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The Doctor's Consultation

Don’t Miss

Agony Column

Camera Class by Snapshot

Money Matters

Life in Chiang Mai

Let's Go To The Movies

HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?

Bridge in Paradise

The Doctor's Consultation:  by Dr. Iain Corness

How’s your NOF?

I have often mentioned just how we doctors love acronyms. However, it is probably one of the worst aspects of modern medical practice. Yes, worst, because mistaken acronyms can be dangerous. Take PD, for example. That can mean Provisional Diagnosis, Panic Disorder, Parkinson’s Disease or even Police Department. Another is GS, which stands for Gleason Score (a way to grade prostate cancers), but unfortunately also stands for another 15 items, including the Gardner Syndrome, Griscelli Syndrome, Gitelman Syndrome and Gorlin Syndrome. Take your pick, and hope it fits the situation.
However, returning to your NOF, the subject of this week’s column, this stands for Neck of Femur, and fracturing your neck of femur (fracturing your hip) is very prevalent as we get older.
Over the past six years there have been approximately 420,000 hip fractures in the UK. Many of these people will have been permanently disabled, most will have suffered a dramatic reduction in their quality of life and more than 80,000 people will have died as a consequence of their hip fracture. Hip fractures alone cost the NHS 2.3 billion per year.
There are a few reasons we get a fracture of the NOF and the first is because our bones become more brittle as we get older, as the calcium levels become depleted. This is called ‘Osteoporosis’, or the fragile bone disease, and affects the whole skeleton but it commonly causes fractures to bones in the wrist, spine and hip. There are over 70,000 hip, 50,000 wrist and 120,000 spinal fractures each year in the UK. And these are mainly the older generations (and these are the generation that includes pensioners, of which a large number come to Thailand to retire, and get their fractured NOFs treated locally).
One of the other reasons (with women) is the dwindling hormonal levels that come with the menopause, which affect the calcium metabolism.
Finally, there is the design of the neck of the femur and hip joint itself, which beggars belief from the engineering point of view. When you fall on to the hip, the very thin NOF is easily sheared off. If you subscribe to the celestial theory of our development, then God was certainly not an engineer, despite building our world in a record setting six days.
Returning to the inherent problem, what we have to do is treat the osteoporosis. Evidence has shown that half of future hip fractures would be prevented if everyone was treated for osteoporosis after their first fracture. Unfortunately, it is not quite that simple.
The metabolism of calcium is not such that if you start to drink gallons of high calcium milk every day you are cured. Getting the calcium from the stomach to the bones is complex, and whilst calcium supplements have their place, they are not the be all and end all.
What should you look for in a calcium supplement? According to the pundits, look for two things. First, your calcium supplement should contain vitamin D - and most calcium supplements do contain this vitamin. Women with osteoporosis often have vitamin D deficiency.
Second, find the pill or tablet that will be easiest for you to take. Do you prefer a chewable tablet over swallowing a large pill? Pay less attention to the type of calcium - calcium citrate versus calcium carbonate - and whether it’s a brand name or generic.
The day-to-day difference of how much calcium you absorb from different supplements is so small, as to be inconsequential, compared with your consistency in taking the supplement.
There are also Bisphosphonates. Like estrogen, this group of drugs can inhibit bone breakdown, preserve bone mass, and even increase bone density in your spine and hip, reducing the risk of fractures. These may be especially beneficial for men, young adults and people with steroid-induced osteoporosis. They are also used to prevent osteoporosis in people who require long-term steroid treatment for a disease such as asthma or arthritis.
Finally, weight-bearing exercise is very important for building bone strength. The less active you are as you age, the more frail you become and the greater your risk of falls and fractures. The good news is checking bone mass density for those at risk is easy and painless.

 

Don’t Miss

March 11-15. La Luna Gallery, recognised as one of the predominant local galleries with a social conscience, are celebrating their 5th anniversary this month.  Last December they raised over 300,000 baht for HIV/Aids charities on World Aids Day.  During these 5-day celebrations there will be a ‘Discount Da Da’ corner with art, cards, posters and other items on offer.  On March 13, National Elephant Day, an ‘Elephant Parade’ will be staged, featuring beautiful 75cm fibreglass elephants painted by local Thai artists.  On March 14, their actual anniversary day, everyone is invited for cakes and chocolates.  La Luna is located on Charoenrajd Road
March 13 National Elephant Day:
Mae Sa Elephant Camp, come and enjoy feeding a buffet to 80 elephants, a special show given by baby elephants, and many more activities.
March 13 Lampang Elephant Conservation Centre
: This unique National Elephant Day is held annually at the Lampang Elephant Conservation Centre- a fun event for the entire family which aims at promoting awareness of the plight of the Thai elephant.  Come and watch these amazing beasts feast on a buffet fit for an elephant! For further details, call on 054-247-871/4.
March 14, Central Kad Suan Kaew
, Sky Hall, floor 5. GuClub Underground Chiang Mai plus artistes from Bangkok will give a fundraising concert to benefit Rung Arun School in Mae Sod, Tak.  Tickets are 250 baht including a CD of GuClub 2009.  Sounds both loud and good!  For further detail, please call 083-006-8956.
March 21- 25,
Chiang Mai International Dance Festival: Highlights include free public performances at Airport Plaza from 5-7 p.m. on 21st and 22nd; a public performance and free workshops at the 3 Kings’ Monument on 22nd; master classes by invited choreographers at Chiang Mai National Museum from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on 23rd and 24th; and a performance of ‘The Last Silver Crane’ a contemporary dance presentation, at the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Devi at 7.30 p.m. on 24th.  Artistes appearing will include, from Italy, Oplas Theatre (contemporary dance), and, in a special performance on March 25 (time and venue not yet published), a Gershwin Fantasy featuring Janice Martin, the highly acclaimed and versatile American opera singer, musician, dancer and aerialist.


Heart to Heart  with Hillary

Dear Hillary,
Happy belated Valentine’s Day.
Big D

Hillary loves you Big D!

Dear Big D,
Happy belated Valentine’s Day indeed! Only a few days late. You are forgiven, my wonderful Petal. You restore my faith in humanity, in men and in romance. You have never let me down, over all these years. The rock I can depend upon. Thank you Big D. And some ‘virtual roses’ coming your way. In the meantime I am enjoying the Ghirardelli chocolate squares and the lovely heart shaped box I shall keep on my dressing table with my night wrinkle creams inside. On second thoughts, it might not be large enough, but I will find a good reason for it to stay close to my heart at night.
Dear Hillary,
One of our nicest local hospitals has a quaint custom practised on out-patients called Packaged Medical Charge. Apparently for this ones weight and blood pressure are measured. However, the results do not appear to be used anywhere in later medical evaluation and the doctor will always retake my blood pressure. This alleged service used to cost 50 baht and was gradually screwed up by 300% and then surprisingly dropped to the current level of 150 baht. Hillary, I am being gouged. I have paid B. 4,150 for these non contracted services over the last 3 years. Can I sue the hospital for extotrion (sic) - or whatever - under the newly enacted consumer protection legislation?
Singhawater
Dear Singhawater,
Are you related to Mistersingha, by any chance, my Petal? Now to your query as to whether you can sue “One of our nicest local hospitals” “for extotrion (sic)” - I’m afraid I am not abreast of this legal jargon. “Extotrion” is way out of Hillary’s territory. Or did you mean to write “extrusion” (coming from the Latin “extrudere” - to thrust out), failure in which seems to worry many of my writers, known for gobbling down Vitamin V by the handful. I think you should consult a legal man and be guided by his advice. In the meantime drink more Singhawater with your spirits.

Dear Hillary,
My Lord FitzLady of Walking Street, also known as Peasmold Gruntfuttock, has been invited to a fancy dress party and wishes to attend as a humpbacked whale. Peasmold wonders if he can borrow your costume or, if not, your Head Girl rig and tutu.
Mistersingha
Dear Mistersingha,
Give you one centimeter and you take a kilometer! After being kind to you (following the Lindt chocolate bar), you come back with references to humpback whales which are not appreciated. They are a protected marine animal (other than from the Japanese), and I am a protected land animal.

Dear Hillary,
Thanks to your regular promotion of chocolates and champagne as being on every girl’s wish list, I am currently fitting out a shop in preparation for selling a great variety of the worlds best chocolates together with a vast selection of French champagne. My chocolates are hand made and comprise of dark and milk chocolate, some filled with familiar tastes such as caramel and marzipan, and others with all natural cordial cherries imported from Belgium. Other ingredients include sweet, creamy, fresh butter, delicious whipping cream, pure cane sugar, fresh roasted nuts, pure flavourings and the freshest fruit purees.
My champagne stock includes Kraemer Brut Cuvee Close, Grande Annee which is aged for a minimum of five years, Bollinger and, of course, Dom Perignon 1985 vintage.
Forget diamonds and pearls, no girl can resist these treats and she will be putty in any man’s hands should he buy them for her. Perhaps your luck will change Hillary, and you will become putty in Mistersingha’s hands.
Minnie Mouse
Dear Minnie Mouse,
It would need a crate of Vintage French champagne to turn Ms. Hillary into putty in that wretched Mistersingha’s hands. A bottle of Bolly from Mistersingha? A 20 year old bottle of Dom? You’ve got to be joking, Petal. He can’t even come across with his promised bottle of Babycham, not even 20 days old!
However, I do agree that your choccy and champers shop sounds absolutely divine. Tell me where it is, and I’ll spend many hours window shopping. Send me a free trial sample and I’ll even let you apply my personal crest above the entrance, with “By Appointment to Ms. Hillary, the Queen of Chocolates and Champagne.” Oh! I can taste the fizzy bubbles already, my Petal. Don’t let me down, like that dreadful Mistersingha person!

Dear Hillary,
My girlfriend did come from a bar, but she tells me that she only goes back there these days to have a chat with her old friends. The problem is I am away for 11 months of the year and only get back at Xmas. How do I find out if she is not back working there?
Thomas
Dear (Doubting) Thomas,
When you are out of the country for 11 months out of 12, she is hardly ‘your’ girlfriend, Petal. It is a one month romance, Thomas, she is free to do what she wants for the other 11.


Camera Class:  by Harry Flashman

Inexpensive professional portraits

Do you have a professional portrait on the wall at home? Your wife, your kids, or even a family group. It was not a cheap exercise, as portrait photography is one of the most lucrative areas of photography in the world. People love great portraits of themselves. Photographers love taking photographs of people. A great portrait is then satisfying for both the photographer and the sitter, so this week let’s look at a few studio style tricks we might be able to adapt for the weekend photographer who does not have banks of studio lights and other such paraphernalia of the pro photographer.
To start with, let’s get the techo bits out of the way. You should choose a lens of around 100 mm focal length (135 mm is my preferred “portrait” lens) or set your zoom to around that focal length. If you are using a wide angle lens (anything numerically less than 50 mm), no matter what you do, the end result will be disappointing. That is of course unless you like making people look distorted with big noses!
The second important technical bit is to set your lens aperture to around f 5.6. At that aperture you will get the face in focus and the background will gently melt away - provided that you focus on the eyes!
Perhaps a word or two about focus here as it is very important in portraits. I always use a split image focus screen and focus on the lower eyelid. This makes sure that the eyes will be exactly in focus. If you are using Autofocus (AF), then again you should make sure you focus on the eyes and use the ‘focus lock’ so you will not lose it.
Next item is the general pose itself. Please, please, please do not have your subject sitting rigidly directly face on to the camera. This is not a passport/visa run photograph. It is to be a flattering portrait. Sit the subject in a chair some distance away from a neutral background, and turn the chair 45 degrees to the camera. Now when you want to take the shot you get the subject to turn their head slowly towards you and take the shot that way. You can also get a shot with them looking away from you. Nobody said the sitter has to actually look at the camera.
Now let’s get down to the most important part - the lighting. We need to do two things with our lighting. Firstly light the face and secondly light the hair. Now the average weekend photographer does not have studio lights and probably has an on-camera flash to work with. Not to worry, we can get over all this! The answer is a mirror and a large piece of black velvet.
Take the black velvet first. You will need a piece around 2 metres square and the idea is to place the velvet close to one side of the subject, but not actually in the photograph. You get as close as possible and the black will absorb much of the light and allow no reflection of light back onto that side of the subject’s face. Hang the velvet over a clothes drying stand or similar to make life easy for yourself.
Now the mirror. This device will give you the power of having a second light source for no cost! Now since you are firing light into the subject from the top of your camera, you position the mirror at about 30-45 degrees tilted downwards, placed behind and to the side of the subject, pointing basically at the sitters ear. The side you choose is the side opposite the black velvet. Again, you must make sure that the mirror is not in the viewfinder.
What you now have is a primary light source (the on-camera flash), a secondary light source lighting the hair and adding to the light on one side of the face, and a light absorber to give a gradation of light across the subject’s face. Take a look at the portrait of model Patti Hansen taken by the famous photographer Richard Avedon. Note principal light, hair light and the model at 45 degrees to the camera.


Money Matters:  Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.

Where do we go from here? Part 1

2008 was an appalling year for many investors - what can we expect in 2009? The world may already be in one of the deepest recessions in recorded history but, as we stated recently, the investment marketing industry still seems to be booming - “The key is time in the market not timing the market,” announced one of the pearls of wisdom to cross our desks last week. This actually struck us as an extremely clever marketing ploy with a level of psychological subtlety that is not immediately apparent. What does all of this mean for an investor who currently has a portfolio which may well have been incorrectly positioned for 2008 and have suffered some significant losses? What should an investor do in that situation?
Portfolio Repair - How to go about it?
Establish credentials
- Ask yourself this question: “If an advisor or manager did not foresee the events of last year why would they be better able to choose a path ahead now?” In a recent exchange on CNBC, Jim Cramer epitomised the desperation and impotence that many people feel by giving his support to the nomination of Timothy F. Geithner as Treasury Secretary. This was not because he thought that Geithner was a capable man who could or would solve the problems facing the US economy but because he represented continuity. Cramer described Geithner as being qualified to understand the severity of the current crisis because he was “the co-pilot who crashed the plane” (the plane being the American economy). Luckily two of CNBC’s better anchors, Melissa Francis and Becky Quick, picked up on this and made the points that we would also have done:
i) Most people now understand something of the severity of the crisis but prefer their planes to be piloted by someone who can demonstrate both competence and experience.
ii) More of the same is not a recipe for a solution when “the same” is precisely the polices that led us into the current difficulties.
iii) It is intellectually lazy and dishonest not to look for better solutions now at the levels of both macro policy and individual portfolios.
For your own portfolio, the best take is likely to be from advisors or managers who have avoided the downturn rather than those who have been taken by surprise. Any manager who has lost money in the current crisis for clients has a vested interest in recommending stasis.
We tried to think of any other industry where having been sold a product that is supposed to go forwards at a certain average speed but which, since you bought it, has only gone backwards at around three times that pace. The sales people not only try to sell you more but use the very failure of the product to fulfil its stated purpose as the precise reason to do so. The subtle and clever (some might say manipulative) part, is the way that this approach implies that as long as you hold and even buy more of assets that have been devastated during the last year, your original asset allocation decisions can still feel vindicated.
Selling at a loss is admitting to having made a mistake; something that human beings do all the time but are often reluctant to admit. The ironic part, in our experience, is that those who admit having made mistakes are far more likely to learn from them and, therefore, less likely to repeat them than those who choose to live in denial.
Similarly, portfolio managers who were positioned to make money last year are, in many cases, still actively adapting their portfolios to the ever changing global economic landscape, whereas last year’s losers are tending to sit tight. We are not suggesting changing direction every five minutes but the more volatile the economic backdrop, the greater vigilance and responsiveness is required. As Martin Gray who, along with Scott Campbell, is our lead portfolio manager, recently told What Investment Magazine:
“I am a buyer on the downside and I wait for things to happen. Of course, if they don’t happen, you have to be prepared to admit that you made a mistake and get out. But the core strategy is to build up positions steadily in falling markets, then, light the blue touch paper and wait… The cash weighting has been there for two years, and we went into that through doing primary research rather than waiting for the external analysts to tell us to sell. That is a big advantage to conducting your own research… Generally speaking, the themes that I am following are on a 1-3 year basis. Some may be shorter term than that, but I am not a trader… At the same time, we are not wedded to any particular benchmark or asset allocation model or sector strategy. I roam where I can to get the best return for the fund.”
To be continued…

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 Paul Gambles on [email protected]


Life in Chiang Mai: by Mark Whitman

Yet another priority for the president

And Rocky Mountain School needs your help

Like most leaders, President Obama was elected on domestic, mainly economic issues (with Iraq hovering fitfully in the background). Foreign policy per se is seldom a main concern for voters at election time. Tony Blair swept into 10 Downing Street, in response to dithering from John Major and the aftermath of Margaret Thatcher’s brutality, not because of the debate on Europe or concerns with the Middle East.
So it is hardly likely that the American voters will expect to see Obama putting Burma high on his list of priorities, anymore than Gordon Brown (a fierce opponent of the junta), or the EU leaders will do in the present economic climate. And we have seen after the recent ASEAN summit and the concerns over human rights that it is sadly not a major concern there either.
But it is just possible that the tone of the new President might differ from that of his predecessor, who was very critical of Burma’s generals but adopted a very strident tone – for which I hardly blame him. He tightened sanctions, restricted their movements to the USA and froze their assets. His First Lady was even more condemning in her speeches than Bush himself. But Obama speaks in another style, and whilst I hold few hopes that the generals, with their thick skins and thicker skulls, will respond to the carrot and stick approach, it might have some effect.
There has, after all, been a flurry of activity in the region over the past year, not least following the horrors of Cyclone Nargis as areas of the country have been rebuilt and aid has been allowed in after the regime’s initial and murderous response. True, a chance was missed at that time to ‘legitimately’ invade the air space or even land supplies from the ships waiting off shore (from France, the USA and Britain) without permission. Whether sending in supplies by helicopter against the general’s wishes would have provoked a ‘war’ we shall never know.
One seeming piece of good news was the announcement on February 11 of the release of 6.333 prisoners from Burma’s jails. In the event around 6,330 of them were conventional miscreants and only a handful were from the 2,000 plus political prisoners who languish in the hell holes to which they have been sent – for up to 65 years – for simply opposing the illegal ‘government.’ Perhaps it was just headline grabbing or a need to thin out the numbers in jail.
It may have been a gesture towards the visit of the UN’s human rights observer who travelled to Burma around that time. Or a sop to Gambari, who made yet another call on the country (he must have clocked up quite a few air miles by now: perhaps he should go on an extended holiday to rethink his position). This visit by the UN’s special envoy was meant to be a prelude to one by the supremo, Ban Ki-moon, who apparently visits Burma only if he thinks the journey will prove fruitful. To my mind, anything which draws attention to the plight of the political prisoners, including the elected leader, is worth while. It might even shame some of those on the sideline into more positive action.
The worry is that the main ‘supporters’ of Burma – China, India and Russia – will remain unmoved so long as they stick to their ‘principles’ (or the need for energy).
And this brings me back to Obama. No, I don’t think he can make it a ‘priority,’ but he is – for the time being – in a unique position with a ‘honeymoon’ period that is almost universal (except notably from the murderous right wing in his own country) and whatever he says will be listened to more sympathetically than similar words or sentiments voiced by Bush.
Am I deluding myself? Is anything short of an incursion into that benighted country likely to shake the generals’ complacency? Or is there a chance that some of the younger military personnel might take a longer-term view than their ageing and hopefully sick bosses do? After all Burma would not lose its customers for its gas and its jade and rubies. If one day, however far away and difficult to achieve in its transition, the borders were open and a legitimate government were in place, only the millionaire generals would suffer – not the army, the bureaucrats and certainly not the people. To live and work in freedom and fresh air is the right of every human being. That is the basis of our rights as human beings and the people of Burma (and other countries) cannot be denied those rights for ever.
And in closing a topic that is very close to that discussed and one we can do something to influence. Last week, I went to a performance of a political ‘play,’ ‘Voices From Beyond the Dark’ (see elsewhere for a review) which was presented in aid of the Rocky Mountain School on the Thai-Burmese border. It has been operating for nine years and is now home to some 70 students and a school for a further one hundred. Through no fault of its own, it is in danger of closing because of the general economic malaise and because of a re-direction of funds to emergency work and relief funding in Burma itself.
Put simply, it is a casualty of circumstances and is in desperate need of cash to stay open from April this year. The young people there will lose their chance of an education. And nearly half of them will lose their home. The funds raised by the three performances at the AUA are a drop in the ocean, but you can find out about their work and ways to help from Rachel on e-mail [email protected], who will be pleased to hear from you. What they need is major sponsorship – but smaller amounts will keep them going until such a ‘miracle’ happens. Think about it, for a few hundred or a couple of thousand baht you could help perform that miracle.


Let's Go To The Movies:  Mark Gernpy

Now playing in Chiang Mai
Bolt:
US Animation/ Comedy/ Family – John Travolta does a superb job voicing Bolt, a canine TV star convinced of his superpowers who sets out on a cross-country journey to find his owner.  I found this whole enterprise a complete delight, containing many moments of real heart.  If you at all enjoy animation, don’t miss this one.  Generally favorable reviews.
Watchmen: 
US/ UK/ Canada – Action/ Drama/ Fantasy/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – Once you accept the violence and the comic-book origins, a monumental film.  If you liked The Dark Knight or A Clockwork Orange, you should appreciate this.  Complex and multi-layered, it’s set in an alternate 1985 America in which costumed superheroes are a part of everyday life, Richard Nixon is in his fifth term as president, and the US won the war in Vietnam – which is now the 51st State.  Rated R in the US for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity, and language.  Mixed or average reviews.
Best in Time: 
Thai Romance/ Drama – Romantic drama centers on a young vet who struggles to forget his first love, but when he meets her again years later she doesn’t seem to remember him at all.  A love story by the director of Iron Ladies and Metrosexual.
Power Kids: 
Thai Action/ Comedy – Except for the fights, a film of mind-boggling ineptitude about kids battling terrorists in a hospital.  Sloppy script and plotting, sloppy directing and photography – none of which seemed to bother the audience, who seemed to enjoy it immensely.  Also has sloppy English subtitles.

Outlander: US Action/ Sci-Fi – Full-bodied Sci-Fi escapism that should satisfy your cravings for both action and Norse mythology in one fell swoop.  Mixed or average reviews.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li:
Canada/ India/ US/ Japan, Action/ Sci-Fi – Only for die-hard “Action” fans in my opinion.  Has received mostly dreadful reviews, with which I have to concur, but there is a place for things like this, and some people like them.  Adapted from the popular series of “Street Fighter” video games.  Undercover Interpol agent and female fighter Chun-Li (Kristin Kreuk) gives up her career as a concert pianist to seek justice after she discovers that her father has been murdered.  She is something like a female Batman for being rich, brooding, and orphaned.  Interesting location shooting in the Bangkok slums, but I am not sure this movie is something Thailand needs the world to see right now, wallowing as it does in the corruption and poverty of Thailand.  Reviews: Extreme dislike or disgust.
Valkyrie:
US/ Germany, Drama/ History/ Thriller/ War – This has a really very good script; it’s intelligent, makes sense, the dialogue is terse and expressive, the plotting is very solid, and it’s tense and exciting.  One of the better scripts in recent memory, about the near-miss assassination of Adolf Hitler by a ring of rebel German army officers in 1944, starring a restrained and excellent Tom Cruise.  A well-crafted, thinking-person’s action movie.  It is also a project that takes its research seriously, and has gone to great lengths to insure the accuracy of what is portrayed.  For many reasons, I think it’s a movie to be seen.  Highly recommended.  Mixed or average reviews.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button:
US Drama/ Fantasy/ Romance – Received Oscars for best art direction – the sense of time and place, and the attention to the details of the period settings were awesome; for best makeup – which indeed was wizardry; and for best achievement in visual effects – richly deserved.  Very much worth seeing for these marvels of filmmaking art.  Generally favorable reviews.
Luang Pee Kub Phee:
Thai Comedy – A swindler hides out in a monastery by becoming a monk.  With the popular Mum Jokmok and the usual stable of TV comedians.
Scheduled for Mar 12
Seven Pounds:
US, Drama/ Romance – Will Smith is an IRS agent who is depressed and guilt-ridden about mistakes from his past.  He sets out to make amends by helping seven strangers.  When he meets a beautiful woman with a heart condition, and he falls in love with her, his plans suddenly become very complicated.  Woody Harrelson also appears as a blind pianist who befriends Ben.  Directed by Gabriele Muccino.  Generally negative reviews.
Miss You Again: 
Thai, Comedy/ Drama – The third entry in veteran director Bhandit Rittakol’s romance series that began in 1992 with I Miss You, then I Miss You 2 in 1996.  It’s a teenage movie about old school friends trying to save their financially-troubled school from closing and being sold to a big supermarket company.
Dragonball Evolution: 
US, Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – The young warrior Son Goku seeks to fulfill his grandfather’s dying request to find the great Master Roshi (Chow Yun Fat) and gather all seven Dragonballs to prevent the evil Piccolo from using the magical orbs to take over the world.  Based on the Japanese manga by Akira Toriyama.


HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?: Stuart Rodger

Our duty to build and sustain our gardens

Man is in conflict with himself and nature in those parts of the world which are predominately desert. Ethnic races – brothers all – fight and kill each other like Cain and Abel amongst the barren rocks. Mega-businesses suck the black remains of dead corpses buried deep in the ground, where there were once green forests teeming with life.
Thailand’s forests, once covering almost all its land, are reduced to 30% of their former glory. 70% has been destroyed during the last 50 years. 100 years ago, those forests supported hundreds of thousands of elephants. There are now only 4-5,000 remaining across the whole of the kingdom. Thailand is becoming a pleasure park for humans, enshrined in concrete. We forget that, if we cannot stand near a tree, we have no oxygen to breath. Our city of Chiang Mai, right now, is gasping for fresh air.
Like a dragon, sitting on its hoard of gold, and thinking, ‘How rich and powerful I am. Envy me and admire my wealth,’ money is being sat upon and is not being put to good use. The sickness of money-worship is everywhere. Money is, quite simply, a tool. It has no value unless it is being used. It should be used to maintain a healthy environment and to encourage sustainable nature for further generations, so that they can live in harmony with the natural world. If this is not done, the human race will end up sinking into the same black slime, away from the light of day.
So, you ask, what can we do? With our revenue declining by the day? We have a responsibility to use every inch of our land (and even the pots on our balconies if we do not have access to land) to grow plants, trees, bushes, which are cheap to buy when small, and which will, when planted, keep the environment alive. We can even plant fruit trees, and benefit from their produce. Most of all, if we do this, we will become even more aware of the true value and wonder of nature, and begin to treasure it again.


Bridge in Paradise : by Neil Robinson

Neil Robinson
Chiang Mai now has an official bridge club – the Bridge Club of Chiang Mai. It has grown from existing private or semi-public bridge sessions, which have been going for a number of years. Now we are putting it all together to form an official club. It will be affiliated with the Contract Bridge League of Thailand, which is the official national representative of Thailand to the World Bridge Federation.
We have two afternoon sessions a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays. The Friday session is an open one. It also includes coaching for beginners and help for those who used to play but are rusty. The Wednesday session is a duplicate game which is more oriented to club members. We ask potential new members to come to the Friday session first. As we grow, we expect to add further sessions and offer tournaments also. So, join us and be part of the growth of this new club in Chiang Mai. We welcome new players, even if you are only here for part of the year. Players at all levels are welcome.
For information on playing at the Bridge Club of Chiang Mai, please contact Chris Hedges at: [email protected] If you have bridge questions, or to send me your interesting hands, please contact me at: [email protected] I look forward to meeting you at the bridge table (provided you don’t double my shaky contracts!)