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
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
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.
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
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
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
Heart to Heart
Happy belated Valentine’s Day.
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.
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?
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
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.
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
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
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!
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?
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.
by Harry Flashman
Inexpensive professional portraits
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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
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
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
Bridge in Paradise :
by 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!)