Family Money: Sitting in Judgment (Part 1)
Managing director of Westminster Portfolio Services (Thailand) Ltd.
The threeyear global stock market slump has focused
attention on the ability of fund managers and other investment
professionals to manage money effectively. Central to the debate is how to
Most investment funds are measured against a benchmark,
usually a stock market index. If a fund beats the benchmark, it gets
trumpeted in the fund managers’ advertising, as in: “Fund X
outperformed its benchmark in four out of the last five years!” The
implication is that benchmarks are there to be beaten, otherwise what a
lousy fund it is that you’ve chosen.
But we should be sceptical of claims of
benchmarkbeating performance. To flatter investments fund managers have
always manipulated variables, from time frames to the actual benchmarks
used. Why compare your UK equity fund with the FTSE350 index when the
FTSE100 makes it looks better? For instance, Fund X may have outperformed
an index in four out of the last five years, but it could equally have
underperformed the same index in 6 out of the last 10 years. Fund Y may
have beaten its peer group average by 10%, but the group as a whole has
lost 30% over the past five years. Given that cash deposits showed a
positive return of 20% over the same period, Fund Y can hardly be said to
have been a good investment. Relatively better, maybe, but not good. And
If benchmarks can be manipulated, should we instead
judge all investments against more solid neutral benchmarks such as cash
and government bonds? Perhaps we should go to the opposite extreme and
assess all funds and investments against major stock market indices such
as the FTSE100, S&P500, and MSCI World? The inability of most fund
managers to beat these indices over the long term has brought into
question just how effective (or complacent) the retail fund industry has
become. Perhaps investors should follow the example of the hedge fund
industry, and focus on “absolute returns” – the ability of an
investment to make positive returns regardless of wider market conditions?
Pinpointing winning funds and getting the timing right is extremely hard!
When looking to invest in a fund, among the first
questions to ask are which benchmark is being used, and is it an
appropriate one? How does it compare to, say, the major stock indices or
the return from cash deposits?
Some benchmarks can be terribly confusing. Fund
managers usually pick benchmarks that match the investment style of a
fund: a broadly diversified large-cap US equity fund is more aptly
compared with a similarly broad index like the S&P500, while a smaller
-company fund will be matched with a smallcap index. A fund that is looser
in its investment style might be measured against a whole-market index –
for instance, the US Wilshire 5000, which is based on 6,500 US stocks and
loosely replicates the entire US stock market; the S&P500 represents
only 75% of market capitalisation.
But even if a suitable benchmark is used, you’d be
wise to track wider measures too. Some fund management houses may claim to
have come out consistently on top of their peer group, which sounds
impressive until you find out that their peer group amounts to just a
handful of funds, each of which, including the supposedly stellar one,
performed averagely against a wider benchmark. Outperforming a benchmark
that itself is underperforming the total market is not much to boast
about. For instance, if a large-cap stock fund returned 20% in 1998, that
sounds good – but the S&P500 returned 29% that year.
Perhaps the fundamental flaw with looking for
benchmarkbeating performance is that, on average, it is almost always a
mirage in the long run. One fund analysis company looked at how the best
performing US equity funds for 1991 performed in subsequent years. Not one
of them replicated their strong early performance. The most consistent
performer, 10th in 1991, could only manage 993rd 10 years later. Most of
the rest fell even further down the performance tables. Consistently,
research has shown that a fund’s past performance bears almost no
relation to future performance.
(Continued next week)
Snap Shot: It’s in the bag! Or even the case!
by Harry Flashman
If you are a true photography enthusiast, you will have
a little more than just a point and shoot compact camera. You will have an
SLR (or two), some lenses, some filters, a flashgun and even a tripod.
So what should you really aim to have? And why? The
following is a list of what Harry Flashman carries, which should be a
reasonable guide. My equipment has been enough for me to photograph
professionally in many countries, so should be considered adequate for a
Firstly, you do need a good camera - a 35 mm SLR
(single lens reflex) at least. The first pointer is to select a good
brand. There are many to choose from, but if you look at the pros who are
out shooting oodles of feet of film every day you will find the same names
on the camera cases. I make no secret of the fact that I use Nikon -
bulletproof and quality lenses. Others such as Canon, Pentax, Olympus,
etc., are also excellent brands, all of which have interchangeable lenses
too, so your basic system can be enlarged upon over a period of time, and
your original lenses will still be good.
The SLR is the centre of your equipment. It is this
camera that will allow you to be creative in your shots. It is this camera
that will win you awards and recognition. It will be expensive, so choose
wisely. For my money, the ideal “starter” SLR would be a Nikon FM2n. A
mechanical camera that allows you to make all the decisions. Yes, I do
have one. No, it is not for sale. Despite the digital advances, you will
learn about photography by using a manual camera.
Now you look at lenses. The “standard” lens that
will come with your SLR will most likely be a 50 mm. Buy firstly a
wide-angle lens. Around 28 or 24 mm is good, or even 20 mm for very
dramatic shots, but the distortion problem can be a little much at this
wide angle. The next lens you should buy is around the focal length of 135
mm - the ideal lens for portraits.
Remember that you are wanting to produce sharp
photographs. The camera is only as good as the piece of glass the light
comes through. This is why I use “prime” lenses which are optically
perfect - no zooms. Zoom lenses also make for lazy photographers. Instead
of walking in to compose the subject, the photographer zooms in. The depth
of field is lost, the flash is too far away and the chance of a perfect
shot is lost.
What else? A good quality flash, ‘dedicated’ to
your SLR is the best, and another reason why I use all the same brand
equipment, or top of the line gear that adapts to my camera system. (My
flash is an old Metz 45 CT1, which is still perfect today - despite the
Other equipment includes filters, and I will publish a
separate article on this subject - but do use adaptor rings to bring all
the filters to the same size. With my system, all lenses are brought up to
62 mm at the outside. Again a cost saving as you do not need one polarizer
for the standard lens and another for the telephoto.
Another important item is a good quality tripod. An
often ignored reason for having and using one is that it slows down your
photography and makes you think about composition and just what it is that
you are trying to capture. Not just a grab and gone to the next shot
situation. I will write about tripods in the future too.
What else do I carry? Spare film, colour and B&W. “Gaffer”
tape, a piece of flash cable around 5 metres long and a mini-tripod that
can sit on tables or other surfaces. Very handy at night. Oh yes, almost
forgot - a shower cap (the kind you get in hotels) to cover the camera if
I am caught in the rain!
Modern Medicine: Cholesterol control - is it really the answer?
by Dr Iain Corness, Consultant
Sometimes I find it amazing that there are still folk
out there who are not convinced that diet and cholesterol are the key
factors in heart disease. However, I should not be too hard on these
people, after all, it took the medical world 81 years to accept that fact.
The cholesterol story began in 1913 with a Russian
pathologist called Anitschkow and his pet rabbits. (No, I am not making
this up!) Way back in the days of button-up boots and before the advent of
ballpoint pens and cling wrap, Anitschkow demonstrated that raised
cholesterol levels produced hardening of the arteries supplying the heart
muscle (the coronary arteries). That really was 1913 and Anitschkow’s
work was done on his bunny rabbits, but medical science was not convinced
that what happened to Bugs Bunny would actually happen to us. After all,
we are not really large rabbits!
However, his work was not in vain, because 47 years
later a huge study was done in America (the Framingham Study by a Dr.
Kanel) and the initial results were published in 1960. This appeared to
show that cholesterol and heart disease were intimately connected. But the
medical world is notoriously slow to react to change, I’m afraid, and
Kanel’s words fell onto some stony ground. But there were a few
believers. (I actually met Dr. Kanel in the early 1970’s and I am glad
to say he convinced me.)
The believers continued the research and it was in 1994
that the Scandinavian 4S study proved the concept and the need to lower
cholesterol, to in turn reduce heart disease, became universally accepted.
That’s 81 years after Anitschkow pointed the scientific finger at
Since the 4S study, the world has been looking at
different ways of reducing cholesterol, from diet all the way through to
some special drugs called ‘statins’. Now considering that all drugs
have a certain ‘risk’ attached to them, for my simple mind, we should
at least start with dietary measures. Non-dangerous stuff! I have given
you the 10 Dietary Commandments before (from Australian Cardiologist,
David Colquhoun). Cut out this article and laminate and stick on the
1. Eat bread every day, preferably multigrain.
2. Eat some fruit every day.
3. Never eat cream or butter again.
4. Eat more fish and eat less meat.
5. Use olive oil every day.
6. Eat some vegetables every day.
7. Eat a handful of nuts every day.
8. Use more fresh herbs and garlic.
9. Have a glass of wine with food every day.
10. Eat in a relaxed way and enjoy your food.
Now all that looks fairly easy and the glass of wine
with it all suits me down to the ground, I must say. However, note that
that was a glass of wine, not a bottle of wine! It is also a diet that is
very easy to follow in Pattaya, where fish and fruit abounds. Just look at
Thai food and how it fits in - herbs, garlic, vegetables, little meat,
more fish, no dairy products, substitute rice for multigrain and you have
a wonderful recipe for a healthy cholesterol reducing diet.
So what’s your cholesterol level? Do you have to do
something about it? Until you know your level, you won’t know what your
relative risk is. Have it checked!
Heart to Heart with Hillary
(Hillary has been away this week, so she has sent in some of
her favourite letters from previous columns.)
My doctor has told me I have to give up drinking for my
health’s sake. Unfortunately I work in the public entertainment industry, so
this is a bit hard. What do you suggest I do?
It’s easy. Change your doctor. Always remember that the
definition of a true alcoholic is someone who drinks more than their medical
I am 17 years old and have just arrived from Down Under and I
was wondering if you think there would be any jobs in the bar and entertainment
industry for someone like me? I have experience in bars and worked for a while
in McDonalds after school. I have met a young lady here and I would like to stay
here to go with her. Is this going to be easy, or should I look at something
You certainly have come down in the last shower, haven’t
you my petal. That line of work is very hazardous for foreigners in this
country, and experience at asking someone if they’d like some fries to go with
that is just not good enough, I’m afraid. I’m afraid I think the romance
will be a “to go” item. Never mind, you’ll soon be old enough to drink in
Oz as well. Better luck next year.
They are doing alterations in my office building, and there
is a little man coming in every day with a jackhammer and it sounds as if he is
drilling his way through to Singapore. It is going on forever and it is giving
me a giant headache. What can I do about this? Who should I complain to? Is this
normal in this country?
You do have a bunch of questions, don’t you petal. No it
is not normal. Most people when going to Singapore just catch a plane. Honestly,
though, just talk to whomever ordered the work. Can the alterations be done at
night? Can you take a week off work? In the meantime, wear ear muffs and smile a
lot. Get a perverse pleasure out of making them think you like it.
I have provided for my wife for the past six years of our
marriage. She has never had to want for anything. I am a model husband, good
looking, never play up, only drink in moderation, in perfect health, a witty
intelligent companion, and con- sidered by everyone as a “good catch”. This
week she calmly announced that she wants a divorce. I can’t get it out of her
as to why - just that she wants a divorce. Why, Hillary, why?
It’s probably because she has found after six years that
she is married to a smug, self-satisfied, arrogant, pompous twit. I think I’d
divorce you too, but it wouldn’t have taken me six years.
I am an American who was over your way in December last year.
I went out with a girl from a bar. She really seemed to like me and I took her
to Phuket and everywhere around Thailand for the month I was on holiday. I
helped her out with some money to get some surgery done before I come back this
year (she wanted to have her nose re-modelled). Since then I have been writing
to her, but she has never replied. Do you think she has got my letters, or what?
Could you see if she did? Her name is Noy.
Sorry, but I think you’ve been led up the garden path by
the carrot. Hillary gives advice to the lovelorn, she is not a Missing Persons
Bureau or the Pattaya branch of the Pinkerton’s. I think your Noy will have
moved on by now. Sorry, but there’s a lot of Noy’s out there.
I suppose you must get letters like mine all the time, but
you are the only person I think I can turn to in this situation. I came to
Thailand last year for a holiday and met a wonderful girl. I had never met
anyone like her before. (The girls here in the UK just ignore me because I am
only 5 foot 5 inches tall, but in Thailand I fit in wonderfully!) I am coming
out again this year, but when I wrote to my girlfriend and told her to expect me
at Xmas she wrote back and said it was not really suitable and she could be away
up country. Hillary, am I getting the cold shoulder? What do you think?
This may come as a shock, Jason my petal, but unattached
Thai girls can have more than one boyfriend. Whilst you may be pining for your
Lek, Noi or Toy, she may be pining for her Jack, Jacques, and Jorgen as well as
her Jason. You have to remember you are here for four weeks. She is here for 52!
Relationships over here are a bit like Snakes and Ladders - you just went back
A Slice of Thai History: The Japanese invasion
8 December 1941 (part two)
by Duncan Stearn
The invasion of Thailand began with the Fifth Division
launching amphibious landings - covered by a destroyer squadron - at
Songkhla, Thepa, and Pattani just after 1:00 a.m. These landings were
unopposed, unlike the earlier assault against the British in Kota Bahru
which was vigorously resisted. By mid-morning the Japanese had around 60
aircraft, mainly fighters, on the ground at the strategically important
However, further Japanese landings near the mouth of
the Chumphon River, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, and Prachuap Khiri Khan were
opposed by Thai military forces as was an invasion of eastern Thailand
from Battambang Province in Cambodia and an air assault against Don Muang
airfield, on the outskirts of Bangkok. Thai air force planes flew against
the superior Japanese forces, but six fighters were shot down.
At Prachuap Khiri Khan some 120 air force personnel
battled with nearly 2,000 Japanese troops for control of the vital
airfield. The battle began at around 4:00 a.m. and continued for the next
30 hours until a telegram from the prime minister arrived ordering them to
surrender. By that time, the morning of 9 December, they had lost 42
killed, including two women. Japanese losses were estimated at around 400
At around 7:30 a.m. Pibulsongkram re-appeared in
Bangkok and immediately ordered a ceasefire. For the prime minister the
tactics of a brief resistance meant he could later claim the Thais had
defended their territory against the Japanese but he had reluctantly
ordered a ceasefire in order to save the country from destruction.
Although ‘Operation Matador’ could not be
implemented, the British had a back-up plan entitled ‘Operation Krohcol’
and at 11:00 a.m. permission was granted by the commander-in-chief to push
troops into Thailand to harass the Japanese.
At 3:00 p.m. (other sources say 5:30 p.m.) ‘Operation
Krohcol’ commenced when two companies of the Indian 11th Division
crossed the Thai border with the aim of blocking the Japanese advance from
Songkhla. It had been hoped the Thais would at least be neutral, but they
resisted the British advance, sniping at it all the way. The Indian troops
moved on to Sadao and at dusk dug in and waited for the Japanese.
At the same time an armoured train advanced into
Thailand from Pedang Besar, aiming to interdict any Japanese move from
Pattani. They destroyed an important bridge and then withdrew.
Around 9:30 p.m. an advance column of Japanese ran into
the Indian troops dug in around Sadao, forcing them to retreat back across
the Malayan border. The British destroyed a couple of bridges as they went
but by midnight the Japanese were crossing the border.
Personal Directions: Yes we can. No we can’t.
Well, maybe we can...
by Christina Dodd,
founder and managing director of Asia Training Associates
“Yes we can, but - wait a second - we need to put it
to the committee and let you know once they’ve come up with a
“When will that be?”
“I’m not sure, perhaps next week. Someone will get
in touch with you...”
Heard any of this before? What does it tell you?
Loads of indecision and huge doses of its equally
disruptive partner - procrastination - exist in many businesses today,
despite the fact that we all realize and acknowledge how difficult it is
do business with these negative and counter-productive characteristics at
The simple fact of the matter is that many of us find
it difficult to be decisive and to make a decision! No matter whether it
is a simple decision or a more complicated one. This behavior can
literally “drive people up the wall” if they are on the receiving end
of it and it is the kind of behavior that can lead many customers to
“make a decision” to change to another supplier or another bank or
another gas station!
A rare quality indeed is the one where a decision can
be well thought out and delivered in a timely fashion with confidence and
commitment. An even rarer quality is the one where a decision can be made
in a short space of time, to a deadline and under stress, and be a
decision that hits the spot and gets the task at hand completed. Phew!
Where are these decision makers? They do exist - I have actually met some
- and those companies who are fortunate enough to have them on staff have
an invaluable resource to say the least!
The all-too-common scenario of not being able to make a
decision or of procrastinating until you “drive people to murder”, is
nothing new and you might ask, why should we draw point to it? Well, to my
mind attention needs to be drawn to it so that we can understand the
important part it plays in forming the “mark of a business”, as to how
that business operates and whether or not that business achieves. It is
the basis of good business that leads to successful business.
On a personal level, it forms the mark of a capable
individual, someone who has got it together and is able to cope with all
sorts of situations that may arise. By the way, it is okay to go to pieces
sometimes, as we are only human, but there are times when having someone
around who can cope with making tough decisions in awkward moments is an
So many people I know have lost precious time and
precious money waiting for decisions to be made. Most of us I’m sure
have quite literally agonized over a situation where no decision has been
forthcoming and we’ve lost sleep, worried ourselves sick, lost tempers
with loved-ones, cancelled other engagements because the decision might
come through at the same time and what if you were unable to take the
call! We have all been affected by indecision or a lack of decision-making
at some time or another and so we all know first-hand the frustration that
comes with it.
A few weeks ago I was taking a group of rather senior
managers through a workshop and the time came to form groups. Fifty
percent of them had no problems with this basic task, but the other fifty
percent took much longer in making the decisions of who would go where -
and this was despite the fact that certain conditions had been set to make
the task simple. As we proceeded, having eventually formed groups, the
time came to select a group leader to represent them for the duration of
the program. Well, this was a real adventure for some and the looks of
exasperation on their faces was quite surprising. It was almost as if they
were begging me to choose their leader for them. To decide their leader
would involve making another decision!
It is extraordinary how we behave when it comes to
making a decision - to being put on the spot and having to come up with
What goes on inside our minds when a decision has to be
made? How strong and accurate are our powers of being able to analyse a
situation and to measure it accordingly to produce the correct response,
or an acceptable response? What is the real issue here?
I think a lot of our problems with decision-making lie
in the fact that a lot of us are afraid of the acceptance factor. Will the
decision be accepted by those whom it will affect? If we know someone is
going to be pleased to receive something from us, then we are very happy
to go about our way to make sure they get it. We have no fear of
rejection. The task is easy and causes no anguish, poses no threat. But if
we know that someone is not going to like what we are about to give them,
then this opens up a whole different set of emotions which may cause us to
hesitate and procrastinate because we are afraid that the outcome will not
In the simple activity of forming groups, those
participants who found it difficult to decide which group they would be in
were probably afraid that their colleagues might not accept or like the
choices they were about to make. When it came to selecting a leader, this
emotion also raised its head and fuelled the fire of indecision. The
acceptance factor is hard for some people to come to terms with and to
overcome, and needs to be dealt with on an individual level.
Some people believe that you have either got it or you
haven’t when it comes to ability and when it comes to having the ability
to make decisions. I believe that there are a great many things that we
are capable of learning, a great many abilities that we have but just
don’t know how to use. Through coaching and personal and professional
development, humans can astonish and amaze each other with their skills -
it is all the desire to achieve and perform better, and the method and
level of application.
For more information on this and other subjects of
personal and professional development, please contact me at [email protected]
Until next time have a wonderful week.
Social Commentary by Khai Khem
Comments quoted in our publication by a high-ranking
police officer a couple of weeks ago made me stop and think. He said that
Chonburi in general, but Pattaya City in particular was difficult to
control at the moment because of the rapid growth of what he termed as its
“floating population”. And that apt description should be included in
the operations manual of “how Pattaya ticks”. This city is a very
transient place. Because of this we need more time to develop loyalty from
residents and people have to put down roots.
As a cosmopolitan, multi-cultural city and a booming
international tourist destination we change colors like a chameleon. There
are so many different types of people here that most of their specific
needs and interests will need to be addressed. Right now we do have a
little something for everyone, but each slice of the pie is very thin. As
one of the fastest growing cities in the kingdom, we have to run flat-out
to stay on top of things.
Some cities take on personalities like people. Paris,
for instance is quite different from London, as is Singapore, New York
City and Berlin. I refer to those cities because most people know a little
about them. They possess established images and reputations. However, when
a young city starts to take off like a rocket and grow so fast and in so
many directions, it grabs a life of its own and the finished product is
hard to predict.
Our new nickname is Pattaya, the “extreme city”. We
do evoke extreme reactions. Some people come for a visit, fall in love
with the place and stay on. Others come here for a week and react as
though they’ve been sprayed with toxic waste. As in ‘love at first
sight’ and even ‘hate at first sight’, there is chemistry at work in
every vibrant city.
Pattaya is strange brew. At first glance it appears to
be a non-stop party town. Behind the scenes there is much more depth of
character. For long-time residents daily work and daily lives are much the
same as in other nations. Not all of us are on holiday or retired. But it
does seem that everyone is from “some place else”. Will we meltdown
into a homogenous stew, or will we remain together as separate dishes as
in a gigantic buffet dinner? I think we will develop in alcoves and retain
our individuality for a long time to come.
Pattaya’s rapid growth spurt created great changes
that caught us off guard. We are suffering from growing pains. Readers
with children know how fast kids grow out of their clothes and shoes. I
get the feeling Pattaya just grew out of its old pair of shoes and we are
feeling the ‘pinch’. To employ another old expression about no omelets
without breaking the eggs, I suppose we are only halfway to the delicious
omelet - scrambled eggs.
Timing also has a lot to do with how people form an
opinion of Pattaya and its environs. Currently our roads, streets and sois
are a visible eyesore and are full dangerous potholes. Traffic is so
dangerous many people from other countries are terrified to even drive
here, although they own cars in their home country.
A well-known hotel in town is teaming up with a
limo-service company that trains its drivers “Western-style” so that
guests don’t have heart attacks every time they need transportation.
This is probably the first bad fright every tourist and businessperson
receives right straight off the airplane - Thai driving habits! And
motorists really need nerves of steel to drive in Pattaya.
By contrast, outside the city, the highways and
motorways are so radically improved even I will take my hat off to this
achievement. ‘Old-timers’ here remember Thailand’s old road system -
minimal and primitive and without proper signs, even in the Thai language.
Someday, if we live long enough we can tell our grandchildren how terrible
Pattaya’s streets used to be and how awful the traffic was. Better clip
some columns and photos from the Pattaya Mail to show them so they will
Perhaps by then we could include some amusing stories
about the old telephone system that went ‘kaput’ every time we had a
little rain, and how we all sat in the dark because rain triggered power
blackouts. According to the lady who answers the complaints number at one
of our telephone offices, a couple of weeks ago all the telephones on Siam
Country Club Road were out of order for days because thieves came in the
middle of the night and stole the telephone cable for the valuable copper
wire inside. What? Copper wire telephone cables? Who uses those anymore?
So I guess we’re scrambled eggs at the moment. How
long can we sustain ourselves with this primitive and old-fashioned dish
before we have the recipe for a more sophisticated alternative?
There are no quick fixes for Pattaya. Our progress is
contingent on carefully planned and executed projects and management of
those endeavors which address our problems on many fronts, all working
together with a mentality geared toward teamwork. A Grand Design is
necessary of we are to turn our sow’s ear into a silk purse.
A legal casino without the complimentary development is
simply a glamorous gambling den in a designated part of town for selected
people. An international airport that de-planes passengers into a city
under siege with drugs and crime and corruption is only another door into
an untidy room. Clean beaches and good sidewalks along the waterfront is a
fa็ade that will never hide the slums in the sois and poor villages.
Without the whole plan and the heart and courage to
make it a reality, we end up with only a patchwork quilt.
Women’s World: You are what you eat
by Lesley Warner
Firstly this week I would like to say a sad goodbye to
a friend that was brutally murdered in his home; let this be a word of
caution to those that trust a stranger’s smile.
Lately I’ve been observing the enormous amount of
enormous people in the fast food restaurants. These now include the Thais,
as a surprising number now go in for this fast food diet, feeding it to
their children with a total disregard to the size of the child. While I
was waiting for a friend the other day I watched a Thai child walk out of
a restaurant; the child was totally naked so I presumed it lived there. He
must have be about 3 years old, and I can honestly say I have never seen
such a fat child of this age anywhere. As I observed, his mother came out
and gave him a large bag of goodies, which he greedily grabbed as she
looked at him adoringly.
I have noticed several fat Thai children - they do seem
to have the propensity for overweight even more than farangs. Maybe the
fact that they are generally of a smaller stature than Western children it
is more obvious. It’s quite sad because in the 20 years that I have been
visiting Thailand I never remember seeing this before. When I first came
to Bangkok I can remember feeling huge and ungainly next to the petite
Thai ladies. I no longer feel this, as a good percentage of them are far
bigger than me and they even have cellulite!
It makes you wonder if there is some kind of drug in
fast food to make us want to eat it. I mean, quite honestly, what can be
attractive in a reconstituted piece of fried chicken that’s been cooked
for at least 30 minutes and left on a warming plate? Then it’s rammed
into a cardboard box with some excuse for french-fries shoveled into
another cardboard box and all stuck into a plastic/paper bag. If you
decide to eat in the restaurant you are then expected to clear away the
tray with your cardboard boxes yourself.
What you eat does affect how you look today, and in
later life. There are certain nutrients the body needs for glowing healthy
skin. I have compiled a list that will help everyone; next week I’ll
concentrate on us ladies again:
Vitamin A - The best sources are egg yolks, oysters and
nonfat milk. You can also get vitamin A from foods rich in beta-carotene,
which the body can convert into vitamin A. This fat-soluble vitamin is
essential for the maintenance and healing of epithelial tissues, with skin
being the largest expanse of epithelial tissue you’ve got!
Carrots - Researchers have found that a serving of
carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, watermelon, papaya, broccoli or spinach
a day can help reduce the redness and inflammation associated with
B vitamins - Help convert calories into energy for skin
metabolism and are components of enzymes that maintain normal skin
function (including functioning of the oil-producing glands, which keep
skin moist and smooth). That’s why poor intake of almost any B vitamin
can cause dry or scaly skin. Best sources are poultry, red meat, fish,
bananas, whole grains, brewer’s yeast, peanut butter and eggs.
Vitamin C - When taken internally, this vitamin helps
maintain collagen - the underlying supporting structure of skin. But sun
exposure (and stress) can drain vitamin C from the skin, leaving it
vulnerable to damage from the environment. Best sources are citrus fruits
and juices, kiwi, cantaloupe, strawberries, tomatoes, sweet peppers and
Vitamin E - This antioxidant helps slow the aging of
skin cells by reducing the production of an enzyme called collagenase,
which breaks down collagen, causing the skin to sag and wrinkle. Sun
exposure can deplete vitamin E from the skin, making it more vulnerable to
sun damage (this is why vitamin E is found in skin-care products from
moisturizers to body washes). Best sources are salmon, extra-lean meat,
almonds, leafy vegetables, and olive and sesame oils.
Zinc - This trace mineral helps maintain collagen and
elastin fibers that give skin its firmness, helping to prevent sagging and
wrinkles. Best sources are seafood, turkey, pork, soybeans and mushrooms.
Nothing replaces a well balanced diet and proper
calorie intake, but a vitamin supplement can provide a means to obtaining
essential nutrients missing in most of our diets. Vitamins are involved in
all metabolic processes and are essential to life.
Wine :Katnook: Cream of Coonawarra’s Crop
by Ranjith Chandrasiri
Few other areas in Australia can rival the complexity and
richness of Coonawarra’s soil and climate. Four and a half hours drive from
either Adelaide or Melbourne, this “odd” piece of land - widely known as the
cigar-shaped Terra Rossa, owns a completely level soil which is distinctively
red in colour and crumbly to touch. Forty-five centimetres under the crimson
soil rests a bed of pure limestone with a constant table of pure water flowing
just 1.5 metres beneath it.
control: senior and chief Katnook Winemakers Wayne Stehbens (right) and Tony
Milanowski assessing recently fermented juice.
A lush climate comparable to the Mediterranean makes for
long but cool hours of sunshine during the ripening period which allows grapes
to develop intense flavours while retaining good acid levels. Coonawarra’s
overall climate; lengthy warm summers, cool autumns, and cold winters is often
compared to that of Bordeaux’s.
These idyllic growing conditions have been utilized mainly
for fruit growing as early as the 1860s. In fact, no other land could better
suit this purpose. The Scottish entrepreneur John Riddoch was fully aware of
this when he began buying land at Katnook - aboriginal for “fat land” -
after purchasing other properties nearby. In 1890, Riddoch formed the
Coonawarra Fruit Colony, established administration headquarters in Katnook,
and sold off the land in ten-acre blocks.
passionate labour: the Jimmy Watson Trophy, Australia’s most coveted award
for wine was awarded to the Katnook Estate in 1998 for their Prodigy Shiraz
Riddoch planted 140 acres of his own vines. His first
vintage in 1895 was a low key event in a nearby nursery shed. His second, with
a much greater volume of fruit and attended by established winemaker William
Salter was made in his woolshed at Katnook a year after. By the 1900s, the area
was already producing large quantities of an unfamiliar kind of wine which was
largely Shiraz, low in alcohol but brisk and fruity.
In 1967, the Yunghanns family purchased the Katnook and in
1969 planted their first vines. The family renamed the property Katnook Estate
and formed the Coonawarra Machinery Company, known today as the Wingara Wine
Group. In 1980 production of wine under both the Riddoch and Katnook Estate
labels commenced in the Katnook woolshed just as John Riddoch did 84 years
Katnook Estate’s limited released wines today are widely
known for their great intensity of flavour, made with fastidious attention to
detail. Grown in the enviable Terra Rossa area, the wines possess concentrated
flavours, fine balance and integrity of regional varietal character - hallmarks
of the estate’s range of Chardonnay Brut, Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon
Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Shiraz. Katnook Estate wines’
excellence and superlative quality have not gone unnoticed.
“Few Australian cabernets better Katnook for purity of
varietal character, style and potential longevity,” said wine expert Ralph
Kyte Powell. More so, Katnook’s 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon vintage was praised
as “Possibly the finest non-flagship cabernet in the country” by the
Australian Gourmet Traveller wine panel June/July 2002. This same vintage was
awarded “Blue-Gold Medal” and considered among the “Top 100 Wines” at
last year’s Sydney International Wine Show, and awarded “Silver Medal” at
the London Wine Challenge 2002.
Previous vintages of Katnook’s Cabernet Sauvignon were
equally successful. The 1998 and 1997 were awarded “Silver Medal”,
International Wine Challenge 2000 and “Gold Medal” and “Jimmy Watson
Trophy” 1998 runner up respectively.
Another favourite is the Katnook Estate Chardonnay with a
1999 vintage that earned a five-star rating in the Decanter UK in June, 2002
for being “... intensely complex and layered ...” This vintage was likewise
awarded “Blue-Gold Medal” at the Sydney International Wine Show 2001. The
1997 vintage was highly regarded as well.
Wine aficionados will have a great opportunity to sample six
varieties of Katnook Estate’s finest wines in a six-course gourmet dinner
presented by the Royal Cliff Wine Club. This Australian Winemaker’s Gala
Dinner will be held on the 18th of April (Baht 1500 net, inclusive of six
varieties of fabulous Katnook wines, pre- dinner canap้s, service charge
and VAT) in the Grand Ballroom of the Royal Cliff Grand, Pattaya. You need to
hurry, limited seats only.
Ranjith Chandrasiri is the resident manager of Royal Cliff Grand and founder
of the Royal Cliff Wine Club, Royal Cliff Beach Resort, Pattaya, Thailand.
Email: ranjith@royal cliff.com or wineclub@ royalcliff.com Website: http://www.royalcliff.com/rcwineclub.htm