The Doctor's Consultation: by Dr. Iain Corness
End of year - and end of life
As we approach the end of 2009,
we look forward to 2010 and have the hope that it will be a better one than
this year. I hope so too, as none of us have been left untouched by the
fall-out from the world’s economic crisis.
However, there are those amongst us for whom New Year 2010 is possibly the
last one they will celebrate. How should those people living with terminal
cancer approach 2010? I prefer to call the situation ‘living’ with a
terminal cancer, rather than ‘dying’ from a terminal cancer. There is a
significant difference, and much more than looking at life through my
So you have just found out you have terminal cancer. What can you do? The
first thing is to sit down and take stock of your circumstances. All of us
know that the piece of string called “life” eventually comes to an end - but
we don’t know when. The only difference with you is that your doctor has
actually told you when your piece of “life” string is due to run out.
Now whilst the immediate thought is “How do I beat this?” there are many
factors you have to consider in the time ahead, and one of the main ones is
called ‘The Quality of Life’.
It is natural for a person with advanced cancer to feel many emotions
including anger, fear, and sadness. Just as you may need time to adjust to
this new phase of your life, your family and friends may also need time to
adjust to these new circumstances.
Once you were given the diagnosis, the onus is now on you to find out as
much as you can about your particular cancer. Talk with your treating
doctors, and get information from reliable internet sites. Note I say
“reliable” sites. There are always plenty of sites ready to sell you snake
oil. However, I do suggest you read everything and become the world expert
on your own condition. But don’t buy snake oil.
But back to Quality of Life. Now is the time to manage your symptoms. Your
quality of life is better if your symptoms are under control. Talk to your
doctors about the best way for you to manage your symptoms. Analgesics (pain
killers) are important, and there are many with different capabilities. With
some of the patch technology, the pain relief is almost as good as
injections. There’s a lot more than paracetamol.
Do not be afraid to ask your doctors to fully explain any proposed
treatment. Getting an extra two months of life, but at the cost of the
Quality of Life, may not be worth having. Always keep that in mind. Quality
of (the remaining) life is everything. You do not want to spend those
‘extra’ two months in an ICU recovering from major surgery.
Please make your wishes known as well. Making the decision to stop active
cancer treatments can be a hard choice for a person with cancer and their
family. These are personal choices. If you are faced with making these
decisions, talk with your family and doctors about your wishes and explore
all of your options. You are still able to make decisions about your life to
the extent that you desire. Just keep saying that mantra “Quality of Life”,
that is the key to everything at this stage. Don’t forget it!
You may also consider creating a ‘Living Will’ or giving specific
instructions on what your wishes are as your cancer progresses. This process
helps make your end-of-life wishes and desires known to family, friends, and
your doctors and can help ensure that your wishes are honored.
Sorry if the column this week sounds a little deep and dark, but it can give
assistance to those who feel as if all their options have gone. There are
always options. Even deciding not to continue with various therapies is an
option. From my personal point of view, I have taken note of the old phrase
“You can’t take it with you,” and consequently I have decided not to go.
That’s another option!
Care for Dogs:
By Ana Gracey, Care for Dogs
Dog of the Week-Cherry
Cherry is looking for a new home with a
What a gorgeous,
loving, special dog. Cherry is 2-3 years old, a little shy with
strangers but simply bursting with all the love she has to give the
right person. If you are looking for a sweet-natured, mature,
characterful companion, look no further. She is healthy, sterilised
and fully vaccinated. If you think Cherry could be the perfect match
for you or anyone you know, then contact Care for Dogs, English (08
47 52 52 55) Thai (08 69 13 87 01) or e-mail: [email protected]
carefordogs.org to make an appointment to meet her at the shelter.
Heart to Heart
We have all heard of copy Rolex watches, copy Nike sports wear, and copy
Gucci handbags in Thailand, but like you have yet to see any! Well
forget all the lovelorn letters you get Hillary and try and get to the
bottom of this one, copy Toilet Rolls!
Yes it’s no bum steer I’m giving you Hillary, here is the case in
question. I bought ‘Scott Extra Care’ toilet tissues. They were the best
I have ever had in Thailand, so soft. When I went to purchase toilet
tissues again I made sure I got exactly the same. I even took the
wrapper from the previous pack with me to be sure. To my surprise they
were nothing like the previous pack, more like sandpaper or that Zit
brand we can get!
Should I write to Kimberly Clark who are the makers of that brand, or
just sit and bear it?
I guess if I pursue the matter we might see that steam roller that is
used to demolish copy DVDs demolishing mountains of toilet rolls!
Anyway I thought this revelation would be a change from all the usual
letters we get to read. All the every best to you all at ‘The Mail’.
How nice to hear from you again. I always enjoy your bright and fluffy
emails, and sorry that you got rolled by some fakes. Obviously these
were actually the John Wayne brand (don’t take no sh*t from nobody). I
don’t think I can get any more double entendres out of this subject –
you grabbed them all first.
How is your young monk getting along with his diesel plant? All the best
for the New Year. With the price of fuel going up all the time, perhaps
I should be asking for diesel instead of champagne!
Sorry we can’t come over this Xmas and bring you some French bubbly and
chocolates, but it will have to wait until Easter next year. We always
enjoy your column but wonder are there really that many men so silly as
to imagine that a gorgeous 19 year old falls in love with a 70 year old
pensioner? All the best. Toorah.
George and Mabel
Dear George and Mabel,
You are correct. 70 year old pensioners should not be taken in by 19
year olds but should look for a 70 year old Thai woman to settle down
with. The Thai woman by that stage will be a grandmother and her
daughters will be sending her money each month, so this is an extra
income on top of his pension, and he can play with the grandchildren and
pretend they are his and then help with their homework.
It really needs Hillary to get up to Suvarnabhumi and direct the
traffic. Perhaps a ‘Silly Old Pensioners’ gate after they’ve been
through the ‘Aliens’ gate could be a good idea. I could match them up
with some old dears from up-country and charge a small ‘finders’ fee,
which I could spend at the champagne counter of the duty free at the
airport. I might even be able to stretch it to some chocs as well, if I
can grab a couple of the old codgers. Thank you for the great idea, and
have a nice Xmas and a great New Year too.
I am an American and I want to buy a house here in Thailand, but I
believe it is not possible for me to do this. Is this right? If so, is
there a way around this problem because I really would like to do this,
as I have met a fabulous little lady and would like to have a home for
us. I want to make sure I am the legal owner, just as I would check back
in the States.
I don’t know who told you this, my Petal, but they are wrong. Buying a
house is very easy for foreigners here, it’s just ‘owning’ it that is a
little more difficult. Let me explain, even though any reputable real
estate person could give you this advice better than I can. ‘Buying’
means giving somebody (known as the seller) a pile of money, for which
they will give you a pile of bricks sitting on a lump of dirt. To do
this very quickly, I suggest you go to the nearest beer bar and ask to
see one of the female real estate consultants there who can be
recognized by the fact they will invite you to “sit down please, sexy
man”. This young lady will help you through the paperwork and Thai laws
and statutes, and at the end of the time you will have managed to
complete your dream of buying a house here in Thailand. The only catch
is that the title deeds will be in her name, not yours, but up till the
time of the title deeds being issued, you will also have a very faithful
companion. After the issuance of said title deeds, things generally
change somewhat. That gets us back to the differences between ‘buying’
and ‘owning’. Please go and ask for a reputable real estate agent, and
not in the beer bars.
by Harry Flashman
Buying a compact for Xmas
some stage in your life you are going to buy a camera. If not
for you, then for your children. With Xmas coming up, the answer
is probably sooner rather than later. So what should you buy?
That question is about the same as “What car should I buy?” You
see, the confusing part is that these days all cameras will
produce reasonable photographs. However, like all cars which
will get you from A to B, some are capable of doing it better
than others. The same goes for cameras.
However, before you start rushing off to the camera store,
picking up brochures or thumbing through photography magazines
there is one vital step that has to be done first. How much do
you want to spend? It is a total waste of time looking at a new
BMW if all you can afford is a second hand Corolla. Set a
ceiling on your budget and work from there.
The next item in the search for a camera is what you want to do
with it. Sure you want to take photographs, but do you want to
be a creative photographer, or just take snaps of family outings
at the beach? If you do not want to “get involved” with
photography, then a simple compact “Point and Shoot” is all you
need. However, if you want to try and master the art of
photography then you must look at getting a digital SLR (Single
Lens Reflex) camera, even though some top end compacts will
allow you to fiddle with shutter speeds, etc. Certainly, the top
of the range compacts have lots of features usually only seen in
SLRs these days - but nothing, repeat nothing, beats a DSLR for
35 mm photography.
So now let’s look at megapixels in compacts first. Let’s get
megapixels out of the way first. More megapixels in a compact
camera does not mean that you will necessarily get a better
final picture. It is all very complicated, but I just suggest
you look at something between five and 10 megapixels as having
more than enough for what you want a compact camera to do.
Now the lens. Get an optical zoom, rather than a ‘digital’ zoom.
Most compact digital cameras feature a 3x zoom lens, which
offers a reasonably wide-angle setting at one end and a short
telephoto at the other. Some of the larger compact cameras offer
a more generous optical zoom, like the Canon PowerShot, which
combines a 12x zoom lens with an image stabilization system.
I suggest that you look at any one that has a range in the focal
length of the lens. Generally these are called something like
28-70 or 38-105. This sort of range gives you the advantage of a
wide angle lens and a small telephoto all built in. What to look
for here is just how easy is it to look through the viewfinder
and see what you are going to get in the different lens
positions. With most compacts you can also use the LCD screen to
compose your pictures, but remember that the more you use the
LCD, the sooner the camera runs out of batteries.
The majority of compact cameras now come without separate
viewfinders, so a clear and bright LCD is essential for
composing shots. With this in mind, a 2.5 to 3.0 inch LCD is
preferable over smaller sizes. Bigger is better.
Now the ASA that this compact can run under. A good sensitivity
range, typically from 50 to 800 ISO, also gives you the best
chance of getting the shots you want without resorting to
built-in flash. However, try as much as possible to run around
100-200 ASA. You will get better snaps, without “noise”.
Remember this is a snapshot camera, not a DSLR.
Now to batteries. If you are a very disciplined type of
photographer, who always keeps the rechargeable batteries fully
charged, then get a camera which takes rechargeable ones. If,
however, this just isn’t you, then get a compact which allows
you to use standard off-the-shelf batteries which you can buy at
any convenience store.
And finally - try before you buy!
Money Matters: Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.
The Battle is Lost but can we win the War? Part 2
Normally, when there is a
recession jobs come back on the market as the economy continues on in the same
direction. When there is a depression this is not necessarily so. Debts are paid
off and the consumer keeps hold of his money whenever possible. The economy
contracts until the time that debt is back to acceptable levels or a new way of
getting growth can be found.
The present problems are not helped by the fact the US Dollar has lost about 25%
of its purchasing power over the same length of time. This can be interpreted to
read that investors have basically lost 25% of their money over the last ten
years. This is not exactly what investing is about - especially as there is a
good chance they have lost their job as well.
People are wondering what President Obama is going to do. He is printing money
at the moment and will have to borrow more. The problem is that if he borrows
too much then the Chinese will object. What to do? He is being very Keynesian
about the whole thing. Is there an alternative?
Well, in the crisis of 1920, President Harding did absolutely nothing. He let
nature take its course. He cut government spending and reduced the budget by
half. He decreased taxes and lowered the National Debt by over 30 percent.
Within two years unemployment was down to just over two percent.
Unfortunately, Obama is president at a time when he is expected to act. He is
also surrounded by people who put their own interests first. It does not look
good that many of those in positions of power at the moment are directly or
indirectly employed by Goldman Sachs. This is the company that recently
announced its profits were four times that of twelve months ago. It has just
awarded payouts of billions. Yet it is advising on toxic assets, TARP etc.
As said in the Financial Times, Goldman Sachs and its “activities have become
more profitable after the crisis reduced competition and governments injected
funds in the banking system.” Goldman can borrow this money at basically no cost
to itself. The bank can use this money anyway it wants to. It can, and I love
this, lend back to the government at a guaranteed rate which is automatic profit
or it can buy commodities or shares or whatever it wants to. It can even
speculate against the US Dollar. It is not surprising gold has gone up so much
this year. If one borrows at basically zero cost then it is a lot easier to make
money from the markets.
The American government has over USD13 trillion financed in various debts. Isn’t
it wonderful that Goldman Sachs gets a cut as well? Not happy with this, Obama
has recently said he wants to send seventy eight million American senior
citizens a cheque for USD250. This is from a government which is losing USD15
billion every 24 hours. Brilliant!
The Wall Street Journal recently asked the CEO of CCB, one of China’s largest
banks, if he was interested in acquiring any western banks. Guo Shuquing said
there was no chance. Carrying on, he said that banks in the west are on a
Prices are on the way down in America. They have retreated almost twelve percent
from where they were a year ago. If you remove energy they are still down four
percent. Remember, this is with a US Dollar that is losing value at the same
time. The price of imports should be going up; however, deflation is causing the
What happens then if America does what Japan has done and goes into a slump for
many years? Obama’s budget forecast states there will be a quick return to
growth whilst admitting there will still be trillion dollar deficits until 2020
at least. The problem is that if the government is wrong then there are real
problems. There is no increase in tax revenue and spending carries on upwards.
Soon the trillion dollar deficits become multi-trillion. The country cannot cope
and could follow the example of California and go broke.
However, America has one thing that the Golden State does not - a printing
press. The problem is that it is cheaper to go broke than it is to keep printing
money. It is not helped by these moronic figures either.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures about USD4.5 trillion
of banking reserves. The problem is that it actually only insures about USD10
billion. The mathematics is elementary - USD4.5 trillion divided by USD10
billion means that each USD450 dollars on deposit is being insured by one US
Dollar. Put another way, it is way under 1% worth of insurance. The FDIC insures
over 8,000 banks. As of 23rd October 2009, 100 US banks have failed this year.
This is over one percent. There are another 400 on the critical list. The
question is, what happens if another one percent fails? Answer: The US taxpayer
and the printing presses get hit again.
However, it is not only the US that is in the pooh.
To be continued…
The above data and research was compiled from
sources believed to be reliable. However, neither MBMG International Ltd
nor its officers can accept any liability for any errors or omissions in
the above article nor bear any responsibility for any losses achieved as
a result of any actions taken or not taken as a consequence of reading
the above article. For more information please contact Paul Gambles on
Life in Chiang Mai:
by Mark Whitman
A cinematic journey into darkness and horror
The film Vinyan, recently at
Vista and now probably only available to you on DVD, presents a bleakly
fatalistic view of the world. The central character (an intense performance
from Emmanuelle Beart) makes a decision to pursue her obsession that her
young son, seemingly swept away in the tsunami, is alive and living in the
She drags her dullard of a husband (clever casting of Rufus Sewell, all
sound and ineffective fury, with the personality of a totem pole) on a
mission worthy of the indubitably crazy Werner Herzog and his Fitzcarraldo.
She, we soon realise, is demented by grief and, unless she undertakes the
journey (six lonely months after the Christmas-time disaster) into the heart
of darkness, has no option other than an alternative catastrophe or, more
So the journey begins. She and her surly, unwilling accomplice are led by a
conniving guide (soon to be slaughtered by his associates; ‘He deserved it’,
says their leader – Thaksin Gao - and soon-to-be new guide) found in the
demi-monde of sleazy Phuket.
They hire a boat and chug fitfully on the Andaman Sea, soon losing contact
with their own world as they enter Burmese waters and islands, possibly
those facing the Thai coast up from Ranong or Champon . We never really
know, since the journey is actually a fall into an abyss, imagined with
uber-reality rather than documentary precision. The jungle they encounter is
dark, unwelcoming, vicious: think of some of Henri Rousseau’s paintings with
the leaves so black-green and dense that no light seems to permeate the
foliage. The rain is incessant, they have no food, little shelter – only a
descent into purgatory. Normal behaviour has no place here.
The film soon develops its own rhythm, all the time bordering on the
hysteria which is part of the woman’s agonized character. The ‘reasonable’
voice of the husband, ‘Let’s go back, I never believed that Joshua was still
alive’, is drowned out by sturm und drang. We witness almost metaphysical
despair and when the guide agrees to take them back at the husband’s
insistence, the wife bribes him with the last of their cash. He later tells
the husband contemptuously, ‘You can’t control your wife’, suggesting a
cuckold rather than the beefy reality of the man.
Soon the journey, reminiscent of Apocalypse Now as well as Conrad’s trip up
the Congo river to ‘horror’, lurches into an extreme vision of Golding’s
Lord of the Flies as they encounter feral children, capable of unutterable
cruelty. Two elderly people are being starved to death as captives of a
group of cackling youngsters (the scene is one of the most disturbing in the
movie) and later on we see the guide buried alive, Poe-like, and his ship’s
mate hanging upside down, another victim of the children.
The loot he has stolen from the woman is now in the possession of the kids
and one of them is smearing his already whitened face (she, of course, is
looking for a white boy amongst the brown skins) with bright red lipstick.
The savages turn on the husband, stabbing him with their sharpened sticks
and cannibalising him, echoing the fate of Tennessee Williams’ handsome
heroes in Suddenly Last Summer and other works. She is left to her new found
children who smear her with mud and caresses. Are her wounds bizarrely
healed or will her entrails be spilled like those of her soon forgotten
husband? This haunting, single track movie ends on that ambiguous note. We
are left to wonder if she has lost one son and discovered the ‘ghosts’ of
Vinyan is a painterly work: fleeting images echo the screaming Cardinals of
Francis Bacon, the insect like children swarming over the body of the
husband look like a canvas inspired by Hieronymus Bosch. And the references
do not end there. The children, zombie–like, home in on their final victim
like the creatures from Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.
We are certainly not in Kansas anymore and if this dark world is the other
side of a rainbow, then it is populated only by wicked witches. The images,
compounded by heightened, overly-dramatic sound, are sometimes obscure. So,
you might argue, is the movie. But the Belgian writer -director Fabrice Du
Welz shows himself a director of stunning promise. But a promise of what
kind? He is content to present a fractured narrative. He allows
improvisation in the dialogue, with the poor result of someone working in a
foreign tongue. The film is occasionally messy and if you are looking for
comforting images, a political comment on the situation in Burma or
psychological explanations then look elsewhere. What you will find here is a
movie that is both dizzying and an assault on the senses, which is
occasionally repugnant and over indulgent. But surely never dull. Never
negligible. There’s as much to admire as to be repelled by in his
The people depicted are doomed by their own intensity, by forces of nature
they cannot comprehend, by a lack of a common culture and language and by
greed. They are literally thrown to the ‘wolves’ via forces that are an echo
of the original tsunami, so brilliantly evoked at the beginning of the film.
The effects of that watery hell, the director seems to be saying, have
consequences far beyond those terrible hours.
And for some sort of explanation we have to look at the title which
translates as spirit(s) and which in the film are referred to as unhappy
ones. Are the children real? Or are they a symbolic representation of
disturbed victims who have not been able to rest because of the manner of
their deaths? The husband dies because he has ‘moved on from the tragedy’.
The woman perhaps spared because she has remembered the living dead. The
Thai dialogue is not translated but three times there is a reference to the
woman as ‘mummy’.
Perhaps all this is too fanciful for us non Thai viewers. For myself I am
prepared to settle for this movie as a startlingly pessimistic horror story
(Du Welz shares the deeply entrenched pessimism of his inspiration Conrad’s
Heart of Darkness) and a work which I admire if not wholly warm to. Given
the sadly conventional maunderings of what passes for most contemporary
cinema you miss a film like this at your peril.
Let's Go To The Movies:
by Mark Gernpy
All but three movie times a day at
Airport Plaza are for Avatar. There’s little escaping it this week.
Nor should you. All the hype about it is true. It’s Titanic all
over again, and even more impressive.
Now playing in Chiang Mai
I bought my 3D Avatar ticket several days in advance, for
the first showing, at 11:15. Duly arriving there Thursday morning, I was
told that the 3D version had not arrived. Would I care for the 2D version?
Well, yes and no, but I ended up seeing the 2D version in the big theater
(Cinema 7) at 11:45. It’s an astounding film, even in 2D. And to tell the
truth, it’s kind of nice not to be bothered with the glasses, and not having
to put up with the dimming effect of the 3D process.
I was told that all the 3D prints received in Thailand were “not widescreen”
and were returned to the distributor in the US and a new shipment ordered,
expected to arrive in Chiang Mai the next day. At any rate, it seems the
much ballyhooed roll-out of Avatar in 3D just didn’t happen anywhere
in Thailand on Thursday.
By Friday the 3D had arrived. Tickets for the 3D version are 260 baht for
regular seats, 280 for Honeymoon seats.
Avatar: US, Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – From director James
Cameron, a major achievement and a technological breakthrough. The story
involves a band of humans pitted in battle against a distant planet’s
indigenous population. It’s a film of universal appeal that just about
everyone who ever goes to the movies will see. In English and Na’vi
dialogue, with English and Thai subtitles as needed at Airport Plaza; plus
there’s a Thai-dubbed version. Vista version is 2D and Thai-dubbed only.
In 3D only in Cinema 3 at Airport Plaza. Reviews: Universal acclaim.
The film delivers on all counts. Not to be missed.
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans: US, Crime/ Drama – Directed by
Werner Herzog. Nicolas Cage plays a demented cop on the brink of insanity –
a rogue detective who’s as devoted to his job as he is at scoring for drugs
– and playing fast and loose with the law. In the aftermath of Hurricane
Katrina he becomes a high-functioning addict – a fearless detective reigning
over the beautiful ruins of New Orleans with authority and abandon.
Complicating his tumultuous life is the prostitute he loves (played by Eva
Mendes). Together they descend into their own world marked by desire,
compulsion, and conscience. The result is possibly a singular masterpiece
of filmmaking, equally sad and manically humorous. The film is offbeat,
silly, disarming, and loopy all at the same time, and viewers will decide to
ride with it or just give up on it, according to mood and disposition. With
Val Kilmer. Rated R in the US for drug use and language throughout, some
violence, and sexuality. Generally favorable reviews, but a wide divergence
of opinion. At Vista only. (13+)
New York, I Love You: France/ US, Drama/ Romance – An anthology joining
ten short films by ten directors, all love stories set in New York. The
rules: No more than two days’ shooting time. One week of editing. An
eight-minute time limit. If one film isn’t working for you, just wait a few
minutes. Rated R in the US for language and sexual content. I found it
generally entertaining, and a couple of episodes quite striking. It’s a
nice little unthreatening collection of 8-minute films, most with a twist at
the end. Mixed or average reviews. At Vista only.
Pai in Love: Thai, Romance/ Comedy – Thai ensemble romantic comedy of
six short films centered about a group of friends who all happen to take a
winter vacation in Pai, northern Thailand’s hippie retreat, where they all
find the true meaning of love. In Thai only at Airport Plaza, with English
subtitles at Vista. Thank you, Vista for providing them! I’ve been
complaining about their absence.
Couples Retreat: US, Comedy – A comedy centered around four couples who
settle into a tropical-island resort for a vacation with therapy sessions.
Generally unfavorable reviews. At Vista only.
Yam Yasothon 2 / Hello Yasothorn 2: Thai, Comedy – Thai down-country
comedy with popular comedian Mum Jokmok and the usual TV comedians, engaged
in rustic humor.
Scheduled for December 24
Sherlock Holmes: US/ UK/ Australia, Action/ Crime/ Thriller – A
new take on the Holmes canon: Sherlock Holmes as an action figure! Robert
Downey Jr. plays Holmes and Jude Law his stalwart partner Watson.
The Storm Warriors: Hong Kong, Action/ Fantasy – A film produced and
directed by the twins Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang, described as a martial
arts/wuxia film, and the first Chinese film to extensively use bluescreen.
Shot entirely in three studios in Bangkok.
October Sonata: Thai, Drama/ Romance – Set against a backdrop of the
October 1973 democracy demonstrations.
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?: By Eric Danell, Dokmai Garden
Rats or gibbons?
Two years ago the Queen
remarked in a speech that the people of northern Thailand should stop
cutting down their forests. I did not know what she referred to until I took
the southern route to Mae Hong Son. After Doi Inthanon, I spent five hours
in the car seeing nothing but treeless, black, barren land. A nuclear blast
could not have been more effective. Surprisingly, Mae Hong Son province has
successfully turned this tragedy into a tourist attraction! Bus loads of
innocent tourists are taken to mountainsides in November-December where they
can behold Tithonia diversifolia (Mexican sunflower, Bua tong). There is
nothing wrong with the plant itself, but this Mexican weed symbolizes the
tomb of the 2200 Thai plant species that once grew on the mountain. To some
people, a massive exotic yellow color IS more interesting than an ancient
subtle Thai ecosystem. A field of yellow takes only a second to grasp, even
for an insect brain, while the appreciation of a mosaic of thousands of
species may demand more effort and knowledge than most tour companies are
able to provide. To cover up the hoax, this weed is called “Wild Sunflower”.
Exploiting innocent tourists in this way is similar to killing all the
elephants, tigers and gibbons, and then bringing the tourists to behold the
fantastic rat! It is like replacing an old sophisticated Thai temple mural
with cheap yellow paint. So, if Mae Hong Son has a weed as the province’s
flower, what is the flower of Chiang Mai? Being a center of culture and
science, local scholars have made a far more distinguished choice: Butea
monosperma (Flame of the forest, ton kwao). This Thai tree symbolizes
endurance, it is a local monsoon plant that is able to withstand fire and
drought, and it affords magic orange blossoms in the middle of the hardest
times. This tree is planted at Chiang Mai University and is handed out for
free by governmental nurseries. It may need pruning to maintain a decent
shape but the reward for its care is stunning [email protected] dokmaigarden.co.th
Bridge in Paradise :
by Neil Robinson
Imagine you hold the hand below and are the fourth to bid after three passes
to you. Everyone is vulnerable. The hand certainly does not meet the rule of
fifteen to open in fourth seat (the rule of fifteen states that high card
points plus number of spades should add up to fifteen in order to open).
With only ten high card points, including the singleton king of spades, I
would certainly pass. What about you—what would you bid?
This hand comes from board 7 of the Bridge Club of
Chiang Mai pairs game on Dec 9th (hand
directions rotated for convenience in viewing the hands). West dealt.
S: J1098 S:
H: K95 H: 2
D: J43 D:
C: AQ9 C:
If you chose to pass out the hand, as I
would have done, you would have missed a game! Of the six tables, only one
passed it out. Four tables ended up in game in hearts played by South, and
three of these made it. The defence can take a diamond, a heart and two
clubs. However, if West makes the probable lead of the jack of spades,
declarer will take it in hand with the king and then cross to the ace of
diamonds on board. A low club is thrown on the ace of spades and now the
defence can take only three tricks—a club, a diamond and a heart. So four
hearts bid and made by South. Congratulations to those pairs who made this
game: Ann & Sean Ryan, Kob Cavin & Ake Vateetong and Rado Nordtveit & Penny
Ellis (this last pair against my partner and me unfortunately!).
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: