Pattaya Mail Web

 

 

COLUMNS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Money matters

Snap Shots

Modern Medicine

Heart to Heart with Hillary

Let’s go to the movies


Money matters:   Graham Macdonald MBMG International Ltd. Nominated for the Lorenzo Natali Prize

It’s a lot of old Bull…

If you look from afar things do not look too bad when it comes to equities. The Dow Jones 30 (DJ) has gone from the nadir of 6,500 earlier this year in March to over 10,000. People are saying the worst is over and 2010 will be a much better year. However, if you look more closely then things are not as rosy as they seem.
As we all know, nothing goes up or down forever. In a normal series of events when the equity markets are in the early stages of an upward surge then there is a good range and variety of stocks that lead the way. These are usually led by companies which investors hope will be first to respond to any positive trends.
In fairness, this is exactly what happened a few months ago. However, if you look at the companies which were the first to respond then you will see that these gainers are not surging ahead as they did before. This is definitely a sign that says the present bull market is getting old, especially when some of these large companies are energy and financials.
Even though the S&P and DJ have kept on an upward trend (at the time of writing in mid-December), the indices which govern SME companies, such as the Russell 5000, have not managed to do this and so remain below the highs of October. It is not just energy and financials but also things like technology that are not doing as well as they did.
Equities that rely on good, strong economic growth are not as popular as before and potential investors now look to healthcare and telecommunications as they are thought to be less volatile. This, in itself, is a visible sign that the confidence of earlier this year no longer abounds. Proof of this lies in the fact that since mid-October over USD14 billion has been taken out of American stocks and funds.
It is not just individuals who are worried, a lot of the American pension funds are easing themselves out of equities. This does then beg the question as to what is keeping the DJ etc so high. Well the easy answer, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out recently is, “Fast-money investors such as hedge funds and proprietary trading desks of big brokerage firms.” Despite this though the volume of trading has dropped quite dramatically which indicates people are not as interested in equities as they used to be. If you look at the trading on the New York Stock Exchange it can be seen the average has been over 5.5 billion a day. This has now dropped to about 4.7 billion.
The Dow Jones has gone up by nearly 60% since early March but these recent figures show the markets are not as attractive as they once were. Now this could be because it is following the statement of above, i.e., nothing goes up or down forever. However, this is ignoring a more fundamental situation. People have been investing like crazy since the markets turned in the hope there would be a real improvement in the world economy next year. As 1st January approached, these investors were doubting if business can actually bring in the forecasts being given at the moment. Miller Tabak analyst, Phil Roth says, “If people are disappointed, the market could get blasted.”
The real test was in late December and early January. If the money taken out recently comes back in then this is a good indication there is still life in the old Bull yet. For example, Ned Davis Research (NDR) is still recommending to its clients they invest 70% in equities and the remainder in bonds and cash. What is interesting though is that it is no longer advising people to buy SMEs. This is always an early sign of caution. Even more eye catching is that the company has also told its customers to take hedges “such as option contracts” which can provide a cushion against any quick drops in market values.
One analyst from NDR, Ed Clissold, opined, “The tailwinds from the economic bottom are still blowing fairly hard…we are going to be on alert. We could still get a stiff correction or even a bear market.”
Without doubt, NDR is worried about the number of shares now in the marketplace. The older a bull market gets, the more smaller stocks start to go down. Inevitably larger ones then follow. Concept Capital agrees there is a problem. This company uses a system which tracks the percentage of S&P500 stocks that go up quicker than the index itself. This is usually high when the market is going well. However, it slows down when it is not. It is not nearly as fast now as it was earlier this year.
There is one small curve ball in all of this - the US Federal Reserve. The real question that needs answering is how much longer is it going to keep printing money 24/7? As long as it continues to keep buying bonds and maintaining low interest rates then some of this money will find its way into stocks and so drive them higher. This is basically keeping the markets higher than they should be.
As Miller Tabak’s Roth points out, “The data tell you that we are late in the bull market.” Unfortunately, all of this points to a massive correction in the world markets and stock markets taking a dive. This is not the end of the world if you have positioned your portfolio properly and have diversified your investments across all asset classes. In fact you could end up taking advantage of a large downturn…and that is not a load of old bull.

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 [email protected]



Snap Shots: by Harry Flashman

Giving the Golden Glow to your portraits

Photographs taken in the late afternoon are notable for the warm golden glow that the afternoon light gives to the subjects. People are positively ‘glowing’ with health and vitality. Sickeningly brimming full of goodness, and golden hues just radiating from their every pore. Well, I am sorry to tell you, but like so many things in photography, it is a fraud! A photographic ‘trick’ but one that you can use to your own advantage. A trick that will cost you about 100 baht for the equipment and three minutes to master! Interested?

Commercial gold reflector.

However, all photographic tricks still have to conform to the basic rules of physics, in particular the rules of light. Light travels in straight lines and will bounce off any non-translucent object. And that, quite simply, is the scientific basis to this trick.
The ‘golden glow’ that comes from the subject in the photo is really just reflected golden light, bounced back on to the subject. Portrait shots benefit from this warm healthy look and when you use the technique properly, the subjects will look many years younger because you can get rid of saggy chins quicker than a plastic surgeon can say, “Get your wallet out!”
Now in the photographic sense, the natural golden glow comes in the late afternoon, with the sun getting low on the horizon, as I mentioned at the outset. There are good scientific reasons why this is so, but here is not the place to discuss them. Just accept the fact that late afternoon sun is the “warm” time. Take pictures at this time of day and you will get that golden glow - but our photographic trick will allow you to get that warm golden glow at any time of day - and control it as well, something you cannot do so easily with the sun as your light source!
What you have to do is build a light reflector that reflects that warm color. Go to the newsagent and get some gold foil paper. The sort of wrapping paper you use for wedding gifts. It may be embossed or patterned, and in fact it is better if it is, but must be gold in color. Glue the gold paper on to a sheet of cardboard or polystyrene sheet approximately one meter square. You do not have to be deathly accurate or neat. If the surface gets a little ‘scrunched up’ that is fine too. Your capital outlay is probably around 50-100 baht. Not bad, so far!
Now you have a reflector, which if you play with it near a window for example, will shine “gold” on to any subject. You are now ready to impart that golden glow.
The best photos for this exercise are people shots taken outdoors, with the sun behind the subject. This we call ‘back lit’. You will find that the subject’s hair becomes very bright around the edges, almost like a ‘halo’ effect.
Now for the addition of the golden glow. To do this, you position your reflector to shine some sunlight back towards the subject. Prop the reflector in the best position to give the degree of golden glow you want (I generally just prop it up with the camera bag, or you can get an assistant to hold it for you) and look through the viewfinder. See what a difference this makes? The ugly chin shadow has gone as the light is coming upwards, and the subject now looks brilliantly glowing and healthy. The one meter square reflector will also impart catchlights to eyes to make them sparkle as well. The end photo has shiny hair, bright eyes and a golden complexion radiating warmth. A fabulous picture.
Now, the downside! It is more difficult to get the correct exposure setting in the backlit situation. If your camera has a Backlight button, then use it. If not, walk in close to the subject so that the persons face fills the frame, and take your exposure reading from there. Use the exposure lock, or just memorize the readings and put them in on manual mode. It is worth it. Try bracketing if you are still unsure.


Modern Medicine: by Dr. Iain Corness, Consultant

Rectal bleeding

A very nice lady came and saw me at the hospital last week. “I just wanted to thank you for saving my husband’s life,” she said. I was somewhat taken aback at this, but she went on to say she had read one of my articles on rectal bleeding, saw how this described her husband’s situation, and brought him in to see our gastroenterologists, who confirmed her fears. Fortunately it was not too late, and her husband recovered. So, as thanks to the lady and her husband, whose name I do not know, I am repeating the substance of that article.
The rectum is the last portion of the large bowel that ends just before the anus. Bleeding from this area can be a herald sign of a mild or life-threatening importance, which is why all episodes of rectal bleeding must be investigated.
Depending upon how high up in the gastro-intestinal tract is the cause of the bleeding, it may be seen as black, tarry stools, maroon stools; bright red blood on or in the stool, blood on the toilet tissue, or blood staining the water in the toilet bowl bright red. Treatment can range from relief of symptoms and let Mother Nature do the rest, to antibiotics, blood transfusion, or even surgery. It all depends on the cause.
There are many potential causes, including Hemorrhoids (piles) which are swollen rectal veins in the anal and rectal area. They can cause burning, painful discomfort, as well as bleeding. External hemorrhoids are small swellings that are easy to see and quite painful; however, internal hemorrhoids are usually painless. A feeling of incomplete emptying may be noted with bowel movements. Treatment focuses on relieving these symptoms with the use of stool bulking agents and softeners, and if necessary, removal of the bleeding piles.
Rectal fissure is another. This is a tear in the lining of the rectum caused by the passage of hard stools, which can lead to mild rectal bleeding of bright red blood. Exposed nerves and vessels result in moderate to severe pain.
Diverticulosis, those little pockets on the bowel wall, can also bleed. The stools are dark red or maroon. Pain is usually absent but surgery is required in up to 25 percent of these patients.
Bloody diarrhea is often seen in Bacterial dysentery, which we have all had to a greater or lesser degree. Responsible organisms include Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella, Shigella, Escherichia coli, and Clostridium difficile. A most unsavory bunch! The treatment depends upon the organism, but generally intravenous fluid replacement and an anti-spasmodic and broad spectrum antibiotic will bring this under control.
Another common cause of rectal bleeding is inflammatory bowel disease especially in young adults - typically those younger than 50 years of age. Bleeding occurs in small to moderate amounts of bright red blood in the rectum, usually mixed in with stool and mucus. Associated symptoms include fever and abdominal cramps. This condition generally settles with steroids.
Of course, the one that everyone worries about is bowel cancer. We lump these together under the general heading of Tumors and Polyps. Polyps bulge out from the lining of the colon. Bleeding occurs when large polyps develop. They can be hereditary, and are usually harmless, but some types can be precancerous.
Both benign and malignant tumors are frequently found in the colon and rectum. Those people older than 50 years are most affected; however, tumors can be found in younger people. It should also be noted that less than 20 percent of people with tumor or polyps will have rectal bleeding. However, when bleeding does occur, it is usually slow, chronic, and minimal. Diagnosis requires careful evaluation with colonoscopy.
Rectal bleeding from a traumatic cause is always a critical concern. Rectal damage from a gunshot wound or foreign body insertion can result in extensive infection or rapid and fatal blood loss.
And yes, there’s more! A common source of bleeding is hemorrhage from the stomach or duodenum. This can occur after someone has swallowed a foreign body that causes injury to the stomach lining or bleeding stomach ulcers.
The list does go on, but these conditions are rare. However, the message is that rectal bleeding must always be investigated.


Heart to Heart with Hillary

Dear Hillary,
I can’t believe it’s 2010 already. It seems like it’s just 2001, because that’s when I met my sweetheart, and even though you don’t like it, I found her in a bar and we’re still together nine years later. We got married after a couple of years of living together, because I wanted her to get anything here after I die. I’ve taken everything out of the UK, where my first family lives. They’ve never done anything for me over the years, so I’m quite sure I’m not leaving them anything now. My Thai wife looks after me so well, it’s the least I can do is to look after her. Before I go to sleep she makes sure I’ve got water, gives me a back massage and sits there till I fall asleep. In the morning she’s already got the breakfast going before I get up. What western woman would do all that? None. I know there’s a risk with girls from the bar business, but I’ve got no complaints with mine. She wasn’t the best looking one, but inside she’s a little diamond.
Horace

Dear Horace,
I am so glad you are a Happy Horace, and you are correct in that there are some little diamonds that can be found behind the bar. Unfortunately there’s a few cubic zirconias as well, so you have to be careful, which you were, waiting a couple of years before you got married. I cannot really comment on your family in the UK, Petal. They probably felt that you deserted them, while you think they’ve done nothing for you. Might be six of one and half a dozen of the other, I think. Whatever, they are still your family and you should keep in touch if nothing else. Enjoy your new life with your new wife, and do thank the spirits for the lucky choice.


Dear Hillary,
Most days I walk up from my office for lunch and go to the 7-Eleven and I pass a couple of little dress shops on the way. There’s a girl in one of them that I have been speaking to, and she seems always happy to talk. I would like to see if this can go any further, but I don’t know what you should do with a Thai girl, especially one who isn’t from the bars. What’s the next move, Hillary?
Shy Sam

Dear Shy Sam,
You really are a wimpy willy aren’t you? You work in an office, she works in the dress shop and you’re on chatting terms. And you have to ask me what’s next? I’ll tell you what’s next you shrinking violet. You say, “I’m going to get some lunch, would you like me to bring you back a sandwich?” If she says yes, then you go and bring her back a sandwich - and use your own money, that’s a good little Petal, don’t ask her for the 22 baht. OK? After a few days like that, you ask her if she’d like to have a meal with you when she finishes work. Be prepared for the fact that dress shops can stay open fairly late, which could be past your bedtime. Do you get the message now? Or do I have to order your sandwiches as well? (What is wrong with the young men of today? No wonder I can get crabby some days.)


Dear Hillary,
Two years ago I met a bar girl in Pattaya who was from Esarn. She was intelligent and very proud of her family - did not like her work - but as many do, did it for survival reasons. We got along well together, and even though I had to go back home, we discussed her leaving the bar if I helped her family financially. She went back to her village two months after I met her and has now her pride back and works in a simple family business and earns less than 150 baht a day. I send her help every month and visit her village three times a year - and when I visit I am treated like a family member by all her family. We intend to get married in a year’s time and yes you have got to provide for the one you love no matter where you live in the world, but the rewards in Thailand are well worth it.
Bill from UK

Dear Bill from UK,
Hillary does print these success stories, but I have to wait till people send them in, but the successful ones are people who are happy in their relationship and do not need advice from an ‘agony aunt’ column like this one, so this is why you do not read them so often. Your point is well taken and should be understood by everyone who is contemplating entering a relationship anywhere in the world. Love (alone) does not pay the bills. There is an obligation to provide and I am very pleased to see that you have accepted that, and that it is working out for you, but remember too that one couple is not every couple, as you will have found if you read this column each week.


Let’s go to the movies: by Mark Gernpy

Now playing in Pattaya

The Wolfman: UK/ US, Horror/ Thriller – Starring Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving; directed by Joe Johnston.  I think the trailers look exciting!  And stylish!  Intended as Universal Studio’s $85 million remake of its classic 1941 Lon Chaney monster movie.  Many behind-the-scenes shenanigans in this troubled movie involving crew changes, long delays, reshoots, and re-edits.  Rated R in the US for bloody horror violence and gore.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief: Canada/ US, Fantasy/ Comedy – The Mount Olympus gods are not happy: Zeus’ lightning bolt has been stolen, and high school student Percy Jackson is the prime suspect.  Even more troubling is the sudden disappearance of Percy’s mother.  As Percy finds himself caught between angry and battling gods, he and his friends embark on a cross-country adventure to catch the true lightning thief, save Percy’s mom, and unravel a mystery.  Wow!  Logan Lerman is Percy, and others in the cast are Catherine Keener, Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, and Uma Thurman.  Directed by Chris Columbus.  Based on a best-selling children’s novel by Rick Riordan.

Confucius / Kong Zi: China, Biography/ Drama – Set in 6th Century BC, this is the life story of the Chinese thinker and philosopher, from his days as a court official through battles and political intrigues, to his old age as a disillusioned sage.  Directed by Mei Hu.  Some recent controversy over the film’s Hollywood-way of pumping up the romantic and action-related angles of the man, even casting an action hero (Chow Yun-Fat) as the man himself, and portraying him as romantically attracted to a concubine.

From Paris with Love: France, Action/ Crime/ Thriller – Starring John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.  A low-ranking intelligence operative working in the office of the U.S. Ambassador in France takes on more than he bargained for when he partners with a wisecracking, fast-shooting, high-ranking U.S. agent who’s been sent to Paris to stop a terrorist attack.  Rated R in the US for strong bloody violence throughout, drug content, pervasive language, and brief sexuality.  Mixed or average reviews.  A Thai-dubbed version at Big C, English elsewhere.

Under the Mountain: New Zealand, Adventure/ Fantasy – New Zealand teen adventure/ horror film about redheaded twins battling intergalactic planet-smashers who live under the dormant volcanoes of Auckland.  For the young-at-heart movie fan who doesn’t mind a family friendly film with magical adventures, mystical strangers, and massive monsters.  At Pattaya Beach only.

Love Happens:  US/ Canada, Drama/ Romance. A dull, chemistry-free affair that under-utilizes its appealing leads, Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston.  About a self-help guru who is great at giving advice to everyone except himself.  Generally unfavorable reviews.  At Pattaya Beach only.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: US, Animation/ Family – Quirky humor, likeable characters, and solid slapstick.  Generally favorable reviews.  At Big C only and Thai-dubbed only.

Tai Hong / Die a Violent Death: Thai, Horror/ Thriller – Now the top Thai film at the boxoffice.  This omnibus film consists of four short shocking stories of death and horror, exploiting four real news stories, including one tasteless recounting of last year’s deadly blaze at Bangkok’s Santika pub, which is truly shocking – but shock at the incredible insensitivity once again shown by Thai film­makers toward traumatic Thai events.

Directed by Poj Arnon (Bangkok Love Story) and three young directors.  The final story, by Poj, is a fairly enjoyable horror sex-comedy.

My Valentine: Thai, Comedy/ Romance – A girl who hates Valentine’s Day meets three young men, each determined to make her his Valentine.  Slightly less than the usual Thai rom/com, a mixture of cute young Thais and older TV comedians.

Avatar: US, Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – Nine Oscar nominations, including best picture and best director.  Now the highest grossing film in the world ever, bypassing the director’s own Titanic.  It’s a very good film and a truly major technological breakthrough.  It’s exciting and beautiful, and has received near-universal rave reviews from critics and fans.

In Pattaya, Major Cineplex and Pattaya Beach have a 2D version, which is in English and Na’vi dialog, with English and Thai subtitles as needed.  Big C has a Thai-dubbed 2D version, no English subtitles.  The only Cineplex to show it in 3D is Pattaya Beach, and unaccountably the 3D version does not have English subtitles for the Na’vi language, only Thai, while the 2D version has English subtitles in a special font and style. 

You might want to see this in IMAX in Bangkok; the bigger the screen, the better.  Reviews: Universal acclaim.  Not to be missed.

Sherlock Holmes: US/ UK/ Australia, Action/ Crime/ Thriller – The Golden Globes best actor award went to Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes.  This is a new take on the Holmes canon but once you get over the shock of seeing Sherlock played as an action figure, it isn’t all that bad.  A bit of the old Holmes shows through.  Purists, however, will not be amused.  Jude Law plays Watson.  Mixed or average reviews.  

Couples Retreat: US, Comedy – Four couples settle into a tropical-island resort for a vacation.  One of the couples is there to work on their marriage, the others fail to realize that participation in the resort’s therapy sessions is not optional. Generally unfavorable reviews.  At Pattaya Beach only.

The Spy Next Door: US, Action/ Comedy/ Family – Jackie Chan fans may be running to see this, but people in the real world think it’s a sad little movie entirely designed to set up Chan’s stunt sequences as he fights with pots, pans, and ladders.  Reviewers say it’s flat and witless – one of Chan’s worst ever, a juvenile, generic, sitcommy mess that utterly fails to thrill or amuse.  Generally unfavorable reviews.



News | Business | Features | Columns | Mail Bag | Sports | Auto Mania
Our Children | Travel | Our Community | Dining Out & Entertainment
Social Scene | Classifieds | Community Happenings | Books Music Movies
Clubs in Pattaya | Sports Round-Up


E-mail: [email protected]
Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.
62/284-286 Thepprasit Road, (Between Soi 6 & 8) Moo 12, Pattaya City
T. Nongprue, A. Banglamung,
Chonburi 20150 Thailand
Tel.66-38 411 240-1, 413 240-1, Fax:66-38 427 596

Copyright © 2004 Pattaya Mail. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Speak German Confidently and Naturally in Less Than 3 Months! Click Here