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Your Health & Happiness
The Doctor's Consultation
Camera Class by Snapshot
Dr Byte's Computer Conundrums
Your Health & Happiness:
TGI Seminar advises how to avoid long-term human damage in the workplace
Healthy workers help make healthy profits
Never put butter or greasy ointment on a burn spot, as
your mother probably did when you scorched yourself as a child. It may seal
the heat into the wound and cause infection.
Dr Chawalit Wongsuthipol, international operations
consultant at Bangkok Pattaya Hospital gave this and similar useful - and
sometimes life-saving - advice at a “Fit for Business through Health and
Safety” seminar on July 2.
Chawalit Wongsuthipol advised keeping a well-stocked first aid kit and a
list of local emergency numbers in order to be prepared in case of an
emergency, and during an emergency, “Keep calm ... Plan quickly what to do
... and, if necessary, send for professional help.
It took place at the Thai-German Institute offices in
The aim was to inform companies about what to do in an
emergency or immediately after an accident to prevent employees sustaining
possibly long-term health damage in the workplace.”
“Keep calm. This will help the victim keep calm as well
and cooperate. If they are anxious or excited, the extent of the damage from
the injury may increase,” Dr Chawalit advised.
“Plan quickly what to do,” which presupposed health
officers had learnt basic procedures. They should then send for professional
help, if necessary, for which a list of local emergency numbers should be
available at all times.
“Be an encouragement to the injured person. Let him
know help is on the way.”
Giving self-evident advice, which, however, is often
forgotten in an emergency situation, Dr Chawalit said, “Showing care and
concern can give them hope.”
He cited the symptoms, causes and immediate treatment for
a wide range of emergencies that may arise. They included: bites and stings,
burns, abrasions, dislocations, fainting, fractures, nosebleeds, poisoning,
sprains, asphyxiation, choking, concussions, convulsions, electrical shock
Dr Chawalit also gave a list of basics that every first
aid kit should, by law, contain as well as “extras” to pack in, for
example, when employees have to go on trips off-site.
Dr Eberhard Stockmann, director of medical services at
Siemens in Germany, said businesses operate to make money.
“It makes sense to have sites that avoid accidents.
Only healthy employees are strong, motivated and able to perform
properly,” he said.
He showed an overhead projection slide of an unsafe
construction site in Thailand - not an uncommon occurrence.
“Keep your employees healthy at work. Prevent the
spread of infectious diseases,” he advised, giving the example of
Hepatitis B which is prevalent in Thailand.
“Avoid unhealthy situations developing and accidents
occurring, because you will lose money as a result,” he said.
Participants ended the seminar with a hands-on practical exercise
applying first-aid measures on dummies.
The Doctor's Consultation: Mongolian Blue Spot
and the battered baby syndrome
by Dr. Iain Corness
Bruises on a child’s body are often considered proof that
a baby has been battered. An apparent bruise on the buttocks, the shape of a
hand and five fingers ‘undeniable’ proof.
However in Asia, a newborn baby with the ‘handprint’
bruise is very common, while child abuse is not common at all. The problem, or
rather the condition, relates back to Genghis Khan and the Mongol hordes. It
is a wonderful piece of folklore and a fine example of applied genetics.
Let’s look at the folklore first, and you are going to
have to dig very deep to get this tale anywhere else! A Mongolian baby, called
Tanujin, was born just over 1,000 years ago, but did not breathe. His father,
in desperation, held his newborn son upside down and smacked him severely over
the bottom, and the baby drew breath and lived, but carried the life-giving
bruise for the rest of his life. That baby later became Genghis Khan (King of
the Earth ... and by the time he died in 1227 he was ruler of a large chunk of
History has chronicled the Mongol hordes that raped,
pillaged and annexed countries from China to Persia. His highly mobile troops
travelled the difficult terrain of Siberia. Famous cities were captured and
looted such as Tashkent, Baghdad and Bokhara. Cities that surrendered were
spared but those that resisted were razed and the people slaughtered. The
Mongols conquered northern India and Afghanistan. In 1222, they defeated the
Russian and Bulgarian armies. At the time of Genghis Khan’s death, his
empire stretched from China’s Yellow River to the Dnieper in Russia.
And now back to folklore. The descendants of Genghis Khan
also received the hand-shaped bruise, being his four sons Ogdai, Jagatai, Juji
and Tule, who were given one quarter of the empire each after their father
died. They in turn passed on this ‘trademark’ and so this continues till
today. If you have the sign of Genghis Khan, called Mongolian Blue Spot, you
can claim descent from the warrior king.
Now Mongolian Blue Spot, as a clinical condition, is well
documented, and I came across figures suggesting that at least one Mongolian
spot is present on over 90 percent of Native Americans and people of African
descent, over 80 percent of Asians, over 70 percent of Hispanics, and just
under 10 percent of fair-skinned infants (Clinical Pediatric Dermatology,
1993). When you remember that Genghis and the rape and pillage lads went
through Russia (and the Mongol peoples there went through to North America),
and a fair bit of seed would have been spilled in France, Germany and Spain it
looks as if there really could be a genetic inheritance.
Now I have an (unverified) quote from American Journal of
Human Genetics (2003):
“We have identified a Y-chromosomal lineage with several
unusual features. It was found in 16 populations throughout a large region of
Asia, stretching from the Pacific to the Caspian Sea, and was present at high
frequency. The pattern of variation within the lineage suggested that it
originated in Mongolia around 1,000 years ago. Such a rapid spread cannot have
occurred by chance; it must have been a result of selection. The lineage is
carried by likely male-line descendants of Genghis Khan, and we therefore
propose that it has spread by a novel form of social selection resulting from
So there you are. Science showing us that sometimes fairy
tales can be true!
Why are there so many lady-boys in Thailand? Everywhere you go there seems
to be a lady-boy these days. Every bar has at least one, they are
soliciting on the sidewalks and there are complete shows made up of them.
Now I have one in the office next door. When will it stop? What’s the
answer Hillary, as I am sure you will know what to do?
Katoeys R Us
Dear Katoeys R Us,
Hillary will know what to do about what, my Petal? About the soliciting
lady-boys at the side of the road? My advice is to have nothing to do with
solicitors who work on the sidewalks, use only qualified solicitors that
work in legal offices. Either way you are going to be out of pocket (I was
going to say ‘screwed’ - naughty me), but at least with the ones in
the law offices you can complain to the Law Society. Your other point -
every bar has a katoey, you say. Try better class bars is my answer. There
aren’t any at the Chickenpluckers Arms where I have the occasional
tipple. So you now have one in the office next door - so what’s the
problem here? Stay in your own office. Just be thankful it’s not
compulsory, my worried little Petal. Time to live and let live. We’ve
all got our peculiarities, even (or especially) you!
With the crazy closing hours of the bars these days, it must be affecting
everybody. I am a tourist, and I don’t go to the bars to pick up a girl,
I go to have some fun, chat to some local girls and relax and enjoy myself
on holidays. I am not a sex tourist, yet I am now told that I must go back
to my hotel long before I am ready, and if I want to continue chatting to
some local people I have to take them back with me - forcing me into
becoming a sex tourist. I come to have fun and a good time. I don’t come
to be told when to go home and who I have to take home. Doesn’t Thailand
want tourists any more?
Early to Bed
Dear Early to Bed,
Hillary isn’t the right person to send your grievances to, you should
send this to the Minister for the Interior, as they are the ones that
determine the operating hours of the entertainment outlets. Now, if
Hillary was in charge, there would be no regulated hours. If a bar wanted
to stay open 24 hours, then that is up to the owner. If the bar is still
covering expenses at 4 in the morning, then fine. They would very soon
self-regulate, as nobody keeps non-profit making businesses open very
long. It really is so simple, nobody stays open if they are losing money.
Fairly basic economics I thought, but then Hillary isn’t in the
ministry, so perhaps I do not appreciate the enormous problems involved in
getting tourists to spend their money in a hurry and then go home. I saw a
bumper sticker once which read “Welcome to Texas - Now Go Home”.
Perhaps I should be making a similar one for Thailand. It would read
“Welcome to Thailand - Please leave your money and now Go Home”. It
could even become an OTOP best seller? The ladies of the night could even
have them made up as business cards!
I read in one of the daily papers where a foreigner was saying that
marriages between foreigners and Thai ladies don’t always work. I wonder
what he was trying to say, as because marriages between lots of people
don’t work, not just with Thais. Or is it worse here than overseas? Do
you have any figures, Hillary?
Dear Statistical Sam,
Of course Hillary has a figure! It isn’t quite as svelte as it used to
be, but it’s not bad for someone my age. Or so the boys tell me!
(Blush!) Now, getting right down to basics though, the problems you are
having come from reading daily newspapers. Weeklies are much better, and
you don’t have to rush before the next issue. However, being serious for
once, the divorce rates in the UK, USA and Australia, for native born
people are around 50 percent. Every second person has been divorced!
Second marriages also have a high divorce rate, so it’s not just a case
of a lousy choice first time round. It’s a lousy choice second time
around. And third, and fourth! When you factor in the problems with
communication when looking at the statistics in marrying a foreigner (in
any country, or from any country), then it is not surprising that there
are an equal number of failures. The fact that anyone stays married is
amazing! Personally I believe it depends totally on the willingness of
both parties to take the rough with the smooth, again this is independent
of nationality. Of course, if you make your life’s choice from the
ladies of the night, you should not be surprised if they have fluttered
away by the morning! Such is the nature of the butterfly, my Petal.
Camera Class: Dirt and your photographic investment
by Harry Flashman
“Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after
themselves,” I was taught at school. One day I will understand what that
meant! However, everyone believes in looking after your investments. After all,
our financial columnist Graham Macdonald has thousands of tips for you to ensure
the viability and longevity of your financial investments. So here are a few
tips from me on how to look after your photographic investments - investments
that can be quite big ticket items too.
show you the money that can be involved in photography, my favourite lens was a
40 mm Hasselblad wide angle, with a huge bit of glass on the front, that would
cost in Thailand over 200,000 baht. Worth looking after?
However, even humble point and shooters will benefit from
being looked after. Any camera will give you better and more reliable service,
and not let you down when you are about to take the one shot that will make you
millions of baht in the international news market.
The first concept is to understand just what it is that will
go towards destroying your camera. Usually these are simply: dust and grit,
moisture and condensation, battery acid and being dropped. Looking after your
investment is then a simple case of countering the above factors.
Moisture and condensation are the easiest ones to counter,
but the dampness comes from more than just being caught out in the rain.
Thailand is a hot and humid environment. How many times have you taken your
camera outside and found you could not see through the viewfinder because it had
steamed up? That is condensation. The best answer here is to keep small sachets
of silica gel in your camera bag, or in the little “socks” you keep the
lenses in. When the silica gel changes colour you can pop them back in the
micro-wave and rejuvenate them very easily. Many bottles of tablets come with
perfect little sachets in the top of them.
There will also be times when you get caught in the rain, or
you may even want to get rain shots. The camera body is reasonably water proof,
but you should carefully wipe the outside of the case dry afterwards, and
especially blow air around the lens barrel and the lens mount.
Dust and grit is the ever present danger in the environment.
How many times have you got a small piece of grit in your eye? Often, I will
wager. Small particles such as that can be very bad for the lens focussing and
zooming mechanics too. When the camera back is opened, while changing film for
example, any airborne grit can get into the shutter mechanism and damage it, or
even just get stuck on the spring loaded pressure plate that runs on the film.
This can leave a linear streak on the film, damaging every negative in the
series - and ruining your prized photographs. There is really no secret here.
Load and reload in the cleanest environment you can, and carefully blow out the
back of the camera every time you open it up. Never brush bits away with your
fingers - your sweat is corrosive!
That leads us to the even more serious type of corrosion -
leakage from batteries. Just about every camera in the world these days has a
battery, even if it is just to drive the needle on the light meter. Acid leakage
(and even acid fumes) from a battery can totally ruin a modern camera, getting
into the electronics so that it never works properly again. The answer here is
to discard the batteries every twelve months, even if they seem to be fine, and
if you are not going to be using the camera for an extended period, then take
the batteries out altogether.
Finally, keep your camera in a soft case that can absorb some shocks. Not the
silly leather or plastic thing it came in. If you have not got one - then go out
and buy one today. They are very inexpensive, especially when compared to the
cost of the camera! Protect your investment!
Dr Byte's Computer Conundrums
by Dr Byte, Citec Asia
Most of you will have experienced the almost daily problem
with internet connections to the outside world and I am sure many of you will
agree that there are some good days, but many days when you might as well go and
have lunch while you download your e-mail. Phone calls to Tech Support get the
helpful response that there is no problem. I have to admit that I did start
writing this article with the view that almost all the problems are inside
Thailand, but that’s not actually true. So what is actually going on and what
can we do about it?
In my opinion, things don’t look like getting much better
for a long time yet. Let me explain why.
CAT (Communication Authority of Thailand) took over control
of the Internet from Internet Thailand (Inet) about 18 months ago. CS Com,
SAMART and Loxinfo have joined forces. New players (TA / Asia Networks) and old
players (Ji-Net, KSC, etc) are all involved with trying to provide internet
services of one kind or another. Internet Services compete with themselves to
offer a range of mostly similar services dressed up to look good and outsiders
are prevented from joining the fray by strict CAT controls. This means that the
present competition simply looks at their own navels and any new ideas, improved
technology, improved infrastructure and more importantly capital, must come from
inside the current structure (that is, from inside Thailand).
While Inet remains the only company really making a profit so
far, broadband in one form or another has developed quite quickly and last but
not least, cable has also arrived and despite all these new and not so new
developments, we seem to have gone backward 5 years. Broadband certainly
doesn’t provide the gigabytes of bandwidth we should expect.
Citec Asia is fairly typical of companies that are dependant
on internet connections to service and support customers in many corners of the
world outside Thailand. We have tried most of the options trying to find a
stable and cost effective solution but I’m afraid the news isn’t good.
Three years ago, dial-up modem was the standard. At that
time, the internet was managed by Internet Thailand (Inet). There was the
equivalent of a superhighway, a country lane and a footpath to the outside
world. While there were occasional problems, or maybe my memory is failing me,
the good old days seemed to provide a better service.
The internal Thai network is usually quite reasonable. We
know this because we (Citec Asia) monitor, measure and record the speed of the
internet all day, every day. More about this later in this article. Experts in
the USA confirm that an internet connection should be better than 175ms (that is
the time it takes to send an electronic packet of information on a round trip to
somewhere and get a reply back).
Thailand’s internal network scores very highly with an
average connection of 1ms. However, internet connections to the rest of the
world and especially to the USA, Australia or Europe don’t score as well with
averages of 350ms on a good day to 4500ms or even worse on a slow day. So
Many of the problems, but not all, lie outside the borders of
Thailand. For example, remember 2 years ago when a cleaner entered the fibre
optic tunnel in Korea to dust it? Thailand was disconnected for almost 3 days.
Not long after, a ship’s propeller cut the main fibre optic cable somewhere
off the coast of Japan with similar consequences. Don’t forget that last
year’s crop of viruses (MyDoom) and this year’s (Sasser) crippled the
Internet for days on end with the sheer volume of e-mails being generated by
So, how do we measure what is going on, how do we know if the
connection is working and why would you even want to know this anyway? The
answer is simple, if you want to improve your connection, this information is
important and provides ammunition for a complaint to the ISP or even CAT. We
will be looking at these important questions next issue.
If you have any tips or tricks that you’d like to share, or
any questions about your internet or pc experience, contact me: Dr Byte,
Money Matters: Storm Watch Update Part
Gold and Silver Fundamentals - Based on a an article by Jim Puplava March 2004
MBMG International Ltd.
1) Producer Hedge Book
Reductions and the Decline in Central Bank Gold Sales continued:
This low interest rate environment has reversed large
spec positions on the COMEX from net short to net long. With a contango of
only 1%, there is very little incentive to short gold. Contangos have fallen
from the range of 5-6% to today’s 1%. A reversal of hedging policies has
produced two effects. The first is that gold companies are delivering into
existing hedge contracts without renewing these contracts. This results in
gold being delivered back to bullion and central bank vaults. The second
factor is that as prices strengthen and then pull back, companies have been
aggressive re-purchasers. This trend of aggressive hedge book repurchases
should continue as the price of gold advances. It can make all of the
difference of survival in a company. Hedged positions aren’t profitable
when the price of gold is rising, or even worse, going parabolic. The
drastic reduction of hedge book positions can be seen in the table below.
In addition to low interest rates, we are actually in a
negative interest rate environment (interest rates below the inflation
rate). In a period of higher inflation such as we are in today, negative
interest rates are forecasting the destruction of the value of financial
assets. This makes gold more valuable. Finally there is the Washington
Agreement which limited annual central bank gold sales to 400 tonnes of gold
a year. This agreement will be extended. For more about central bank sales,
I suggest the reader go to http://www.gata.org/ to find out more about
central bank sales and their impact on the gold markets. The only addition I
would make it to ask the following question: If central banks have been
selling, who has been doing all of the buying?
Since the stock market bubble burst in 2000, the
recession and terrorist attacks of 2001, the Federal Reserve and central
banks around the globe and their respective governments have been fighting
deflation with massive monetary and fiscal stimulus. Global governments are
running large, and in some cases as in the U.S., massive budget deficits in
order to counter economic weakness. Both money and credit have expanded
exponentially in the U.S. Traditional standards of money growth no longer
tell the whole story of credit reflation. Credit is expanding beyond the
traditional venues of bank lending. Today, credit is expanded mainly through
the financial markets through asset- backed securities. Every conceivable
kind of debt from home mortgages and credit cards to auto and instalment
loans have been securitized.
As of 3rd quarter 2003, national debt increased
year-over-year by $1 trillion, while personal income grew by only $298.5
billion. Nominal GDP grew by $371.2 billion and consumer debt by $969.5
billion. Total debt expanded by $1.7 trillion.  America’s debt bubble
has grown to be so large that there is only one way out for this country and
that is to inflate its way out of its debt burdens. I happen to be one of
the few who believe that the Fed will not return to a tight monetary policy.
The debt burden has become too large and the country now depends heavily on
asset bubbles to keep the economy from collapsing. Last year households
extracted between $600-700 billion out of their homes in the refinancing
boom. All of that equity extraction went to pay ordinary bills of living and
into stock speculation. It wouldn’t take much in the way of interest rate
hikes to collapse this debt - laden economy. The last time the Fed tried
(beginning in 1999 and in 2000); it brought about a collapse in the stock
market and a recession in short order. Today the economy is far more
dependent on asset inflation in real estate, stocks, bonds and mortgages. A
sharp rise in rates would bring about severe asset deflation in paper
The long and short of it is that credit will continue to
be expanded in this country until there are no more borrowers to be found.
Then, when there are no more private borrowers to be had, the government
will become the borrower-of-last-resort with the Fed monetizing all of the
government’s excess borrowing or budget deficits. Monetary reflation
equals gold, silver and commodity inflation.
3) A Declining U.S. Dollar
The third pillar of this new super bull market in
precious metals is a declining dollar. Despite a 28% decline in the U.S.
currency, the United States is still running record trade deficits.
America’s trade deficits are structural from energy to capital goods. Last
year’s trade deficit was a record, rising to over $500 billion. In the
month of January the U.S. experienced another record trade deficit of over
$43 billion. At the present rate of rise it will take more than a 50%
increase in exports just to balance out our trade. With budget and trade
deficits that are now running at over 5% of GDP and growing, our trade and
budget deficits are now at levels where a currency crisis sets in. The
dollar is going much, much lower. A decline of 50% or more would be possible
if not probable. It is also unlikely a decline of this magnitude would be
orderly. Severe currency adjustments don’t correct themselves in an
orderly fashion. A crisis is more likely. The chart below of Gold vs. US
Dollar (1990 - 2004) shows the decline in the dollar since 2001 and the rise
of gold. There is a reverse relationship between the two. One is a fiat
currency and the other is real money. Over the course of history only real
money survives a crisis, an empire or a nation. Gold and silver are
enduring; paper currencies are not.
The above data and research was compiled from sources
believed to be reliable. However, neither MBMG International Ltd nor its
officers can accept any liability for any errors or omissions in the above
article nor bear any responsibility for any losses achieved as a result of
any actions taken or not taken as a consequence of reading the above
article. For more information please contact Graham Macdonald on graham@mbmg-inter
Chiangmai Mail Publishing Co. Ltd.
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A.Muang, Chiang Mai 50000
Tel. 053 852 557, 081-302 0126 Fax. 053 260 738
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