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Updated every Friday
by Boonsiri Suansuk


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Family Money

Snap Shots

Modern Medicine

Women's World

Heart to Heart with Hillary


Shaman's Rattle

Antiques, are they genuine?

Animal Crackers

The computer doctor

Social Commentary by Khai Khem

Roll over Rover

A Slice of Thai History

The Message In The Moon

Coins of the Realm

Family Money: Going Naked

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

The simplest and most common method of holding assets is directly in one’s own name: what is termed ‘naked ownership’. While naked ownership may be simple and effective for most of us, it is important to realise that this method of holding assets has its own strengths and weaknesses.

There are various reasons for owning assets in one’s own name. For instance, in some countries, real estate can be held only in the name of an individual, not a company or a trust. In others, tax systems are biased towards individual ownership. For example, in the UK, relief from capital gains tax for a residential property is not available to a corporate owner: quoted companies will only confer shareholder benefits where the shares are held directly rather than through a nominee.

Nonetheless, a fundamental attraction of naked ownership is that the asset is the individual’s, to do with as he or she pleases. Many individuals find that transferring ownership to corporate entities or trusts becomes irksome in practice, since ‘your’ assets are now effectively and legally under the control of a third party - who may well hold views different from yours as to what should or should not be done with those assets.

Again, in those countries which apply forced heir-ship rules, the hegemony of the naked owner can prove illusory upon death since not only the estate at death but also lifetime gifts (by claw-back) will be distributed according to the inheritance rules of the State rather than the wishes of the individual.

Testamentary freedom was introduced into Athenian law at the birth of democracy, because “...a man should be allowed to make gifts to his friends”. But the reversion to forced heir-ship rules in Roman law has resulted in ‘gifts by stealth’ throughout Europe. (This may well be why Europeans are so wedded to banking secrecy, preferring a withholding tax on savings rather than exchange of information.) Individuals brought up in Anglo-Saxon legal systems are often blithely unaware of the existence of Roman or civil law systems and therefore of their potential impact.

Once an individual’s “eyes are opened and they know that they are naked,” the temptation is to hide, but the advent of anti-money laundering legislation, both onshore and offshore, has rendered this solution not only ineffective but also potentially costly if you’re found out.

Banking secrecy can also have the unfortunate side effect that the legitimate heirs of an individual can remain ignorant of the existence of his bank accounts and investment portfolios. As a result, the value of so-called orphaned assets held by financial institutions is substantial and growing.

Prepare yourself

Where property is held nakedly it is essential that a properly executed Will be put in place. The basic rule is to have a Will for each country where real estate is owned and another governing movable property. It is important to note that the rules governing the validity of Wills vary from country to country. In Spain, for instance, it is only the last Will lodged with the government registry that is effective.

The next step in ownership planning is to hold property jointly, typically between husband and wife. Many husbands (and wives) balk at the suggestion of joint ownership, and a surprising number of married couples practise strict financial privacy between themselves. But joint ownership can often have considerable legal and tax benefits.

On the death of one spouse, the assets automatically vest in the other, so by and large there is no need for expensive probate and the assets, such as bank accounts, remain operational in what is a traumatic period for the survivor.

In the UK and many other jurisdictions there is also an inter-spousal exemption from gift and inheritance taxes - although this may not always be the case, as for example in Spain.

To be safe, Wills should be executed over jointly-held assets. Typically, husband and wife make ‘mirror image’ Wills leaving everything to the surviving spouse. But in some countries, for instance France, it is necessary to elect for this type of matrimonial regime to apply, to obtain its tax and continuity of ownership benefits.

For couples where the husband is resident abroad and the wife remains resident in the UK the use of an IRD Form 17 can allocate jointly-held bank accounts, securities and real estate to the non-resident spouse to achieve tax efficiency, although care must be taken to ensure that the declaration to the Revenue reflects the reality of the equitable ownership.

Joint ownership confers 100% potential ownership on each joint owner. For UK inheritance tax this is treated as an effective 50:50 ownership. An alternative to joint ownership is tenancy in common where each owner has an actual 50% (or whatever) interest which they are free to dispose of as they wish, independently of the other co-owner but only up to the amount of their interest. This type of ownership has been employed in utilising the nil rate inheritance tax band by having one of the 50% interests go into trust on the death of the first spouse. This would avoid inheritance tax on a home valued up to ฃ484,000 in 2001/02 by utilising the two nil rate bands.

However, great care must be taken in using this approach, which was successfully attacked by the Inland Revenue in the 1998 Lloyd’s Private Banking case, where the basic problem was how to allow the surviving spouse to occupy the whole house while owning only half of it from a tax point of view, the other half being owned by a trust. The test applied in the case was whether the occupant had “a present right to its present enjoyment”. The Court decided that he did and so the whole house fell within his estate, including the 50% held in trust.

Where one spouse has died it is not unusual for the surviving spouse to make one or more of their children or even a remoter relation a joint owner. The law as between spousal joint owners and other joint ownership arrangements is quite different and may well cause significant tax and administration problems in due course.

Here one is attempting to employ a generic type of ownership beyond its natural limits. This can end in tears. It is essential to be aware of the tax, legal and operating limits of generic types of ownership beyond which use can become abuse.

Snap Shot: Julia Margaret Cameron

by Harry Flashman

Be prepared for an inspirational column this week. Look at the photograph of the eminent historian Thomas Carlyle. That was taken in 1867 and is ranked as one of the most powerful portraits in the history of photography.

Look again - technically it is imperfect. There is blurring of the image, and when you realise that the shutter was open for probably around three minutes, then you can see why. The sitter could not possibly remain motionless for that period of time. But it has the power to mesmerize you. Why?

Portrait of eminent historian Thomas Carlyle taken in 1867 by Julia Margaret Cameron.

The dynamics of this shot come from the very first principles of photography - painting with light. It is not the subject that matters - it is the way you light the subject, and this is the prime example, taken 135 years ago. The light is falling on the sitter almost from the side and slightly above. One eye is partially lit and the other in shadow. The hair and beard show up strongly. The photo is totally confrontational.

Analyse further. If the face had been front lit, and both eyes, the nose and the mouth were all clearly visible then there would be no air of mystery. The dark areas of the photograph have made you look further into it. You begin to imagine what the features were like. You also begin to imagine what the person was like. You have just experienced the “perfect” portrait.

The shot was taken by Julia Margaret Cameron (1815 - 1879) a British lady who had been raised in India, in the days of the British Raj. Surrounded by servants, she had never had to do anything for herself, and yet, in her late forties she took up the new fangled notion of photography. This was not the age of the point and shoot simplicity we enjoy today. This was the age of making your own photographic plates by painting a mixture of chemicals all over it - chemicals you mixed yourself - exposing the plate in a wooden box camera and then fixing the negative in more chemicals and finally making a print.

It was the 29th of January 1864 when Mrs. Cameron finally produced her first usable print. She had made the exposure at 1 p.m. and in her diary recorded the fact that by 8 p.m. she had made and framed the final print. (And you think you are doing it tough if you have to wait two hours instead of one)!

As opposed to the tiny “cartes de visite” that were the norm at that time, Julia Margaret Cameron was making close up portraits 30x40 cm. However, she would not have managed to photograph so many of the notables of the era had it not been for her next door neighbour, the Poet Laureate, Alfred Lord Tennyson. After Tennyson saw his portrait he persuaded his eminent friends to sit for her as well. Most of these portraits were different from the Thomas Carlyle photograph in that they were taken in profile. Mrs. Cameron felt that the innate intelligence could be more easily seen in the profile and this may have been the result of the influence of the quasi-science of Phrenology, whereby your cranial bumps showed your true talents, which was all the rage at that time!

Julia Margaret Cameron contributed to photography by showing that it is the eye of the photographer that dictates the photograph, not the “smartness” of the equipment. She also showed a personal determination to succeed which should be an example to the young photographers of today.

So you can stop reading the photographic magazines to see if you should by the latest offering from Nikononanolta complete with one millionth of a second shutter speed and dedicated flash power for up to three kilometres and just go out and take photographs with what you have got. Look at what is in front of you and “make” your own photographs “work” for you. Thus endeth the inspirational lesson. Thank you Mrs. Cameron. Class dismissed!

Modern Medicine: The Breast Screening story

by Dr Iain Corness, Consultant

I recently came across a copy of one of those international news magazines. Front cover was a story on breast cancer screening, with the inference being that it was probably all a waste of time. Despite mammograms and suchlike, there were cases that escaped detection until it was too late and other such negative predictions. Was it all then a waste of resources and money?

Ladies, let me assure you that it is none of those. Unfortunately, the cancer detection story is one that suffers from a problem which can be associated with an inexact science. Since we can put men on the moon, clone sheep (and even rabbits in Chonburi, apparently) and other incredible facts, we should then be able to diagnose human conditions with pin-point accuracy. Wrong!

Diagnosis and detection are “real time” arts, not sciences, even though we would like them to be. Sure, we use “science” as a tool, but that is all it is. A tool to help us see the problem. Just like we can use a telescope to see things at a distance - even if we can’t see the object, that doesn’t mean to say it wasn’t there. The telescope was facing the wrong way; the object was behind not in front.

There has been a bit of that thinking with mammograms of late. A lady has three annual clear mammograms and then finds she has advanced breast cancer during year number four. Was the testing useless?

Again I ask you to look at the “real time” situation. So today cancer was found. When did it “start” to grow? This week, this month, this year? The answer depends upon the type of the cancer. Some fast growing cancers would be impossible to pick up, even if the person had monthly mammograms. The slow growing variety can be picked up years ahead. Unfortunately mammography cannot be a 100% indicator - we are not that good - yet. But it is still one of the best diagnostic procedures we have. And it is better than nothing.

Likewise, Breast Self Examination (BSE) has its detractors as well as its proponents. Sure, a lot depends upon how well the woman carries out this self testing, but again, surely it is better to look than to carry on in blissful innocence?

I do not believe the doomsayers who would tell you that the outcome is just the same. Breast cancer is like all cancers - the sooner you find it, the sooner you can deal with it and the earlier treatment is administered, the better the outcome. In fact, did you know that studies from the American National Cancer Institute show that 96 percent of women whose breast cancer is detected early live 5 or more years after treatment? This is called a 96% five year survival rate, one of the ways we measure the severity of life threatening cancers. If it were a 10% figure - in other words, after 5 years only 10% of the people were still alive, then I would probably also feel that predictive testing was not all that worthwhile. But it is not that bleak an outcome - 96% are still alive and many go on for many, many years.

Ladies, talk with your doctor regarding breast screening, and ignore sensationalism in the popular press!

Women’s World: I want to go to school!

by Lesley Warner

Sometimes I try and imagine myself in another situation, another life, what would I do, how would I handle it? Would I even be the same person?

I have decided that some parts of rural Africa are the last place on earth that I would want to be a woman today. Africa is a huge continent; in some areas they are ahead of their times with many women representatives in parliament. But, in other areas the day starts early, getting up before dawn and walking long distances, and I mean hours sometimes, just to collect the water for the day. Imagine carrying a day’s water for the family, let alone carrying it for hours back home. Then there are the normal household chores to perform, in the humblest of conditions, as well as taking care of the children and any land or cows the family might be lucky enough to own. The men usually sit and chat enjoying each other’s company.

Government policies in most areas uphold these traditions and the subjugation of the women is considered normal procedure. Crimes committed against women are made out to be trivial or interpreted in a manner that either perpetuates the subservience of women in society or undermines their rights to equal legal protection.

Levels of domestic violence against women are very high, and even less well reported than in many other parts of the world. South Africa is the only African country that has enacted legislation outlawing domestic violence and marital rape.

If you understand how old many of these women are when they marry it’s easy to understand why they don’t have the courage or resources to fight back. It’s quite normal to be married at 8 or 10 years old. When the father marries the child to one of his old friends or a distant relative they have no choice. It does not matter that in numerous countries on this continent, such early marriages have been illegal for years. Fathers feel that if they marry the daughters off early, they will prevent them from getting into trouble with boys and therefore shaming the family. If the girl disobeys their husband or father they are tortured and this is considered quite acceptable in the society.

Education always comes second to the marriage so the girls are denied their education when they become a wife. How can they fight for their rights? Who could they turn to, they are only children? Some of the male members of the family do not allow their daughters any education, feeling that this can only lead to problems. Education introduces the girls to the modern world and the men do not want this to happen.

Many researchers say that the reason Africa has such a high maternal mortality rate is because the mothers to be are so young. It is not unusual for both the mother and child to die during childbirth. If they reach adulthood they are probably too downtrodden to even consider any form of fight.

Some areas are slowly changing and improving; the Zimbabwean society shows many sign of entering the modern world. Rural poverty is unfortunately seriously influencing the women’s situation and their capacity to demand their rights.

Violence against women, especially wife beating, is common. Domestic violence rates high as the cause of many murder cases. The media increasingly reports incidents of rape, incest, and sexual abuse of women. Gender issues, which used to only be discussed in the privacy of the home and family, are now discussed in public and abuse is starting to be taken to court.

Unfortunately, though, women still remain disadvantaged, suffering social discrimination in society. Customary practices, including the practice of pledging a young woman to marriage with a partner not of her choosing; the custom of forcing a widow to marry her late husband’s brother; and the custom of offering a young girl as compensatory payment in interfamily disputes is deeply rooted in Zimbabwe.

South African women sang these lyrics while protesting against the apartheid pass laws in the 1950s. Maybe one day the poor child brides of Africa will find the strength to stand and fight.

You have touched the women,
You have struck a rock,
You have dislodged a boulder,
You will be crushed.

- ANC Historical Documents

Heart to Heart with Hillary

Dear Hillary,

Why is there so much in your Agony Aunt column about love-sick, spurned and hopeless men? Don’t they understand that all of life is a lottery and there’s only a few winning tickets. When you don’t win this one then you line up again for the next lottery - after all there’s plenty of lotteries and plenty of tickets! I buy a new lottery ticket every week and I’m enjoying every one of those tickets and one will be a big winner one day. I know I’m only 23 so I’m probably more of an attraction to women than they are, but you only live once, as they say! These hopeless guys should just get off their asses and stop moaning and get on with life, but I suppose for most of them they are really past it. The world belongs to the young, don’t you agree Hillary, or are you past it too?

Lawrence the Lottery player

Dear Lawrence,

Aren’t you just the cat’s whiskers, my Petal. Hillary is glad to see that you are only 23 as it helps explain your arrogance. We were all 23 once, and next year it will just be a memory for you too. Normal men have emotions, just as do normal women do. That is why men write in with their emotional problems. It’s a bit of a release for them. That is what these sorts of columns are about, my precious Lawrence. However, you do show me that you also are a loving person, Lawrence, unfortunately it is only for yourself. Have you ever thought about changing your name to Narcissus? Hillary will bet you can’t walk past a mirror without checking your reflection either. Ever heard the expression, “You’ve got tickets on yourself”? Well you certainly have, and it’s not all lottery tickets. Your time is coming Lawrence the lottery lover. Now please go outside and play.

Dear Hillary,

With great pleasure I have followed your column for several years. Especially the ongoing debates over farang/Thai marriages. As a matter of fact, I defended it and brought up my own as very successful. Today I am very happy I did not send you what I wrote at that time, approximately three years ago. At this time I speak out of 16 years experience but on April 4th it will be precisely one year since I heard from my wife. My Thai lawyer will then bring my case to court for divorce. The only thing I will miss out of our marriage is our two beautiful children whom she cruelly took away from me to go and live out of Thailand with her new man. I should have started this letter with a word to Satisfied Sam (Pattaya Mail Vol X, No. 9) - Morning is growing, the rest of the day is left. You are laying as you are bedding. Don’t misunderstand me, I have friends working in bars and I understand and respect them for their work. Another thing is that it is quite difficult to find a so-called respectable woman and be accepted by her grandma. I have tried it too. I wish you all good luck as I do for myself. I am an optimist living after the idea that nothing is impossible, but some things are more difficult than others. The human being is not meant to live single all his life, neither am I and I will be very careful the next time and I am not in a hurry.

PS. About the gentleman who is looking for the old fashioned haircut. There is a lady called Poo, on Thepprasit Road, 50 metres before the Soi 17 intersection. Cheap and good. Preferably call 038 300 053.


Dear Tore,

Some days Hillary enjoys reading the mail, but some days the mail makes me sad. Today was one of those after reading your letter. Thank you for the very long letter, but as you can see, I did have to shorten it to fit it in the space we are allowed. After 16 years it would be hard, and your letter shows that you have been deeply hurt, and I am sure everyone would understand just how you feel at this time. However, you are a man with a positive attitude, and time does heal the hurt, so I know you will make it and even hopefully find someone else to fill that vacant space in your life. Satisfied Sam probably felt just like you when his farang wife and he split up too, remember. He would advise you to be careful with a foreign lady, just as you are advising him to be careful with a Thai lady. You are not wrong, but neither is he. Just be careful when forming relationships, and despite all the best people and all the best wishes in the world, a certain percentage of relationships will fail. We grow, we mature, we change. It is no one person’s “fault”. Hillary wants the best for you, Tore and for Satisfied Sam. Write me again next year and tell me how life is going. As you say, “The human being is not meant to live single all his life, neither am I and I will be very careful the next time and I am not in a hurry.” Follow your own advice and you will be fine.


Pattaya not that bad

Take a break this week from moans about Sin City. As is generally known, Manchester will be hosting the Commonwealth Games this upcoming July. However, many of the events have been altered to suit the specific Manchester environment. At the opening ceremony, the flame will be ignited by a petrol bomb thrown by a native of the city in the traditional dress of balaclava and shell suit. The flame will be contained in a large overturned police van situated on the roof of the stadium. As Manchester’s competitors have not been particularly successful in previous Games, it has been necessary to adjust procedures in order to redress the balance somewhat in favour of local athletes.

300 metres sprint

Competitors will have to carry a video recorder and microwave oven, one under each arm, and on the sound of a starting pistol a police dog will be released 10 yards behind the athletes. There will also be added obstacles such as car bonnets, hedges, garden fences, walls, etc.


Competitors in this event may choose any kind of hammer they wish to use: claw, sledge, etc. The winner will be the one who causes the most smashing damage within three attempts.


Entrants will be expected to dispose of as many stolen goods as possible within five minutes.


A strong challenge is expected from local men for this event. The first target will be a moving police van. In the second, competitors will aim at a Securicor style wages delivery van. The traditional .22 rifle has been replaced by a choice of Browning automatic handgun or sawn-off 12 bore shotgun.

Men’s 50km Walk

Unfortunately, this event will have to be cancelled. This is because the safety of anyone appearing to be mincing on the streets of the city cannot be guaranteed.

Swimming events

All waterways are currently closed pending tests for toxicity levels, but events will be scheduled once one is found which can support human life.

The Marathon

A safe route has not yet been found.

Cycling Pursuit

Competitors will be asked to choose their own bike by entering a bike shed of their choice during the night. The event will be timed and, in the event of a tie, the most expensive mountain bike will be deemed the winner.

Closing Ceremony

Entertainment will include formation rave dancing by members of the Longsight Health In The Community anti-drug campaigners, synchronized rock throwing and music by the Stockport community Nordic activists. The flame will be extinguished by riot water cannons followed by a pitch invasion by confused Manchester United fans led by the Organized Hooligan section. The stadium itself will then be boarded up before local athletes break in to remove all copper piping and the central heating boiler.

Late news

To guarantee equal treatment for all, drugs testing of contestants has been waived this year.

Shaman’s Rattle: Coincidence - Part 3

Magic Happens

by Marion

Last week I promised readers’ stories of real and amazing coincidences. So here is one of my sister’s and her fianc้ Heinrekus (Henry’s), that I swear on my mother’s grave is fact and not my fiction. It is the stuff of fairy tales but it is real and proves to my sister at least that, “God is alive, magic is afoot.” She already believes in the power of prayer, divine coincidence and synchronicity!

My sister Mardi unlike me is a committed Christian. It is the primal value in her life.

She is coincidentally an unmarried mother, though that was before she was, “Born again!”, and a teacher who is now actively searching for a (Christian) marriage partner. This is her profile she posted on the web on exactly the same date as her Henry posted his a world apart. Read these two and be blown away as I was.

‘Magic happens’ Illustration by Pamela Matthews

Profile: “Magic happens” Caucasian Woman, Single mother 50 years, Australia.

Looking for: Male for Friendship, Romance, and Marriage.

Preferably between: 55 and 80 years of age.

General Description: I am interesting and interested in people, happy, warm, caring, perceptive, loyal and creative. I have a ready laugh and a good sense of humour. Enjoy most things, sailing, skiing, horse riding, walking on the beach, Reiki energy, animals and birds, trees, good movies, reading, art, travel, most music, Beethoven, Buffy Sainte Marie, and just enjoying true friends.

Physical Description: Body Type; Fit, Height; 5’7" (170 cm). I’m told I look ten years younger. Honey blonde hair, green eyes, attractive, well built in all the right places but slim and tall at 170cm. My dress style is casual elegance when I want and just plain grubby when I’m gardening. I still have sex appeal in spades.

Perfect Match: A good natured, happy, positive, honest, Christian friend, and a friendship that may develop into loving companionship, even perhaps marriage, if the attraction is mutual. I have never been married, have one literate semi-civilised 12-year-old son and still have a sense of humour, so you could say I am relatively house trained. I am well educated and a teacher myself, honest and straightforward, I do not play mind games. Yet I am a loving foxy-lady looking for a classy, authentic, loving guy who has a sense of humour. Age and appearance is not important to me, personality is.

Occupation: Teacher, artist, humanist. Religion: Committed Christian. Languages Spoken: English (Fluent), French (Minimal).

By mind spinning coincidence or synchronicity if you will, this is how my sister came to connect and engage to be married with her Austrian baron. They have not yet met as he lives in a (modest) lakeside castle in the Alps! They have been corresponding for months. He proposed by telephone she accepted and he sent her his family crest. He is travelling to Australia to meet her, formally propose and take her and her son back to Austria later this year. They will be married on her birthday here and then again there.

As Mardi is an ex competitive downhill skier, who adores the snow in addition to travel, is currently teaching six months of the year in a ski lodge in the Mt Hotham snowfields, and spends the summer months in her beachfront home at Coolum, she is ecstatic. She is now madly in love and crazily preparing her wardrobe and cleaning her monumentally messy home. (Servants are not readily available in Australia.)

Read Henry’s profile below, posted though a world apart on exactly the same date last year and be completely stopped in your tracks as I was. (I will not divulge the torrential, intimate, transatlantic correspondence since, however, as I have neither permission nor is there space here.) Suffice it to say I truly believe that these two special people are stealing fire from heaven! The words of the love letters I was privileged to read almost lift off the page and fly through the ether as a transposition of psychic energy! Two people being in the same body, the same mind, the same energy, simultaneously. Mardi and Henry by amazing connection have opened a direct line of interaction, you could not even call it communication, they simply have the same pulse. These two profiles and the subsequent engagement tell it all).

“Looking 4u”

European Male Divorced 51 Austria.

Looking for: A Lady for Friendship, Marriage, Relationship, Romance.

Preferably between: 35 and 60 years of age.

General Description: I value honesty, sincerity and a good sense of humour. When I decide to do something, I do it. I enjoy what I consider good music, the classics, Wagner, jazz, Celtic, and Cajun. Sensitive to those around me, I’ve never really felt alone in my life, but I’m still looking for that certain person whom I know is looking for me.

Physical Description: Body Type: Slim, Height: 6’0" (183cm)

I am considered to be both unique and handsome! Distinctive preserved, self-determined, healthy and trim with a great sense of humour. Self motivated and independent, I’m a dreamer, a visionary of sorts. A spiritualist by nature I care about the earth and everything on it, so there are no slaughtered animals hanging in my ancestral halls. I worship the awesome forces of Nature as might only be driven by the creator of it all. I enjoy and appreciate the natural world as a source of energy and a blessing to my soul, something to be cared for. I love my horses, animals and birds and being close to the earth. I care for my children myself. I enjoy quiet times, intimacy, good music, antiques, artefacts and old things with a history. Candlelight, cross-country skiing, water. Feeling vibes from someone I can’t see. I appreciate and enjoy creativity and imagination, synchronicity. I am still waiting for that someone to be my baroness. I live modestly in genteel poverty in a Schloss by an alpine lake.

Perfect Match: Honest and sincere. Trusting and able to be trusted. A sense of humour. Caring and willing to be cared for, someone who takes care of what she values. Beautiful inside and out. One who shares her feelings and emotions. A listener. A companion. A friend no matter what. A beautiful smile with dancing eyes. Has or wants children. My wife. Somewhere. My partner.

Occupation: Designer. Religion: Spiritual; No of Children: 2; Languages Spoken: German (Fluent), English (Fluent), French (minimal).

So you tell me dear readers are Mardi and Henry subscribing to their own mutual insanity, by chance desperately seeking perfect union and God? Or was it their global connection and synchronistic searching which was powered by prayer and Reiki energy? More telling yet, will their fairytale romance have a happy ever after ending of a union of perfection? I believe it is predestined and I am not a believer!

Antique, are they genuine? The repair of glass

by Apichart Panyadee

The question of repairs is a subjective matter and everyone must decide their own priorities about alterations. Most collectors tend to prefer not to have any visible signs of damage. However, many museum curators would rather show the object in its original condition. Repairs can be acceptable provided the proportions are not destroyed. For example, on 18th century glass the foot will always be larger in diameter than the bowl, and anything less should cause suspicion.

Over the years the techniques of repairs have changed. The old way of trimming a foot was to approach it vertically through the rim, giving it a flat edge. When the underneath of a foot is chipped or flaked, instead of trimming the edge the underside is skimmed out. This will result in a thinner foot with some loss of the original striations and loss of wear marks.

A Polaris scope is used to reveal the flow lines of glass and show any interruptions where a break has been mended or a piece added.

Any artificial wear produced by rubbing on emery paper will show random scratches often going inwards from lines of natural wear. One Midlands factory is said to have employed a retired glassmaker to grind the feet of 18th century reproductions on his back doorstep.

These days a Polaris-scope is used by museums and dealers to reveal the flow lines of glass and therefore able to show interruptions to those lines where a break has been mended or where parts have been added.

When trying to ascertain if wear is genuine, consider which part of the glass could have been in contact with the surface. If the scratches are generally deep, look unnatural and go too far inwards, then the glass has been altered.

“Marriages” of two separate glasses, such as the bowl of a wine glass joined to another stem, can be passed off as an original glass. The stuck join has to be at a definite joint, probably where the stem joins the bowl or the foot. This helps to disguise the deception. Removal instead of addition also takes place. A ‘rummer’ with a broken foot can be transformed into an acceptable tumbler by cutting away the unwanted glass stem and leaving a ground-out pontil.

An ultraviolet lamp will also help to identify the composition of glass. The complex nature of glass chemistry can create difficulties and therefore the readings are not completely infallible. But as a general rule, it will help distinguish between soda and lead glass. A lead content will give off a light blue tinged with purple, whereas soda shows a distinctive greenish yellow.

The introduction of modern glues has also been of immense benefit both to the bona fide restorer and the forger. ‘Super glues’ set hard on exposure to the ultraviolet rays in ordinary daylight, but on colored glass the color filters out the ultraviolet and the adhesive does not form a strong bond. It may be these glues are not as long lasting as epoxy resin glues.

Wax and silicone rubber molds used with polyester resins have revolutionized the restoration of ancient glass. These materials are particularly useful where a considerable amount of glass may be missing and requires an infill. Certain resins have an inherent abraded look that suits ancient items, but others may discolor. More importantly, they allow the work to be reversible.

Animal Crackers: Dear deer!

by Mirin E. McCarthy

When the word deer comes to mind we often picture giant stags on misty Scottish hills, caribou reindeer in the snow, or even check shirted hunters complete with deerstalker caps creeping through the woods, intent on bagging an enormous rack of antlers for their trophy room. Not really being aware of the Asian deer as the originator of the species.

All told there are there are 40 species of deer. Scientists are still trying to figure out the number. It’s difficult because the animals have been transplanted to many countries and in some cases, have mated and bred with red deer, producing hybrids, not subspecies.

Members of the deer family are found throughout the Western Hemisphere, Europe, and Asia. They are not native to Australia or to most of Africa. Solid horns, called antlers, distinguish most species in the deer family from the other hoofed mammals. Except for female caribou, only male deer grow antlers, which they shed each year. In contrast, both sexes of many other hoofed mammals have permanent, hollow horns. Among deer, the antlers serve as weapons during the mating season, when the males fight to win the chance to breed with females. Males tangle with loud bellowing roars though the looser usually gets to walk away to fight again another day.

Deer inhabit a wide variety of places, including forests, swamps, deserts, and tundra. Being herbivores they feed exclusively on such plant materials as grass, young shoots, twigs, and bark. Some deer travel in herds and go on seasonal migrations. Deer are extremely cautious animals with keen senses of smell and hearing. Most deer reach maturity in one to three years, and the female gives birth to one or two young or, occasionally, to triplets. The offspring nurse for several months.

Generally, scientists recognize 14 kinds of Asian deer. Let us look more closely at the sika Asian deer. Sika also have several subspecies or varieties. They abound in the forests throughout eastern Asia, including parts of Siberia, Manchuria, Korea, China, Vietnam, Thailand Japan and Taiwan. They have been introduced by humans to Australia, New Zealand, several European countries and several U.S. states, including Maryland, Okalahoma, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin, where they are farmed for venison and the velvet from their antlers for ‘sexual potency’ medicines.

Sika deer can be small to medium in size. Their fur colour ranges from chestnut-brown to tan, black or grey, though they all have white spots on their coats, and a dark neck mane in winter. Only the males have antlers.

Deer are herbivores and sika are no exception, munching just about any kind of vegetation. They look for food from dusk till dawn, though they may also forage during the day. A single herd may eat 100 different kinds of plants.

Six subspecies are nearly extinct in Taiwan, Japan’s Ryukyu Islands, China, Siberia, Manchuria and Korea. In some places, the deer have been uncontrollably hunted or their forests have been destroyed. In others, predators such as wolves and wild dogs have taken their toll. In China and many other countries the deer’s antlers are used to make ‘Chinese medicine”. Other countries still have hunting seasons and allow these beautiful shy creatures to be slaughtered. Worse, others allow deer farming so deer can be slaughtered in a more ‘humane way’ for their meat and horn products. Is there no end to man’s greed?

The Computer Doctor

by Richard Bunch

From Dan, Pattaya: I would be interested in your ideas. Firstly, I have a new computer with a Celeron 1.2 GHz processor, 7,200 RPM hard drive, 512 Mb RAM, plus a few extras. However, it seems if I use Photoshop to scan an image, when I go to “import Mira Scan” (my scanner), Photoshop disappears. Only the little window box at the bottom remains - the one you normally click to open whatever file you happen to have open “behind” everything, but even when I click on it nothing happens. I then have to restart the computer just to get Photoshop open again. The curious part about this is that it used to do the same thing on my old computer. Any ideas on what might be happening?

The second question is more of a curiosity. I read that whoever it was, wherever he was that had information on his computer about the kidnapping of the Wall Street reporter had deleted his emails and other files, but “neglected to clean off his hard drive”. This got me to thinking that perhaps this is why good computers slow down over time. Maybe the hard drive gets cluttered up with files and programs that were deleted, but weren’t “cleaned” off the hard drive. When one hits “shift delete”, is that not enough to “clean the hard drive” of the file? In the past I’ve looked at the “Clean Sweep” type programs, but they only seem to show files and programs that are shared, not ones that have been deleted but are still on the computer (then again, I’m still pretty much a novice, so I might have missed this particular feature). Is there a way, short of re-formatting the hard drive, to clean a hard drive of deleted and totally useless files/programs? Now that I have a new computer, I enjoy how fast it is and want to keep it that way (by the way, I do also defrag every week or so).

Computer Doctor replies: There are a several unknowns here, namely the Operating System and version of Photoshop and any other software that may be running in the background. The problem you are experiencing is not uncommon. As the same problem existed on your old system it is likely to be a conflict of some sort. Very often the culprit can be traced to ICQ, so if ICQ is running in the background, close it and see what happens. ICQ does not have exclusivity on this so check what other non-essential programs are running in the background and close them one at a time, testing the scanner functionality each time. Also try importing into another TWAIN compliant application and see if the result is similar. It is also important to ensure you are running the latest TWAIN driver for your scanner and that this is compatible with your Operating System. Check the manufacturer’s website for details, if an updated driver is available ensure that you remove the existing one first, with a reboot in between. Also ensure that you are running Photoshop 6.01 which also addressed a number of recorded issues. Lastly ensure that any patches and hot fixes for your Operating System are installed.

On your second questions, as recently covered a couple weeks ago, when a file is deleted, it remains on the hard disk, but the space it occupied is marked as available. The Shift / Delete sequence merely bypasses the Recycle Bin, the end result is the same in that the file still exists. Defragmentation is a good idea and I believe that once a week is more than adequate. It is also worth bearing in mind that NTFS file systems don’t tend to fragment as easily as FAT32 and FAT16 systems.

Send your questions or comments to the Pattaya Mail at 370/7-8 Pattaya Second Road, Pattaya City, 20260 or Fax to 038 427 596 or E-mail to [email protected]

The views and comments expressed within this column are not necessarily those of the writer or Pattaya Mail Publishing.

Social Commentary by Khai Khem

Are the rich greedy, bored, or just too picky?

There is a school of thought that most human beings are born with a latent tendency toward extravagance, a lust for more and better which lurks somewhere down in the genes, ready to erupt at the hint of good fortune and the drop of a credit card. What else can explain the persistent purchase of shoes by a woman who already owns 400 pairs, the acquisition of a second helicopter, a fifth house, another dozen decorator cushions, a drum full of caviar, or 20 cases of champagne? Who needs all that? Who buys it and why?

The spending habits of the rich have always intrigued me. The rich stand head and shoulders above the crowd of the lower income classes so they are easy to observe. Ordinary people often wonder if the luxuries the very wealthy are paying for are truly worth the money and the hassle. Are they paying for something special, do they get real pleasure from the things they buy like some fizz in the veins? Do they get a giddy feeling of real ecstasy at being able to buy absolutely anything they want, anytime they want it? From my experience around the world, the truly rich (those who were both born to it, or who own extraordinarily successful businesses) are saddled with enormous burdens and carry huge responsibility. A famous Hong Kong businessman once told me that making money was fun. But, he added, that having it and taking care of it was a pain on the ‘you know what’!

I have a friend whose wealth is incalculable, even to her. She gives lavish dinner parties when entertaining her husband’s business friends. I once walked into her living room and nudged one of the gilt-framed floor-to ceiling paintings that hung near the entrance and the alarm system went off. Security had to be called and reassured before we could sit down to dinner.

While we were eating, she spoke about another daily problem. The cutlery we were using was beautiful old silver, irreplaceable and heavily insured; a priceless heirloom. Unfortunately the insurance was only valid if the cutlery during its “off duty” moments was kept in the safe. Therefore, knives and forks and spoons had to be counted and locked up after every meal. She often drops by my house around lunch time so my maid can serve us in plastic bags from the market. We sit on the floor, gossip and laugh, and she gets to toss the paper plates and plastic spoons in the trash with the flourish of a basketball player.

Of course these are minor drawbacks to the otherwise enviable life of bliss that is enjoyed by the super rich. But after a life-time of hanging around with these people, I have come to wonder if they are really enjoying themselves as much as they should. Why? I suppose it is because there is always something going on around them that is not quite right. When they are paying a king’s ransom for everything they expect perfection. Alas, life is usually a badly organized shambles at best, and much of it depends on the behavior of erratic equipment, surly servants, and other people who just plain ‘mess up’. The 2 minute egg is marginally under boiled, the silk shirt is not wearable because of a wrinkle, the chauffeur is insupportable because he’s been eating garlic again, and the doorman is either too inattentive or overly familiar.

Once I was sitting in a magnificent restaurant in Rome. It was a resplendent place where the rich gathered because of its famous chef. Who could fail to enjoy dinner in such a place? Seated at the next table were four examples of aristocratic Italian money. They were not happy. The wine was not chilled sufficiently, and the waiter took longer than 30 seconds to arrive with a new bottle. Mutterings of discontent filled the room. I looked around. There was not a jolly millionaire in sight. A “why bother” flashed through my mind. But of course I knew the answer to that. Once you’ve tasted caviar, it’s impossible to contemplate a tuna sandwich with much gusto.

Roll over Rover: The same only different

by C. Schloemer

Now that dog owners have discovered some of the differences between themselves and their pooches, they should be aware of some of their similarities. Yes, this is for real. After all, we humans are animals, too. There are actually a lot of parallels. To start with, dogs in keeping with people have personality profiles, breed differences and the age factor.

Personality profiles

Some people think that only humans have a real personality. However, anyone who has ever had a dog knows better. Dogs, like us, have their own personalities. Some are extremely funny. I call this rowdy bunch The Comedians. They can be frustrating as we well know, as they constantly dance on the edge of good behavior. But in your most serious or sad moments, they will make you laugh.

Then we have the Eager Beavers, the dogs many of us dream of. They will do anything that warrants approval. But even these dogs can act up or develop annoying habits to get attention, and some of those habits need to be redirected. Even the Eager Beavers can get on an owner’s ‘bad’ list if the owners themselves are not careful.

There are also the Sweet Peas of the doggie world. These quiet souls prefer the sidelines over the limelight. Taking a sweet thing a step too far are those dogs who are Truly Timid. Almost anything will freak them out. These poor creatures will require a lot of understanding.

And then there is the Big Boss. This fellow thinks a little too highly of himself. He needs a lot of training to tame his egotism. Owners need to take a good look at their dog and see where he fits in because like us, they all learn differently.

Breed differences

Breeds are the equivalent of what we humans refer to as cultures. Put simply, the breeds are the same species, but have inherently different styles. The American Kennel Club, for example, recognized more than 150 different breeds last time I checked and the number is growing.

Besides looking different, each breed has individual instincts and drives that make it unique - instincts and drives humans helped to create. The Doberman pinscher was bred by the Germans for protection; the Alaskan malamute was bred by the Eskimos to help them pull their sleds across the ice. The Shih Tzu was bred for companionship.

So what about your own warm bundle? What were his ancestors doing? With few exceptions, a dog’s skills are no longer necessary to our own survival and most of us have dogs for companionship and have made them pets. But the dog’s instincts don’t always know that they are superfluous now. Those instincts and breeding still make the dog think that those skills are still very much in demand. Finding out what they were will help the owner understand his or her animal and how it is viewing its role in the world today, and how the dog can be trained to fit into the pet owner’s world.

A Slice of Thai History: Scouting in Thailand

Part One: The Wild Tiger Corps and Tiger Cubs 1907-1911

by Duncan Stearn

In 1907, Robert Baden-Powell, the man who successfully led the defence of Mafeking for the British against the Boers during the Second Boer War (1899-1902), launched the Boy Scout movement, publishing his book Scouting For Boys the following year. The self-illustrated work and the concept of the Boy Scouts proved an instant success.

In 1910, Prince Vajiravudh acceded to the Thai throne, becoming King Rama VI. Like his revered father King Chulalongkorn the Great, King Vajiravudh was also a fervent nationalist and, having been educated in Britain, saw the patriotic advantages associated with the burgeoning Boy Scout movement.

So, on July 1, 1911 the King officially created the Wild Tiger Corps, for adults, and the Tiger Cubs, the precursor to the present Boy Scouts, for children and adolescents. Thailand thereby became the third country in the world to take up Baden-Powell’s scouting concept. It is also the only nation whose scout movement was established by a reigning monarch.

The name Wild Tigers was taken from a force established by King Naresuan back in the late 16th Century and who were charged with watching Thailand’s fragile frontiers, observing potential enemies and reporting their movements to the main army. These Wild Tigers had qualities of loyalty to the crown combined with knowledge of nature and warfare. They were rugged and fearless and King Rama VI believed it was these qualities that had kept Thailand free and prosperous down through the centuries.

King Vajiravudh’s reign was characterised by this nationalistic spirit, epitomised by his promotion of the Wild Tiger Corps. School students were asked to become Tiger Cubs and were similarly imbued with a spirit of nationalism and patriotism and trained to obey rules and the orders of superiors.

As a paramilitary force, the Wild Tiger Corps was designed to give those Thais who were exempt from army service (mainly civil servants above a certain rank) an opportunity to obtain a form of military training. The Corps could also be used to help maintain law and order in the country as well as being a ready-made reserve for the armed forces. This was similar to the British Volunteer Force that King Rama VI had observed during his time in Britain.

King Vajiravudh also hoped that the Corps would promote a sense of unity among Thais of diverse backgrounds by their involvement in one organisation.

The King made it clear that the Wild Tiger Corps was in no way meant to be anything more than an auxiliary to, rather than a replacement for, the regular Thai armed forces.

It was the King’s hope that the Tiger Cubs would receive moral and physical training while at school so that by the time they grew up they would be prepared to join the Wild Tiger Corps as well as being model citizens.

The King was the Supreme Commander of both the Wild Tiger Corps and the Tiger Cubs and headed a committee of four men, led by a chief inspector, who supervised the various units.

The committee spent its time touring the country, ensuring that the format of the Tiger Cubs and the Corps were being followed. The chief inspector, with the King’s approval, was responsible for appointing local area commanders.

The Message In The Moon: Sun in Leo/Moon in Aries

The Showman

by Anchalee Kaewmanee

When these people talk, others usually listen. Confident and aggressive, one of the great assets granted to the Leo-Aries is courage. Natives of this Sun-Moon sign possess enormous courage to take risks of all sorts. They are also courageous in expressing their thoughts and feelings honestly and without inhibitions.

Born leaders, these individuals are happiest when they are running the show. Energy and ambition get them the attention their ego demands. And what egos they all have! For many a Leo-Aries, life is seen as war, and competition can be everything. In love, business, politics, or just plain living, it is never fun unless it’s a fight. Fortunately, they have an inherent code of honor, loyalty and trust, so that no matter how belligerent they may appear at times, they do not betray a friend. Neither do these individuals pick on people weaker than themselves. They also do not practice treachery or deceit.

Fantasy plays a minor role of in the life of a Leo-Aires. After all, since this Sun-Moon combo is so active all the time, there is little use for it. Never content to just sit around and daydream about adventure and romance, the native born into this sign will go out and find them. Life is rarely dull for this restless individual.

Like most open and uninhibited souls, these people probably have very few psychological problems. They are basically stable and self-assured and they never repress their feelings or inner drives. Instead they channel their aggressive impulses into positive and constructive activities. A career will be very important to all Leo-Aires natives since like all Leo Sun signs, they seek status, recognition, and as much comfort and pleasure as life has to offer. Very little stands in their way because they have the courage and determination to see their projects through.

Pride, impulsiveness, and overconfidence are three things these individuals should learn to keep under control. Passion very often stands in the way of logic. No matter how smart a Leo-Aries may be, they do have a tendency to leap before they look. Since they are all so sure of themselves and so confident in their intuition and hunches, they seldom stop and analyze those on-the-spot decisions they so often make. Since no one can be right one hundred percent of the time, they must learn to humble themselves now and then. Sometimes the good advice of others can be of immense help before embarking on some ill-fated enterprise.

No doubt about it; all Leo-Aries natives are born aristocrats. Arrogant in their opinions and assumptions, they can be blunt, outspoken and downright tactless. They often thoughtlessly overlook the feelings of others. They don’t really mean to be insensitive, but honesty and openness is the code of these natives and so they say exactly what they feel. In maturity they may learn to control that self-centered bluntness a bit and learn to respect others in the same way they demand respect. These people are capable of great creative expression and constructive activity. When they find that their own will can work in harmony with the will of friends and associates, they will achieve great things in life. They have the intelligence and determination to surpass even their own high standards.

Romantic and ardent, these individuals try to apply their standards of trust and loyalty to their love life. Some Leo-Aires natives will find their passionate and adventurous sprit will betray these principles time and time again. Romance only lasts when they find a partner who shares their fiery temperament and need for constant excitement. Finding such a person will not be easy. When people of this Sun-Moon sign are in love, they must learn to respect the needs and feelings of their lover a little more, and watch that tendency to dominate and over-protect. A Leo-Aries woman often has difficulty reconciling her strong aggressive urges with her femininity. She is pretty tough but she must realize that she is no less feminine because she can stand up for herself.

Coins of the Realm: Thai Banknotes Catalogue

by Jan Olav Aamlid
President - House of the Golden Coin (http://www.thaicoins.com)

Hobby in Charoengkrung Road in Bangkok recently released a new catalogue for Thai banknotes. The catalogue is written by the owner of Hobby, Mr. Somchai Saeng-Ngern, and called Thai Banknotes Catalogue, Complete Edition, and priced at 600 baht. The catalogue is hardcover and has 212 pages of valuable information on Thai banknotes.

The 500,000 baht banknote printed to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Royal Wedding, currently valued at 1,100,000 baht.

The front and back cover of the catalogue shows the Thai banknote with the highest denomination, a 500,000 baht note issued to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Wedding of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit and His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej which took place on 28th April 2000. The banknote was printed in 1,998 pieces and sold from the Bank of Thailand for 1,000,000 baht including a crystal frame and engraving of your name with the maximum of 88 letters. The banknote is valued at 1,100,000 baht in the catalogue, so if this were the true value, it would have been better buying this banknote than putting the money in the bank with the low interests paid today.

There was also another banknote issued and printed in 999,999 pieces to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Royal Wedding. This is a 50 baht note, sold originally from the Bank of Thailand for 200 baht and in the new catalogue it is valued at 500 baht. This would have been a better note to buy than the 500,000 baht as dealers do pay about 400 baht for the note. The problem was that large quantities could not be bought from the Bank of Thailand as only one note was sold to each customer. One had to bring their ID card and had to wait for several hours in the sun, and the note was sold out after only two days.

The note estimated at the highest price, 2,000,000 baht, in the new catalogue is the 1,000 baht of the first series of Thai banknotes. Thomas De La Rue & Company Limited in London printed this note on behalf of the Thai government in 1902, and later this year the Bank of Thailand will commemorate the 100th anniversary of these banknotes. The estimated price for the 1,000 baht banknote in extremely fine condition is 2,000,000 baht. If one settles for a note in good condition, the estimated price would be 800,000 baht.

It is interesting to note that in a catalogue published last year by Sio Siah Kee in New Road in Bangkok, written by Veerachai Smitasin, the same 1,000 baht note in extremely fine condition is only valued at 250,000 baht. I do not belive that the market has improved this much, but as the author of the new catalogue, Somchai Saeng-Ngern said, “The old catalogue is good when you buy banknotes but use the new catalogue when you sell.”

Somchai has also included prices for replacement notes in his catalogue. A replacement note is used when during inspection a note is found with a printing mistake and then replaced by another note. Replacement notes can be identified with the letter S in the number. Replacement notes are normally much more expensive than the ordinary note, so it might be worth checking your notes, especially when getting uncirculated ones. The 20 baht ordinary note that was first printed 3rd of June is valued in un-circulated condition at 160 baht while a replacement note is valued at 400 baht.

Somchai has also included examples of SPECIMEN notes, selected serial numbers, like notes with only 9’s in the number, some error banknotes that have passed the inspection and some foreign uncut blocks of banknotes. There is also a listing of stamp, coin and banknote dealers in Thailand in the back of the catalogue.

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