Vol. VII No. 33 - Tuesday
August 12 - August 18, 2008



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


Chiang Mai FeMail
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Survival of the Fittest-or the Fit?

Red Yeast Rice - an alternative to statins?

Another one for the Brits!

On Hiroshima Day, let us worship peace and shun violence

OPINION

 

Welcome to CM Mail’s Femail page! We thought you might be interested in the text below, found on the Shan Herald Agency for News’s website, www.shanland.org.
The site itself provides some interesting and challenging articles. As regards The Golden Rule, to us it looked obvious at first—read again, and again, we realised how subtle and inspirational it really is! We hope you agree—have a good week!
The Golden Rule. According to the Buddha, there are six types of speeches: One that is false, displeasing and detrimental; One that is true but displeasing and detrimental; One that is pleasing but false and detrimental; One that is true and pleasing but detrimental; One that is true, pleasing and beneficial; and One that is displeasing but true and beneficial.
The Buddha and his followers used only the two last types of speeches.

Survival of the Fittest-or the Fit?

John Bailey
During the several weeks’ break this column has taken, I have been thinking, and to some extent philosophising, about this whole fitness business. The problem, as I see it, is that we have all become so infatuated with the fashionable, trendy concept of working out, going to the gym, eating this, not eating that, etc, that common sense, to a large extent, has gone out of the window.
“Survival of the fittest” implies a competitive situation where, for us, the message is “fitter, stronger, more beautiful, more righteous” equals more social status, and involves a never-ending battle against the flab and the ageing process. Therefore, I would prefer a simplification-“Survival of the Fit”.
In other words—you are what you are, in physical terms at least. But we all have the facility to make the most of what we are, and in the process improve our health or preserve it. The ways of achieving this are many and verified; the bottom line is quite simple-stay active. Whatever your activity, as long as you enjoy it and as long as the the feel-good factor is a part of it, you can’t go wrong. At the same time, of course, sensible eating and drinking, together with the avoidance of stressful situations, (or, at least, the learning to cope with them in a positive manner), is the corollary to your physical input. We are all different, and whilst there are diverse physical groups, our genes tend to dictate our facility for activity. For some people, lifting weights is the answer, for others, a daily swim or a good long walk is as beneficial and far more satisfying. In any event, the most important factor is regular exercise.
Our grandparents may well have died of health problems that modern medicine handles with ease, yet, on the whole, in life they were far fitter than we are. They walked a great deal, lifted heavy weights, and performed physical tasks that we are reluctant to undertake in these automated days. Of course, back then many people had hard physical jobs which brought on early disability or premature death. We are, in that way, fortunate. We have options. Because of this, maybe if we don’t stay fit we will do doing a disservice to our ancestors by not exercising these precious options and proving the “Survival of the fit”! One last point—if we are unfortunate enough to fall ill or have an accident—not impossible since a great many of us spend a fair amount of time driving around Chiang Mai—our ability to recover quickly and successfully regardless of age is much enhanced if we are fit to begin with!

 

Red Yeast Rice - an alternative to statins?

Coincidentally, whilst Peking Duck was in the UK news, results of research carried out into the traditional red colouring imparted to the dish seemed to suggest that it may be important to heart health. Used for thousands of years in China as a food colourant, preservative, seasoning and herbal medicine, red yeast rice is produced by fermenting rice with the red yeast Monascus Pupureus.
The researchers, from Jefferson University, Pennsylvania, studied patients who had survived heart attacks at more than 60 hospitals in China, also focusing on cancer patients. A partially purified extract of the red yeast rice was given daily to a number, a placebo to the rest. Over a period of five years, comparisons of each group’s progress were made.
Surprisingly, the research team found that those taking the red yeast rice extract had their risk of another heart attack reduced by nearly 50%; cancer sufferers also were noted have received benefits. The extract’s performance would seem to have exceeded that of the popular statin drugs, known to lower cholesterol, and to have had far fewer side-effects.
Researcher Dr David Capuzzi said the effects could not be explained by the statin content of the extract, and that more research will have to undertaken to determine exactly how it works. He did not recommend self-medication, as supplements available at health-food outlets may not be reliable or correctly formulated.


Another one for the Brits!

‘Elf and safety “ducks” out

Those of us who have escaped from the country formerly known as “Great” Britain are probably familiar with some of the more ridiculous activities of the health and safety mob—a recent example of that benighted organisation’s government and EU-induced lunacy seems to us to typify their interference in the lives of people whose taxes pay their wages!
Imagine the scenario – you decide to eat Chinese tonight and head, mouths watering, to your favourite local restaurant intending to order your favourite dish – Peking Duck. “Sorry, Sir”, says the waiter—“we don’t have”. Slightly disappointed, you go for Cantonese Duck. “Sorry, Sir, we don’t have”. Now it’s question time. The answer—“Sorry Sir, Health and Safety closed the oven down”. WHAT?
Yes, they did. All over town, including all the famous Chinese restaurants in London’s Chinatown. Why? Because they didn’t have an EU sticker which stated that they conformed to EU regulations on carbon monoxide emissions. Right—so, how many Chinese chefs have died from CM emissions from traditional ovens? None. Right. Next question. How much do EU approved ovens cost? Answer—over 3,000. And the traditional ones? Rather a lot less, and they do the job better. Right. And what about the effects on small family restaurants? Errmmm, dunno!
Fortunately for everyone concerned, sanity reigned in the end. The Health and Safety Commissars, presumably fed up with receiving huge numbers of emails and telephone calls both in English and Chinese and being made to look stupid in the media, finally relented and unsealed all the ovens. They stated that checks would have to be made to make sure that the ovens were functioning correctly—fair enough. But, why didn’t they just do that in the first place? Femail suspects that it’s yet another case of the lunatics running the asylum.


On Hiroshima Day, let us worship peace and shun violence

Shobha Shukla
Every year, peace loving people all over the world, and particularly in Japan , observe 6th August as Hiroshima Day in memory of the millions killed or maimed for life for generations to come.
Hiroshima Day is a grim reminder of the dropping of the first atom bomb, (ironically named Little Boy), 63 years ago, by the U.S. on the helpless and innocent citizens of Hiroshima .The uranium bomb detonated at precisely 8.15 am, 2000 feet above the ground surface, turning a beautiful Monday morning into an inferno of unprecedented destruction. As of today, the death toll, (due to immediate loss of life and the long drawn out radiation impacts), stands at 242,437. About 270,000 A-Bomb affected people, (called Hibakusha), live in Hiroshima today. The second round of terror was unleashed 3 days later on August 9, with the exploding of a Plutonium bomb, (called Fat Man), directly above the Urakami Cathedral, annihilating the city of Nagasaki.
Even military experts felt that these bombs were not necessary to win the war, whose fate was virtually sealed against Japan. Many interpreted them as brash announcement of the arrival of the new leader of the capitalist world, the USA. Since then the US’s ambition to be the leader of the world has found reflection in their tactics in national and foreign policies. Atomic weapons have now given way to the more lethal nuclear weapons threatening lives world-wide as never before.
Today, Hiroshima stands tall as a picturesque and clean city; a city of peace that is almost crime free. It bears testimony to the indomitable spirit of the Japanese people, to their faith in life and in the goodness of humanity. On the sombre day of August 6, we join hands with all like minded, peace loving people on this planet to shun war and violence in any form.
The possibility of a nuclear attack in the 21st century is not far fetched. Terrorist attacks by the so called ‘jihadis’ , the ‘cocking a snook” behaviour and the brash insolence of the economically and politically powerful, the communal violence perpetrated in the name of religion, the inhuman treatment of women in many parts of the world— all these are acts of terror that can never be justified. What sometimes starts as a seemingly small act of childhood intolerance and aggressive behaviour eventually ends up in abject disregard for human life and cruel intolerance towards others. Hiroshima Day should remind us of the importance of peaceful coexistence so that we never start another war. Militarism is wrong and there is no glory in war. Taking a human life is the most inhuman act and does not justify any end.
It would be pertinent here to quote from the memoirs of Dr. Richard Feynman, an eminent physicist who was closely associated with the famous Manhattan Project which made the bombs, headed by Dr. Bob Wilson. Feynman recalls: “After the thing went off, there was tremendous excitement at Los Alamos .Everybody had parties, we all ran around. But one man, I remember, Bob Wilson, was just sitting there moping. He said, “It’s a terrible thing that we made.”
It is high time we brought the terror of annihilation to an end so that our children may grow up in a world free of nuclear weapons and communal prejudices. Let us vow to celebrate life and not glorify death. Let us live and let others live.
Reproduced with the permission of Citizen News Services and the author.


OPINION

August 6 is Hiroshima Day—as those of you who were not aware of this date, will have discovered when you read the main article on this page. On this day, the dead and injured and those still suffering from the effects of radiation poisoning are remembered, and the appalling danger of life in the nuclear age is examined.
The above does not in any way mean that atrocities committed during World War Two are excused or even forgotten by the families and descendants of the victims. Memories of the atrocities serve as a stark warning that war—any war, anywhere, brings out the beast in humans, who behave in an unforgiveable manner to both their opponents and to innocent civilians caught up in the conflict.
Hiroshima Day is a reminder of one terrible example amongst many of man’s inhumanity to man, and of the ever increasing need in this nuclear world for a way to solve problems which will not involve letting the beast escape again. Those of us with a “world view” have very little hope that the way will ever be found, but, at the very least, awareness of this urgent need may help us to resist, in our own lives and in our own small way, the temptation to react with violence.



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