Vol. VIII No. 27 - Tuesday
July 7 - July 13, 2009



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


Columns
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

The Doctor's Consultation

Agony Column

Camera Class by Snapshot

Money Matters

Life in Chiang Mai

Let's Go To The Movies

Bridge in Paradise

The Doctor's Consultation:  by Dr. Iain Corness

Living through the 50-60 decade

I have been doing some research recently into the most frequent cause of death. This was prompted by study into the H1N1 2009 virus (AKA Swine Flu). Let me assure you, the pigs have been subject of a bum rap. You have more chance of being hit on the head with a piece of frozen whatsit discharged from a plane 30,000 feet above, than you have of dying from Piggy Flu.
However, the danger period as far as claiming early on your life assurance is concerned (or I should say, your beneficiaries claiming early) is the 50-60 decade.
If you are between 50 and 60, coronary heart disease is one of the most likely causes of your being struck down early, other than a blow from a rampaging pig.
Coronary heart disease refers to the build up of ‘plaque’ (not the dental kind) in the inside of the coronary arteries, the arteries that ‘feed’ the heart muscle.
The heart muscle does not get its oxygenation from the blood inside its chambers, but through separate “coronary” arteries that run around the heart and supply the heart muscle directly.
If the inside diameter of the coronary arteries is reduced by 50 percent, it means that the oxygen required cannot be supplied in enough quantities to keep the heart muscle alive when it is called to perform extra work, such as running to (or out of the way of) a song taew, for example. Viagorous exercise could also come under this heading. Constriction greater than 50 percent means that the heart muscle ‘starves’ of oxygen even more quickly.
We know these days that the ‘plaque’ build-up is made of cholesterol and calcium, and that the likelihood of deposits depends on many factors, including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, stress and cigarette smoking. This is why we advocate regular testing for those physical factors, and strongly advise you to give up smoking! We actually do want you to live a little longer, with a good quality of life.
To diagnose coronary artery disease, we will evaluate a patient’s risk factors and perform some tests and then divide the patients suspected to be at risk into the two groups; high and low risk. After that, there are two main diagnostic procedures that will usually be performed, conventional coronary angiography (CAG) or the 64-Slice CT.
However, whilst CAG might be the gold standard, it is also expensive (like gold) and time consuming, as it requires a stay in hospital of four to six hours. Being a direct intervention, with cardiac catheters, there can also be a risk of hemorrhage, though this is not usually the case. But it can happen.
The alternative is the 64-Slice CT. This is the latest variation of CT scanning, with the original known as 16-slice CT. This was fine for assessing organs which did not move, but was not as accurate in demonstrating coronary artery problems, because the heart is moving and beating inside the chest (unless, of course, if you have died already and please advise the technician beforehand). However today, with the advent of the most advanced form of this imaging, the multi-slice detectors and high powered computer programs called the 64-Slice CT, we can efficiently get information on the coronary arteries in as few beats as possible, in around 4 seconds. And this comes with 90 percent accuracy.
The 64-Slice CT has many advantages. First off, nobody is actually slicing you open to insert cardiac catheters into your arteries. The 64 ‘virtual’ slices are done of your cardiac image and the coronary arteries by the computer program, not physically. Each slice is 0.625 mm, so will be able to pinpoint calcium deposits. It is a quick and painless procedure. You do not have to wait around in hospital afterwards, other than perhaps wait for the radiologist’s report. A boon for the busy 50-60 year old businessman (the group most at risk). And finally, it is much cheaper than having a coronary angiogram.
If you have no risk factors, other than being over 50, I would seriously consider the 64-Slice CT.

 

Heart to Heart  with Hillary

Dear Hillary,
You keep harping on about meeting the “right” Thai women, but why would you bother going through all the rigmarole when there are so many gorgeous babes in any of the bars? You couldn’t get to them all with two lifetimes, not one. You talk about learning Thai, when you don’t need to. Any of the bar girls can speak enough English to get by. You know what you’re going to get. They know what is expected of them. You don’t have to go upcountry to meet the parents. There’s no dowry involved, so it is cheap. It is just so easy, when your way is just so difficult and takes a long time. What’s the advantage?
Unconvinced

Dear Unconvinced,
It all depends on what you want in life, Petal. Do you want 365 one night stands every year, or a constant partner for 365 days a year? The men I recommend doing it the “so difficult” way are those who are looking for a partner in and for life. Certainly most of the bar girls can speak “enough English to get by” as you say. That’s enough English to say “Buy me cola,” “You want pay bar for me?” and “I go with you.” They also have enough understanding of your needs that they can extract motorcycles, gold chains, cars, houses for Mama and Papa and a lifetime of veterinary care for the family buffalo. And if you don’t believe me, read any of the back issues of this newspaper for the tales of woe from those who have been ripped off by this week’s easy girlfriend. You strike me as being very self-centered and a bit “keeneow” (stingy) as well.
You will also note that I have even recommended your way for men coming over here for two weeks, and I also recommend at the same time that they don’t fall in love and refrain from buying anything greater than trinket value.
So what’s the advantage? The chance of having a meaningful relationship, as opposed to your meaningless ones.

Dear Hillary,
If any of your readers are wondering where to go for a change I can recommend Udon Thani, Roi Et and Kalasin.
Fifteen minutes from the centre of Udon Thani there is a flower nursery, called “Miss Udorn” with an amazing dancing plant, if you can play music or even sing a song the plant opens and shuts its leaves! Then there is Ban Chiang in Udon, where you can see the remains of one of the worlds oldest civilizations.
Roi Et has one of the tallest standing Buddha Images in the world. Eighty kilometres from the City of Roi Et is Wat Pah Namthip. Take highways 2044 and 2136, and I guarantee it will take your breath away. Seven stories, four of which are complete with the most beautiful decorations, it is for sure the most beautiful Temple in Thailand.
Kalasin has the Dinosaur Museum with some of the worlds largest Dinosaur remains. A fantastic place for young and old alike, just follow the signs to “Jurassic Park”.
I loved Issan Hillary, the people were so nice, a lot come up to you and ask if they can practice their English. Anyone reading this that has never been to these places you just have to go.
One last thing Hillary, we read a lot about Farang being done out of their money by Thai ladies. I frequent a beer bar in Chiang Mai, I know I can’t tell you the name, but it is the Number One Bar here (wink wink nudge nudge). The young ladies are not the pushy type pestering you to buy them a drink, but of course you do, otherwise they would not be there, and without them you would have to talk to a lot of boring old expats!
One of the girls met her Mr. Right, he paid her bar fine for two weeks and promised he would return in a couple of months to marry her. She was so excited about marrying and moving to England, well yes you guessed it, he never showed up, even though he was sending her emails. I felt so sorry for her, but guess she is not the only one to fall for that trick. So it does work both ways with Farang and Thai being taken for a ride.
Oh! One last thing, the young Abbot of Wat Doi Noi Lamphun was featured in the National Geographic Magazine, Thai Newspapers, and Channel Five TV. He was showing off his Bio Diesel and Petro Plant and other inventions of his. I will send you some photos of his latest inventions, Hillary.
Delboy

Dear Delboy,
How nice to hear from you again and thanks for the travel tips, and yes, we published the details of your young abbot as well. Never mind these two bit publications like National Geographic. They’re only found in doctor’s waiting rooms!
Glad you brought up the item on double dealing by the farangs that come over here. There’s probably more of those than all the quoted rip-offs by the bar girls, with all the promises of marriage and overseas trips.
Sorry I had to shorten your letter somewhat - the usual problem of space!


Camera Class:  by Harry Flashman

Uneconomic repairs and Photofun

The other week a keen amateur photographer wrote in with a problem. “I have an old, 25 years I think, Pentax K2 which I need to have overhauled as the shutter speed indicator moves sluggishly, I believe the lubrication has dried up. I have tried firing the shutter at different speeds for a long while but the problem is still apparent.”
This photographer had really done as much as he could under these circumstances and it is time for a trip to the camera doctor. However, what should also be looked at here is the economics of persevering with this camera - after all, it is 25 years old at least. For example, would you bother with a 25 year old car, or think about trading it in at that age, for a newer (and better) one? My feeling in this case is that if the repair quotation is more than 1,000 baht it isn’t worth it. The old K-mount Pentax’s were good cameras, but the technology and optics have been improved greatly since then.
Being a great believer in “good” second hand equipment (see previous columns on how to buy a second hand camera) I would be going down that route, rather than the repair one. With 25 year old cameras that have had a long history, there are other parts ready to wear out, as well as just the shutter mechanism. A newer Pentax would have fewer problems, and give the owner more fun in trying out its capabilities.
I think it is important to remember that “fun” is the important ingredient in photography. If it isn’t fun - then don’t do it - and that just about goes for everything in life!
One way to really have fun with your camera is seeing what it really is capable of. And after seeing what it can do, being able to reproduce the effect. This is why I keep stressing the Manual Mode in the camera, and keeping a notebook. If you glue your SLR in the Automatic Mode, then you will only get shots that are “average” in exposure - shutter speeds and apertures worked out by the camera’s electronic brain, rather than yours. Stick it on manual and experiment. That shutter speed that the electronic brain says is incorrect might just give you a wonderful emotive blurry shot that is an award winner! Or if nothing else, worth blowing up and framing and hanging on the wall! And by using your notebook, you will know just how you did it, and can do it again, and again and again.
The annotations in the notebook should be simple jottings like, Back-lit, Frame 1, f5.6 @ 1/30th; Frame 2, f5.6 @ 1/60th; Frame 3, f5.6 @ 1/125th. When you go through the finished photos you will be able to see the results of 2 complete stops of exposure difference. Sometime I will also jot down the exposure indicated by the (inbuilt) exposure meter. Until you are completely familiar with your camera, the little notebook will stand you in good stead, for years if necessary.
You should never stop experimenting either. Some days you will amaze yourself at what you can get away with! I mean photographically! For example, I tend to take a large number of photographs at night, generally indoors but in low light conditions. I set the flash on f5.6 and generally set the shutter speed on 1/30th, but to bring the background up a little more I will set the shutter speed to 1/15th. This is in ‘camera shake’ territory, but the majority are fine. Now I have found that I can fire off a couple of frames, right down to ╝ second and still get away with it. OK, I will lean on a wall, or hold the camera firmly against the wall, but the end results are looking good. In theory it won’t work, but it does for at least 75 percent of the time. Try it yourself and see the difference. And that is on a camera without anti-shake technology.


Money Matters:  Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.

Money - How Much is it Worth?

Part 2

History has taught us a couple things about the French:
1. They are not very good at fighting (General Patton said, “I’d rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me”).
2. They are very good at making their currency almost worthless - which perhaps explains why, of all nations, they remain most enamoured with gold.
Next came the Germans. As the Kaiser had run off to Holland, the citizens of the Weimar Republic had to try and cope with the ridiculous reparations imposed by the Treaty of Versailles by themselves. This led into one of the worst periods for hyperinflation in recorded history. It was so bad that it almost makes Robert Mugabe look fiscally competent (almost). The only way that Germany could repay the Allies was by having the printing presses on the go 24/7. The debt was so massive that it could never be repaid - sounds kind of familiar to today.
As stated above, during this time, there was not inflation but hyperinflation. People were having to use wheelbarrows to haul around enough money just to buy a loaf of bread. If you want a good idea of hyperinflation then see below for the Mark v US Dollar exchange rate (admittedly the Mark was called different things during this period):
April 1919: 12 marks
November 1921: 263 marks
January 1923: 17,000 marks
August 1923: 4.621 million marks
October 1923: 25.26 billion marks
December 1923: 4.2 trillion marks
In recent times, fiat failures have become more common. So as not to send the reader to sleep, I will not go into details with other currency failures but there are many examples and here is a quick list:
1932 - Argentina had the eighth largest economy in the world before its currency collapsed.
1992 - Finland, Italy, and Norway had currency shocks that spread through Europe.
1994 - Mexico went through the infamous “Tequila Hangover,” which sent the peso tumbling and spread economic hardships throughout Latin America.
1997 - Thailand’s baht fell through the floor and the effects spread to Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and South Korea.
1998 - Russia’s ruble was not the currency you wanted your investments denominated in, after its devaluation brought on economic recession.
Not so long ago, it was the turn of the Turkish lira and now we have Zimbabwe, which was once considered the breadbasket of Africa and was one of the wealthiest countries on the continent. Now Mugabe’s attempts at price controls, combined with hyperinflation, have the nation unable to supply the most basic essentials such as bread and clean water.
Given the above, you would have thought we would have learned the lessons of history. Er, no.
Now let us look at what the USA has done with paper money. Colonial notes were first issued in Massachusetts in 1690. Basically, these could be used to buy most commodities. Other New World colonies soon joined in and, surprise, surprise, there was soon too much money in the system.
The next time the Americans tried paper money was after the start of the American War of Independence. Paper money was needed to finance the war and they called it the Continental. This soon became worthless and paper money was not used in America again until just before the First World War with the foundation of the Federal Reserve and the introduction of the Greenback. Theoretically, the new US dollar was backed by the Gold Standard until 1971. In reality, when this did not suit the US government, they just made the ownership of gold illegal - as per Roosevelt in 1933.
Despite all this, the US dollar held up well and it was not until good old Richard Nixon kicked the Gold Standard into touch did it begin to suffer. In the 1970s, America had to endure some of the worst inflation in its history.
Forty years on and the USA has managed to steer itself to the precipice as it is copying what every other major fiat currency has done in the past. American is fighting two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is patrolling the seas off Somalia and keeping its eye over the rest of the world. Financing all of this is, to say the least, inflationary. According to Addison Wiggin, in his book The Empire of Debt, America’s currency could suffer “an apocalyptic future”.
It can be argued that America has a similar debt to what the Weimar Republic had (more of this in later issues). Whilst it is true that the reasons for the debt are totally dissimilar, it is highly likely that the USA will not be able to pay back what it owes unless is decides to print even more money which would then make the US dollar worthless. It is already printing too many dollars. Any further increase would be disastrous.
Since 1913, the US dollar has lost 92% of its original value. Following its revaluation in 1934, it fell by another 41%. It is only the fact that Asian central banks and others hold it still to be of some worth that the dollar has any value at all. When, and I repeat, when they decide to take their money back then America could be in real trouble - just look what happened to all the previous fiat currencies.
Above all, remember that America now has so much additional currency in circulation and significantly less gold. The value of the US dollar with gold backing it, in relation to the money in circulation, is now 39,000 times less than in 1971. Maybe a USD100,000 cup of Starbucks? Is it beyond the realms of possibility?

The above data and research was compiled from sources believed to be reliable. However, neither MBMG International Ltd nor its officers can accept any liability for any errors or omissions in the above article nor bear any responsibility for any losses achieved as a result of any actions taken or not taken as a consequence of reading the above article. For more information please contact Paul Gambles on [email protected]


Life in Chiang Mai: by Mark Whitman

I’ll Never Forget What’s ‘is Name’

A couple of weeks ago I took a very early morning call. I don’t think I was even asleep, though it soon sounded like my worst nightmare. An excited voice said, ‘Are you doing Michael Jackson?’ ‘No’, I replied, ‘he’s not my…’ (was I really going to say scene?). My reply was interrupted by a breathless, ‘Or Farrah Fawcett?’
I judged dimly that Phil, the Guardian’s obituaries editor, was unlikely to be in Hillside 4 reception and that this was Yarnold’s idea of humour. Memories of genuine calls surfaced, those which followed the death of someone famous and ended with the words – very politely uttered – ‘Do you think you could let us have, say, 900 to a thousand words by….?’.
Those were the days when, in semi retirement from the BBC, I wrote regularly for that illustrious newspaper, supplying notices on movie people: actors, directors, writers and, less often, producers, cinematographers, even composers and sundry others. Since the editorial staff worked late, they also came in late and those calls were normally in the afternoon or early evening with an eight o’clock deadline. Often they came when I was out, or planning to be, and nothing would persuade the caller to wait another day.
Since moving to Chiang Mai a few years ago, I have been spared those frantic calls if only because of the time difference, though I still file obits – these days always in advance of a death. This is now almost essential except for unpleasant surprises, which might I guess be a fair definition of a sudden demise. The standard rule is the more famous the person, the more urgent the obit, and they appear on the website immediately.
Of course, I don’t know whether I’ll live to see those advance pieces in print. Nor, come to think of it, this article. None of us knows what the next five minutes actually holds, let alone five years. There is a wonderful vignette in Proust, wherein a wealthy, contentedly leisured Parisian busies himself through the morning then leaves his apartment by taxi for an enjoyable lunch with a friend. He leaves the restaurant, hails another taxi to return home and never reaches his destination. A salutary warning that the future is a combination of optimism and complacency.
Writing obits tends to be the province of older journalists or specialists. It sort of comes with the territory of being in what we call ‘late middle age’, but is in fact that period of life before accumulated knowledge turns to senile ramblings. Naturally, anyone can paste and paper an obit. Simply collect together enough information from the internet, (for movies the International Movie Data Base), along with biographies or, again for cinema, the collected essays of Ephraim Katz or David Thomson and one soon has the basis of a tribute.
There is, however, no substitute for first hand knowledge. Perhaps having known the person and certainly their work, often for decades. Recalling, say, when Paul Newman finally got his best actor Oscar for The Color of Money, having been denied it half a dozen times because of his left wing views and his refusal to live in Hollywood, rather than his beloved Connecticut and New York. Hollywood has always despised non- conformity.
My obituary on Newman did him modest credit in being one of the Guardian’s longest, (approaching 4000 words). He deserved it, as did Ingmar Bergman in a similarly lengthy piece. The latter article was not universally popular, when it suggested that this giant of the cinema was ‘the second greatest Scandinavian director’, (after the Dane, Carl Th. Dreyer). A few Swedes took umbrage at this, but as you gather, I survived.
They confused – as many people do – opinion with bias. The latter is the result of prejudice, the former hopefully stems from knowledge and experience. Those critics shared the partisanship of those who admire – unreservedly – actors of the female gender, (N.B. The Guardian does not allow a distinction, thus Marilyn Monroe and Penelope Cruz are actors along with Sean Connery and Brad Pitt).
Admirers of the great ladies of the British screen can be dangerous. They know every film and every detail and no mistake or assumed slur is tolerated. So, as always, accuracy is vital, along with carefully judged opinions. That is why I hated the urgent calls, the overnights. I happened to be back in the U.K. when Ishmail Merchant died in hospital. Could I do 1,200 words, (in two hours), on that distinguished producer: Howard’s End, Maurice and the rest?
I declined and the resident film critic was pressed into service. Two days later, the letters column contained corrections and adverse comment. The poor guy had simply not had enough time and had even ended up with that pathetic euphemism, beloved by the Times and the Daily Telegraph, ‘He never married’. Hardly surprising, I thought, since he had lived with his partner and director, James Ivory, for some 40 years! A day or two later, I was asked to supply an obit for Ivory, which happily remains on file.
It is better to have time on one’s hands. The Bergman piece took three weeks, yielding a fee which worked out at less than the minimum wage, since I decided to re-view some of his 60 films, read or re-read biographies and his own writings and so on. Clint Eastwood kept me similarly busy, with a major update recently, since he has, in his seventies, directed his best films and given fine performances and, nudging 80, shows no signs of slowing down.
He shares something else with the Swede besides a long and prolific career and that is a large number of children, from a variety of liaisons and marriages. Getting the film titles and similar facts right, was easier than keeping track of the offspring.
Not that accuracy is all that matters. The ‘best’ of the hundred plus obits I’ve filed have been written about people I’ve greatly admired. The black-listed director Abraham Polonsky and the actor Deborah Kerr. The French directors, Maurice Pialat and Robert Bresson, the latter being – in my opinion – the greatest film maker in the history of that art. Writing about people of that stature is more than a record of a working life, it can be a considered tribute, even a thank you, and takes the edge off saying goodbye.
P.S. Just a note to remind you of the forthcoming concert at the Kad Theatre, on the fifth floor of Central. It’s on Saturday July 11, at 7.30 and if the recent one by the same huge orchestra and wind band is anything to go by it will be a great evening’s music. Featured are a movement from Rachmaninoff’s wonderful 2nd piano concerto and a harp concerto by Handel, among other works. Tickets from Kad Suan Kaew or at the door, starting at 100 baht.


Let's Go To The Movies:  by Mark Gernpy

Now playing in Chiang Mai

Nymph / Nangmai: Thai, Mystery/ Romance – A slow-paced, minimalist offering with supernatural overtones from one of Thailand’s most interesting directors, Pen-ek Ratanaruang, who gave us the excellent Ploy in 2007.  This is his seventh feature, and it premiered last month in the Un Certain Regard competition at the Cannes Film Festival – to decidedly mixed reviews.  I found it intriguing, and beautifully executed.
It revolves around a relationship in trouble – the marriage of May and Nop which seems to have nothing left but inertia to hold it together.  The two barely speak to one another, and May has been involved in an affair with her boss for months.  Signs of physical affection are still more rare.  Despite the emotional distance between them, May decides to accompany Nop on a photography trip into a deep forest where some time before two young men were mysteriously struck dead while attempted to rape a woman.  Nobody had ever been able to sort out what happened, but Nop can’t help but feel a certain attraction to a tree near where the incident occurred.  Then one night he simply disappears.  For aficionados of Thai art films, who will love it.
Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs:
US, Animation/ Action/ Comedy/ Romance – If you enjoyed the previous two installments, you should like this one as well, because it’s more of the same, but with even better animation.  With the voices of Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, and John Leguizamo.  Excellent for kids and families.  Mixed or average reviews.
Wongkamlao:
Thai, Comedy – Popular comedian turned director Mum Jokmok both directs and stars in this romantic comedy.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen:
US, Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi –Shia LaBeouf again joins with the Autobots« against their sworn enemies, the Decepticons« in this battle of the toys.  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.  Me, I just have to throw up my hands in surrender and disbelief!  What’s the use of fighting such a force of nature?  It seems to come from director Michael Bay’s childhood fantasies about playing with toys and blowing stuff up.  And fantasizing about the hot-looking Megan Fox.  It’s really unapologetic about delivering these fantasies.  Bigger battles.  Massive explosions.  Megan Fox.  I’m absolutely amazed that there is any coherence at all to the thing.  Generally negative reviews.
Up:
US (Disney/Pixar), Animation/ Family – Everyone’s current favorite, 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.  Also starring Christopher Plummer, and a speech-assisted dog.
As with the best children’s stories and movies, Up contains subject matter some might say is perhaps too old for the intended viewer: it exposes deep and sensitive issues like death, loss, abandonment, fear, isolation, loneliness, betrayal, and greed, knowing that little kids can grasp (and stomach) a lot more depth than we’d guess.  This is 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.  Not too much has been made of this very funny short, but for my money it is pure brilliance.
Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins:
US/ UK, Action/ Sci-Fi – 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.  But without Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Mixed or average reviews.
Scheduled for July 9
The Secret of Moonacre:
  Hungary/ UK, Adventure/ Family/ Fantasy – A pleasingly old-fashioned fairy tale, fashioned from the relatively little-known children’s novel “The Little White Horse” by English author Elizabeth Goudge, and it’s probably just perfect if you happen to be an 11-year-old girl.  The film is a shrewd mix of live action and exotic CGI by the Hungarian director and animator Gabor Csupo, who gave us Bridge to Terabithia  in 2007.
The plot springs from a large, dusty, leather-bound fairytale book about a strange land far, far away.  The book is a relic the 13-year-old Maria Merryweather (Dakota Blue Richards) has inherited from her dead and dissolute father.  The orphan is dispatched to live with her brooding uncle (Ioan Gruffudd) in a shabby Gothic pile cursed by an ancient feud over a handful of pearls.  His nemesis, Tim Curry, stews in the woods near by.  Maria has the magic to settle their dispute – whether she will or not is another matter.  The film’s magic realism is frightfully English.


Bridge in Paradise : by Neil Robinson

This hand, played at six hearts by Morten Andersen in the Danish First League, was reported by Svend Northrup. It looks like the defence are bound to take a spade trick, since they have the queen, jack and ten between the two hands, as well as the ace of diamonds. There is only one entry to dummy, the king of spades, so it does not look possible to do anything with the queen and jack of clubs. However Andersen, sitting South, made the slam. Can you see how he did it? His nickname is “duck” and this may give you a clue. There was no opposition bidding and West led the jack of spades. 

                      S: K843

                      H: 9

                      D: K1086

                      C: QJ82        

S: J107                                S: Q5

H: 32                                   H: J76

D: J97                                 D: AQ432

C: 106543                           C: K97

                      S: A962

                      H: AKQ10854

                      D: 5

                      C: A             

South, living up to his nickname, ducked the jack of spades opening lead! Reasonably enough, West continued spades. South won in hand with the ace and drew trumps in three rounds, throwing two diamonds from board. He cashed the ace of clubs and led the nine of spades to dummy’s king. Dummy’s queen of clubs was next, covered by the king and ruffed in hand. Then South led over to dummy’s carefully preserved eight of spades. Now the diamond five in hand was thrown on dummy’s good jack of clubs. Twelve tricks (seven hearts, three spades and two clubs) and slam made!
Did you work out how to do it? And if you had been sitting West, would you have defeated the contract by switching to a diamond switch at trick two? I don’t think I would.
Chiang Mai now has an official bridge club—the Bridge Club of Chiang Mai. We welcome new players. For information on the Club go to the web site at www.bridgewebs .com/chiangmai/home.html or contact Chris Hedges at:  [email protected] .co.uk. If you have bridge questions, or to send me your interesting hands, please contact me at: [email protected]



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