HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Your Health & Happiness

The Doctor's Consultation

Agony Column

Camera Class by Snapshot

Money Matters

Life in the Laugh Lane

Your Health & Happiness: Chiang Mai spa and health business attacks Japanese market

Chiang Mai discussions regarding Thai spa health business.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai together with Chiang Mai Health Service Association and Chiang Mai Thai Lanna Spa Association prepares to participate in Beauty World Japan 2006, in Tokyo Japan from May 8-10.
Waiyarak Walairat, Head of Chiang Mai Commerce office said that they want to promote Chiang Mai and there is an opening for Thai Spa health business and beauty products in international markets.
On May 8-10, Chiang Mai will have a road show in the Beauty World Japan 2006, Tokyo, Japan. Chiang Mai will have a Thai Spa products, beauty products, and health products exhibition booth to show the uniqueness of Chiang Mai’s Thai Spa and health business.

The Doctor's Consultation: A stent in time……

by Dr. Iain Corness

The advances in cardiac surgery have been enormous over the past 20 years. We have gone from some fairly primitive high-risk surgery, to some very, very sophisticated interventional techniques, which have given cardiac patients a new lease of life. In fact, if the techniques that are available now, were able to be carried out 30 years ago, my father would in all probability, still be alive today.
However, before getting into modern life-saving techniques, a short review of cardiac pathology is in order. Myocardial infarction is the common cause of cardiac muscle death, and finally ours. (Make that “yours” as I don’t want it!)
The heart muscle is supplied with oxygenated blood by its own system of arteries. The heart does not get its oxygen from the blood in its chambers which is being pumped around. Instead, there is a network of ‘heart’ arteries (called the coronary arteries) which supply the cardiac muscle. If any of these get blocked, this is known as a “stenosis” or an “occlusion”, which in turn can bring on the coronary “conclusion”! This is the death of the muscle, called “infarction”.
The blockage is most often caused by Cholesterol, which gets deposited on the inside wall of the arteries and is called “plaque”, and then red cells stick on the surface of the deposit and it builds up from there. If you have a 50 percent stenosis, you will start to get chest pains on exercise. If you have a 100 percent stenosis, you may drop dead during the exercise.
To correct this problem, the only way we knew was to carry out an open heart operation, replace the blocked coronary arteries with vessels taken from other parts of the body, usually veins from the leg. However, now we can leave your arteries where they are, but do something to relieve the stenosis, or blockage. This is called “Angioplasty”.
One way is to send an inflatable balloon to dilate the blocked area, and this is known as Coronary balloon angioplasty. It is more formally known as percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA): percutaneous meanong “through the skin,” transluminal meaning “inside the blood vessel,” coronary meaning “related to the heart,” and angioplasty meaning “blood vessel repair.”
Angioplasty involves creating space in the blocked artery by inserting and inflating a tiny balloon, which compresses some of the blocking plaque against the arterial wall. When the balloon is deflated and removed, the plaque still remains compressed, clearing a space in the artery and improving blood flow. While angioplasty does not always completely clear an artery, more than 90 percent of all procedures are immediately successful.
There are other techniques available, and the most common is by using “stents”. This is called percutanous coronary intervention (PCI). The success in today’s cardiac surgery is due in part to the increased use of these tiny wire mesh tubes called stents, which cardiologists began using in the 1990s to help keep arteries open following angioplasty. About 70 to 90 percent of all angioplasty patients receive a stent, which is inserted permanently at the site of the blockage.
Stents can be used in a number of ways with angioplasty procedures. A stent may be inserted during an original angioplasty to prevent possible arterial collapse and lower the chance of heart attack and re-narrowing of the artery (called re-stenosis). A stent also may be inserted during a second angioplasty to prevent recurrent restenosis. Stents can also be used in the unlikely event that an artery is injured by the catheter. Experienced doctors are able to install stents in one or more arteries with a high probability of success.
The use of stents has decreased the abrupt and unpredictable closure of an artery, which necessitated emergency coronary bypass surgery. Studies show stents are better than angioplasty alone in preventing re-stenosis, which is one of the most common problems associated with angioplasty.
Evidence suggests that angioplasty patients are doing better today because doctors are better able to target blockages, by using such techniques as the 64 Slice CT, so your interventionist is able to pinpoint the blockage with greater accuracy. However, we will deal with the 64 Slice CT technology another time.

Agony Column

Dear Hillary,
How can I express my shock and amazement over your apparent revelation last week (Sat, 22 April), that you are a part time Dominatrix? I read this into your answer to Charles where you warned him that this was one of your B&D weeks, i.e. “I agree though, you certainly do need help, but I doubt if you’d like the rubber room and the funny sleeveless tight jacket. Best to steer clear of me till next week.”
When I think of how that shocked me, one of your most ardent and admiring fans, it made me laugh to think of the fear it must have inspired in that eternal promiser Mr Singha.
I love your column Hillary but I hope that if I ever manage to bump into you personally it wont be on your B&D week. Keep up your brilliantly caustic and funny answers, it’s worth opening the ‘Chiangmai Mail’ site for you alone, though the other contributors are good too.
David, Western Australia.
Dear David,
I am so pleased to read that my column has found its way to the sandy deserts of Western Australia, but I am sorry you appear to be exhibiting some strange and upside-down thinking, Petal. Probably because you are living down-under, I imagine. Dominatrix? B&D weeks? Just where did you get that from? I am glad to see you have never been inside a mental hospital, because that is where they have the rubber rooms and the straight-jackets! I agree with you where you wrote “I read this into your answer…” Keep reading, David, but be careful when you read things “into” my answers. You might end up pulling the wrong leg. Thanks for the nice words, but next time attach them to a bottle of that rather nice Margaret River wine you have down there. See, there’s a fact not everybody knows – Hillary does drink something other than French champagne, and it took you to extract that information from me. Unwillingly, as you can see!
Dear Hillary,
Your last week’s column was interesting and real. I have been visited in Thailand 17 years, every year 2-3 times and seen how stupid and arrogant so many farang can be, even farangs who visit Thailand yearly, don’t respect locals. Partly of this, Thailand has a bad reputation in Europe. I am now married with Thai Lady, we did meet in Thailand few years ago, staying together in Finland now but every year still visiting Thailand. For me it is still so exciting to visit The Land of Smiles. All the best to you Hillary.
Aarno and Mrs.Yupa
Dear Arno and Mrs Yupa,
Thank you for the letter and the nice words. Yes, the truth was certainly there with the letter from the gentleman who called himself “Happy Camper”. It sounds as if you too are another happy camper, and I am very happy for you, even though I doubt if I would be a very happy camper living in cold Finland. If we all learned to respect one another, the world would be a better place.
Dear Hillary,
I recently visited your country to have some cosmetic surgery and while I was there had a little holiday as well. I enjoyed the countryside, but the cities I did not enjoy. They were too crowded, too noisy and Chiang Mai and Pattaya seemed to be full of older males with some very young girls. This is something that would not happen in their home countries, so why do they do it in Thailand? I find it quite disgusting to see some lovely young girls helping men 60 years older than they are. Surely there comes a time when the men in the world have to stop the need for conquest. As someone who lives there in Thailand, can you explain what goes on with these old fools, Hillary. They must realize that the liaison will not last for ever.
Dear Helen,
Firstly, I am glad you enjoyed the countryside, and I hope the cosmetic surgery went well too. However, before you throw too many stones at octogenarians, I think you should stop awhile and think just why you had your surgery done. Did it make you feel better about yourself? Did it make you more attractive? Did it make you look younger? I am sure it was all of those things and more. Now to our old men. Having a young lady on their arm must make them feel they are younger too. It probably makes them feel better about themselves too. Now, as far as how long the liaison will last, does it really matter? They are 80 years old and must be in the finishing straight themselves. What a lovely thought that a delightful young lady is there to look after them. What happened to these older men’s previous partners? Died? Ran off? Had cosmetic surgery and picked up a younger man? There can be many reasons why they are in Thailand and unattached (and with money to spend). If they spend that money on company for their last few years, is there something wrong with this? As I wrote to Arno, if we all learned to respect one another, the world would be a better place. I think you should think about that, Helen.

Camera Class:  Going Glam

by Harry Flashman

What is the most popular photographic subject of all time? Hands up all of you who said “girls”. Correct again! And that includes you, doesn’t it! Actually there have been more books written about “How to Photograph Girls” than any other photographic texts. What’s more, photographers have been snapping girls since we first managed to record blurry images on Daguerre’s sensitized glass plates.
However, unless you are careful, you will end up with shots that are far from glamorous, and are disappointing for both the subject and the cameraman. The answer lies in following some simple rules which will make your lady look glam, so much so you will want enlargements of the very ‘professional’ result.
Let’s start with the basic pose. The first rule with all amateur models is to get your subject to relax. (Note I refer in this article to amateur models. Professional ones know which poses to adopt, and which poses make them look the best. That is why professional models are expensive!)
Now, if your favorite lady is standing rigidly to attention in front of the camera, I can guarantee that the end result will not be pleasing. When photographing Thai people in particular, it is even more important to get them relaxed and happy, as they tend to “stand to attention” with arms held straight at their sides, looking as if they are on army parade. The other favorite position is to place thumb and forefinger under the chin, which does not look glamorous, but rather looks faintly ridiculous.
I have found that it helps to have an album of different poses cut from magazines, adverts, etc., and show this to your subject. When the sitter knows what “look” you are trying to achieve, it makes it easier all round.
The pose to avoid at all costs is the subject straight on to the camera. This is unfortunately the commonest pose – but it is the worst as far as looking attractive is concerned.
Here’s what to do to get over this problem. Simply. Sit your lady in a chair, and then turn it 45 degrees away from the straight ahead position. Now ask her to slowly turn her head and look at the end of your camera’s lens. Now you look through your viewfinder – see? It looks better already, doesn’t it!
Now ask her to gently raise the shoulder closest to the camera and smile. Guess what? You are starting to get a glamorous image.
Now get her to slightly bend the neck to move her chin down towards the body, so that she has to look slightly upwards with her eyes at the camera. This makes the eyes look large and enticing.
That basic pose can be modified by turning to the left as well as to the right, shoulders up or down, open mouthed smile or shy grin. Each shot will have a different look.
For these sort of portraits you do need to make the subject’s head fill the viewfinder. Keep the top of the hair just inside the top edge of the viewing area and the lower edge should just keep the shoulders in the frame. In other words, walk in close. The best lens for this is around 135 mm, if you have a choice. This focal length is even known as a ‘portrait’ lens.
Lighting is the next important factor in producing that romantic glamor portrait. The trick here is to use gentle, soft lighting to avoid harsh and unflattering shadows. One super little trick to take shadows away from under the chin, nose and eyes is to open out a newspaper and place it in the sitter’s lap. The reflected light will gently lessen the dark shadows.
Another trick used by the professional glamour photographers is to “back light” the subject and then reflect light back into the face with gold foil reflectors. The gold imparts a very “warm” and flattering color to the skin. The reflector will also be picked up as small highlights in the eyes, which gives sparkle and an “alive” feeling to the portrait.

Money Matters:  Why you should invest in Commodities

Part 2

Alan Hall
MBMG International Ltd.

One billion people live in the developed world and, out of the remaining five billion, over two billion live in two countries – India and China. These two nations are playing catch up with the West and need as many commodities as they can get their hands on– especially oil. And as more and more of a middle class emerges from these developing countries, then the same can be said for cotton, sugar, wheat, coffee and precious and basic metals.
It is not just the creation of a middle class. It is also those who aspire to join it. In the last fifteen years over 300 million Chinese have moved to the coastal regions of China (that is the population of the USA). They have done so in the hope of finding jobs. More importantly, they’ve left behind the agrarian society that contributed so much to keeping the country going and are now taking as opposed to giving. For both China and India, the daily consumption of food is only going to rise as more and more people can afford to pay the prices of better food. So, more and more people eating better than they have ever done, looking for jobs in the cities as industry continues to expand using up what metals and energy they can whilst at the same time there are less and less people to produce the food. If this does not point to a continued bull market for the next ten or fifteen years then I do not know what does.
As David Fuller of Fullermoney said, “With approximately one billion people in the developed world and another five billion in developing countries, the largest of which are scrambling to increase GDP and the standard of living for their burgeoning populations, it is not difficult to envisage a steepening demand curve for all resources, many of which are finite.”
As stated above, another thing to consider is that most things are cyclical. Over recent times we have lived in a low inflation market. This is no longer the case. Banks all over the world continue to print money at ridiculous rates. Supply is going up through the roof and this excess liquidity has to find a home somewhere. When inflation is around then it usually ends up in commodities as they are one thing that are considered to be finite and cannot be increased as and when someone wants them to.
For the short term, banks will continue to print money. If they don’t then the USD48 trillion debt of the United Sates will become even more of a problem and could lead the world into a major depression. The problem is that printing money makes debt look less harrowing. Due to inflation, the money you owe today via loans, mortgages or credit cards will feel like it is a lot less in five or ten years time. So, inflation is another reason to invest in commodities and protect your wealth at the same time.
Whilst there is no doubt that commodities have under-performed other asset classes over the last twenty years it is still a fact that over the last 45 years they outperformed both equities and bonds and, more importantly, with less volatility than shares (University of Yale – 2005).
In conclusion, this is not as good as it gets and, without doubt, the best is yet to come. However, this does come with a health warning. If the US consumer does precipitously slow down his spending in the latter half of 2006, this will lead to an inevitable slowdown in China and other emerging markets.
Commodity investments will be affected by this, which will present a great buying opportunity to buy these assets at cheaper prices, for the growth in China and the likes of is not a one year story but one that we are going to see played our for the next ten or more years. Research from Macquarie shows that even if China were to slow down from current growth rates it is still likely to account for 30% plus of world demand by the end of the decade.
Why else should you consider commodities? Well for a start you do not need to place so much faith in funds or the management of companies. All you need to do is pick up the paper every so often and see what is being used and what is not. Given this situation, it really does make sense to have at least 10% of your portfolio in commodities – some say even as much as a third of it. Fuel and metals have led the way in the revival and will continue to do well but others such as cotton, wheat. Etc., have not increased as much and this is a superb chance for someone to take advantage of this now. If one adjusts for inflation, grains have not been so cheap since Nelson beat the French at Battle of the Nile in 1798. Why not follow Nelson and grasp the opportunity whilst you can?

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: Thumbs Up or Down?

by Scott Jones

Hitchhiking is fun because you get to meet interesting new people like axe murderers, rapists or drunken drivers, and give them complete control of your life. Normally the safe, model citizens do not have the courage to pick up unfamiliar people on the side of the road who are also most likely axe murderers, rapists or drunks.
To get a ride quickly, it helps to dress appropriately, perhaps in a three-piece suit and tie, carrying a large, red container and sign that says, “I have gas.” Though some drivers may think you’re on your way to bomb a federal building, a holy fanatic who will blather on and on, addressing you and the invisible deity sitting next to him, while flinging religious tracts out the window, this dress code is certainly better than the norm.
Many hitchhikers appear to have been on the road for a million years. The day is pleasant, the scenery is lovely…and a Neanderthal man is standing on the side of the highway. (Matted hair, denim loin cloth, leather sandals. “Honey, is that a guitar or a wooden club?”) This guy’s friends wouldn’t even pick him up. His mother probably deposited him there and demanded, “Thor, get out and evolve.”

Sigh, no ride. Because of our clothes?

You can actually smell some hitchhikers before you see them. You notice a green mist on the horizon that appears to be an oil refinery, but it’s a hitchhiker is standing in his own odor cloud. You can see his breath and it’s not even cold out.
Thumbing is great if you have a flexible schedule like: “I’d like go somewhere and arrive sometime in the future.” It’s not appropriate for activities with deadlines like visa runs, child birth or your wedding. Several years ago, I planned to hitch to Boston after visiting Syracuse, New York. My friend leaves me at the turnpike toll gate early in the morning, one of those major interchanges where traffic from the east and west funnels into a common row of tollbooths. Eventually I get a ride and the driver drops me at another tollbooth where I am quickly picked up again. The second driver inquires where I am going. “Home to Boston,” I say. “Where did you start from today?” he asks. “Syracuse,” I reply. He seems very puzzled and asks me the same questions again. When he wonders what I was doing in Buffalo, the bitter reality seeps into my brain. I’d hitched 250 kilometers west instead of east. He drops me off back in Syracuse. Seven hours and 500 kilometers after I’d begun, I am standing at the very same tollbooth where I’d started.
In 1972, Yugoslavia (now divided into several nationalist republics called Yugo, Sla and Via) was a sleepy country far enough from Russia, the big bully in the neighborhood, to be serene and semi-communist. I envision hitching 350 kilometers through the mountains on a secondary road. After an hour of insects, two dogs and one car whizzing by, a wizened, old man in an ox cart stops and I climb in the cart. As we travel slower than I can walk, but a bit faster than the speed of a continental glacier, I think of what a snail says when it’s riding on a turtle’s back: “Wheeeee! Yay! Oh, boy!” After an hour of watching one mountain not fade into the distance, I stick out my thumb towards anything that passes. A wooden wagon from medieval times with four dashing black stallions and a black-haired gypsy band of five stop and wave me in. Why not? This would never happen in North Dakota. I feel like I’m in a National Geographic magazine as the six-year-old daughter with a wrinkled sixty-year-old face begs for “Deener, deener, deener!” (Money, money, money!) That day, I may have traveled 35 kilometers but at least I felt wind in my hair for the last 33.
Around the same time in Israel, in between a couple of wars, I try to hitch out of Haifa to the Dead Sea. Lots of cars, but none pick me up. I look respectable with clean clothes, a tidy backpack and guitar case. Three men wearing camouflage uniforms and holding sub-machine guns walk in front of me, scoring a ride almost immediately. In America, I would never pick up anyone with a sub-machine gun…unless they were standing in the road with the barrel pointed at my windshield. Finally someone stops. Once in the car, the man says, “You’re from America, aren’t you?” I say, “Yes, how can you tell?” He says, “I used to live there. Here in Israel, thumbs-up does not mean you want a ride. When you hitchhike, do this.” He sticks out his first finger, lowers his hand near his knees and makes a forward-backward, waving motion a bit like here in Thailand. He then gives me a thumbs-up and says, “This means ‘Shove it up your ass.’” Great. I’d been insulting motorists for a half-hour. When I thought they were weaving over to pick me up, they were just trying to knock me off the road.
Here I’ve been assuming all the kids, waitresses and elderly ladies who give me a thumbs-up sign have good thoughts in mind, but I’d better check my Thai Culture Book to make sure.