Personal Directions: Put your life in front of you
By Christina Dodd,
As every year comes to a close we always ask ourselves the same
question, “What have I achieved this year apart from growing one year
older!” It is the question we feel compelled to answer. Maybe some of you
have done a great many things and feel satisfied with yourself. But I know
that a lot of us are looking back with a feeling of regret that we didn’t do
this or didn’t do that and as a result we didn’t do very much or anything
at all. Sure a lot of things may have happened in our lives, but did we seize
opportunity, did we take a proactive stance, did we give our all to move ahead
in life or have we taken ten steps backwards instead of forwards?
It is strange how we can always see things more clearly and
know what decisions we should have made when we look back on events. Why is
this so? Sometimes we have to disassociate ourselves from ourselves so we can
focus. Does this make sense to you?
So how are you going to approach next year to ensure that
the things you lost out on this year have a chance to be completed? It is
essential to begin to plan and to begin to work towards completing tasks and
goals as opposed to giving up on them simply because you got nowhere with them
this year. It is so easy just to give up. How do we know this? Because we all
I know I have written on the subject of setting goals many
times before and forgive me if I may sound slightly repetitious to some of
you, but the fact is that setting goals and setting out to achieve them are
two very important driving forces in our lives if we want to have lives with
meaning and fulfilment. Don’t turn your mind away from this for a moment for
if you do, you will have to be prepared to suffer the consequences.
So, give yourself a special New Year’s Gift for the year
2004. Only do this if you really feel you want to. You have time to prepare it
as there are a few days left in this year. I realize you have parties and
friends to visit, but take some time to think about you for a moment. And this
may also be something that your children may wish to be involved in as well.
Firstly take note of the following areas in your life and
write them on a sheet of paper so you can refer to them as you proceed:
Physical health, personal characteristics and well-being and the things you
want to improve upon, family relationships, things you want to possess, things
you want to achieve professionally, your financial aspirations and your
ambitions in terms of your contribution to society.
Now, find as many magazines as you can and begin to look
through them noting pictures and images of all sorts of things in the subject
areas that we have just talked about and that appeal to you and seem to
“fit” you. These pictures can be anything from scenes of children playing
and laughing, to a fabulous interior design to a very trim and fit body or to
someone secure in their job. The number of pictures and the kind of pictures
they are, are only limited by you and the things that you want to achieve and
have in your life. The sky is the limit here so sharpen your scissors and
You may even want to include some photos that you feel are
important to you in this exercise so go ahead and do it, if you wish. Get them
out of the cupboard where they have been hiding and add them to the magazine
cuttings. The idea here with this activity is to put together a collage of
images that represents the goals you wish to achieve in your life. The
pictures should be vivid and in full colour and inspiring to you.
Once you have all your pictures, proceed to place them on a
large sheet of heavy card so it could possibly be put up on a wall. Perhaps
you may need a very large sheet and this is up to you. You are preparing a
“Life Plan” so go ahead and make it big and strong enough to support your
pictures. Place (and glue) the pictures in groupings of like goals and leave
enough space under or around them to allow you to write details about them.
The details should include everything about that goal. A simple example is a
house, so write down details like the price, the location, the materials used
to build it, the land size and so on and most important of all - the date you
will have the house! This is crucial and should be written with a bright and
bold pen so it is highlighted!
Do this with all your goals so there are not only images,
but thought out details and planning. And then, once you have completed your
masterpiece - your Life Plan - find a place in your home where it can be
displayed comfortably by you. This is entirely up to you but the reason for
this is so that it serves as a reminder to you of the things that are
important to you. If it is there for you to easily see then you will more
likely be inspired and to act on achieving your goals. If you complete this
task and then fold up the card and put it in a drawer - what does that say to
you? What do you think is the likely outcome? If you go in to a travel agent
you usually can see wonderful and inviting scenes of exciting destinations.
Why are those pictures there for you to see? Imagine if there were no pictures
and the walls were bare and drab. Would you feel inspired?
Your life is your life. And the goals you wish to achieve
in your life are worth every bit of effort to achieve. With this activity I
hope you have realized how necessary it is for every man, woman and child to
have direction and to set meaningful and realistic goals. This activity is a
simple and at the same time “fun” exercise but one that can help both you
and your family take some very important steps towards happiness and success
in the year 2004 and the many following years.
If you would like a presentation on our training or life
coaching services, or any of our other professional and life skills programs,
then please contact me at Christina.dodd @asiatrainingassociates.com
I really look forward to hearing from you and my sincerest
wishes and thoughts for a wonderful life ahead go out to you all. I look
forward to catching up with you in 2004!
And as always ... have an extraordinary week!
The Doctor's Consultation:
Are we on borrowed time?
Or are you going to die?
by Dr. Iain Corness
Another year coming up, with all our hopes and New Year’s
resolutions hanging on it, so perhaps it is time to look again at our
Are you going to die? Undoubtedly yes. Despite all advances
in medical science, the death rate will always be the same - one per person!
Being born is, after all, the very first step in the dying process. One of the
world’s great truisms - you are born, but you will die. It’s the old death
and taxes routine.
Now, I fully realise that there are those of different
faiths who are happy in their belief that there is an after-life, or
reincarnation, or some other way by which we can do it all again, and I am not
at cross purposes with that. I am merely talking about the ‘here and now’
- the next life can look after itself, in my book!
In our respective lives, there will be those of us who seem
to fly though it all, the veritable ‘butterflies’ who flit from flower to
flower, savouring, tasting and, need I say it, enjoying. Eventually, they run
out of puff and quietly fold up their wings and pass on. On the other hand
there are those of us who stumble like buffalos from one disaster to the next,
one illness to another and eventually succumb - a victim of some tragedy.
Does the first group have a charmed life and the second are
only living on borrowed time, or was it written in the stars? Being personally
of the ilk that does not believe in prophecy, until one of the seers round the
place predicts the winning lottery numbers for himself, I shall disregard the
Let us look at the butterflies and the buffalos. As far as
‘borrowed time’ is concerned, both are in the same situation. Our lives
are fleeting visits to planet earth, and that’s all. Like going on holidays,
you try to make the most of your two weeks on the Costa Plenty, so also you
should make the most of your six months in Pattaya.
“Six months!” I hear you shout. “Is that all I’ve
got?” In a way, yes.
You see, it is difficult to look ahead much further than
that in the medical sense. So much can happen. Six months is enough time for a
fulminating infection to carry you off, or to develop an aggressive cancer
that will do the same.
So if we are looking at six months worth of future, how can
we make it such that it is not this coming six months, but six months way in
The answer is a simple medical check-up. This will predict
your future life for you, much better than the Indian fortuneteller with a
turban and a well-thumbed set of Tarot cards. Advance notice of when the Bank
of Life is going to foreclose comes from your medical records, not the
But what is the difference between the butterflies and the
buffaloes? Nothing really. Both are on “borrowed” time. It is merely
different attitudes to life and living. You can complain about only having a
handful of rice, or be thankful that you’ve got something to eat; many do
not. The butterflies have it right. They remain carefree and enjoy life,
no-matter how short, while the buffalo carries the world on its shoulders to
its grave. The choice is yours.
I keep on getting offensive emails from companies I have never contacted
before and I find it annoying to say the least. Every day I will get at
least a dozen or so. Is there nothing we ordinary people can do to stop
this kind of thing? 90% of them seem to be pornographic material sites and
yet when you go to the site to try and register a complaint or stop emails
from them in the future, the email address never seems to work. Each one
will have an address to contact if you want your name removed, but it does
not seem to be connected. What do you suggest, Hillary?
There’s not much you can do, Petal. We all get these emails. Every day I
get never to be repeated offers to easily enlarge my breasts and how to
enlarge, or lengthen my penis (I think that’s what they call the untidy
dangly bit). They obviously don’t know me all that well, now do they
(unless they think I am katoey - Oh, dearie me)! If it isn’t enlargement
offers, it’s how to order any prescription items I want by email. They
again obviously are unaware you can get just about anything over the
counter in Thailand. Ignore the offers and just delete them as they come
off the server.
We all read your column and are amazed that you know so much about so many
subjects. Where did you learn all this, and are you Thai or Farang?
Don’t be amazed, my Petal. It’s simple. This is Amazing Thailand,
isn’t it? However, I will treat your enquiry in good faith. What you are
forgetting is that I have one or two weeks to research my answers. A good
encyclopaedia helps. Now, Thai or farang? They’re not mutually
exclusive, you know. Think about it.
We are new in Thailand and I am not sure what to do about our maid and her
attendance. She came with the house and the previous employer gave her a
good reference, so we decided to keep her. The problem is the number of
days off that she seems to have. It is not that she does not come to work,
it is that she tells me that she has to see her mother, or it is a special
day for Chinese people so she will not be here on some day next week. Is
this the usual for Thai maids, or am I being made use of?
No, I don’t think you are being overly used. Maids do tend to be a
little erratic in attending work, so it’s not unusual (as Tom Jones
might say). What is unusual is to be given a week’s notice. That is the
rare part. At this stage I’d put up with it, but if she has too many
days off, start to cut her salary for each day she is missing. That is
usually the way to see just how ‘special’ is that special day for
My boyfriend is football mad. In fact, if there is a match on TV he will
get out of our bed just to watch it. Am I being selfish by pretending to
be asleep when he gets back to bed? I feel I have to teach him a lesson.
Not a Footy Fan
Dear Not a Footy Fan,
You are a very gentle girl. I would hit him over the head if he woke me up
just because he wanted to watch footy and then want a little nooky on
coming back to bed again. Tell him you are not interested in football, but
it’s fine if he wants to watch quietly on his own, but there’s no ball
games after the ball game’s over, if you get my message. A girl needs
her beauty sleep, my Petal.
I have become very attracted to one of my mate’s wife. She is Thai and
very beautiful and I think she has been making it obvious that she would
be up for it too. I get told by some of our other mates she has been
seeing other guys while her husband is offshore. Should I pay her for her
time, or would it be better to say it’s from the heart and not
Hey Jude (or should that be Judas?),
Do you honestly think anyone would condone your actions? You are a snake
and should slither off somewhere else. Don’t write again.
One of my girlfriends wants to have her bust enlarged, while the other
wants hers reduced. Are these operations safe? Are there any risks
involved? I am worried that they might do something they will regret
Just who is having these operations done? You or them? They would have
researched the subject fully before they said they intend to have the
operations done. If it is worrying them, then tell them to swap bras for a
couple of weeks and see if they still want to go ahead. Dolly Parton and
Pamela Anderson seem to have done alright out of it.
Camera Class: Batteries not
by Harry Flashman
the outside of many boxes that house electrically powered toys is the warning
“Batteries not included.” I used to think this was just meanness on the part
of the manufacturer, but I was wrong. It is actually a safeguard. How? Read on.
All but the most delinquent photographers know to look after
their cameras. Lens caps are there to be used. Camera bags are needed to store
it. The camera gets wiped dry after being in the rain. Most cameras these days
turn themselves off after a period of time to conserve their batteries. However,
it is those same batteries that can do untold damage to the electronic innards
of today’s cameras.
I was reminded of this the other day, when I was using my
trusty Nikon and it inexplicable failed. Nothing worked! Now, the motor drive on
the older Nikons and the camera bodies themselves sometimes have a habit of
getting condensation between them and you’ll end up getting nothing. The
answer is to unship one from the other, wipe and wriggle as you reattach and
bingo! Away you go. But not this time. Repeating the procedure did not work, so
I was forced to wind on manually, as the light meter was now working OK, with
the motor drive removed.
At the time, there was little more I could do, and in the
manual mode, I was quite sure I was getting the right exposures. What had not
occurred to me at the time was the fact that when I was attached to the motor
drive, there was no power, yet disconnecting the motor and its eight batteries,
I once again had power for the LED’s, light meter and such.
It was the next day before I looked again at the problem, and
then remembered that when the motor drive is disconnected, the camera uses its
own small cadmium battery, but when hooked up to the motor drive, the camera
draws its power from the motor drive battery pack. So this was why I had light
meter facilities, but none when I attached the motor drive.
I then began to think how long it was since I had checked the
eight batteries in the driver. Possibly a year! Opening up the battery pack
case, I was greeted with a shower of white crystals and a group of sweating,
leaking AA batteries. Six out of the eight were leaking. Hence no power.
Mentally castigating myself for such errant carelessness I
pulled the motor drive battery compartment apart to see the extent of the
damage. I was very lucky - no corrosion was evident. However, I did remove the
batteries and then immersed the pack case in very hot water. This removes the
crystalline substances that leech out of the batteries themselves. A gentle blow
dry and very careful inspection showed there had been no lasting damage. The
phrase, “Just in time” kept going through my head!
Also interestingly, the six batteries that had begun to leak
were the least expensive of the two types of battery in the drive. There is a
moral here, isn’t there?
In fact, there are two morals to be learned. The first is to
check batteries every three months, I would suggest, rather than just waiting
for the batteries to fail or become erratic. And secondly, you get what you pay
for - so buy the best you can. It will serve you well in the end.
This little scenario would have been much worse, if the
battery pack had been internal with the camera works themselves. The discharging
batteries also give off fumes that attack and corrode the complex electronic
circuitry. That little problem can destroy the camera totally - and that is no
So I escaped this time around. After 200 baht for new batteries, the motor
drive and camera are functioning just perfectly. Till the next time - unless I
make a note in my yearly planner to check every three months. It will be good
insurance. Think about it too. With 2004 on us next week, make a battery check a
Corner: Your rewards in life
are the seeds you sow yourself
Bongo had a bad start in life, as most Dobermans do that
are bought in anticipation of being fierce guard dogs, but actually they are
just like any other dogs, in need of affection, in order to protect their
the Doberman will attack, unless you happen to be a pussycat!
When he disappointed his owner because he was too nice to
the neighbors, he was beaten repeatedly, in the hope that he would serve his
purpose and become mean towards intruders on the owner’s property. At
first he took the beatings, but the more he cringed, the angrier the owner
became and the harder he was hit, until one day, he bit his cruel master’s
hand. This infuriated the man, who then used a piece of wood to beat the
dog’s hind legs till he collapsed and finally dropped unconscious. Watched
by the neighbors, the owner packed his bags and left the house, abandoning
the dog tied under the house.
For many days he had no nourishment, until someone took
pity on his plight and started to bring him food. But by this time no one
could get near him. They had to throw the food to him. But obviously he was
also in pain and in need of medical attention and of course a new home. But
who would want to take him on, this battered, snarling, angry creature,
except perhaps that crazy ‘farang’ woman, Mrs. DoLittle, who was known
to embrace even mangy, smelly street mutts with fleas.
Say no more, the vet was called, the dog was darted, put
in a cage and off he went to Love Animal Sanctuary. Mrs. DoLittle had to
admit she was faced with a challenge. Although she had wrestled with lions
and hugged bears, she was not about to open this cage door with all those
big teeth glaring at her. You couldn’t even look at the dog without it
going into attack mode. What to do? We had to feed it and it couldn’t stay
in that tiny cage forever.
There was no other option, so Mrs. DoLittle had to use
plan D: When all else fails, use reasoning! “Okay, Mr. Doberman, so you
don’t like people looking at you, well then, I won’t! I’ll just put on
this blindfold here and slowly open the door; just enough to get this food
bowl in and please don’t eat my hand! There you go....” GROWL munches
For about ten days I fed the guy blindfolded, until one
day there were no growls, just munch, munch, munch. Time for step number
two, to get a collar on him, so he could go for a walk. Talk about groping
in the dark. I crawled on all four into the cage, blindfolded and lay very
still. Then he started sniffing me. I got goose bumps down my spine. Slowly
I started stroking his front legs, then his chest and neck, clutching the
collar. Without even a snarl he let me put it on him. Then I attached the
leash and started backing out the door, hanging on tight. Well let me tell
you, as soon as he knew that door was open, he tore out of there on three
legs so fast I thought my arm had been pulled out of its socket.
The leash wrapped around my arm, he dragged me up the
dirt road. By the time I got the blindfold off, I had two scraped knees, but
he was still going. Three kilometers later he stopped and turned to look at
me for the first time, a panting mess, heaving for air. At that point I
didn’t care if he ate me. I looked him straight in the eyes. Then
something wonderful happened. He nudged my hand! We were friends. Although
my body was in a lot of pain, my heart couldn’t have been happier. Tears
rolled down my cheeks. I sat down and he licked my face dry.
Now a year later, his body is strong and his leg has
healed. But in his mind he is still afraid of men. Only Mrs. DoLittle and
two female staff can go into his compound without him attacking. Oh, and I
must not forget, Som Tam the pussycat, his best friend.
The morale of this story is: Your rewards in life are the seeds you sow