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The Doctor's Consultation 

Agony Column

Camera Class by Snapshot

Dr Byte's Computer Conundrums

Mrs. DoLittle’s Corner

Life in the Laugh Lane

The Doctor's Consultation: Cosmetic Surgery. Who do you want to look like?

by Dr. Iain Corness

I once saw a program about a woman who wanted to look like a Barbie doll, and after many cosmetic procedures, she did indeed look as close to a Barbie doll as you could imagine, and equally as vacuous. The program did not go on to say whether she met her “Ken”.

Personally I believe that kind of cosmetic surgery has all sorts of ethical issues associated with it, but then again, that is just my opinion. However, I have no problems with people who want to correct physical defects to improve their image, or people who feel they have a problem with their appearance, and who would feel happier in themselves if this were corrected. I, too, have held my hands at the side of my face and pulled slightly to reveal how I used to look 30 years ago. I, too, have been tempted by the thought of a face lift!

Before I go much further, before contemplating any cosmetic surgery, you must consult specialists in the field. These are doctors who have specialist qualifications in plastic and reconstructive surgery and do nothing but that type of work every day, not the clinic on the corner that does everything from coughs and sneezes and venereal diseases and the odd breast enlargement job as well!

There are many cosmetic procedures these days, and here is just a few of them.

Rhinoplasty is functional re-modelling of the nose and is carried out to correct malformations and developmental abnormalities. These procedures can usually be done under local anaesthetic, in most instances, and will take 1 to 1-1/2 hours in surgery. The important word here is ‘functional’. It is no good having a super looking nose that you can’t breathe through!

Blepharoplasty is removal of excess skin from the upper or lower eye lids. This can be done under local anaesthesia with surgery taking around one hour.

Face Lifts. There are many types of this (depending on how far your face has fallen!). Major procedures can take up to 5 hours in surgery and require a general anaesthetic and an inpatient stay of up to 4 days. Minor procedures are done under local and you may be able to return home on the same day.

Lip Surgery, both thickening or thinning of protuberant lips can be done as an out-patient procedure. This takes up to 2 hours and is performed under local anaesthesia.

Mammoplasty - increasing or decreasing the size of the breasts can take up to 4 hours in surgery and requires general anaesthesia and an in-patient stay of up to 4 days. These days, saline implants are generally used, though the ‘dangers’ with silicone implants were more imagined than real. For many women these operations can give them a new lease on life, ending many years of embarrassment and psychological trauma.

Liposuction. This is a relatively new form of cosmetic surgery where fat cells are ‘sucked’ away from the tissues under the skin and requires general anaesthesia. This is the most common cosmetic procedure in the USA, followed by breast enlargement and nose jobs.

Surgical excision of fatty apron or scars. This is not as easy as it may sound and normally requires general anaesthesia and an in-patient stay of up to 4 days.

Punch graft hair transplants. This is a lengthy procedure (5 hours) but is carried out under local anaesthesia. 500 punch grafts will fill in an area 9 cm x 9 cm and a 2 day spell as an in-patient is necessary.

Agony Column

Dear Hillary,
I have enclosed an article from a British newspaper that I thought you might like to read. Fondest regards.

Dear Mel,
Petal! How can I thank you enough for the clipping from The Sun newspaper? I must admit I have never read this publication, but it does look as if it would be very suitable for cod and chips. As they say in the business, “News today, chip wrappers tomorrow.” However, no doubt some Wally do-gooder has probably decided that it is illegal, immoral or fattening to wrap fish and chips in newsprint and that has been banned too. It is for reasons such as these that many of your countrymen have come here to live, I am sure.
Dear Hillary,
I am trying (with little success) to persuade my wife that we should consider selling up our house in England and move to Thailand or at least consider this as an option when we retire. We normally come to Thailand twice a year for holidays. My wife is a demon for sunbathing and I have caught the golf bug, so obviously Thailand suits us both. My problem is persuading “she who must be obeyed” that a permanent move to Thailand is an excellent idea. She is of the opinion that she would soon get bored and there is little else for her to do other than laze around by the pool or on the beach. Can you offer any advice on how to persuade her that a move to Thailand would not necessarily be boring? Any advice or ideas on how to persuade my wife to move would be gratefully accepted.
In a previous column you were asked about why there were so many golf tourists in Thailand. You quite rightly pointed out that there were many wonderful courses and they were considerably cheaper than elsewhere in the world. You forgot to mention the wonderful smiling caddies who just carry on smiling no matter how bad you play. It really is a golfing paradise.
Golfing George

Dear Golfing George,
UK or Thailand? It’s a lay down misere, surely! However, let me look at what could be keeping her in the UK. With us women folk, Petal, there are often hidden agendas that you men just do not realize or even consider to be important. There may be more to it than ideas of boredom. What about these for starters? Children? From your letter I presume that retirement isn’t all that far off, so they should all be grown up. Grandchildren? Perhaps. Her own parents? The security of having the house in the UK versus the “uncertainty” of life and ownership of real estate in Thailand? These are all issues that you should explore. As regards boredom, ask any of the members of the various ladies clubs if they are bored. Run off their feet more likely. I suggest that next time you come over on holidays get your wife to contact them and see where that leads. You will find the listings in the newspaper.
Dear Hillary,
I notice that most of the letters you get are from farang males who are complaining about what has happened to them in the bar scene. Surely they must see that there is a big difference between that side of life in Thailand and the other side? Or are they really that short-sighted? If they were only to look past the end of their noses they would appreciate that there are some truly wonderful girls out there. I have been married to my Thai wife for six years now and there has never been a bad moment in all that time. She is beautiful, intelligent (a qualified book-keeper) and caring. I do not have to change the locks on my doors or worry that my suits or my anatomy will be slashed. She does not need gold ropes to hold her in the marriage, or motorcycles, or houses. We have a partnership and mutual trust. Why don’t some of these men look for the “good” girls?
Long-sighted Stewart

Dear Long-sighted Stewart,
There may be lots of reasons, and most of it is down to the old supply and demand situation. It may be that the supply of “good” girls is much less than the demand, so the single males gravitate to the “good-time” girls, of which there is a more than adequate supply. By the way, Stewart my Petal, bar scene farangs are generally not looking past the end of their noses - it is some other part of the anatomy they can’t see past. Look after your wonderful wife and buy her plenty of chocolates and champagne (you can send the champagne to me if she doesn’t drink) and continue to build on your mutual trust. Thank you for a most sensible letter, and for showing some of the others a more sensible approach to life in Thailand.

Camera Class: Kids pix made easy (well, at least easier!)

by Harry Flashman

The music hall comedians always worked on the principle that they should never get on stage with children or animals. There were many good reasons for that, one of which was the fact that neither took stage direction very well.

Photographing children and animals is also fraught with the same problem. Neither take stage direction very well.

(Photo by Howard Greene)

I was reminded of this the other day when a baby had to be photographed for a passport. The baby in question was nine months old, and had to be photographed against a white background. For a brief moment I actually considered the request to take the photo, but then experience, that wonderful teacher, intervened and I sent mother and child to the local photo shop. There they struggled for 20 minutes and after several attempts finally managed to get the requisite passport likeness.

The biggest problem is that children have the attention span of three point four milliseconds (if you’re lucky) and to expect kiddy co-operation while you spend time setting up the shot, focussing and finding the best lighting is to fly in the face of reality. No, to get a good kid pic means that you have to be totally set up and ready. That means you must begin with an idea of how you want the end result to look.

Let’s look at the equipment needed first. In general, the further away you get, the more natural the photograph you will get. So, a small zoom lens (35-70) works very well in this situation as you can get far enough away from the child without invading the child’s ‘personal space’ and producing shyness or forced behaviour.

Some photographers swear by Auto-focus (AF) for this type of shot, but personally I find that the noise is distracting for children. The “whiz-whiz” attracts for the aforesaid three point four milliseconds, and then they are off again.

Focussing is important, as it is for all photography, and I generally use the “pre-focus” technique in this type of situation. When you have found the position you want to shoot from, then focus on where the child is and “lock” that focus into the camera. When you suddenly see the shot you want, you won’t have to waste time trying to focus.

The most important item with child photography is to get down to their level, otherwise by shooting from above you get distortions and a “strange” view of the child. Have a look at this week’s picture taken by the late Howard Greene. This happy youngster was snapped by doing all the above techniques.

Since children are fairly mobile creatures, you do need to get a reasonable depth of field to keep the subject in focus. There are a couple of ways to ensure that this happens. The first is to select 200 ASA film. This means you can use a smaller aperture (or your camera can select it, on “auto” settings). This increases the depth of field, keeping your subject in a deeper area of sharp focus. The second is to photograph in good light, which again means the camera can select small apertures.

Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty of taking the shot of your terrible two year old. Put little Johnny in a well lit area of the house, patio or garden with some favourite toys. Sit down on the floor a little way from him and pre-focus the camera. Now just sit there, not joining in to his play world, looking quietly through the viewfinder. Remember that you do have a limited time before Mr. Two gets bored and wants to wander off.

When everything is right, call out the child’s name and catch the child’s first response to you. The inquiring look, or the big smile, will be there to be caught forever on film. You can repeat that exercise perhaps three times before the child will not respond any more, no matter what you do! As I said at the beginning, these little creatures have a very short attention span. Be prepared, be ready and be watchful and you too can get that ‘magic’ shot.

Dr Byte's Computer Conundrums

by Dr Byte, Citec Asia

In the last issue I shared some of the questions I received from you, and this week I would like to share some more questions and answers, but first let’s focus on children and the forthcoming holidays (short as they may be).

Many readers come to Thailand with their families, and more than ever, a household of children is a household desperately in need of entertainment during holidays. With all the preparations for Christmas, Hanukah and the New Year, keeping the kids busy gives you more time for wrapping presents and writing cards. The internet is a great resource for entertainment and online, older children can find projects and handy resources to print and complete away from the computer. What’s nice about these internet resources, apart from being safe and free, is that parents can be and should be involved too.

One site I like is @rt Room with plenty of art projects and creative inspiration for all ages. While the kids might start out on the computer they’ll soon be out examining shadows, making paper collages, taking photos with a digital camera and making family portraits following the project guides on the site. Go

Kids love to draw: sometimes on the walls and furniture. Online drawing involves the same skills but with a lot less mess. One top site I found (and it has a high wow factor for adults too) is GE’s “Imagination at Work” flash drawing application. The site is free of advertising and pop-ups, easy and fun to use and the interface is surprisingly sophisticated. Choose a pen size and colour and draw on to the digital paper. You can even email the masterpieces from the site. Go to:

A site with education as well as a high fun value is Questacon’s roller-coaster builder. Build and ride your own roller-coaster and learn what makes them work at

Now some questions and answers.

David and family of Mae Rim ask:

My 10-year-old son is looking for a home page that would be suitable for a child of his age and contains a search engine as well. Any ideas?


Look at the search engines and directories aimed at kids and explore topics from there. KidsNet is an Australian search engine and directory for kids and teachers. Yahoo has a face for youngsters, too.

Jeffery of Tambon Pa-Dad asks:

I set up Windows XP so that my wife and I have our own user account to log on to Windows. We have one account with an ISP and several additional email mailboxes with that ISP. I would like to configure Outlook so when a user logs on, they can send and receive email using their own email address but have separate inboxes, email folders and address books. At the moment, Outlook checks for mail by logging into the ISP using our main account and password. The additional mailboxes forward their contents to the main account, which then appears in Outlook. Is there any way that we can receive email into separate Outlook Inboxes that have their access restricted to an individual Windows user? If not with Outlook, can this be done with any other email system? Also, if Outlook Express is part of Internet Explorer, does that mean that I currently have Outlook and Outlook Express on my PC? Am I correct in assuming that the latter is simply a “cut-down” version of the former?


There are several ways to be able to send and receive mail. It is possible to have one person using Outlook and the other Outlook Express, which is a cut-down version of Outlook. Outlook Express does not have a calendar or appointments but the mail function is similar. Outlook Express supports Newsgroups, something that Outlook does not.

While a little bit complex to set up, if you wish to just use Outlook, you will have to create new folder(s) for your wife and then create rules that check the incoming mail and automatically transfer it to the appropriate mail folder if her name appears in the To field. Having a separate address book is a problem as Outlook keeps mail and contacts in the one PST file.

However, one interesting function of Outlook Express is the ability to set up different Identities and this is the simplest way to go. Each identity can have its own login and password and once set up, receive e-mail just for that account. Open Outlook Express and click on File Manage Identities, and follow the straight forward steps.

To everyone, I do wish you all a Happy and profitable New Year and hope you have an enjoyable festive season. In the next column, I have a few more Questions and Answers to share with you. Don’t forget to keep your preferred anti-virus and spysweepers up to date. Do a full hard disc scan and sweep at least once a week. Don’t open e-mails with funny attachments if you’re not expecting them and last but not least, make sure your firewall is on.

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.

Mrs. DoLittle’s Corner: Jumbo Love

One of the greatest pleasures of working with animals is their eternal gratitude towards their benefactors, unlike most people who never seem to be satisfied with their lot in life.

A dog which has been rescued from the street is often more loyal and appreciative than a dog who is fortunate enough to be born into a loving home. When Mrs. DoLittle first met Mai the elephant orphan whose mother had been shot by poachers, she was thin and sad looking. Seeing an animal in such a state always stirs my heart with love soup. The sadder and worse off the creature is, the more love potion I have for them. So much so, that I can do nothing else but nourish them until they are healthy and happy and no longer need me. Once they are smiling and life is good for them, Mrs. DoLittle can eat well and sleep peacefully again.

To see animals that cannot be helped in their suffering, like the screaming pigs in crates loaded on trucks bound for slaughter, is like torture to my soul. A visit to a slaughterhouse decades ago still haunts me, day and night. But to be able to help an animal into a better situation becomes a very satisfying process. No animal shows more satisfaction at being nurtured than an elephant. What you put in is what you get out, so love is returned JUMBO SIZE!

Feeding baby Mai was a very noisy (and messy) affair, but one of the highlights in Mrs. DoLittle’s life. The baby’s squeals of delight echoed in my dreams. I couldn’t wait to get out of bed in the morning so I could feed her. When eventually her tummy was full, her heart cup overflowed and she would continue to suck on Mrs. DoLittle’s fingers, arms, head, legs, all of me. Why not take all of me (as the popular song once went)? Finally love had exhausted us both as we rolled contented in each others arms, Mrs. DoLittle covered from head to toe in rice and milk formula.

The moral of this story is; if you can’t get no satisfaction (Mick Jagger), try feeding an elephant!

Life in the Laugh Lane: Living as a foreigner in Chiang Mai

65 reasons to stay in Thailand

by Scott Jones

I think about visiting the USA, but that’s as far as I get. I’d love to see my friends and family, but I’d miss the cost of living in Thailand. My American friends have homes in town and cabins in the country with mortgages the size of the GDP of some Asian countries.

For the same amount of my former monthly mortgage payment, I lease a sumptuous house near Chiangmai for a year plus cover a hundred days lodging at cabins throughout northern Thailand. And I don’t have to clean the cabins.

One pineapple in the US or all this.

To obtain a Thai driver’s license, you need a medical certificate to verify that you have a heart beat, height and weight, that you don’t have any dangerous diseases if you don’t want to tell the doctor about them, and that you can identify multi-colored numbers made from multi-colored dots in multi-colored backgrounds. Without an appointment, the entire process took an hour with smiling, respectful nurses and one doctor the same age as the ancient chedi outside his window. In America, you’d have to schedule it a month in advance, suffer an hour in the lobby while reading old beauty magazines which are a stand-off between recipes for fattening foods and articles promoting the latest dieting fads, wait alone in an observation room for another hour, barely dressed in a gown exposing your buttocks to the rest of the world, sit on a sheet of butcher paper while the staff treats you like a piece of meat and give them a couple hundred dollars. The charge here was 50 baht = $1.25. I offered to pay them double, take them all out for dinner and give them all a ride on my 1000cc Kawasaki bike. (If a 125cc Honda Dream can carry a family of four, I should be able to get at least 32 nurses on mine. One a day for a month would be ideal.)

During my last trip to America, I vividly remember picking up, and not buying, a pineapple in a grocery store: cost $6.75. In Thailand, $6.75 = 270 baht, which buys a night’s lodging in a beautiful bungalow in the mountains of Pai (100 baht), a steaming dish of Pad Thai (10), fifty, count, fifty stems of orchids in the flower market (50), a bottle of green tea (13), a whole BBQ chicken (40), two ears of roasted corn on the cob (10), several fresh mangos (5), a cup of iced coffee (10), a stick of bamboo filled with sweet sticky rice and black beans (2), a garland of jasmine flowers for a friend (5), a baby bee omelet, yes, baby bee, not for me, maybe for that friend, anyone else but me (15), a peeled, pared and cubed pineapple (10) and a FREE pineapple plant in front of my mountain bungalow. There are 65 reasons to stay in Thailand in that last paragraph alone.