Your Health & Happiness: Roof-top party buys wheelchairs for disabled in Chiang Mai
Part of the
equipment bought from the 141,500 baht which was part of the donations from the
January 2006 charity event. The following already in Social Section Pisamai
name corrected below
Chiangmai Mail reporters
Photos: Steve Yarnold
Supplies worth 141,500 baht were presented to Associate Professor Dr. Apichana
Kovindha, to support the disabled people in Chiang Mai and to be used in the
program for the Foundation for the Welfare and Rehabilitation of the Disabled
in Chiang Mai, (under Royal Patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha
Following the last Charity Roof-top Party, over 700,000 baht was raised and
divided to support five different charities. These were the Foundation for the
Education of Rural Children (FERC); the Baan Kingkaew Orphanage for the care of
babies and small children under five years old, the Down syndrome Centre in
Chiang Mai; Viengping Orphanage and in this case the Suan Dok Hospital to help
Chiang Mai disabled.
The items presented included 13 various sized wheel chairs, six wheel Walkers,
one commode chair, six frames, three pairs of canes, 1,500 Foley catheters and
1,500 urine bags.
For 2007 the planning has already started and the board of the Hillside Charity
group want you to put in your calendar the upcoming third Annual Charity
Roof-top Party to be held on January 13, 2007. Contact Steve Yarnold, email:
steve_yarnold [email protected]
The Doctor's Consultation: Quitting the Weed Part 2. How to do it
by Dr. Iain Corness
Last week in this column I wrote about the difficulties
involved in giving up cigarettes. Smokers are not creatures of habit, smokers
are people caught in the clutches of addiction. A prime example is one of my
friends who is on a vigorous exercise regimen and vegetarian diet as he wants
to get fit – but is still smoking. He may as well eat anything he wants,
because the cigarettes will kill him before bad diet does.
To give up cigarettes there are many, many ways, ranging from acupuncture,
hypnosis, the I Ching, Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT), chewing gum,
patches, nasal spray and many others all the way through to cold turkey. Hop
onto the internet and you are besieged with offers, all of which will make it
‘easy’ for you to stop smoking, and all of which will cost you money!
What you have to realise is that Nicotine is more addictive than heroin. I
know that’s probably hard to believe, but that really is the crux of the
matter. You take Nicotine into all of your metabolic pathways until you
“need” to have Nicotine to be able to function. Nicotine becomes part of
your metabolic chemical chains, and they don’t work properly without it. Now
you can see just why you feel so dreadful when you go without cigarettes
(nicotine) for any period of time.
Now, leaving aside hypnosis and acupuncture, about which I know very little,
but the good books tell me do not enjoy high success rates, let’s look at
the other methods. The majority rely on Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT).
All the gums and sprays do is to make Nicotine available for you in measured
doses – much like cigarettes do. You get the craving, you chew the gum. You
get the craving, you squirt the spray.
Patches are slightly different. They deliver the Nicotine slowly over a 12 or
24 hour period and are supposed to stop the craving before it happens. But
often do not.
After stabilizing on the NRT it is time to bring the dosage down, which is the
next hurdle at which many fall. The end result can be cigarette smoking plus
NRT – a potentially fatal combination. In fact, I strongly believe that NRT
should only be done under close medical supervision. Too much nicotine can
So to the best way – Cold Turkey. The proof is in the numbers. There has
been enough research done and the prime factor is that the quitter has to be
committed to the concept of becoming a non-smoker. Doing it (quitting) for
somebody else, because you lost a bet, because you are being nagged into it by
your wife, girlfriend, boyfriend is doomed to failure, I am afraid. This is
something which requires your total commitment. 100 percent all the way. Last
week I mentioned just how I thought it would be a bad scene for a couple of
days, and then found that it was a couple of weeks of torture. Here I am a
couple of decades later and I could begin smoking again tomorrow. It requires
dedication and commitment. Yours! No one elses!
So, I admit that those who go cold turkey may go through a rough time with
withdrawals initially, but the majority are still non-smokers after one year.
The same cannot be said for the others. The “hard” way is ultimately the
You have to make the decision to quit. You set the day. You tell all your
friends that you are now a non-smoker – and you stick to it!
Become a non-smoker for 2006!
I refer to your answer last week to “The Boxer” and I am completely
agreed with you. Anyway I feel Pattaya is not a city to settle down. It is
too much “rock and roll” too much traffic problems, sometimes too much
people and too much pollution and to much criminals Thai and Farangs. I
will not recommend anybody who will have a nice life to stay in Pattaya
and as especially Pattaya is not a city to raise up children. Pattaya is
the city for people who want have “rock and roll”. Now I stay outside
Ayutthya in a small village and everything here are different. Here is the
real Thailand. I also have a nice lady and I remember when we lived in
Pattaya there were men (Farang and Thai) offering her much money for to go
with them, but she refused of course. No, Pattaya is not Thailand. Pattaya
is a multikulturel (sic) city and of course a bit of Thailand but they who
never have been outside Pattaya have never visit Thailand. I have lived in
Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and now outside Ayutthya so it means I
have some experience. Okay anyway I visit Pattaya every month because of
my health problems and I have some problems in my head to change doctor,
but sure I can find good doctor and hospital where I live now. Back to
your answer : Okay you can maybe have a good life in Pattaya but I will
recommend you not to stay in an apartment on Beach Road, Second Road or
Third Road but maybe uppersit (sic) Sokumwitt (sic) but as you said
“change your area.” I hope you not misunderstand me I will not talk
bad about Pattaya. Remember I meet my wife in Pattaya so that I not forget
but when you have found your “right woman” you must say goodbye to
your “rock and roll” life from before, and then you maybe can be happy
together with your wife.
Whew! That was straight from the heart, wasn’t it, my Petal. However, as
well as your highlighting problems with Pattaya, I left in a couple of the
problems you seem to have with spelling, but never mind, the rest I
corrected, and the ones I left could be understood. Mind you, I do hope
that English is not your native tongue, otherwise you must have skipped a
few lessons in school! I do agree that Pattaya is not Thailand, being more
often considered to be Thailand’s answer to Disneyland (but the rides
are better) according to my spies in Soi 6! Having said that, I should
also point out in Pattaya’s defense, that there is far more to it than
just “rock and roll”. It is becoming much more of an upscale
international resort city, but like an a la carte menu, everything is on
it, but it is up to you what you select. That is what I was trying to
suggest to “The Boxer”.
I read on a website that Chiang Mai’s go-go bars have been closed down.
Is this true? While I enjoyed the Lanna laid-back lifestyle, I also
enjoyed a little go-go entertainment at night. It is bad enough that the
powers that be try and tell us tourists what time we have to go to bed at
night (at least they aren’t telling us with ‘who’ we can go to bed
at night), but what is the point of closing the go-go bars and putting
people out of work?
Dear Go-Go George,
Your source is not quite correct, Petal. The local boys in brown have not
closed the go-go bars, they have been much more clever than that. They
have taken away the chrome poles! To give the dancers support, management
has had to install bus hanging straps from the ceilings, so rather than
introduce lap-dancing, Chiang Mai has retaliated with strap-dancing.
Fortunately, they left the mirrors in place, as everyone knows Thai girls
cannot dance without a mirror so they can ensure they look suitably sexy
from all angles.
I have a charming young lady from PatPong. We exchange emails loving
regularly. Yesterday she explained that she was in a spot of bother
because she is sick and can no longer work. This has lead to her being
unable to pay her rent. She has requested that I send her some money, and
she has given me the bank details of a charitable young Thai gentleman who
has offered to marshal my transactions for her. I have auctioned all my
possessions and withdrawn my savings from a high interest account. I was
wondering if you could tell me the most tax efficient method of
transferring these funds to my Tilac.
Yours in sincerety,
What an amazing coincidence, your initials remind me of a horse, and the
back end of it too. The best method would be to just send everything in
cash to the kind young Thai gentleman, who I am sure will not pay tax on
the windfall, so you can rest assured that whatever your Tilac gets is tax
free, less handling, freight, banking, grafting, slicing off the top and
other minor charges against the sum which the young man in question will
have had to impose.
Camera Class: Digital versus film photography – a direct comparison
by Harry Flashman
(left) and D50 digital (right)
With the fact that film is going to be discontinued in the
not so distant future, and I have been writing about digital photography for
some time, I thought it was about time I tried something of a back to back
comparison between film and digital SLRs. However, before you read further, this
was more of an “impression” rather than a good scientific test.
For the film SLR I used my trusty, decades old, Nikon FM2n, and fitted the
standard 50 mm lens. Undoubtedly this is my favorite camera, fully manual and I
am fully conversant with it. This camera has an equally venerable Metz 45 CT1
flash attached and is used most of the time, especially with portraits as a
For the digital SLR, I borrowed a Nikon D50 belonging to my photographic friend
Ernie Kuehnelt, with the 18-55 zoom lens as sold as the standard package. I was
not at all conversant with this camera and found that I had to refer to the
manual to do anything other than turning it on.
The first comparison came in just picking up the two outfits. The FM2 and the
Metz makes for a heavy instrument, whilst the D50 is very light. The D50 is,
however, much more smoothly ergonomic than the rectangular FM2.
I unscrewed the lens from the D50, and the lens (made in Thailand, by the way)
weighs nothing! Well, in comparison to the old lenses it weighs nothing. For an
old newspaper photographer, I could not imagine this lens being around in 20
years, the way my battered old lenses are.
The comparisons I made by using both cameras, taking the same shot twice and
comparing the results of the final image. The film negative was converted
directly to CD, with no scanned hard copy in between. The digital images were
also burned to CD directly from the memory chip. In this way, it was easy to
compare the final images, with both digitized and viewed using an ACDSee
The first foray was a night shot, and it was disaster for the D50. The little
on-camera flash was unable to throw enough light far enough, whilst the Metz 45
CT1, which will light up the other side of the moon if I ask it, gave the film
final image the distinct edge. Or so I thought, until I read further into the D
50 owners manual the next morning, to find I had not set the flash correctly.
I then moved on to something easier - daylight photography, taking people
pictures. For the FM2 it is a simple case of keeping the aperture on 5.6,
setting the flash one stop less and adjusting overall brightness with the
shutter speed. I can do this with my eyes closed.
For the D50, I also tried to do this and was again disappointed, until Ernie
showed me the pictograph for portraits on the multi-purpose mode control. Flash
“on”, was also selected, and lo and behold, good portraits. Where I was
going wrong, was trying to run the D50 as a manual camera, when Mr. Nikon had
already done all the sums (or is that ‘algorithms’) and would select the
optimal settings (without me).
I have to say that for me, I found that the D50 controls were somewhat
bewildering. I have a dread of drop-down menus, when simple controls are much
easier (because they are simpler). Converting to a digital SLR, from a manual
film SLR is not easy. What you learned with the manual does not translate easily
to the digital. There is a good reason that Mr. Nikon gives the purchaser a
thick instruction manual. There is much to learn. One should take the time to
learn all the various controls and functions. I had not.
As a comparison test, this all fell down because I was not familiar enough with
the D50, so all comparisons are flawed to begin with. However, I do have to say
that the ability to instantly review the photographs on the LCD panel was
wonderful. The anguish of waiting to see if you have been successful has been
overcome. For that reason alone, I would buy digital!
Money Matters: How past can affect present and future
MBMG International Ltd.
Recently, we have looked at the history of
the Fed. Now let’s see how the past can affect the present and the future.
Alan Greenspan bowed out a while ago with an interest rate hike combined
with characteristic verbiage. If there is one change that Greenspan has made
to the rule of chairman of the Federal Reserve it has been, as we’ve noted
before, moving markets not just with what he does, but with what he says.
Manipulating the markets by indicating what the Fed plans to do in the
future wrapped up in a miasma of eccentric metaphors, arcane similes and
impenetrable figures of speech has allowed the Fed to hint at future policy
without having to spell out its precise intentions. Interpreting
Greenspan’s oracular opacity became an industry in itself and utterances
such as “irrational exuberance” and “a conundrum” acquired legendary
One of the persistent criticisms of Greenspan has been his dogmatism - his
insistence in the efficiency of capital markets. This has encouraged the
amount of financial derivative contracts to expand exponentially with Big Al
condoning the practice generally as being a contribution towards market
efficiency and stability. The danger of a major blow up causing the collapse
of several major counterparties is now both clear and present, and also
probably too far gone to be corrected. Warren Buffet sees this as one of the
biggest financial dangers faced by the global economy and we can understand
The LTCM crisis of 1998 is another example of this. By cutting interest
rates in September, the crisis could have been averted. Greenspan knew this
and although he was to cut rates a month later for economic reasons, he
refused to sanction bringing this rate rise forward by a month to prevent
the LTCM crisis happening. In Greenspan dogma, efficient markets need to
sacrifice the weak or foolish and the pain is good for the wider market.
William McDonough had to sit all the Wall St leaders around the board table
of the New York Fed, get them to agree to bail out Long Term Capital
Management, the financial world had to endure some very nervy moments, a
hedge fund had to be sacrificed but the “invisible hand” of the markets
that has been as important to Alan Greenspan as it was to Adam Smyth
eventually put everything to rights.
We would rather that the visible hand of the Fed hadn’t necessitated the
crisis just to make its own point about how efficient a machine the
financial markets are. Except for a few financial professionals the message
was pretty well lost at the time and now it’s buried. The importance of
this episode is that to us it highlights the weaknesses that characterised
1) The pre-eminence of dogma and financial ideology over pragmatism - the
LTCM affair saw the Fed going to perverse lengths to incept an unnecessary
crisis JUST to show how well the markets could bear it.
2) Undermining publicly delineated policy with contrary behind the scenes
action - I guess that there are those who would say that speaking with a
forked tongue is justifiable as long as you get away with it (we’re a bit
old-fashioned about that kind of thing, ourselves) and Greenspan certainly
did that but post-Alan Greenspan, we believe that the standing of Central
bankers has been damaged, probably permanently.
Ben Bernanke’s pronouncements will, in all probability, be taken with
pinches of salt because of the lack of respect shown by his predecessor to
the financial markets. Next week, we’ll look at other commentators’
views on the Greenspan era.
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: A Boy and His Dog and His Mom (Part 1)
by Scott Jones
Marcus the German shepherd was my traveling
companion for thirteen years while touring and performing in America. I
selected Marcus, a strong, noble name, from a friend’s Name Your Baby book.
As the years rolled on, I often called him “Marc,” which seemed normal to
me, but rather silly to those who didn’t have the dignified name of Marcus in
mind. I might as well have named him Ed or Bill.
He had a unique way of saying hello to humans with his entire 105 pound body:
in a friendly, but forceful manner, he’d stick his nose in their crotch and
pin them against the nearest wall — filling station attendants, college
presidents, ladies in pants suits — all legs were fair game. Sometimes it was
a sneak attack from the rear, and, no matter how macho the man, or proper the
woman, it was impossible to suppress a nervous smile with a large snout in the
Marcus was a great companion, though sometimes he’d leave a nasty pile of
poop in the motel room if I got on his nerves or ignored him. He knew his nose
would get rubbed in it, but he smelled that stuff all the time anyway. It was
worth it to him to see my bare foot step in the pile and hear me shriek in the
Best of all, he didn’t talk endlessly during endless drives, never
complained, and became Cujo when left alone to guard the van which allowed me
to safely pick up hitchhikers. I’d stop, let them scurry up to the van, and
open the door to confront a huge, lunging animal, barking ferociously. Their
normal reaction was to scream, lose control of the bladder and slam the door
quickly. If they still chose to ride, Marcus would sit in the middle of the
seat, growling menacingly, and I’d refer to the rider as “Food.” Most
hitchhikers who had assumed they’d be very happy to get in the van were much
happier to get out.
At most concerts, he’d calmly lie on the side of the stage or circulate
through audience, but some schools were not so liberal, and one janitor would
not let Marcus into the building. The concert producer told him Marcus was a
seeing-eye dog and gave me a pair of dark glasses to wear for the rest of the
evening. The audience assumed they were part of the costume and Mr. Janitor
commented on how well I got around stage for being blind.
At a show in Idaho at a college in a town we’d never visited, Marcus freaked
me out and then amazed me to the core. We pulled into a motel for 10 minutes to
drop off a few things before heading to the gig some three miles away on the
other side of a medium-sized town with about 30,000 people. Marcus could not
come into the concert hall, but our standard routine had worked for a decade:
if Marcus saw me go through a door, he’d be there on the step when I came
out. Period. Normally I’d check on him once in awhile but this time I was
just too busy.
When I came out after the show, three hours later, Marcus was nowhere to be
seen. For two hours we searched and yelled and waited and fretted, but I
finally gave up and drove back to the motel — sad, scared and feeling like
one of his piles in the night. My headlights cut through the darkness of the
parking lot to reveal Marcus and his wagging tail on the doorstep of our motel
room. But… but… but... How did he do that? Earlier we’d come off the main
highway, stopped for a few moments at the motel, gotten back in the van and
ridden down main street, across the railroad tracks and around bends, waited
for stoplights and turned many corners.
What went through his canine brain?
“Well, this is seriously boring. I’m outtah here. Let’s see, a couple
left turns, a right at the Texaco station, watch for the train, past that city
hall and the pet store, then down the four-lane road past McDonald’s,
Wendy’s, Burger King, Arby’s, Wal-Mart and twenty-seven other franchises
that make every city in America look like the next one. No problem. Room
103.” Could he actually read, or was he summoned by the smell of his precious
tennis ball? As we entered the room reeking from the smell of too old, too ripe
tennis, I thought it may be possible he could smell this across town.
Next week — Mom joins the tour and attempts to clean up America.