Your Health & Happiness: Ban Sabai Spa Village signs co-operation with Lanna Hospital
Lanna Hospital and Ban Sabai Spa Village
will join forces in the future to make Chiang Mai even more of a spa
destination for Thais and foreigners.
Jarusrenee, head division business development, Lanna Hospital (middle left)
with Chitra Klanprayoon, managing director, Ban Sabai Spa Village (middle
right), and Dr. Eugene Hubscher from Switzerland, Hannes Froelich, director
Ban Sabai Spa Village and Albert Schmidt.
The main objective is education on general health
subjects and how massages, body masques, healthy food and beverages,
relaxing music and aromas and flavors all improve health.
A joint agreement was signed by Chitra Klanprayoon from Ban Sabai Spa
Village and Chantana Jarusrenee, the head division business development
manager of Lanna Hospital Chiang Mai.
The Doctor's Consultation: To be or not to be - insured
by Dr. Iain Corness
This is a perennial question. And a perennial headache for
private hospitals and those who end up in them! This is a subject I have
covered before, but well worth covering again.
As we get older, insurance becomes even more of a pressing
item. One of my friends dropped in the other day with an amusing piece about
the benefits of getting older. It had such gems as “In a hostage situation
you are likely to be released first” and “Your investment in health
insurance is finally beginning to pay off.”
At the outset, I must say I have never been one out of whom
insurance agents grow fat. It has always been my feeling that there was
something unbalanced about my attendant hangers on (AKA children) getting rich
at my expense when I meet my final demise. When you really analyse it, you
don’t even get to enjoy your own wake! No, if anyone is going to benefit
from my paying life insurance premiums every year, it is going to be me!
I have also been very lucky with my choice of careers.
Being a medico does have advantages. If I couldn’t fix my skin rash or
whatever, I could always ring a classmate who could (or should) be able to.
Medications and drugs? Again no worries, just a quick raid of the samples
cupboard in my surgery and I had everything I needed.
What about hospital insurance? I passed on that one too.
After all, the only foreseeable problems that could stop me working were
massive trauma following a road accident or suchlike, or a heart attack. In
either case you don’t care where you are as long as there are wall to wall
running doctors and plenty of pain killers. In Australia, the “free”
public hospital system is fine for that.
So I blithely carried on through life insuranceless. I did
spend one night in hospital with a broken leg 30 years ago, so as regards
personal medical costs versus proposed insurance premiums, I was still miles
And then I came to Thailand. Still I blithely carried on,
after all, I was ten foot tall and bullet proof. Then a friend over here had a
stroke and required hospitalisation. Said friend was four years younger than
me and I was forced to review the ten foot bullet proof situation to find I
was only five foot eleven and my kryptonite had expired. Thailand was a
completely new ballgame.
Enquiries as to hospital and medical costs showed that they
were considerably less than the equivalent in Oz, but, and here’s the big
but, there’s no government system or sickness benefits to fall back on.
Suddenly you are walking the tightrope and there’s no safety net to stop you
hitting terra firma.
So I took out medical insurance. Still it was no gold
plated cover. But it was enough to look after me if I needed hospitalisation,
and that came sooner than I imagined. I had always subscribed to the “major
trauma” theory, but two days of the galloping gutrot had me flat on my back
with the IV tube being my only life-line to the world. We are only mortal -
even us medico’s.
Do you have medical insurance? Perhaps it is time to chat
to a reputable insurance agent! Yes, reliable insurance agents and reliable
insurance companies do exist, but you need help through the minefield.
You also need help when it comes to filling out the
application forms, in my opinion. And you also need to be 100 percent
truthful. Yes, insurance companies will check on your records, and if it is
found that you have been sparing with the truth over pre-existing conditions,
expect a shock at settling up time at the cashier’s desk.
Remember too, that just because you have an insurance card
does not automatically signify that ‘everything’ is covered. This is why
private hospitals will ask you for a deposit on admission. If the insurance
company later verify that you are indeed covered for that ailment or
condition, then you’ll get it back, but you have to prove that you are
covered, not the other way round!
Now then, the top o’the morning my dearest sweet Hillary. It’s the
first time I’ve written to you Hillary because I have a serious matter
to discuss and I believe you can help. As all the readers are aware you
are a connoisseur of bon bons and the finest champagne and your advice on
all matters involving social etiquette is sought the length and breadth.
Hillary can you tell me why is it, that with all the technical advances
these days, that on my recent return visit to Ireland the place of my
noble four fathers and my dear mother, God bless her in heaven, that when
I board the pressurised cabernet airliner that they serve you.....wait for
this ...WARM champagne? It has happened many times to me Hillary! I wish
we could turn the clock back and bring back the glorious days of the
Cunard Queens, they knew how to treat the ‘noblesse’.
When I could not stand it no more, Hillary, I asked, on the airliner, why
in heavens name it had to be so, my question was directed to the Chief
Butler, but he only talked some mumbo jumbo about sealed containers and
duty free tax regulations. Well why not put in some duty free ice as well
I say... what do you think Hillary?
Anyway, I must be off, as I have to practice the miracle of turning water
into wine as the good Book describes. I can tell you I have it off pat in
the reverse. Anyways I will keep practising, and as a sign of good faith
in your advice, I will make a miraculous deposit for you too in the Soi of
the Convent here in Bangkok.
I do look forward to receiving your reply to my letter.
Charles De Cork Esq.
Are you sure you haven’t written to me before? Your style reminds me of
someone many years ago who wrote to me extolling their virtues,
commodities that are very hard to find these days, I’m sure you’ll
However, Charlie my Petal, your butler was quite correct in refusing to
place ice in the champers. Really! All you have to do is put the bottle
outside the plane for a minute or two, it’s minus 45 or something,
enough to freeze the nurglers off a predatory puma, to coin a phrase.
Yes, I remember the Cunard Queens with great fondness too. Mind you, I’m
working for Cunard these days. Very hard, indeed! Never got a minute to
myself, but you know this, being busy yourself performing the wine into
water ritual, though I would hardly call it a miracle, Charlie. I can even
do it myself on the odd occasion that somebody actually sends me some wine
to practice with. And before you ask, Spy Cooler doesn’t cut it, Petal.
I am interested in the fact that your four fathers came from Ireland, as I
presume you just had a small spelling mistake in your letter, and what
with Irish blood and all. Which father did you choose, and was your mother
quite sure that you were hers? It’s never too late to look into these
I am fed up for all this (gentlemen) complaining about the bar girls, I
think they all should be pay for a part by the social security and
retirement funds of the rich country, because they act like social workers
helping all this old people to finish their life in joy and happiness,
helping them to shorten their life in making those gentlemen overdrinking
and one night difficult sporting course, they are holy girl. Sorry for my
english (sic) but you should do your column in French. By the way Hillary
which kind of woman are you the one with panty or the other one?
Oh I do like Frenchmen, they are so gallant and so wonderfully biased! Why
should I do the column in French, my Petal? The newspaper is in English,
and that’s English with a capital E, not the lower case one. You
Frenchmen just can’t forget the Battle of Agincourt, and other such
inglorious moments for La Belle France, have you. Sorry, ‘ave you?
I think I managed to see your point, but I couldn’t quite grasp it! Are
you championing the girls because they are working like social workers or
geriatric nurses, or are you suggesting that they are being instrumental
in strengthening the argument for euthanasia? Or worse, are you accusing
them of secretly carrying out the ritual euthanasia of elderly gentlemen
in Thailand? I am sure that all the bar girls would agree with your
proposal that they be partly funded by the retirement funds of rich
nations. This might mean that fewer buffaloes get flogged to death (and
elderly gentlemen likewise)!
Now then, you little tease, asking me what sort of a woman am I, and
whether I wear panties? Oh, you are so naughty, you French! Of course I
wear panties, but on special occasions I wear French knicks, otherwise I
just wear English ones, in memory of the aforementioned Battle of
Agincourt. Winners are grinners ‘ercule.
Camera Class: Songkran without fears or tears
by Harry Flashman
I will make no secret of the fact that I detest Songkran,
that wonderful celebration of veneration of the ancestors that has degenerated
into an excuse for acting out innate violence that leaves hundreds dead and
thousands injured. However, I will admit that the first time I experienced this
annual water throwing event, I too thought it was fun.
By the way, despite what you may be told, this is not a
uniquely ‘Thai’ festival, but one that is celebrated in many countries in SE
Asia, hence those who would like to flee must go further than the immediate
As a visual spectacle it is definitely worth recording for
posterity, but this should not be done at the expense of your camera equipment.
As mentioned, this is a water festival, and cameras and thrown water (and powder
and ice) do not mix. (For that matter, water throwing and alcohol do not mix
either, which is just one of the reasons for the horrendous death toll.)
Since great volumes of water will be thrown (despite the fact
that Thailand is in the throes of a drought) this does offer some great photo
opportunities, but unfortunately also presents some great opportunities to
permanently damage your expensive camera gear.
There are several ways around this problem. The first is to
go all out and buy a Nikonos underwater camera at the cost of many thousands of
baht. These are a wonderful underwater camera but for this instance - totally
impractical, unless you want to stand at the side of the road in a full
The second way is to purchase a fancy plastic underwater
housing for your own camera. Now these can range in price, depending on
complexity. Built like a perspex box to house your camera, you can operate all
the adjustments from the outside. These are not cheap either, and the cheapest
in the range is literally a plastic bag with a waterproof opening and a clear
plastic section for the lens. You open it up and literally drop your camera
inside it and seal the bag. These can be purchased from major photographic
outlets and I did spot one in a photo-shop for B. 750.
A third way is a waterproof disposable (yes, they do make
them). Good for about three meters, so perfectly suitable for splashing water.
If you can’t get one of those, then even the ordinary cheap disposables are a
better option than getting your good camera gear doused. I must admit to having
dropped one of these overboard one day and the boatman jumped in and rescued it.
It survived the dip and the final pictures were fine. But neither I, nor the
manufacturer, recommend this!
So now let’s get down to some serious photo techniques to
get that magic Songkran shot. Since you are trying to capture the movement of
the water, a slow shutter speed will help. Hand-held you are probably not going
to get down below 1/30th, but you could try some at 1/15th, it’s not
impossible, especially if you are using a wide-angle lens.
However, since you are trying to get far enough away to keep
the camera dry, you may be forced to use the longer lenses which means you
cannot hand-hold at even 1/30th. The answer here is to find a good vantage
point, some distance from the action, and use a tripod.
If you are going down this route, then the best vantage point
is a high one. First floor balconies get you high enough to escape the water,
but not too high that you cannot get into the activity with a 150 mm lens or
longer. Since you will be using a tripod, I would even set the shutter speed
slower than 1/30th, and a few ‘experimental’ shots at 1/8th or even 1/4 of a
second are worth trying. Remember that some ‘blurring’ denotes motion in the
final photograph, and at Songkran there is plenty of activity.
Finally, “Chok di bi mai! May your camera stay dry!”
Money Matters: The China Syndrome
A five-dimension analytical model for deciding when (and when not) to purchase from the East (Part 1)
MBMG International Ltd.
For one U.S. automotive supplier a few years ago, it
seemed that purchasing components from China was the right thing to do - and
quickly. manufacturers in virtually every industry were setting up shop in
China; to read about it in the business press, every venture paid off.
The industrial manufacturer, though, discovered to its
dismay that success in China was not a sure thing. Enticed by attractive
price quotes, the manufacturer failed to make completely sure that its
Chinese partners could live up to its technical and logistical requirements.
When the Chinese suppliers struggled to meet production schedules, the
manufacturer was forced to use expensive airfreight. Quality issues also
surfaced; the suppliers lacked the skills to maintain process control and
implement engineering changes. The combination of problems eroded the
expected cost savings. Ultimately, the automotive supplier reduced its
Chinese procurement effort.
Western companies rushing to China to fill gaps or strengthen links across
their supply chains, one particular part of their operations - procurement -
deserves special scrutiny. If approached with a rigorous evaluation of
product characteristics, Chinese component purchasing can be the right
answer for optimal management of the supply chain. When not well planned and
carefully analyzed, sourcing in China can be the source of woe.
The China “gold rush” grew out of a dilemma. In
recent years, when companies examined their P&Ls, most found that
purchased material was the largest line item - typically 40 to 70 percent of
the total cost of goods. In the face of relentless market pressure to keep
prices down, procurement often became a prime target for cost reductions.
But that well, for many companies, has begun to run dry. Thus, businesses
are increasingly looking to non-domestic sources to meet cost reduction
Asia, especially China, is the most apparent solution. It
has the cheapest labour, a pro-business environment, a productive workforce,
and strong government support for keeping domestic manufacturing operations
as inexpensive as possible - a direct path to easy cost cutting.
The supply chain’s headlong tilt toward China can be
seen in the percentage share of supplier contracts awarded in the past six
years. In 1998, at one U.S. auto manufacturer, U.S. and Canadian companies
garnered 62 percent of all quotes and supplier contracts, and Asian
(primarily Chinese) outfits only 4 percent. By 2002, the two regions were
just about equal, with each enjoying about 30 percent of supplier contracts
This trend is not even near its peak yet. By 2008, auto
and industrial products companies will more than double their percentage of
spending on components and materials in low-cost countries (LCCs), according
to a recent Booz Allen Hamilton survey of purchasing executives. Moreover,
apparel companies, which currently spend 50 percent of their procurement
dollars in LCCs, say that within four years, these countries will provide
virtually all of their material and supply needs. (See Graph) And for
most companies, over half of the spending targeted for LCCs will be
earmarked for China.
The Chinese experience can turn sour, though, when
procurement managers fail to systematically assess the fit between the
requirements for purchased components and the realities of the China-based
supply chain. They can inadvertently increase their cost of operations and
put revenue at risk - thereby compromising their profitability. Some
commodities that are sourced in China, it turns out, can more wisely be
procured from another low-cost region, or even from domestic sources.
Each of five critical dimensions must be examined for
every prospective purchase of components and materials in order for a
company to determine whether purchasing from China is the best decision.
These dimensions include, naturally, manufacturing cost, but they add in
transportation efficiency, lead time and scheduling stability, product
design, and technical capabilities.
Using this analysis, we have found, for example, that
production tooling (such as injection-moulded plastics and stamping dies,
which are labour-intensive to manufacture and which have long product lead
times) is perfect for Chinese procurement initiatives. By contrast, minimal
labour requirements make China a bad bet for auto interior plastics and
stamping, for example. Frequent product changes similarly rule the country
out as a first choice for customized telecommunications equipment.
Manufacturers in these industries would do better to consider low - labour -
cost regions closer to home (such as Mexico for the U.S., or Eastern Europe
for Western Europe), where they can realize a portion of the labour savings
while maintaining tighter control on the supply chain.
Next week we’ll take an in-depth look at the 5 dimensions.
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 Alan Hall on
Life in the Laugh Lane: Songkranophobia.
A motorcyclist’s lament
by Scott Jones
If you’re on a motorbike this week, it could be your last
ride. Use your feet instead and get your hands on the biggest water cannon you
can find. Songkran is right around the corner. Actually, it’s around every
corner. It’s very wet, violent, gentle, unpredictable and insane like a rabid
water buffalo. If you want to beat the heat, it’s a laugh on every lane.
The Thai New Year’s Festival Songkran (not to be confused
with SongkraM which means “war” but I don’t understand the difference) is
a national water fight between everyone and anyone with everything and
anything: buckets, bowls and barrels of ice water, pails, pumps and hoses,
water balloons, launchers, the world’s largest squirt guns and roving
pick-ups filled with crazed bands hell-bent on soaking innocent bystanders. It
celebrates the wild six-year olds that live in all of us. You still see
remnants of its gentle past: folks respectfully pouring a bit of water and
dabbing powder on each others shoulders and faces with a good-natured New Year
greeting, like a communal baptism to wash away the old year. Being older than
most of the revellers, some approach me with humble smiles and bowls of water
for this traditional gesture. I patiently wait until they’re within striking
range, then flip their bowl of water into THEIR face and run away cackling.
(Hey, I’m their elder. It’s my prerogative. Maybe the six-year old takes
over…Little Scooter From Hell.)
its violent presence puts countless people in the hospital and kills almost a
thousand: 95 percent in motorcycle accidents. These “accidents” are
normally the result of deliberate actions: bikers are blinded by buckets of
water in the face or crash into a brick wall while swerving to avoid the wall
of water thrown by a mob of kids in the street. (Considering the amount of
alcohol consumed equals the quantity of water thrown, the bikers already may
have been swerving.)
A few days before my first Songkran, I rode blissfully
through the mountains when suddenly, overnight, the meek Thai kids turned into
hyperactive hellions trying to liquidate me with various water weapons.
Choosing the “safety” of the 4-lane highway for my journey home, I got a
pail of water in the face from a passing truck at a 120 kph. Bap-dismal
message: Stay alive. Stay off the bike.
You have several options during Water Wars. Leave the country or lock
yourself in the bedroom. (Boring!) Shrink wrap your entire body in plastic.
(Exotic!) Spend the week in a barrel of water. (Pickled!) Ride an elephant to
work, better yet, rent one trained to spray with his trunk. (Safe and
practical, yet aggressive!) Like the frenetic Loi Krathong Festival, if
Songkran were in America, half the country would be arrested for disturbing the
peace. Forget peace. Wear only a Speedo all week and get a piece of the action.
I’ll be waiting for you with an industrial-strength water pistol and wearing
only a condom.