Columns
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Family Money

Personal Directions

The Doctor's Consultation by Dr. Iain Corness

Agony Column

Camera Class by Snapshot

Mrs. DoLittle’s Corner

Family Money: In case you’re not immortal ... and living in Thailand

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

A Last Will & Testament may be in any one of four forms, with varying degrees of safety from challenge. First, what is known as a ‘holographic will’ which means you wrote it out by hand and you make corrections and verify them yourself.

Second: a Will made with a lawyer. Corrections on the first two types of Wills, if evident, are points of attack by an opposing lawyer.

Third: a Public Will, which is the strongest Will available in Thailand. The form for this type of Will is in Thai, which needs to be filled out, and cannot be attacked, and is available at the District House at Banglamung, Amphur* office, and at Pattaya City Hall, Amphur* Office and may cost 100 baht. (*Amphur is the same as the Council Office in the UK, or City or County Clerk in the USA.)

The fourth is none: you die intestate and your goods are distributed by the state according to certain rules.

Thai rules

It is worth remembering that there is no second language in Thailand, so if there is a question between an English translation and a Thai translation, the Thai wins. Any language is accepted, but if translated into Thai, the Thai version prevails. Bear in mind that only a will written in Thai is technically admissible in a Thai court: the one in English is for your convenience and information only.

Westerners are used to the concept of naming their own Executor in their Will. In Thailand it is technically the court who appoints your Executor: in your Will you name a “Personal Representative” (who may be a relative, friend or your lawyer) who is usually accepted by the court and appointed your Executor.

Your Executor is then charged with ensuring any taxes due are paid, and the assets listed in your Will are distributed according to your wishes – even to someone on the other side of the world! The Executor may charge the estate a reasonable amount or fee for time spent and for expenses incurred carrying out these duties; but the testator will usually have set a reasonable limit on the amount his Personal Representative may charge in toto.

While you can include property and other assets in another Country in a Will made in Thailand, and this Will may be accepted in your own country, the safest method is to have a Will in each country covering your assets in each – and specifying that this Will covers only those assets held in, for instance, the United Kingdom. Another Will is similarly drawn up, specifying that this Will covers only those assets held in Thailand. A third may cover Australia – and so on. This may sound onerous, but is also sound tax planning.

Life Partnerships

There is no direct law on live-in partners: the closest law is business partnership law, and has mostly to do with moveable property.

If you put property in your partner’s name, and you want it back or part of it, it is very difficult.

The legal age in Thailand is variable depending on circumstances from 18 through 20. If your partner is 21 or more, she or he is past the age of requiring consent. But children 15 years of age and younger engaged in sexual acts are considered by statute to have been raped regardless of any consent given. At ages 16, 17 and 18, you can be sued by the parents.

If you want to separate from a partner, you will usually get what is yours and she will get what is hers.

It is therefore wise to keep an inventory of the things you buy for her, things she buys for you, and things you buy jointly. Houses and property, in your Thai partner’s name, are theirs regardless of who paid for the property. Use loan and rent agreements to retain control of the property, or form a company.

Having children in an unmarried relationship is evidence of a long-term relationship: it is therefore a partnership, and partnership law governs.

Thai law is based on Community Property, so if you get married, what you or she had before the marriage are your separate properties, whereas what you acquired or earned after the marriage is joint property, and divided equally in the event of divorce.

Pre-nuptial Agreements are legal in Thailand and will be upheld by the Court.

Don’t forget that your Thai will should list (as an Appendix) all your assets in Thailand, including bank accounts (with branch address and account numbers); vehicles (if they’re in your own name) including registration number, chassis & engine numbers; condominiums and shares in companies owning property; jewellery and personal possessions, including paintings and objects d’art. It saves squabbling if you specify who inherits each item or the proceeds of liquidation of that asset.

Having taken care of this most important aspect of estate planning, you can relax and, as Mr Spock would say, live long and prosper.


Personal Directions: Our greatest efficiency in life

By Christina Dodd,
founder and managing director of Asia Training Associates

Have you ever noticed that some people seem to breeze through life and its ups and downs at what looks like an effortless pace, always coming out on top? Some people have really got it together in terms of how they conduct themselves in this world and how they turn every situation into a winning one. It’s a bit like being around people who never appear messed up even though they have been caught in a flash flood or a hurricane. We all notice people who have this ability to consistently appear calm, cool and in control both in the way they behave and look.

Today, I’d like to take some time to talk about this aspect of our lives - our personal efficiency in life. Usually we think of business matters when we hear the word “efficiency” but this can also refer to ourselves as individuals. By “efficiency” I mean the ability to create the greatest results with the least effort in the shortest period of time. So what is our own efficiency? For most of us this efficiency is not very organized and developed. We just exist without such concerns and focus. However, the more conscious we are, the greater will be our efficiency to become the masters of life.

One individual’s efficiency may be to learn newer skills to create more success in his life, while for another he optimizes his life by being more organized. And yet another has the wisdom to maximize his potential by implementing his most cherished personal values, such as a belief in hard work and self-reliance. In this way each person has his own specific, though limited efficiencies to enable him to accomplish in life.

So two questions arise:
How can we create a greater efficiency than the one we currently employ?
And,
How can we tap into the infinite potentials of life, enabling very rapid, ever-accelerating accomplishment, success, and joy?

One approach to building a greater efficiency is to consider which of the critical factors that enable great accomplishment we are missing.

They include -

* Do we have a direction established in life?
* Do we have the proper skills and knowledge required of life?
* Do we have the optimal level of organization?
* Do we have the necessary energy, or the psychological strength, or the deep abiding concern for others? And, very importantly,
* Do we have the right personal attitudes?

When we become conscious of those critical areas in life that enable great accomplishment and success in life, and then we take the effort to obtain them, we begin to move towards a higher efficiency that enables the greatest results with the least effort in the shortest period of time.

We can go even further, however. When considering how we can create our greatest efficiency we inevitably must consider the realm of our deepest consciousness and spirit; for there-in lie the greatest methods of efficiencies to maximize our accomplishment, success, and joy we seek. When we move away from living on the surface of life, and move to the depths of our inner being, we develop a new consciousness that enables us to get the most from life.

From that inner poise we perceive the world from a wider field of vision, knowledge, and comprehension; we are in tune with the widest possibilities and potentials around us; we are more intimately connected with others and the environment; there is the establishment of a calm, a peace, a unity of purpose. From that poise the invisible energies in the world build up around us, and when we act, we get dynamic results. There is perfect execution, there is the cooperation of life. There are instantaneous positive responses from life, from any and all quarters. Is there any greater efficiency in life?

Let’s look at this example.

One individual devised his greatest efficiency this way: He decided that in an important project he would stay focused in his inner being rather than live on the surface of life. He would remain positive. He would not allow any negative attitudes or his separating ego come in the way. He would be still, quiet; moving only as he is compelled to. He would honor the will and wishes of others. He would open himself to the Spirit, the Force before commencing a major action. He would know his direction, his objective and goals of that which he wanted to accomplish on the project. With that scope of efficiency he inevitably gains the cooperation of life.

Accomplishment is rapid and great; life is fresh, energized; he invokes instantaneous positive response from life; he achieves the most with the least effort. He is living his maximum, greatest efficiency!

So what can we say about our level of efficiency? How can we increase it? Are we really interested in and serious about achieving greater accomplishment and joy in our lives? If so, we need to maximize our efficiency, so that we see the greatest results with the least effort in the shortest period of time. To the degree we follow our efficiency, will indicate the degree to which we transcend the norms of space and time.

The skills of personal efficiency on the base level take responsibility for the organization of individual lives. Going up a level, collectively these skills contribute to efficiency and productivity in industry and to accord and harmony in society.

These skills are and integral part of the “package” or “life skills set” that we emphasize in our training.

Time management and associated business training programs are not just about clock watching and super filing systems! Customer Relations management is not just about sales figures! And by the same token, personal development and life skills training is not just about making people feel good ... it is about producing individuals who have the skills to lead productive and useful lives by harnessing their inner-most strengths and reserves in order to benefit not only themselves, but society as a whole.

For more information about how we can assist you or your organization, please contact me at Christina.dodd @ atasiam.com

Until next time, have a great week!


The Doctor's Consultation: Dengue Fever - How NOT to get it!

by Dr. Iain Corness

Perusal of the news all over Thailand shows that Dengue fever is on the up and up. In fact, in the North, the incidence of Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever has tripled compared to last year. Even on our tourist islands this has become a problem, and on some of the surrounding islands as well. With the monsoon rains we have been having recently, this is one of the reasons that this disease is on the upsurge - but there is something we can all do about it. Read on!

However, first you should understand a little more about Dengue. This is a nasty viral condition that has been coming round in epidemic waves for many years. It is also a fairly wide spread virus with 2.5 billion people living in Dengue endemic areas. We, in Thailand, belong to that group.

Like Malaria, the virus is carried by mosquitoes, this time by one called Aedes aegypti. The virus itself is related to Japanese encephalitis, Murray Valley encephalitis and Yellow Fever, and there are four “serotypes” or subgroups of it.

The mosquito lays its eggs in water containers, preferring the clean water found in water tanks and pots, in the saucers under pot plants and even under the pet’s food dish. Inside discarded car tyres are another favourite spot. These mosquitoes are not of the adventurous type and feed during the day and spend their time within 200 metres of their hatchery. Consequently, the eradication of any local breeding areas becomes very important towards maintaining your own health, as you can see. Keep your home free from lying water for a radius of 200 metres and you’re looking good!

Simple Dengue (if you can call it that) has an incubation period of around 4 to 7 days and then the full-blown symptoms of high fever and headache begin. The headache is usually behind the eyes and is made worse by eye movement. From there the pains progress to the limbs with acute muscle pains, which gave it the old name “Break Bone Fever”. Interestingly, some patients complain of a metallic taste in the mouth. (Please don’t ask - I have no idea why!)

With our ability to treat the viral ailments being very limited, the defence against the Dengue virus lies in Health and Hygiene initiatives, if you get mosquitoes in the house during the day. For example, do you regularly change the water in containers the Aedes aegypti mosquito might call home? Do you have mosquito screens? Does baby sleep under a mosquito net? If the answer to these questions is “no”, then perhaps it is time to look critically at your own Dengue prevention plan. Let me assure you, it is not a disease you want! And the Haemorrhagic form in particular.

The other precautions are to wear long trousers and long sleeved shirts, especially at sun up and sun down, when the mosquito is at its most ravenous. The other factor to remember is “D” for Dengue and “D” for DEET. DEET is the magic ingredient in mosquito repellents, so when you go to buy some, check the label - if it has DEET, then get it. And then remember to use it!

So to avoid falling prey to Aedes aegypti, empty free standing water around the home, use screens and mosquito nets if necessary and apply repellent containing DEET. Best of luck!


Agony Column

Dear Hillary,
Your response (8.8.03) elicited much hil(l) arity and reminded me of a lift attendant who would cry, ‘Ladies Underwear - up and down like yo-yos!’ How apt! I suspect you are at Heart a ‘Janet Reger’ girlie, with a bounce in your step and two in your camisole. Nothing wrong with copies. Wee Nit (the adorable) is an identical copy of her twin sister, Ying. Nit same same Ying! Just five seconds between them. And Nit doesn’t fade in the wash. Only problem is that I may have been a butterfly to my buttercup by mistake. Bit of a poser, even if two buttercups do not quite make a posy. What can I do? Ying tong iddle i po?
Mistersingha

Dear Mistersingha,
At last Hillary can see what is your problem. You gave it all away with the tootle “Ying tong iddle i po.” You are an addict of the all-leather Goon Show, circa 1952, that being the line from the smash hit, the Ying Tong Iddle I Po song. Ah yes, my Petal, now I know, but who is Janet Reger?
Dear Hillary,
Why is it that the tourists who come over to Thailand become ugly fat, pawing, groping drunks? Is there some sort of screening process to only choose these horrible people? Do you know why, wise Hillary?
Wondering

Dear Wondering,
Yes, of course I know why, Petal. It’s because they are ugly, fat, pawing, groping drunks at home, but probably their wives kept a tight leash on them. There is no hope for people like that, but unfortunately all inexpensive tourist cities get them. That goes for other countries as well as Thailand. Some of the Greek islands have become so bad that the police are regularly locking up tourists and even handing down jail sentences of up to one year for behaviour not appreciated by Greek morality. The good news is they only come over here for three weeks. The bad news is that they come back again next year!
Dear Hillary,
I read almost every week about these men who have “fallen in love” with the Thai girls. What is wrong with these men? Do you really believe them, or are they just living a holiday romance dream? Or maybe you are one of them as well?
Doubting Dora from Dorset

Dear Dora,
Am I one as well? One what? Use your native language properly, woman. Instead of asking what is wrong with these men, perhaps you should be asking, what is wrong with the women in their own countries? Certainly there is the holiday romance side of things, but if everything were rosy in the gardens ‘back home’ they wouldn’t be out here in the first place. So why are you here, Doubting Dora from Dorset?
Dear Hillary,
My father (a widower) is coming over to see my husband and I next month. He gets along very well with my husband and already hubby is making noises about taking Dad out to some of the places around town that he wouldn’t take me to, for example. How do I convince my husband that these places are not suitable for my father either, and he should be more discreet with where he takes him? As I have a busy schedule with organizations and charity work, I cannot be with him all the time as a chaperone.
Ruth

Dear Ruth,
A chaperone? Are you joking? Haven’t you heard it is your father’s position to supply moral guardianship for you not vice versa? It is up to your Father, and most certainly not you, to choose his preferred entertainment. Perhaps you feel the need to step into your late Mum’s shoes as moral guardian, protector of families, or thought police? Have a think about what you are proposing. It is destructive, irrelevant and interfering. Try taking on the interested daughter role instead and allow your Father his own place and live life at his own pace. However, perhaps you should go with them one night and have your eyes opened. There’s lots of “fun” out there. You don’t have to be serious all the time.


Camera Class: Taking the camera on holidays

by Harry Flashman

When you go on holidays, probably the last thing you remember to do is to throw the trusty 35 mm camera in the suitcase. After all, you want to come back with some photographs to show where you have been and what you did. Right? Let’s face it, that overseas trip is something you saved months for, don’t let its memories fade with time. Record them on film.

Now before you add “Pack Camera” to the To Do list, there’s a little bit of photographic preparation to be done too. The first, and should be most obvious, is just to make sure the camera works. If you haven’t used the camera for some time, buy new batteries for it and put a roll of film through before you go away. There’s nothing worse than finding out that the camera had a problem AFTER you get back!

Now, no matter where you go these days, someone has been there before you. And they’ve written a guidebook about it too, so your next move is to actually plan some shots before you even leave Thailand. Research your destination properly and you should know what is likely to be a significant place, monument, castle, lake, waterfall, etc., in the area you will be visiting. When you read the Lonely Planet Guide or whatever, use a highlighter pen to remind you of photo opportunities.

Thinking about and anticipating “how” you should take any landmark will produce much better results when you finally arrive to take the picture. You will not be so over-awed that you just stand there and go “click”. You will be ready to try to show this segment of your trip with some photographic flair. It works, believe me!

It is always tempting to take photographs from the plane. There is one classic shot you should always attempt on every trip. That is the aerial. Shooting out of plane windows is not really all that difficult, but there are a couple of catches. Firstly, pick a porthole where you can see a little of the engine intake in the shot. Adds drama and shows how you got up there! Shoot from the side of the plane opposite from the sun. This way you won’t see the scratches on the plane window. Use a wide-angle lens if you’ve got one, set the camera on auto and get as close to the window as possible, but not touching it (otherwise you get vibrations coming through to give you fuzzy photos).

Shooting the locals. Your research of the places you are going to will soon tell you if there are interesting “locals” which would make good photographs. Priests, tribes folk, indigenous people, policemen and the like all make for good shots and gives the “atmosphere” of your holiday. It’s OK to shoot when they are unaware of your presence, but if you want a formal photograph, always ask. Just wave the camera and smile if you can’t speak the local lingo. It usually works. If not, wave money! That always does.

One question that is always asked, is when do you process your film? Every time you go through a security check in an airport, they X-Ray your baggage. Sure, there’s little signs up which say “Film safe”. Don’t believe them! By the time your film has been through a few of these checks, it has had a significant dose of rays, and the effect is additive. One pass may be OK, but a few passes are not. Process as much film as you can “over there” before you come back. Of course, if you are holidaying in Uzbekistan or the Antarctic wilderness, you may as well take the risk and bring the film back here for processing.

Think about how you are going to present the results. It is always a huge temptation to bring out folders of photos as soon as you get back. Wait! Sort them, keep the good, and throw away the bad. Show only your best shots and everyone will be amazed at your superb photographs!


Mrs. DoLittle’s Corner

Animals, being unable to voice their sentiments in human terms, suffer a great deal in the hands of mankind. Because they don’t think as much as we do, their feelings and senses are more developed.

Trying to eat its own tail?

Even though cows and pigs don’t understand that they’ll end up at the slaughterhouse, they sense an impending doom and live their lives in fear from the moment they are taken away from their mothers.

It is a well known fact amongst pig farmers that a week before slaughter, the pigs fall ill with high fever, and they are then, systematically, put on antibiotics.

Swiss Alchemist Paracelsus (1493-1541), father of modern chemistry and founder of homeopathy, wrote in his treatise on bovines and large mammals that mankind has inherited the sense of family bonding from the large mammals. Cows have a deep emotional connection with each other and know their own relatives. If this is true, their life on this planet has become a living nightmare as they are forced to die together by the droves. Millions of animals die in shock and terror on a daily basis.

As carnivorous predators, humans have to be considered the worst kind of all, having organized factories for killing sentient beings. Furthermore, in the midst of this holocaust, the planet is being destroyed by over grazing of cattle. The Amazon has lost 5 square meters of forest for each 100 grams of American hamburger brought to market. Thousands of South American plant and animal species are becoming extinct because of gross world consumerism based on wrong eating habits.

So I’ve given you something to think about next time you crave a hamburger. Or perhaps you don’t want to think about it because you enjoy your meat too much? Well then, what can I say, except, perhaps it’s a case of the lizard eating its own tail! When you eat your own tail, you tend to get the rear end view of the situation.

The moral of today’s story is: Whilst we are busy consuming our own tails, we may not notice we are heading for a ‘black hole’!