The Doctor's Consultation: by Dr. Iain Corness
Testing, testing, testing
At this time of year many
people are taking advantage of the reduced prices on check-up packages which
are on offer. These packages list the tests which can be done, with most
having an item called “complete blood count”. However, when the patients
later ask, “What were my AIDS results?” or “What is my blood group?” or
similar. In most instances I have to disappoint them, because unless the
specific test for HIV antibodies, or blood group, was requested, there will
be no record of it, even though the initial test was called a “complete
The sad part is a “complete blood count” is actually very far from complete!
The reason for this is simple. There are so many tests that can be done,
that testing would go on for weeks if you wanted “everything” checked. For
example, the Australian Royal College of Pathologist’s Manual of Use and
Interpretation of Pathology Tests that sits on my desk lists 150 pages of
tests that can be carried out. These include such items as a Reptilase Time,
something I have never requested in 40 years of practice, or a red cell
In check-up packages we are just casting a ‘wide net’ to see what
abnormalities we can turn up to use to find the definitive diagnosis. One of
the commonest tests is called the “Complete Blood Count” (CBC), or in some
countries called the Full Blood Count (FBC).
The CBC does provide important information about the kinds and numbers of
cells in the blood: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. A CBC
can help us evaluate symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, or bruising and
even directly diagnose conditions such as anemia, infection, and many other
The CBC test usually includes the white blood cell (WBC) count as these
cells protect the body against infection. If an infection develops, white
blood cells attack and destroy the bacteria, virus, or other organism
causing it. White blood cells are bigger than red blood cells and normally
fewer in number. When a person has a bacterial infection, the number of
white cells can increase dramatically. There are five major kinds of white
blood cells: neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and
basophils. The numbers of each one of these types of white blood cells give
important information about the immune system. An increase or decrease in
the numbers of the different types of white blood cells can help identify
infection, an allergic or toxic reaction to certain medications or
chemicals, and many conditions (such as leukemia).
The red blood cell (RBC) count is also part of the CBC. Red blood cells
carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. They also help carry
carbon dioxide back to the lungs. If the RBC count is low, the body may not
be getting the oxygen it needs. If the count is too high (a condition called
polycythemia), there is a risk that the red blood cells will clump together
and block blood vessels (thrombosis).
Another test is Hematocrit. This test measures the amount of space (volume)
the red blood cells occupy in the blood. The value is given as a percentage
of red blood cells in a volume of blood. For example, a hematocrit of 38
means that 38 percent of the blood’s volume is composed of red cells.
Hemoglobin (Hb) is the substance in a red blood cell that carries the
oxygen. The hemoglobin level is a good indication of the blood’s ability to
carry oxygen throughout the body.
There is also the platelet (thrombocyte) count, which is an important part
of the CBC. Platelets are the smallest type of blood cell and play a major
role in blood clotting. If there are too few platelets, uncontrolled
bleeding may be a problem, such as occurs in Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever.
So even though the CBC does test for many factors, there are still another
149 pages of tests that can be done! If you want to know your blood group,
or your HIV status, you have to ask!
Heart to Heart
I am a friend of Dr Iain and as I enjoy his medical column I read the
PM, most weeks. I always read your column and Graham Macdonald’s and am
amused and entertained by your column; it has a ‘style’ of its own.
Can I tell you about a friend of mine. The story is almost 180 degrees
from your tales of boy meets girl, boy gives girl car and house, girl
dumps boy and takes car, house and contents of bank account, boy
complains to Hillary.
My friend, mid forties, good career and prospects met an incredible Thai
lady. She is from a wealthy old family, she graduated from a Thai
university in BKK, then grad school in UK, now number three in huge
family business, but really the driving force. Tall, beautiful, elegant,
family wealth, independent wealth, a real class act.
They met thru work, lunched together for a year, dated for about a year,
are now a ‘couple’. So touching to be with them, their love for each
other is palpable.
He has never met her parents and they say they never will meet him. They
do not go to prominent places together, never hold hands or show any
affection in public. Her sister (who he knows well) recently married, he
was not invited to the wedding. They go out together, in a large group,
but rarely as a twosome. Their joy is holidays out of Thailand where
they can relax and be a loving couple.
He is totally unacceptable as a husband for her, even tho at 37 she
would have problems finding a Thai husband.
As I say, it is ironic because it is diametrically opposed to the
situations that you often document. At the lower end of the
socio-economic scale the ex-pat is a pot of gold at the higher levels he
is a bucket of clay.
Thank you for the nice words about the column, and I shall pass on your
messages to Dr. Iain and Graham Macdonald. I am sure they will be
delighted to know someone has praised their prose.
However, I don’t really agree with your summation of the situation.
Generalizations are always dangerous (even this one). There are many,
many examples of mixed marriages in Thailand, including those from which
the children have risen to positions such as senators in the Thai
The situation as you describe it with this couple is not as dire as you
are presenting. Their relationship is one that they have worked out as
being commensurate and suitable with her position, in an obviously
prejudiced household. She is, as you have said, independently wealthy -
so why don’t they just elope, if they are so much in love? Let me answer
that, Petal. Because she is tied to her family by her own culture and
she does not wish to break that bond, even though racial prejudice is
present in her parents. Racial prejudice is not something that Thai
society invented either. It is present in many, many cultures, as I am
sure you would have to agree. I would also not agree with your statement
that at 37 she would have problems finding a Thai husband. Being from a
rich family with a huge family business, there would be plenty of
potential husbands taken from other rich Thai families.
No Mike, my Petal, your friend and his lady are where they are, because
it works for them, even though it does not fit with your culture or
societal mores. Certainly in the poorer socio-economic area the
foreigner does represent a pot of gold, even without a rainbow, but not
all foreign husbands married to a Thai lady from the impecunious end of
town end up needing to complain to Hillary.
However, you do sound like a nice man, with good intentions. I am
attracted to men such as that, especially after a year of weekly
champagne (French, darling) and chocolates. (Please make sure you
underline “For Hillary” on the package(s), or otherwise the wretched
delivery boy will snitch it.)
Why do the Thai girls all wear those molded plastic and rubber bras that
look like two dumplings attached to the front of their chests? It is
obvious that the lumps don’t belong to them, but come from their bra
manufacturer. I’m like a lot of guys and like a nice pair on a girl, but
real ones, not rubber ones, please.
Tim the T-man
Dear Tim the T-man,
I presume you mean Tim the Toyman, you naughty little Petal! I must
admit that I have never heard the girls in the lingerie shops asking if
madam would like one lump or two, as I have heard in some five star
restaurants over coffee. Perhaps something swinging is going on behind
the kitchen swinging doors, that Hillary is unaware of. Dearie me! Since
Thai girls were standing behind the door when the chests were given out
(the Russian ladies made it to the front row), we have to do something
to catch the eye of Toymen like you, Tim. So you have discovered our
secret. Don’t tell everyone, that’s a good boy.
by Harry Flashman
The world’s best portrait photographer?
portraits of people represent around 90 percent of all
photographs, there have been more than just a few portrait
photographers, both amateur and professional. Names like Irving
Penn and Richard Avedon come immediately to mind. Many
portraitists, especially as photo technology improved, have
produced spectacular portraits with dramatic flash strobe
lighting, or have used amazing props to give the photo just that
little something extra, but was that really needed? I would
Look at this week’s photograph, that of the eminent historian
Thomas Carlyle. It was taken in 1867 and is ranked as one of the
most powerful portraits in the history of photography. I have
written about this before, but it stands repetition. This is
photography with a capital P!
Now look again - technically it is imperfect. There is blurring
of the image, but when you realise that the shutter was open for
probably around three minutes, then you can see why. The sitter
could not possibly remain motionless for that period of time.
The dynamics of this shot come from the very first principles of
photography - painting with light. It is not the subject - it is
the way you light the subject. The light is falling on the
sitter almost from the side and slightly above. One eye is
partially lit and the other in shadow. The hair and beard show
up strongly. The photo is totally confrontational.
Analyse further. If the face had been front lit, and both eyes,
the nose and the mouth were all clearly visible then there would
be no air of mystery. The dark shadow areas of the photograph
have made you look further into it. You begin to imagine what
the features were like. You also begin to imagine what the
person was like. You have just experienced the “perfect”
The shot was taken by Julia Margaret Cameron (1815 – 1879) a
British lady who had been raised in India, in the days of the
British Raj. Surrounded by servants, she had never had to do
anything for herself, and yet, in her late forties she took up
the new fangled notion of photography. This was not the age of
the point and shoot simplicity we enjoy today. This was the age
of making your own photographic plates by painting a mixture of
chemicals all over it - chemicals you mixed yourself - exposing
the plate in a wooden box camera and then fixing the negative in
more chemicals and finally making a print.
It was the 29th of January 1864 when Mrs. Cameron finally
produced her first usable print. She had made the exposure at 1
p.m. and in her diary recorded the fact that by 8 p.m. she had
made and framed the final print. (And you think you are doing it
tough if you have to wait two hours, instead of one!)
However, she would not have managed to photograph so many of the
notables of the era had it not been for her next door neighbour,
the Poet Laureate, Alfred Lord Tennyson. After Tennyson saw his
portrait he persuaded his eminent friends to sit for her as
well. Most of these portraits were different from the Thomas
Carlyle photograph in that they were taken in profile. Mrs.
Cameron felt that the innate intelligence could be more easily
seen in the profile and this may have been the result of the
influence of the quasi-science of Phrenology, whereby your
cranial bumps showed your true talents, which was all the rage
at that time!
Julia Margaret Cameron contributed to photography by showing
that it is the eye of the photographer that dictates the
photograph, not the “smartness” of the equipment.
So you can stop reading the photographic magazines to see if you
should buy the latest offering with 300 megapixels and one
zillionth of a second shutter speed and dedicated flash power
for up to three kilometers and just go out and take photographs
with what you have got. Look at what is in front of you and
“make” your own photographs “work” for you. Thus endeth the
inspirational lesson. Thank you Mrs. Cameron. Class dismissed!
Money Matters: Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.
A man’s home is his castle, part 2
The London Telegraph recently
reported, “Rising unemployment and a failure of mortgage lenders to offer cheap
home loans will mean property will stay unaffordable for too many consumers,
forcing prices down in a second wave of house price falls.”
Capital Economics is forecasting that the price of housing in the UK will fall
by ten percent in 2010 and another five percent the year after that. If they are
right then prices will fall back below the recent low of six months ago. Some
think they are being too pessimistic but, even if there is a recovery quicker
than everyone thinks then it will be accompanied by a rise in interest rates
which will put extra, unwanted pressure for lower house prices. If people
believe Capital Economics is being overly gloomy then it is just as well they
did not see the recent Fitch report which is predicting a 17% drop.
Whilst it is true there has been a recovery in the price of housing over the
last three months, this is only because owners will not sell at a lower price
than they think they should. They can hold out for a price they want because of
the chronic housing shortage in the UK.
Capital Economics do not think this is sustainable as there is every chance of
large scale redundancies occurring in the public sector in the near future. This
will help to push the unemployment total through the three million mark which
will force tens of thousands of people to see their houses.
Apart from the last three months, any expat still holding property back in the
UK will have experienced more than just a sense of loss in the last 18 months.
While it is clear that there are regional variations between markets in the UK,
overall there has been very real degradation of value throughout the whole
property market. Anyone with a large mortgage will be feeling the pain even
more, as their hard-earned assets fall, while their debt to the bank feels
increasingly like a millstone around their neck.
And while some welcome the reduction in mortgage interest rates through the Bank
of England easing its base rates to historical lows, a significant increase in
mortgage lending from banks has so far failed to materialise, leaving the
property market languishing, and overall heading lower.
From a distance, it’s hard to know what to do. Sell now and crystallize any
losses, exit the market, and hope you don’t miss any bounce back? But sell to
whom? Or grit your teeth and wait the slump out…as long as your bank manager
will let you. Sadly for those who have chosen to hold their ‘bolt hole’ back in
the UK in the hope it recovers in value, 2008 was a very tough year. In the 12
months to December 2008, the UK Property 350 Index slid almost 54% from a high
of 3875 and, as indicated above, it is a brave man who can say with confidence
the worst is over.
As we have seen already, to make matters worse, many respected analysts are
predicting this is just the first year in a prolonged downturn in the property
market, and the ‘good times’ are still many years off.
Yet in all this doom and gloom there is a product that provides ‘peace of mind’
to UK property owners worried about their asset values sliding further. It is
called “UK Property Protector”. This helps UK property owners protect themselves
against further falls in the value of their homes. What it does essentially is
insure your property against further losses of value. This is done by signing up
for a derivative option known as a CFD or Contract for Difference that retains
its value against the UK Property 350 Index. You simply pay a one off ‘premium
payment’ equal to 5% of the estimated property value and in return get a hedge,
based on the UK Property 350 Index against further falls in the value of UK
properties. The hedge is not protected (i.e. it reduces in value and ultimately
lapses if the value of the property increases) but it is open ended and can be
realised at any time that suits the plans of the home owner.
To illustrate the point, let us imagine a fictional Mr. Smith who owns a
property which was estimated to be worth GBP200,000 at the end of 2007 with an
outstanding mortgage of GBP80,000 and therefore equity of GBP120,000. He has
seen the market slip in the last 12 months and the reality is that even in that
area it’s likely to be worth anything between GBP170,000 and GBP180,000 if he
can find a buyer today.
Mr. Smith is now really worried it could slip further as unemployment increases,
industry slows, exports and international trade drop and it is looking like it
will take some time for the market to recover. He’s also concerned about his own
position if he is due to repatriate back to head office.
Luckily Mr. Smith made a one-off payment of GBP10,000 to buy a
Property-Protector premium in December of 2007 to protect the value of his
property against any further falls in the market. By the end of last year the
value of that insurance was over GBP96,809 (See chart).
Although Mr. Smith is concerned that the value might fall further and that
normally he might just leave the policy in place and continue to use it to
insure the property value, he took the opportunity at the end of last year to
redeem his policy, pay off the mortgage and use the spare proceeds to reinsure
the value of his property at current levels, paying a new open-ended premium of
The good news for Mr. Smith is that he is now mortgage free, and his financial
position has improved by GBP66,809 despite a GBP20,000 fall in the value of his
In fact, the very good news for Mr. Smith is that since that point the 350
Property Index is down by a further 12.6% - Mr. Smith’s second Property
Protector that he bought would now be worth over GBP20,000 already!
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
George Orwell, a better
essayist than novelist, remarked many times on the ‘character’ of his
nation: (as, for example, Inside the Whale, ‘A family with the wrong members
in control- that, perhaps, is as near as one can come to describing England
in a phrase’). He also considered that the dominant trait of the English was
hypocrisy, which may be true, though I doubt whether we have a monopoly on
falsely pretending to be virtuous or sincere.
In Thailand, for example, there are glaring examples of hypocrisy which
costs lives whilst giving the appearance of being socially and culturally
correct. As most people are aware it is impossible, legally, to buy alcohol
before 11.00 and between 14.00 and 17.00 in the afternoon. This is a sop to
the anti-drinking lobby and ostensibly to protect children from the
temptation of buying booze on the way to and from school or college.
Now let’s not pretend that alcohol abuse is not a problem here as in most
other countries, contributing to domestic violence, road deaths, other
accidents and loss of working hours and so on. But inhibiting the sale of
alcohol, rather than education and sensible strictures (a demand for I.D.,
for example, to prove age), is not an answer to the problem. The reluctance
to face up to drug abuse is far more of a threat to young people.
The attitude to smoking also shows a willingness to paper over cracks,
rather than attack the structural problem. This disgusting and harmful habit
is not really discouraged by a restriction on displaying packets, nor does
it fool anyone when a t.v. screen is partly blocked out when a hand is seen
holding a cigarette or cigar and an outline is clearly visible behind the
fuzz. Such nonsense is hypocritical pandering to people who are seemingly
concerned about health problems. Raising the tax dramatically and spending
money on education and anti-smoking campaigns would be more constructive.
Meanwhile back on the roads, there is another law supposedly in force which
is also designed to protect people, especially youngsters and this is
virtually ignored by the authorities at a vast cost to human lives, and, if
you wish to be mercenary, to the economy. Technically riders are meant to
wear crash helmets (and I assume drivers to wear seat belts) but well over
50 per cent of riders flout this law. Is the non insistence on helmets a
refusal to ‘intrude’ in peoples’ lives or is it a money raising scheme? By
which I mean the setting of a fine at some 200 baht, which suggests that
many people are able to pay the amount and find it inconvenient but not
sufficient enough amount to be a deterrent. Ipso facto the money continues
to be collected at the road blocks which are part of our everyday lives and
incidentally waste resources.
If the authorities were really serious about saving lives then they would
follow Vietnam or Italy when faced with the same problem and large number of
fatalities and make a determined effort to improve road safety in this and
other areas. As it is, farangs can ignore the ruling since 200 baht hardly
concerns them, nor indeed many well off Thais. The hard working minorities
pay more and suffer by having motorcycles impounded. But nothing new there.
So here we are just four months away from the cull or slaughter and maiming
which characterises Songkran and there is no determined effort to save the
hundreds of lives which will be lost between now and around April 15. A
serious publicity campaign, the police being able to stop people
individually rather than in planned ambushes, a large fine for repeat
offenders, the possible confiscation of a vehicle and a deadline( an apt
word if ever I coined one) on determined action would be some way to an
The above ‘laws’ are all worthy of concern, with only the silliness of the
licensing laws being impractical ( booze can be got any time, including
official holidays by anyone in the know). But either enforce them or not.
Show you are against something or cease to pretend. Lip service never saved
a life except in the case of mouth to mouth resuscitation.
Thinking of Orwell, whose best work, in my opinion, comes in the novel
Burmese Days, and the essays Inside the Whale and Shooting an Elephant, I
was led on to recall other writers’ comments about England. George Mikes,
who came from Hungary ‘for a fortnight’ and never left the U.K. wrote
amusingly about his adopted country in such books as How to be an Alien. He
wrote in How to be Inimitable ‘The one class you do NOT belong to and are
not proud of is the lower middle class. No one ever describes himself as
belonging to the lower middle class’. Absolutely true, of the most class
conscious nation on earth.
Not being English, he was nicer than those born there, but that acute
observer of English life and foibles, Alan Bennett, was also accurate on
many occasions including in his play The Old Country: ‘They are the most
embarrassed people in the world, The English. Not able to look each other in
the face. Is there anyone not embarrassed in England? The Queen perhaps’.
His observations were acute about so many things, though. Among his gems I
cherish is: ‘One of the few lessons I have learned in life is that there is
invariably something odd about women who wear ankle socks’.
Bennett is often quite gently mocking about life and the English, but
another (finer) playwright had stricter views on them and wrote some of the
most savage and violent plays in the language, including Saved, Lear and
Narrow Road to the Deep South. In the last he observed caustically (and
finally for this week’s column): ‘The English sent all their bores abroad,
and acquired the empire as a punishment’.
Let's Go To The Movies:
by Mark Gernpy
Cirque du Freak is now scheduled
for January 7.
Now playing in Chiang Mai
Couples Retreat: US, Comedy – A comedy centered around four
couples who settle into a tropical-island resort for a vacation. One of the
couples is there to work on their marriage, and the others fail to realize
that participation in the resort’s therapy sessions is not optional.
Generally unfavorable reviews. At Airport Plaza only.
Yam Yasothon 2 / Hello Yasothorn 2: Thai, Comedy – Thai down-country
comedy with popular comedian Mum Jokmok, a couple of his off-spring, and a
bevy of the usual TV comedians, all in colorful costumes engaged in rustic
humor. A sequel to 2005’s popular country comedy.
Disney’s A Christmas Carol: US, Animation/ Drama/ Family/ Fantasy – It’s
still the best thing in town, in my opinion. I think it’s brilliant!
Please, if you at all like animation, don’t miss it. Not all of it is warm
and comforting as you might expect in a Disney film – large portions of the
early parts are instead dark and grim. It’s a faithful recreation of the
Charles Dickens classic – one of literature’s most haunting tales.
Set in the impoverished gloom of Victorian England, it’s both a ghost story
and a morality play — and as such, it’s meant to scare the daylights out of
us. Before Scrooge can shed his money-grubbing ways, he must stare death
and damnation in the face and have a full-on conversion experience: heavy
stuff for PG. Only mixed or average reviews, but I can’t recommend it
highly enough. Shown in 3D, which in this case is a marvel, and only at
Airport Plaza. (There are higher prices for this film because of the 3D.)
The director and screenwriter behind the film is Robert Zemeckis, who’s now
made three films running with the performance-capture technique. His first
was Polar Express, his last was Beowulf, and next up is a
remake of Yellow Submarine, the classic Beatles animated film.
Ninja Assassin: US/ Germany, Action/ Crime/ Thriller – Seems to me
essentially a blood-soaked combination of physical stunts and digital
trickery, featuring the shyly expressive Korean pop star Rain, one of People
magazine’s “Most Beautiful People” in 2007. Not recommended, unless you’re
easily delighted by ultraviolence for its own sake. Otherwise, this thinly
plotted movie with low-grade thrills about a young ninja’s revenge against
his cruel trainers will disappoint. I found the shadowy action too often
incomprehensible, and you end up with nothing but a ceaseless muddle of
sliced-off appendages, jets of blood splashing artfully on walls, gurgling
screams, and flashing swords. But, to be honest, I guess there’s a
cathartic value to all the bloodletting. Rated R in the US for strong
bloody stylized violence throughout, and language. 18+ in Thailand. Review
scores have dropped - now “generally unfavorable” reviews.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon: US, Drama/ Fantasy/ Romance – This led at
the movie box office for the second weekend in a row, but narrowly. As
expected it dropped considerably in ticket sales, after a first weekend of
out-and-out fan frenzy. Running on the sheer momentum of its massive
opening, New Moon soared past the $200 million mark on its eighth day
of release and, in the process, eclipsed its predecessor Twilight,
which had a final haul of $192.8 million. That, of course, also made it the
biggest vampire movie on record.
Yes, it’s a phenomenon, all right, but it’s not for me; I was bored. It’s
for teenaged girls with raging hormones who want romance, not sex – very
safe romance, with just the vaguest threat of titillating danger. Remember,
vast numbers of people like this movie. It’s really just a matter of taste.
If you’re a teenaged girl with raging hormones, you’ll love it! Mixed or
average reviews. Vista has only a Thai-dubbed version.
The third movie in the series, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, is already
completed, and is scheduled to arrive here June 30 of next year, or just
seven months from now. Can’t you just hardly wait?
2012: US/ Canada, Action/ Drama/ Thriller – The end of (almost) the
whole world, as only Director Roland Emmerich can show it, and very well
done indeed. The director’s had lots of practice. A Thai-dubbed version is
available at both locations.
Scheduled for December 10
Pai in Love: Thai, Romance/ Comedy – Thai romantic comedy
directed by Tanit Jitnukul, who directed the marvelous film Samchuk
released earlier this year; I was very impressed by that film, and am very
fond of it. Here we have a love story about a group of friends who all
happen to take a winter vacation to the same place – Pai. Somehow, in that
small province, they all find the true meaning of love. Well, why not? In
the cast is the Thai-award-winning actor, Ray MacDonald, who though Thai has
some Scottish ancestry, and has a string of Thai movies to his credit.
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?: By Eric Danell, Dokmai Garden
So many Citrus!
Any cooking recipe demands
the correct ingredients. If you have your own collection of kitchen plants,
you won’t need to hesitate. But if you don’t, how can you obtain them? In
Thai plant markets there are numerous Citrus all with differing
names. Many sellers mix up the names “Lime” and “Lemon”. When you explain
what a Lemon looks like, they may give you a Citron. To further confuse the
situation, “Citron” means “Lemon” in several European languages. Therefore,
you have to identify the plant yourself. Since fruits and flowers may not be
present at the market, and since the plants are sprayed with insecticides I
wouldn’t recommend tasting them. So, I focus on the leaf, which has a
leafstalk with or without outgrowths called “wings”: on the C. hystrix
(Makrut lime, Makrut): the wings are as big as the leaf. The C. maxima
(Pomelo, Somo) has large leaves with pronounced wings that resemble a heart.
C. x aurantiifolia (Lime, Manao) has tiny flat wing about 2 mm broad
while the C. reticulata (Mandarin, Som khiao wan) has a leafstalk
with thickened margins. C. x limon (Lemon, Manao thet) has no wing
and a jointed leafstalk and theC. medica (Citron, Som ma ngua) has a
blunt leaf and short stalk without characteristics. A recent DNA study shows
that the Pomelo, Citron, Mandarin and Makrut lime are natural species. The
common Orange/Som kliang (C. x aurantium Sweet Orange Group), which I
have never seen grown in Chiang Mai, is a cross between the Mandarin and the
Pomelo. The Lemon is a cross between an Orange and Citron while the
Grapefruit (C. x aurantium Grapefruit Group) is a cross between an
Orange and Pomelo. The Lime is a cross between Citron and Makrut lime.
Within a species or hybrid, there can be hundreds of named varieties.
Back in your garden, don’t over water or water on the leaves. Use bone meal
which is rich in phosphorus, and avoid nitrogen. Keep the Lemon in a pot,
since the roots have problems with tropical rains. My favourite Citrus is
Pomelo, which is a hardy Southeast Asian species. It has sensually scented
flowers and noble varieties have delicious fruits. It is a host plant for
many butterflies, so don’t spray! [email protected]
Bridge in Paradise :
by Neil Robinson
Here is another bidding challenge. West deals with no one vulnerable.
Imagine you are sitting South. The bidding starts as shown below—what do you
H: AJ84 H:
D: AQJ1098 D: K62
West North East South
1D Dbl 1H ?
Your partner doubles for takeout,
asking you to bid a suit. If East had passed, then you would have had to bid
something. Since East bid, you are off the hook and can pass. You have a
fairly poor five point hand. Do you bid or do you pass?
Assume you pass. West likes his hand (with a fit for East’s hearts, good
long diamonds and a singleton club) and goes straight to four hearts. The
contract makes, provided declarer finesses North for the queen of trumps,
which is indicated because it was North who did the bidding. EW take four
hearts and six diamonds, losing only two spade tricks and a club. Ten tricks
made for 420 against you.
Now assume you bid one spade, since your partner should have four spades for
the takeout double. West still bids four hearts but North can now overcall
four spades since he knows you have something in the suit. You finesse
successfully for the king of spades and lose only two hearts and one
diamond. You take four spade tricks, five clubs and a diamond ruff on board.
Again ten tricks made but this time for 420 your way, a swing of 840.
This is one of those deals, surprisingly common, where both sides can make
game. The moral of the story is that, if you want to be on the side making
game rather than conceding it, then you need to bid, particularly if you
think you have a fit with partner, and (within limits) no matter how bad
your hand is!
Bridge Club of Chiang Mai welcomes new players. For information on the Club
go to the web site at www.bridgeclubchiangmai .com. If you have bridge
questions, or to send me your interesting hands, please contact me at: