The Doctor's Consultation: by Dr. Iain Corness
Tree hugging for amateurs
I am not a tree hugger. I am
sure trees, like us, have their bad days too, but they have to get their
hugs somewhere else I am afraid. Not from me. I once knew a tree hugger who
stopped the man with a bulldozer tearing down a tree at the rear of her
house. 12 months later the tree fell over on top of it, demolishing the
kitchen and half the dining area. Trees have obviously no sense of moral
gratitude. I am not a tree hugger.
What I am, is a conventionally trained British/Australian style medical
practitioner who has spent a lifetime practicing EBM, otherwise known as
Evidence Based Medicine. Practices that have been proven to work.
I am proud of my training. Six years at an Australian university that had a
good name, and still does, despite undergraduates like me attempting to
besmirch it during the aforementioned six years. I am also proud of my final
exams taken in the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons in London. I
have the honor to have my name listed in the ‘great book’ with luminaries
such as Hunter, Jenner and Lister. I am also indebted to my tutors during
the 12 months of ‘pre-registration’, where you apply your knowledge under
the supervision of accredited specialists. An arduous road, but one that is
a safeguard for you, the general public.
Another safeguard is called ‘peer review’ which medical doctors have to
undergo. The ‘powers that be’ are also ensuring that we keep up to date with
a process called Continuous Medical Education (CME). That medical education
continues through to today, with CME lectures being attended by my
hospital’s doctors, and myself. Fortunately for me, the slides are in
English, even though sometimes the lecture is not.
Those ‘powers that be’ also ensure that we prescribe drugs that are
efficacious, that have been tested, and the evidence points to this. It is
not anecdotal evidence, but true scientific evidence shown by research in
many countries, with hundreds of thousands of patients. It is following that
type of evidence that I can recommend with all good faith, that 100 mg of
aspirin a day is good medicine. I also know that if I prescribe a ‘statin’
drug it will lower your cholesterol levels. They have been tested. And these
days, very rigorously indeed.
I am also the first to admit that we have sometimes managed to get it wrong.
The Thalidomide story still has living examples of this. However, the
medical world-wide network is cohesive enough to ensure that this drug was
withdrawn. It is the checks and balances system that has kept western
medicine afloat. This is not to be equated with the checks and balances
system that have been incorrectly applied in the banking industry that sees
the institutions on the brink of sinking!
I am often asked my opinion on “alternative” medicine, and all its diverse
areas of ‘specialization’. As a non-tree hugger I try to avoid direct
confrontation over this. If devotees have found that they can diagnose
tumors by looking at patient’s auras through their third eye in the middle
of their foreheads, then I am genuinely pleased, in fact delighted, provided
that they have subjected the method to scientific scrutiny.
If various groups can cure cancer, epilepsy, halitosis or lock-jaw by
inserting dandelions into a fundamental orifice, then again I am delighted.
This is a medical break-through, but as such, must be subjected to medical
scrutiny. If the method stands true scientific examination (not to be
confused with anecdotal ‘evidence’) then it will be adopted by everyone,
complete with thanks to those clever people who picked the dandelions in the
first place. After all, penicillin was tripped over, not designed. But it
has had a very rigorous scientific scrutiny since.
As far as the majority of ‘folk’ remedies is concerned, I work on the
principle that if you ‘think’ it is doing you good, then it probably is. But
don’t ask me to endorse something that has not been scientifically tested.
When the ‘alternative’ group spends more time proving their methods, instead
of complaining about non-acceptance, EBM practitioners will give them more
Heart to Heart
Your writer who called himself Tim the T-man last week, complaining
about Thai girls front development hasn’t got all that much to complain
about. It’s what’s in the head that counts, not what’s in the bras, Tim.
Harry the H-man
Dear Harry (the H-man),
I was a little unsure of whether to publish this, my Petal. I didn’t
want to see a full scale war here, but I suppose by publishing it you
have managed to get something off your chest, at least. I agree that the
person is much more important than physical attributes, or lack of them.
With today’s cosmetic surgery, any apparent lack of bra filler can be
corrected. Perhaps Tim the T-man might like to start a Treasure Chest
I know that you deal more with affairs d’amour, but you seem to know
most things for most of your readers. I need to know where I can buy
larger size dresses here. I am a lot larger than these Thai girls, but I
still want to be stylish. I have tried getting clothes brought over by
friends, but the styles aren’t “me” and anyway I need a different sized
top to the skirt. Any suggestions? I don’t mind going out of the city.
Dear Fashionable Fiona,
Don’t worry about asking me questions like yours, us girls have to help
each other out in this world. However, Petal, the answer is staring you
in the face. It is called “a tailor shop”. You can get any style you
want, made to measure, and much cheaper than off the peg at home. Ask
around at the expats girls clubs and you will get some names. Otherwise
you can drop me a line again and I can advise you privately.
I met a great gal in a bar in January on my first trip over. She
impressed me so much I can’t get her out of my head. She tells me she
needs some money, so I want to send her some like she suggested, but I’m
not sure exactly how. Are the banks safe in Thailand? Or should I mail
her a check? Is that safe? Can she cash it over there? I send her emails
and she says just to do a money transfer into her account number and it
will be OK, but as I say, I’m not too sure. Can I use my credit card so
she can draw on it from over there? You got some ideas, Hillary?
I sure do have some ideas, Max, and the first is that your credit card
is going to get max’d out if you are not careful. You are dealing with a
girl who is a professional in these money transfer situations. She has
done it all before, and may even be running several of you
impressionable guys at the same time. Max, Petal, you’ve met this
amazing woman once, and here you are trying to send her money. Why? You
have had a deep and meaningful relationship, in your mind, but that’s
not the way she sees it. She’s more interested in how deep your pockets
are. Did she give you some reasons why she needs the money? Her brother
fell off his motorcycle? The family buffalo poorly again? Her mother
needs an operation? We’ve heard them all before. Max, you had a great
time in January, and you can have more great times next January, but
don’t spend your money between now and then. Save it! Just tell her that
you are not in the position to send anything right now, and watch the
frequency of the emails dry up.
Can you help our 25 year old son? He is planning on coming over to
Thailand after Songkran to visit his father and me and I am worried that
it will not be good for him. He is a quiet boy and keeps to himself a
lot. I am worried that a friend of his stayed over with us a couple of
months ago, and while he used to be a reserved Baptist boy too, when he
came here he changed. Some nights he did not even come home and other
days we could smell alcohol in his room the next morning. Our son will
have spoken to this other boy. What should I do about all this?
Dear Concerned Mom,
The first thing you have to change is not your baby boy’s nappy, but
your attitude. How old is this lad? Since he is old enough to travel on
his own, he is old enough to go out at night on his own. It is time to
untie the apron strings and let him run free, or you will never be a
grandmother. On second thoughts, you are making such a performance out
of this one that I shudder to think what you would do with a grandson!
So third thoughts, keep the boy at home to watch TV with you. You could
also teach him knitting while he is here. It is a very good way of
keeping idle hands busy, as you know what mischief idle hands can get up
by Harry Flashman
Weddings - and how
to avoid the pitfalls
who owns a reasonable camera will be asked, at some stage, to
photograph a friend’s wedding. To avoid the major pitfalls, find
a dying maiden aunt that you have to visit that weekend. You
have been warned. If that has not been enough of a warning, keep
One very experienced wedding photographer even went so far as to
call the craft, “Hours of controlled patience, punctuated by
moments of sheer terror and intense bursts of creativity.”
However, to make it less of a terror, here are some guides to
photographing someone else’s ‘big day’. And it is because it is
someone’s big day that it becomes so important to get it right.
Wedding photographers talk about the three P’s - preparation,
photography and presentation. My idea of wedding photography and
the three P’s are pain, persecution and panic.
However, looking at the accepted “preparation”. This is very
important and will make your job so much easier. This would
include going to the church, temple, registry office or whatever
before the great day to see just what you can use as
backgrounds, and where you can position the happy couple, and
their parents, and their bridesmaids, and their friends, and the
neighbourhood dogs and everything else that seems to be in
wedding photographs. Just by doing this, you at least will know
‘where’ you can take some photographs.
Preparation also covers talking to the couple and finding out
just what they expect to be taken. As pointed out at the
beginning, when you take on photographing a wedding, you are
taking on a huge responsibility.
Also part of the preparation is to make sure your cameras are
functioning properly, so test them before the big day. Note too,
that I said ‘cameras’ because there is nothing more soul
destroying than having a camera fail during an event such as
this. Preferably, the second camera will be the same as the
first, so that your lenses will be interchangeable. Yes, lenses!
You will need a wide angle (say 28 mm), a standard 50 mm and a
short telephoto (say 135 mm). The wide angle is needed for the
group shots and the standard for couples and the tele for “head
hunting”, looking for those great candid shots.
Now comes the actual “Photography” itself. You have already
written down all the shots that the couple want, make a list so
you can cross them off your list as you go. One series of shots
should be taken at the bride’s residence, and this includes the
bridesmaids. Many of these will be indoor shots, so do take your
flash and bounce the light off the ceiling to soften the effect
of the flash burst. Make sure you have new batteries, and a
spare memory card!
Now you have to scoot to the church or wherever the actual
ceremony will be, so you can get the bride outside, ready to
walk down the aisle with her father, or whomever is giving the
With that shot out of the way, now you can go and get the
ceremony and I do not recommend that you use the flash for these
photographs. For some religions, this is a solemn time and flash
bursts are very intrusive.
Cross off the rest of the shots as you cover them - the signing
of the register, emerging arm in arm, confetti or rice and then
the formal shots of the wedding groups.
After all this, everyone is dying for a beer and head for the
reception. However, Mr. or Mrs. Photographer, you must wait a
little while yet. There is the ceremony of cutting the cake to
be done yet, and photographs of the guests enjoying themselves
(other than you).
Having crossed every shot off the list, make for the drinks
department. You’ve earned it. After all, you have probably taken
around 200 shots by now!
The final ‘P’ is presentation. Photograph albums are
inexpensive, so put the best shots from each series into a
couple of albums and present them to the couple as your gift.
And as your final job, make the mental resolve to never
photograph another wedding as long as you live!
Money Matters: Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.
Practicing the Golden Rule is not
a sacrifice; it is an investment
Last year we profited from core
holdings of cash combined with active management and pragmatic asset allocation.
The question that we keep being asked this year is, “How much higher can gold
While we do not profess to have a crystal ball, we certainly think that it can
re-claim USD2,000 per ounce - yes, re-claim - because gold did previously reach
more than USD2,000 per ounce - with a little help from inflation.
Everyone remembers the last gold Bull Run - from 1971 when gold was selling for
USD35, through 1975 when it hit USD196, until 1980 when we saw UD850.
But wage inflation since then has increased by almost four times. House
inflation has gone up by more than five times what it was thirty years ago. The
cost of living is also up by around the same as inflation.
The Daily Reckoning calculates that just allowing for inflation, USD850 in 1980
would be worth USD2,176 today. However, take account of other factors and this
becomes as high as USD38,349 per ounce!
They point out that for a good part of America’s history every dollar in your
pocket was a dollar backed by gold. So it is not so crazy to ask yourself, if
America has 8,180 tons - nearly 261.7 million ounces - of gold in reserve then
how many dollars does that buy?
The answer will shock you.
When dollars became unhinged from gold, the printing presses at the Fed cranked
up. By 1980, for every ounce of gold in America, the financial system carried
USD6,966 in cash. That is USD1.8 trillion total. But get this - by the end of
2005, the total real money supply shot to over USD10 trillion.
That is USD38,349 in circulation for every ounce of gold in reserve!
Of course, it is even higher now. The printing presses are gathering ever
increasing speed as we head into the second quarter of 2009. Only now, it is
much harder for you to know how fat the actual money supply has gotten. Go back
a few years to March 23, 2006, the numbers had become so embarrassing that Fed
actually “retired” a number, “M3,” which was the most reliable measure of how
much cash floats around in the system.
USD2,000 per ounce fits in also the Dow Gold ratio - during an equity correction
this tends to fall to 2 - 2.5 X 1. In other words, gold at USD2,000 equates to a
DJIA of 4,000 - 5,000. That is probably about right for the bottom of the
market. Whichever way you look at it, gold is much better value then stocks and
shares right now.
Let us look at this in more detail.
The main reason investors buy gold is because it has a very long track record of
preserving the real value of wealth. Gold is usually thought of as an inflation
hedge within the global market. It is also very liquid.
For many years there has been a falsely held belief that gold only went up with
rising fears of inflation. This is wrong. In reality, when gold has done well it
has not always been because of high and rising inflation. A good example of this
is World War I which brought in the modern age of fiat money as governments
successfully introduced it on a broad scale.
In those days, the monetary systems that were in place were initially fully
gold-backed, then fractionally gold-backed and finally, not gold-backed at all.
In the 1920s and 1930s the global economy relied on the gold standard where fiat
money was fully backed by gold. Within these two decades, price deflation was
actually the great fear of the day - not inflation. In fact, it was the Great
Depression which brought about the first bull market in gold in the modern fiat
Looking back, the link between gold and deflation was obvious. The boom of the
1920s brought great wealth to people. Production grew massively but the money
supply was still linked to gold output - this could only increase slowly. As one
economist said, “As a result, prices had already begun to fall in the 1920s, but
the Great Depression that followed sharply accentuated the price decline.”
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
The great American songbook
And a fantasy collection of the best of the best…
It’s odd being a scribbler,
one never knows what will provoke a response. Not big issues, it seems. More
a divergence of opinion on a movie or, recently, a number of comments on a
review of a young Thai singer, and my opinions on some of the music from
that golden period of popular American music, 1920s through to the very
early sixties, based around Broadway shows and the work of the great
composers, musicians and, particularly, singers of the period.
An impossible subject to cover, or even to lick the tip of the iceberg. If
there is one abiding characteristic of the songs it is the combination of
the music with the wit and literacy of the words and the demands this makes
on the interpreters. None of the following are anything but fine singers,
and all of them respect the sheer poetry of the lyrics, the wit, wisdom and
soul-searching that have made them last for 60, 70 or even more years. Most
of the following are available on CDs as transfers from the LPs, but if you
are lucky enough to have a turntable and can track down the originals (in
Chiang Mai and Bangkok as well as further afield), then the sound is
infinitely warmer. So, as requested, a few recommendations.
Heading any list has to be Frank Sinatra’s classic, In the Wee Small
Hours, on Capitol. Melancholy perfection from the choice of songs, from
Ill Wind to I Get Along Without You Very Well, to Sinatra’s
incomparable diction and phrasing. A close second and in similar vein is the
1990 collection, also Capitol, from Dick Haymes, It Might as Well be
Spring. He may have lacked Sinatra’s vitality and range but equalled his
musicianship and had a particularly rich baritone voice.
And briefly: From the wonderful ‘song books’ by Ella Fitzgerald, dedicated
to Gershwin, Cole Porter and Rogers and Hart, I’d take the last of the
three, although a hard choice. Mel Torme worked superbly with the Marty
Paich dektet, but his early collection, Mountain Greenery, is fresh
and alive. Two other great singers did their best on discs featuring only
piano accompaniment, June Christy with the band leader, Stan Kenton and Tony
Bennett with his regular accompanist Ralph Sharon.
And from Judy Garland, the recording she liked best (with reason) was
Alone. A very different female singer was Jeri Sothern, but she showed
impeccable taste with her choice of songs, especially on You Better Go
A singer who fell into mannerism and commercial recordings which belied his
talent was Johnny Mathis. But his masterpiece Open Fire, Two Guitars
(also with double bass but who’s quibbling?) redeems those errors. He was
the only male singer I know who had the courage to sing the verse (on this
record) to My Funny Valentine and make sense of the fact that it is
written for a very young man. That was Lorenz Hart’s usual passion and it
would be wonderful if a male singer would record Bewitched, Bothered and
Bewildered and give those already fairly outrageous lyrics the frisson
they and Hart’s genius deserve. Finally, the only British singer who could
hold a candle to the above talents, Matt Monro. He was taken to the USA by
Capitol but never quite made it. Even so, his disc, Matt Monro sings Hoagy
Carmichael, is a classic worthy of inclusion in this short list, which
could, of course, be trebled or quadrupled with ease.
However, to end this penultimate column (for a while), here is a fantasy
collection – the best of the best in what are contenders for the definitive
versions of some of the classic songs from the period, including a few from
the recordings mentioned above. Use the net to find out more if you don’t
know the particular songs.
Violets for Your Furs (Frank Sinatra), Love for Sale (Peggy Lee),
Sleeping Bee (Tony Bennett), It Never Entered My Mind (Lee
Wiley), Skylark (Matt Monro), Little Girl Blue (Nina
Simone), When I Fall in Love (Nat ‘King’ Cole), Come Rain or Come
Shine (Judy Garland), County Fair (Mel Torme), Where or
When (Lena Horne), Mountain Greenery (Bing Crosby), The First
Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Roberta Flack), My Funny Valentine
(Johnny Mathis), Every Time We Say Goodbye (Ella Fitzgerald),
Moonlight Become You (Dick Haymes), Good Morning Heartache
(Billie Holiday), Summer is Gone (Carmen McCrae), September Song
(Walter Huston), Manhattan (Blossom Dearie), S’Wondeful (Gene
Kelly), Autumn in New York (Jo Stafford), I Fall in Love
Too Easily(Chet Baker), Cheek to Cheek (Fred Astaire). And the
bonus tracks? Sinatra ‘s My Funny Valentine and Ella’s Bewitched ,
Bothered and Bewildered.
Let's Go To The Movies:
Now playing in Chiang Mai
Milk: US, Biography/ Drama/ Romance – Some amazing performances
in a mesmerizing film about the assassination of Harvey Milk, with Sean
Penn, winner of the acting Oscar. An Oscar also went to Dustin Lance Black
for the script, as the best original screenplay. It was also nominated for
Oscar best picture and best director – eight nominations total. Directed by
Gus Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho, Good Will Hunting).
A must-see film! Rated R in the US for language, some sexual content, and
brief violence. Reviews: Universal acclaim.
The Wrestler: US Drama/ Sport – Mickey Rourke’s portrayal of an
over-the-hill athlete has won him many accolades, including a Golden Globe
win and an Oscar nomination as best actor. I think it’s truly quite a
wonderful performance of a loser of a professional wrestler who you wouldn’t
ordinarily care about. But you end up caring about this man considerably.
I even got caught up in the so-called “sport” – which I have always … well,
despised. So, give it a try. Directed by Darren Aronofsky (The
Fountain). Rated R in the US for violence, sexuality/nudity, language
and some drug use. Seems heavily censored and about 10 minutes shorter than
the US release. Reviews: Universal acclaim.
Knowing: Australia/ US, Drama/ Mystery/ Thriller – A teacher opens a
time capsule that has been dug up at his son’s elementary school; in it are
some chilling predictions – some that have already occurred and others that
are about to – that lead him to believe his family plays a role in the
events that are about to unfold. Starring Nicolas Cage. Mixed or average
Khan Kluay 2: Thai, Animation/ Adventure – The legendary elephant is
back in action in this sequel to the animated movie Khan Kluay.
Seven Pounds: US, Drama/ Romance – I find this a truly 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. In preparation, you might ponder Shakespeare’s The
Merchant of Venice, and consider what the weight of a human heart
actually is. 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.
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: Thai, Comedy/ Drama – The third in director Bhandit
Rittakol’s popular teen romance series. In Thai only, with no English
Best of Times: Thai Romance/ Drama – A leisurely romantic drama that
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.
Scheduled for Apr. 2
Fast & Furious: US, Action – Vin Diesel and Paul Walker reteam
for the ultimate chapter of this film franchise built on speed and exotic
cars, which started in 2001 with The Fast and the Furious, an
unexpected hit movie. Although this is the fourth of the series, time-wise
it fits in between the second and the third films, and is thus not a
sequel and not a prequel but (and this is a new word for you) an
The Shinjuku Incident / Xin Su shi jian: China, Action/ Drama –
Featuring Jackie Chan in a dramatic rather than a fighting mode. This
troubled project has been in the planning stages for almost 10 years
according to director Derek Yee. And now it seems the film will not be
exhibited in mainland China at all, due to censorship concerns over the
portrayal of Chinese living abroad, but it seems it will be shown in Japan,
despite an overwhelmingly negative portrayal of the Japanese. Probably will
be shown here in a Thai-dubbed version only.
Sassy Player / Taew Nak Te Teen Rabert: Thai, Comedy/ Drama – A gay
teen soccer comedy in the vein of “Satree Lek” (Iron Ladies), the
internationally popular comedy about a gay and transgender men’s volleyball
team. Directed by Poj Arnon (Bangkok Love Story).
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?: Elena Edwards
Fires are Nature’s way
In countries whose weather
patterns include a hot, rainy season during which plant and tree growth is
maximised, followed by a long dry season during which the growth becomes
tinder-dry, the inevitable consequence is fire. Such fires have been
occurring naturally, usually started by lightning, for millions of years;
consequently, life has evolved in a Darwinian sense to survive this natural
For example, the giant redwood trees native to California have thick, spongy
bark which is resistant to fire, during which their cones remain tightly
shut until the searing heat opens them, allowing the seeds inside to fall
onto virgin soil cleared of competitive plants by the flames and fertilised
with nourishing ash. Similarly, I the South African veldt, and in Australia
and New Zealand, many native plants will only spread their seeds and
germinate after stimulation by fire.
Here in the north of Thailand, it is said that people living in the hills
deliberately set fire to the forests so that they are able to harvest a type
of mushroom that sprouts into fructation at this time of year and can be
easily picked once fire has destroyed the impenetrable undergrowth. Sorry,
guys, the fact that these mushrooms only fructate after being stimulated by
fire and ash has nothing to do with human action, their behaviour evolved
millions of years ago before homo sapiens had even arrived to inhabit this
world. We cannot, arrogantly, claim credit, we are only taking advantage of
Some farangs, presumably out of ignorance about this, can be heard saying
that Thais are stupid making fires and polluting the air. The Thais
themselves may well be heard saying that farangs, sitting in their concrete
condos, have no idea what they’re talking about.
The fact is that country people and farmers have lived for centuries with
the threat of fire wiping out their wooden homes and their orchards. As soon
as the rains cease, there has always been a frantic attempt to clear the
drying remnants of the wet season’s phenomenal growth in order to manage the
threat of a potentially lethal conflagration by means of a series of
You may say, ‘Why, then, can’t they just compost the organic material?’ To
compost dead leaves successfully, they must be kept constantly moist. Where,
in a dry season which often results in drought conditions, is the water
supply for such a technique, and what about the transportation of a huge
volume of dry, dead organic matter to such a water source, even if it does
exist? Major logistic problems exist with that idea (particularly in
mountainous areas) which make it highly impractical except on a small scale
in individual gardens.
Perhaps we should simply stop criticising and leave the rural Thais to
manage in the only way they know how, a method they have used over a very
long time. Controlled annual burning in forests rids the ground of
accumulated organic debris; accumulated over several years, the increased
quantity of bone-dry matter can, in seconds, turn a small forest fire into a
conflagration such as that recently witnessed in Australia. Night burning is
not done so that people will not find out who was responsible, it is done as
the ambient ground temperature is lower, thus reducing the risk of fires
getting out of control. At night, the flames do not burn at such a high
temperature are more controllable and do not reach high up into the trees.
If burning is undertaken during the day, the fire can more easily burn out
of control, with flames reaching higher up into the trees, damaging fruiting
branches and new leaves, which are covered with a waxy substance which will
burn like a candle.
Bridge in Paradise :
by Neil Robinson
I love to get in the way of the opponents’ bidding by overcalling their
bids. Indeed, as my partners have learned to their cost, I have been known
to do this with very few points. Sometimes this prevents the opponents
finding the right contract. Sometimes, on the other hand, this strategy
works out badly. There are two possible bad outcomes: they double me and I
go down badly or I force them into a game or slam that they otherwise would
not bid. Sometimes I meet with opponents with a similarly spirited approach
to interfering with my bidding, in this case Ruth Willmon and Bernard
Garwood sitting E-W. This hand was played in Chiang Mai in a recent Sunday
duplicate session. With South dealing and no one vulnerable, this was the
South West North East
4S 5C 5S 6C
P P 6S All pass
South opened a somewhat
gambling 4S, showing a good eight card suit. West made a very spirited
overcall of 5C. My partner, Mark Barber-Riley, sitting North, had a
difficult decision. He could see three certain tricks in his hand and a
possible fourth. But did South really have a completely solid suit which
would withstand the probable bad break to take eight spade tricks? Torn
between bidding 5S or 6S, he settled for five. East now made a sporting bid
of six clubs, which was enough to push Mark into the small slam in spades.
The full deal is shown below:
S: 3 S: 1042
H: J3 H: K1074D: QJ
D: 6532 D: QJ
C: AK10987 C: J643
West led the club king,
trumped in hand. There are two possible losers, a heart and a diamond. If
you try diamonds first, then the ten on board may set up on the fourth
round. Then the second heart in hand can be thrown away and the heart
finesse will not be necessary. South therefore pulled trumps and led the
nine of diamonds towards board, hoping either that West had both the queen
and the jack, or that one of these cards would subsequently drop in three
rounds. East won the queen and led back another club. South ruffed in hand
and took the top two diamonds. The jack fell and the slam was made, with
eight spade tricks, three diamond tricks and the ace of hearts. Indeed, as
the cards lie and looking at all of them, it is possible to make all
thirteen tricks. Very fortunately for North-South, the defense bidding had
pushed us into a slam we could make, rather than pushing us over our heads,
but I still like this spirited approach to bidding!
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:
[email protected] I look forward to meeting you at the bridge table
(provided you don’t double my shaky contracts!)