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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Your Health & Happiness

The Doctor's Consultation

Agony Column

Camera Class by Snapshot

Dogs - Man’s best friend

Money Matters

Life in the Laugh Lane

Your Health & Happiness:Chiang Mai hosts international seminar on Leptospirosis

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Chiang Mai was selected as the venue for the 4th International Seminar on Leptospirosis, held from November 14-16 and organized in a cooperation between the municipality and the Ministry of Public Health.

Boonlert Buranupakorn, mayor of Chiang Mai, said that the seminar takes place every three years. The first was staged in 1996 in France, the second in 1999 in Australia, and the third in 2002 in Barbados. For the fourth seminar the organizing committee decided unanimously to choose Thailand. The Ministry of Public Health, Department of Livestock Development, and Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives were the hosts.

Leptospirosis is an infectious disease carried by animals, especially cattle, pigs and dogs, and is characterized by jaundice and fever. The seminar was designed as a forum for veterinarians and public health officials to present and exchange academic works at an international level.


The Doctor's Consultation:How much exercise should you (safely) do?

by Dr. Iain Corness

How much exercise should you safely do is like saying, “How long is a piece of string?” There are so many factors to be taken into consideration that it is impossible to give ‘blanket’ recommendations, but it is possible to give you some pointers.

Looking first at people with no chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, arthritis, lung or kidney problems or diabetes, then the main factor to be really considered is age. Unfortunately, even though you may be a sprightly 60 year old, your exercise capacity is not the same as it was when you were an (even more) sprightly 40 year old. Advancing years does slow you down, but this does not mean a dead stop! In fact, if you do stop, you probably will be dead!

Regular exercise is beneficial for everyone, in both physical and psychological aspects. This is not some theory plucked out of the air, but a well documented fact. I was heartened the other day to read of a 94 year old Japanese doctor who was looking forward to his 95th birthday, because after this he was going to slow down to give him time to go and play golf.

The most important factor in exercise as you get older is the regularity of it. Once a week is not the answer, but a minimum of three times a week for at least 30 minutes. This is where most people find their exercise program breaks down. They have 30 minutes to spare on Sundays, but not Monday to Saturdays. This is where you have to start to be a little creative, and stern with yourself.

Being a realist, nobody is going to exercise three to six times a week if the form of exercise bores you. Pedalling an exercise bicycle to nowhere may be fine for some people, but for many it is a ‘waste’ of time. Perhaps if you time it so that you watch the world news on TV at the same time, that might be satisfactory, but again, it depends on you. Another thought to consider is that exercise bicycles depend on the strength of your legs and soundness of knee and ankle joints.

The ‘best’ form of exercise is swimming. Swimming does not use one muscle group predominantly, and since the body is supported in the water, you can move all joints in a non-weight bearing fashion. Gentle swimming for the older folk, and aqua aerobics for the younger ones. However, to be the ‘best’ does require that regularity component. 30 minutes six times a week is superb.

The important factor is to choose appropriate exercise according to your ability and interest. Never exceed your limit. Remember that you are not training for the Octogenarian Olympics, but are exercising to keep fit. You must always stop if you have acute medical problem (such as dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, chest pain, vomiting, nausea and fever, or pain). Continuing on, breaking through the ‘pain barrier’ does not improve your physical health.

For those of you who have some chronic ailment, you should not just commence exercise because the chap in the condo next door would like a friend to accompany him. It is important that you discuss your proposed forms of exercise with your doctor. The idea is to get fit, not to place yourself in danger. Too much exercise for someone with semi-blocked coronary arteries could bring on a heart attack. Find out first.

That finding out process should begin with a full check-up beforehand. Your annual check-up can tell you more than anything else, and will assist both you and your doctor map out the best exercise programs suited to your physical condition.


Agony Column

Dear Hillary, my Petal,
I have to spring to your defense. Just who does Tequila Tom think he is? Drinking too much of the cactus juice it seems like. So he’s known lots of hookers, that’s not something most men would be proudly saying in a national newspaper. Don’t worry about his chocolates and champagne (he’d never send them anyway) but I will bring some over with me at Christmas. Don’t worry about such people as Tequila Tom.
Champagne Charlie

Dear Champagne Charlie,
It is people like you who give people like me the power to carry on, despite the dog pee that Tequila Tom would pour on my head (or perhaps that’s what the poor man was drinking?). I have already expressed my agreement with you, as far as his knowing lots of hookers, in my reply to him a couple of weeks ago. I look forward to choccies and champers!

Dear Hillary,
I hear all this cr*p (censored by Hillary, sorry Mike, but this is a family newspaper) about Thai women being so shy and modest, not going swimming without being fully clothed and all, and yet I see them every day openly kissing some foreigner on the busses, getting all their kit off in bars and wearing totally sexy stuff on the streets (but I’m not complaining). Just how does all this fit in with the “modest” Thai ladies I read about?
Mike

Dear Mike,
You have made one very basic error, my Petal. You are mistaking professional Thai ladies plying their trade with other Thai women being their normal selves. For the girls in the bars, this is all acting, the way to snare a big fish or two, including you it seems. For the rest of the Thai women, their normal behavior is to be shy, to cover up and act with decorum. Even the ladies of the night, when they retire from the profession, return to the way of behaving that they learned from their mothers, and grandmothers before them. And that certainly is not twirling round chrome poles in a brown one-button dancing suit!

Dear Hillary,
My son has arrived from England to visit me and on his first night we go to Nana Plaza and he comes home with a girl from there. That doesn’t worry me, but now he’s got her with him every day and is saying, “But Dad, I love her.” I know she’s a bar girl, she knows she’s a bar girl, and my stupid son thinks he’s got some blushing virgin. He won’t listen to anything I say and in two weeks when he goes back, she will have emptied his wallet and turned it into gold chains. She’s already got the bangle. What do you do with kids like this? Any suggestions, before I bang his head in the wall?
Peter

Dear Peter,
You have not written just how old is your son, but it sounds to me as if he left the family nest many years ago, so is well above the age where you could intimidate him by threatening to bang his head on the wall. All you can do is to let him see that the reception he is getting is one that is used by all her friends, and by her. I suggest you go back to the Nana bar with him, and let him see how the patrons are getting fleeced. At best he might see just what he is doing. At worst he will come home with two of them! What do you do with kids like this? It’s a bit late now, Petal! You should have started many years ago.

Dear Hillary,
Would you believe that my sister-in-law in Europe is sending her son over to me here to learn about life in the adult world? I believe that she is asking too much of me, or her brother, and the responsibility is too great. I have seen the charming local girls and I think it is amazing that any young swain survives holidays in Thailand. At every turn there is temptation awaiting the unwary and unknowing. Particularly when the same young man is being deliberately sent over here to learn about “life” as she puts it. I know him, and he is a very overindulged young man, and I certainly will not be taking him to dens of ill repute, just so he can “grow up” as my sister-in-law puts it.
Hilde

Dear Hilde,
I think you have to ask Sis-in-law to set you some ground rules for the young man and yourself. (How old is he, by the way?) Does she want him to come back to her with a wife, or just a girlfriend, or just more experienced? Will he bring chocolates and champagne (I could be interested myself)? This kind of ‘education’ has been done for many years, with young men being initiated into manhood at the hands of an experienced professional. In Thailand this still happens, but society will look the other way. In Europe, it is generally the boy’s father who will take him gently by the hand and point him in the direction of maturity, not his aunt. Sounds like you have a very ‘close’ family.


Camera Class: Experimenting with the “dark side”

by Harry Flashman

The true “definition” of photography has often been said as “painting with light” and quite honestly, this concept of painting with light is one of the more exciting aspects of photography. It is also something that even the weekend photographer can experiment with and produce photographs that will amaze you, and those who view them, with their ability to leap off the paper.

Shadow gives an air of mystery.

The secret of painting with light is to remember that all photographs should have a mixture of light, and its opposite, called shadow. Blasting the subject with a sea of light produces flat, wishy-washy photographs. This is why I am not in favor of the in-camera flash that pumps out enough light power to illuminate the moon. To produce prints with depth requires shadow. Just as when you look at a house, the sun casts a shadow which gives the house depth, as well as height and width. Depth is the third dimension, and without it you only have a two dimensional flat image. For the impression of 3D, you need shadow.

Now getting back to the job of taking photographs and painting with a bit of light. The usual light source is the one I like to call the Great Celestial Light Technician. This is more commonly referred to as the sun. Now the sun will supply enough light to illuminate half the world at one sitting, so there’s plenty of power for your subject and then some.

However, that sunlight is not all that suitable for most of the day, because when the sun is directly overhead, you do not get nice shadows. In the early mornings or late afternoons, when the sun is closer to the horizon, the shadows are longer, more visible and give more depth. So as well as being a more flattering light in the golden glow afternoons, the sun is at a better angle to give good shadows. So to improve your daytime shots only shoot between sunrise and 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. till sunset.

Do not be afraid to let shadow into the shot. Position your subject so that they are not square on to the sun, but let the light come from about 45 degrees across the subject. Shadow adds mystery. Shadow adds that extra something. Use it!

Now let’s look at when you provide the principal source of light, after the sun has disappeared. There are actually many sources of light after dark – there is the electronic flash, both the “on camera” type and the off camera type, there are tungsten studio lights, there are tungsten spotlights (like the garden varieties), there are street lights, neon lights and even car headlights. All these light sources are at your beck and call, and all (other than the on camera flash) can work for you to produce great shots.

Many of you have a small flash unit that slips on to the “shoe” on the top of your camera. Do not use it there! Go and invest in a remote shoe. This comes with some electric cord that plugs into the camera body and has a shoe plate at the end of it that slips over the foot of your flash. You can buy extension cords too, and I would advise getting one about three meters long. Now you can position your subject anywhere you like and let the flash come down upon the subject at 45 degrees and you will get a much better photograph than the flash on top of camera straight on shot. Try it.

For something a little more adventurous, let the flash burst come from the side of the subject. With people this is called “hatchet lighting” as one side of the face will be lit and the other side will be in darkness.

More adventurous again is to place some coloured cellophane over the flash head and illuminate the subject from side on. You will get, for example with red cellophane, a red and black person. Sounds a bit strange, I admit, but we are looking for an effect here.

Get the idea? Experiment, have fun and explore the dark side!


Dogs - Man’s best friend: General Health Care – What food to give to our pet?

Nienke Parma

If you have read the previous articles on the dog and cat diet (Chiang Mai Mail Vol. IV, No’s 41, 43 and 46), the question may have arisen, ‘If commercial pet food is not as complete and balanced for our beloved pet as what the industry wants us to believe it is, what then is the best diet for them?’

In general, there are three options: a) home-made raw food, b) home-made cooked food, and c) high quality commercial pet food.

Lucky, 1 year old spayed female. Playful and sweet with children and dogs. Desperately awaiting a loving home. Interested? Call 0 9997 8146.

After months of research, talks with (student) veterinarians, breeders, dog trainers and behaviorists and many others experienced in this field, and after years of giving a various raw food diet to my own and some of my customers dogs (naturally with their permission), I have come to the conclusion that this diet is the best there is to give to our carnivorous pet friends. The ingredients I use are all suitable for human consumption, thus, what’s not suitable for us is also not suitable for my animals. It has not been processed and therefore, all nutrients are still present, plus bacteria and enzymes necessary for a proper digestion are still there. Due to the variety in the ingredients given, the dog is able to obtain all the necessary goodies needed so much to stay in good health! For more information on the raw food diet, please, visit www.lucky dogs.info.

The second option is a home-made cooked diet. This diet also consists of a wide variety of ingredients that are all suitable for human consumption. However, similar to commercial pet foods, the biological value of the nutrients lose some of their usefulness, due to the heating process. In addition, this diet usually contains lots of rice (preferably brown rice), and as mentioned in previous articles (No’s 41 and 46), the digestive system of carnivores is not made for eating lots of cereals.

Nevertheless, there are many pet owners who prefer to give commercial pet food, mainly because it is easier. If that’s case, then I advise to give at least a pet food containing high quality ingredients, even when this means more expenses. But then, as the overall health of your pet improves, your veterinary costs will definitely go down!

Good health and care of our beloved pets starts with a good diet. Grant this to your pet!

For more information on pets’ diets, and on dog and cat boarding, dog training and behavior please visit www.luckydogs.info or contact LuckyDogs: 0 9997 8146.


Money Matters: A brief(ish) history of stocks (Part 3)

Alan Hall
MBMG International Ltd.

We’re surprised to report that our Pattaya reader hasn’t yet written in begging that we return to the format of prophesying financial Armageddon every day until it actually happens (if it hasn’t already started). So let’s move on. Now where were we? Oh yes, the first stock exchange, the Amsterdam Kontor had arrived (VOC share certificates dating back to 1606 still exist - in fact the Amsterdam stock market for many years proudly claimed to own the oldest stock certificate in the world until a private collector popped up with an earlier VOC issue).

After that the baton really passed to the British Empire - as Britannia’s ships gradually acquired ascendancy of the seas.

The official website of the London Stock Exchange tells us that in 1698, a John Castaing began to issue “at this Office in Jonathan’s Coffee-house” a list of stock and commodity prices called “The Course of the Exchange and other things” - the earliest evidence of organised trading in marketable securities in London. Jonathan’s Coffee House in Change Alley increasingly became the centre of this new hotbed, in no small part because “stock dealers” were in that same year expelled from the Royal Exchange for rowdiness. It’s amazing how little changes.

1720 saw the first major stock scam - a wave of speculative fever known as the “South Sea Bubble” which burst when investors had to face the grim news that they had paid extortionate prices for insubstantial assets. Dot com investors could no doubt relate to that.

This crisis couldn’t stop the relentless march of the markets - nor indeed could the Great London Fire of 1748 which started in nearby Cornhill (not to be confused with The Great Fire of London of 1666 started in Pudding Lane by the King’s baker, Thomas Farrinor and for which The Guild of Bakers issued an apology 320 years later in 1986, all liabilities for the vent having presumably expired by then), to the extent that by 1761 a group of 150 stock brokers and jobbers formed a club at the rebuilt Jonathan’s to buy and sell shares.

Presumably needing more space, the brokers erected their own building in Sweeting’s Alley, with a dealing room on the ground floor. The caffeine-dependency is served by a coffee room on the floor above. Sadly for posterity, what is originally known as “New Jonathan’s” shortly thereafter changes its name to “The Stock Exchange”.

By 1801 the Exchange adopts a formal membership subscription basis and the first regulated exchange, effectively the first modern Stock Exchange, is born in London, and shortly thereafter moves to new premises at Capel Court. In 1836 the first regional exchanges open in Manchester and Liverpool, in time for the next wave of speculation - not sea fever this time so much as “Railway mania” sweeps the country.

Not until 1923 does the exchange receives its own coat of arms, with the motto “Dictum Meum Pactum” (My Word is My Bond). In 1939 The Exchange closes for 6 days at the start of World War Two. The floor of the House closes for only one more day, in 1945 due to damage from a V2 rocket – trading then continues in the basement trading floor.

Not until 1972 are the first female members admitted to the market and around the same time, the regional bourses, which have increased to 11, are absorbed into what is still called the Stock Exchange. Probably even more shocking to the members was the “Big Bang” of 1986, widening the member base and introducing electronic trading (prices ceased to be quoted in the likes of 3/16 and the likes of 0.1875 took over).

Last year, the now titled London Stock Exchange Plc moved to brand new headquarters in Paternoster Square, close to St Paul’s Cathedral.

Almost there - bear with us for one more thrilling instalment and then we’ll finally get around to talking about the markets of today!

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 [email protected]


Life in the Laugh Lane: I’d like my tiger poached, please

by Scott Jones

I grew up with a tiger on my table. Always friendly and cheerful, Tony the Tiger of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes(tm) fame reminded me regularly that they were “Grrrrrrrrreat!” The concept of a steaming tiger steak, poached from Kenya or my backyard, after watching them pace nervously in their cage wondering if they’re next on the grill after their buddy disappeared, does not whip my taste buds into a frenzy. It makes my blood boil.

I believe that at the recent Chiangmai Night Safari’s “soft” opening, the hard facts about their proposed menu was sick, sinister and stupid. “The zoo will be outstanding, with several restaurants offering...imported horse, kangaroo, giraffe, snake, elephant, tiger, lion meat...domestic crocodile and dog meat. What lunatic buffoon came up with this “exotic buffet?”

Nightmare Safari: See me, eat me.

The food, it is claimed, will be “fresh daily” which will require building the Official Zoo Slaughterhouse and hopefully be part of a tour package. Gee whiz, maybe we’ll even get to hear the final roar of the king of the jungle! Will we have dazzling VIP banquets with a fresh barbequed giraffe neck stretched across the buffet? Like live fish in the restaurant lobby, will we get to select the specific kangaroo whose leg we fancy? Can we bring in our own fresh dogs and have them prepared right at the table? Elephant meat? A cherished symbol of Thailand? We’ve destroyed their habitat, harvested their tusks and taken their forest jobs away. Now it’s time to eat them? At a zoo? “A place where live wild animals are kept for public showing”? No wonder it’s a Night Safari. Degenerate acts like these require the cover of darkness.

I’ve just returned from two months in the USA where I raised money for orphans, painstakingly educating caring Americans about beautiful Buddhist Thailand, victim of the tsunami, bird flu, AIDS proliferation and poverty. Please help me help these gentle folks. In a few moments the international reputation of Thailand was reduced to “They go to the zoo to eat the animals.” Within two days, the web search engine Google listed almost 11,000 articles of varying degrees of outrage. Shocking headlines are front page fodder read by everyone; retractions are tiny and few. The masses remember the insult, not the apology.

A related article from 2003 in Jakarta reported: “An array of live tigers, bears and reptiles smuggled into Thailand from Indonesia have been spared from China’s cooking pots after being seized by police. A senior officer said ‘Chatuchak (Bangkok’s famed weekend market) is the biggest place we know of for wildlife trade. We will wipe it out within three months.” It’s now apparent that the officials just wanted to make sure we could eat them here in Thailand while they’re fresh. And wipe out the wildlife trade by getting into the business themselves.

The nonprofit Tiger Foundation, a conservation organization dedicated to the preservation of wild tigers, estimates there are only 5,000 left in the world, down from 100,000 at the beginning of the last century. The Indo-Chinese Tiger is numbered at only 1,000 in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Malaysia combined. With enough demented meatheads ordering fresh tiger, we should be able to eliminate the entire species in a few days.

I’m trying to understand some shred of rational thinking (feeling is certainly out of the question) why this was conceived, promoted and then officially supported by the prime minister. I’m obviously too sensitive, too confused and too foreign. Maybe it’s just payback time. Man-eating tigers finally replaced by tiger-eating men! My ancestors from the USA, Norway, Germany and Wales were probably not tiger victims. Personally I have no fear of them. Tigers, lions and cannibals do not eat comedians. They taste funny.