Family Money: Making It On Your Own - Part 2
Managing director of Westminster Portfolio Services (Thailand) Ltd.
Last week we started looking at the ingredients of
success to becoming an entrepreneur and running your own business. The
first Rule of Management in any business is Planning. Thinking through
carefully what you need to be successful, and where and why things could
The area many entrepreneurs neglect is Finances.
Surprisingly few entrepreneurs that I’ve met have any
real idea how to plan their capital requirements realistically. Many set
themselves up with insufficient capital to last long enough to establish
the business on a firm footing, and provide a cushion during an unexpected
economic downturn or cyclical lean period.
They perhaps imagined that the revenue generated by
their new business venture would provide sufficient income to keep the
business going as well as provide them with a comfortable living from the
first day they opened.
Very few businesses (legal ones, that is) are so
instantly profitable that they are able to do that.
Sometimes the venture was set up with borrowed capital.
This is probably carrying a high burden of interest, which may then drain
off a significant proportion of the profits – if there are any.
Sound financial planning involves setting aside a
proportion of the revenue to pay off this loan eventually. But because all
too often there is too little revenue coming in, nothing is put aside to
pay off the capital loan, so the debt remains on the books.
That’s fine if the lender is content for that
situation to continue indefinitely – which he may be if the interest is
paid regularly and it’s producing a good return on his highly risky
investment. (It’s a high-risk investment because the entrepreneur who
borrowed it may default on the loan, or disappear, or die, so the investor
may never get his capital back).
An even worse scenario is when there is insufficient
revenue coming in even to service the interest, which then gets added to
the principal, putting the business inexorably deeper into debt.
Eventually the business goes bankrupt, or the
entrepreneur who is unable to repay the loan disappears overnight. Again,
the investor who lent the money to the entrepreneur with the bright idea
is the biggest loser.
Polonius said it first
The character Polonius in Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’
warns his son La๋rtes, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be”.
It’s amazing then how many investors are willing to
lend hard-earned money to friends or people who have no track-record of
success in business simply on the budding entrepreneur’s word.
Often, because it is to a friend, there is no formal
agreement covering the capital loan – so the lender has no legal
recourse if things go wrong. (And then he’s probably lost a friend as
well as his money).
Sometimes, again because it is to help a friend,
otherwise shrewd people will lend this friend money at a beneficial rate
of interest out of all proportion to the risk that is inherent in the
These same investors look very carefully at the return
they can expect from secure offshore investments made through a reputable
broker and placed with internationally-recognised institutions who have
been successfully managing billions of dollars for decades – but will
blithely lend a considerable portion of their life savings to a friend who
has a bright idea which he hopes will make both of them rich (which indeed
it may, but statistically is unlikely to).
When it comes to evaluating risk on a scale of 1-10
(where risk-rating 1 is hard-currency cash deposits in a stable bank, 2 is
a basket of international bonds, 4 is investing into a single developed
stock market such as the UK or USA, 5 is investing in a single-country
emerging stock market such as Thailand), it may come as a surprise to some
readers that going into business for oneself – or lending someone else
the money to do so – is rated by those of us whose job it is to consider
such matters, at risk level 10+.
Of course, no entrepreneur accepts that his business is
that risky – that’s why he became an entrepreneur; he has the Belief,
the Courage and the Determination to succeed! But if you are considering
investing in an entrepreneurial situation, it might be prudent to weigh
the risks of this against alternative forms of investment; and if you
accept the inherent risk (which equates to potential loss, remember),
ensure proper paperwork is put in place to protect yourself – just in
Snap Shot: David Hill and
by Harry Flashman
While many keen photographers or students of history
would have heard of Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre (to give him his full
appellation), not so many have heard of David Octavius Hill and Robert
Adamson. These photographers were written up in the Quarterly Review in
1857 as follows: “It was in Edinburgh (Scotland) where the first
earnest, professional practice of the art (of portraiture) began, and the
calotypes of Messrs Hill and Adamson remain to this day the most
picturesque specimens of the new discovery.”
The calotype process has been described before, but
basically it was the discovery of the ‘negative’ by Fox Talbot in 1835
that led to the new process being called calotypes. At last, more than one
print could be made following a photographic sitting.
Fox Talbot, an Englishman, did not patent his process
in Scotland, and Sir David Brewster (the inventor of the kaleidoscope)
suggested to Adamson that he should set up in business as a professional (calotype)
photographer, which he did on 10 May 1843 in Edinburgh.
Earth shattering events happened over the next two
weeks in Edinburgh after Adamson opened his doors, with 155 ministers
resigning from the Church of Scotland and then the establishment of the
“free” Church of Scotland with 500 ministers in attendance in
Edinburgh. This stirred the imagination of a painter, David Hill, who
decided that he should paint the event of massed ministers, but had very
few days in which he could sketch likenesses of them all, before they
returned to their towns throughout the country.
Sir David Brewster came to his rescue, suggesting that
Hill contact Adamson and photographs be made. And thus it came to pass, as
my old minister was wont to say, that there was a steady trek of clerics
into the garden of Adamson’s photography studio.
Why the garden? In those days, there was never enough
light for the fairly insensitive photographic materials, so the best time
was between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. outside. In this way, the exposure time
(rather than calling it shutter speed) was measured in minutes, rather
Being taken in the middle of the day, the light is
above and not flattering, but Hill and Adamson altered the light falling
on the faces of their subjects by reflecting light back into the face with
mirrors. Even in 1843 they were ‘painting with light’, the true art of
Now take a look at the photograph with this article.
This is one from that series and you can see the tricks that the
photographers had to do in those days to keep the sitters still. Note the
man on the left has his right elbow supported by the book on the table,
while he supports his chin with his left hand. The seated subject is
braced against the back of the chair and holds the large book, which in
turn is braced against the top of the table.
Photos from this era are sometimes criticized for the
‘stiff’ poses, but when they had to keep that pose for many minutes,
you can now see why. Think about that famous photograph of King
Chulalongkorn that you can see in almost every office in Thailand, with
the King in the bowler hat, knee supported on a chair and his hands and
body supported by the cane. A classic and local example.
Hill and Adamson exhibited their photographs at the
Royal Scottish Academy in 1844 and the display was entitled as being
“Executed by R. Adamson under the artistic direction of D. O. Hill” so
you can see the concept of “art directors” is not anything new.
Between them, Hill and Adamson produced 2,500 calotypes in four and a
half years, but their partnership was cut short by the early demise of
Adamson, who died in 1847 aged only 26. Hill continued with his painting,
going on till he died at 68 years of age.
Modern Medicine: Enter the PSA - Is it the end of the DRE?
by Dr Iain Corness, Consultant
We just love acronyms in medicine! CXR is a Chest
X-Ray, LFT’s are Liver Function Tests and even the History we take from
you during the consultation is written as Hx. Having said that, let’s
get into PSA and DRE.
PSA stands for Prostate Specific Antigen. Please
re-read that - it is Prostate, and not “prostrate”. The Prostate is a
gland at the base of the bladder, while “prostrate” is how you get
after a good night on the turps! Big difference!
Now, DRE stands for Digital Rectal Examination, which
means exactly what it says. This is examination of the Prostate gland,
done by the medical digit, via the rectum. A form of examination that many
patients shrink from, and medico’s themselves have much hesitation in
suggesting. However, we were all taught as undergraduates, “If you
don’t put your finger in it, you may put your foot in it.”
Prostate cancer is the big worry. Sure, only us males
get this particularly nasty cancer (women don’t have a prostate) but it
is one you do not want to get! And it is nasty. Prostate cancer is a form
of cancer that is very aggressive, eating into bone and spreading through
the entire body and is a very painful way to end one’s days, and not to
So, like many medical problems, we should try and get
an early warning system up and operating for us, much as we used to do
screening CXR’s for TB many years ago. So what did the medical
fraternity offer males over 50? Annual DRE’s, something which had
decided buyer resistance in some quarters.
However, in 1986 the male world was heartened to be
told there was now a blood test which had been developed to detect
prostate cancer, called the PSA. Overnight the medical labs were being
bombarded by males over 50 wanting the blood test, rather than the digit
test. Alas, the real picture was not as cut and dried.
While PSA appeared to be a reasonable indicator -
that’s where it started and finished. It was a “reasonable
indicator” and that was all. A low PSA did not guarantee freedom from
cancer and a high PSA did not necessarily mean you were ready for the open
coffin routine at the local temple. It was found that some benign
conditions, such as benign prostatic hypertrophy (non cancerous prostate
enlargement) also increased the PSA levels in some males, and prostatitis
(inflammation) and even sexual intercourse could alter the levels too. So
while the PSA did relate to prostate function, it could only be called an
However, the boffins in the back room continued to
refine the PSA test and we then came up with something called a “PSA
velocity” figure. This measured the rate of increase in the PSA result
over a given period of time. The faster the increase, the “more
likely” it was that there was a cancer down there. But it still wasn’t
So where does that leave us (males)? The bad news is,
back with the DRE, plus serial PSA estimations. DRE and PSA continue to be
our best bet, and if either or both of those tests are a little doubtful,
then the next definitive step is a prostatic needle biopsy.
Think about a check-up today! It could mean you get a
lot more trouble free “todays”.
Heart to Heart with Hillary
I read your wise reply to the gentleman who asked (two weeks
ago) about joining a monastery during his next holiday and would like to add the
following: there is a monastery at Chaiya, close to Surat Thani that offers 10
day courses to foreigners starting the 1st of each month. The course involves
adhering to strict silence for the whole period, sleeping on a concrete bed and
using a wooden pillow, 4 a.m. wake-ups and eating just 2 simple meals a day
(i.e., adhering to the usual Buddhist way of life). Look for information via
google or yahoo under ‘Suan Mokkh’. Best of luck! And by the way, as I’m
sure you are wondering ... Yes, it was truly a wonderful experience!
Thank you for the additional information, my Petal. I
could even be interested myself, if they allowed French champagne and chocolates
as the two simple meals of the day that could be partaken between 9 a.m. and
11.30 p.m., but the concrete bed sounds a little rigorous! For that matter,
strict silence doesn’t fit my life style either! However, for others with a
real interest, here are the contact details for the monastery: www.suanmokkh.org
On a Sunday afternoon, some weeks ago, I (female) was down in
Pattaya and happily windsurfing in front of Dongtan Beach (beyond the swimming
area of course), when a Russian guy on a jet ski decided out of the blue to
gently run over the nose of my board. As soon as I was on the board again, the
guy came back, but this time accompanied by three friends. No Hillary, they did
not come to offer chocolates and champagne as an apology, but rather to threaten
me by driving circles, shouting and attempting to pull me from the board. By
that time I was really scared off, but fortunately one of the parachute boats
came to help. (Many thanks to these guys!) Back ashore, I went to the rescue
team to report the incident. The rescue team caught the four Russian guys (who
just laughed and said “No speak English”), but I wonder if eventually they
were fined. Although very kind and helpful, I got the impression that the
efficiency of the rescue team is constrained by a lack of equipment (e.g. they
don’t seem to have a computer to check IDs). This was not the first time that
I had trouble with some crazy tourists on the jet ski. Apparently driving a jet
ski is not really exciting and some people try to get an extra dose of adrenalin
by passing windsurfers, kayaks and swimmers as close as possible. As Pattaya is
being promoted as a water sports destination, does the city offer any James Bond
style self defence devices to upgrade windsurfing gear or how is it supposed to
Troubled Waters \
Dear Troubled Waters,
Obviously a harrowing weekend for you; however, you must
realise that Hillary does not really understand jet skis or windsurfing. Both of
them play havoc with your hairstyle. Many years ago I struck a bargain with the
denizens of the deep - I would not swim in their bathwater, if they would
refrain from swimming in mine. But that is incidental to your problem. Now I
note you called these chaps Russians - how did you know this when they
proclaimed they did not speak English? I also note that you want the rescue
people to have computer checking of IDs. Who’s IDs? The “Russians” or
yours? Do you really want “Big Brother” to be doing computer checks on you
at the beach? I am glad that you report that the culprits were detained by the
rescue people and perhaps fined. I am not sure what more you can do - bopping
them over the head with a James Bond drop-kick does not do much for anyone,
other than stirring up more aggression in a potentially very aggressive
situation. I am sure the Bond fans could dream up a few items of self defence,
like board-mounted machine guns, fins that turn into chopper blades and even a
sail that becomes a parachute and drops bombs. However, the answer is “Jai yen
yen” - keep a cool heart, my Petal, and windsurfing further down Jomtien Beach
where the windsurfing guys are located to protect you might be the better
Do you think it is OK to have a little fling every so often?
There is a nice chap in my office who enjoys my company, and I enjoy his. So far
all we have done is to have a drink after work for a few weeks now. He is making
some suggestions, but I have pretended I haven’t heard or understood what he
was saying. He is married, but says that his wife doesn’t mind him having a
girlfriend. What do you think?
There are many people who would tell you that having a
little bit of a fling is a good idea. These are generally wandering husbands
with wandering eyes and hands and divorce lawyers. Hillary is neither of these.
Forget the after work assignations and look for someone who can offer you a bit
more short term gain for long term pain.
A Slice of Thai History: Thailand and the
First World War
by Duncan Stearn
When United States President Woodrow Wilson declared
war on Germany in April 1917, it was clear the American entry would
eventually turn the tide against the Central Powers (Germany,
Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria).
Watching and waiting on the sidelines, King Vajiravudh
(Rama VI) considered his options. Although Thailand had remained neutral
since the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 and his nation
enjoyed friendly relations with Germany, the King recognised the political
value of throwing in his lot with the Allied Powers.
The monarch was convinced that participation would be
an “... an excellent opportunity for us to gain equality with other
nations.” Thailand had suffered from the imperial designs of both the
British and French, particularly the latter, losing control of Laos and
Cambodia and ceding four southern provinces in the years between 1889 and
Additionally, Thailand was forced to accept the
imposition of extraterritorial rights for the citizens of nations such as
France, Britain and the United States and King Rama VI was hopeful that
Thai participation in the war would allow a revision of these unequal
Therefore, on 22 July 1917, despite the misgivings of
some members of the Royal government, King Vajiravudh declared war on
Germany and Austria-Hungary. The Thais immediately interned and later
seized as war reparations no less than 12 ocean-going ships of the North
German Line (NGL).
Thailand sent a small expeditionary force consisting of
1,284 volunteers under the command of Major General Phya Pijaijarnrit
(later promoted to Lieutenant General and known as Phya Devahastin) to
serve with the British and French forces on the Western Front. Included
was a contingent of the Army Air Corps.
The Thais arrived in 1918 and the air personnel began
training at two French Army Flying Schools. Over 95 men qualified as
pilots and some were sent to Bomber School at Le Crotoy, Reconnaissance
School at Chapelle-la-Reine, Gunnery School at Biscarosse, and to Fighter
Conversion Courses at Piox. According to some sources, Thai pilots made
their first sorties in the final weeks of the war, although others claim
the Thais finished their training too late to take part.
There was also a medical unit which included nurses and
it is claimed these were the only women to serve in the trenches of the
The Thai contingent marched in a victory parade in
Paris on 19 July 1919 and arrived back in Thailand on 21 September that
year. A war memorial was erected in honour of the troops and stands in
Sanam Luang Park in Bangkok. Inscribed are the names of the 19 soldiers
killed in action on the Western Front.
Thailand also participated in the Versailles Peace
Conference (with Articles 135, 136 and 137 devoted to her in the final
Treaty of Versailles). In January 1920 Thailand became a founding member
of the League of Nations.
On 1 September 1920, King Vajiravudh’s decision to go
to war was vindicated when the United States ceded her extraterritorial
rights. France, after five years of extensive negotiations relinquished
her rights in February 1925 while Britain signed a treaty to the same
effect in July the same year.
Coins of the Realm: Flat coins from the reign of King Mongkut
by Jan Olav Aamlid -
President - House of the Golden Coin http://www.thaicoins.com
At the recent Singapore Coin Auction, great interest
was shown for some Thai coins issued during the reign of King Mongkut,
Rama IV, who reigned from 1851 - 1868.
Probably the most important change in the numismatic
history took place during the reign of King Mongkut when flat coins were
introduced. Most believe that all coins are flat, and today this is a
fact. But for more than 600 years bullet-money, “Pod Duang” was the
most common form of coins being used in Thailand.
King Mongkut and Queen Victoria had good contacts, and
it became known to the Queen that King Mongkut wanted to introduce flat
first Thai silver coins minted on the new steam-powered machine, 2 Baht, 1
Baht, 1/2 Baht, Salung, Fuang and 1/2 Salung.
So Queen Victoria sent as a royal gift a small manpowered
minting machine to King Mongkut with which the first Thai coins were produced.
The machine arrived in 1857 and a small number of coins were produced on this
machine. Coins from this machine are very rare and expensive, prices starting
from 50,000 baht.
Later a steamed powered minting machine was bought from
England. In 1858 the machine arrived in Thailand, but due to several problems, a
story on its own, the machine was installed in 1860.
The machine is still at the Royal Thai Mint, and I have been
told still in working condition.
At the Singapore Coin Auction several coins minted on this
steam-powered minting-machine was sold. The first five silver coins minted on
this machine in 1860 were, Baht, Half Baht, Salung (1/4 Baht), Fuang (1/8 Baht)
and Half Fuang 1/16 Baht). The coins weigh from 15.33 to 1.00 gram and had
diameters from 31 to 13 mm.
On the obverse all the coins had The Crown with rays flanked
by umbrellas with three branches in the background and stars round the border to
indicate the denomination, each star representing one fuang. On a one baht coin
there is 8 stars as one fuang is 1/8th of a baht.
On the reverse there is an elephant in the center of the
Chakra device with stars around the border as above.
A one baht coin in the auction was in un-circulated
condition, and coins in this nice condition are rarely seen in the market. The
coin was estimated at 10,625- to 12,750 baht. The estimation seems like a fair
market price, but several people attending this auction wanted this nice piece,
and the hammer first fell on 26,880 baht, more than double the high estimation.
In not too nice condition a one baht coin like this can be bought for less than
A 1/2 baht in Extremely Fine condition was sold according to
the estimation for 10,750 baht. The 1/2 baht is more rare than the one baht, but
it seems like collectors of Thai coins are willing to pay good money for top
A salung in Very Fine condition and a fuang in Extremely Fine
condition were sold as a pair for slightly more than estimation, 8,300 baht.
In 1863 the two-baht coin, a crown sized coin with the
diameter of 37-mm weighing 30 grams, was introduced. The coin does have the same
design as the smaller coins. The piece sold was in Extremely Fine condition with
attractive toning and a buyer was willing to pay the high estimate, 29,325 baht.
Silver 4 baht also exists from the reign of King Mongkut. The obverse is the
same as on the smaller coins, but the reverse is different. This coin was not
offered in this auction, but last year sold in an auction sale organized by the
Thai Ministry of Finance for more than a million baht.
Personal Directions: A sense of ownership
by Christina Dodd,
founder and managing director of Asia Training Associates
I’ve been doing a fair bit of travelling these past
months and in my travels I’ve been talking to numerous people at various
levels in different companies, from the shop floor, up to the ranks of
senior management. What we have been talking about mostly has been “job
satisfaction” and - are they getting any? If not, then why not? It’s
quite a simple question which comes with some very interesting answers.
A lot of the people I spoke to were reasonably happy
with what they were doing - but they weren’t over the moon by any
stretch of the imagination. They were content to continue on with their
jobs perhaps in the same fashion for the next two or five or ten years!
They were quite willing just to “go with the flow” and see what
eventuates. Others to whom I spoke were quite the opposite and open about
it as well, saying that they were merely turning up to earn a wage to pay
the bills, put the kids through school and so on, and that was that. They
did whatever they had to regardless of whether it brought them a sense of
achievement or satisfaction. And then there were those who were absolutely
committed and who felt very fulfilled in their respective roles and
totally dedicated to their positions and to their company!
When I was looking further into this and having some
fairly honest and down to earth discussions with different people from the
first two groups, it seemed to me that many of them felt that whilst they
had a job, or a “place to go” every day, they felt that there was
nothing more to it than that. They were part of a process that was
designed to produce results. They had been trained and had the necessary
skills required to perform their roles and tasks, but this alone was not
enough to give them a great sense of job satisfaction. They didn’t feel
anything exceptional or uplifting or rewarding that would make the jump
out of their chairs or run out of the office or warehouse or factory
building shouting “I feel good!”
One factory manager I was speaking to at length about
this raised his eyebrows and was almost in shock at the idea that his
employees might all rush out at knock-off time totally exuberant about
their achievements during the day and shouting and carrying on in a joyful
way! This kind of scenario was simply not on and what would everyone say
at such behavior? I told him that it could possibly be the best thing that
could happen to him and to his staff and if I were him, I’d run up and
join in the fun - because that is what it is all about!
What would it take to have a scene like the one I’ve
just described actually happen?
There are a lot of factors that come into play here,
but a major part of this puzzle comes from something that I think is very
fundamental to all of us, no matter where we live or who we are, and that
is having a “sense of ownership”.
Let’s for a moment look at a very simple analogy, say
that of renting a car as opposed to buying and owning a car. When you rent
a car, it doesn’t belong to you and therefore in your mind the level of
responsibility towards the car is diminished. That’s not to say that you
don’t treat the car with due regard, but it means that because you are
not the owner, you have a different attitude towards it. You are not one
hundred percent involved with it because it belongs to someone else.
It’s not yours and you can simply walk away from it. But if you own it,
a slightly different set of values come into it and one of those values is
a sense of ownership and pride in that ownership. Suddenly the car is a
reflection of who you are as well, and this impacts on your behavior and
your sense of well-being and purpose.
We are totally changed when we have a sense of
ownership about almost anything. It could be a farmer who for years could
only rent his land, and now can finally own it and leave it to his sons.
He now may have a deeper sense of pride, and so may his family and
employees who work the land, in what they actually grow and in the results
of farming the land. It can have a profound effect on the lives of every
one involved because they are being totally and directly rewarded for
The pride we feel as a result of ownership of anything
inspires us and drives us. It brings fulfilment and a sense of meaning to
In companies all over the world the onus is on the
management to instil a sense of ownership (and pride) in the individual
employee as part of the collective pride of the company. Then the question
of job satisfaction may have far different answers to what we are normally
used to hearing. How management does this is directly linked to the
vision, the mission, the purpose of the company and the type of people who
own and run that company. Innovative thinkers and bosses who perhaps
remember their own roots and how it was when they first began work. People
who have not lost sight of struggle and hardship and who can empathize
with individuals in the workforce.
Managers and supervisors at all levels and in all
industries have to be able to coach and mentor their staff, to ensure that
staff become involved and want to become involved in the activities of the
company - that they are not just sitting on the fence looking in! The
individual has to feel like he or she belongs to and is part of something
fantastic and worthwhile. This requires an enormous amount of support from
the company, but it also specifically is the responsibility of the
For more information on this subject and other matters
relating to personal growth and development, please contact me by email at
christina.dodd@ atasiam.com and visit Asia Training Associates at www.
Until next time, have a wonderful week.
Social Commentary by Khai Khem
Social order will make Thailand a better place for tourists
Some quarters are worried that the nation’s current
policies regarding illegal drug addicts and traffickers will scare away
our tourists. The country is now awash with drugs and drug related crime
because the problems were left un-addressed. This situation didn’t arise
overnight. How long do we wait until we say “enough is enough?” It is
obvious that we waited much too long to take a tough stance on drugs and
law breakers. That’s exactly how things got out of control.
Sometimes we simply cannot please everyone. We complain
when our government and national leaders are complacent and weak. We whine
that they are lazy and turn a blind eye to social and economic problems
and do nothing to earn their salaries. But when a situation becomes
unbearable, the public outrage is loud and bitter. Then when stern
measures are introduced and enforced, some among us cry foul.
The global tourists we are inviting to come to Thailand
and enjoy the many wonderful things this country has to offer will be much
happier if they feel safe. Pattaya has a lot of plans in the making to
make this a better place not only for tourists but for the locals who
live, work and do business here. A top priority is to reinstate social
order and enforce laws. If that can be done, locals and tourists will
If we stop and think about the numerous legal and
social crackdowns we’ve had in the past few months, we will see that
they targeted those in our midst whose behavior has ruined the image of
Now beaches have been cleaned up. Pattaya’s
nightspots are slowly starting to obey the closing hours, prostitutes who
hassle respectable tourists in an aggressive manner are being pulled off
the streets. Drugged and drunken teenagers are being swept from
nightclubs, karaoke bars and snooker halls. Child beggars and illegal
immigrants holed up in back-soi slums may eventually dwindle in numbers.
Muggers and thugs are being caught and sent to jail. The list goes on but
we can’t stop and rest on our laurels or the rabble will overrun us.
This is good news for tourists. Pattaya has labored
under heavy criticism from disappointed tourists in the past. They hated
our polluted water and garbage strewn beaches. Families stopped coming
here because of our infamous sex tourism. The shabbiness of some areas of
Pattaya tuned more discriminating visitors away. Rip-offs and cheating
sent them home angry.
So why, with all these improvements and more to come,
would we think that law-abiding and respectable overseas visitors would
not react adversely to a country that is riddled with drug addicts and
Does anyone think these offenders are hidden from view
and do not interact in our community? These miscreants are free to roam in
our midst. Their anti-social behavior can negatively affect any one of us
if we are in the wrong place at the wrong time. That goes for tourists as
Drug related crime is not just a Thai-on-Thai problem.
It will bleed through the walls of protection we try to build for
international visitors. Hotel thefts, muggings, robberies, beatings, car
and auto theft, road accidents and senseless violence can turn our
tourists into victims instead of the honored guests we have invited to our
This scourge has now crossed class, income and
education barriers, and is a cancer spreading through a society that has
been taken totally unawares. Our tourism industry and related businesses
can only profit by the eventual eradication of this dangerous criminal
Thailand is still a great tourist destination and its
popularity is growing. Let’s separate the issues here. All nations have
internal problems. Right now this country is fighting against a criminal
problem. The tourism industry doesn’t have to suffer because of that.
War in the Middle East, a slowing global economy and reduced consumer
spending will have far more negative effects on international travel.
Rescuing Pattaya from criminal elements will compliment
all of our recent improvements and entice more visitors to our area. Once
they get here we must ensure their safety and do what we can to enhance
their enjoyment while they are our guests. We can do that, surely.
Women’s World: Life after death
by Lesley Warner
For mum moving into the bungalow alone must have been
terrifying, she hates being alone. Imagine when you have lived with one
person for 30 years and never been apart, and suddenly that person is not
there: It must be like having a limb removed only worse. I’m sure that
when dad was ill, and she was constantly in demand, she longed for
solitude and peace. But she told me that to suddenly be on your own with
no choice; you go through stages of being empty, scared, devastated, angry
... and so alone surrounded by all those memories. Eventually she started
giving dad’s antiques and bits he collected to my brother and I, as she
said she couldn’t live with them anymore. As time went on I became more
and more concerned when she didn’t seem to be improving at all.
there is life after death.
I found out later that as well as taking the pills the
doctor was prescribing she was downing a half bottle of sherry every night
to get to sleep. For someone that we used to joke about that could get
tipsy on a bitter lemon, this was not a good sign.
Mum and dad had been members of the Lawn Bowls Club for
many years and everyone felt that mum would benefit from going back there.
But she was reluctant, even though she had enjoyed it so much before that
we jokingly said she lived and breathed for bowls; but it was more
memories. Although she hated being alone she seemed unable to make herself
mix with the people that her and dad had known together.
Eventually, after several months, I think one of her
friends persuaded her back down to the bowls club and gradually it worked
for her in a therapeutic way. She became more and more involved and
although the loss of dad could never go away, I think she could start
thinking of other things as the months turned into years.
She even went on holiday with her friend to Italy to
visit the places that dad had promised to take her but they never got
round to it. I feel it was a turning point in her life - maybe she faced
her future without dad in Sorrento, which she loved, and realized that her
life was not over. Maybe she remembered dad’s last words were that he
loved her and she must carry on and enjoy her life.
One day a friend invited her to a fancy dress party.
She wasn’t that enthusiastic, not liking to go to parties alone, but she
went. These cunning friends also invited a widower they were friendly
with, and mum was introduced to a guy dressed as a boy scout, little
realizing that this was where her future was.
I must say she kept her relationship with Roy very
quiet for a long time. I certainly never noticed how involved she was
becoming. Then one day they asked me to go for a drink with them and told
me that they wanted to get married. I felt like the parent giving consent
to the kids. I was as close to my father as two human beings can be so I
think mum was nervous at my reaction. But I have to say that it was
relief. I had witnessed that she was so unhappy alone she needed someone
and Roy seemed like a nice guy, but I didn’t know him at that time.
In the 20 years since mum and Roy have been married I
have grown to love and respect Roy in every way and I am quite certain
that it was the best thing for mum. No one should stay alone, pining for
their deceased partner. I’m sure the one that passed away would not
expect or want that to happen.
I asked mum the best advice she could give to anyone in
this position, male or female, and she said belong to a club, any club
where there are lots of people to mix with.
This is just one person’s story but there are many out there in the
same position. Remember, don’t be alone, find somewhere, anywhere, where
you can mix with other people.