The Doctor's Consultation: by Dr. Iain Corness
Why Muay Thai fighters wear boxer shorts
Our lives are dominated by
statistics. Organizations exist which are dedicated to applying statistical
research to everything that we do. Even the shape of the bottle that soft
drinks come in is fully researched until the majority prefer one particular
design and that is then adopted by the manufacturer, and promoted to the
Now, statistics is that great pseudo-science where you
can “prove” so much by use of applied mathematics. For example, did you know
that every child is born within six months of its mother’s birthday? Or even
more fantastic, the date of your death will be within six months of your own
birthday! That has to be another good reason to stop having birthdays after
the age of 50!
Now while that sounds interesting, if you look a little
harder you will see that this is just a mathematical ‘truism’ and nothing to
do with biology or astrology. If you take any reference birth date, let’s
use June 30th for example, then any child born between Jan 1 to June 29 is
within six months of its mother’s birthday, as are any children born between
July 1 to December 31. In one case it is looking forwards, and in the other
it is looking backwards.
If you think that is an abuse of mathematical science,
then what about the fact that 99 percent of all people who died traumatic
deaths in London last year were all wearing shoes. Does this prove that
shoes are the greatest killers of mankind? An absurdity - of course not!
Again, this is ‘bending’ the parameters of science. Since about 99 percent
of all people in London wear shoes, you can safely predict that 99 percent
of those who get skittled on the roads will still be wearing their footwear.
(If you wish to statistically look at Bangkok, then substitute flip-flops
Getting closer to home, I read of a study in Thailand on
varicose veins, and how tight underpants were dangerous (as opposed to Muay
Thai boxer shorts, I presume) because this study showed that something like
30 percent of varicose vein sufferers were wearing jockey style underdaks.
What was not stated in the report (in the popular press, so it may have been
selectively reported) was the choice of underpants of those who did not have
varicose veins, nor what percentage of men wearing jockeys did not get
varicose veins. Without these other figures, the rest is hocus-pocus. Always
remember lies, damned lies and statistics!
Pseudo-science also works the other way too. Classic
examples of this are when people will pronounce, with great authority, that
cigarette smoking does not bring about your early demise. The ‘proof’ of
this is their great uncle Charlie who lived to be 112 and smoked two packs
of cigarettes every day for 85 years. This great case study of one shows
nothing, other than the fact that this shows that great uncle Edward had a
wonderful constitution. Nothing else, sorry.
If two of the three people in your office get the flu,
this does not mean that 66.6 percent of the city is going down with Swine
Flu. All that can be assumed is that 66.6 percent of your office has a
problem. Nothing else.
There is a branch of medical science called Epidemiology,
which is a study of the incidence of diseases in large populations, and
epidemiological research requires the researcher to look at thousands of
cases before coming to conclusions. Great uncle Charlie alone is not enough.
The data we get from thousands upon thousands of cases, looking at smokers
and non-smokers, is now enough for us to say, quite categorically, that
smoking does put you at a very much greater risk of dying from cancer - that
is ALL cancers, by the way, not just lung cancer. And you can add heart
disease to that as well.
Forget the great uncle, give up now, before you too are a
statistic. And I am sorry, I don’t accept the “it’s my choice” theory. If
you saw someone choosing to run under a train, you would try and stop them
too. That’s like me with cigarette smokers, sorry.
Care for Dogs:
Tiny is a little dog looking for a lap snuggle
Tiny is absolutely adorable! He’s not fluffy and high maintenance
like most little dogs but will still nicely in your lap and adores
attention. Take him for a walk and he’ll trot along happily with you
– he’s the perfect little companion and is sterilized, vaccinated
and perfectly healthy. Come and get him! Contact Care For Dogs,
English (08 47 52 52 55) Thai (08 69 13 87 01) or e-mail: [email protected] to
make an appointment to visit the shelter & meet him or any of the
many other dogs waiting for you. www. carefordogs.org.
Heart to Heart
I enjoy your column and I wonder if you can help me.
My question may be a little out of your area of expertise however, since
I am not really interested in the local women, or indeed any women for
that matter (no offense).
What is it with Thai-manufactured pop-up toasters? I
have been through three in eighteen months. Different shops, different
brands, the result is always the same.
Am I missing something here? Is this some sort of
cultural thing? Thailand produces wonderful doctors and dentists after
all, why not a decent toaster?
All right, the locally assembled cars and motorcycles
are designed elsewhere, but they work perfectly well. Could this be some
sort of subtle Thai plot to get at foreigners for appearing too wealthy?
I hope not. Perhaps you or one of your readers can enlighten me.
At my age there is not all that much I ask from life,
but I do enjoy breakfast.
Perplexed of Chiang Mai
Dear Perplexed of Chiang Mai,
No need to apologize because the local women don’t
do much for you, but it seems that the local toasters don’t do much for
you either! I think, however, that you are using strange parameters when
looking at this toaster problem. Thailand can produce good cars and
motorcycles (but “designed elsewhere”, you say), and “wonderful doctors
and dentists” but no opinion given as to whether they were “designed
elsewhere”, but for the sake of the exercise we will assume they are all
100 percent Thai. So what are you doing with these pop-up toasters? Are
you using them correctly, and in the manner for which they were designed?
(Are you sure you don’t need a woman in the kitchen at least, Petal?)
Considering the automatic pop-up toaster, which ejects the toast after
toasting it, was first patented by Charles Strite in 1919, surely after
91 years we should know how to make the darned thing work for you. Or
you to work with it!
I am thinking that you may have a systems failure
at the beginning of the toast cycle. Is the toaster plugged in to an
electrical socket that works - this is often the problem in Thailand. Do
you put the bread into the slots on the top of the machine or are you
putting the bread in from the bottom (no offense)? The toasters you have
bought - are they the new hi-tech models? In 1990 Simon Hackett and John
Romkey created The Internet Toaster, a toaster which could be controlled
from the Internet. With the broadband speed being at a crawl in Northern
Thailand, perhaps the signal is dropping out before the bread gets
brown. In 2001 Robin Southgate from Brunel University in England created
a toaster that could toast a graphic of the weather prediction (limited
to sunny or cloudy) onto a piece of bread. The toaster dials a pre-coded
phone number to get the weather forecast. Have you got one of these? I
have it on good authority that it does not work when the weather report
is ‘smoke haze’, which we get 24 hours a day at this time of year.
My only real suggestion is to buy a toasting fork
and hold the bread slices over the gas ring - but do remember to light
Can you help please? Do all Thai people ask you the
most personal questions? Things like “How much money you make? You
married yet? Why not? You got girlfriend? You want me to go with you?”
Apart from the fact that this is considered a very rude way of starting
a relationship in the UK, I also find it very embarrassing when I am
over here. How do I get these people to stop doing this? You seem to
have the answers for everyone else, so I hope you have some for me too.
Shy and Retiring
Dear Shy and Retiring,
Or is that Shy and Retired? You have to look at
where are these women who ask such direct questions. My bet is in a bar
somewhere. They are not in the habit of issuing a gilt edged invitation
to dinner, hand inscribed in Ye Olde English. Be real and be thankful
that ‘these people’ as you call them are interested enough in you to
even ask questions. There’s only one thing worse than being a wall-flower
at parties, and that’s not being asked at all. In actual fact, my
turtledove, those inquiries are very cleverly designed “standard” bar
girl questions to see if you are worthwhile bothering with at all. If
you have no money all interest will be lost immediately. Likewise if you
are married they will want to know if “You marry Thai?” or whether your
partner is waiting faithfully for you back home in the UK, while you
contemplate the unfaithful ideas. Lighten up and when you are asked next
time just say, “No money. Wife take all money to boy bar,” and then
laugh a lot. They’ll get the message and you will be left happily lonely,
then you can write me letters asking why does nobody talk to you!
by Harry Flashman
Experiment with photo filters - cheaply
all your shots looking the same these days? Have you become a
‘record shot’ photographer? You know the kind of snapshots - the
kids at the beach, wife in the pool. The usual “Nung, song, sam,
yim mak” and there you have it. Next shot please.
This week I want you to look at the final photographs
as something more than a collection of ‘record’ shots. Here’s a simple (and
cheap) way to put some art into your photography by using filters,
without having to buy expensive filter kits. Filters can be used with
any camera, film, digital, compact or SLR, but digital will certainly
give you an instant result. I also believe in not spending too much on
filters, and when I say cheap, the first one costs 1 baht (and is
recoverable) and gives you a center-spot soft focus filter. It will
enhance portraits, particularly of women, giving a soft dreamy look to
the photo. Using this filter this just means the center is in focus and
the edges are nicely soft and blurred. This effect is used by portrait
and wedding photographers all over the world to produce that wonderful
You will need one can of hairspray, a one baht coin
and a clear piece of glass or plastic (perspex) around 7.5 cm square.
This piece of perspex needs to be as thin as possible to keep it
optically correct. One supply source can be hardware shops, glaziers and
even picture framers.
Having cut out your square, put the coin in the
center of the perspex and then gently wave the hairspray over the lot.
Let it dry and gently flick the coin off and you have your first special
effects filter - the center spot soft focus.
Now set your camera lens on the largest aperture you
can (around f4 is fine). Focus on your subject, keeping the face
in the center of the screen. Bring up your magic FX filter and place it
over the lens and what do you see? The face is in focus and the edges
are all blurred! You’ve got it. Shoot! Take a few shots, especially ones
with the light behind your subject. Try altering the f stop as well, as
this changes the apparent size of the clear spot in the middle. Simple,
cheap and easy art.
Here is another, the Super Sunset Filter. This one
will give you that wonderfully warm “tropical sunset” which will make
people envious that they aren’t over here to enjoy such spectacular
endings to the day. To produce the warm glow, just take off your
sunglasses and place one side over the lens. It’s that simple! Just look
at the difference yourself, with and without the sunnies. The camera
will see it the same way.
Soft romantic effects can be produced super
inexpensively as well. The first is to gently breathe on the end of the
lens just before you take the shot. Your warm breath will impart a
“mist” to produce a wonderfully misty portrait, or that early morning
mist look for landscapes. Remember that the “misting” only lasts a few
seconds, so make sure you have the camera pre-focussed and ready to
shoot. If you have control over the aperture, try around f4 as
Here’s another. Use a piece of stocking (pantyhose)
material. Stretch it over the lens and tie it on with a rubber band. Cut
a small hole in the middle and go ahead and shoot romantic portraits.
There are also other ways of bending, refracting or
just generally fooling the camera’s lens system. This you do by holding
transparent materials in front of the lens when taking your photographs.
I suggest you get small pieces of glass or perspex (around 10 cm by 10
cm) and use these as the final filter. You can even use semi-transparent
material like shower screen glass. The concept is just to produce a
“different” effect, one that the camera will pick up. It is very
difficult to predict the outcomes in these situations, but you can be
pleasantly amazed at some of the results. The main idea is to give it a
Money Matters: Paul Gambles MBMG International Ltd.
The Real Estate Market is just not real, part 2
Many people in the know believe
that the banks are, at best, storing up or, at worst, hiding big losses. The
Financial Times recently quoted CBRE, who believe there over USD130 billion of
poor quality property loans in Britain alone. This is over twenty five percent
of the UK’s sector debt. It is also a fact that 40% of the USD130 billion are in
default of the original agreement. This has doubled in just six months.
Andrew Haldane, a director at the Bank of England, is worried:
“Let me not pretend that it is not something we are looking at closely. It
represents a risk. We recognize that loans with LTVs of over 100% will not be
refinanced. The hope would be that new sources of finance will come to the
market before the refinancing dates.”
Basically, he is stating what has been known for a long time.
Things are only going to get worse as those who have taken loans have to repay
what they have borrowed but are now in negative equity. They want to renegotiate
the loan but the finance companies cannot afford for them to do this. This is
Dubai but on a much, much smaller basis; but there are millions of people in
this situation which then makes the potential situation huge.
A lot of the debt came from the easy finance available in the
early to mid-2000s. Money made available to those wanting to borrow went up, on
average, by nearly 40% per annum in America and almost 25% in Europe. This cheap
debt is meant to have been responsible for over ninety percent of the USD1,400
billion of deals done.
Not only does this show the greed of the real estate market
but also the insatiable appetite of the banking sector wanting to get in and
have a piece of the action. They were so desperate to have a slice of the market
they turned a blind eye to what people were really earning and just signed them
up anyway. The idea was to show a paper profit and then sell it on before there
could be any comeback.
Banks and others who were not in on the initial deal began to
feel left out and this also showed on the profit sheets (theoretically). To get
a foot on the ladder they were prepared to pay a higher price and bought a block
of these loans and then passed it on for a profit at a later time and so the
pyramid began. At the height of this farce it was almost impossible not to find
a buyer. However, these people had forgotten the basics of how property is
valued - actual price, potential income and cost of replacement.
The madness escalated when the banks decided this was the new
kid on the block and had to be a part of it and so actually started to give
speculators money as well as debt. On many an occasion, this was done on
structured terms only using a small part of their own equity even though it
guaranteed returns for investors. The real risk was with the banks. It all
sounded too good to be true and it was.
In Britain, the leaders in this sector of the market were
Royal Bank of Scotland and HBOS. These two banks alone accounted for nearly 50%
of the outstanding debt which was well over GBP220 billion. Those poor things at
Lloyds, railroaded by the present government into taking over HBOS, are still
having to take commercial property write-offs. As the Financial Times wrote
recently, “Impairment charges of GBP22.1 billion since the end of last year
(2008) were related substantially to HBOS’s real estate spree.”
The Royal Bank of Scotland was no less greedy than HBOS and
also gave out structured products. The bank will now enter almost GBP40 billion
of property loans into the UK government’s Asset Protection Scheme (APS) where
loans are either on a high risk list or managed by its own people. The APS is
vital to keeping these loans alive. Without this direct government intervention,
the real estate sector would have suffered a lot more than it has. Some think
that this would not have been a bad thing.
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
DVD of the Week:
The White (2009)
1913-1914. A ‘feudal’ village in northern Germany, dominated by a land-owning
Baron, who employs half the local population, suffers a series of cruel and
mysterious happenings. It is the period leading up to the assassination of
Archduke Ferdinand of Sarajevo – and the outbreak of WW I.
There is a scene in this masterly film of such heart
stopping emotion that one might – seeing it in isolation- assume the
director to be someone other than the incomparable Michael Haneke. The same
response could be made to the film’s sub plot involving the narrator-teacher
and his young bride-to –be, a relationship surveyed with tenderness and
Possibly for the first time in his powerful body of work,
Haneke acknowledges such possibilities. It is clear, however, that such
delicacy and innocence struggles against the yoke of social repression,
mistrust, cruelty, poverty, hypocrisy and, above all in the period and place
depicted, an unyielding work ethic and the bigotry of joyless north German
The scene referred to takes place between an adult and
his diminutive son, who comes to his Pastor-father’s study and gravely
presents him with a caged bird, which he has long nursed, having found it
injured. It is, he explains, to replace his father’s pet. “Because you are
so sad without Peeskie.”
For a moment the granite faced disciplinarian is moved,
the exterior fa็ade almost giving way to tears (it would be like watching a
Mt. Rushmore President crumbling before our eyes) but all he does is to
formally accept the gift and allow the still innocent child to leave.
We know two things. That one day in the future the boy
will be forced to wear a white ribbon to remind him constantly of that
innocence (even though all the adults around him are far from pure).
Secondly that the father’s caged bird has died at the hands of another of
his children, a daughter who finally defies her father – even at communion.
She has left the creature open winged on his desk in the form of a cross.
The father refuses to acknowledge what has happened, just
as he does when the teacher presents him with details of the horrors that
are being perpetrated – probably by children – in the claustrophobic
village. The origins of fascism are seen in this denial of evil.
Not that the film is simply about (German or Protestant)
guilt: a refusal to accept what is going on around them and what such denial
might lead to. Still one has the nagging knowledge that these village of the
damned children (the ‘villains’ of the piece, visited by the sins of the
father) are of an age, five to fifteen, to become adults during the 1930s.
Haneke is interested in painting a broader portrait than that, one devoid of
He evokes an entire period and a complex though stifled
community through a story crammed with character and incident, in the manner
of a politicized thriller, not totally removed from his superb film Hidden.
He also displays more confidently than ever before – in what is surely his
finest and most accessible work – the gift of a true film artist as written
about by the actress Louise Brooks: ‘The great art of film does not consist
of descriptive movement of face and body but in the movements of thought and
soul, transmitted in a kind of intense isolation’.
In this respect he evokes echoes of other – greater –
directors and specific films. There are moments here of Fritz Lang’s M, of
Ingmar Bergman’s The Silence and Maurice Pialat’s L’Enfance Nue and above
all something of the austere beauty of Carl Dreyer’s Ordet in the wonderful
images. The dialogue seems on occasion not to have been written but branded
white hot on to the pages: the confrontation between the village doctor and
his mistress, the Pastor and his pubescent son, the Baron and his
intellectual, dissatisfied wife recall the interrogation of Joan and her
accusers in Bresson’s The Trial of Joan of Arc, redolent with the political
context so crucial to the physical and emotional drama shown.
What marks this film out from other recent works (and
accounts no doubt for the rave reviews and the awards which began with the
Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival last May) is not just the
magnificence of Christian Berger’s cinematography or the faultless casting
and acting, but Haneke’s rigorous single minded depiction – one might say
dissection – of this place and time.
One is sucked into a world so completely that at the end
of the film I realized that on occasion I had seemingly forgotten to breathe
– so intense is the dialogue, so riven is the action. The surface is calm
but underneath is volcanic heat. Its success may in part be the result of a
return to his native language. He is Austrian by birth but has worked often
in France and once disastrously in the U.S.A., remaking Funny Games.
The film shows enormous care in every aspect. Not just
the diamond sharp and sometimes shadowy images, or the magnificent
performances (especially Burghart Klaussman as the Pastor), but in every
aspect of the production, costumes, locations, the entire mise en scene.
Haneke may lack the genius of most of those directors
mentioned above (he is closest to Bergman in talent, though he admires
Bresson, Pialat and Hitchcock above all others) but he shares their sense of
commitment to his art.
It’s important to note, and hopefully the review
indicates the fact that this is a ‘dark’ movie, for all the moments of
tenderness. These are juxtaposed with many of cruelty and harshness: not
shown explicitly but unflinchingly. One scene is directly reminiscent of the
infamous Bulger case in England, where two young boys kidnapped a younger
one in broad daylight and brutally murdered him.
Here the action is not completed and is the result of a
spontaneous jealous act. The youngsters might simply be considered chips off
their oppressive elders, who are capable of infinitely more devastating
acts. Haneke never moralises and may be for some a little too critical, even
though objective. But I promise that you will not come away from this film
unmoved or without these beautiful images seared in your mind, just as the
sometimes painful dialogue remains. The DVD (we are unlikely to see the film
in Thailand even if it wins the Oscar as best foreign film, over The Prophet)
is available from the DVD Film and Music shop at 289 Suthep Road. Open from
9a.m. until late. Tel: 053 808 084.
Let's Go To The Movies:
by Mark Gernpy
3D note: I think some
clarification should be made in the advertisements and promotion for “3D” in
Cinema 3 at Airport Plaza. (Cinema 3 is the only Chiang Mai cinema capable
of showing 3D at the present time.) Particularly since Major Cineplex is
charging premium (i.e., expensive) prices. The recent showing True
Legend, though at the premium price of 240 baht for a regular seat, had
only 18 minutes of 3D footage, and even that was chopped up into small
segments, and you were told by an icon on the screen to put on or take off
your 3D glasses. By all reports, it wasn’t worth it – when you did see the
3D it was not sharp and was in general eye-ache-inducing.
was shot using 3D digital devices (not technically “cameras”) and director
James Cameron invented cutting-edge techniques to create a truly three
dimensional experience for his viewers. Alice in Wonderland,
however, though also advertised as 3D, was in fact not shot with 3D devices
but with regular 2D cameras, with the 3D effect added during post-film
processing. Not the same thing at all, though I wonder how many patrons are
aware of the fact. Certainly, the Cineplex does nothing to clarify things
for the viewer. I think they should.
note: Cinema 7 is again having sound problems – the
sound wavers, as though the film is not being fed through the projector at a
constant speed. Particularly noticeable and intensely aggravating in music
with sustained notes.
playing in Chiang Mai
US, Drama/ Romance/
War – Out of nowhere and without warning, Major Cineplex brings us this
rather dull piece. It’s a romantic drama about a soldier who falls for a
conservative college student while he’s home on leave. Intensely weepy, if
you’re a 12-year-old girl. Starring Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, and
Henry Thomas. Mixed or average reviews.
Action/ Drama/ Horror/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – In the year 2019, a plague has
transformed most every human into vampires. Faced with a dwindling blood
supply, the fractured dominant race plots their survival; meanwhile, a
researcher works with a covert band of vampires on a way to save humankind.
Directed by gore specialists, the Australian twins Michael and Peter Spierig,
who, and this I find mind-blowing, were born on the same day and the same
year as the twin directors of The Book of Eli, Albert and Allen
Hughes, a film also playing this week. Daybreakers stars Ethan
Hawke, Willem Dafoe, and Sam Neill. Rated R in the US for strong bloody
violence, language, and brief nudity. Mixed or average reviews.
The Book of Eli:
Adventure/ Drama/ Thriller/ Western – Not for everyone, but I found it
thoroughly engrossing. The story revolves around a lone warrior (Denzel
Washington) who must fight to bring society the knowledge that could be the
key to its survival. Gary Oldman is great as the despot of a small town
who’s determined to take possession of the book Eli’s guarding. Directed by
the Hughes twins (Albert and Allen), who also happen to be born on the exact
same day as the Spierig twins, directors of Daybreakers: April 1,
1972. I find that fact amazing and spooky. These twins inject some fresh
stylish fun into their post-apocalyptic wasteland. And Denzel is terrific!
Rated R in the US for some brutal violence and language. Mixed or average
Who Are You?:
Thriller – About a mother whose son has withdrawn from social life and
locked himself away in his room for five years. The only way she can
communicate with her son is to write on a piece of paper and slip it under
the door. This thriller comes from writer Eakasit Thairatana, who wrote the
terrific 13 Beloved, and director Pakphum Wonjinda (VDO Clip).
No English subtitles, which is really a shame, as it looks intriguing.
Kong Phan / Gong-pan:
You’re in the Army now! Ain’t it fun?! It’s been called a “gays in the
military romp.” Studio synopsis: “Jiwon, a young lad, is enlisted to the
army where he meets his new and unusual friends.” Uh-huh!
Percy Jackson & the
Olympians: The Lightning Thief:
Canada/ US, Fantasy/ Comedy – Zeus’ lightning bolt has been stolen, and high
school student Percy Jackson is the prime suspect in this sprawling and
entertaining teen adventure. Logan Lerman as Percy is an excellent new
teenaged hero. Mixed or average reviews.
True Legend / Su Qi-Er:
Action/ Drama/ History – A wealthy man living during the Qing Dynasty loses
his fortune and reputation as a result of a conspiracy against him. After
being forced out onto the streets, he dedicates his life to martial arts and
reemerges as a patriotic hero. With Jay Chou and Michelle Yeoh, and a cameo
by the late David Carradine. In Thai only, and only at Vista (2D version).
Bridge in Paradise :
by Neil Robinson
Sometimes you get a
chance to be a hero at the bridge table, which is good. However, if you fail
the test, that is definitely bad. I got my chance recently on board 20 from
the Bridge Club of Chiang Mai pairs game on February 24th and
muffed it! Both sides were vulnerable, West dealt and the hands and bidding
were as shown below.
S: 842 S: J10765
H: AK104 H: J8752
D: 72 D: 4
C: Q1087 C: 95
West North East South
P 2C P 2S
P 3D P 3N
P 4N P 5D
P 6N P P
I was sitting North
and picked up a wonderful hand, which I opened 2C. The 2S response by South
is artificial—it says nothing about spades but simply tells me that my
partner has 7 to 9 high card points. I asked for aces and found that my
partner had one ace. I have ten tricks in my hand (eight diamonds and the
two high clubs) and 6N looked to be a worthwhile gamble. What would you bid
in my place after the double?
When I heard the
double, I immediately thought that West must have the ace and king of
hearts. I thought about bidding seven diamonds but reasoned that if I went
to the seven level we would still lose two tricks and now would go down two
instead of going down one in 6N. I was wrong of course—I should have bid the
diamond grand slam. This puts East on lead and East does not know which ace
West holds. Having slightly better spades than hearts, East would probably
lead the jack of spades. I would have won this with my singleton king in
hand, pulled trumps in two rounds ending on board and thrown my losing
hearts on dummy’s ace and queen of spades. Grand slam bid and made. If
only…! Unfortunately, at the table I tamely passed and we went down. Heroism
passed me by yet again.
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: [email protected]
MAIL OPINION :
Traffic safety needs some work
Last week a friend and I encountered an awful traffic jam at
the end of Huay Kaew Road, it extended down Manee Nopparat to the Icon
Computer plaza. Caught completely unawares, we were forced to wait in the
slowly moving traffic. Slowly we inched along and finally reached the cause
of the blockage; new electric poles being lifted into place all along the
side of the road.
Why this needed to be done in the middle of the day, I am
unsure, but even more confusing is why there wasn’t any signage to warn
people of upcoming construction work, much less signs posted at least a week
in advance so that people could use alternate routes if they wanted. Neither
were there flagmen (or women) to help direct traffic around the giant trucks
as they lifted the poles into place. Fortunately for us, as one of the
trucks pulled out into traffic, he caused to look down and stopped in time
for us to pass without being decapitated by a giant electric pole.
Then, on Tuesday, while on a back road heading to watch
the match between the Chiang Mai media and visiting Polish media, I drove
under a giant tree that had been topped and was hanging precipitously over
the road. Again, no warning, nobody to stop traffic, just two men, each
holding a rope on either side of the tree that was suspended over the road.
It was more than a bit frightening as I hadn’t even noticed the tree until I
was nearly under it.
It seems to me that not only for convenience but for
safety reasons, basic signage should be posted by those doing the work. Had
there been a sign posted on Huay Kaew a few blocks ahead, I imagine a lot of
people would have turned off onto the Superhighway instead. Had there been
signage posted a few days ahead, I imagine that even more would have just
avoided the area altogether. Had there been a flagman directing traffic, it
might have moved more smoothly, and the crane operators could have operated
more efficiently, without fear of injuring passersby.
As the Municipality works hard to push Chiang Mai into
the future, and yet still appreciate its past, it seems that they might
consider making that push a safe one for all involved.