Your Health & Happiness: Bangkokians
wish for health more
Residents of Bangkok and its environs are
a deeply conservative bunch, wishing for health above wealth and critical of
the way in which traditional Thai New Year celebrations have been distorted,
according to a poll published on April 11.
The ABAC poll, which interviewed 2,770 respondents, found
that 78.1 percent attached importance to the Thai New Year, otherwise known
as Songkran, and that 74.7 percent thought of Songkran as a time for asking
for blessing from elders in the traditional manner.
And although Songkran is often thought of as a time of
drunken abandonment, when revelers chuck buckets of water on each other, the
poll found that 65.3 percent of respondents intended to ask blessing from
their elders, 64.2 percent intended to give alms and make merit and 51.1
percent intended to pour water over Buddha images, in addition to the 46.1
percent who said that they would join in the general water-throwing.
And while 46.5 percent said that they were satisfied with
the way that revelers threw water during the Songkran festivities, a
significant 34.1 percent claimed to be dissatisfied, and large numbers of
respondents expressed concern over the high accident and death rate during
the holiday period.
Asked what blessings they would most like to receive to
mark the Thai New Year, 37.4 percent mentioned good health, while 25.6
percent cited wealth and good luck, and 14.3 percent spoke of a good love
life or family life.
From Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the largest
number of respondents wanted a solution to the southern insurgency, while
others spoke of a solution to debt problems and poverty. (TNA)
The Doctor's Consultation: Be Happy - and live to 110!
by Dr. Iain Corness
Can your personality determine your ailments? Yes it most
certainly can. If you are happy, will you really live longer? After much
recent research, including clinical studies, the researchers have the answers.
Be happy and stay well. Be aggressive and get heart attacks and cancer.
Now that does not mean that all happy folk live to be 110
and the misery bags turn in their credit cards at age 45 - but there is enough
evidence to show that your personality type influences the kinds of diseases
you will get later in life.
However, this is research is really nothing new, it is more
of a reinforcement of previous knowledge. In the times of Hippocrates, the
healers were interested in the personality of the patient, because even then
they felt that this had a bearing on the disease process. This conclusion was
reached after observation of the patients. This combination of mind and body
and disease is the basis for holistic healing, and even though Hippocrates and
his healers did not have all our pharmaceutical treatments wonderful tests and
MRI’s, they did treat the person, not just the disease.
So why do we fall ill in the first place? Is it a personal
weakness, is it just “lifestyle” or just plain bad luck? Since I am not a
great believer in “luck” be it good or bad, my leaning after many decades
of medicine is towards a type of personal “weakness”. After all, you can
take two people with the same lifestyle but one gets ill and the other does
not. Why? Simply, the sick person was more susceptible than the other - in
some way they had a pre-disposition or call it a “weakness”. Simplistic I
know, but it seems to fit.
So what factors seem to be involved in bringing about the
pre-disposition. Genetics are one, and do play an important part. If your
parents are diabetic then you will most likely have the problem too, but it is
not absolutely inescapable. The modern scientific studies with large numbers
of people have come up with interesting statistics. One famous researcher,
Eysenck, lumped us all into four main personality categories.
Type 1 have a strong tendency to suppress their emotions
and tend towards “hopelessness” and are unable to deal with personal
Type 2 people, on the other hand, are also unable to deal
with personal stress, but react to life with anger and aggression.
Type 3 is less clear-cut with a mixture of all these
Type 4 covers the optimistic and relaxed who deal much
better with interpersonal stress.
Using these broad categories and looking at disease
profiles that each type gets, returned some amazing facts. Type 1 was the
cancer prone group, Type 2 got heart disease, Type 3 got both while Type 4
people were not prone to either cancer or heart disease. Can you see what’s
Eysenck did not stop there. He went on to show that when
people modified their personality they also modified their disease profile.
When you think about it, this is staggering stuff! By attention to your
personality profile you can modify your disease profile!
The most significant personality trait was “anger”.
Learn to modify your anger response (and this can be done) and you become less
“at risk”. This is approaching Buddhist philosophy and “jai yen yen” -
but you can modify your personality. That last sentence can make you live ten
years longer, happier and disease free. Forget all the wonder cures, just look
at yourself first! Hippocrates did more than say oaths!
My heart went out to Winifred and Letty Gruntfuttock who were here on
holiday and couldn’t understand why eligible gentlemen seemed to go for
the younger nubile dusky Thai maidens instead of good solid British, jolly
holly sticks, breeding stock, who could make delicious cucumber
My partner and I now live here in this wonderful Kingdom so it was more
than holiday heartache that the eligible, in our eyes, gentleman seems to
prefer younger nubile dusky Thai young men to us solid, well established,
well heeled slightly older gentlemen. I mean being an ex chef I could whip
up something more interesting than a cucumber sandwich. Move over “The
Importance Of Being Earnest”, but all that is difficult to convey at a
glance, however lingering, ness pas! (sic)
The solution to the problem is quite simple, the answer lies not in the
soil but in MONEY and taste. Winifred and her sister should raise their
sights and go for Thai gentlemen rather than for unappreciative English,
they will find if they reward well they in turn will be rewarded beyond
their wildest fantasies.
I mean COOMMEEOONN who in their right mind wouldn’t go for a silken
skinned dusky nubile Thai whatever in preference to a Foringer (as I
believe we are called)?
Next time Letty and Winifred come, instead of packing the cucumbers and
thinly sliced white bread (you can buy them here you know) they should
pack plenty of money and they, like myself and my friend would want to
forsake dear old GB, move here, buy a big house, fill it with Thai
gentlemen and have a ball.
But PLEASE warn them not to put the house in any of the Thai’s names,
don’t leave their credit, ATM cards, any gold, any cash lying around,
don’t buy any farms and be prepared to be abandoned when the money runs
out, which if they follow the rules laid out could be later rather than
sooner, think of the ball Winifred and Letty could have before that
Sincere best wishes for their happiness, hope they can pick up the Mail on
the internet when they are back in Stow In The Wold, seem like competent
spinsters to me, just need a bit of sensible advice.
I must commend you for sending in advice for Winifred and Letty, but
they’re not sisters, Petal. Where did you get that idea? Goodness me,
they don’t even hold hands and stay in separate rooms. Letty even
sprinkles talcum powder on her bath water so that she isn’t embarrassed
by any reflections as she steps in. Letty’s surname, in case there are
other interested gentlemen out there, is Crabcrutch, however, it is
Winifred that is the dab hand at the cucumber sandwiches, which we dined
upon with a bottle of giggle juice that Letty picked up cheap at Carrefour
last month. Of course it wasn’t champagne, it actually was just some
Thai sparkler, pretending to be champagne, it wasn’t even ‘methode
champenoise’, but needs must when the devil drives, as they say!
By the way, Thais call foreigners ‘Farangs’, not ‘Foringers’.
‘Foringers’ is the term used by people from Stow In The Wold to
describe people from London who come out there and buy up all the best
properties and then try to make cucumber sandwiches. That really sorts out
the gentry from the nouveau riche.
I don’t know if you can help me, but I am starting to get desperate.
I am heartily sick of the never-ending story of road repairs. Even when
they lay new concrete, they will come along two months later and dig it
all up again to lay water drains. Every day another section of road is
being re-profiled and trucks with bitumen and road rollers are blocking
the traffic. Any trip takes twice as long as it should. Don’t they have
anyone to coordinate the work so that they don’t have to dig up the same
roads twice? You might wonder what this has got to do with you Hillary,
but they have been digging outside my house for the past six days and I
can’t get to sleep in the daytime and it is playing hell with my love
life. Got any suggestions?
Stop That Noise!
Dear Stop That Noise,
I must say I certainly did wonder what the local road works had to do with
me. Goodness me, Petal, you wouldn’t catch me out there in the early
mornings with hair in curlers and a shovel under my arm. Carrying concrete
for a living just isn’t on, especially at my age, and with the terrible
disease I’ve got. I still find it amazing that they can say I’ve got a
liver problem when I’m lucky to get one bottle of champagne a month! Now
to your insomnia. Have you thought of going somewhere else during the
daytime? To her place perhaps? Or even ear plugs? But why do you need to
sleep during the day anyway? Surely you haven’t got a job that has you
on night shift? In the meantime, why don’t you go out there yourself and
give them a hand. I’m sure they will appreciate it, and the extra
physical activity will make you so tired you will go to sleep immediately.
Camera Class: Digital camera extended test - Canon Ixus 40
by Harry Flashman
a race, human beings are extremely lazy. We will walk to the closest shop, and
pay more for the convenience, rather than going the extra distance to get the
item cheaper at the supermarket. This is why Seven-11’s are around 500 metres
So what has that got to do with the three month extended test
of the Canon Ixus 40? In fact, about everything, because the digital revolution
is all about convenience, and not about imaging, especially at the lower end of
the consumer market. While the up-market Nikon DX series can do just about
everything that the Nikon F5 can, this is professional territory. The Canon Ixus
40 is point and shooters territory, and this should not be forgotten. If you are
looking for full manual control cameras, then be prepared to spend the money for
an SLR. The Ixus 40 is the digital point and shoot alternative.
At the outset, I mentioned ‘convenience’, and this is
where the Ixus 40 has it all over the standard film compact point and shoot
cameras. Smaller than most mobile phones, it can easily slip in the pocket or
purse, but, and a large but - it is not a light plastic cased camera, and will
soon drag your shirt pocket down. I have found a mobile phone leather case works
well, and you can then attach the Ixus 40 to your belt, from where it can be
easily retrieved when the photo opportunities arise.
The long-time digital users all state how much the LCD screen
takes from the battery, but since the camera takes more than 100 shots (provided
you have a big enough memory card), this is more than enough. I have also found
that the battery recharges very quickly after the initial long charge.
There is another reason to use the LCD to frame up your
photos, and that is the fact that the optical viewfinder, although it is coupled
to the optical zoom, is not through the lens, and has a much smaller field of
view than the LCD screen, which is through the lens. The LCD is WYSIWYG (What
You See Is What You Get), the optical viewfinder is most certainly not. It is
also very small, and I found it annoying in its limitations. Canon could easily
have dropped the optical finder in the Ixus 40, in my opinion.
The camera itself feels very sturdy, with a reassuring weight
from its metal case; however, the cover over the AV outlet is small and fiddly,
and the battery and memory card door is likewise plastic and not reassuring.
The memory card that is supplied with the camera is a joke,
the capacity is too small. Do some heavy bargaining when you make the initial
purchase and get the 256. It is worth it.
Getting final prints is not difficult either. All the digital
photo-processing outlets will very quickly (a matter of minutes) download your
shots on to a CD for around B. 150. After this, you can then very easily scroll
through them using the family PC, note the reference numbers, and get the hard
copy prints made for the album, which cost the standard print film rate of
around B. 6-9, depending on the size you want.
Undoubtedly the Canon Ixus 40 scores high in its convenience
in carrying, use (it is fully automatic) and getting the final prints. In its
operation, it is a case of turning it on, framing (it has a zoom facility for
people too lazy to walk closer to the subject) and shooting. The visual
focussing beam is quite powerful, and again this is a reassuring feature. Even
at night you can see what you are going to get.
Downside? The main one I have found is that with such a small
camera in large hands, it is very easy for the left index finger to partially
obscure the flash, which is on the top left of the camera, from the
At B. 18,000 I still consider the Ixus 40 to be good value, and as a family
camera, wins by convenience every time.
Money Matters: The China Syndrome
A five-dimension analytical model for deciding when (and when not) to purchase from the East (Part
MBMG International Ltd.
Five Dimensions (continued…)
3. Lead Time and Scheduling Stability. Ocean freight
adds four to six weeks to the delivery time from China to Western markets.
The risk of this extended supply chain to the core business needs to be
incorporated into any assessment of whether China is the right place from
which to procure. The time delay generated by the longer supply chain
significantly increases the chances of both stock-outs in the near term, and
excess and obsolete inventory in the long term. So procurement executives
must carefully weigh several factors to ensure that their lead times and
scheduling remain stable:
• Because Chinese providers typically include large
volumes of a product in each shipment, buyers face inventory and defect
risk. Purchasing in large volumes means more of the buyer’s dollars
are tied up in massive inventory investments, a source of inventory carrying
costs and, potentially, obsolescence. Moreover, if manufactured defects are
spread throughout a shipment, that could mean thousands of useless
• For some product categories, ocean freight lead time
can make a Chinese procurement effort unwise. For instance, a
manufacturer of telecom infrastructure seemed to be a perfect fit for China
because its wiring panels required labour-intensive assembly. However, this
benefit was cancelled out because the manufacturer’s customers often
demanded a high degree of late-stage product customization and expected a
rapid lead time. The manufacturer was able to charge more for these
customized products and, thus, pay the slightly higher wages in Mexico and
Eastern Europe for a quicker turnaround on components delivered to U.S. and
Western Europe operations.
4. Product Design. Engineering changes can introduce
instability even into mature supply chains. Because the items most
frequently sourced are components made up of other components, when an old
version of a product becomes obsolete, a change can create a cascade of
incompatibility. What’s more, manufacturing operations require time to
digest new products and processes; sub-par quality frequently corrupts
operations during a transition period.
The long lead time and large order quantities required to
do business cheaply in China exacerbate both these problems, because the
arrival of old-version components can continue for weeks after an
engineering change. And it can require an equally long time to take
corrective action on lower - quality parts - thus, the central
product-design considerations when sourcing from China:
• Products with one or more design changes per
quarter may not be suitable for Chinese procurement. Frequent design
changes mean the supply chain could end up with a continuous run of obsolete
inventory and on a learning curve that resembles a merry-go-round. Products
that are stable for at least a model year, such as automotive components,
may fit better in a Chinese procurement strategy, since they essentially
involve a successful one-time launch rather than continual incremental
• China is probably not a good option when a high
degree of skill is required to implement design changes. Chinese supply
chains are challenged by the language gap, a lack of local technical
capability for implementing changes correctly, and the complexities of
suppliers’ processes for managing launches of new products.
5. Technical Capabilities. China is not currently a
viable option for highly specialized manufactured products made with custom
equipment, such as application-specific copper - wrapped coils or high-speed
connector assemblies. The processes used to manufacture such products often
require specific technical knowledge of product engineering or equipment
design that generally is not available among suppliers in new procurement
markets such as China.
By contrast, almost all suppliers can handle commoditized
processes such as stamping, casting, and manual electronics assembly.
Companies buying from Chinese sources must weigh two issues relating to the
• Sourcing subcomponents in China and maintaining
technology-intensive activities in more highly skilled domestic factories
will probably yield a better total cost return than procuring the total
product. Technology-driven processes often need significant oversight if
process control is to be maintained. That frequently can be achieved only in
sophisticated plants in developed countries. When factory processes get out
of skew in China, yields decrease and the resulting scrap (as well as
logistics costs) can quickly overshadow savings generated by lower wage
• The evolving sophistication of Chinese suppliers
means careful buyers can gain some important, albeit temporary, advantages.
Although products made with the least complicated, most mature technologies
are the best choices to source from China, the nation’s suppliers continue
to develop increasingly sophisticated skills. As a result, more companies
are sourcing process - sensitive products, such as rubber and machined
parts, from China. That can be a good decision when other critical
procurement dimensions, such as lead time, engineering changes, and labour
and transportation costs, favor China. It also can give a purchaser a boost
over competitors who haven’t figured out where to go to combine China’s
cost advantage with its emerging capabilities.
By analyzing the five critical dimensions for each unique
procurement initiative, companies can better understand their geographic
sourcing options - which products are candidates for being sourced from
low-cost countries and which should be purchased from more developed
markets. If a low - cost country is appropriate, assessment of lead times
can help establish which commodities can be sourced from remote low-cost
countries (such as China or India) and which need to be purchased more
locally - from Mexico, say, or Eastern Europe.
China remains one of the world’s most desirable sourcing opportunities.
Its wage advantages are not likely to end anytime soon, and its skills as a
supplier and manufacturer will only grow stronger. But as is the case with
any other procurement effort, obvious costs, such as labour, are not the
only factors to take into account. When the other, subtler criteria in our
model are considered, China may still be a lucrative gold mine for some
companies. Others, though, should be careful: The ore could be a fool’s
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: Comedy Battle lines
by Scott Jones
I get paid nothing to do this column even though I think my
writing is worth four or five times that amount. Considering this whole
newspaper costs 25 baht, my column only costs you 2 baht, almost free.
Today’s subject is Freedom of Speech, Reading and Writing. Besides I’m
working on a book whose proceeds will benefit a non-profit charity I started
(www.giveandlive.org) so that’s one chapter per week, one book a year, if my
readers let me live that long.
know there are at least four readers because we’ve received four letters: one
positive and three from people who think my column, and I, are worthless. After
my remarks about President Bush, one irate American wants to take away my
freedom of speech. Another is glad I don’t live in the USA—we agree on this
point—and threatened to come to Chiang Mai and “change my face.” In true
colonial fashion, he wants me to think exactly like him ... and perhaps look
like him as well. (Maybe he looks like Brad Pitt so that could be a good
thing—but I doubt it.) After reading my words about fun words on Vietnamese
menus, a Thai man recently wrote: “Perhaps immigration should send him back
home so he can’t insult the neighbors.” Sigh. I love the sweet Vietnamese
people and am very happy some of them speak English as humorously as I speak
My first memory of Eviction Due To Inappropriate Humor
and/or Disorderly Conduct was around age four. Dad had the classic dinner party
at home for business clients. (I didn’t get an invitation.) When dinner was
served, I appeared at the table with a box and asked a guest if he wanted to
see what was inside. As I opened it, my pet frog hopped out and landed in his
mashed potatoes and gravy. (I gave him the choice! It was his fault!) I may
have suffered terminal brain damage from lack of oxygen while laughing at my
frog in his potatoes and the line of gravy stains on his white shirt. They sent
me to my room until I was eight. (I don’t know what happened to my frog. They
probably fried it and ate his legs.)
began to understand the thin lines that lie between humor and imprisonment as a
comedian in America. The lines are different for everyone everywhere, even for
people who seem exactly the same. I had two shows in two days at two very
religious colleges. To assure they wouldn’t offend anyone and I wouldn’t be
crucified, each school’s Humor Police scrutinized my comedy slides very
carefully before their show. College A said, “The signs from Athol are
unacceptable, but hey, Fish Balls is just a food.” College B said, “Fish
Balls are offensive, but hey, Athol’s just the name of a town.” (Someday I
hope to meet God and ask which college was correct.)
I’ve only been arrested once in my life for joking in an airport security
line, but you’ll have to wait until my next column for that story. Until
then, lighten up. Life is short. Make it wide. Laughter is the best medicine.
“He who laughs last, laughs loudest?” No. I say, “He who laughs,
lasts.” Or frown religiously, don’t read my column and try to get your
issue of Chiangmai Mail for 24.8 baht.