The Doctor's Consultation: by Dr. Iain Corness
Hear today and gone tomorrow!
Sorry about the heading for
this week’s column. I can’t help myself some days! However, hearing is
something we tend to take for granted, and we shouldn’t.
I began to think about ears and hearing during Children’s Day. In one of the
large shopping centers they had dedicated the stage area for children’s
entertainment. The noise from the battery of boom boxes was so loud that
foreigners were walking through the shopping mall with their fingers in
their ears. Without the benefit of a sound pressure level machine to get an
accurate reading, I would estimate that the children were being exposed to
around 120-125 decibels (dB). The significance of this is that adult workers
should not be exposed to more than 90 dB for an eight hour day (legislated
in many countries). Children should be exposed to much less.
I have always wondered why musical performances/entertainment in this
country need the volume control wound right up. Now I know. The audience has
been rendered deaf after a few Children’s Day experiences! This also goes a
long way towards explaining why the local populace does not hear phones
ringing, and why the girl in the next office has her mobile phone ring tone
set on maximum. I know she has an incoming call before she does!
However, the reason for deafness is not all the result of Children’s Day.
There are other reasons, including (dare I say it) getting older! The
effects of aging start around 20 years of age, and our hearing starts a
gradual decline. Higher frequencies are usually the first to go. This
age-related hearing loss is normal and is similar to the age-related effects
The two main types of deafness are called Conductive deafness and Nerve
deafness. Deafness at birth is known as congenital deafness, while deafness
that occurs after birth is called adventitious deafness, and the most common
cause of adventitious deafness is noise, which accounts for over one quarter
of people affected by hearing loss (which gets us back to Children’s Day).
A brief look at the anatomy of the ear will help understanding the causes of
deafness. The ear is made up of three different parts, including the outer
ear which is the part you can see. Its shape helps to collect sound waves. A
tube, called the external ear canal, leads inward to the eardrum.
The middle ear is separated from the outer ear by the eardrum. The middle
ear contains three tiny bones called the malleus (hammer bone), the incus
(anvil bone) and the stapes (stirrup bone). These bones amplify the movement
of the eardrum produced by sound waves making the drum move in and out. The
Eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the back of the throat and helps
to equalize air pressure.
The inner ear is where the sound waves are picked up by a tiny spiral-shaped
organ called the cochlear. Hairs on the cochlear sense the vibrations and
pass the message as electrical impulses to the brain via the cochlear nerve.
Now, Conductive deafness is caused by the failure of the three tiny bones
inside the middle ear to pass along sound waves to the inner ear. Another
common cause of conductive deafness is the failure of the eardrum to vibrate
in response to sound waves. A build-up of fluid in the ear canal, for
example, can dampen the movement of the eardrum. In many cases, treatment is
available for conductive deafness and normal hearing will return.
Nerve deafness is caused by disease, trauma or some other disruptive event
targeting the cochlear nerve. The rest of the ear, including the tiny bones
and eardrum may be working, but the electrical impulses cannot reach the
brain. Most cases of nerve deafness do not respond to treatment.
Remember that Deafness can range from mild to profound and has
multifactorial causes including injury, disease and genetic defects, and
excess noise accounts for over one quarter of people affected by hearing
March 21- 25 - International Dance Festival:
Please note that, according to the organisers, there may be last minute
changes to the programme. Those interested are advised to check by
calling the Mayor’s office, which is apparently responsible for much of
the programming, or by visiting www.friends-of-the-Arts.info.Information
may also be obtained on the file-sharing site
af927cd792599245be6ba49b5870170, although copying the numerical sequence
correctly might not be fun! ! The programme at present is as follows:-
March 21: Central
Airport Plaza, 5.p.m. to 7 p.m., Free public performance.
March 22: Opening
ceremony of the festival conducted in front of the 3 Kings’ Monument
by the Mayor at 6.30 p.m., followed at 7 p.m. by excerpts from ‘Touch’,
danced by the Oplas contemporary dance group, excerpts from Janice
Martin’s Gershwin Fantasy at 7.20 p.m., and excerpts from ‘The Last
Silver Crane’ at 7.40 p.m.
Masterclasses at Chiang Mai Museum between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Contemporary dance performance, ‘The Last Silver Crane’ a
collaborated work between performers from Thailand, Israel and Sri Lanka
at the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Devi, beginning at 7.30 p.m. Suggested
donation 1,000 baht. For reservations, please contact the hotel on 053
At the time of
publication, we have not been given details of the venue for the Janice
Martin concert, ‘A Gershwin Fantasy’, due to take place on March 25,
neither do we have confirmed details about the ‘Young Talent Showcase’
originally planned to take place before the official opening from 4.p.m.
to 6 p.m at the 3 Kings’ Monument. Sorry, folks!
March 24 –CORRECTION.
The Ladies’ Lunch Group will meet at the Empress Hotel’s Buffet
restaurant at 12 a.m. for their monthly get-together—NOT on March 17 as
previously advised! Please RSVP on the new date to [email protected]
April 3-4 - Strange
Snow: An encore of the successful Gate Theatre production of Stephen
Metcalfe’s play will be presented at the Studio Theatre, 7th floor,
Kad Suan Kaew. Doors open 7 p.m, curtain up 7 30 p.m. Suggested
donation 300 Baht. For those that missed the play last year, this is a
fine opportunity to see a great performance.
March 20: Café
Pandau’s Latin Lounge nights- A Breeze from Brazil! Sylvia Patricia,
sensual singer from Salvador, Brazil, will give 2 shows, at 7.30 p.m.
and 9 p.m. The evening begins at 6 p.m.; tickets are 250 baht, including
tapas, a drink and a donation to the Single Mother’s Project—a delicious
veggie or non- veggie dinner is optional at 200 baht, served from 6.30
p.m. Tickets available at Café Pandau, on Nimmanhaeminda Soi 13, or by
delivery. Please call Noriko on 053-222-018 between 11a.m.and 6 p.m., or
email on [email protected]
Heart to Heart
I’ve been reading you for some time and it seams (sic) to me that you’ve
got a down on the bar girls. Why? They all speak English and know how to
keep a feller entertained. They’d make a much better wife than the stuck
up society girls you are telling everyone to hook up with. Time for you
to be a bit more real old gal, and stop knocking the working girls.
I think it is time you went through the back copies of this illustrious
newspaper, my Petal, and see and note what I have really been saying.
However, you are right, the bar girls do speak (some kind of) English,
and so I suppose if you are looking for a long term relationship with a
woman and you are happy with the in-depth conversations of “Hello sexy
man,” and “Sit down please” and “Buy me cola”, then you are in paradise.
This depends upon, of course, you having an endless supply of cola at
home, plus a rather large always-full wallet. The “working girls” are
just that - they are working and like all good workers deserve their
hire. What is forgotten in that heady rush of blood to the brain is that
you are doing exactly that - hiring. “Mia chow” (rented wife) expects a
monthly salary for her. It is not the more commonly thought of
“housekeeping” money. She will demand a salary, which is untouchable.
Does this make them a “better wife” as you claim? Each to his own, I
suppose, but long term liaisons with working girls do not have a good
long term history, Pete.
I married my Thai fiancée after a year of engagement. She is a
professional lady and we have always done everything in a proper
fashion. My wife is 15 years younger than me and this gives us a
problem. When we go out, many foreigners assume that my wife must be, or
have been, a bar girl even though she in no way acts like one. She has
no tattoos or wears sexy dresses or even smokes. I realize that as high
as 85 percent of all Thai-foreigner marriages are between bar girls and
“sex tourists”, but this is not so for other 15 percent of
Thai-foreigner marriages. Please tell your readers that not all
Thai-foreigner marriages are between bar girls and “sex tourists,” and
stop making false assumptions.
Now you’ve got all that off your chest, do you feel a little better,
Petal? However, I think you have made a few false assumptions yourself
too. Where did you get that figure of 85 percent of Thai-foreigner
marriages are between bar girls and what you call “sex tourists”? Let me
assure you that sex tourists do not come to Thailand to get married.
That is why they are sex tourists - they want the fun in bed without the
filling out forms at the local Ampur office. Honestly, Jack, 85 percent
of Thai foreigner marriages are between people such as yourself and your
wife. The foreigners who “look down” on you are the foreigners who are
not in the marriage market, just the bar meat market. Ignore them, my
I will be coming to Thailand next month and I like to rent motorbike and
ride all over your beautiful country. I arrive Chiang Mai and go Bangkok
after two weeks. Is possible? Yes or no? Where do I get the bike? I do
not need big bike as I am small man. I ride Vespa in Paris, so I am OK
in the saddle. Is it with insurance and can I ride with French license?
Will girl come with me on motorbike? Thank you.
You have certainly got plenty of questions, especially for a small man,
as you so quaintly put it. I really think that you should sit down on
the seat of your trusty Vespa and think again, Pierre. I have been to
Paris and seen the standard of hair-raising driving there - but Pierre,
my Petal, it is nothing compared to the driving in this country. When
you ride a motorcycle here it is not a case of “if” you have an
accident, it is “when” you have an accident. You don’t meet another
Vespa coming up the Champs Elysee the wrong way, now do you? The
gendarmes would not allow it. Here it is a different story. Going the
wrong way down a one-way street is normal in Thailand. They say that one
of the ways you know you’ve been in Thailand too long is when you look
both ways before crossing a one-way street! This country has one of the
highest road tolls in the world, and that is just one of the reasons
why. Forget it Pierre. Next month is the Songkran month and the last
place you want to be in the water throwing marathon is riding a
motorcycle. Take a tour bus. The girls are happier on tour buses anyway
and will help negotiate a good price for you (while getting a small
slice of the price from the tour bus operator as well).
by Harry Flashman
A study of opposites
Diptych by Tom Moody
When you were very young, you were taught ‘opposites’. Hot and
cold, big and small, young and old, black and white and so on.
An endless list.
However, one very good way to give extra impact to your
photographs is to ‘pair’ your images by use of opposites. This
visual impact makes the use of contrasting images excellent
subjects for ‘wall art’ - especially when displayed in diptych
The first, and one of the most obvious contrasts is to take the
same subject, but at different times of the day. The old phrase
“as different as night and day” is crying out to be used. Main
streets day and night are again extremely good.
Now there are a couple of tricks here that you have to watch.
The first is that you must take the shots from exactly the same
position, even if you have to camp there all day! What I often
do is to mark the spot where the shot was taken in the morning,
so I can come back and find the identical spot later. The second
factor is to make sure that if you are using a zoom lens, that
you use the same setting each time. The idea is to ensure that
the only item of change is the lighting.
Another contrast is to use the weather to give you a different
look to the same subject. Even a street scene with pedestrians
taken in daylight and then again with umbrellas in the rain
tells a very different story. Once more, you are recording the
same subject in another way. So next time it is teeming down
with rain (and that seems every day right now) go outdoors with
your camera and get something pleasing and then recreate it in
What we will do now is to exercise our minds (yours and mine)
and come up with some opposites - then work out how to present
these on film. As I have said so many times, a good photograph
is “made” rather than just happening. The way the pro’s work is
to build on a concept and then work out the way of showing it on
So let’s take some - there is young and old that springs
immediately to mind. A shot of a very old person with a young
child is always an attention grabber. Now, how many times have
you seen big advertising companies use just that shot? Lots!
What about old and new? The range here is as big as your
imagination. A shiny new car parked beside a wrecked one, a new
beach umbrella beside a tattered old one, a shot of a workers
corrugated iron and packing case ‘house’ beside a bright,
spanking new mansion. Or even a photo of a box Brownie and a new
There’s even more - hot and cold, rough and smooth, light and
heavy - there is really no end to what you can portray when you
start thinking about it.
But it doesn’t end there either. Think about the different ways
you can do things. From digging a trench with an old shovel, to
watching a huge mechanical ditch digger at work. How about a
sundial with a watch hooked on it? A light bulb and a candle, a
horse and buggy and a new Mercedes. Again, just let your
imagination run riot and go from there.
Now presentation of contrasting images is important too. This is
where you should finally select the best two shots and get
enlargements done. 10 inches by 8 inches (called 8R by most
labs) is a good size and then get them mounted side by side
using a double matte. With the cost of framing being so cheap in
Thailand it is very easy to produce great wall art. All that is
needed are your images and some original imagination. This
weekend, make some wall art and amaze your friends with your
creativity. By the way, a real diptych is generally hinged
between the two pictures. More expensive, but looks great.
Money Matters: Paul Gambles
MBMG International Ltd.
Where do we go from here? Part 2
A key theme in establishing
credentials is that a manager needs to have a track record of making the right
calls, both historically and recently. He also needs to be impartial and he
needs to be up to date.
Do not be surprised if organisations who have a vested interest in equities are
still recommending equity funds. If they do this because this is all they have
or where their main strengths lie then you might find that they tend to
recommend equities indiscriminately in all conditions. Such a recommendation
ceases to have any meaning or significance - it is simply a mindless mantra,
like a recorded message over and over again.
It is worth remembering that any assets that were bought prior to the credit
crunch and the 2008 crash would have been bought looking at a very different
global economy to that which we face now.
In 2008 alone, the following events occurred:
- Russia invaded Georgia (and then lost at beach volleyball in the Beijing
Olympics to Georgia)
- Terrorists attacked Mumbai
- America elected its first black President
- Oil reached an all time high in July of $147.27/barrel but finished the year
down by over 2/3 from the peak
- The financial system came close to collapse with the US rescue package
exceeding $1 trillion as the year ended
- The UK banking system saw HBoS and Bradford & Bingley follow Northern Rock
into oblivion with RBS and Lloyds falling into significant government ownership
- Thailand’s parliament and airport were occupied by anti-government protesters
- Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual and AIG were among the big
casualties in America
- The governments of the Low Countries had to rescue ABN and Fortis
- The Australian Dollar came within touching distance of parity with the US$
before falling back to around 60 cents at the year end
- The S&P 500 had its second worst year ever
- US government bonds were at one stage rated higher risk than those of
- Bernie Madoff’s giant Ponzi scheme using US equities was uncovered
The world is a very different place now compared to a year ago. Any asset
allocation strategy should be based on how the world looks today - not how
someone mistakenly thought it looked pre-crash. New opportunities exist now and
totally different information is available.
Look forwards not back - portfolio allocation should be driven by prevailing
economic conditions. We would never, ever believe in the concept of holding onto
an asset because of its value today relative to its cost. That has nothing to
with its relative attractiveness. Two investors may each hold the same share
which may today be valued at $10 per share. One investor may have paid $5 to buy
the share five years ago. The other may have paid $20 just a few months ago. The
prospects are the same for each investor going forwards irrespective of the fact
that one is showing a 100% gain and the other is showing a 50% loss. The future
behaviour of the asset is completely irrelevant to the purchase price.
This is, again, where the psychological aspect comes in. However, any
understandable reluctance to realize an asset at a loss is based on emotion not
rationality. Emotion generally does not predicate good investment decisions. The
emotions of investors who feel more able to live with a loss on an asset so long
as they do not realize that loss by selling the asset are entirely
understandable, very human but ultimately pure self-deception - the asset is
currently selling for today’s price whether you choose to sell it or keep it.
The only question of relevance is, “Looking at today’s investment conditions,
how much, if any, of that asset should I hold?”
To answer that, we would always go back to the only measure that we understand
for deciding whether to buy, sell or hold any asset - the relative
attractiveness of the disposed value of that asset compared to cash. In life,
doing nothing is rarely the right solution to any problem.
Understand history - one widely used argument is that history supports
the idea of holding onto assets that have fallen in value. I suppose the idea
here is that empirical evidence can be produced that shows that it is invariably
better to hold than to sell; better to stick than to twist as it were.
However, such claims are generally based on very flawed hypotheses. Fidelity
analysed stock market performance over the period 1993-2008. Being primarily an
equity manager, their research supported the idea of remaining invested in
equities throughout a cycle. They supported this with a table showing the effect
of missing the best days in the global equity markets over the last fifteen
years. For instance, an investor into the S&P 500 had made returns of 8.39% per
annum during this time. Take out the best ten days over that period that return
fell by over 3% per year. That sounds a lot.
However, it should be remembered that the ten best days were widely interspersed
throughout the whole time span. To manage to be invested for 3,644 days but to
pull out JUST for each of the ten widely scattered days and be re-invested for
the next day would take far more monkeys equipped with Quotron machines and
dealing desks than would ever be needed at typewriters to produce the complete
works of Shakespeare, Proust and Tolstoy.
It is a totally implausible idea that someone would choose to not invest for
just ten days out of fifteen years and would, somehow, randomly pick ten days
dotted so variously throughout the fabric of the period.
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
Farangs? Who needs them?
And some very wise words from a teacher…
There are two especially
interesting articles I recently read in a magazine: one examines the
iniquitous and counter-productive ‘double-pricing’ whereby farangs pay up to
ten times that paid by Thais to enter such amenities as National Parks or
those elaborate torture chambers know as zoos and safari parks and the
second casts an eye over the life styles of students in Chiang Mai, with the
skew towards females.
The racist, discriminatory use of high prices for supposedly wealthy
visitors is something that should be made illegal, and I am sure that a case
could be made for doing that. Instead, we either pay up and moan afterwards
or walk or drive away, moaning slightly less. The writer, James Austin
Farrell, got nowhere with TAT who cited that it was a sensitive issue and
that therefore they declined to comment. How pathetic that they could not
even manage an opinion on something which reflects directly on their work.
Even more extraordinary was another view that they did not want too many
people in the parks, so pricing out farangs was a way of keeping numbers
down. But, taking the biscuit was the director of the local zoo who
considered it a form of tax, which was only fair since Thais pay tax and
visitors and foreign residents do not. Apart from the fact that many (most?)
Thais do not pay direct taxes on income (and in a cash society few will pay
a fair share), we do, of course, pay taxes every day. I’ll leave you to add
to the list but perhaps the said director might like to consider the
following: vat on purchases, excise duty on wines and spirits, the tax
element on petrol, tax on restaurant bills, airline charges, visas,
cigarettes and a dozen other things. And let’s not forget that money paid
into the economy creates employment and therefore produces tax. To say that
this response is disingenuous is kind to the speaker. Tourists pay a great
deal of tax in a short time. Those of us who live here and run homes and
cars pay it non-stop. Rather more, I would suggest, than many locals.
It is not only foolish to discriminate in this way, it is exceptionally bad
public relations. But then, as we have seen recently, Thailand seems
incapable of doing other than antagonize visitors and long term residents.
The fiasco at the airport will rankle for months, possibly years. The action
of the red shirts over the gay pride is still being discussed in the press
worldwide and has brought only condemnation. Their activities elsewhere make
equally bad headlines. Instead of encouraging people to visit Thailand, the
opposite seems to be the case. One is forced to wonder whether visitors,
especially farangs, are welcome. Of course, the cash they bring is needed,
and it was pointed out to me that the 6-7% I quoted for revenue brought in
by visitors is the overall proportion of the national income. In places such
as Chiang Mai, the figure is nearer 40 %, when one includes tourists, longer
term visitors and the many residents. That high proportion will be echoed in
towns and other places such as Pattaya and Phuket, Hua Hin and Krabi.
Of course, tourists are ‘ripped off’ in every country by taxi drivers and
fancy bars, by high prices for food at airports and inflated prices at
markets, but here it seems it is legalised. Perhaps I exaggerate the
financial advantages that are brought to Thailand by incomers. But I doubt
it. In fact, none of the above takes into account the ‘hidden’ revenue that
pours into the pockets and bank accounts of Thais, especially youngsters.
The other article I mentioned, written by Jessica Mauer, mentions in passing
that quite a few students are ‘sponsored.’ Mauer seems to think this is
something enjoyed only by female students. Not true. And the number of other
young Thais who receive regular support, mainly from overseas, is very high
indeed. More, I would suggest, than Thai families here who receive regular
payments from their children and relatives working abroad.
And yet, many of us love living here and put up with the hideous smog levels
in the north, disgraceful though they are. We bemoan the double pricing, the
inability to buy even a modest soi house outright, the visa problems and the
surliness at the airport in Bangkok. But all this does not make for good
interrelations. Despite the problems that some visitors bring (something
which all countries have to contend with), I believe that Thailand would be
worse off without us, especially with the way the economy is heading. Or is
that arrogant wishful thinking?
Long ago, when I was about 15, I went on a school trip to Switzerland. There
were about 20 or more boys aged between 14 and 18, chaperoned by two
teachers. One morning after breakfast we were summoned into a room and told
by one master that a visit by inspectors was scheduled in the next day or
two. They were coming to check the hotel, its amenities and, no doubt, the
way we spent our holiday and so on. He made quite a meal of this, telling us
to be on our best behaviour. We must ‘act sensibly,’ not smuggle any beer
into the hotel and, above all, we must not smoke. We were warned!
The second teacher looked all patiently during this peroration and then said
calmly: ‘And remember, boys, when you do have a beer, dispose of the bottles
carefully and when you smoke please use the ashtrays, although I’d much
sooner if you didn’t smoke in the first place.’ This has stayed with me over
the decades and I pass it on to those short sighted people who were
complaining about one aspect of the gay pride march, where they alleged that
condoms would be given out to underage people.
Only a fool believes that young people – say under the age of eighteen – do
not indulge in sex. Only a bigger fool believes that they are the most
careful group when doing so. And only someone with his or her head stuck in
the sand does not know that sexually transmitted diseases are on the
increase. Parents, teachers and concerned adults and so-called activists
should learn a lesson from my teacher. You will not, can not stop the
behaviour of young people. You can set an example, you may warn against
‘bad’ things, you may even criticise it. But when – if you will forgive the
phrase – push comes to shove, the best advice you can give is ‘take
Let's Go To The Movies:
Now playing in Chiang Mai
The Reader: US/ Germany, Drama/ Romance – Kate Winslet won a
Golden Globe and an Oscar for her role in this film. This is a fine film!
Perhaps somewhat removed and emotionally distant, but Kate’s performance is
something definitely not to be missed. I recommend it and urge you to see
it. It’s an absolute marvel that it showed up here in Chiang Mai at all –
cheers to the Major Cineplex chain for bringing it in, especially right
after the disastrous run of Revolutionary Road.
No one expected The Reader to get an Oscar best picture nomination,
let alone the nominations for director Stephen Daldry, actress Kate Winslet,
screenwriter David Hare and cinematographers Chris Menges and Roger
Deakins. David Hare, nominated for adapting the screenplay for The
Reader from the novel, noted that it’s about “an unrepentant Nazi war
criminal having an affair with an underage boy. It puts a lot of people
off. . . “. The underage boy is David Cross, who was 17 when filming began.
(To avoid legal consequences, the crew delayed the filming of the sexually
explicit scenes until after his 18th birthday on July 4, 2008.) Also
starring Ralph Fiennes. Rated R in the US for some scenes of sexuality and
nudity. Mixed or average reviews.
Dragonball Evolution: US, Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy/ Sci-Fi – This
film doesn’t open in the US/UK until April 8; they’re testing it on us here
in Asia! It’s the tale of young warrior Son Goku, who seeks to fulfill his
grandfather’s dying request to find the great Master Roshi (a very
delightful Chow Yun Fat) and gather all seven magic Dragonballs before the
evil Piccolo does. Feels much like being caught inside an arcade computer
game, but with less logic. Based on the hugely popular 1984 Japanese manga
by Akira Toriyama which lasted for 519 issues. This live-action film,
directed by James Wong (Willard, Final Destination), is vastly
confusing to all who have not read all 519.
Miss You Again / A-Nueng Kidthueng Pen Yang Ying: 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
Watchmen: US/ UK/ Canada – Action/ Drama/ Fantasy/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller –
This film simply blew me away! I think that once you accept the violence
and the comic-book origins, you will find this a monumental film. If you
liked The Dark Knight or A Clockwork Orange, you should
appreciate this. It’s complex and multi-layered, and set in an alternate
1985 America. Amidst all the blood there’s a lot of philosophy, and a lot
to think about and debate before you see it again. Rated R in the US for
strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity, and language. Mixed or average
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. Great for kids – and adults!
Generally favorable reviews.
Best of Times: Thai Romance/ Drama – Yongyooth Thongkongtoon’s
leisurely romantic drama centers on two couples, young and old. A young vet
struggles to forget his first love, but when he meets her again years later
she doesn’t seem to remember him at all. And an elderly man and woman, each
alone in the world, meet and fall in love. I found it tedious and
unremarkable, though I did enjoy the performances of the older couple.
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, e.g., “He’s been sleeping like vegetables
Scheduled for Mar 19
Seven Pounds: US, Drama/ Romance – Rescheduled. I find this a
dreadful movie, and it makes me feel very uncomfortable just to talk about
it. I think it’s grim, morose, undone by an illogical plot, and shamelessly
manipulative of your emotions. But I must admit Will Smith is a charismatic
actor, and you can hardly not watch him and get involved. In this
unbelievable and exasperating story, Smith plays an IRS agent who is
depressed and guilt-ridden about mistakes from his past, and he sets out to
make amends by helping seven strangers. Generally negative reviews.
Meat Grinder: Thai, Horror – A slasher/horror, torture-porn thriller
about a noodle-shop lady who serves up a special meat with her dishes.
Shades of Sweeney Todd!
Bridge in Paradise :
by Neil Robinson
I recently played in a match in Chiang Dao with Chris Hedges, Kit Salisbury
and Graham Forshaw. We had quite a number of interesting hands. See if you
can make 5H, with South dealing, E-W vulnerable, and this very competitive
East South West North
1H 2D 4H
4S 5H Dbl All pass
The full deal is shown below:
S: 875 S: AJ1096
H: 10 H: 62
D: KQ1072 D: A5
C: KQJ10 C: 7543
West leads the king of
diamonds, which holds, and follows it with a spade to dummy’s queen and
East’s ace. East switches to a club, won by South’s ace. Imagine you are
sitting South. What is your plan to make the contract from here? You have a
lot of low cards in both hands to deal with. If you start by taking out two
rounds of trumps, you will go down, because you will be left with only three
trumps in each hand. To set up your hand, you need to ruff four rounds of
diamonds on board, so you will end up losing a diamond trick. Alternatively,
to set up board, you will need to ruff three rounds of clubs and one round
of spades – again you need four trumps. If you try to set up your hand, you
might get over ruffed in diamonds, since the bidding tells you that East is
short. So, you are better off trying to set up board.
To do this, lead to dummy’s king of spades. Then lead a club from dummy and
ruff it. Now cross back to dummy by ruffing a diamond low – all is well
since East follows. Now ruff another club and lead another diamond. This
time you ruff with the jack and lead dummy’s last club. You ruff this with
the queen and lead a low trump to the ten (you are very pleased to see this
fall!) and king. Now, you ruff dummy’s last spade with the ace of trumps in
hand. Dummy is left with the two master trumps and takes the last two
tricks, for a tricky doubled contract made. If this was your plan, take 650
points (duplicate scoring).
However, you should really thank your opponents for a poor defence. An
opening trump lead, followed by East leading another trump when he gets in
with the ace of spades, dooms you. You will not have enough trumps left to
do the cross-ruff. Trump leads often work well when the other side is
Chiang Mai now has an official bridge club – the Bridge Club of Chiang Mai.
We welcome new players. For information on the Club please contact Chris
Hedges at: [email protected] If you have bridge questions, or to send me
your interesting hands, please contact me at: bridgethailand @live.com. I
look forward to meeting you at the bridge table (provided you don’t double
my shaky contracts!).