The Doctor's Consultation: by Dr. Iain Corness
A very nice lady came and saw
me at the hospital last week. “I just wanted to thank you for saving my
husband’s life,” she said. I was somewhat taken aback at this, but she went
on to say she had read one of my articles on rectal bleeding, saw how this
described her husband’s situation, and brought him in to see our
gastroenterologists, who confirmed her fears. Fortunately it was not too
late, and her husband recovered. So, as thanks to the lady and her husband,
whose name I do not know, I am repeating the substance of that article.
The rectum is the last portion of the large bowel that ends just before the
anus. Bleeding from this area can be a herald sign of a mild or life-threatening
importance, which is why all episodes of rectal bleeding must be
Depending upon how high up in the gastro-intestinal tract is the cause of
the bleeding, it may be seen as black, tarry stools, maroon stools; bright
red blood on or in the stool, blood on the toilet tissue, or blood staining
the water in the toilet bowl bright red. Treatment can range from relief of
symptoms and let Mother Nature do the rest, to antibiotics, blood
transfusion, or even surgery. It all depends on the cause.
There are many potential causes, including Hemorrhoids (piles) which are
swollen rectal veins in the anal and rectal area. They can cause burning,
painful discomfort, as well as bleeding. External hemorrhoids are small
swellings that are easy to see and quite painful; however, internal
hemorrhoids are usually painless. A feeling of incomplete emptying may be
noted with bowel movements. Treatment focuses on relieving these symptoms
with the use of stool bulking agents and softeners, and if necessary,
removal of the bleeding piles.
Rectal fissure is another. This is a tear in the lining of the rectum caused
by the passage of hard stools, which can lead to mild rectal bleeding of
bright red blood. Exposed nerves and vessels result in moderate to severe
Diverticulosis, those little pockets on the bowel wall, can also bleed. The
stools are dark red or maroon. Pain is usually absent but surgery is
required in up to 25 percent of these patients.
Bloody diarrhea is often seen in Bacterial dysentery, which we have all had
to a greater or lesser degree. Responsible organisms include Campylobacter
jejuni, Salmonella, Shigella, Escherichia coli, and Clostridium difficile. A
most unsavory bunch! The treatment depends upon the organism, but generally
intravenous fluid replacement and an anti-spasmodic and broad spectrum
antibiotic will bring this under control.
Another common cause of rectal bleeding is inflammatory bowel disease
especially in young adults - typically those younger than 50 years of age.
Bleeding occurs in small to moderate amounts of bright red blood in the
rectum, usually mixed in with stool and mucus. Associated symptoms include
fever and abdominal cramps. This condition generally settles with steroids.
Of course, the one that everyone worries about is bowel cancer. We lump
these together under the general heading of Tumors and Polyps. Polyps bulge
out from the lining of the colon. Bleeding occurs when large polyps develop.
They can be hereditary, and are usually harmless, but some types can be
Both benign and malignant tumors are frequently found in the colon and
rectum. Those people older than 50 years are most affected; however, tumors
can be found in younger people. It should also be noted that less than 20
percent of people with tumor or polyps will have rectal bleeding. However,
when bleeding does occur, it is usually slow, chronic, and minimal.
Diagnosis requires careful evaluation with colonoscopy.
Rectal bleeding from a traumatic cause is always a critical concern. Rectal
damage from a gunshot wound or foreign body insertion can result in
extensive infection or rapid and fatal blood loss.
And yes, there’s more! A common source of bleeding is hemorrhage from the
stomach or duodenum. This can occur after someone has swallowed a foreign
body that causes injury to the stomach lining or bleeding stomach ulcers.
The list does go on, but these conditions are rare. However, the message is
that rectal bleeding must always be investigated.
Care for Dogs:
By Ana Gracey
Dog of the Week
Singtoo needs a loving home
Introducing Singtoo. I have a sad tale to tell…my owner got angry
with me one day for no good reason and he hit me so hard that he
fractured my head and I lost my right eye.
Though I’m certainly better off in the shelter, after all I’ve been
through I think I deserve kind and caring owners for the rest of my
life. I am a 3-4 year otherwise healthy sterilised male with lots of
love to give to the right people. Please consider me if you want a
gentle, calm and appreciative companion for you and your family.
Contact Care for Dogs, English (08 47 52 52 55) Thai (08 69 13 87
01) or e-mail: contact @carefordogs.org to make an appointment to
visit the shelter and meet Singtoo or any of the many other dogs
waiting for you. www.carefordogs.org
Heart to Heart
I can’t believe it’s 2010 already. It seems like it’s just 2001, because
that’s when I met my sweetheart, and even though you don’t like it, I
found her in a bar and we’re still together nine years later. We got
married after a couple of years of living together, because I wanted her
to get anything here after I die. I’ve taken everything out of the UK,
where my first family lives. They’ve never done anything for me over the
years, so I’m quite sure I’m not leaving them anything now. My Thai wife
looks after me so well, it’s the least I can do is to look after her.
Before I go to sleep she makes sure I’ve got water, gives me a back
massage and sits there till I fall asleep. In the morning she’s already
got the breakfast going before I get up. What western woman would do all
that? None. I know there’s a risk with girls from the bar business, but
I’ve got no complaints with mine. She wasn’t the best looking one, but
inside she’s a little diamond.
I am so glad you are a Happy Horace, and you are correct in that there
are some little diamonds that can be found behind the bar. Unfortunately
there’s a few cubic zirconias as well, so you have to be careful, which
you were, waiting a couple of years before you got married. I cannot
really comment on your family in the UK, Petal. They probably felt that
you deserted them, while you think they’ve done nothing for you. Might
be six of one and half a dozen of the other, I think. Whatever, they are
still your family and you should keep in touch if nothing else. Enjoy
your new life with your new wife, and do thank the spirits for the lucky
Most days I walk up from my office for lunch and go to the 7-Eleven and
I pass a couple of little dress shops on the way. There’s a girl in one
of them that I have been speaking to, and she seems always happy to
talk. I would like to see if this can go any further, but I don’t know
what you should do with a Thai girl, especially one who isn’t from the
bars. What’s the next move, Hillary?
Dear Shy Sam,
You really are a wimpy willy aren’t you? You work in an office, she
works in the dress shop and you’re on chatting terms. And you have to
ask me what’s next? I’ll tell you what’s next you shrinking violet. You
say, “I’m going to get some lunch, would you like me to bring you back a
sandwich?” If she says yes, then you go and bring her back a sandwich -
and use your own money, that’s a good little Petal, don’t ask her for
the 22 baht. OK? After a few days like that, you ask her if she’d like
to have a meal with you when she finishes work. Be prepared for the fact
that dress shops can stay open fairly late, which could be past your
bedtime. Do you get the message now? Or do I have to order your
sandwiches as well? (What is wrong with the young men of today? No
wonder I can get crabby some days.)
Two years ago I met a bar girl who was from Esarn. She was intelligent
and very proud of her family - did not like her work - but as many do,
did it for survival reasons. We got along well together, and even though
I had to go back home, we discussed her leaving the bar if I helped her
family financially. She went back to her village two months after I met
her and has now her pride back and works in a simple family business and
earns less than 150 baht a day. I send her help every month and visit
her village three times a year - and when I visit I am treated like a
family member by all her family. We intend to get married in a year’s
time and yes you have got to provide for the one you love no matter
where you live in the world, but the rewards in Thailand are well worth
Bill from UK
Dear Bill from UK,
Hillary does print these success stories, but I have to wait till people
send them in, but the successful ones are people who are happy in their
relationship and do not need advice from an ‘agony aunt’ column like
this one, so this is why you do not read them so often. Your point is
well taken and should be understood by everyone who is contemplating
entering a relationship anywhere in the world. Love (alone) does not pay
the bills. There is an obligation to provide and I am very pleased to
see that you have accepted that, and that it is working out for you, but
remember too that one couple is not every couple, as you will have found
if you read this column each week.
by Harry Flashman
Giving the Golden Glow to your portraits
Photographs taken in the late afternoon are notable for the warm
golden glow that the afternoon light gives to the subjects.
People are positively ‘glowing’ with health and vitality.
Sickeningly brimming full of goodness, and golden hues just
radiating from their every pore. Well, I am sorry to tell you,
but like so many things in photography, it is a fraud! A
photographic ‘trick’ but one that you can use to your own
advantage. A trick that will cost you about 100 baht for the
equipment and three minutes to master! Interested?
However, all photographic tricks still have to conform to the
basic rules of physics, in particular the rules of light. Light
travels in straight lines and will bounce off any non-translucent
object. And that, quite simply, is the scientific basis to this
The ‘golden glow’ that comes from the subject in the photo is
really just reflected golden light, bounced back on to the
subject. Portrait shots benefit from this warm healthy look and
when you use the technique properly, the subjects will look many
years younger because you can get rid of saggy chins quicker
than a plastic surgeon can say, “Get your wallet out!”
Now in the photographic sense, the natural golden glow comes in
the late afternoon, with the sun getting low on the horizon, as
I mentioned at the outset. There are good scientific reasons why
this is so, but here is not the place to discuss them. Just
accept the fact that late afternoon sun is the “warm” time. Take
pictures at this time of day and you will get that golden glow -
but our photographic trick will allow you to get that warm
golden glow at any time of day - and control it as well,
something you cannot do so easily with the sun as your light
What you have to do is build a light reflector that reflects
that warm color. Go to the newsagent and get some gold foil
paper. The sort of wrapping paper you use for wedding gifts. It
may be embossed or patterned, and in fact it is better if it is,
but must be gold in color. Glue the gold paper on to a sheet of
cardboard or polystyrene sheet approximately one meter square.
You do not have to be deathly accurate or neat. If the surface
gets a little ‘scrunched up’ that is fine too. Your capital
outlay is probably around 50-100 baht. Not bad, so far!
Now you have a reflector, which if you play with it near a
window for example, will shine “gold” on to any subject. You are
now ready to impart that golden glow.
The best photos for this exercise are people shots taken
outdoors, with the sun behind the subject. This we call ‘back
lit’. You will find that the subject’s hair becomes very bright
around the edges, almost like a ‘halo’ effect.
Now for the addition of the golden glow. To do this, you
position your reflector to shine some sunlight back towards the
subject. Prop the reflector in the best position to give the
degree of golden glow you want (I generally just prop it up with
the camera bag, or you can get an assistant to hold it for you)
and look through the viewfinder. See what a difference this
makes? The ugly chin shadow has gone as the light is coming
upwards, and the subject now looks brilliantly glowing and
healthy. The one meter square reflector will also impart
catchlights to eyes to make them sparkle as well. The end photo
has shiny hair, bright eyes and a golden complexion radiating
warmth. A fabulous picture.
Now, the downside! It is more difficult to get the correct
exposure setting in the backlit situation. If your camera has a
Backlight button, then use it. If not, walk in close to the
subject so that the persons face fills the frame, and take your
exposure reading from there. Use the exposure lock, or just
memorize the readings and put them in on manual mode. It is
worth it. Try bracketing if you are still unsure.
Money Matters: Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.
It’s a lot of old Bull…
If you look from afar things do
not look too bad when it comes to equities. The Dow Jones 30 (DJ) has gone from
the nadir of 6,500 earlier this year in March to over 10,000. People are saying
the worst is over and 2010 will be a much better year. However, if you look more
closely then things are not as rosy as they seem.
As we all know, nothing goes up or down forever. In a normal series of events
when the equity markets are in the early stages of an upward surge then there is
a good range and variety of stocks that lead the way. These are usually led by
companies which investors hope will be first to respond to any positive trends.
In fairness, this is exactly what happened a few months ago. However, if you
look at the companies which were the first to respond then you will see that
these gainers are not surging ahead as they did before. This is definitely a
sign that says the present bull market is getting old, especially when some of
these large companies are energy and financials.
Even though the S&P and DJ have kept on an upward trend (at the time of writing
in mid-December), the indices which govern SME companies, such as the Russell
5000, have not managed to do this and so remain below the highs of October. It
is not just energy and financials but also things like technology that are not
doing as well as they did.
Equities that rely on good, strong economic growth are not as popular as before
and potential investors now look to healthcare and telecommunications as they
are thought to be less volatile. This, in itself, is a visible sign that the
confidence of earlier this year no longer abounds. Proof of this lies in the
fact that since mid-October over USD14 billion has been taken out of American
stocks and funds.
It is not just individuals who are worried, a lot of the American pension funds
are easing themselves out of equities. This does then beg the question as to
what is keeping the DJ etc so high. Well the easy answer, as the Wall Street
Journal pointed out recently is, “Fast-money investors such as hedge funds and
proprietary trading desks of big brokerage firms.” Despite this though the
volume of trading has dropped quite dramatically which indicates people are not
as interested in equities as they used to be. If you look at the trading on the
New York Stock Exchange it can be seen the average has been over 5.5 billion a
day. This has now dropped to about 4.7 billion.
The Dow Jones has gone up by nearly 60% since early March but these recent
figures show the markets are not as attractive as they once were. Now this could
be because it is following the statement of above, i.e., nothing goes up or down
forever. However, this is ignoring a more fundamental situation. People have
been investing like crazy since the markets turned in the hope there would be a
real improvement in the world economy next year. As 1st January approached,
these investors were doubting if business can actually bring in the forecasts
being given at the moment. Miller Tabak analyst, Phil Roth says, “If people are
disappointed, the market could get blasted.”
The real test was in late December and early January. If the money taken out
recently comes back in then this is a good indication there is still life in the
old Bull yet. For example, Ned Davis Research (NDR) is still recommending to its
clients they invest 70% in equities and the remainder in bonds and cash. What is
interesting though is that it is no longer advising people to buy SMEs. This is
always an early sign of caution. Even more eye catching is that the company has
also told its customers to take hedges “such as option contracts” which can
provide a cushion against any quick drops in market values.
One analyst from NDR, Ed Clissold, opined, “The tailwinds from the economic
bottom are still blowing fairly hard…we are going to be on alert. We could still
get a stiff correction or even a bear market.”
Without doubt, NDR is worried about the number of shares now in the marketplace.
The older a bull market gets, the more smaller stocks start to go down.
Inevitably larger ones then follow. Concept Capital agrees there is a problem.
This company uses a system which tracks the percentage of S&P500 stocks that go
up quicker than the index itself. This is usually high when the market is going
well. However, it slows down when it is not. It is not nearly as fast now as it
was earlier this year.
There is one small curve ball in all of this - the US Federal Reserve. The real
question that needs answering is how much longer is it going to keep printing
money 24/7? As long as it continues to keep buying bonds and maintaining low
interest rates then some of this money will find its way into stocks and so
drive them higher. This is basically keeping the markets higher than they should
As Miller Tabak’s Roth points out, “The data tell you that we are late in the
bull market.” Unfortunately, all of this points to a massive correction in the
world markets and stock markets taking a dive. This is not the end of the world
if you have positioned your portfolio properly and have diversified your
investments across all asset classes. In fact you could end up taking advantage
of a large downturn…and that is not a load of old bull.
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
DVD of the Week:
By Mark Whitman
Lorna’s Silence (2009)
Lorna is waiting for a
divorce from her drug addicted husband (or his murder) in order to marry a
Russian as part of a marriage for immigration scam. With the money she will
receive she hopes to open a coffee bar and escape the drudgery of her job
and life. But events seemingly conspire to undermine her plans.
The arrival of a new film from Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne (invariably
premiered at the May Cannes Film Festival) is cause for celebration. Their
compassionate, rigorously made and grow in the mind long after any actual
viewing. They have the rare and enviable distinction of having received the
main prize at Cannes – the Palme d’Or – on two consecutive years and this
new film won the “Best Screenplay’ prize for 2009.These are awards which
reflect the best films of any year: not to be confused with hyped and paid
for (indirectly, through promotion and massive advertising with dire results)
‘wins’ at such events as the Golden Globes or Oscars.
This, the sixteenth collaboration by the Belgian brothers, is one of their
most assured works, though the impact is less immediate than that of earlier
masterworks such as The Son, Rosetta, The Child and The Promise. Like those
it is a film where small incidents and events pile one upon the other like
pieces of a jigsaw. The final effect as the last piece is put into place is
devastating. The film plays like a thriller, tense, full of twists and
mysteries and then brought to a conclusion.
The central theme of a young woman sucked into a whirlpool of destruction by
external forces - financial, emotional, criminal – echoes two of Bresson’s
masterpieces, Mouchette and L’Argent where the innocent protagonists are
unable, perhaps unwilling, to resist the evil surrounding them. And yet the
final moments that we observe are the result of freedom and independence. At
this point the film makers use music for the first time – Beethoven played
by Brendel – to magically signify the escape made, with an echo of the
effect of the Monteverdi at the climax of Mouchette.
Lorna’s affection for her dependent husband, the mundane work she does sap
her will as does the man she thinks she loves and contemplates marrying
after the scam is complete. She is at the mercy of others, with only
attractiveness and strength of character to sustain her. The Dardenne’
brothers are the least bombastic of current directors. They conform to
Bresson’s dictum; ‘Not beautiful images but necessary ones’. (Eat your heart
out James Cameron)
Their films head towards an inexorable and sometimes shattering, yet always
All are beautifully shot, albeit within modest settings. The acting is
controlled and every character lovingly cast, though Arta Dobroshi as Lorna
dominates the action. If you enjoy films which touch both heart and mind and
enrich your understanding of the human condition then this (and their
earlier films) is for you. M.W.
Available to buy commercially (720 baht via Amazon) or from the DVD Movie
and Music shop, 289 Suthep Road – opposite CMU Arts Centre. Open daily from
9a.m. Tel: 053 808 084.
Let's Go To The Movies:
by Mark Gernpy
The Academy Awards
will be shown live on True Visions on Monday, March 8, at 8 am Thai time, on
the E! Channel (53). Silver or Platinum package only.
You can watch a replayed and shortened version on a big screen at the
RatiLanna Riverside Spa Resort, at 6:30 pm on March 8 as a benefit for Care
for Dogs Foundation. Welcome cocktails, soft drinks, and a buffet are
included in the 750 baht price of the ticket, with all proceeds going to the
Foundation. For information check the foundation’s website.
Now playing in Chiang Mai
UK/ US, Horror/ Thriller – An excellent spare, dark, and brooding gothic
version of the famous tale, told with great style and much blood. For those
who like gothic straight-up horror and blood, this is a welcome new and
classic $85 million remake of the 1941 Lon Chaney movie. Starring Benicio
Del Toro and Anthony Hopkins. Rated R in the US for bloody horror violence
and gore. Vista also has a Thai-dubbed version. Mixed or average reviews.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief:
Canada/ US, Fantasy/ Comedy – The Mount Olympus gods are not happy: Zeus’
lightning bolt has been stolen, and high school student Percy Jackson is the
prime suspect in this sprawling and entertaining teen adventure. As Percy
finds himself caught between angry and battling gods, he and his two close
friends embark on an adventure to catch the true lightning thief, and return
the lightning to Zeus. Logan Lerman as Percy is an excellent new teenaged
hero like Harry Potter, but for me a lot more interesting and with a lot
more charisma; a sequel is already announced for next year. There’s one
short additional scene during the closing credits. Also in an all-digital
version (but not 3D) at Airport Plaza. Mixed or average reviews.
Confucius / Kong Zi:
China, Biography/ Drama – Set in 6th Century BC, this is the life story of
the Chinese thinker and philosopher, from his days as a court official
through battles and political intrigues, to his old age as a disillusioned
sage. But China has adopted the Hollywood way of pumping up the romantic
and action-related angles of the man, even casting an action hero (Chow Yun-Fat)
as the man himself, and portraying him as romantically attracted to a
concubine. Here as in most places in Thailand it’s in a Thai-dubbed version
without English subtitles.
From Paris with Love:
Crime/ Thriller – An intelligence operative working in the office of the US
Ambassador in France (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) takes on more than he bargained
for when he partners with a wisecracking, fast-shooting, high-ranking US
agent (a bald John Travolta) who’s been sent to Paris to stop a terrorist
attack. Stylish, fast-moving, exciting, with a wild performance by
Travolta. Rated R in the US for strong bloody violence throughout, drug
content, pervasive language, and brief sexuality. Mixed or average reviews.
US, Comedy/ Romance
– Intertwining couples and singles in Los Angeles break-up and make-up based
on the pressures and expectations of Valentine’s Day. With a star-studded
cast. Generally unfavorable reviews.
Thai, Comedy/ Romance – A girl who hates Valentine’s Day meets three young
men, each determined to make her his Valentine. Slightly less than the
usual Thai rom/com, with a mixture of cute young Thais and older TV
US, Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi – Nine Oscar nominations, including best
picture and director. The highest grossing film in the world ever,
bypassing the director’s own Titanic. It’s a very good film and a
major technological breakthrough, plus it’s exciting and beautiful, and has
received near-universal rave reviews from critics and fans. At Airport
Plaza the 2D version has departed, and the 3D version remains, with very few
showings. It’s in English and Na’vi dialogue (the completely new language
created by linguists for the natives of the planet Pandora), with Thai
subtitles as needed for both languages, but unaccountably no English
subtitles for the Na’vi language, only Thai. No longer showing at Vista. I
imagine that showings will resume when Avatar wins the Oscar.
Reviews: Universal acclaim.
Tai Hong / Die a Violent Death: Thai, Horror/ Thriller – Consists of
four short shocking stories of death and horror, exploiting four real news
stories, including one tasteless recounting of last year’s deadly blaze at
Bangkok’s Santika pub, which is truly shocking – but shock at the incredible
insensitivity once again shown by Thai filmmakers.
Scheduled for February 18
US, Drama/ Mystery/ Thriller – Director Martin Scorsese directs Leonardo
DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley, and Max von Sydow in this horror fantasy. Looks
good to me. It’s 1954, and an up-and-coming US marshal is assigned
to investigate the disappearance of a patient from Boston’s Shutter Island
Hospital and before long he wonders whether he hasn’t been brought there as
part of a twisted plot by hospital doctors.
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?: By Eric Danell, Dok mai Garden
Avatar-3D is the best movie hitherto made. It is exceptionally beautiful,
and although the scene is an alien world, it is a realistic illustration of
the current biodiversity catastrophe on Earth, and the characters involved.
The message of this masterpiece is that we live on a fantastic planet, that
idiots destroy it, and that we can make a change. As a former tank commander
I do recognise the movie’s cold-hearted colonel from real life, and as an
entrepreneur I recognise Avatar’s narrow-minded CEO. As a scientist I was
surprised by the extremely careful selection of cultures, life forms and
geological formations, seemingly alien, but in fact most of them present on
today’s Earth. Ornamental details of African Masai, citations from
North-American Indians, and the Yggdrasil tree of Norse religion, the
Buddhist worship of all life, sea worms, mushrooms, hornbills, and
bioluminescence and Hunanese mountains were present in slightly changed
If you admired what you saw, you also admire Earth, it looks the same, but
most people have never seen the few remaining pockets of original nature. As
the real decline in biodiversity is gradual, each generation adapts and
thinks that today’s crippled world is normal, not understanding the
tremendous loss of life forms and beauty. The movie’s solution was a single
battle, but in reality ALL environmental problems are due to overpopulation.
By battling poverty, superstition and male domination via education, we can
reach the admirable situation recently reported from Taiwan and Germany,
i.e. an extremely low birth rate. It will take several generations, i.e. a
few hundred years, to decrease the human population by 90%, enabling
everybody to live like kings in an Avatar world. Until then, gardeners
worldwide should create a myriad of Edens, collections of indigenous plants
and animals protected from idiots and their pets. A resort garden with its
stiff design of man-made plants is in a sense a Matrix program, giving the
illusion that a petunia or goldfish is nature, while the reality is that
nature, created by a supreme power, is being destroyed by idiots. [email protected]
Bridge in Paradise :
by Neil Robinson
Here is a hand from the USA Women’s Trials 2009, as reported
by David Greenwood and Andrew Robson. I found it instructive because it
illustrates the value of counting your winners. South dealt and EW were
vulnerable. Imagine you are sitting South and playing 4S. Here are your hand
S: ? S: ?
H: ? H: ?
D: ? D: ?
C: ? C: ?
West led the nine of
diamonds to East’s jack. East continued with the king of diamonds and West
shows out. East now leads the ace of diamonds. What do you play from hand?
At the table, declarer ruffed with the spade ten, hoping that East had the
queen. West overruffed with the queen and led the queen of clubs. Declarer
won the ace, pulled trumps and cashed high hearts. However, this still only
came to nine tricks, five trumps, three hearts and the ace of clubs.
Declarer had to lose a club at the end for down one. So what did you play
from hand on the third diamond? The full deal is shown below.
S: Q5 S: 3
H: J1087632 H: 9
D: 9 D: AKJ5432
C: QJ3 C: K652
If declarer counts
winners, the contract can be made easily. She has six trump tricks, provided
only that West is not void in trumps, three top hearts and the ace of clubs.
The important thing is not to throw away one of these trump tricks by being
over ruffed. So what do you play at trick three? The answer is to throw a
losing club from hand. The defence is now helpless. You win any return (if
East continues a fourth round of diamonds you ruff on board), pull trumps,
cash the queen of hearts, lead a low trump to get to board and throw your
remaining clubs on dummy’s two top hearts. You have your ten winners and
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:
MAIL OPINION :
by Shana Kongmun, Managing Editor
From the Editor
On a recent train trip South I noticed burning along the
side of the train tracks, and, from the smell, more than a fair bit of
rubbish included in the pile. It’s difficult to determine if this was
private land, public land or something to do with the train but it seemed to
be very unnecessary burning since it was a simple low burn, obviously meant
only to clear away scrub brush. While not the usual seasonal burning of
fields that afflicts the North it is just one more woe to add to the
pollution issues the area faces.
Slash and burn agriculture has been around for millennium, with the burn off
fertilizing the fields. However, the effects on air quality and people’s
health must come into consideration by agriculturists. There have been
numerous studies to alternatives to this type of agriculture with
suggestions of community forestry management, jungle rubber plantations,
shade coffee and farming on degraded grasslands.
However, not only does the seasonal burning continue but the idea of burning
as method of land clearing and getting rid of rubbish persists. It’s time, I
think, for the local government to start one of the regular education
campaigns for which Thailand is so well known. Previous successful education
campaigns advocated use of birth control to control the population and,
later, the use of condoms to help prevent HIV/AIDS. Perhaps it is time to
teach people the dangers of burning in these days of drought, global warming
and pollution. To teach people that plastic does not go away by burning it,
to start a program to limit plastic bags, to promote the use of
biodegradable packaging. It is time that those at the municipal and
provincial levels realise this issue needs to be addressed in a serious and
The burning that goes on in the North is a perennial problem and one that
the government fails to address year after year. Meanwhile, the problem
persists, the pollution gets worse, and our fair city earns a reputation of
being smoke filled, smog filled and a place to avoid for months at a time.
Life in Chiang Mai:
By Colin Jarvis
The Scariness of the Long Distance Driver
When I first started driving in Thailand I was very scared. If there were
rules of the road I could not divine them from the behaviour of the
motorists. Traffic lights seemed to be more advisory than compulsory, lane
discipline nonexistent and even driving on the left hand side of the road
could be disregarded if it was inconvenient.
I remember driving from Chiang Mai to Lampang and taking the on ramp onto a
raised expressway. Half way up I was astonished to see an ice cream vendor
with his motorcycle and sidecar descending in the opposite direction. I was
concerned as I now thought it was possible that I was about to enter the
expressway heading in the wrong direction.
At 11 o’clock one morning, near the University, I saw a car turn right out
of a side road and speed the wrong way along a dual carriageway and zigzag
through a U-turn gap in order to head in the direction he wished to go. He
could have turned left and turned back at the next U-turn but this would
have meant travelling an extra 100 meters.
Whenever vehicles need to turn into another road they seemed determined to
do it in the most dangerous manner. If turning left, the rule appeared to be
that there was no need to look out for oncoming traffic as the oncoming
traffic would be expecting them. This is probably why, in dual carriageways,
everyone seems to drive in the right-hand lane. If turning right the habit
was to check the brakes of any vehicles that might be approaching the
junction by cutting the corner as tightly as possible.
No entry signs were an invitation rather than an injunction. One way streets
were two-way most of the time.
Red traffic lights seemed simply to be warnings that other traffic might be
crossing, not an order to stop. This was particularly the case at night when
the practice was to ignore the lights completely providing the driver was
travelling fast enough.
At night, the other major danger was the number of vehicles without lights.
One could often see an unlighted motorcycle ridden by someone wearing black
clothing. If the motorcycle did have lights and also a basket in the front,
commonly there were so many things in the basket that the headlight was
Other vehicles that caused me concern were the pickup trucks. The yellow or
maroon buses that swerved across the road in order to pick up a passenger.
The overloaded vehicle, swaying from side to side, sometimes with a man
perched on top, four meters in the air, clinging to the string that held the
whole load in place. The happy family sitting in the back of the pickup,
surrounded by heavy items such as motorcycles and washing machines,
oblivious to the danger of being squashed should the vehicle brake suddenly.
Another horrifying sight was the small motorcycle carrying two adults, three
children, a dog and a wardrobe. None of them wearing helmets!
I began to feel that driving in Thailand would be too stressful for me.
If you have driven in Thailand for a while I am sure you have noticed
similar scary things. Now that I have become more used to driving in
Thailand such things no longer cause me concern. In fact, I think, I prefer
to drive in Thailand than in the UK.
The reason is that I believe that most Thai drivers are at least thinking
about what they are doing and making judgements about risk. In the UK,
drivers are so regimented that they no longer think. U.K. drivers assume it
is safe to cross a traffic light if it is green. In Thailand most drivers
assume that something might be coming and are ready to take evasive action.
In the UK, late at night, it is not uncommon to find a number of cars
waiting at the red light on a pedestrian crossing, even though there is no
pedestrian in sight. Surely the sensible thing would be to keep the traffic
flow moving and for them to ignore the red light. It would not happen in
Drivers in Europe tend to be more aggressive and selfish whilst drivers in
Thailand seem to be very cooperative and look out for each other. Whilst it
is true that many drivers are foolish and take risks that could easily be
avoided, I find that now I am used to driving in Thailand, I prefer the
relative freedom on the road rather than the mindless regimentation of the
UK. Now that I am aware of the Thai driving style, it no longer scares me, I
simply expect the unexpected. © Colin Jarvis.