The greatest difficulty in identification is often found with
the simplest types of unglazed pottery and porcelain about which we will
Personal Directions: Enthusiasm Doesn’t Cost A Penny
by Christina Dodd, founder and managing director
of Incorp Training Associates
Everyday it never ceases to amaze me that my two
Dalmatian pups can be filled with such boundless energy and enthusiasm
when they see me first thing in the morning - or any time of day for that
matter. It’s a simple action that can brighten the dullest moment and
bring smiles and laughter in an instant. I’m sure you’ve had a similar
experience and can understand how good it makes you feel.
So it prompts me to ask the question - why can’t
humans show the same amount of enthusiasm? Why can’t we start our day
the same way!
Already I can hear the many answers as to “why we
can’t” floating through the airwaves - we are always quick to put up
defenses and to immediately announce the negative issues of a subject
rather than the positive ones like - we’re human beings with a different
kind of intelligence! We live in the real world with real problems! Our
lives are far more complicated and so on and so forth...
A lot of this is very true and one can’t argue with
the fact, but does it mean that we should be locked into a state of misery
where we can’t exhibit the basic emotions we have been endowed with to
bring pleasure and happiness to others around us? Should we be engrossed
only in “living our problems” as opposed to “living our lives”?
As we get older in years we seem to lose touch with
pure and simple emotions - we forget how to enjoy life and embrace it with
Enthusiasm - as I see it - doesn’t cost a penny. It
doesn’t hurt. You don’t need a college degree, you don’t need to
make an appointment, you don’t even need permission to show it. There is
virtually no restriction to giving and sharing enthusiasm with anyone,
Occasionally we come across individuals who are
naturally enthusiastic - and isn’t it a pleasure when this happens,
doesn’t it make you feel good! Go back for a moment and think of the
last time you were greeted enthusiastically at a hotel or a restaurant or
were with one of these rare individuals. It’s amazing isn’t it how we
become so accepting and agreeable when we’re on the receiving end of
such feelings; how we then develop similar feelings, behaviour and
attitudes and reciprocate as a result? We are transformed - the atmosphere
is transformed - and the results are only positive ones. Everybody
Now think of an instance when the reverse happened and
no one displayed an ounce of interest in you or displayed any enthusiasm
towards you. I’ll bet there are more of those to draw from. And what did
you feel or how did you react? You probably felt like either changing
hotels or lodging a stinging complaint, abusing the staff and just getting
angrier and angrier with stress levels reaching the outer limits! Sound
familiar? It’s a road we travel constantly.
Catch more about this remarkable vital force of life
next week and until then, did you know that it takes more facial muscles
to frown than to smile!
Have a great week!
Christina can be contacted at email@example.com
Social Commentary by Khai Khem
Penny-wise and pound-foolish
I recently drove up with a group of friends who decided
to dine in one of Bangkok’s better restaurants. You know the kind, one
that doesn’t have prices on the menu. Since I had an overseas guests
staying with me, I thought he would enjoy some place really posh.
When the bill arrived my gentleman friend clutched at
his heart and I reached for my cell phone intending to call an ambulance.
He stayed my hand and it was then I realized he was having a reaction to
the price of the meal and not the Oysters Rockefeller. That old expression
- if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it - definitely applied
to our magnificent meal and fine wine. I hadn’t noticed it before, but
as I reflected, my friend was definitely fifty percent Donald Trump and
fifty percent Scrooge.
The previous days had been spent shopping with this
same gentleman. More to the point, he had shopped and I settled into the
role of chauffeur. I used to think women had the corner on the market in
the shopping category, but I was wrong. The past few years all my guests
who have gone nuts in the shops here in Thailand have been men. And my
latest houseguest was certainly a champion spender, although he was very
choosy about how he spread his money around.
He didn’t blink an eye when purchasing a pair of
Italian loafers for more than a thousand US dollars. A couple of days
later he bargained the price of the company of a lovely young female
stroller in Walking Street down to a miserable pittance of which even I
would have been embarrassed. This chap is an aerospace engineer who lives
in a wealthy suburb of West Los Angeles. The house he lives in, if sold,
would probably settle Kenya’s debt to the IMF.
Apparently pay for play was not vital to my friend’s
well-being. Neither was a fine French wine. Hand-made silk shirts and
quality suits made up much of this man’s purchases. Feeding and watering
him was easy. Twenty baht’s worth of noodles and a glass of tap water
seemed to be all he required. Everything else he scrutinized was “too
Which leads me to a question. What will any of us pay
too much for? Or to put it another way, what does the individual consider
so vital to life that an appalling sum seems reasonable, even necessary? A
person’s idea of “too much” is very subjective. I know a woman who
complains about paying 150 baht for a box of cereal but pays more than
that EVERY DAY for a cup of Starbucks grande latte.
Another friend of mine gives his Thai wife 10,000 baht
per month to run a three-bedroom, five member household. Frankly she does
rather well with her budget. Her husband, on the other hand has enough
computer equipment in his home office to efficiently administer a factory
in Maptaput. She rides a moped and he has a new Benz.
The fact that she can’t drive and is not computer
literate is his reason for the ‘imbalance of payment’ so to speak. His
wife is happy; blissful may be more accurate. Twice a year she gets to
choose anything she wants from one of Pattaya’s gold shops and her
jewelry box ‘runneth over’. Her husband is happy with one silver ring
which sports a skull and cross bones.
The last time I flew to the USA, I asked my American
neighbor what she wanted me to bring back for her. She’s been in Asia
for three decades and I was certain she would present a list as long as a
politician’s speech. The only thing she wanted was a three-year supply
of bras. When she handed me a huge roll of cash I was shocked at the
amount. I had no idea that one brassiere could cost 3,000 baht. No wonder
women were burning them in the 1960s.
I’ve met people who will pay $25 to park so they can
shop but who think that paying $13 for an aerobics class is to be ripped
off. “I will spend any amount of money on running shoes,” said a
friend. “And a really good sports bra is worth whatever the cost.” (So
much for the bra-burning.) On the other hand, she’d rather eat $20 bills
for breakfast than buy more than a few CDs a year. Her VCR is broken. Her
stereo is almost as old as Della Reece. Meanwhile, she buys the most
expensive hair conditioner she can find, will pay $20 for a candle and is
happy to drop way too much money for an impromptu airline ticket to see a
And so with these human idiosyncrasies in mind, I
picked up the tab for my friend’s dinner with a smile. I had a feeling
that the solid gold Rolex on his left wrist was probably purchased in lieu
of a very good health insurance policy. Surely the price of dinner would
be cheap compared to few days in an ICU unit.
Roll over Rover: The ‘how-to’ of the teaching lead
by C. Schloemer
We’ll start with first things first. Put your dog’s
training collar on and attach the teaching lead to the collar tip. Swing
the lead around you like a belt, and attach the end clip to the
appropriate waist hole. Then place the clip on one hip, either the left or
the right; which ever side you want your dog to walk on. Pick one side and
be consistent. Dogs are creatures of habit and easily confused. Here is a
tip: if you have children who want to help out, by all means let them have
a go if they are big enough to handle some light training. The teaching
lead is also great for expectant mothers. With the dog secured to the
owner’s side, he is safe from mischief and danger and the pregnant woman
need not wrestle with a large dog to remain in control.
Owners need to remember they don’t even have to hold
the leash. Just say, “Let’s go!” and you’re off. As you are
marching around, don’t forget you’re the leader and if you want to go
into the living room and your dog decides on another direction, do not
hesitate. Keep your head facing the direction you have chosen and continue
to walk. Your dog will accept your decision and respect you more for
Initially, many dogs strain to move in one direction or
stop moving altogether when an owner first introduces them to lead
training. Granted some rather cooperative dogs may become a little
confused. For these fellows I suggest kneeling down ahead of them and
encouraging them forward. Pretty soon the dog will get the idea and be
back on track. Some dogs, however, are less cooperative. They are the
tantrum-throwers; they insist on getting their own way. When they walk
on-lead, they imitate mules. Instead of walking, they just stop. Period.
Won’t move. Passive resistance. And if you look at them or pet them or
pick them up, you will be encouraging more resistance. They are getting
attention and that is, after all, what they want.
For the owner’s own well-being, leave the dog down,
stop petting, and don’t look at the dog. Simply keep going, and the
sooner you do, the better the first lesson will go. The dog will give up
his silent bid for control. If the dog drags, it might be best to start
with the teaching lead on tile or linoleum floors and use a buckle collar.
Owners must be strong because it’s little wars like these which they
must win. Think about all the incidents when the dog was off the leash;
the shrubs dug up in a neighbor’s garden or the shredded shoes or
furniture. If you cannot convince your dog to walk with you on a training
leash, you will never persuade the animal to give up any other unpleasant
Taking a break
We all need breaks. Just how many will depend on you
and your dog. When considering this, do think of your dog’s age, size,
behavior and temperament. Older dogs can concentrate longer than puppies.
Leading is great exercise for smaller dogs, but bigger ones need play
breaks to burn off energy. Those with livelier temperaments need more
derisive activities than passive dogs. And the owner surely must have a
break, too. When you need time out you have several choices. You can
station your dog, go out and romp together or attach your dog to someone
else in the family. The dog can also be temporarily confined in an
enclosure or crate.
The Message In The Moon: Sun in Leo-Moon in Capricorn
by Anchalee Kaewmanee
For those who were born into this combination, the
world will be their stage - literally. Whatever the Leo-Capricorn sets out
to do, he or she will do it with flair and a sense of dramatic
self-righteousness. Once these people set their sights on something, be it
a job, lover, a special prize, an award or a total lifestyle, they are
almost guaranteed to get it.
Capable of tremendous effort, they do not only think
they are right, they know it. Despite being endowed with heaps of personal
charm, these individuals are pretty cool and serious people; powerful and
self-sustaining. Napoleon Bonaparte was a Leo-Capricorn. This combination
has a fine analytical mind, keen intelligence and possesses the tenacity
to stick at a goal until it is reached. Tremendous powers of physical
stamina are characteristic of this sign and those born into this
combination often make fine athletes.
However, unless a native was actually born into royalty
this is not an easy combination to live with. Obstinate, proud and
patronizing, this sign can be very intimidating to other people. At all
times people in this group will maintain an aura of dignity and decorum,
and their stares alone can frighten off some weaker souls. They take
themselves very seriously, and no one who knows them would ever dare to
make fun of them. Like all natives of Moon in Capricorn, these individuals
are aware of their personal limitations and need no reminders from others.
They are also completely aware of their own talents and capabilities and
are thus in a position to maximize them.
Blessed with wonderful organizational skills and
leadership qualities, these natives will do even better at whatever goals
they want to achieve if they can keep their expansive egos within bounds.
There is really no end to the terrific things the Leo-Cappy can accomplish
in life. These natives often are gifted in dramatic arts, public speaking
and any field which demands strategic planning and the precise execution
of a vision. For all that extravagant flamboyance they project, there is a
very practical side to this sign and it is solid and responsible.
All are stern judges and they expect others to be as
serious about everything as they are. If the Leo-Capricorn is an executive
it can be pretty difficult working under this watchful, almost tyrannical
gaze. Most subordinates will never guess that although this native loves
to command, most of his or her dynamism is just bravado. Underneath that
tough exterior and those exaggerated displays of grandeur is a very
sensitive and often insecure person who really wants to be adored and
appreciated for the great human being they truly are. The flamboyance is
simply a ploy for more attention.
Fortunately these natives do get their share of homage.
People do love and even worship them. Others are acutely aware that any
task taken on by a Leo-Capricorn will surely be completed above and beyond
the call of duty. They only need to learn to tone down their act a little
and temper their arrogance.
This is wise advice since some Leo-Capricorns learn too
late that their own stubborn intolerance often prevents them from
receiving the tribute they deserve. If appreciation is withheld, some
natives retreat into a variety of neuroses. The maladjusted person born
into this sign is capable of giving a new meaning to the martyr complex.
Not given to pouting in silence and brooding inwardly, these people will
let everyone around them know about their hurt feelings and bruised pride.
If defeated, they will hold everyone else responsible, except themselves.
An elevated native in this combination soon learns that to give and take
in the workplace and indeed, any relationship, reaps its own rewards.
Highly sexed and very sensual, it is vital for these
individuals to have someone to love, particularly a partner who admires
and flatters them daily. Finding that person can be quite a task, so it
may be some time before the Leo-Capricorn settles down. Though they expect
much in return, in love they are loyal, giving, passionate and protective
toward their mates. Therefore it is wise that they do not choose a lover
Coins of the Realm: Thailand strikes a new medal for numismatists
by Jan Olav Aamlid
President - House of the Golden Coin (http://www.thaicoins.com)
The International Association of Professional
Numismatists (IAPN) is the most prestigious group in the world involved in
ethical coin collecting, and it is of great significance that the 51st
General Assembly of the IAPN is being held in Bangkok, Thailand from 17th
- 22nd May. This is only the second time, in almost
two decades, that the association has convened in South East Asia, and the
first time ever in this country.
conjunction with Suparp Unaree from the Royal Thai Mint, Jan Olav Aamlid
said the final designs of this special medal for the 51st
General Assembly of the IAPN were brought together and approved.
With such an auspicious group meeting here, it was
decided that this should be commemorated appropriately, and local Pattaya
resident, and former Board Member of the IAPN, Jan Olav Aamlid took the
brief to the Royal Thai Mint.
Designing a medal is not just a case of sticking a logo
on one side and the date and place on the reverse. Designing a significant
medal takes even more planning. In conjunction with Suparp Unaree from the
Royal Thai Mint, Jan Olav said the final designs were brought together and
Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun) was first used on the Rama VII 1000 baht note in
1933, although the note was never circulated following the abdication of
Studying Thai numismatics it became apparent that there
was a very significant event in Thai coin history in the mid 1800’s. Up
till then, for more than 600 years, the most common form of payment had
been the “bullet” coins. However, neighbouring countries such as
Vietnam and Cambodia were already minting their own coins, and
international traders were also desirous of indigenous flat silver coins.
To do this in the required numbers required a minting machine. Thailand
did not have one, but envoys were sent out in 1857 to correct this state
Temple of Dawn design was used for the 1000 baht note for Rama VIII, and
was again featured with the early 1000 baht notes issued with the likeness
of our current King Rama IX.
The first steam driven minting machine was acquired
from Taylor Business House in Birmingham, UK, and cost 3,000 British
pounds. In those days, a considerable sum. Following instructions from
King Rama IV, the minting machine arrived in 1858, but the three British
engineers who were to install and commission the equipment all died,
either from accidents or from illnesses! Finally it was a Thai, Nai Mod
Amatyakul, who managed to get the Thai minting machine operational in
1860. With such a colourful start to Thailand’s full scale minting of
flat coins, it was no wonder that this minting machine (which is still
operational today) was chosen as part of the design for the obverse of the
three attempts by British engineers, finally a Thai, Nai Mod Amatyakul,
managed to get this Thai minting machine operational in 1860.
The other feature on the obverse is the Temple of the
Dawn, the magnificent Wat Arun, or more correctly, the Phra Prang of Wat
Arun Ratchwararama temple complex that has featured many times on Thai
currency and is still used on the current circulation 10 baht coin. This
temple was first used on the Rama VII 1000 baht note in 1933, although the
note was never circulated following the abdication of the King. The same
design was used for the 1000 baht note for Rama VIII, and the Wat Arun was
again featured with the early 1000 baht notes issued with the likeness of
our current King Rama IX.
This combination of the old minting machine and the Wat
Arun shows the significance of Thai history in this IAPN medal. However,
the historical importance does not end there. On the reverse is the
precursor of the flat coins - the bullet coin, marked with the logo of the
IAPN itself, as well as the 51st Congress wording in both English and
French and the date.
10-baht coin in use today features Wat Arun on the obverse.
With one medal the numismatists can span 800 years of
Thai history. The medals have been struck at the Royal Thai Mint, with
each medal individually numbered to ensure the collectible nature of the
piece. There are 2 gold pieces, 22 silver pieces and 222 in bronze, the
recurring numeral 2 being used to reinforce the 02 year of the congress.
Those collectors who are fortunate enough to secure one
of these rare commemorative medals will be assured of a prime investment
and the final few pieces which are as yet not reserved may be ordered
through the organizer of the 51st Congress, Jan Olav Aamlid, email firstname.lastname@example.org