Your Health & Happiness:
The lily, known as a symbol of purity, stands for a huge
family of flowers, a family with over 400 different species, mostly bell
shaped elegant flowers. Lilies have a beautiful scent and a reputation in
medicine as well as perfume and (don’t laugh) as food. Lilies are edible.
legends can be found surrounding lilies. Probably the oldest one says that
the lily sprang from Eve’s tears, when upon being expelled from the Garden
of Eden, she learned she was pregnant. Another legend tells of lilies,
unplanted by any human hand spontaneously appearing on the graves of people
executed for crimes they did not commit.
Even today, people all over the planet believe that
planting lilies in a garden will protect the garden from ghosts and evil
spirits. Even dreaming of these graceful flowers has a special meaning. If
you dream of lilies in spring, your marriage will be a happy one, but if it
is during winter, turn around and go back to sleep as it is said, this is
the announcement of a premature death of a loved one.
But wherever you live, lilies imply purity of the heart. And despite the
fact we associate lilies with white, meaning innocence and sweetness, they
come in a variety of colors. In Christian symbolism the lily represents
purity, chastity, and innocence, while in medieval times, lilies also
symbolized feminine sexuality.
The Doctor's Consultation:
Use by ... ?
by Dr. Iain Corness
My wife is scrupulous about expiry dates. If the wrapper on
the bread says 26th of August, I can guarantee it will be in the bin on the
27th. Even though it has been kept in the refrigerator and there is no sign of
mould and I wanted toast on the morning of the 27th. At the stroke of midnight
my toast becomes unfit for human consumption!
After that long-winded introduction, this week’s article
relates to the expiry dates of medications, a question that is often asked of
me. And just why they have a “Use By” date at all.
The first concept you have to get your head around is why
medications, and even tablets and capsules, have an “expiry” date. The
reason is simple, and can be compared to wine that has become “corked”.
When wine goes “off”, a chemical change has occurred, and the pleasant
tasting wine becomes vinegar. Likewise, with medications, which are all
chemicals (even aspirin, which is acetyl salicylic acid), a chemical change
occurs and the original medication is no longer the same chemical compound.
This means that its ‘bio-availability’ is not the same any longer.
However, like 60 kph speed limits where 59 kph is
“safe” and 61 kph is “dangerous” - a totally ludicrous concept, the
same exists for the expiry date on medications. If it says use before 26th of
August it does not mean that on the 27th of August the medication changes into
chalk. In today’s non risk taking world, the manufacturers are covering
their posteriors. They have to imagine that you are going to maltreat their
medications and the expiry date really represents the “worst case”
Let me assure you that on the 27th of August, that
medication is still good (just like my loaf of bread). In fact, many of the
charity organizations go around the doctors’ surgeries in the western world,
collecting “out of date” drugs to be used in the developing world. In
Vietnam a few years ago the pharmacies used to sell medications with the
expiry date cut off the foil wrappings. You can guess where they came from!
Another reason for short expiry times could be that the
shorter it keeps, the more has to be manufactured and bought. But of course
the large drug companies wouldn’t think that way, would they? That’s just
a thought from old cynical brains like mine!
So how should you store your prescription medicines? Well
the first thing is to look at the box and it generally tells you the ideal
storage place and temperature, but if it doesn’t then you won’t go far
wrong with storing it in the door of the household refrigerator. This is
particularly so for liquids, suspensions, eye drops and the like; however,
with opened bottles, there is always a very short expiry on them, generally
around 30 days from the date of opening. Do not be tempted to extend this
time. It is not worth it.
For individually wrapped tablets in blister packs or foil,
then a cool dark cupboard is fine, but for capsules, it is even more important
to keep them cool. Again the door of the fridge is a good place.
There is one other important consideration regarding
keeping medications at home - children. You must keep drugs away from all
children. Many medications are brightly coloured, suspensions are sweet and
children are attracted by them.
And my loaf of bread? My chemical engineering mate Alan
Coates tells me it oxidizes, but not right on the stroke of midnight!
I married my Thai fianc้e after a year of engagement. She is a
professional lady and we have always done everything in a proper fashion.
My wife is 15 years younger than me and this gives us a problem. When we
go out, many foreigners assume that my wife must be, or have been, a bar
girl even though she in no way acts like one. She has no tattoos or wears
sexy dresses or even smokes. I realize that as high as 85 percent of all
Thai-foreigner marriages are between bar girls and “sex tourists”, but
this is not so for other 15 percent of Thai-foreigner marriages. Please
tell your readers that not all Thai-foreigner marriages are between bar
girls and “sex tourists,” and stop making false assumptions.
Now you’ve got all that off your chest, do you feel a little better,
Petal? However, I think you have made a few false assumptions yourself
too. Where did you get that figure of 85 percent of Thai-foreigner
marriages are between bar girls and what you call “sex tourists”? Let
me assure you that sex tourists do not come to Thailand to get married.
That is why they are sex tourists - they want the fun in bed without the
filling out forms at the local Ampur office. Honestly, Jack, 85 percent of
Thai foreigner marriages are between people such as yourself and your
wife. The foreigners who “look down” on you are the foreigners who are
not in the marriage market, just the bar meat market. Ignore them, my
Advice needed urgently, Hillary my Petal! There I was at a new bar and met
this vision of loveliness. She speaks very little English but seems like a
very genuine person. She comes from Buriram, and that’s about all I
managed to find out after about four hours and several “lady drinks”.
The biggest problem was only that she doesn’t speak much English, but we
got by OK. By the end of the night I was pretty drunk and lent her 5000
baht. What should I do? Should I keep going, or should I give up now
before I get in too deep?
You’ve got the telescope to the blind eye. Haven’t you! After four
hours of lady drinks you give this “vision of loveliness” 5,000 baht.
How were you communicating with your vision? It wasn’t English,
according to you, so I presume it must have been in Braille. Or was it
just in mathematics? You certainly did come down in the last shower. That
is 5,000 baht you will never see again. But look at it this way - there is
a very grateful buffalo up there in Buriram, thinking about you. And by
the way, I am not your Petal, Petal!
We read your column every week and want to start a Hillary Fan Club. Of
course we would like you to be the patron of honour. Where can we contact
Dear Three Fans,
Hillary is blushing, but you really are very silly people. How can you
contact me? You just did, Petal, didn’t you? But if you really want to
start such a club, I will be delighted to be patron of honour (but
definitely not matron of honour) provided you charge a hefty annual
subscription (keeps the riff-raff out) and the money is donated to my
favourite charity, the Champagne and Chocolate Fund for Aging Agony Aunts
(CCFAAA). Let me know when you’re up and running, Petal.
My wife went out the other night with a girl friend for what she called a
‘girls night out’ and came home at two in the morning well under the
weather. What do you think I should do about it?
The Weather Forecaster
Dear Weather Forecaster,
Sounds like you had better get her an umbrella and a rain coat real soon.
A few weeks ago a guy wrote asking whether you thought his letters to his
Thai girlfriend had got through as he had gotten no reply. I thought you
really brushed him off too lightly. This is a real problem, as I have had
letters go missing many times when I have posted them from overseas to my
girlfriend in Pattaya. It is not only Pattaya, as letters I have sent to
girls in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Korat, Khon Kaen and Phuket have also gone
missing. I think you shouldn’t just dismiss these real problems for guys
overseas. It is very worrying when you don’t get anything back.
Steve from the Sandbox
Dear Sandbox Steve,
Are you really serious, or are you trying to impress me with how many Thai
girlfriends you have? The answer to all your problems is called the email
system. You can write away to your heart’s content and be happy in the
knowledge that all the Noys, Aoys and Toys will get your undying love -
though you will obviously have to do yours with a CC to Bangkok, Chiang
Mai, Korat, Khon Kaen, Phuket, etc, because I am sure you are far too busy
to write separate emails! Only problem is getting the A drive to accept
the $100 banknotes that will be asked for!
Camera Class: Giving your subjects the golden glow
by Harry Flashman
Ever looked at those wonderful photographs of people
positively ‘glowing’ with health and vitality and wondered whether people
actually ever look like that? Sickeningly brimming full of goodness, and golden
hues just radiating from their every pore. Well, I am sorry to tell you, but
like so many things in photography, it is a fraud! A photographic ‘trick’
but one that you can use to your own advantage. A trick that will cost you about
100 baht for the equipment and three minutes to master!
all photographic tricks still have to conform to the basic rules of physics, in
particular the rules of light. Light travels in straight lines and will bounce
off any non-translucent object. And that, quite simply, is the scientific basis
to this trick.
The ‘golden glow’ that comes from the subject in the
photo is really just reflected golden light, bounced back on to the subject.
People shots benefit from this warm healthy look and when you use the technique
properly, the subjects will look many years younger because you can get rid of
saggy chins quicker than a plastic surgeon can say, “Get your wallet out!”
Now in the photographic sense, the natural golden glow comes
in the late afternoon, with the sun getting low on the horizon. There are good
scientific reasons why this is so, but here is not the place to discuss them.
Just accept the fact that late afternoon sun is the “warm” time. Take
pictures at this time of day and you will get that golden glow - but our
photographic trick will allow you to get that warm golden glow at any time of
day - and control it as well, something you cannot do so easily with the sun as
your light source!
What you have to do is build a light reflector that reflects
that warm colour. Go to the newsagent and get some gold foil paper. The sort of
wrapping paper you use for wedding gifts. It may be embossed or patterned, and
in fact it is better if it is, but must be gold in colour. Glue the gold paper
on to a sheet of cardboard or polystyrene sheet approximately one metre square.
You do not have to be deathly accurate or neat. If the surface gets a little
‘scrunched up’ that is fine too. Your capital outlay is probably around
50-100 baht. Not bad, so far!
Now you have a reflector, which if you play with it near a
window for example, will shine “gold” on to any subject. You are now ready
to impart that golden glow.
The best photos for this exercise are people shots taken
outdoors, with the sun behind the subject. This we call ‘back lit’. You will
find that the subject’s hair becomes very bright around the edges, almost like
a ‘halo’ effect.
Now for the addition of the golden glow. To do this, you
position your reflector to shine some sunlight back towards the subject. Prop
the reflector in the best position to give the degree of golden glow you want (I
generally just prop it up with the camera bag, or you can get an assistant to
hold it for you) and look through the viewfinder. See what a difference this
makes? The ugly chin shadow has gone as the light is coming upwards, and the
subject now looks brilliantly glowing and healthy. The one metre square
reflector will also impart catchlights to eyes to make them sparkle as well. The
end photo has shiny hair, bright eyes and a golden complexion radiating warmth.
A fabulous picture.
Now, the downside! It is more difficult to get the correct exposure setting
in the backlit situation. If your camera has a Backlight button, then use it. If
not, walk in close to the subject so that the person’s face fills the frame,
and take your exposure reading from there. Use the exposure lock, or just
memorise the readings and put them in on manual mode. It is worth it.
Dogs - Man’s best friend:Domesticated dogs
Couch potato, feral or stray
Domesticated dogs can be roughly divided into three
categories. In the first category are all those dogs belonging to an owner,
whether pure-bred with or without pedigree.
Dingo is a typical feral dog, erect ears, straight back, lean and muscular,
short haired coat.
The second category comprises the feral dogs. These are
domestic dogs that left their human families or were abandoned and
re-adapted themselves to the wild. Two groups can be recognized: the first
exists of those having returned to a wild existence many centuries ago. The
most well-known, and oldest pure bred of dog in the world is the Dingo that,
as a domestic dog, was brought to Australia. The oldest Dingo fossils date
from 1450 BC, although it is thought the dogs were there even long before
this time. In Sri Lanka there is the Sinhala Hound. Also this is a very
ancient type of feral dog. There is evidence of the presence of domesticated
dogs of more than 11,000 years ago. When he is taken care of, the Sinhala
hound seems to be an alert, watchful, sweet and obedient pet. Other examples
are the New Guinea Singing Dog and the North American Native Dog or Carolina
second group comprises semi-wild feral dogs that have established themselves
as packs and survive through scavenging on the garbage of human society. A
fairly well-known example of this group is the Pariah Dog from India,
although dogs similar to this type are found all over Southern Asia, the
Middle East and North Africa. A ‘nice’, anecdote: in Nepal the Pariah
Dogs are caught once a year during a National celebration then bathed,
groomed and garlanded. The other 364 days of the years these dogs are left
on their own in order to survive.
Typical with these feral dogs is that after several
generations a common type develops with very similar characteristics and
looks as the Dingo despite the different locations in the world. This
suggests that the actual ancestor of the domestic dog was a rather small
type of wolf with short hair living in the (semi) tropics and not the huge,
thick-coated form that we think of today as the typical wolf.
The last category comprises the stray dogs. These are
also abandoned domestic dogs, but they have not been able to re-establish a
wild existence. For their survival they still heavily depend on human
For more information on dog-issues, boarding or training please contact
LuckyDogs: 09 99 78 146 or [email protected]
Beer and More: The Bitter taste of beer
by Karl Eichhorn,
Chiangmai Malting product manager
The bitter taste of beer stems from its hops content. Two
main varieties are used for the brewing of beer: bitter hops and aroma hops.
They are characterized by different contents of so-called alpha-acids.
beer hop structure
Hops do also contain many other components, which are rare or
unique in nature. In this context, phenyl flavanoids have to be mentioned, and
here in particular a compound called phytoestrogen. It is hypothesized that
phytoestrogen is beneficial to health and the fight against a number of
diseases, especially cancer.
In search of compounds effective against the development of
cancer, scientists examined around 2000 different components found in various
food items as well as beer. With regard to beer, they noted Xanthohumol (XAN) as
the most interesting and promising compound. Laboratory work indicated that XAN
inhibits the development and growth of cancer. In comparison with resveratol,
found in red wine, XAN was 200 times more effective. However, more research is
required in this field to confirm the findings.
Meanwhile, the state brewery Munich-Weihenstephan produces
and markets a XAN-rich beer made from wheat and yeast which contains 15 times as
much XAN than the ordinary brew.
Polyphenolic compounds, entering the beer through hops, have
been found by Prof. Keukeleire to be specifically effective against breast,
uterus and prostate cancer.
This leads me to another ‘not yet’ confirmed theory, the buffalo theory
of beer drinking and brain development. Just think - a herd of buffalo can only
move as fast as the slowest buffalo, much like the brain can only operate as
fast as the slowest brain cells. The slowest buffalo are the sick and weak so
they die off first, making it possible for the herd to move at a faster pace.
Like the buffalo, the weak, slow brain cells are the ones that are killed off by
excessive beer drinking and socializing, making the brain operate faster. The
moral of the story: Drink more beer, it will make you smarter.
Money Matters: Scott Campbell’s views on Thailand
(written at the start of May 2004)
MBMG International Ltd.
Continuing our mini-series on the views imparted by Scott
Campbell, the portfolio manager whose ‘Growth Fund’ has been judged by
S&P to be the best in its sector for the last 6 years, during his first
ever visit to Bangkok, last month we turn our attention, once again, to Oil.
Oil prices have risen steadily since last February after
OPEC agreed to reduce official production quotas by 1m barrels a day from
the 1st of April to prevent a build up of supplies
during the second quarter of the year and NYMEX Oil futures have been very
volatile at levels just below US$38 a barrel. The big question is whether
oil is a medium to longer term investment opportunity?
Martin Spring, in his private newsletter on global
strategy mid-March concluded that there is a persuasive case for a core
holding of energy, particularly hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas) in any
equity portfolio. At the time of writing crude oil is currently trading 17%
above its average price last year and global demand shows no sign of
weakening. Oil stocks in the US, the biggest consumer, are at their lowest
levels since 1975, while in the advanced nations as a whole, stocks are only
enough to meet 28 days use. The basis of Martin Spring’s article forms the
core of the conclusion below.
At the conclusion of the Iraq war, oil prices were meant
to be closer to US$20 a barrel but several factors have been driving up
prices: The most significant has been demand from China. Last year China
accounted for more than a third of the global increase in demand and
overtook Japan to become the world’s second biggest importer after the US.
Secondly, supply disruptions in major producers such as Venezuela, Nigeria
and Iraq have prevented a build up of stocks from their low levels. The OPEC
cartel instructed its members to cut production next month in an attempt to
keep prices above US$30 to offset the weakening purchasing power of dollars.
Finally, investor interest in commodities as an asset class has seen
speculators buying oil, with the net long position in futures contracts
representing about 70 million barrels of crude.
Arguments for and against the future of oil prices are:
Bears conclude that with the US and China facing economic slowdown and
growth sluggish in Europe and Japan, global demand for oil will go flat. The
US maybe, but Asian demand should sustain a 2%pa growth rate for the
foreseeable future. Higher prices are undoubtedly encouraging exploration
and development activity, especially in Russia, Central Asia and West Africa
which will increase supply and reduce dependence on the Middle East but this
can take years and numerous dollars. Geological, infrastructure and
political difficulties of developing new production will also inhibit
expansion. Giant oilfields such as Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar, Alaska’s
Prudhoe Bay and the UK’s North Sea are approaching the end of their
productive lives and no fields of equivalent size have been found to replace
Optimal Fund Management concludes that oil is a tangible
asset, a scarce resource and not easily replaced or created. Supply is
limited and demand is bullish from the emerging economies. This fits with
our medium term portfolio strategy of overweighing tangible assets versus
financial assets. A rapid rise in the oil price may also be a double edged
sword in that it would be very bearish for the developed markets’ fragile
debt laden economies. Technically, US$40 a barrel is key resistance level
and if broken could lead to a major breakout. Commodities will be the story
for 2004 even though a stronger USD may temper extravagant gains. We are
The easy way to play this theme is to buy the major oil
companies. However, these stocks are not performing and suffer from a number
of corporate accounting excesses that trouble financial and industrial
stocks i.e. Shell and its recent reserve problems.
The second option is to buy a fund that invests in
diverse portfolio of energy stocks within all capitalisations. We prefer
this latter VALUE route and the Guernsey open-ended Investec Global Energy
Fund is a solid performer, managed by Tim Guinness a very experienced
investment professional. For those who prefer listed trusts or the New York
listed ETF funds the iShares Dow Jones US Energy Sector Index Fund, iShares
Goldman Sachs Natural Resources Fund, iShares S&P Global Energy Sector
Index Fund, HOLDRS Oil Services or SPDR – Energy can provide exposure. For
the more aggressive investors, buying oil futures via spread bets and the
like is also an option.
Short term noise surrounding supply and demand will probably increase but
the long term fundamentals of oil as an investment class is one that clients
should consider as a satellite to a core holding in an Optimal Fund
Management managed fund.
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 [email protected]
Letters from Lek
Have you ever sat around with your friends and had nothing to do because you
didn’t know what to talk about? Sometimes it is good to tell a short joke and
that way it’s good to liven up the group. Sometimes the best jokes are just
short and quick to tell, and the important thing is; they are easy to remember.
Today’s joke week, as I decided that my column was getting
a bit boring for you kids. So get ready and off we go into the joke world!
1. What would you get if you crossed a puppy with a mean
A bully dog
2. What kinds of cats like to go bowling?
3. If there were ten cats in a boat and one jumped out, how
many would there be left?
None! They are all copy cats!
4. What do you get if you cross a cat with a canary?
A happy cat
5. What do you get if you cross a beagle with a giraffe?
A dog that barks at airplanes
6. How do you spell mousetrap in three letters?
7. What kind of dog can jump higher than a house?
Any kind! A house can’t jump