The Doctor's Consultation: by Dr. Iain Corness
Are you insured? For everything?
A friend of mine is currently
fighting his medical insurance company. It is the case of the little guy
against the big corporation. They don’t want to reimburse, and he says he is
entitled. Who is right?
At the outset, I must say I have never been one out of whom insurance agents
grow fat. It has always been my feeling that there was something unbalanced
about my attendant hangers on (AKA children) getting rich at my expense when
I meet my final demise. When you really analyze it, you don’t even get to
enjoy your own wake! No, if anyone is going to benefit from my paying
insurance premiums every year, it is going to be me!
I have also been very lucky with my choice of careers. Being a medico does
have advantages. If I couldn’t fix my skin rash or whatever, I could always
ring a classmate who could (or should) be able to. Medications and drugs?
Again no worries, just a quick raid of the samples cupboard in my surgery
and I had everything I needed.
What about hospital in-patient insurance? I passed on that one too. After
all, the only foreseeable problems that could stop me working were massive
trauma following a road accident or suchlike, or a heart attack. In either
case you don’t care where you are as long as there are wall to wall running
doctors and plenty of pain killers. In Australia, the “free” public hospital
system is fine for that.
So I blithely carried on through life insuranceless. I did spend one night
in hospital with a broken leg 30 years ago, so as regards personal medical
costs versus proposed insurance premiums, I was still miles in front.
And then I came to Thailand. Still I blithely carried on, after all, I was
ten foot tall and bullet proof. Then a friend over here had a stroke and
required hospitalization. Said friend was four years younger than me and I
was forced to review the ten foot bullet proof situation to find I was only
five foot eleven and my anti-kryptonite had expired. Thailand was a
completely new ballgame.
Enquiries as to hospital and medical costs showed that they were
considerably less than the equivalent in Oz, but, and here’s the big but,
there’s no government system or sickness benefits to fall back on. Suddenly
you are walking the tightrope and there’s no safety net to stop you hitting
So I took out medical insurance. Still it was no gold plated cover. But it
was enough to look after me if I needed hospitalization, and that came
sooner than I imagined. I had always subscribed to the “major trauma”
theory, but two days of the galloping gutrot had me flat on my back with the
IV tube being my only life-line to the world. We are only mortal - even us
Do you have medical insurance? Perhaps it is time to chat to a reputable
insurance broker! Yes, reliable insurance agents and reliable insurance
companies do exist, but you need help through the minefield.
You also need help when it comes to filling out the application forms, in my
opinion. And you also need to be 100 percent truthful. Yes, insurance
companies will check on your records, and if it is found that you have been
sparing with the truth over pre-existing conditions, expect a shock at
settling up time at the cashier’s desk.
I cannot emphasize enough the advisability of getting a broker. It is no
cheaper dealing direct and when it comes to a fight with the company, you
need someone on your side.
Remember too, that just because you have an insurance card does not
automatically signify that ‘everything’ is covered. This is why private
hospitals will ask you for a deposit on admission. If the insurance company
later verify that you are indeed covered for that ailment or condition, then
you’ll get it back, but you have to prove that you are covered, not the
other way round!
And remember that incredibly cheap insurance premiums means you are only
getting partial cover.
Alliance Francaise de Chiang Mai
July 2009 Film Programme
Friday, July 3rd, 8 p.m.
LA MARCHE DE L’EMPEREUR (2005)
by Luc Jacquet with Charles Berling, (penguin father’s voice)
Romane Bohringer (penguin mother’s voice) Jules Sitruk (penguin baby’s
voice). 85 minutes. English sub-titles.
A film on the annual journey of Emperor penguins as they march, single
file, to their traditional breeding ground in the Antarctic.
Friday, July 10th, 8 p.m.
LE PAPILLON (2004)
by Philippe Muyl with Michel Serrault, Claire Bouanich
Nade Dieu, Françoise Michaud m Hélène Hily. 85 minutes. English
Julien, an aging and cranky widower, collects butterflies. Isabelle and
her eight-year-old daughter Elsa have just moved into his apartment
building. The young mother is usually out, and lonely little Elsa starts
visiting Julien. One day, Julien decides to go to the breathtaking
Vercors plateau in search for a rare breed of butterfly, the Isabelle.
He thinks he is alone, but young Elsa has managed to tag along on the
trip. The little girl asks tons of questions, upsetting the tranquillity
that the old man longed for.
Friday, July 17th, 8 p.m.
TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI (1954)
by Jacques Becker with Jean Gabin, Jeanne Moreau, Lino Ventura.
Black and White. 95 minutes. English sub-titles.
‘Don’t Touch the Dough’, Jacques Becker’s 1954 farce starring Jean
Gabin, Lino Ventura and Jeanne Moreau visits the underworld of the Paris
Mafia and the two gangsters, now in their 50’s, who have decided to
retire, just like everyone else...
Friday, July 24th, 8 p.m.
CE QUE SAVAIT MORGAN (1974)
by Luc Bérault with Rufus, Anouk Ferjac, André Falcon, Jean-Pierre
Brisson. 52 minutes. English sub-titles.
The Morren family hires Pemberton as a private tutor for their son
Morgan. Pemberton is far from being wealthy and the social
anti-conformity of his employers makes them unable to pay him his wages.
However, a strong relationship sets up between the teacher and the
Friday, July 31st, 8 p.m.
by Jacques Tati with Jacques Tati, Maria Kimberly, Marcel Fraval. 96
minutes. English sub-titles.
Mr.Hulot drives a recreational vehicle from Paris to Amsterdam in his
usual comic, disastrous style.
Heart to Heart
I would first like to say I love your column. I enjoy it every week. I
read your article from the Thai Girl. In some ways I agree with her. I
have married a bar girl and have been happily married for going on 12
years. And yes the Thai Girl is right in some respects the foreign man
likes to have his cake and eat it too.
I visit Thailand at least 3-4 times a year and apart from visiting
family, my wife and I visit her friends at the bar even though the girls
change throughout the year as expected. But my wife always includes me
on her outings and hides nothing from me. Our marriage is very happy and
she has told me that she is happy.
I do not deny her many things and that I do say no to she understands.
All it takes is a little co-operation between each other and that goes
Oh before I forget Hillary I am currently in China with my wife - do you
require anything? We will be in Thailand early July so just give the
word and we will bring you a present.
Hillary keep up the good work. I believe you have all of the readers by
the short and curlies just reel them in when you want to.
Baza and Jana
Dear Baza and Jan,
Well, aren’t you the sweetest thing? A present from China? I don’t think
they make champagne over there (yes, yes, I know that “champagne” can
only come from the champagne area in France), but I haven’t heard of
Chinese ‘methode champenoise’ wines, but it might be fun to try? Getting
real (for a change), you have hit the nail right on its head when you
say, “All it takes is a little co-operation between each other and that
goes along way.” That’s what Thai Girl was looking for, and you too
admitted that “the foreign man likes to have his cake and eat it too.”
If there were more foreign men like you, the world would be a happier
place. Finally, Baza, are you from Australia? Your spelling is
atrocious. You will see I have corrected the mistakes!
I was just wondering, is there a new Hillary? The style of writing seems
to have changed. Ms. Hillary does not seem as sassy. I trust all is
well. BTW: I read the Mail on line.
A fan from the states
Dear A fan from the States,
My sweet petal, I am the same Hillary, and just as sassy when I see you
don’t even remember to put a capital letter (that’s the big ones,
sweetheart) at the start of the “States”. That’s short for the United
States, Petal. If you write “states”, that relates to any old state you
like. I’m glad you can read better than you write. There you are, sassy
Well, you have inadvertently disclosed something about yourself in
making a “Freudian slip”. By admitting Freud was a friend of yours you
most certainly must be a very ancient crone, as the man cashed in his
mortal coil in 1939, that is 70 years ago to save you consulting your
abacus. Or was this claim of friendship untrue, and you were merely
seeking fame by association? Nothing is documented in his memoirs that
he knew of your existence, but you are certainly of great age to even
allege you were of his acquaintance !! It is a great pity wisdom did not
accompany your ageing process. Now, what would Freud have made of you ?
The mind boggles. As Freud once profoundly said in his book titled
“Agony Aunts Are Always Abysmal” (it was awarded 5A ratings in the best
sellers list), “There’s many a slip between hand and hip.”
And you have leapt to some unwarranted conclusions. By asking if I still
have my rocking horse is akin to asking a total stranger “When did you
stop beating your wife?” Of course I still have that memory of a very
happy childhood, and his name is “Giddyup”.
But back to my original subject - the flaunting lady. Circumstance has
forced her to cease her shameless behavior of showering in full view of
neighbors. The other night, while performing her normal erotic
ablutions, she unfortunately tripped over her Zimmer frame and sustained
such injuries that she was whisked off to hospital on a stretcher. I
haven’t seen her since, so perhaps the medics are having difficulty in
putting her back together. However, knowing your penchant for such
things, I do have photographs which I’ve saved especially for you to
You are indeed a very sick puppy. Whatever gave you the idea that I
would be in the slightest interested in photographs of someone being
whisked off on a stretcher? Or were you offering photographs of your
rocking horse? Once more you have made conclusions not based on sound
facts. There’s more than one Freud in this world, my peeping Petal. At
last count there were 84 in the Austrian phone books. My friend Ziggy
Freud (amateur psychologist) should not be confused with Sigmund Freud
(professional psychologist and erstwhile author). I am glad your next
door neighbor has now left you in peace, and this closes the
correspondence on this subject.
by Harry Flashman
Are you ready for a 400,000 baht camera?
recently, I have always been faithful to Nikons in the 35 mm
range of photography. However, when looking for greater clarity
and sharpness, I have always tended to go to the medium and
large format cameras and slide film, but Nikon has now come up
with a camera that, on paper, makes anything else obsolete,
including medium format.
This new camera is the Nikon D3x, a professional level camera
and an update to the company’s professional D3 introduced in
2007. This new full-frame, 24.5 megapixel camera has a list
price of US$ 7,999.95 without lens. (As if the five cents off
8,000 would make you think that it is in the US$7,000 range!)
The D3x is really designed for studio use, weighing a hefty 1.2
kg without battery or lens. That is a monster weight, and whilst
it can be toted, it is way too heavy for average outdoors use.
While the D3x more than doubles the megapixel count of the D3,
it does so at the cost of dropping the maximum frame rate from
nine frames per second to five. The one area where it excelled
was resolution, demonstrating remarkable sharpness. The great
advantage of the D3x over most other cameras is its broad array
of customizable features and manual controls, in fact, this very
latest Nikon has more features than the average car! It should
also be noted that the D3x, despite its enormous price, does not
have any auto modes. It is a dedicated manual camera for the
professionals who need total control at all times.
Camera resolution: 24.5Mp
LCD screen size: 3.0"
ISO speeds: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
Max shutter speed: 1/8000
Min shutter speed: 30/1
Wired terminals / ports: HDMI Output, USB 2.0
The Nikon D3x has theoretically everything you could want in an
all-weather, all-conditions digital camera. A magnesium frame
body with rubber and plastic outer coating is resistant to
shocks and drops, and all the buttons are large and embossed.
The ergonomics and design of the Nikon D3x are largely similar
to Nikon’s D3 and D2X professional models. Two screens on the
top and rear of the camera provide all necessary information
about ISO, aperture and shutter speed. A (640x480) 3" screen is
used for Live View, playback and menu adjustment and is very
sharp - it can easily be used for focusing in Live View mode.
Dedicated buttons for ISO, white balance and quality allow for
adjustments to be made on the run without delving into on-screen
menus, while aperture and shutter speed dials surround both the
top-mounted and side-mounted shutter buttons making the Nikon
D3x easy to use for either portrait or landscape photography.
Now, despite the big spend, the new D3x is not the industry
leader in many other features. ISO settings of 100-1,600 are not
as extensive as the Nikon D3’s 200-6400 range. In continuous
shooting mode, it is significantly slower in its frames per
second capability. Sure it is shooting at double the mp, but the
D3 is faster in the field.
To emphasize the complete control that the photographer can have
over the camera can be seen in the three color modes (called
Picture Controls by Nikon): Standard, Neutral and Vivid.
Monochrome is also available. There are substantial
customization controls for each mode, and all of the color modes
can have their sharpening and contrast altered as well. For
example, the non-monochrome modes also let you change saturation
and hue, and monochrome can add filters (yellow, orange, red and
green) and tones (sepia, cyanotype, red, yellow, green,
blue-green, blue, purple-blue and red-purple).
One area where this very expensive camera did not perform as
well as its rivals (and some cameras from its own stable) was in
white balance, doing quite well in incandescent light sources,
but not as good in daylight. However, since this is
predominantly a studio camera, this deficiency might not be as
great as it would appear.
But in the final appraisal comes the inescapable fact that this
camera is off the planet as far as pricing is concerned, and the
results cannot justify the price.
Money Matters: Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.
Possibly the Greatest Economic Disaster Ever…
Everybody is listening, hoping
that all the ‘expert’ evidence is true. According to the self-styled gurus of
the present market forces, the worst part of the recession is now over and
everything will be better from here on in. It only saddens me that people
actually believe such rubbish. Certain analysts have compared recent events to
that of 1929. If this is true then it must be remembered that the bottom of that
market was 1932.
Porter Stansberry stipulated as much at the end of last year. He said, “The
coming great inflation will destroy America’s economic leadership. It will lead
- eventually - to the return of settling international obligations in gold
instead of paper dollars. And this will happen much faster than anyone expects…
The price of gold will be well over $2,500 per ounce… Americans haven’t
experienced anything like this since the Great Depression.”
Please remember this was forecast weeks before President Obama took office and
none of us had any real idea of how he was going to present his economic and
fiscal policies. By the end of January this year we knew there would be huge
deficit spending in 2009. What was not immediately apparent was that Obama also
plans to increase deficit spending over the next decade as well. This means that
the American national debt would double - at least.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has drawn up the table on this page. This
makes comparisons between the deficits of the 1980s and 1990s to present and
If it assumed that Obama stays in office for two terms then the CBO has
calculated the deficit policy will put up the national debt by over USD10
trillion by 2019. To compare this, just think that ten trillion was the total
federal debt just over two years ago. Also, remember that this is just what the
CBO is forecasting. By the time the politicians have finished tinkering with it
the chances are it will be much more.
If all of the above just looks like lies, damned lies and statistics then I
would ask you just to bear in mind one thing. President Obama wants to borrow
more money over the next eight years than all of the other presidents -
The numbers defy belief. Twenty trillion dollars looks like this - USD20,000,000
,000,000. How can anyone honestly believe this can be paid off? When the
Republicans were elected in 1980 the total US debt was USD930 million - less
than one billion or not even five percent of what Obama wants to cough out.
In case you’re having as much trouble keeping track of federal spending as I am:
The US government has spent the entire national output, 9 times over. And that’s
without counting contingent liabilities and guarantees!
If the nation were a person earning $50,000 a year, he’d be in debt to the tune
of $461,000 - If that person asked you for a loan, what would you say?
Even more important, this debt cannot be financed indefinitely. Sometime,
someone is going to want to have their money back - preferably with interest. If
the new president has his way then our children’s children’s children will still
be manacled with this debt. If they do not make good roads into it then the US
dollar will go the way of the Reichmark or Zimbabwean Dollar.
There is an argument to say this is already on the way. China, Russia and
several other countries have put forward the idea of a basket of currencies to
replace the US dollar and be the World Reserve Currency (WRC). Okay, this has
not happened but the very idea would have been inconceivable just a few years
ago. President Putin has recommended that gold be used for all international
trade transactions. Given that all the US has done for the planet over the last
few decades the real irony is that no-one wants to be a creditor to America in
case they do not get their money back.
If this happens then panic could ensue as more countries and individuals try to
get out of the American currency. Obama will have to act and the probability is
he will cease free exchange of the USD into different currencies. In fact, the
present president may follow the idea of Roosevelt in the 1930s and ban the
buying or selling of gold.
At the time of writing, gold is not doing well, which is an excellent buying
opportunity to get as much bullion and gold equity into your portfolio as
possible. For any US expats, this time also is ideal for getting as much money
out of the US as possible. Why is this? Well despite not getting a WRC the
Chinese are still not happy. Over the last six years, it has increased its gold
reserves by more than three quarters and is in the top five of countries holding
gold. This is not all. As of the end of Q1 2009, the Chinese had the largest FX
reserves in the world at almost USD2 trillion.
Due to Obama’s policies, the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, is very worried that
the US dollar will weaken thus reducing the value of the US Treasuries that
China now owns. This is now nearly USD750 billion. Many Chinese financiers are
now advocating changing into commodities to protect Chinese investments. Other
Asian central banks are also thinking along the same lines. As Si Kannan,
associate vice president at Kotak Commodity Services Ltd, recently said, “While
the IMF is selling gold, Asian central banks are diversifying into gold. That’s
a good thing, in times of dollar uncertainty and the global volatility in the
It is also the ideal time for American expats to invest using the multi-asset
class approach thus creating a diversification of assets that they have never
had before. By doing this they will be guarding against large increases in
personal and corporate tax, inflation, restricting movement of money and massive
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
Something for the Weekend?
There’s a saying that buses
come along in two and threes. The same might be said of musical offerings in
Chiang Mai. Do organizers ever consult with each other? On this coming
Saturday, the 27th, there are no less than three interesting-sounding
concerts, all starting at roughly the same time on that same day. The choice
is ‘up to you!’
At the large Kad Theatre in Kad Suan Kaew, the Chiang Mai Youth Philharmonic
Band is presenting music by living composers. Start time is 7.30, with
students admitted at 100 baht, and the rest of us at 300 to 500 baht,
according to location. Two main works have been announced. Farang Run Thoa,
which is written for the combined forces of a Thai Traditional Orchestra and
Symphonic Band, and a work intriguingly titled ‘Chaos Theory’. This is a
concerto for wind orchestra and electric guitar, with the soloist Tanata
A cheaper option, (free admission!), begins at 7 p.m. at the Faculty of Fine
Arts, in the Exhibition Hall of the CMU Arts Centre. Once again, the
emphasis is on contemporary music and you can get further information on 081
530 6483. I must say this clash is particularly annoying for those of us who
are more interested in music of our time, rather than the repeats of great
but overly familiar music. There is not nearly enough exposure of 20th or
21st century music in Chiang Mai – or, come to that, anywhere in or out of
There’s a third musical offering, also beginning at 7 p.m. at the AUA
Auditorium in the old city. This is called ‘May We Fly – on the Rhythm of
the Guitar’. The principal performer will be Bird Aekashal Jarakul and he
will be joined by several friends. Admission is 250 baht but this also
includes a ‘free’ CD. You can get further information from
[email protected] or by phoning 087 870 1155.
On the previous evening, the 26th, there is a truly mesmerizing movie
playing at the Alliance Francaise, beginning as usual at 8 p.m. with
admittance a mere 30 baht. They have finished their run of films by Eric
Rohmer and this Friday will feature one of the three great works directed by
Jacques Becker. Casque d’Or was the film that established his reputation. It
stars the magnificent Simone Signoret, along with two other fine actors
Serge Reggiani and Claude Dauphin.
Becker began as a political director and, in the thirties, made one film in
support of the Communist Party, but it was not until after the war with the
bucolic thriller Goupi Mains Rouges that he made a breakthrough. Sadly, he
died aged only 54 having made around 15 features, the last of which was his
masterpiece Le Trou, (The Hole), a prison-set work which ranks with
Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man, Siegel’s Escape from Alcatraz and even Bresson’s
A Man Escaped. His other major work was the wonderful Touchez Pas au Grisbi.
He was always a humane and elegant director and Friday’s film is no
exception. It won Signoret the best actress award at BAFTA and no director
has served her better. It is a bitter sweet romance and you are unlikely to
see a better movie in Chiang Mai in the coming months.
I was hopeful of saying that there would be a decent commercial film to
complete your weekend on Sunday but sadly – and inexplicably - the scheduled
State of Play has been either postponed or even cancelled. Our film guru on
the Mail does not know why, so sadly, neither do I. This is a brisk,
complicated, intelligent political thriller and would surely have attracted
an audience of both Thais and farangs in the city. It was well received in
the U.K. where I saw it and I was looking forward to seeing it again.
Russell Crowe grabs the central role and creates a vivid portrait of the
investigative journalist at the centre of the story. If it does surface, go
Now that the Korean ‘A Frozen Flower’ has ended its run, there really is
nothing much else worth your hundred or so baht. Except, that is, for the
visceral Take Me to Hell. This movie, by Sam Raimi is in that normally
rather under- nourished genre, the horror movie. But Raimi is a master at
this kind of cheap flick and not a moment is wasted. It’s instantly
forgettable but I defy you not to be carried along by the gory story of a
revengeful old woman wreaking havoc on a young bank assistant who she
believes has betrayed her. You could see it as a comment on the current
malaise in the banking industry, but even those who have squandered our cash
don’t deserve what happens to the young heroine. Then again, perhaps they
Let's Go To The Movies:
by Mark Gernpy
Now playing in Chiang
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: US, Action/ Adventure/
Sci-Fi. It’s Autobots® versus Decepticons®, Round 2, in Michael Bay’s film
based on Hasbro’s Transformers™ action figures. Look how we have to write
about it! It’s all about trade names and merchandising! The action figures
for sure will be on sale in the lobby. The plot: Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf)
again joins with the Autobots® against their sworn enemies, the
It’s super-intense, and bigger and longer than the original. High noise
level, smashing images, a loud and relentless score, everyone yelling their
lines at high speed – if this is your idea of fun, go.
Pee-Toom-Tim / Phee Tum Tim: Thai, Comedy – A goalkeeper on a Thai
football team cracks his head on a goal post and dies. But wait, that’s just
the beginning! Somehow his body is possessed by the spirit of a transsexual
who has a burning desire to see the Thai football team make it to the World
Cup. Shown in Thai only with no English subtitles. At Airport Plaza
Up: US (Disney/Pixar), Animation/ Family – Everyone’s current favorite,
tops at the US boxoffice, and the most loved film of the year so far! An
animated fantasy adventure about a 78-year-old balloon salesman (voiced by
Ed Asner) who finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when
he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of
South America. But his biggest nightmare has secretly stowed away on the
trip: 8-year-old Russell. Also starring Christopher Plummer, and a
speech-assisted dog. Another masterful work of art from Pixar – an exciting,
hilarious, and heartfelt adventure, impeccably crafted and told with wit and
depth. Reviews: Universal acclaim.
And Up has a cartoon playing before it, called Partly Cloudy,
a 6-minute Pixar study of cartoon genius which reminds me somewhat of the
stork sequence at the beginning of Walt Disney’s Dumbo. Not too much
has been made of this very funny short, but for my money it is pure
Dek Khong: Thai, Comedy/ Drama – The “King Kong Gang” is a powerful and
invincible gang that rules and terrorizes all the kids in the kindergarten,
led by a boy of such immense size that a high-school girl who thinks he’s in
high school falls for him, rendering him incapable of leading his gang.
Drag Me to Hell: US, Horror/ Thriller – Terrific! Director Sam Raimi
started out making perversely entertaining horror fare, and he’s back, and
in outstanding B-movie form. Get into your horror-film frame of mind, and go
for a lot of laughs and chills. Alison Lohman stars as a loan officer who
becomes the victim of a curse, with evil spirits on her trail and certain
damnation in her future. A wickedly good time: blood-curdlingly scary and
ghoulishly funny, it’s also taut and timely. It’s the best-reviewed horror
film in years; I thought it a hoot! Reviews: Universal acclaim.
The Vista version is dubbed into Thai, with no English subtitles; in English
at Airport Plaza.
Angels & Demons: US, Crime/ Drama/ Mystery – A tight, taut thriller. The
team behind the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code returns as Tom
Hanks reprises his role as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, who once
again finds that forces with ancient roots are willing to stop at nothing,
even murder, to advance their goals. Mixed or average reviews.
Blood: The Last Vampire: Hong Kong/ Japan, Action/ Horror – A thoroughly
disgusting mess of violence and killing. It’s depraved in its depiction of
the “beauty” of killing – the graceful spumes of blood, lovingly
photographed in slow motion; the languorous way that severed limbs and
chopped heads slowly curve to earth. I consider it a shameful and perverted
use of the potentialities of cinema, and serves only to brutalize the people
who come to see it. Rated R in the US for strong bloody stylized violence.
In English, mostly. Please, skip it!
Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins: US/ UK, Action/ Sci-Fi – In
this new installment of The Terminator film franchise, set in
post-apocalyptic 2018, Christian Bale stars as a man fated to lead the human
resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators. If you’ve seen any of
the other three installments of this series, you know what to expect: Plenty
of chases, explosions, and great effects. Mixed or average reviews.
Night at the Museum 2: Escape From the Smithsonian: USA/ Canada,
Action/ Comedy – If you liked the first adventure, you’re sure to like this
one even more – bigger, better, and with fantastic special effects. After
their night at the New York Museum of Natural History, Larry (Ben Stiller)
must infiltrate the Smithsonian after some of his resurrected friends were
shipped to Washington for storage. He finds himself in the middle of a vast
conflict between many of the museum’s most noteworthy historical figures.
Mixed or average reviews.
Bridge in Paradise :
by Neil Robinson
The Contract Bridge League of Thailand (CBLT), of which the Bridge Club of
Chiang Mai is a member, held an Open Teams event last month. It was played
on two successive weekends at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club. The results
were reported in the CBLT Bridge News for June 2009. Khun Tivatavat and
Prof. Prasong of Chiang Mai were on the Paisal team, which came in a very
creditable sixth overall, and beat the two leading teams when they played
them. The event was won by Magic Eyes and the runner up was Idhinand.
Unfortunately the Bridge News does not give the names of the players on
these teams, but congratulations to them anyway.
The Bridge News does describe a number of the hands played and I plan to
write about a few of them in the next couple of weeks. This interesting hand
came from the first round. Plan how you might bid each of the hands with
your favourite partner. Most bridge players, myself included, do not use cue
bids often enough. The reported bidding makes full use of such bids. North
dealt and N-S were vulnerable:
S: K10632 S: QJ75
H: AK9653 H: J108
D: 7 D:
C: 10 C:
The reported bidding was:
North East South
2S Dbl 3C
The bidding certainly needs
some explanation! West’s 2D bid is a Michaels cue bid showing at least five
cards in each major. North’s 2S is a cue bid (North cannot want to play in
spades, knowing West has five). It shows a close to opening hand and support
for South’s suit, diamonds. East doubles to show spade support. South bids
his second suit and West bids 4H to show a good hand with more hearts than
spades and offer East a choice. North cue bids spades again, to show a
stopper or shortage. 5H by South shows a stopper or shortage in hearts and
asks North to pick a slam. 5S by North says either slam (6C or 6D) is OK by
me. South chooses 6C. West then sacrifices in 6H (and did not even get
doubled). I count no fewer than five cue bids in the bidding of just this
one hand, including three by North!
West made an excellent sacrifice, even if it had been doubled. 6H goes down
only two, losing one club, one diamond and the ace of spades. N-S are cold
for 6C, losing only a heart (the losing spade from dummy goes away on the
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: