Graham Macdonald MBMG International Ltd.
Why people are worried, part 2
Four years ago, MBMG was a minority dissenting voice - we
believed that deflation and recession were both inevitable and that by tinkering
with economic nature in the way that he did, Mr. Greenspan and his colleagues
merely served to delay the inevitable, making it many times worse when it
finally would happen. Supporters of his actions state that the economy has grown
well, deflation and inflation have been avoided and that unemployment is at
acceptable levels. However, all of this has contributed further froth and
actually created, or at least heightened, the problems we are now seeing in the
housing and sub prime markets. Robert Eisenbeis, who was a research director at
the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, has concluded the Fed overreacted to the
potential problems of deflation and so kept rates low for too long. Because of
this, it “over stimulated the housing market, and now we’re dealing with the
Another person to back this stance is Edward Gramlich who was a Fed governor up
until a couple of years ago. He has confessed that he failed to comprehend that
the low rates were making it very easy for lenders to get clients via sub prime
mortgages with low introductory rates. He now says the Fed and other regulatory
bodies should have cautioned against what was happening with active supervision
of the lenders. He went on, “We didn’t have that, and we’re paying for it now.”
In the middle of 2004, the Fed started to put up the short-term target rate. It
went up to 5.25% where it stayed for a year or so. It has just recently dropped
to 4.75%. However, such an increase more often than not means that the long term
interest rates will go up as well. This is noteworthy as it will affect normal
mortgages and many bonds. This time, it didn’t. Two year ago, Mr. Greenspan
warned about this and was worried that investors were prepared to accept low
returns for taking on risk. “What they perceive as newly abundant liquidity can
readily disappear,” he said six months before he retired. “History has not dealt
kindly with the aftermath of protracted periods of low risk premiums.” In other
words, what goes up must indeed come down and vice versa.
Recently he backed this up by saying, “We tried in 2004 to move long-term rates
higher in order to get mortgage interest rates up and take some of the fizz out
of the housing market. But we failed.” This was not entirely the fault of the
Fed, one main item that nobody considered was the amount of money flowing into
America at the time.
The background to what happened can be found in Thailand. In 1997, it devalued
(or floated, depending on who you listen to) the baht. This led to other
countries in the region devaluing their own currencies and even meant that some
defaulted on loans. When the Japanese yen started to fall the Chinese began to
worry and “let it be known ... that if things kept going this way they’d have no
choice but to devalue.” At the time, the Chinese currency was pegged to the US
dollar. So, the US Treasury, worried that such an action would start another
surge of yet more devaluations, asked the Chinese to stay firm and hold the peg.
They actually praised them when they did so. However, times changed. Due to
recessions and undervalued currencies imports were low but exports to the West
were on a continual increase. So, in the end, these countries got trade
surpluses that fully replenished their foreign-exchange reserves. For example,
the Thai reserves which basically ran out ten years ago are now at a very
healthy $73,000,000,000. These countries also decided that they would never
again be dictated to, as they perceived it, in such a humiliating way by the
IMF. So, they have maintained these policies and want to continue with them.
Over the last few years the economic fundamentals show that the Chinese currency
should appreciate against the US dollar. However, China has let it rise
gradually and certainly not at the pace the US would like to see. The Chinese
have done this because they want to maintain their export drive and increase the
foreign reserves they have. Already these stand at over $1 trillion.
This has rung some very loud alarm bells in America and a while ago the US asked
the Chinese to float their currency. China was very quick to remind the Treasury
of how it helped to stabilize the world currency crisis in the late nineties by
putting a lot of its spare cash into US Treasuries. By doing this it helped to
keep down the long term interest rates in America. The Chinese government has
also, indirectly, paid $3,000,000,000 into U.S. private-equity firm Blackstone.
Property loans for everybody
If you speak to any number of small bank owners in the US, they will no
doubt echo the words of the owner of a small Colorado mortgage bank called
Boulder West Inc. This company has been selling mortgages for the past thirty
years. For the first twenty years the person taking out the loan had to file
full details of his assets and earnings. Things started to change about ten
years ago when lenders eased back on the information they wanted but this was
only to people borrowing 70% Loan To Value (LTV). Then things changed a few
years ago. The man from Boulder West described how Wall Street investment banks
and other major players laid down the law and wanted more mortgages even if this
meant giving to those who would not have met the requirements even five years
ago. These are the so called ‘sub prime’ clientele.
The owner of Boulder West went on to say, “All of us felt the suction from Wall
Street. One day you would get an email saying, ‘We will buy no-doc loans at 95%
loan-to-value,’ and an old-timer like me had never seen one, it wasn’t long
before the no-doc emails said 100%.”
To be continued
The above data and research was compiled from sources
believed to be reliable. However, neither MBMG International Ltd nor its
officers can accept any liability for any errors or omissions in the above
article nor bear any responsibility for any losses achieved as a result of any
actions taken or not taken as a consequence of reading the above article. For
more information please contact Graham Macdonald on
Snap Shots: by Harry Flashman
Get a ‘wizziwig’ today
Photo courtesy of Tania
Forget digital versus film. Forget zoom lenses versus prime lenses. The
answer to better photographs is ‘wizziwig’. If you haven’t got the
principle of ‘wizziwig’ yet, then you should.
I am a great believer in ‘wizziwig’, usually written as WYSIWYG (What
You See Is What You Get)! Unlike looking for a lady, full of
disappointment when the make-up (or the alcohol) wears off, WYSIWYG
works with photography. It just needs one thing - you have to train your
eye to apply WYSIWYG and look critically through the viewfinder.
We all tend to ‘imagine’ what is in front of us, rather than ‘seeing’
what is really there. Look at drawings of houses done by young children.
Inevitably, there will be more than two walls. Children know that houses
have more than two walls, so draw houses accordingly. However, when you
look at any house, from any angle, you can only see a maximum of two
walls at one time. Small children do not use WYSIWYG.
Unfortunately, neither do we. Especially photographers. Hands up all
readers who have received prints back from the photo-processors and been
disappointed? All of you, if you are telling the truth - and that
What was wrong with those photos? Were there trees growing out of
people’s heads, giving them strange reindeer ‘antlers’? Did some have
such harsh shadows across the person’s face that you could not see the
eyes, and in fact, the face looked grotesque? Did some have the person
so small in the picture that you cannot tell who they are? Shall I
continue, or since you have probably ticked the box for “all of the
above”, let’s not prolong the agony, but get down to what we have to do
to fix the problem.
The answer is very simply WYSIWYG, but you have to train yourself to
‘really’ see. We all know what we want to see in this once in a lifetime
photo, but ignore the fact that what we are seeing in the viewfinder is
not actually what we want. It’s the child and the house with three sides
You have to train yourself to look critically at what is in the
viewfinder/LCD before going ‘click’. This is actually harder than it
seems. You have to look to see if there are trees growing out of
people’s heads. You have to look at the faces and see if shadows are
ugly. You have to be prepared to put the camera down and recompose the
shot before clicking that shutter, remembering at all times that what
the camera ‘sees’ is not necessarily what you might be seeing with the
That may sound a little weird, but it isn’t really. What the camera sees
depends upon the lens you are using. The “standard” (50-55 mm) lens
gives a field of view coverage approximately the same as the human eye,
but the “wide angle” lenses (24 mm and 28 mm) give a distorted viewpoint
compared to that seen by you. Likewise, the “long” lenses give a very
narrow viewpoint compared to what you see with your own eyes.
This is probably one of the best arguments for the use of SLR cameras,
because when you look through the viewfinder, you are actually looking
through the lens that is screwed on the front of the camera. The compact
cameras where you are not looking through the camera’s lens often have a
compensation for this, but it is a poor substitute.
99 percent of serious photographers use SLR’s, and the main reason is
WYSIWYG. Which brings me to the next important item. The Preview Button.
Do you use it? Do you actually know where it is and how to use it? This
is ‘real time’ WYSIWYG. Did you realize that when you look through the
viewfinder, you are looking through the lens with the aperture wide
open? But your shot may be recorded at f16. The preview button allows
you to see at f16 exactly what will be on the final print. Use it! What
you see is really going to be what you get! Order your ‘wizziwig’ today!
by Dr. Iain Corness, Consultant
The ‘fix’ for high Blood Pressure
Blood Pressure is usually written as BP and is essential for
good health. If your BP is zero - you are dead. However, if your BP is too
high, this can lead to strokes, coronary heart disease, kidney disease,
heart failure and back to death again. So it is an important condition.
Unfortunately you do not know if your blood pressure is up, as it does not
give you any warning symptoms until it is ready to blow the top of your head
off. That being the case, I do suggest that rather than wait for that
catastrophic event, it is a better idea to get your blood pressure checked
at least once a year.
Now here comes the first problem - blood pressure is a dynamic measurement,
and it goes up from many factors, including when you last had coffee or a
cigarette, or even sex (with or without ‘viagorous’ assistance).
So what is your “normal” or “usual” blood pressure? That figure can only be
estimated after several readings. A high reading this morning is not
necessarily the same this afternoon. A high reading today is not necessarily
a high reading next week. Even the medical fraternity is in disarray over
this, with for example the Australian Heart Foundation suggesting that the
pressure should not be taken within two hours of a cigarette, because it
“produces acute increases in blood pressure.” Considering a one pack a day
smoker never goes two hours without a cigarette - when do you measure his
pressure that is not within two hours? When he is asleep perhaps? So what
really is his “usual” pressure? For me, the “usual” pressure is the pressure
at which the person runs under most of the day, and for the smoker, that is
the one under the influence of nicotine in my book!
So what is “high” blood pressure? BP is given as Systolic pressure over
Diastolic pressure. As a very rough rule of thumb, anything over 140 mm Hg
(mercury) systolic is too much, as is anything more than 90 diastolic. This
BP is written as 140/90.
Let us now imagine that your BP has been found, over several random
measurements, to be greater than 140/90. (I disagree with colleagues who
will label you as having “Hypertension” after one reading.) What should be
done? The answer is the mnemonic SNAP. That stands for Smoking, Nutrition,
Alcohol and Physical activity.
Here then is how to deal with high blood pressure. First off, stop smoking.
As I pointed out above, if you smoke anything more than eight cigarettes a
day your BP is being continuously elevated. End of story. By the way, note
that smokers have three to four times the risk of heart attacks and strokes
than non-smokers. Also end of their story!
Nutrition. If you are overweight, it is time to reduce. You are overweight
if your Body Mass Index (BMI - we medicos love acronyms) is greater than 25.
To find out your BMI, divide your weight in kg by the square of your height
in metres. (I weigh 78 kg and my height is 1.8 metres. My BMI is 78 divided
by (1.8 x 1.8) giving 24.) For every kg of weight loss you can expect a 2 mm
fall in BP. That’s worth striving for!
While still in the Nutrition area, increase the vegetarian section of your
diet, and even go totally vegetarian if you like. Thai food is high in
plant-based foods and very plentiful in this country! And don’t add salt to
your food. You’ll get used to being without it.
Alcohol. You don’t have to become a teetotaler but limit your drinking to
two drinks a day and give yourself one alcohol free day (AFD) each week.
Physical Activity. Regular physical exercise protects the heart, as well as
lowering BP. 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day is all that is needed -
walking, swimming, cycling or gentle aerobics. Half an hour a day - even you
can find that time!
A simple story with a simple fix. Over to you!
Heart to Heart with Hillary
I have come over here on holiday from the UK and I am shocked by what I see
here, going on night and day. I can put up with the endless beer bars with young
women trying to get people to sit down and drink. I can put up with the fact
there are gogo bars with women displaying their bodies as some sort of tourist
attraction, but I cannot put up with the way old foreign men walk around with
barely teenage Thai girls hanging on to their arm. They all have such smug looks
on their faces with a ‘Look at me, aren’t I clever’ expression. Don’t they know,
or doesn’t anybody tell them that they are just being taken for a ride? They’re
not clever. It’s disgusting.
Mona from Manchester
Dear Mona from Manchester,
When you say “They all have such smug looks on their faces with a ‘Look at me,
aren’t I clever’ expression” are you referring to the old foreign men, or the
barely teenage girls, Petal? Honestly Mona, this can be applied to both of them.
They are smiling because they have found themselves in a situation which is good
for both of them. The young girls have found a financial ‘sponsor’, whilst the
old foreign men have found themselves a gorgeous young companion who will take
care of their every need (until the money runs out). They know what the name of
the game is, Petal. So what is so wrong with it? It is a win-win situation, so
no need to be shocked. Can a ‘man from Manchester’ get a deal like that back
home in the UK? No, he’s more likely to get a moaner.
I come over every year to worship at the feet of the dancing maidens but this
year I notice there seems to be many more Russians walking around Walking Street
than before, but they have all brought their own women with them, rather than
sample the local wares (oops, almost spelled that as “whores”). What do you
think is the reason for this, Hillary? You must have noticed this too. Or don’t
you get out much these days, what with your arthuritis (sic) and being cooped up
in the office all day.
Thank you for asking about my health, and it does get pretty stifling cooped up
in the garret above the editor’s head; however, I do manage to make it down to
street level once a week (but I hasten to add I don’t get down to the level of
the gutter!). You are correct, there has been a none too subtle change recently.
Our Russian visitors have decided that this is a fun place after all, and why
not bring Olga along to share the fun? I think this is called being “faithful”,
a concept totally foreign to many residents. Then of course, perhaps Olga is
into a little bit of what you fancy as well. I’m afraid I haven’t asked, as they
are all so much taller than me, and also rather better endowed in certain areas.
By the way, I am told by our local resident medical authority that it is spelled
“arthritis”, unless your name is Arthur.
Happy New Year and I want to wish all your readers a Happy New Year as well,
though I’m a bit late. Just want to tell you that me and my fan Nok have
celebrated our 15th year together, and they’ve been the best 15 years I’ve ever
had. Not every Thai woman from a beer bar is out to get you as so many of your
writers seem to think. When I look at my mates from the old country, stuck with
the reality that they are never going to find any woman as a partner, unless it
is a ‘grab a granny night’ at the local pub, I just remember how lucky I have
been. Sure we have our arguments from time to time, but it isn’t over who is top
dog in the house, and “I’m more clever than you” or “bring in more money than
you”, or “what are you smiling at?” No, it is much more of a partnership based
on trusting each other, and it has worked well for me and Nok.
Dear Happy Camper,
I am very pleased to see that you and Nok are happy and you are still together
after 15 years. However, you have to also accept the fact that 50 percent of
marriages both in Thailand and overseas don’t make it past five years, so you
are one of the lucky ones. I must also point out that you have been doubly lucky
with your Nok. The bar environment does seem to teach some of our ladies to be
rather grasping and one-sided at times, if not just simply two faced! There are
always exceptions to the rules, and yours seems to be one of them. I just hope
that the readers who are still looking for a partner also realize that your case
is the exception and not the rule. Thank you for the New Year’s greeting, and my
best wishes to you and Nok.
Learn to Live to Learn: with Andrew Watson
Back to Basics
What is an International school?
Whilst there exist unifying groups of schools such as United
World Colleges who seek to maintain standards and educational
philosophy across their member schools, and authorisation and
accreditation bodies (such as the IBO and CIS respectively), the
endorsement of whom represents a kite mark for quality, the
extraordinary diversity of international schools preclude a
universal definition. However, research has suggested defining
characteristics which, depending on the host country, culture
and environment, one might expect to find to a greater or lesser
degree in an international school.
Hayden, (1998) and Richards (1998, in Ezra, 2003) produce
criteria which include: promotion of international
understanding, a balanced multi-national student body and
faculty, preparation for global destinations for higher
education and standards aligned with American or European
In my view, diversity and Diaspora are central to the idea of an
international school. The celebration of diversity, through the
‘planned interaction’ (Walker, 2000 in Hayden & Thompson, 2000)
of students from different backgrounds, Diaspora, (Willis et al,
1994 in Shaw, 2001) where a significant number of the school
community is displaced from their original surroundings and are
internationally mobile. (Ezra, 2003) The Diaspora might also be
expected to include ‘third culture kids’ (Pollock and Ven Reken,
1999) or global nomads (Useem, 1976 in Ezra 2003).
Whilst acknowledging that the celebration of diversity is by no
means limited to international schools (multi-cultural inner
city schools often enjoy the same diversity), in suggesting that
the idea of celebrating and valuing diversity is central to what
defines an international school, it follows that effective
leadership should keep the central tenet of diversity at the
centre of school practice. It should be pervasive, from mission
statement to classroom practice. Hayden & Thompson (2000) speak
of an ‘international attitude’ arising from the natural
diversity of nationalities, language, cultures and religious
International schools have a crucial role in shaping a future
that can be safer, cleaner and healthier, politically,
economically, socially and spiritually. As the single most
important figure in a school, the leader of an international
school has a pivotal role in translating vision into reality,
turning pedagogy into practice. “The importance of the
Headteacher’s leadership is one of the clearest of messages from
school effectiveness research,” (Gray, 1990 in Hayden &
Jameson (1991, in Morrison, 1998) characterises today’s global
society as “postmodernism in partnership with late capitalism”.
The boundaries between schools and business and industry are
blurred. Morrison (1998) maintains that there is a traditional
antipathy between education and business. Shaw (1996) alludes to
the lack of research between the two. Nonetheless, it can be
forcibly argued that best organisational practice is equally
applicable and relevant to both business and education. What
Morrison (1998) refers to as a “celebration of disparateness and
chaos” in postmodernism, can be compared with the awareness and
celebration of diversity in education. In both, change and
uncertainty are omnipresent.
Welton (2001), in recognizing that international schools are
heterogeneous in type and origin, makes a crucial point
regarding the link between international schools and their
choice of leader. “Their approach to planning and management
reflects the origins of their founders and the professional
socialisation of their current managers.” It is the nature of a
school which determines the kind of leader.
According to Hawley (1995), leadership in international schools
is something that does not last very long. For a wide variety of
reasons, longevity of Headships is an average of 2.8 years.
Whilst acknowledging that this research is almost ten years old
and based on a particular type of international school
(American), this figure serves to illustrate how precarious the
leader’s position can be.
Attributes are characteristic traits (Concise Oxford Dictionary,
1995). Characteristics traits can be seen as a combined and
evolving result of education and experience, which in turn are
composed of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Knowledge, skills
and attitudes can be seen as an interdependent group of
attributes with ever changing emphasis. Categorising their
characteristics should not diminish their essentially
interdependent nature. In identifying the attributes required
for effective leadership, it is important to consider that it is
by no means certain that a person will have arrived at the
position of leader by demonstrating the required knowledge,
skills and attitudes. “I fear that most heads who have been
deputies arrive at their first board meeting with no relevant
experience at all,” (Walker, 2004).
In the ‘Wild West’ of international schools, where prevailing
uncertainty, complexity and chaos reflect global reality, there
are many reasons for Headteachers arriving at the top of the
pile. Some seem to resemble the educational equivalent of gun
slingers who have ‘faced down’ their rivals. “Heads who control
all the decisions, who obstruct initiative, who choose blame
before praise, who see only problems where others see
possibilities, are heads who create discouraged and dispirited
teachers,” (Fullan & Hargreaves, 1992).
Morrison (1998) suggests that leaders need not be heroes or
geniuses but leadership, I would argue, requires the capacity
for heroic work and the potential for genius. Leaders must first
know what is necessary in order that they can do the ‘right
thing’. In education, there are many such defining moments.
Mandela (1993) maintains that, “The terms of the struggle are
dictated by the oppressor, not the oppressed,” a view which
combines knowledge of the reality of people’s condition with
their civil and human rights and legitimate aspirations. The
following is an example from personal experience:
During the Al-Asqua Intifada in Jerusalem in 2001, our school
became a haven for reconciliation and a model for the indigenous
populations to follow. Fearless but compassionate, the leader of
the school brought the community together. This required the
capacity for understanding a situation with intuition,
initiative, intelligence, courage and a sense of shared humanity
and the same kind of genius as leaders like Mandela and Ghandi.
Consistent with Morrison (1998), the leader demonstrated
panoramic vision and was regarded as a visionary himself. He was
able to “identify and maintain the special character, symbolize
to the outside world exactly what the company is, set
challenging but manageable standards of performance, motivate
all employees, be a positive role model” and in so doing, he
epitomised the characteristics of hero-leadership identified by
Clarke (1994, in Morrison, 1998). His choice of appropriate
response was what Redin (1991, in Law & Glover, 2000) refers to
as “style flexibility”.
Next week: Can transformational leadership be learned?
Doc English, the Language Doctor:
Lost For Words?
Hello and welcome! Last week we talked
about using dialogues to help you and your child practice English on a
daily basis. It’s good to start every lesson with a bit of dialogue, so
here’s a new one to try. Play the Shopping Game with 2 or more people.
The more people you have, the more fun it is. It is a useful game to
help build vocabulary and also practice speaking using past tense.
Below I have demonstrated how to play with a group of four people. If
you want to make the game easier, you could use picture flash cards to
represent shopping items. If you don’t have flash cards, you can always
cut out pictures of household objects or food from magazines to use
instead. You can also use real items (called ‘realia’) instead of
pictures. Your child should know the names of some of the items before
the game, but you can introduce a few new ones if you like.
The Shopping Game
Arrange the children and adults in a circle. The
‘teacher’ (T) starts and the Students (S) follow:
T. Yesterday I went shopping and I bought a doll.
S1. Yesterday I went shopping and I bought a doll and a car.
S2 Yesterday I went shopping and I bought a doll, a car and a kite.
S3 Yesterday I went shopping and I bought a doll, a car, a kite and a
T1 Yesterday I went shopping and I bought a doll, a car, a kite, a game.
And so on around the circle…
Repeat around the circle and watch the shopping list grow. If the
children make a mistake, give them time to self-correct and provide a
few hints. The winner is the one who remembers everything on the
shopping list of course!
I hope you enjoy the Shopping Game. I’ll provide you with another game
next week. If you know a good one you can send it to me at:
[email protected] .com and I’ll include it in this column.
Although some learners have a tendency towards a certain style of
learning, the fact is that most of us do not use each style in isolation
when we encounter a new word. We tend to use a combination of these
different styles. It’s important therefore, for you to cater for all
learning styles when you are teaching your child. For example, if you
are teaching the words ‘green’ and ‘apple’, first show the apple
(visual), let your child touch it, take a bite (kinaesthetic). Show them
a flash card with the word written on it and say the word a few times
(auditory). Get your child to notice the shape of the word, the sound it
starts with, the sound in the middle and the sound at the end. Finally,
encourage your child to say the words and write them down.
Show another object to contrast with the first object and to clear any
confusion they might have. Show a ‘red apple’ and repeat the process.
Put the objects behind your back and encourage them to say what you
might have in your left or right hand ‘green apple’ or ‘red apple’.
Introduce a few more items and put them in a bag, encourage your child
to feel the item in the bag and practice saying the names for the
objects in order to guess the name of the item. Finally, show how to
write the words and encourage your child to draw a picture of the items
and write the names underneath.
Sadly, that’s all we have time for this week. Remember, you can send
your questions or suggestions to me via email at docenglishpattaya
@gmail.com. Don’t forget to find out which learning style you and your
child have, there are many tests on the internet to help you find out!
Next week: Teaching Vocabulary
Let’s go to the movies:
by Mark Gernpy
Now playing in Pattaya
Cloverfield: US Action/Sci-Fi/Thriller - This film has been
swathed in mystery from the beginning, with not even its title revealed
for many months – just that startling image of the Statue of Liberty
without a head in front of a smoldering New York City. Now we know it
revolves around a monster attack as told from the point of view of a
small group of people, filming it with their hand-held video cameras.
The movie’s publicity people have been inundating the internet recently
with fake news stories about early monster attacks, like on an oil rig
off the Atlantic coast of the US, all leading up to the super-big attack
you will see in this film.
Hitman 47: US Action/Thriller - This movie is based on a video game,
which is an entirely different medium than film, and basically
non-dramatic. Its roots show: we simply see one meaningless violent
encounter after another. I must add that the first few minutes (under
the opening credits) are terrific, as boys are shown being programmed to
become assassins by what looks like a combination of the Roman Catholic
Church and organized crime, all to the accompaniment of “Ave Maria.”
And now I find out that those fine opening moments didn’t come from the
filmmakers at all, but was footage “borrowed “ from a TV series, and
that the “boy” who grew up to be “47” is actually a girl. Can you trust
Anyway, the “boy” grows up to be Agent 47 (Timothy Olyphant), a killing
machine who obeys instructions announced to him, “Mission:
Impossible”-style, via a computer. Overall, I think it’s an unfortunate
combination of excessive violence, incoherent plot, and inane dialogue.
Hilariously, there are several instances of a naked woman’s breasts
pixilated by the Thai censors.
This is one of the very few movies rated NC17 in Thailand, meaning,
supposedly, that anyone 17 or under is not allowed to see it under any
circumstances. Things have to be pretty bad and bloody to get this
rating here, where blood on the screen is par for the course. And it’s
rated R in the US for strong bloody violence, language, and some
sexuality/nudity. Generally negative reviews.
Mum Deaw: Thai Comedy – A gentle, sweet, and sentimental story.
Unmarried Mum, played by Thai superstar Mum Jokmok, leaves his easy
going, relaxed life in the quiet village of Yasothorn to head for
Bangkok where he stays at a vacant house owned by one of his relatives.
Something strange happens on the day he moves in: a young boy named Deaw
approaches him and says, “Hi, I’m Deaw, and I’m your future son.” He
explains that, in the universe postulated in this film, if Mum does not
make love to Deaw’s future mother very soon, Deaw will be born as a
puppy to the dog next door. Depending on your tastes, you will find this
film either nicely sentimental, or excessively maudlin.
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem: US Action/Horror/Sci-Fi – Just what you
would expect it to be, a comic book brought to life, loudly. I found it
an exciting, confusing, mindless blood bath and gore fest, with an
excess of bodily fluids – blood from the humans and lord knows what
translucent slime from the non-humans. This is also, along with Hitman,
one of the few movies rated NC17 in Thailand. Rated R in the US for
violence, gore, and language. Generally negative reviews.
National Treasure: Book of Secrets: US Action/Adventure – The movie is
absolutely preposterous and utterly implausible, but I thought it a lot
of fun – but then I like very much Nicholas Cage’s persona and sense of
humor. If you liked the first film, I think you will enjoy this one,
also. Helen Mirren is a pure delight! Mixed or average reviews.
Konbai The Movie: Thai Romance/Comedy – Usual low-class Thai comedy with
the usual stars, mostly from television.
Yen Pe Le Semakute (Three Cripples): Thai Low Comedy/Action – Just an
ordinary very low-class Thai comedy with well-known television and movie
…and looking forward to Thu. Jan. 31
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: US Thriller/Drama – with
Johnny Depp in the Stephen Sondheim musical, directed by Tim Burton.
This film, which I am greatly looking forward to seeing, has been
postponed from Jan. 3 to Jan. 31.
“What you will see is as dark as the grave. What you will hear is some
of the finest stage music of the past 40 years.”
As the New York Times long-time movie critic says: Mr. Burton’s film
adaptation of Mr. Sondheim’s musical is as dark and terrifying as any
motion picture in recent memory. Indeed, “Sweeney” is as much a horror
film as a musical: It is cruel in its effects and radical in its
misanthropy, expressing a breathtakingly, rigorously pessimistic view of
Reviews: Universal acclaim. I can’t wait!
Explore your Keyboard – the time saver!
Wonder how you could speed up your day-to-day work on
your computer and rest your eyes and save time for your family and
friends? To get started, I have here, simple tips for office people who
want to shorten their time in getting tasks done.
We all are experts at multi-tasking when sitting on a computer. Ever
been in a situation where you find yourself having a whole lot of
programs open at a time? And at some point, you wanted to get rid of
everything that’s blocking the view of your Desktop icons like My
Computer, My Documents or just files on the Desktop. Many of us do that
by clicking on the “Show Desktop” button next to the “Start” button on
your taskbar. Try the easier way just by pressing and holding the
Windows key (between Ctrl and Alt keys) and press “M”. Done with
Desktop? Press and hold the Windows key, Shift key and “M” and you
should find all of those open or “maximized” programs back on your
screen. What a life saver!
Try some more shortcuts below:
Alt + Tab ||
Toggles between open programs|
Use this when 2 or more programs are open and you want to switch from one to
|Ctrl + Tab
Toggles between open documents in the same program|
Different from Alt+Tab, use this when 2 or more documents are open
within the same program and you want to switch from one document to
Alt + F4||
Quits any open program – works for shutting down Windows too!|
Exactly like the “X” button on the top-right corner of every Windows
program, use this to close any program
Ctrl + F4||
Closes only the current
Use this when
you want to close only the current open document and not the program
While editing text…
Ctrl + C* ||Copy|
Ctrl + X*||Cut|
Ctrl + V*||Paste|
Ctrl + B||Bold|
Ctrl + I||Italic|
Ctrl + U||Underline|
Ctrl + Z*||Undo|
Ctrl + A*||Select All|
Ctrl + P||Print|
Ctrl + Left or Right Arrow
Move the blinking cursor left or right skipping one word at a time|
Shift + Left or Right Arrow
Make text selection one word at a time|
* Can be used while dealing with files and folders as well
While dealing with files and folders…
F2 ||Rename a file|
Open Find tool to search for files
or folders in your computer|
While surfing the web…
F5 ||Refreshes the current webpage|
Alt + Left Arrow*
or just Backspace
Go back to previous page|
Right Arrow*||Go forward one page|
Esc (Escape Button)
||Stops the page
immediately from loading|
Home||Go to your Homepage|
Go back to the top of a webpage|
Go directly to the bottom of a
|Ctrl + N
Open a new browser window|
+ Enter||Automatically put the preceding
“http://www.” and succeeding “.com” when typing a website address in the
on a link||Open the link in a new
|Ctrl + D
Add or bookmarks the current webpage to your Favorites|
* Works well while dealing with files
and folders too
Want more? Get your hands on the whole list at
Getting used to these shortcuts can really make life easier, giving back
to you all that time you needed to catch a movie with your family!
Does the word computer seem like “100110110” to you? Ask Mr. Tech Savvy
for help. Or if you impress the ladies with your computer skills,
suggest a tip and find it featured here next week!
Go ahead, send them to [email protected]. Till then… Alt+F4!
Just for Geeks|
Don’t like small text size while surfing the web? While
on a website, roll your mouse wheel upward while holding the Ctrl key
and see what happens!