Columns
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Personal Directions

The Doctor's Consultation 

Agony Column

Camera Class by Snapshot

Dr Byte's Computer Conundrums

Personal Directions:  Building a Positive Personality

By Christina Dodd,

This week I would like to introduce you to some ideas by Shiv Khera on Steps to Building a Positive Personality. I have mentioned his work to you in the past and he has a very clear way of expressing his viewpoint on subjects such as personal growth and development. This particular subject is one of the most written about subjects with a zillion books out there on the bookstore shelves, but Shiv Khera is quite down to earth about it all. Hope you enjoy it.

Step 1: Accept responsibility

“Responsibilities gravitate to the person who can shoulder them.” When people accept additional responsibility they are actually giving themselves a promotion.

Responsible behavior is to accept accountability and that represents maturity. Acceptance of responsibility is a reflection of our attitude and the environment we operate in. Most people are quick to take credit for what goes right but very few would accept responsibility when things go wrong. A person who does not accept responsibility is not absolved from being responsible. Our objective is to cultivate responsible behavior. Responsible behavior should be inculcated right from childhood. It cannot be taught without a certain degree of obedience.

Stop the blame game. Avoid phrases such as:

* everyone else does it

* no one does it

* it is all your fault

People who don’t accept responsibility shift the blame to their parents, teachers, genes, God, fate, luck or the stars.

Johnny said, “Mama, Jimmy broke the window.” Mama asked, “How did he do it?” Johnny replied, “I threw a stone at him and he ducked.”

People who use their privileges without accepting responsibility usually end up losing them. Responsibility involves thoughtful action.

Pettiness causes us to ignore our responsibilities. Think about it. Petty minds are busy passing the buck rather than doing what needs to be done.

Social responsibility. Ancient Indian wisdom teaches us that our first responsibility is to the community, second to our family and third to our self. A society starts degenerating when this order is reversed. Social responsibility ought to be the moral obligation of every citizen. Responsibility and freedom go hand in hand.

The price of greatness is responsibility.

- Winston Churchill

Societies are not destroyed by the activities of rascals but by the inactivity of good people. What a paradox! If they can tolerate destruction by being inactive, how can they be good? The question is, are they discharging their social responsibility?

For evil to flourish, good people have to do nothing and evil shall flourish.

- Edmund Burke

Step 2: Think win/win

A man died and St. Peter asked him if he would like to go to heaven or hell. The man asked if he could see both before deciding.

St. Peter took him to hell first and the man saw a big hall with a long table, lots of food on it and music playing. He also saw rows of people with pale, sad faces. They looked starved and there was no laughter. And he observed one more thing. Their hands were tied to four-foot forks and knives and they were trying to get the food from the center of the table to put into their mouths. But they couldn’t.

Then, he went to see heaven. There he saw a big hall with a long table, with lots of food on the table and music playing. He noticed rows of people on both sides of the table with their hands tied to four-foot forks and knives also. But he observed there was something different here. People were laughing and were well-fed and healthy-looking. He noticed that they were feeding one another across the table. The result was happiness, prosperity, enjoyment, and gratification because they were not thinking of themselves alone; they were thinking win/win. The same is true of our lives. When we serve our customers, our families, our employers and employees, we automatically win.

Step 3: Choose your words carefully

A person who says what he likes usually ends up hearing what he doesn’t like. Be tactful. Tact consists of choosing one’s words carefully and knowing how far to go. It also means knowing what to say and what to leave unsaid. Talent without tact may not always be desirable. Words reflect attitude. Words can hurt feelings and destroy relationships. More people have been hurt by an improper choice of words than by any natural disaster. Choose what you say rather than say what you choose. That is the difference between wisdom and foolishness.

Excessive talking does not mean communication. Talk less; say more. A fool speaks without thinking; a wise man thinks before speaking.

Words spoken out of bitterness can cause irreparable damage. The way parents speak to their children in many instances shapes their children’s future and destiny.

Spoken words can’t be retrieved. A farmer slandered his neighbor. Realizing his mistake, he went to the preacher to ask for forgiveness. The preacher told him to take a bag of feathers and drop them in the center of town. The farmer did as he was told. Then the preacher asked him to go and collect the feathers and put them back in the bag. The farmer tried, but couldn’t as the feathers had all blown away. When he returned with the empty bag, the preacher said, “The same thing is true about your words. You dropped them rather easily but you cannot retrieve them, so be very careful in choosing them.”

These are just a few steps that have been highlighted in this week’s column and if you are interested in reading more of Shiv Khera’s thoughts, his international best-seller is titled “You Can Win – A step by step tool for top achievers”. It’s great reading.

If you would like to write to me or contact me further about any of our personal or business skills programs, then please email me at [email protected] asiatrainin gassociates.com I’d be very happy to hear from you.

Until next time, have a tremendous week!


The Doctor's Consultation:  Your Appendix. Singular or plural?

by Dr. Iain Corness

With the Crown Prince recently having an Appendicectomy (Appendectomy if you are American) it reminded me that it has been a while since we mentioned Appendicitis, a very common ailment. It is generally the first operation that a young surgeon does for a solo (and it was for me too - a Russian seaman in Gibraltar - and I still wonder if he’s doing fine!).

The condition that leads to the Appendix being removed is called Appendicitis (remember that “-itis” at the end of the word usually means inflammation). The initial symptoms include abdominal pain, at first around the navel, but then moving out to the right side of the lower abdomen. There can be nausea and sometimes diarrhoea as well. The symptoms can also rapidly progress - the “hot” appendix, or slowly lessen, the so-called “grumbling” appendix.

So just what is the Appendix, and is it singular or plural (I have heard patients tell me many times that they “have had them removed”)? The appendix is a little “finger” shaped appendage that hangs off the bowel and connects with it. Ruminants such as cows have large ones, if size really matters! For us, it is also one of those cute “vestigial” organs which has no apparent functional use these days, but can give us lots of problems if things go wrong. And things often do go wrong, with appendicitis being experienced by about 1 person in 500 every year. Males suffer from this more than females and it can strike at any age, though under two is exceptionally rare. The most affected age group is between fifteen and twenty-four.

So what causes Appendicitis? It is a form of infection which is generally from the food passing through the gut and can be bacterial or even viral. Sometimes the poo (nice medical term) in the gut gets jammed into the appendix and causes the initial problem. Just for the record, we call it inspissated faeces, just to make it sound grander than it really is.

While the signs and symptoms of Appendicitis are straightforward, the diagnosis is not so easy as a number of other abdominal conditions will mimic the symptoms. From my medical student days I can even remember one item in the differential diagnosis being the Abdominal Crises of Porphyria! I must admit that in 35 years of medicine I’ve never met one!

There are some laboratory tests which can be done, especially a blood test to see if the White Cell count has gone up, and some centres will perform ultrasound to try to differentiate what is going on inside the belly.

The definitive “cure” is to whip out the offending organ. You don’t need it. My old surgical boss always told me to make sure the skin incision was as small and as neat as possible, because that was all the patient had to go by to judge one’s competency. It didn’t matter what went on inside - just make sure the outside looked good! This was particularly important with young females and a 1 cm scar level with the top of the bikini bottom was the ideal.

Post-operatively the vast majority of patients do well and are up and about in a few days, happily living without their appendix, but if you’re having some grumbling gut pains, perhaps you should let the doctor cast his practiced eye over it. It might be time to have “it” out!


Agony Column

Dear Hillary,
Your disinclination to slip into a rubber suit has caught me by surprise. I imagined that Aunties were always ‘up for it’. Never mind, Postman Pat and his little black cat are on their way with a tube of Smarties (Nit likes red ones) and a bottle of Babycham. Wicked, yes/no?
Mistersingha

Dear Mistersingha,
As always it is you who is confused, my wilting Petal. Note I used ‘wilting’ and not ‘willing’. It is uncles who are, as you so delicately put it, “up for it”. If a tube of Smarties (sans red ones for Nit) ever arrives, I shall drown myself in the promised Babycham, with extreme shock. That’s about all that should be done with bottles such as that, though I believe it does help unblock drains and others have told me it is a good cleaner for alloy wheels. Wicked? No. Trying to wriggle out of your promises? Yes!
Hi Hillary,
I am about to retire, and after many visits to Chiang Mai have decided it is the place I want to spend my golden years. Surfing the net to find property for sale in Chiang Mai is not a problem and the sites are very well put together. But, try and find a used car dealership on the net that is in Chiang Mai is impossible. I have been trying for days with no luck whatsoever. Do you know of any domains that will help with my quest? There could be a bottle of Krug in this for you, not to mention the Belgium chocolates.
Mario

Dear Mario,
Thank you, Snowflake, you are the ‘real thing’. You understand. You talk Hillary’s language. For a bottle of Krug I’m yours, my Petal. Not like the “kee nee-oh” (stingy and mean) Mistersingha and his current offer of Babycham. Unfortunately, the used car business, like the used car businesses all over the world, have a tendency to be like nomadic hill tribes - here today and gone tomorrow. Or perhaps it is “Slash and Burn” - slash your wallet and burn the contents! Websites for such (auto)mobile businesses are few and far between. Most come under the heading of “Midnight Motors” as they’re gone the next morning. You could try clicking on http://splash.handii.com/thailand_cars.htm and this might give you some links to try. However, I have a better thought. When you come over, we could go looking for your dream car together, I’ll bring the ice bucket, you bring the Krug. And don’t forget the Belgian choccies!
Dear Hillary,
I have not been in Thailand a very long time, but the men’s barbers get me in a pickle. Every time I go to get the golden locks shortened, the barber wants to give me a good thumping on the back half way through the haircut, and then at the end I get my arms bent every way and thumped from hands to shoulders. Last time one barber attacked me with some sort of vibrating electric motor strapped on his hand, tilted the chair back and began to try and massage my legs! I have no complaints about the haircut or the price, but all I want is a haircut. I am worried about what part of my body will be attacked next. What do I do?
Hairy

Dear Hairy,
What you are experiencing is the normal service for a local Thai barber with local customers. You should feel honoured at being accepted! However, if you really can’t stand the free massage, then you have several options, depending upon your linguistic skills. You can politely say (in Thai), “haircut only” (Dat pom yang diow), but if you are not confident enough to say that, then you can always visit the much more expensive barbers in the big shopping centres whose staff do speak English and will be happy to accommodate you as a cut only, but really, my Petal, you should be brave and relax and enjoy the ‘value added’ services.
Dear Hillary,
One of the girls in my regular bar was trying to read a letter from a farang boyfriend and asked me to explain a couple of sections for her. It was the usual boyfriend abroad to girlfriend in Thailand letter and in it he said he was looking forward to coming back to Thailand next month. When I asked her who he was, she said she couldn’t remember! Hillary, why do these girls act like this? Surely they must remember, or was she just playing with me?
Back of the bar, Bob

Dear Back of the bar, Bob,
She was not playing with you (even though you may have wanted her to), the simple fact is that the only person playing with your head is you! These girls are in the business of making overseas tourists feel as if they are the one person in the world that they have been waiting all their entire life for. Unfortunately for the individual tourist, they play that role every evening, so it should not be surprising that they don’t know which particular tourist is writing to them. Particularly if their name is something common, like Bob, even if he is ‘back of the bar’.


Camera Class:  Photographing glamour fronts and its unglamorous back side!

by Harry Flashman

I was reminded of this the other day when a photographic friend asked me to comment on a couple of shots he had taken of a young model in lingerie. Nice photos of a nice lady - but - (there’s always a ‘but’ as the sheep once said) there were some problems to be overcome, and there’s no harder judge than the viewer of glamour photography. Or someone who made a living out of it.

The first problem is the model herself (or himself, I should hasten to add). All models have an image of themselves in their minds, and if the shot does not convey that image, the photographer has a problem straight away. Having shot more than one aspiring model, I have also to report that I have had to destroy more than one set of negatives of young ladies who were so shocked at what they really looked like, that they gave up all thoughts of the cat-walk and glamour calendars immediately. And guess who bore the costs of the destroyed film and my time? (You’re reading him!)

Taking photographs of people is always difficult compared to taking photos of still lives. The plate of food does not complain that its eyes look ‘funny’. One Asian gentleman asked that I not make his eyes look too ‘Asian’! About the only way round that problem would have been to photograph the back of his head! It’s that ‘image’ thing again.

Another huge problem is that the girl who looks a complete knock-out in the flesh (so to speak) may not come out well in a photo - and the reverse holds true too - girls you wouldn’t give a second look to can come out brilliantly on film. The answer to this conundrum is called the Photo Test. For a glamour calendar shoot, this is how it goes.

Every day the studio was host to the hopefuls. Similar glamour calendars were shown to the models and they all signed a piece of paper (the Model Release) to say that they were over 18 and had no objection to being photographed topless. Now this test should have just been a quick film exposure of personal exposure and wait for the results. Nothing is ever that easy! Some girls would come out from the (un)dressing room in dressing gowns and stand in the stage set and then freeze. One girl even asked me to stand with my back to her - this would certainly have made it very difficult to focus and did not augur well as to her future as a glamour model! One hopeful (hopeless) girl came three times and stumbled at the final hurdle every time.

Even then, you can have a problem with the models. On one calendar shoot, this involved a large piece of road-laying equipment, with the model walking beside it, as it trundled down the road. 72 exposures were done, using fill-flash. A stylist was on the shoot to make sure the lingerie was fitted correctly. The road-layer had its driver and side-kick. And all these people were paid. The shoot took around three hours. When I got the shots back, the model had closed her eyes in every frame! 72 shots of clearly focused eyelids! And guess who paid for the re-shoot? You’re reading him!

Even when you have got to the stage of having a bevy of well-trained models who can keep their eyes open and don’t worry about looking as if they have ‘Asian’ eyes, that is not the end of your woes. On one very big budget glamour shoot for a glossy calendar, on the day of one young lady’s shoot she came down with the measles. While the client’s colour was pink, pink spots on the model did not enhance the company product. At very short notice we had to hire another professional model to do the shoot. And guess who paid for the new model? You’re reading him!

“Glamour” photographic work may sound glamorous, but it is difficult and fraught with problems. Embarrassed would-be models is the smallest of these!


Dr Byte's Computer Conundrums

By Dr. Byte, Citec Asia

Q. Dear Dr Byte

My problem is I went to a web site to check out some music downloads and everything went wrong from there. The site would not load completely, sometimes showing what I think is coding of some kind and any site links I would click, just sat there and stared at me. I have talked with my ISP customer service and it just became a futile finger pointing exercise. I personally am not sure I have my security settings correct for java/javascript on my IE and I just do not know where to turn next, if at all.

Any help or guidance you could provide, sure would be appreciated.

Hopeful
San Khampaeng

A. While its no consolation, you’re not alone. A lot of sites / software offer security “enhancements” of questionable value that end up getting in the way of valid/useful web features. It’s analogous to spam filters that throw out legitimate mail. For example, one of the most common “security” tweaks is to try to prevent popups by disabling or limiting scripting. The popups go away all right - but so do all but the simplest web sites. My guess is that your problem lies in this area because your browser is currently showing you the JavaScript code instead of acting on it.

The fix may involve either removing overzealous security tool(s), and/or adjusting your browser security settings yourself.

You might start by removing or uninstalling all your security add-ons; then set all IE security settings to default, and then restore just the firewall. You’re using Zone Alarm, which is fine: Let it set itself up from scratch, and let it automatically pre-configure what it can.

Try some known-safe test sites: For example Microsoft’s update pages, and a few other sites that are not likely to harbor hacker code. If your browser is now OK (my guess is it will be) you can then improve on the default IE security settings: http://langa.com/u/3z.htm provides some advice about this. After each tweak, return to your test sites to make sure that each change you make doesn’t break your browser again; undo any changes that do.

PC Pitstop has some free one-click fixes for IE - little scripts that can adjust many security options at once into “known safe” settings. It’s definitely worth taking the diagnostic test there, and checking any suggestions the site makes: http://www.pcpitstop.com

When everything’s working again, carefully restore any other security-add-ons you want one by one. For example PopupStopper. Again visit the test sites to see what effect each add-on has, and rein in or remove any too-aggressive tools that stop your browser working. If any browser changes can’t be undone, or if things are too badly messed up for the above to help, try: http://www.google .com/search?q=ie+repair or if your fed up trying to make the changes your self, take your PC to any reputable computer maintenance or repair mechanic.

Q. Dear Dr Byte

You have mentioned spyware cookies a few times and I decided to turn them (cookies) all off. As in gone completely never again. Part of me said Ahah! gotya ya buggers. I was a happy vegemite until a couple of weeks when I tried to do some shopping on a website in Australia and was unable to.

Should I turn cookies on again? What about those bad cookies I keep hearing you talk about?

Confuzed
Chiang Rai

A. Most cookies are harmless. A few are downright evil. Here’s how to spot the ones that represent a threat to your privacy.

“Per-session” cookies. Keep these helpful cookies. They’re the safest cookies of all, because they store information only as long as your browser window is open and are automatically deleted when you close the browser window. E-commerce sites often use per-session cookies to keep track of the contents of your Web shopping cart until you’re ready to check out. This is the sort of cookie your shopping web site was using and which allowed the web site to know who you were and what you were ordering.

“Stored cookies” for sites you visit regularly. Keep these cookies, too. They’re typically used to log you into a site and store your preferences. They can only be read when you revisit that site, so they can’t be used against you.

“Third-party cookies” are served by sites that are supported by advertising. Ads are often served by companies other than the ones that run the site. The most notorious is DoubleClick, but there are literally dozens of third-party ad servers on the Web today. You don’t need third-party cookies, as even DoubleClick will admit.

Third-party cookies are the ones you should be concerned about, because they can be used to track your actions as you move between Web sites. That information can be stored in huge databases and if you disclose any personal information about yourself (by filling in a contest entry, for instance) the third-party site can begin building a dossier about you.

The questions is how to block bad cookies, and how do the two leading browsers stack up when it comes to their cookie-handling smarts? Neither one is perfect.

Netscape browsers. If you use Netscape Communicator or Navigator, you can completely block third-party cookies. Choose Edit, Preferences, click the Advanced category, and then check the “Accept only cookies that get sent back to the originating server” option. You’ll still see banner ads, but you won’t pick up any cookies from ad servers.

Internet Explorer. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s older flagship browsers do nothing to protect you from third-party cookies. Using the Tools, Internet Options menu, you can click the Security tab, choose the Internet Zone, and click the Custom Level button to check boxes that disable all stored cookies while keeping per-session cookies. Internet Explorer 6 offers much better cookie-handling tools. If you use IE, several readers suggested CookieWall, a free add-in that lets you put good cookies on a Keep list and bad cookies on a Kill list. I’m impressed.

Mac users should take a look at WebRoot’s MacWasher, which costs $30 but reportedly does an excellent job of managing cookies.

Toss those third-party cookies, and the only Cookie Monster you’ll have to worry about is the lovable, silly Sesame Street character.

Dr Byte appears in Chiangmai Mail every 2 weeks and if you have any questions or suggestions you would like to make, you can contact me at Dr Byte, Chiangmai Mail.