The Doctor's Consultation: by Dr. Iain Corness
- what the “F’s” that?
It has been shown to the
satisfaction of the medical world that humor and a good laugh really is good
medicine. Some hospitals even employ clowns to brighten up the days of the
inpatients. And no, I am not the clown.
However, one of my favorite jokes involves a parrot that was prone to ‘bad’
language, and consistently used the “F” word. After threatening the
talkative bird with dire consequences, its owner put it in the freezer chest
for five minutes. After being retrieved from the freezer, the parrot was
asked if it would now behave. “Yes,” said the shivering parrot, “I won’t say
the “F” word again, but what did the ‘effing’ chicken say?”
Tourette’s syndrome can also be related to the magic “F” word, and is
usually seen in children (not parrots) around the age of 5-7 years. Boys
outnumber girls three to one!
So is this just a case of little Johnny parroting off (sorry about that,
couldn’t help myself) dirty words he has heard at home? Actually no. This is
a developmental problem that comes under the general heading of ‘Tics’ (as
opposed to ‘ticks’ that are parasitic problems).
Tic disorders can affect up to almost 20 percent of children at some stage
of their development. At one end of the spectrum are children with brief
episodes of single tics, whereas at the other end of the spectrum are
children with chronic multiple tics, including our friend Tourette’s
Tics are abrupt and recurrent involuntary motor or vocal actions. Motor tics
include eye blinking, grimacing, nose twitching, lip pouting (my daughter is
good at that when she doesn’t get her own way), shoulder shrugging, arm
jerking, head jerking, kicking (my son is good at that when he doesn’t get
his own way), finger movements, jaw snapping, tooth clicking, frowning,
tensing parts of the body, and rapid jerking of any part of the body are
simple tics. More complex ones include hopping, clapping, touching,
throwing, arranging, gyrating, bending, biting the mouth, the lip, or the
arm, head-banging, picking scabs, writhing movements, rolling eyes upwards
or side-to-side, making funny expressions, sticking out the tongue, kissing
(one of my old girlfriends was good at that to get her own way), pinching,
writing the same letter or word over and over, and tearing paper or books.
However the tic can also be vocal, with simple ones being coughing,
spitting, screeching, barking, grunting, gurgling, clacking, whistling,
hissing, sucking sounds, and syllable sounds such as “uh, uh,” “eee,” and
“bu.” The complex vocal tics can involve complete phrases such as, “Oh boy,”
“you know,” “shut up,” “you’re fat,” “all right,” and “what’s that.” Take
that a little further and you get repetitive bad language (which we medicos
call Coprolalia, because we love big words) and that is the best known
example of Tourette’s syndrome.
Children who have these tics can be looked upon as fools by their peers, and
there is a no more predatory group than other children. Parents also can
feel helpless in these situations. From the medical point of view, one has
to treat the entire family, not just little Johnny with the foul mouth!
Most children with tics can lead normal lives, and the tics themselves
usually slow down in teenage years. Parents should be encouraged to get
support for themselves from various organizations such as the Tourette
Syndrome Association ([email protected]). With a good understanding of
tics and related problems, including acceptance from teachers and education
of the child’s peers, most children with tics do not need regular medical
Parents and children need to understand that although all these symptoms
relate to an underlying brain disorder, breaking the cycle may be extremely
simple - for example, just allowing the child to have a short “tic break” in
a long school lesson may be enough.
Drug treatment can be used, though there are differences in opinion on the
efficacy, with some researchers claiming only 30 percent can be helped.
However, tic severity and frequency can be reduced. Studies of Risperidone
(Risperdal) in Tourette’s syndrome have shown that it is efficacious too.
Heart to Heart
With regard to Pat from PA and his comments about a PI to check his girl
- does he not think that it’s pretty easy to follow someone in such a
busy place as Chiang Mai and not that hard to follow a car either - all
without being seen by a lady who won’t be trained to look anyway and
won’t expect to be followed? An excellent service can be got at
Dear A Friend,
I think you underestimate our ladies of the night, my Friend. You have
to remember that you are dealing not with one girl, but with all the
girls from that bar and all the bars around that bar. The jungle drums
beat loud and long. The network is very efficient, as more than one
unsuspecting would be PI has found out. Proceed with caution. I replied
to Pat from PA by writing “You men really go out of your way to make
problems for yourselves, don’t you!” I think your friendly advice could
produce more problems than answers, Friend.
There is a nice looker I often see sitting in the local shopping mall
who always gives me a big smile. I have almost gone up to talk to her a
couple of times, but chickened out at the last minute. What if she can’t
speak English? What do I do then? Also I worry if she’s a bar girl as
I’ve heard so much bad about them that I don’t want to get into that
sort of problem. I’m here for another five weeks and I’d like some
company, but safe, if you know what I mean. Please let me know what you
think as I don’t want to waste the time.
How old are you? Twelve? Here’s the girl giving you big smiles (that’s
what we call ‘come on’ smiles, Eric) and your tongue dries up at the
thought of trying to communicate with your gorgeous bit of pulchritude.
If she didn’t think she could communicate, she wouldn’t be sitting on
the shopping mall seats smiling at foreigners. And that’s all
foreigners, Eric, not just you. You wonder if she’s a “bar girl”, well
you can stop wondering. Of course she’s a bar girl, she’s just between
bars right now. You men have to understand that girls who you can always
find in shopping malls are not shopping for daily groceries and just
having a little rest as you come by. They are there to pick up men, who
in turn will donate money to their shopping comparison research
projects. So you’re here for another five weeks, my Petal. Yes, the girl
will give you company. Make sure she hands in her ID card at the hotel -
if no ID card is forthcoming, then start running.
There has been a crackdown recently about copy goods - shirts, CDs and
watches and the like. Why is this? Everyone knows that you go to Asia
and buy real bargains. I always bring back three or four watches for the
girl friends and a couple of footy shirts for the blokes. What’s wrong
with this. If I can’t get the stuff in Thailand, do you know where I can
get them? I’m coming over in a couple of weeks, so if you can let me
know early that would be good.
How would you feel if you made some type of special goods and then found
that cheap copies were being marketed at half the price you sell them
for? You have to keep in mind the different copyright laws in China,
theirs goes “It’s our right to copy.” Mind you, I think that many of
these overseas goods (so-called originals that have been made in
Vietnam) are highly over-priced too. The whole question of copyright is
well beyond Hillary’s brain, I’m afraid. I’m just worried about getting
‘copy’ champagne. As to where you can go to get the things you want -
the markets still have them I believe, but don’t tell the police. Unless
the police are running the market!
After reading your wonderful words of wisdom from afar, and cottoning
onto the fact that you are a connosuer (sic) of champagne and
chocolates, I am hoping you can also help me from afar. I am dating a
wonderful young lady and just want to know what champagne I should buy
to woo her, and whether dark chocolate or milk chocolate would be best.
The Gentleman Suitor
Dear Gentleman Suitor,
The first thing you have to do is attend to your spelling, my Petal. If
you want to be a “connoisseur” of champagne, then learn to spell it!
However, in your side of the world, my favorite champagne Veuve Clicquot
(French and vintage, darling, vintage) is not too expensive, though the
Grande Dame should be only brought out for very special occasions.
Regarding the chocolate, you won’t go wrong with milk chocolate
selections, though the white chocolate can be quite special. But it is a
presentation box, my Gentleman friend, not a block! Dark chocolate is OK
too, but we women like the milky variety.
by Harry Flashman
The long digital road
and their grandmother has a digital camera of some sort these
days, even though digital cameras have only been available in
the mass market for a little over 20 years. The granddaddy of
photography, the Kodak Company that brought film photography to
the masses with the Kodak Brownie, was also very instrumental in
bringing the new digital photography to the masses, at the
expense of their own product - the photographic film.
When looking at the history of digital photography the
significant technological step forward was the Charge-Coupled
Device (CCD), invented by George Smith and Willard Boyle on
October 17, 1969. Smith and Boyle were attempting to create a
new kind of semiconductor memory for computers. At the same time
they were looking for a way to develop a solid-state camera for
use in video phones. It took just an hour for them to sketch out
the CCD’s basic structure, define the concept of its operation,
and outline the applications for which it would be best suited.
By 1970, Smith and Boyle had built the CCD into the world’s
first solid-state video camera, and in 1975, they demonstrated
the first CCD camera with image quality sharp enough for
broadcast television. However, this was for video photography,
not still photography, the basis of the mass market.
In 1981, the Sony Corporation produced the first prototype mass
market digital camera, called the Mavica (Magnetic Video Camera)
electronic still camera, which recorded images as magnetic
impulses on a compact two-inch still-video floppy disk. The
images were captured on the disk by using two CCD
(charge-coupled device) chips. One chip stored luminance
information and the other separately recorded the chrominance
information. This camera provided a 720,000-pixel image (that is
0.7 megapixels; compare that to what you can get today). The
images could be stored on the floppy disk either in Frame or
Field mode. When the photographer selected the Frame mode, the
sensor recorded each picture on two tracks. Up to 25 images
could be recorded on each disk. In Field mode, the camera
recorded each picture on only one track, allowing up to 50
images to be recorded.
Images were obviously less detailed than what is available today
and were made visible through a video reader that was connected
to a television monitor or color printer. However, the early
Mavica cannot be considered a true digital camera even though it
started the digital camera revolution. It was really a video
camera that enabled you to see video freeze-frames.
In 1986, Kodak scientists invented the world’s first megapixel
sensor, capable of recording 1.4 million pixels that could
produce a 5x7-inch digital photo-quality print. We were on the
Next up was MegaVision, a small private company, which designed
the world’s first commercial digital camera in 1987, but less
than a year later the Japanese developed and released the
world’s first consumer digital camera.
The Fuji DS-1P digital camera was a photographic revolution in
1988. It was portable, had a built-in battery and stored images
on a removable flash card. The only thing that prevented a DS-1P
from being a required camera in every home was the price -
$US10,000 for the no-frills entry level model up to $US40,000
for the top-of-the-range version.
In 1990, Logitech came out with the Dycam Model 1
black-and-white digicam, the world’s first completely digital
consumer camera. It stored 32 compressed images internally using
1MB RAM on a 376 x 240 pixel CCD at 256 shades of gray in TIFF
format. This simple camera by today’s standards had an 8mm
fixed-focus lens, standard shutter speeds of 1/30 to 1/1000
second and a built-in flash. The Dycam included the digitizing
hardware in the camera itself, but the user had to connect the
camera to a PC to transfer images.
In 1991, Kodak released their first professional digital camera
system (DCS), aimed at photojournalists. It was a Nikon F-3
camera equipped by Kodak with a 1.3 megapixel sensor, and it was
As time has marched on, the pace of the digital camera
revolution has also picked up, and with economies of scale, you
can now buy digital compacts with many megapixels for only a few
Money Matters: Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.
Obama has not learned from history, part 2
The only new thing in the world is the history you do not know - President Truman
German Weimar Republic
As we wrote last week, after
World War I, the allies imposed Treaty of Versailles on the defeated Germans.
The reparations were severe and everyone knew that Germany had very little
chance in making the payments. The newly formed Weimar Republic decided the only
chance they had was to print money. The value of the Papiermark was 4.2 to one
US dollar in 1914. By late summer 1923 it was one million per dollar. People
were forced to carry their money in wheelbarrows when they went shopping.
Hyperinflation had hit Germany. To counter this, the Germans had to do what was
called a “monetary reset” and brought in the Rentenmark at the old value of 4.2
to the US Dollar.
Now, bearing in mind the quotation at the top of the page from President Obama’s
Democratic predecessor, let us look at more comparisons between Germany in the
1920s and America over eighty years later - the parallel to German war
reparations then is derivatives now.
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
SAM CHUK and DEAR GALILEO
And Burma’s hyenas are no laughing matter
The temptation to
over-praise a movie such as Sam Chuk is considerable, especially when seen
in the context of everything else currently on view in Chiang Mai’s cinemas.
Though - by an extraordinary coincidence - the two films currently worth
seeing are both Thai. Like tuk-tuks, rare when you want one and then
available in tandem. Well, two swallows a summer do not make, (let alone one
and a half), but each is worth your hundred baht and one of them, Sam Chuk,
is worth considerably more.
Dear Galileo is based on some aspects of the director’s time in Europe and
follows the adventures and misadventures of two young Thai girls as they
grow up in London, Paris and Venice, having fled because of, in one case, a
suspension at school and in the second because of boyfriend trouble. As you
can see, they have a lot of growing up to do.
Nicely shot, if a little clichéd in that direction, it is also prettily
acted and does not require too much suspension of disbelief once they arrive
in the west. There are accurate observations of loneliness and of unsmiling
foreigners (you can’t depend on the kindness of most strangers, we soon
learn) and it is certainly an intelligent and lively Thai movie.
Its big brother Sam Chuk (the title refers to a town in the Suphon Buri
province, about an hour north west of the capital, not, as we farangs might
think, a central character.) The director is Thanit Jintanukul and he too
has chosen a ‘true’ story as the basis for his movie, but this one deals
with the starker realities of drug abuse and juvenile alienation in a market
town. I should add that the movie is anything but bleak, since its central
theme is one of optimism and courage. I never understand when people say
that such and such a film is ‘depressing’ or not entertainment, when in fact
the words sad or thought provoking might be more apt. Perhaps having
emotions stirred or being obliged not to check your brain in at the box
office is a step too far.
As my film colleague on the Mail aptly noted, it is unusual for a Thai movie
to tackle a social theme and even more so when it criticizes directly and
obliquely those ‘in charge’. Any straightforward description of it will do
it less than justice, since it will inevitably omit the wry and near tragic
nuances of the plot but, briefly, here goes.
The setting is the recent present and the story concerns seven teenage boys
who, for a variety of emotional and physical reasons, meld into a little
gang of drug users. A wise and sympathetic teacher at their high school is
the only person who attempts not only to understand but also to save them
from a decline and fall. Parents, girl friends, other teachers and the local
community all fail to some degree but through their own efforts and that of
their new ‘father’, the youngsters pull through.
The director has managed his busy plot, following the trials and
tribulations of the septet with some real skill and energy. The reasons for
the individual problems are well sketched, the adult responses convincing
and the actions of the boys (and the acting) utterly believable. Thanit
Jintanukul has directed the youngsters most persuasively, even when the
action and some dialogue is not entirely credible. A lot goes on in this
film and the nearly two hours presents a roller coaster ride of emotion and
There’s no special pleading here, even if the dice are shown as loaded
against some of the boys. They are depicted as vulnerable teenagers (is
there another kind?) Some give into temptation, others do not. ‘Judge not’,
says the movie. Although of course they are judged, except by the quiet
teacher who turns their lives around in a relentless, gripping and
It would be easy to find faults in the film. The music is over insistent,
especially in the second half. The teacher is a little sketchily drawn and
there is some weak acting in the smaller roles. It really required a great
editor to help shape the complicated story which at times overwhelms us. But
to anyone who has the slightest interest in either cinema or Thailand this
is a treat and an antidote to the mindless cash buckets which fill the
cinemas every week.
When I recall the slovenly portrayals and the overblown presences of the
leads in Pelham or the totally uninteresting ‘teenage’ leads in Potter, I
realise that here is an inexpensive and honest film which is worth ten of
those movies. It is not that the directors of those big works are
untalented, it is simply that they lack both heart and brains. Plainly,
Jintanukul has both intact. He has no need for pointless jump cuts, freeze
frames, zooms, dissolves, slow motion, fast motion and the range of
pointless so-called cinematic tricks which attempt to divert us from the
paucity of material on screen. No, he simply offers us some truth,
compassion and an involvement in the lives of fellow human beings. Something
that Tony Scott has not achieved in dozens of mindless capers, nor ever
The dictionary definition of a hyena states: carrion feeding
carnivore. It’s near fellow, the spotted hyena rates: resembles hyena, but
has a hysterical (sounding) laugh.
Q. How do you turn hyena-style Burmese generals into the spotted variety?
A. You get the Director of the U.N., Ban ki-Moon, to send each of them a
copy of the latest communiqué from the 15 or so most important members of
the U.N. (including the big five and some ASEAN members), stating that they
‘confidently expect’ that Aung San Su Kyi and the 2000 plus political
prisoners in Burmese jails will soon be released.
a biological miracle.
Still don’t get it? Let’s elaborate. The hyena is a widely
despised species, which feeds off others. It is a cunning, relentless
scavenger which is disliked by humans and other animals and no doubt by
fellow hyenas who would soon turn on it at any show of weakness or illness.
As stated by the dictionary, the spotted variety is similar but for its
shrill inhuman laugh, which makes it sound as unpleasant as it looks. So as
that missive was sent last week following a behind –closed - doors meeting,
the generals must have changed their spots, hysterically laughing at the
suggestion of an amnesty or the slightest change of policy.
They and their corrupt courts show no intention of long term reconciliation,
or of letting people go free. No intention of holding fair elections. No
desire for peace internally or achieving proper relations with foreign
powers, except those who supply arms, buy jade and rubies and consider
helping them obtain nuclear weapons. They make occasional gestures, but
still insult emissaries, consuls, ambassadors, even prime ministers and the
head of the U.N. They let people die in their thousands after a cyclone and
steal from the charities who try to give aid. They have held a mock trial
and make a mockery of the rest of the world. The U.N., the E.U. and all the
other initialed organizations and groups may ‘confidently expect’ precisely
nothing. Truly these hyenas are no laughing matter.
Let's Go To The Movies:
by Mark Gernpy
Now playing in Chiang
Orphan: US/ Canada/ Germany, Horror/ Mystery/ Thriller – This is
a dandy little horror film! I thoroughly enjoyed it! A husband and wife
who recently lost their baby adopt a 9-year-old girl who is not nearly as
innocent as she claims to be. Rated R in the US for disturbing violent
content, some sexuality, and language. Mixed or average reviews.
If you enjoy a good spooky horror film now and then, I recommend you check
this out. It’s quite well done.
But there’s an interesting side note to this showing, which is apropos of
the new ratings system supposedly soon to be implemented, and throws into
relief the whole question of film censorship in Thailand. There are two
glaringly obvious censorship cuts in this film as shown here in Chiang Mai,
clear for all to see – one having to do with sex, one having to do with
violence. They are just crude chops in the film, no question of pixilation
or the like. You can’t miss them.
It has ever been thus in my time in Thailand. There has been one current of
censorship, legally sanctioned, that has gone the pixilation, fuzz, or blob
route, and at the same time an independent cutting current that, with
authority to do so or not, just simply cuts a scene or a part of a scene
that someone somewhere finds objectionable.
I have a feeling that these kinds of cuts will continue, no matter what film
rating system may be enacted.
Trail of the Panda: China, Family – A Disney live action film directed
by Chinese director Yu Zhong and shot in the wilderness of Wolong, Sichuan
(the area that was destroyed during the massive earthquake of May 2008).
It’s the story of a panda cub that is separated from its mother and
subsequently rescued by an orphaned boy after going through a series of
hardships and dangers in the forest.
Pandering to the Panda craze sweeping Thailand, this film seems tailor-made
for Thais. From whatever language it was in originally, we have a pure
Thai-dubbed version on the soundtrack here, English subtitles, and Thai and
English language on the screen for titles and such. Made in conjunction
with China’s Wolong Panda Reservation, it’s a plea for understanding of
pandas and for preserving their existence. (The parents of the new Chiang
Mai Zoo panda cub born May 27 are from the Wolong Panda center.)
The story is sweet and the film has several things to recommend it –
including the very winning 11-year-old boy who stars, the loving shots of
the countryside, the animal photography – and I think it’s overall a good
film for families with kids.
Jija - Raging Phoenix: Thai, Action/ Romance – Martial arts film
starring the amazing girl from the film Chocolate, Jija Yanin, a true
female action icon, who here combines her startling martial art style with a
love story and break dancing. A rather odd mix of a film, but it should
please martial arts fans.
In Country & Melody 2 / E-Som Somwang: Thai, Comedy/ Musical – Som and
Somwang from the first episode abandon their musical band to pursue their
dreams in Bangkok.
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: US, Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller –
From Hasbro the toy-makers we get another action-adventure film based on
toys, very much like Transformers: Nonsensical mayhem, and very loud,
The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3: US/ UK, Crime/ Drama/ Thriller – I found it
a thoroughly engrossing and exciting film, and a satisfying dramatic
experience. Rated R in the US for violence and pervasive language. Mixed
or average reviews.
Dear Galileo: Thai, Comedy/ Drama – A pleasant enough diversion about
girls on their own in Europe – low-keyed and low-powered, slow and
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: US/ UK, Adventure/ Fantasy/
Romance – This, the latest and darkest Harry Potter episode, is a dazzling
film, with brilliant cinematography, fantastic effects, and moments of
emotional power. Generally favorable reviews.
Scheduled for August 20
Inglourious Basterds: US/ Germany, Action/ Adventure/ War
– Quentin Tarantino’s long-awaited (over ten years in the making) and
exceptionally bloody tale of Jewish-American troops on the hunt for Nazi
scalps in World War II France, starring Brad Pitt. Rated R in the US for
strong graphic violence, language, and brief sexuality. Early reviews:
Bandslam: US, Comedy/ Drama/ Music – Probably the only film ever with a
character named “Sa5m.” (Hint, the “5” is silent; it’s a sign of her
independence, you know?) A new kid in town, teenager Will Burton, assembles
a fledgling rock band to compete against the best in the biggest event of
the year, a battle of the bands.
Buppha Rahtree 3.2: Rahtree’s Revenge: Thai, Horror/ Romance – The
incremental sequel to Buppah Rahtree 3.1: Rahtree Reborn that
continues the romantic-horror story of the revengeful ghost of Buppha and
her love struck cartoonist.
Bridge in Paradise :
by Neil Robinson
This hand was played by Andrew Robson in the 4th European
Open Championships. It is a perfect example of whether to choose a technical
or a psychological play to make a contract. South dealt and all were
vulnerable. This was the bidding:
South West North East
1C 1H Dbl P
1N P 3N All
Imagine you are sitting
South. West led the six of hearts and you see dummy and your hand as below.
You may wonder about South opening 1C instead of 1D—Robson was playing an
unusual bidding system. North’s double is negative, showing the unbid suits.
You have a good stopper in hearts so you bid 1N and your partner raises to
3N. These are the North and South hands:
From the bidding, West
surely has the ace of hearts so you are bound to win the first trick. You
have four diamond tricks and three top spade tricks to go with it. But that
still leaves you one trick short. Furthermore, you are wide open in clubs—a
club switch will find you losing four clubs (at least) to go with the ace of
hearts and you will be down. So, how do you make the ninth trick?
There are three possible routes there. You could play another heart, losing
to the ace and hoping to make a second heart trick next. However, your
opponents are experts so will switch to clubs immediately and get you down
(dummy’s strong suits will put them off playing spades or diamonds). The
second possible route is the technical one. Win the king of hearts on board
and lead a low spade to the ten, hoping the jack of spades is with East.
After all, this rates to be better than a 50% chance because West must have
five or more hearts and therefore has fewer cards outside the heart suit. Do
you see the third possible route? This is the psychological play in which
you attempt to fool your opponents. Win the king of hearts and immediately
lead a low club towards your hand. With luck your opponents will think you
are trying to set up clubs and will continue hearts. So which would you
choose? Andrew Robson tried the technical approach and went down when West
showed up with the spade jack (see full deal below). I don’t really know
what I would have done at the table, but I hope I would have led a club,
because there is a special pleasure in fooling the opposition!
S: J932 S: 864
H: A9864 H: 52
D: 2 D: 10843
C: AQ5 C:
The Bridge Club of Chiang
Mai welcomes 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] If you have bridge questions, or to send me
your interesting hands, please contact me at: [email protected]