Family Money: Going Naked
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
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.
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
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
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
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?
of eminent historian Thomas Carlyle taken in 1867 by Julia Margaret
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
All waterways are currently
closed pending tests for toxicity levels, but events will be scheduled
once one is found which can support human life.
A safe route has not yet
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.
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.
To guarantee equal treatment for all, drugs
testing of contestants has been waived this year.
Shaman’s Rattle: Coincidence - Part
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.
happens’ Illustration by Pamela Matthews
Profile: “Magic happens” Caucasian Woman, Single
mother 50 years, Australia.
Looking for: Male for Friendship, Romance, and
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).
European Male Divorced 51 Austria.
Looking for: A Lady for Friendship, Marriage,
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
Physical Description: Body Type: Slim, Height:
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.