Vol. XI No. 26
Friday 27 June - 3 July 2003

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Updated every Friday
by Parisa Santithi

 



COLUMNS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Family Money

Snap Shot

Modern Medicine

Heart to Heart with Hillary

A Slice of Thai History

Personal Directions

Social Commentary by Khai Khem

Women’s World

Family Money: Leaving it all behind you - Part 1

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

Whenever the thorny subjects of estate planning and inheritance tax are raised, many clients respond with a shrug and the blithe comment that they don’t give a fig what happens to their money after they’re dead. If only it were as simple as that.

With property prices in Britain at record levels, and Chancellor Gordon Brown in his Budget 2003 speech in April having raised the inheritance tax threshold by just 2% to ฃ255,000, an increasing number of people are falling into the UK inheritance tax net.

Your family home in UK - as a ‘principal private residence’ - may be exempt from Capital Gains Tax (‘CGT’), but it could easily push the value of your estate into the Inheritance Tax (‘IHT’) bracket.

IHT is charged when assets are transferred from one person to another or into trust. Usually, the charge is levied on the estate when someone dies, but it also applies when assets are gifted during one’s lifetime.

It all depends on domicile

Whether someone falls into the UK IHT net - be they a British resident, a UK expatriate living abroad, or a foreign national resident in the UK - all depends on their domicile.

As I have written before, many British expatriates think that by virtue of their non-residence in UK they have protection against UK IHT, but this is not the case.

If they are UK domiciled and live overseas, when they die they will be subject to IHT on their worldwide estate unless they have gone to great lengths to change their domicile.

Anyone not UK domiciled but with property or assets in the UK will be taxed only on their UK-based assets.

Many people confuse domicile with residence, but domicile is not just about where you have your home, it’s much more tenuous than that: it goes to state of mind. Domicile is difficult to change unless you settle in a country with the intention of remaining there permanently and even then, there are no hard and fast rules. The matter is finally decided by the courts only after you’ve died - and of course it’s too late then for you to do anything about it.

Changing the rules?

For many years the UK government has talked about reforming domicile laws, mainly in an attempt to end the favourable basis of taxation for foreign nationals resident but not domiciled in the UK. In this year’s Budget, there were no concrete changes announced, although a background paper was issued inviting responses.

A change in domicile rules is likely at some point. Such a reform would be designed to catch wealthy foreigners in the UK, whereby after a few years in the UK - perhaps five or ten - foreign nationals will be deemed UK domiciled. This might similarly benefit UK domiciled people living abroad. At present, however, it is not easy to shed one’s domicile - hence IHT liability. What is easier is to reduce that liability.

Fortunately, IHT is not taxable on an entire estate. The first ฃ255,000 of assets is exempt: called the ‘nil rate band’. After ฃ255,000, IHT of 40% is chargeable on the balance, which could trigger a large tax bill. For instance, if someone has assets worth ฃ500,000, the first ฃ255,000 is tax free but they would have to pay ฃ98,000 IHT on the balance.

Inheritance tax now affects more people than ever before - partly due to the dramatic rise in house prices in recent years.

The smaller the better

How can you reduce your IHT liability? Fortunately, if you do your planning early enough, there are a number of ways in which you can manage your liability. These include making gifts, making transfers using a will, and making transfers into trusts. It’s essential that you take advice, though, as setting up wills and trusts requires financial expertise.

Most IHT planners agree that the first thing a client should do is to ensure their estate is as small as possible by giving away their assets.

Making gifts

All sorts of bequests carry tax exemptions. When gifts or transfers are made by individuals - whether directly or into certain types of trusts - they are treated as Potentially Exempt Transfers (‘PET’s), which are a useful way of gifting assets during a lifetime without incurring IHT provided you live for seven years after making them. If death occurs before then, IHT is charged subject to taper relief and the nil rate band.

There is a way to use this exemption, though, and retain flexibility over when the gift is made: setting up a gift trust and transferring the gift into it. You can then choose to vary the beneficiaries, the amounts given and when they benefit. It’s a simple plan for people who aren’t yet ready to give, but want to make the most of exemptions during their lifetime.

Smaller gifts that you are ready to make can be kept tax-free using the annual gifts exemption: this allows individuals to give away up to ฃ3,000 a year and married couples up to ฃ6,000 a year, as well as any number of individual gifts of no more than ฃ250. No IHT is charged either on marriage gifts up to ฃ5,000, gifts to charity or to recognised political parties.

(To be concluded next week…)


Snap Shot: Don’t become blinded by familiarity

by Harry Flashman

A few weeks ago I wrote about getting a different viewpoint on the subjects you photograph - this week I am suggesting you find some different views as subjects. As a serious photography project, this is one time you do not need wide angle lenses, special filters or off camera flash guns. Any old camera will do - even the disposable ones! And you will get photographs that will keep your friends overseas interested and green with envy. Guaranteed!

So where are these earth shatteringly different subjects? Actually, they are all around us. You see, living in Thailand, we have a wonderful opportunity to photograph subjects which are totally beyond the reach of the average photographer in the US, UK, or EU. There is only one problem in recognizing these. It is called familiarity.

Think back to when you first came to this country - a Thailand newbie. Everywhere you went you saw something different, something new, something totally off the wall, something hysterical, something crazy and something totally appealing. Now after a few years you don’t see anything like that any more. Why? Because you have become too familiar with the everyday, but still incredible, sights in this country. They have become commonplace. Four people on a motorcycle - see that every day in America? Never. A dog in the carrier of a bicycle. See that in England? Never. Somebody walking down the street in the rain with a plastic bag on his head? See that in Germany? Never. A motorcycle with a banana leaf as a rear mudguard in Maine? Absolutely never. Those incredible sights are still here, but you have forgotten how incredible they are.

Now even if you personally have decided to live your life out in Thailand, you will still have relatives and friends back in your own countries who will be as awed as you once were when you saw Thailand for the first time. It is your responsibility to pass on that magical feeling to the ‘folks back home’. And the best way is with a photograph - as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

So for the kinds of subjects you should try and capture I will suggest a few different ways to show them at their best. Again, no special equipment is required, only a good eye! First, for all those incredible shots of people on motorcycles, complete with the family and the family pooch, try getting someone to drive, while you photograph from the passenger seat. You will get all the action, hair flying, dogs with their ears laid back and the like, and you do not have to worry about fast shutter speeds or anything even vaguely technical. Since you are travelling at the same speed as the motorcycle, from the camera’s point of view the subject is still. Simple! And you will get great shots that you cannot get anywhere in the western world. Only trick is to wind the window down first (or the autofocus won’t work) and don’t drop the camera. Always have the camera strap around your neck!

If that all sounds too difficult, then don’t worry, there’s still plenty of subjects to place in front of your lens. The local Wat is one of them. Quite frankly, I could spend a day in some of the temples and still not cover it all. However, here are some ideas. Some close ups of the ornately painted pillars. The boat shaped containers with the lit candles. A follower shaking the fortune telling sticks. Buddha images themselves - the shot with this article was taken with available light at 1/30th of a second, so easily hand-held. There is also the advantage that you are not disturbing worshippers with bright flash bursts. (By the way, I deliberately left the figure in the shot, to show some idea of the scale.) The orange robed monks walking through the area - there is just so much.

Now you have a photography project for the weekend. Go and photograph all the things that have become common-place, and amaze your friends!


Modern Medicine: The grumbling appendix - are you next!

by Dr Iain Corness, Consultant

A “grumbling appendix” is a very common condition, and the ultimate cure is removal, called Appendicectomy (if you come from the UK or Australia) or Appendectomy (if you come from America). The condition is simply inflammation of the appendix, which we medico’s call appendicitis (remember that “-it is” at the end of the word usually means inflammation).

The appendix is a little “finger” shaped appendage that hangs off the bowel and connects with it. It lives down in the right hand lower side of your belly, so that is where you get the pains. Ruminants such as cows have large ones, if size really matters! For us, it is also one of those cute “vestigial” organs which has no apparent functional use these days, but can give us lots of problems if things go wrong. And things often do go wrong, with appendicitis being experienced by about 1 person in 500 every year. Males suffer from this more than females and it can strike at any age, though under two is exceptionally rare. The most affected age group is between fifteen and twenty-four.

So what causes appendicitis? It is a form of infection which is generally from the food passing through the bowels and can be bacterial or even viral. Sometimes the poo (nice medical term) in the intestine gets jammed into the appendix and causes the initial problem. Just for the record, we call it “inspissated faeces”, just to make it sound grander than it really is.

While the signs and symptoms of appendicitis are straightforward, the diagnosis is not so easy as a number of other abdominal conditions will mimic the symptoms of centro-abdominal pain which radiates to the right lower side, nausea, low grade fever and occasional diarrhoea. There is also the problem that the signs and symptoms can come and go - that’s why it is sometimes called a “grumbling” appendix. From my medical student days I can even remember the last ailment in the list that could mimic appendicitis was the abdominal crises of Porphyria! I must admit that in 35 years of medicine I’ve never seen one!

There are some laboratory tests which can be done, especially a blood test to see if the white cell count has gone up, and some centres will perform ultrasound to try to differentiate what is going on inside the belly.

The definitive “cure” is to whip out the offending organ, and this is usually one of the first operations a young surgeon does on his own. (Mine was a Russian seaman in Gibraltar and I think I was much more worried and apprehensive than he was, but then, I knew how inexperienced I really was. He didn’t!)

My old surgical boss always told me to make sure the skin incision was as small and as neat as possible, because that was all the patient had to go by to judge one’s competency. It didn’t matter what went on inside - just make sure the outside looked good! This was particularly important with young females and a 1 cm scar, level with the top of the bikini bottom was the ideal.

Post-operatively the vast majority of patients do well and are up and about in a few days, happily living without their appendix, but if you’re having some grumbling gut pains, perhaps you should let the doctor cast his practiced eye over it.


Heart to Heart with Hillary

Dear Hillary,

Last night I performed an honourable act of swatting a large mosquito that had settled on the shoulder of a bargirl. I used a rolled up edition of the Pattaya Mail but I didn’t kill it on the first strike so I whacked it again. I was then surrounded by a dozen angry Thais wanting to punch my lights out. How was I to know that the ‘mosquito’ was actually a tattoo of a small butterfly? Why do girls have tattoos and think it fashionable to turn themselves into walking comic books? I recently went home with a girl that had so many pictures tattooed all over her body that I didn’t know whether to cuddle her all night or frame her and hang her on the wall. Do you have tattoos Hillary?

Mighty Mouse

Dear Mighty Mouse,

You always have so many questions you want answered, I sometimes think you must have been a detective in your last life. Or even in this one! Why do girls have tattoos? For the same reasons guys do, my Petal. It isn’t gender specific. It is just to make life easier for her relatives to identify her body after she falls off the back of a song taew. To be serious, if you look at profiling, you will see that the age to get the tattoo is between 18-20 and the common factor is a bellyful of beer at the time. As far as your question, does Hillary have tattoos - I’m sorry Mighty Mouse, but I do not have one blemish on my flawless body, so you can’t walk around town trying to identify me from tattoos!

Dear Hillary,

What with all the suspicions of late as to who you exactly are I am wondering if I witnessed your graceful presence whilst shopping at Big C? Are you by any chance a rather striking, long legged woman who wears glasses and has just had a blue rinse? The other reason I paid so much attention was because you are a dead ringer for Dame Edna Everidge. Only curious Hillary but if it was you then my advice is get your roots done as it’s gone a bit two-tone. By the way they are all cleared up now thanks to your wonderful advice a couple of years ago. Much love.

Baz (formerly the wart man)

Dear Baz,

So the wart man returns! Though I am not sure I should say welcome back. If I remember correctly, we had to destroy your emails last time, just in case they had some of those nasty wart viruses on them. I don’t know why there is this pressing need for readers to identify me? Dickens 44 a few weeks ago draws me as Kevin, some dreadful half-wombat creature from Australia and now you want me to be Dame Edna from Down Under too? I can assure you, warty Baz, that I do not wear Edna style glasses (and especially not in Big C) and I have never waved a bunch of gladioli in my life!

Dear Hillary,

You recently responded to a reader who insinuated that Thai women that socialise with foreigners were prostitutes (Heart to Heart 13 June). You suggested to this reader that he take a “quick trip to Soho in London, Kings Cross in Sydney or Amsterdam.” These places are well known red light areas where sin and debauchery is the norm. What attraction would these locations have for a sweet and innocent choccie munching, champagne guzzling female such as yourself? Does Hillary have a sordid past of frequenting dens of iniquity? I must admit that I’m tingling with lurid excitement awaiting your reply.

Mighty Mouse.

Dear Mouse (again)

Read the answer again, Petal, and put a cold towel on the lurid excitement. I didn’t say that these places held any attraction for Hillary, I said that these were places where the enquirer could find prostitutes. As for frequenting dens of iniquity, I leave that to people such as yourself.

Dear Hillary,

Thank you for your suggestion re the pig prodder. Wee Nit (the adorable) is now in receipt of five electrifying prods per day, and her Mars Bars have been deep frozen, pending possible despatch to yourself. However, all is not quite bona. Wee Nit now drops her aitches causing ‘Hillary’ to sound like ‘Ee Willy’! Or even on occasion, ‘Ee Willy too much!’ And follows this with ‘mai pen rai’! What can I do? Indefatigably,

Mistersingha

(P.S. ’Tis now the 50th anniversary of your namesake ‘Sir Edmund’ standing astride a massive peak. I wonder if you have ever stood astride a massive peak and if so, have these achievments (sic) been celebrated?)

Dear Mistersingha,

I shall refrain from suggesting that you have been imbibing a little too much of the beer named after you (or was it vice versa)? Perhaps you and the adorable Wee Nit might be better off discussing someone else, other than my good self. Have you tried getting her to say Reveille? That should be a good ‘levelling’ exercise for the young lady. By the way, your spelling is not getting any better either, so again I suggest that some hours be spent on that, rather than Nit’s elocution lessons. P.S. Sir Edmund stood ‘atop’, not astride Mt. Everest. Hillary is not into such achievements, just because they are ‘there’.


A Slice of Thai History: A foreign journalist’s view of Thailand in the decade of militarism

Part Two: The rise of state-sponsored militarism and socialism

by Duncan Stearn

The question as to whether Japan was dominating Thailand, Gareth Jones believed the answer was in the negative. He claimed Thailand was riding the wave of nationalism that was then sweeping the world and they were not willing to ‘...bow down before any nation ... They are afraid of being dominated by the Japanese and they are too wise to place their fate in the hands of Nippon, when they have the French on one side of them and the British on the other.’

The vast numbers of Chinese immigrants in Thailand made up the backbone of business in the country and they hated ‘the Japanese and would fight any policy of placing Siam beneath Japanese protection.’ Jones commented that when Japan invaded Manchuria, some Chinese servant boys in Bangkok smashed all Japanese-made crockery in the homes of their employers while storekeepers refused to buy or sell Japanese goods.

Jones made the point that ‘British advisers still quietly control the finances of Siam and the Siamese money, which has the comic name of “ticul” (about 50c) is linked with sterling. “Does Japan dominate Siam?” I asked a leading Englishญman in Bangkok. He laughed quietly: “Have you any Siamese money?” he asked. I drew out a five-ticul note (about 2 dollars 50c). “Read what is printed at the foot of the note,” he commanded. I read, “Thomas de la Rue and Co., London”. With calm confidence he said: “As long as the word ‘London’ stands on that Siamese bill, it is not Japan but another little island which will have the larger say in the Kingdom of Siam.”’

He also claimed the prospect of the Kra Canal being constructed by the Japanese as ‘... one of the biggest myths of the century ... For the Japanese to build a canal in Siamese territory across the Isthmus of Kra would cost a vast amount of capital. London would never lend the money for an anti-British scheme. Wall Street would not be so foolish as to put its finger in the pie. Tokyo is too impoverished to finance the Canal. Even if by some financial miracle the money were forthcoming, the Canal would be a failure, because no vessel would pay vast dues to save only two day’s voyage and many ships round South Africa in order to save the dues on the Suez Canal. Nor would captains avoid such a rich free-trade port as Singapore, where they can pick up valuable freight. No, Singapore can rest calm as a symbol that Britain dominates the North from the Pacific to India.’

Additionally, the rise of militarism in the East, reflected throughout the region, was just as strong in Thailand. The revolution that had removed the absolute monarchy in 1932 ‘...had led to a military dictatorship and that the Army was the real master of Siam...’ He reported that soldiers were being sent to schools to demonstrate the use of military weaponry and asked the Education Minister why. “We believe in military drill and military training for the youth of Siam, because they give discipline and build character,” the Minister is said to have replied.

Running parallel to the rise of militarism in Asia was the growth of state-sponsored socialism. ‘Throughout the East the rulers are watching Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini and Roosevelt and they are trying to make the State all-powerful. They wish to build factories and dig mines controlled by the State. They are battling against private enterprise and are creating all-mighty Government machines to dominate economic life. They are saying good-bye to the Nineteenth Century era of capitalism and opening the doors to State control, just as President Roosevelt is putting business under the watchful eye of the Government. The countries of Asia are working out their New Deal. The ideas of Hitler varied with the ideas of Stalin are finding a fertile soil in the countries of Asia. A fiery nationalism is wedded with Socialistic ideas. Militarism rampant marches side by side with hatred of capitalism,’ Jones informed his readers.

Jones finished his series of articles on Thailand with the following statement: ‘The Siamese want with the help of the State to push forward the building of industry. Just as every nation in Asia now wants to buy less from America and Europe and produce all themselves, the Siamese want to see smoke stacks and factory walls rearing proudly above the shacks of Bangkok.’ Half a century later, that scene was a reality in the Thai capital.

Sadly, Gareth Jones was killed by bandits in northern China in late 1935. He was just thirty years old.


Personal Directions: Challenges and obstacles fuel our existence

by Christina Dodd

This week I would like to share an article with you that came to me through a reader in the States. The article is by John & Melody Anderson and I think you may find it an interesting read. It deals with the subject of challenges and obstacles in life and brings to light the reality of their place in our existence.

Rocks (March 1996)

We employ the use of an analogy here to demonstrate the requirement for challenge in life and to show that without obstacles in life, much of the enjoyment we get from overcoming these obstacles, and thus our purpose, would be lost.

The world is filled with rocks of all shapes and sizes. Some are large, some are very small, some are immovable and some are not. Yet the rocks that prove to be the most significant obstacles are those that do not exist. Invisible non-existent rocks can be hazardous. They can cause mild abrasions when walked into by an unsuspecting pilgrim. They can inflict rather more serious injuries if the pilgrim is running or moving at considerable speed. And if a pilgrim is endeavoring to clear an area for planting, invisible rocks continue to surface, usually it seems, when the pilgrim is making the most progress. Just as an area seems to become clear, more rocks appear, apparently from nowhere and the pilgrim must begin all over again. This would seem to frustrate the pilgrim who is eager to expose a clear space so that they can build, but until such time must continue to struggle with multiplying rocks.

Little does the pilgrim know that the multiplication of those rocks is crucial to the fulfillment of their initial vision for the piece of land. Commonly, pilgrims misperceive this vision and incorrectly assume that the vision is a piece of land devoid of rocks and stones upon which something may be built. Just what this is, however, remains somewhat of a mystery.

The part of the assumption that is incorrect is that the vision is a piece of land devoid of rocks and stones. In fact, it is more correct to hypothesize that the vision is the rocks and stones and indeed the moving of them. It is the interrelationship of these elements that defines such a vision. Move and dispense with the very last rock and stone and the body stagnates, the mind remains unchallenged and what the pilgrim is left with is very little reason to exist at all.

Imagine a world without rocks and stones. Bliss the pilgrims cry. But no, far from it. Imagine again, what then is the substance of the vision? What gives the vision its special appeal?

For the pilgrim who seeks greatness the secret is finding peace amongst the rocks, moving what he can, developing strengths and skills to move what he cannot and greeting the emergence of other rocks and stones with equal relish.

Many of the pilgrims who seek greatness play a waiting game, ever hopeful of one day arriving at that glorious moment when the final rock will be gone from the land and life can be easy at last. Rather misguided is the pilgrim who plays this game, for their joy can only come from an end result and an impossible one at that. The pilgrim who prospers is the individual who is prepared not only to move rocks and stones consistently, but whose love of life does not depend on the absence of the rocks.

In fact, the pilgrim relies on these rocks to satisfy the achievement of their vision. For the vision is not a thing, or even a series of things, nor is it a particular combination of circumstances in an individual’s life. Achievement of the vision relies on the interrelationship between individual and rock. In exercising this interrelationship, a way of being is expressed and this way of being either aligns with the vision or directly opposes it.

The vision then, crucial to fulfillment in life, is a way and the expression of that way in action. This dynamic relationship is self-perpetuating, for as the pilgrim grows in strength, so too, grows that which they desire and in so doing, new challenges are brought forward - and in expressing the way, the pilgrim has cause to further desire and so on. All the while, the love of moving and exposing rocks sustains the pilgrim’s requirement for joy and becomes the ultimate reward in life. (end article by John & Melody Anderson)

Rocks are our greatest motivators. With them in our lives we find the inspiration to go on. Without them life does not reach the levels of fulfillment that we so strongly desire and need to live.

A simple analogy and a very powerful one at that. Take some rocks and find a space for them near to you and use this as a quiet reminder of the need for us to have challenges and obstacles jump out at us everyday. Just as we need to be confronted by problems and concerns to keep us alive and awake and thinking, we need the constant state of Rocks.

I once took a group through a session that looked at the question, “What is a problem?” They were asked to split up and ponder this question and come up with an answer. It wasn’t until they sat down and thought about it that they really began to understand that their lives were filled with problems every moment of the day - for a reason. Obstacles and sometimes unbearable struggles present themselves at what appears to be a steady and endless stream - for a reason. We are not meant to just breeze through life for if we did, where would be the rewards?

Words are such powerful tools aren’t they. Challenges and obstacles equally so. I hope you have enjoyed the article and until next time, have a great week!

For any information you may require on personal development training programs or professional and business skills development, please contact me by email at [email protected] and if you have a moment free, take a look at our website www.asiatrainingassociates.com


Social Commentary by Khai Khem

While we are living on borrowed money, are we also living on borrowed time?

I often find it very enlightening to find myself deep in conversation with persons a lot older than myself. My attendance at a recent birthday party for a friend made me the only person in the room under 70 years old. The guest of honor was celebrating her 80th birthday, and the festivities were held on a lavish scale. Great food and plenty of drinks were provided for the guests. The hostess had even cleared the receiving room of furniture so we could dance. The music provided for the evening was popular during an era long before I was born.

Stuffing myself with food and wine, I wondered how long I would last in this room full of geriatrics before I got bored and excused myself. As it turned out, I was anything but bored. This age group still retains the wonderful gift of the art of conversation.

It was a mixed group; different nationalities, races and religions, education levels and professional fields. The only thing we commonly shared was the English language and our residence in Thailand. This gathering of elderly gadabouts had landed here for various reasons and decided to spend their golden years in retirement in the kingdom that they had grown to love.

As the weather is always a boring topic in Thailand - because we haven’t any (it either rains or it doesn’t) - travel, money and global politics make for lively debates. The subject of dropping global interest rates came up. My ears pricked and I came to attention.

There were several Japanese in the room and I was interested in what they had to say about the fact that Japan, the second largest economy in the world has been basically in recession for more than a decade, even though the interest rates in Japan barely register on the screen. To borrow money in Japan now is almost free. But that nation, like many Western countries has an aging population and retirees are forced to live on fixed incomes. I wondered if the Japanese, like their American and Thai counterparts live on borrowed money.

Nope. They tighten their belts and their purse strings and live within their means. “But that must be the reason the economy is not going forward,” I ventured. “According to a lot of governments around the world, GDP growth depends on consumer spending. If the average citizen of a country doesn’t spend himself into debt and penury, how will the economy sustain growth? Credit cards and low interest loans are supposed to tempt people to spend, businesses to expand, and retailers drool. Spend, spend, spend!”

One surly Englishman glared at me and asked me if I suffered from amnesia. Had I forgotten Asia’s 1997 economic meltdown so quickly?

“Yes, lots of people borrowed money - massive amounts of it. But they never paid it back. Businesses either went bankrupt or muddled along on a cash and carry basis. Members of the ‘working class’ simply threw their credit cards in the bin along with the pleas for payment and moved on,” he reminded me. His bushy brow furrowed as he told me to stick around to watch this movie re-run. According to him, payback time is right around the corner.

I got flack from every direction. It is truly amazing how many platitudes and catch phrases all meaning the same thing can be said in almost any language. Work hard and save your money. Neither a lender nor a borrower be. A penny saved is a penny earned. All things in moderation. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. Never trust a banker. Never eat at a place called “Mom’s”. Never trust a politician’s promises.

As I listened to what I figured was pretty good advice from people who’d been around long enough to see history repeat itself over and over because most people don’t learn from their mistakes, I decided when I got home I’d give all my credit cards a proper cremation.

Meanwhile, it was time to change the subject. After all, these were old people and I was worried about their blood pressure. So I asked them if they were all pleased with Pattaya’s massive efforts to make the city user-friendly for the elderly and disabled. Icy stares dropped the temperature in the room below freezing. Then everyone started to shout at once. But that’s a subject for another column.


Woman's World: On the beach at the OK Beauty Salon Part 2

by Lesley Warner

Orianne the owner told me that one of the client’s favourite services is the body scrub, and I can understand why. You go into the small comfortable room where there is a sauna, beauty table and shower, strip off (you can hang on to your pants if you are shy) and lay down on the table and the most amazingly relaxing procedure starts:

Enjoy a relaxing facial massage.

Firstly the body is massaged with a moisturizing cream for 10-15 minutes to lubricate and loosen the skin.

Then you must wake yourself up and go into the sauna for 10-15 minutes to open the pores; there are herbs in the sauna making it a pleasant experience. These herbs are picked and dried in the village by Orianne’s mother so they are completely natural and very relaxing and therapeutic.

Back onto the table for the body scrub, this is done with a thick aromatic cream (coconut) that is slightly textured. The body scrub lasts between 30-45 minutes and it’s quite amazing what dirt can come out of a supposedly clean skin. By this time of course you will be sound asleep dreaming of being spoilt in a tropical paradise under a clear blue sky, by a calm blue sea, with palm trees gently blowing in the wind!

A nice environment to relax

After the scrubbing is finished the body is massaged with a milk lotion (eat your heart out Cleopatra), to remove the dead layer of skin and moisturize the new layer and make it look nice and fresh. This can take another 10 minutes.

Then you are forced to come back to reality. What a surprise, the tropical paradise is still there, what luck! Back into the sauna to enable the milk lotion to be absorbed into the skin. This time it’s up to you how long you want to remain in the sauna; it makes you feel good inside and out and can also help with weight loss.

Out of the sauna and into the shower with a special gel to soften the skin even more.

Then the final body lotion is applied and you feel like a new women dancing on air.

1. Shampoo & blow dry 80 - 120bt

2. Hair cut Male 100 - 200bt

Female 100 - 300bt

3. Highlights 500 - 1000bt

4. Permanent wave 800 - 1200bt

5. Straightening 300 - 1000bt

6. Permanent straightening 1500 - 3000bt

7. Manicure 100bt

8. Pedicure 100bt

9. Full wax 1000bt

10. Half wax 500bt

11. Body scrub 400bt

12. Facial scrub 150bt

13. Sauna 150bt

For more information contact Orianne on 01 519 6152



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