Family Money: Trusts are for ordinary folk too! - Part 2
Managing director of Westminster Portfolio Services (Thailand) Ltd.
Last week we started examining how the various types of
trusts work and how they can mitigate taxes. The most familiar type of
trust for most folk is the ‘Discretionary Trust’.
The Discretionary Trust
No beneficiary has any automatic right to income or
capital: the trustees have discretion over both and may have power to
accumulate trust income.
A settlor (the original owner of the assets) will
usually leave a letter or memorandum of wishes to guide the trustees in
the exercise of their discretion - however, a letter of wishes must be a
non-binding document, as the settlor must be seen not to have any
controlling interest in or disposal of the assets of the trust.
As the beneficiaries are not entitled to the income or
capital, inheritance tax is not charged to the trust fund on the death of
a discretionary beneficiary (in contrast, there may be an inheritance tax
charge on the death of a life tenant, which was discussed last week).
Discretionary trusts were used to keep assets within the family while
avoiding inheritance tax charges on the death of a family member.
To combat this, UK inheritance tax legislation imposed
tax charges on discretionary trusts. A transfer to a discretionary trust
is a chargeable transfer that may be subject to 20% inheritance tax
charge; discretionary trusts may also be subject to periodic and exit
inheritance tax charges.
The inheritance tax charges on discretionary trusts
make them unattractive in the typical UK family tax planning context.
However, excluded property settlements (as discussed above) fall outside
the UK inheritance tax net. An excluded property trust held on
discretionary teฟrms is very attractive because it provides the
flexibility of a discretionary trust without the punitive inheritance tax
The Accumulation & Maintenance Trust
This is a type of discretionary trust. It has some of
the flexibility of a pure discretionary trust with favourable tax
treatment. A transfer to an accumulation and maintenance trust is not a
chargeable transfer and so there is no 20% inheritance tax charge;
further, there are no periodic or exit charges.
To attain accumulation and maintenance trust status the
trust must comply with the requirements set out in the UK inheritance tax
legislation. The basic requirement is that a person must not be a
beneficiary of an accumulation and maintenance trust once they have
reached the age of 25 (at which point they must acquire an interest in
possession). This is the major distinction between an accumulation and
maintenance trust and a pure discretions that apply they are often used by
grandparents to provide for their grandchildren.
There is an unpleasant tax charge on accumulation and
maintenance trusts intended to discourage them from being used for more
than one generation. If the beneficiaries do not share a common
grandparent, the trust will incur a 21% inheritance tax charge on its 25th
So an accumulation and maintenance trust set up by
Major Watkins for his children and grandchildren may be subject to a 21%
inheritance tax charge on its 25th anniversary: the reason being that his
children and grandchildren do not share a common grandparent.
Bare Trusts (Or Simple Trust)
The beneficiaries are absolutely entitled to the trust
property; the legal title to the trust property is held in the name of the
trustees (often called nominees). However, the trustees have no duties or
powers as such (other than the duty to transfer the assets to the
beneficiaries as directed).
In the family tax planning context bare trusts are
likely to arise on the termination of an earlier trust. For example, Major
Watkins leaves his assets on trust for his wife for life and thereafter
for his children absolutely. On his wife’s death the trustees hold the
shares on bare trust for the children.
As the children are absolutely entitled to the assets,
the trust is transparent for tax purposes (this means that the tax
authorities look through the trust and tax the beneficiaries on any income
or capital gains rather then the trustees). Bare trusts are often used to
hold assets for under-age children.
Offshore Trusts (Non-Resident Trusts)
The residence of the trust depends on where the
trustees are resident. The test for residence of a trust under the UK tax
legislation differs depending on whether income tax or capital gains tax
Broadly speaking a trust is not UK resident (and
therefore termed offshore) if the trustees are not resident in the UK.
Offshore trusts are generally used for tax planning reasons. One would
therefore expect an offshore trust to be located in a low-tax jurisdiction
(particularly the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and certain Caribbean
islands such as the Cayman Islands).
However, the residence of the trustees is not the only
basis for taxing trusts. The domicile and residence of the settlor and the
beneficiaries is also relevant. As a result of progressive changes to the
UK tax legislation designed to narrow the benefits of offshore trusts,
they are much less attractive in tax planning for the typical UK resident
and domiciled family. However, they remain very attractive tax planning
tools where the settlor and/or beneficiaries are not resident and/or
domiciled in the UK
Protectors are sometimes appointed with supervisory or
consent powers. For example, the protector’s consent may be required by
the trustees before exercising certain powers - such as the distribution
of capital. Protectors are principally used in circumstances where the
settlor wants a third party to retain some influence over the way the
trust is run. The protector may either be the settlor or one or more
persons who the settlor trusts to implement his/ her wishes.
Foundations are used in civil law jurisdictions such as
Liechtenstein and Panama. While foundations and trusts are similar and can
be used to achieve similar objectives, they are different creatures.
Importantly, they may be subject to different tax treatment.
The broad distinction is that a trust does not have a
legal personality of its own: the trustees rather than the trust itself
are the owners of the trust assets. In contrast a foundation is a
corporate structure with a board of directors; like a company it has legal
personality of its own.
More seriously, a foundation is not a recognised entity
for UK tax purposes, so that the use of foundations in connection with UK
tax planning may have unforeseen tax consequences. For this reason the use
of the trust is generally preferred.
Snap Shot: Shoot the Bride (and the Groom)
by Harry Flashman
Shooting weddings is, in my humble opinion, a perfect
pain. One very experienced wedding photographer even went so far as to
call the craft, “Hours of controlled patience, punctuated by moments of
sheer terror and intense bursts of creativity.” However, amateur or
professional, you will get roped into photographing at least one wedding
in your lifetime. You have been warned.
However, to make it less of a terror, here are some
guides to photographing someone else’s ‘big day’. It is because it
is someone’s big day that it becomes so important to get it right.
Wedding photographers talk about the three P’s - preparation,
photography and presentation. From the amateur photographer’s point of
view, the first two P’s are the most important, although you should not
forget the last one.
Preparation. This is very important and can make your
job so much easier. This would include going to the church, temple,
registry office or whatever before the great day to see just what you can
use as backgrounds, and where you can position the happy couple, and their
parents, and their bridesmaids, and their friends, and the neighbourhood
dogs and everything else that seems to be in wedding photographs. Just by
doing this, you at least will know ‘where’ you can take some
Preparation also covers talking to the couple and
finding out just what they expect to be taken. As pointed out at the
beginning, when you take on photographing a wedding, you are taking on a
Also part of the preparation is to make sure your
cameras are functioning properly, so put a roll of film through before the
big day. Note too, that I said ‘cameras’ because there is nothing more
soul destroying than having a camera fail during an event such as this.
Preferably, the second camera will be the same as the first, so that your
lenses will be interchangeable. Yes, lenses! You will need a wide angle
(say 28 mm), a standard 50 mm and a short telephoto (say 135 mm). The wide
angle is needed for the group shots and the standard for couples and the
tele for “head hunting”, looking for those great candid shots.
Now comes the actual photography itself. You have
already written down all the shots that the couple want, so you can cross
them off your list as you go. One series of shots should be taken at the
bride’s residence, and this includes the bridesmaids. Many of these will
be indoor shots, so do take your flash and bounce the light off the
ceiling to soften the effect of the flash burst.
Now you have to scoot to the church or wherever the
actual ceremony will be, so you can get the bride outside, ready to walk
down the aisle with her father, or whomever is giving the bride away.
With those shots out of the way, now you can go and get
the ceremony and I do not recommend that you use the flash for these
photographs. For some religions, this is a solemn time and flash bursts
are very intrusive.
Cross off the rest of the shots as you cover them - the
signing of the register, emerging arm in arm, confetti or rice and then
the formal shots of the wedding groups.
After all this, everyone is dying for a beer and head
for the reception. However, Mr. or Mrs. Photographer, you must wait a
little while yet. There is the ceremony of cutting the cake to be done
yet, and photographs of the guests enjoying themselves (other than you).
Having crossed every shot off the list, make for the
drinks department. You’ve earned it. After all, you have probably taken
around six rolls of film by now!
The final ‘P’ is presentation. Photograph albums are inexpensive,
so put the best shots from each series into a couple of albums and present
them to the couple as your gift. And as your final job, make the mental
resolve to never photograph another wedding as long as you live!
Modern Medicine: Glaucoma - preventable blindness?
by Dr Iain Corness, Consultant
What is the similarity between high blood pressure
leading to a stroke and the eye condition called “Glaucoma” which can
lead to blindness? The answer is simple - both of these conditions are
“silent” in the fact they do not produce symptoms on their own till
very late in the piece, and secondly, both of these conditions can be
detected by simple testing, and both respond well to treatment.
So what exactly is glaucoma? In simple terms it is a
build up of pressure inside the eye, which eventually pressurizes the
optic nerve and causes it to malfunction. The optic nerve is a bundle of
more than 1 million nerve fibres that connect the retina, the light
sensitive membrane in the back of your eye with the visual centres in the
brain. If this pathway degenerates, so does your vision. Glaucoma is the
cause of 10% of blindness in the USA.
The fluid pressure build-up in the eye comes from poor
function in the ‘drain’ which is a mesh of tissue where the iris (the
coloured part) and the cornea meet. If the ‘drain’ blocks for any
reason, then the pressure can build, until it becomes so high it produces
pressure symptoms on the functioning of the optic nerve.
There are various types of glaucoma, but the commonest
by far is called Open Angle Glaucoma and covers about 80% of all cases of
glaucoma. It is also more prevalent among the descendants of African races
over the age of 40 years, or amongst people with a family history of
glaucoma, or anyone over the age of 60. The condition affects both eyes
and comes on very gradually, with little or no symptoms initially.
Narrow Angle Glaucoma accounts for around 10% of the
cases, and this time, it is the Asians who have the greatest incidence,
especially those of Chinese origin, with the Asian “short” eyeball.
This generally comes on much quicker and often will only affect one eye.
This condition is an ocular emergency.
The final 10% of cases comes from a condition we call
Secondary Glaucoma. This happens after another condition, such as
diabetes, tumours or infection can block up the ‘drain’ hole. Some
cases arise when steroid eye drops are used, which shows again the dangers
In the majority of cases, and after a long period of
time, the patient begins to notice that the edges of the visual fields are
going, until it is like looking through a tube or tunnel. The
deterioration continues from there and next up is the white stick and the
Detection of the condition, before it gets to the stage
of partial blindness, is the most important factor. The testing for the
increased pressure in glaucoma is called tonometry and is painless and
easily carried out by the eye specialist. Those at risk should have the
test done every year after the age of 40, and for the rest of us, we can
probably leave it till we get to 60 - but the choice is yours if you want
to commence testing earlier.
The treatment includes special eye drops and surgery is
also an option, to open up the ‘drain’ hole using a laser. However,
the eye drops generally have to be continued as well.
So now you should add tonometry testing for glaucoma to
your annual check-up list which includes blood pressure testing and
cholesterol levels, mammograms (for the ladies) and prostate checks for
Heart to Heart with Hillary
Utilities, utilities, utilities! I do not understand the
systems here at all. We have had the water cut off from the house twice and the
electricity once, all because I do not understand when and how the bills come.
I am quite sure we did not receive at least two of them, but when I tried to
explain this at the Water Department I got nowhere - and had to pay to get
re-connected. The latest injustice is the telephone. We got a bill to show that
we were 2,800 baht in credit and we owed nothing. The next day, the phone was
cut off! A wasted half day at the telephone department ensued where they told
me I had not paid a 300 baht bill the previous month. This left me trying to
explain that if we were 2,800 baht in credit this month, how could we owe 300
baht at the same time? All to no avail again. The only way I was going to get
the phone reconnected was to pay the 300 baht, plus a re-connection fee! What
can we do?
Bills, bills, bills
Dear Bills, bills, bills,
Hillary feels for you. Really I do. The bills and
accounts system is very difficult for a foreigner to understand, but if you
just remember that last month’s bills are quite separate from this month’s
and you have to square off each one individually, then life will become easier.
I also suggest that you see your bank and get them to pay the utilities bills
directly, then you do not have to waste time lurking at the letterbox, waiting
for the utilities bills to come. Hillary was even caught out the other day,
when a bill came for my mobile phone, to be paid on a Monday. On the Saturday,
two days before, the phone was cut off. Yes, you guessed it - I hadn’t paid
the previous month! And yes, I too had to pay for a re-connection.
My Thai wife has started being very secretive about the
housekeeping money. I am sure she is fiddling the grocery bills and I am also
very sure she has started to sneak the odd thousand baht from my wallet when I
am asleep. I also think that she seems to have less jewelry than before, but
when I asked her where her bracelet is she gets very defensive and says she is
having it cleaned or repaired. I am sure she is not having an affair, as she is
always home at nights with me, so what can I do to check? Where is the money
going? I need your help here, Hillary, as I do not like being suspicious.
It’s not in my nature.
Dear Suspicious Sam,
I’m afraid you have good reason to be suspicious,
Petal. This will most likely be money that is being used to pay gambling debts.
These can range from a few thousand baht lost at card games, to hundreds of
thousands of baht to major gambling syndicates. Unfortunately a number of
foreign husbands have suddenly found that the house that was put in his
wife’s name has been lost to a gambling den owner. This is something you
should be aware of and find out as soon as possible just where the money is
going. Do not let this carry on. Gambling debts tend to accumulate very
quickly. You are going to have to confront your wife on this one. Sorry.
I am a single male, so I do get around town a bit. The other
night I saw my boss’s wife, at a boys club. She was there with another woman
and they seemed to be drunk. They bought a few rounds of drinks for some of the
boys. They were laughing and having a good time and the boys looked as if they
were having a good time too. I did go over and say hello, but she ignored me
and went back to the boy she was sitting with. The problem for me is whether I
should say anything to her, or to my boss? I see his wife every week as she
comes in to supervise the pays. What do you think I should do, Hillary?
You have been seeing a lot more than is good for you,
Petal. Have you thought why you want to get involved in something that does not
concern you? If the boss’ wife goes to bars, then this is something between
the boss and his wife, and not you. All that you will do is put your job on the
line, if something goes wrong. I wonder if your real reason for wanting to tell
your boss is because you were rejected by the woman in question? If she
doesn’t play games with you, then you will make life difficult for her and
stop her little games too? Stay well clear of all this, Mr. Spy and try and
pick up women in other bars that are safer for you. Getting between a man and
his wife is dangerous. You have been warned.
A Slice of Thai History: The Thai ‘Alamo’: Defence
of Bang Rajan, 1766
by Duncan Stearn
In the annals of Thai history, the defence of the camp
at Bang Rajan against the invading Burmese army in 1766 stands alongside
the equally folkloric efforts of the sisters Thao Thep Krasattri and Thao
Si Sunthon in Phuket in 1785 and, later, of Khunying Mo in the Laotian
invasion of 1827-1828.
In July 1765, the Burmese launched yet another invasion
of Thailand. Coming from the north, where they had earlier occupied the
Laotian city of Luang Prabang, the Burmese swept through Lampang, Tak,
Kamphaeng Phet, Sukhothai, Phitsanulok, and Nakhon Sawan. Thai sources
claim the Burmese army numbered around 100,000 men, although this is
Similarly, in September, a second Burmese army (also
claimed to be 100,000 troops, but almost certainly considerably less) left
Tavoy and invaded Thailand from the west, taking Phetburi and Ratchaburi,
arriving outside Ayutthaya almost unhindered about February 1766.
The northern Burmese army, approaching Ayutthaya via
Angthong, 30 kilometres to the west of the Thai capital, set up camp at
Viseschaicharn, an open area on a canal that led to the Chao Phraya River.
The Burmese troops, according to the Thais, proceeded
to harass local villagers, demanding food, stealing valuables, and
molesting the women. Unable to obtain aid from Ayutthaya itself, a band of
six village chiefs decided to organise resistance to the invaders.
Four of the men came from a village in Singaburi, the
other two were from Viseschaicharn. After killing a few Burmese soldiers,
they fled to the village of Bang Rajan.
Bang Rajan was a natural defensive position. It was
known for its fertile land and abundance of food, was flanked by a wide
canal that gave it protection from the Burmese camp at Viseschaicharn, and
could be reinforced from Suphanburi.
The six chiefs invited Phra Dhammachot, an abbot from
Suphanburi, to join their cause. Revered as a man of learning, and, it was
whispered, magic powers, the abbot travelled to Bang Rajan.
Within a short time the number of defenders ensconced
in Bang Rajan had grown to 400 men, and a further five local chiefs had
also entered the camp to join the original six. One of the chiefs was a
renowned archer, another, named Nai Thongmend rode into battle atop a
The Burmese commander, Nemiew, got wind of the growth
of the resistance and determined to nip it in the bud, ordered his heavily
armed troops into action.
The first assault against Bang Rajan commenced around
May 1766. Despite a superiority in numbers and armaments, the Burmese were
repulsed. Over the next three months, the Burmese attacked six more times.
On each occasion they were beaten back and every time more Thais arrived
to bolster the defences.
As a counter, Nemiew brought up reinforcements and
placed Sukee, a Mon-Thai, at the head of his forces. Sukee had lived for a
long time in Thailand and was well aware of the Thai style of fighting.
After making certain that all possibility of
communication between Bang Rajan and Ayutthaya was effectively halted,
Sukee moved his forces closer to the Thai village and, rather than engage
in frontal assaults, started skirmishing operations on the flanks.
The attacks continued for a number of days, inflicting
a growing number of casualties on the defenders. In frustration, Nai
Thongmend, allegedly drunk, gathered a small Thai force and ventured
beyond the lines to attack a Burmese camp. Nai Thongmend rode his water
buffalo deep into the Burmese lines, but a counter-attack saw him cut down
along with a number of his troops. It was the first major reverse the Thai
defenders had suffered.
The Burmese tightened their grip by shooting anyone who
attempted to bring food and other supplies into Bang Rajan and increased
their shelling of the encampment. Additionally, the Burmese started to dig
a tunnel under the canal in an attempt to get behind the defenders. The
Thais sent frantic pleas to Ayutthaya to come to their aid, but the
capital was heavily invested and unable to raise a relief force.
Finally, after a siege lasting five months, the Burmese
launched an all-out assault, breaching the defences and overrunning the
camp. All 10 remaining chiefs were killed or executed, as were most of the
defenders. Very few managed to escape and many other captives were made
slaves. The abbot, Phra Dhammachot, disappeared. It is not known whether
he was killed in the final assault or if he managed to escape.
The story of Bang Rajan has become to the Thais what
the siege of the Alamo (1836) is to Texans and, by extension, the United
States: a symbol of determination and heroism against overwhelming odds.
Personal Directions: Our ability to think is
our greatest asset
by Christina Dodd
In my travels recently, I took a break and set myself a
task to purchase some additional crockery items, something I had been
meaning to do for some time. Whilst wandering through the store I was
overwhelmed by the selection and variety of designs and colours. I had a
picture in my mind of what I had to look for in order to have everything
matching in my existing set. But the more I went up this aisle and the
next aisle, I became increasingly indecisive. I was aware that this simple
task was taking considerable time and it was creating more frustration
Finally I took a moment to step back and look at what I
was trying to do – maybe this would help me out. Then it came to me. I
was limiting my task by having everything matching as a set. Did I really
need to do this? What would it matter if the set was not a perfect set?
And what is a perfect set anyway! All I wanted was to have something
functional and attractive. Did this mean that only a set could achieve
We are so conditioned in our way of thinking that it
becomes a limiting factor to our creativity and productivity. Working
within frameworks, to a degree, is desirable and is part of our existence
and structure of life. But there is a danger in this if we allow it to
suffocate our thinking.
So many activities we undertake every day in our daily
lives become routine, dull and uninteresting, because we cause them to be
that way. So many tasks and projects that we perform in our businesses or
professional lives can also be seen in the same light. When we approach a
task with a limited mindset and thinking, we become trapped in conformity
and this, I truly believe, hinders the thought process and the end
My example of purchasing crockery items demonstrates
this point so simply. And we are all experiencing this process in our
lives every day in many different ways. Take a few moments to think about
it and you will surprise yourself with just how many examples of this you
The power of thought – thinking – is one of our
greatest assets. We were born with a magnificent tool with which to carve
the paths of our lives and that tool is our brain! But do we really
appreciate the value of its ability? Do we ever stop and realize the
immense power of this gift? We all walk around and live our lives taking
for granted that the organ within our heads will always allow us to
function. It will always be there, toiling away like a well-tuned engine
enabling us to do the things we like to do. For a moment have you ever
thought what it would be like without it? If you had no power of thought
– what would life be like? Fairly dramatic answer isn’t it!
And what do we do to keep this magnificent asset in
good condition? The moment we put on weight, we have to diet. The moment
we cut our finger, we have to put a dressing on it. The moment we have
raised cholesterol, we have to attend to it. But do we regard our mental
health in the same way as our physical health? Do we give it the same
amount of importance and attention?
We all have one brain. Not two. Just one. And there are
no spare parts that can be easily plugged in and played. This “gift”
inside each and every one of us gives us life. It is time that we
understood this more seriously and not only the fact that it gives us life
in the physical sense, but it allows us to be who we are!
Sometimes in my training programs I ask participants to
try to get in touch with this situation. I ask them to close their eyes
and try to imagine as hard as they can what it would be like without life.
It can be very unsettling for some as suddenly they can see a very dark
picture. It takes a bit of jolting for most of us to appreciate things of
value. For more often than not, we value things mostly when they are gone.
And then it is too late.
With the ability to think we can do and achieve so much
more in our lives. And the way that we think can have a very powerful
impact on everything.
What you think, you begin to feel
What you feel, you begin to do
What you do, you begin to have or become.
Try memorizing these words and saying them to yourself
in a quiet moment of your day. Repeat them in a positive and firm voice
several times so that you can take hold of the energy that they create and
their significance. They have purpose and meaning and are extremely potent
in their message. For many people I have trained, they have become a part
of their daily regimen.
Just as we need nourishment for our bodies to function,
our brains and mental/spiritual health also need nourishment. Without the
right kind of sustenance and nourishment, our ability to think can be
greatly affected. But when we talk about nourishment, to put it very
plainly, there is physical food (for our bodies) and spiritual food (for
our minds). We can very easily obtain the “physical food” that we need
to exist and to live. What about the “spiritual food” that we need –
can it be bought over the counter or found so easily?
In order to nourish our spiritual well-being which
affects and influences our thinking, what do we need? What are the
essentials? What would you say is the basic ingredient that we all need in
order to have a sense of well-being, purpose and meaning, and happiness in
life? Take some time and give it some thought and I’ll catch up on it in
my column next week. Until then, have a great week!
For more details and information on corporate, specialist and personal
growth training, please contact me at [email protected]
Social Commentary by Khai Khem
Will Bangkok’s mafia ‘snitch list’ actually have all the names on it?
Many readers must have had an experience of what is
referred to as d้jเ vu. The phenomenon is akin to “having
seen it all before”. In real life terms it most likely is a feeling that
you know what is coming next because you can spot certain signs that
signal a repeat performance of what has happened before. Recently I have
been getting the feeling that Pattaya is going through another rough patch
in terms of its unflattering reputation amongst non-residents, tourists
and commercial visitors. Regrettably, no matter how many well-intentioned
plans are on the drawing board and how high the pile grows of projects
awaiting approval and budget which would raise our standards in the eyes
of the international community, we seem to be stumbling on the slippery
road to progress.
So are all our attempts to repair our city’s tawdry
image ending up as futile? Not exactly. Our city is growing. That is, by
most standards, a good thing. It means that Pattaya is attracting more
people because it now offers more. Are we keeping up with the demands an
increasing population requires? No way. Fast-growing cities around the
world are all pretty much suffering from the same dilemma. Does that mean
we should continue to offer excuses as to why we cannot keep up? Hey! -
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but guess what? Nobody cares about our
lame explanations about why Pattaya is what it is.
We are suffering from what I call the “push me-pull
me” syndrome. The hardworking and conscientious sector of our city’s
residents is pushing for social and economic reforms. This group makes up
more than just a handful of very committed residents in the private and
public sector who are working their butts off to make Pattaya a better
place to live and a more attractive venue for visitors to enjoy. This
sector numbers in the thousands, whether or not their names appear in
print or they receive the slightest publicity about their efforts. And
they don’t just pay lip-service to this commitment; they invest their
money, time and energy behind the scenes because they believe in our
city’s future. This group is the vehicle which is pulling us into the
future and is dedicated to the betterment of our society. But they cannot
do it alone, and there are forces which are pushing them out of their
sphere of positive accomplishments.
Not long ago, Bangkok’s central government
implemented a campaign to wipe out corruption and its long entrenched
destructive decimation of Thai society. The mafia ‘snitch list’
appeals to the general public to provide information about the bad guys
who threaten, extort and murder innocent victims who are involved in
businesses or occupations which are typically held hostage to ‘dark
Ordinary people are probably afraid to blow the whistle
on gangsters who would just as soon shoot them dead as not. The honest
citizens of our community have no assurance that they will be protected if
and when they inform on ‘dark influences’. Even law enforcement
officers are not immune to intimidation and assassination. So what chance
do we mere mortals have against the threat of mayhem and/or death if we
inform on what is euphemistically referred to as ‘influential people’
who undermine the best interests of Thai society with corruption and wield
such power that they are untouchable and above the law?
The USA has a scheme called the ‘witness protection
program’. Will Thailand implement something similar which protects
informants against retaliation from powerful criminals? The program in the
USA is not fool-proof, and to say it is devastatingly disruptive to the
lives of those who bear witness against gangsters is an understatement -
even when it works.
Thailand is a small country and to relocate people and
give them new identities and set them up as wards of the federal
government at the state’s expense is not a viable plan. So how do we
protect those who ‘squeal’? Do we shave their heads and sequester them
in monasteries, ship them off to live in neighboring counties, or just
leave to their fate and the luck of the draw? Like the war on drugs, the
war on corruption is going to produce a lot of blood-letting. We can’t
ask individuals to step forward and risk their lives without a viable plan
to protect them.
Woman's World: That golden glow Part 1
by Lesley Warner
This week I decided to give a little advice to those younger
readers of my column. You may remember that I mentioned my daughters’
total disregard for their skin. I have since discovered that they can now
go to the beauty parlour for a sun bed session that only takes 6 minutes
using fluorescent lights that produce high intensity ultraviolet rays.
When I used to go (yes I have done it too) years ago it was a chore, lying
like the filling in a toasted sandwich maker for 20-30 minutes. I even
know people that use a sunbed to get a perfectly even tan that live in
Not very attractive but
What these golden beauties don’t realize is that the sun
bed is even more dangerous than the sun. The ultraviolet rays from a sunbed are
often much stronger than those of the sun, increasing the chances of
blistering, premature ageing of the skin and skin cancer. Researchers maintain
that twenty minutes on a sunbed equals approximately four hours in the sun.
Sunlight contains a mix of UVA and UVB radiation and some of
this is filtered out by the ozone layer. Sunbeds produce mainly UVA radiation,
which penetrates deeper into your skin, and they produce less UVB radiation.
Another thing to bear in mind is that the majority of people
using sunbeds are less likely to use a suncream to protect their skin against
UV radiation. Most reputable beauty parlours, or fitness centers that hire out
sunbeds will supply goggles, but one needs to remember that they are absolutely
essential. If you do not use goggles the combination of UVA and UVB can result
in burning of the cornea in the eyes. Long-term exposure can result in
irreversible damage and cataracts.
Sunbeds can also speed up thinning of the skin, the
development of wrinkles and fine lines, and many other changes that we usually
associate with ageing.
Some people will be more susceptible to skin damage than
others. These are a few examples:
• Under 16s
• Fair, sensitive skin that burns easily or tans slowly
• Freckled skin or people with red hair
• Skin with a large number of moles
• Medication which may make the skin sensitive to sunlight
• A medical condition that is worsened by sunlight
• Relatives that have suffered with skin cancer
For the last 3 years I have been lecturing about the dangers
of laying in the sun, well recently I have discovered some of the benefits of
I am always a little confused with the constant changes in
the advice given to us by scientists. They seem constantly to contradict
themselves from one year to the next. Do they even really know? Now after years
of being told never to expose yourself to too much sun it seems these oracles
feel that sunlight may benefit us!
I found this contradictory paragraph rather difficult to
swallow. “Scientists believe sunlight may reduce the risk of several types of
cancer. Recent studies have found that sunlight can help protect you from
cancer of the breast, colon, ovary, bladder, womb, stomach, and prostrate
Confused? Yes, so am I, so I’ll still stick by my own rule
“Everything in moderation,” and check with your doctor if in doubt.
I’ll give you some alternative ideas for tanning next week.