The Doctor's Consultation: by Dr. Iain Corness
The headline this week should
be enough to get the interest of some of the older chaps out there. Correct?
Unfortunately I can take no credit for the catchy wording, this was
something I stole from our Miss Hillary, and how she knows about this, I
dare not ask.
Now ‘exercise’ is something that is talked about, but
most people equate this with gymnasiums. Some of my friends attend these
sweat palaces on a regular basis, and if nothing else, they are getting some
regular exercise at the same time. I too have tried them, but I am afraid
that pedaling a stationary bicycle to nowhere does not hold my attention for
Unfortunately the commonest advice a doctor gives out at
the end of the year is to lose weight and get some exercise. Was that part
of the advice after your annual physical check-up? Very likely.
However, there seems to be very little real understanding
of what exercise should consist of, how often, what type, how long and what
about sex? However, getting a little serious, exercise will be good for you,
provided that you pick a form of exercise that is not harmful for you!
Now I know that looks as if I have put my money on both
horses in the race, but take that sentence at its face value. Enough
research has been done to show that regular exercise is beneficial for
everybody, in both the physical and psychological aspects, but, and it is a
big ‘but’, all forms of exercise have relative bodily risks, and this has to
be taken into account before you buy a pair of expensive jogging shoes and
tackle a 10 km trot in the middle of the day. True stories - a medical
colleague in Australia took up playing squash when he turned 50 and dropped
dead on the court of a heart attack, and another acquaintance of mine turned
40, decided he wasn’t fit, bought a bicycle to ride to work each day and was
run over by a bus.
I read an article that advised non-slippery shoes for the
novice exerciser and suggested you choose appropriate exercise according to
your ability. Never exceed your limit. Remember that it is not the harder
the better. If you have acute medical problems (such as fever, or pain),
stop exercising. If you have chronic medical conditions (such as
hypertension, diabetes, ischemic heart disease and arthritis), seek advice
from your doctor or physiotherapist beforehand. All of these I agree with.
If you are happy to take your body to your medical advisor when it is sick,
take it back to your doctor for advice on how to tone it up as well.
The form of exercise should be one that you enjoy, and it
may be gymnasium work, or jogging, or walking, or swimming or something else
reasonably vigorous. It should be such that you raise a sweat, but not to
the point of dehydration! Do not wait until you are thirsty. Take
appropriate breaks. Do not over-exert yourself. Forget about “powering
through the pain barrier”. Leave that for drug-fuelled cyclists in France.
As well as the form of exercise, there is the frequency.
At least three times per week, 20-30 minutes (or more) is necessary each
time, to derive the maximum benefit. But always remember, if there is
dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, chest pain, vomiting, nausea or
severe pain during exercise, stop exercising immediately and seek medical
advice as soon as possible.
Now I did mention horizontal folk dancing and some of you
have been impatiently reading, while nervously fiddling with your expensive
packet of Viagras, Kanagras, Cialis and other lead-in-your-pencil
medications (I draw the line at tiger willy). OK, what about sex? The
advisability of this form of exercise when you have some chronic complaint (such
as hypertension, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, etc.), should be part of
the advice you get from your doctor beforehand. The danger of over the
counter willy stiffeners is that you don’t get advice with them.
A fitter body means better sex. OK?
Yes, I’m shy but look what a character I am! Give me a chance and
I’ll show you how loyal, loving and fun I can be! I am 2-3 years old
and so ready to find a loving forever home. You couldn’t ask for a
more gentle, healthy little dog (actually mid-sized). I would be no
trouble I promise, as long as you have time to feed, walk and love
me. I am currently in a loving foster home but since they are
leaving Chiang Mai and I urgently need to find a forever home. I
would prefer a lady owner as I am nervous of men. Come on down and
meet me – don’t be shy!
Do you think Brenda could be the right one for
you? Contact the shelter English (08 47 52 52 55) or Thai language
(08 69 13 87 01) to make an appointment to meet her, e-mail:
[email protected] or visit the website for further information
Heart to Heart
As my computer was down, I used my husband’s lap top
which he had left at home between trips. I clicked on his ‘favorites’
and was taken aback by the number of porn sites he has been visiting. Is
this something I should worry about? Or has he tired of me (we have been
married for 14 years)? He has been lusting after all these women dressed
in lingerie and stockings, and I don’t even possess a pair of stockings
in retaliation. My girlfriends said to just ignore it, all males like to
fantasize and I should do nothing. I don’t know if they mean that, or
have they got designs on my husband? This does upset me. What do you
think I should do? I am worrying myself sick over it.
The first piece of advice I have for you is to
stop snooping in your husband’s lap top. You may be married, but
everyone, including spouses, is entitled to some privacy. The second
piece of advice I am giving you is to stop discussing your private lives
with your girlfriends. After all, how do you know that some of them
haven’t got the lingerie and stockings already.
The reason there is so much porn available, and
thousands of sites, is because your husband, and people like him, need
some kind of outlet, or respite from the stresses of today’s living. For
most men, it is just a fantasy, as your girlfriends said, but having
said all that, if he is spending much of his salary on these sites,
which can happen, let me tell you, Petal, then this viewing of porn has
become an addiction, which may require some sexual counseling. Check the
credit card entries, this may give you some idea of the perceived
problem or otherwise, but be aware any entries from these sites will not
state “Porno Pix Pty”.
I am a middle aged woman from the UK and I have a
Thai boyfriend who is a few years younger than me. OK, quite a few years
younger than me, but we enjoy each other’s company and seem well suited
to each other in personality. I’m not the one for wild drinking parties
or drugs, and neither is he. He satisfies me in other ways too, I am
sure you know what I mean. I enjoy him. However, when we go anywhere,
like to a restaurant, I have to put up with people whispering behind my
back, as if I have committed a crime or something, when these self same
people are there with their very much younger Thai girlfriends. What’s
sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander they say. Why do people
carry on like this, Hillary? Do you know?
Anyone who dares to do something out of the
ordinary gets disparaging comments from others. The same chaps who take
their Thai girlfriends to the UK get the same treatment as you are
getting now. “Trophy wives” is the label they get, so yours is a “trophy
husband”. In most cases it is simply just jealousy, so ignore them and
continue to enjoy your life and your boyfriend, my Petal. When you’re
finished with him, you can always send him on over to me!
I was in Bangkok last week, staying at one of the
better hotels (I won’t say which one), and went to the hotel’s own
disco. Long story short, I ended up having a few drinks with a young
lady and invited her to stay the night with me, but as we came up from
the disco we were set upon by the night staff who demanded I pay 1,000
baht for her to stay with me and also she had to leave her ID card with
them. I have always believed that when you order a double-bed room, the
second person was covered in the price. Is this not the current way in
Thailand? I also believe it is not a good idea to leave your personal
details with anyone, such as the Thai ID card, such as was demanded of
my girlfriend. Is this normal, or was I just being ripped off? I did pay
and she did leave her ID.
You were being charged a “joiner” fee, which is
pretty standard in most up-market hotels. When you take someone in for
the night, more hotel facilities are used (towels, soaps, etc.), so I
suppose they can justify the fee. I have no idea whether that is the
standard fee, but in general, the more expensive the room, the higher
the fee. As far as the ID card is concerned, my Petal, be thankful that
the hotel does this. What would you have done if your disco companion
which you say was your “girlfriend”, whom you had known for a whole two
hours, decamped in the middle of the night with all your valuables. And
all you know is that her name was Lek. At least with the ID recorded the
police do have a chance of finding your Lek from the 10,000 other Leks
in Bangkok, remembering that Lek is just her nickname, not her name of
the ID. This system is a safeguard for you, Petal.
by Harry Flashman
The Twelve Commandments
I realize that the historic Ten Commandments have been
popularized in some religions, but that does not stop me from
proposing my 12 Commandments, as these are not rules for living,
but merely rules to get better pictures.
While there are plenty of photography books for sale
in the bookstores, most of those are of the genre, How To Photograph
Mountain Lions or similar. (The answer is with a very long lens, don’t
bother buying the book.)
So here are my 12 commandments, which if you follow
them through, I will guarantee you will get better photographs. And get
more fun out of your photography.
The first is simply to take photographs every day.
Photography, like any sport, recreation or pursuit is something where
the more you do it and practice it, the better you get. With memory
cards and the like, it is no more expensive to shoot four as it does to
The one major fault in most amateur photographs is
taking the shot from too far away. From now on, make the subject the
“hero” and walk in several meters closer to make the subject fill the
Focusing! With modern auto-focus cameras the most
obvious focusing problem is where the subject is off-center. The magic
eye doesn’t know this and focuses on the central background, leaving
your close-up subject soft and blurry. Focus on the subject and use the
focus lock facility of your camera.
Tripods I mentioned frequently, but one of these will
expand your picture taking no end. Camera shake becomes a thing of the
past, and you will take more time to compose your shots.
Always carry a spare memory card. There is nothing
worse than trying to delete on the run following the shot of a lifetime.
Keep your interest and pride in your work by making
enlargements of your better photos. At around 80 baht for most places,
this is very cheap and enlargements do make good presents at Xmas time
We all get lazy and it is too easy to end up just
taking every picture in the horizontal (landscape) format. Make it a
habit to always take at least two shots of each subject - one in the
horizontal format and the other in the vertical. You can get some
surprising results that way. Don’t be lazy - do it!
With color photography, which covers about 99.99
percent of most people’s pictures these days, the one major factor to
give your skies and seas and scenery some color oomph is the use of a
polarizing filter. Get one and use it every time the sun shines.
You will always miss some “classic” shots and regret
it later, but you certainly will never get them if you don’t have a
camera with you. With so many incredible photo opportunities in Thailand,
you should be ready at all times!
To give your daytime shots some extra sparkle, use
“fill-in” flash. Most new cameras have a little setting that will do
this automatically for you - even with point and shooters. If you
haven’t, then spend some time learning how to do it. It’s worth it when
you see the results you get.
To give yourself the impetus to go out and take
photos, develop a project and spend your leisure time building up the
images. It can be flowers or fashion, cars or canaries, but fix on
something and follow it through. It’s worth it, just for the fact that
it makes you become an “enquiring” photographer.
Finally, at the end of every year, give the camera a
birthday by buying it some new batteries. You won’t have a problem
damaging the sensitive innards with neglected battery acid and the
camera’s light metering system will work correctly every time. It’s
Here is the list.
1. Take more shots
2. Walk several meters closer
3. Use the focus lock
4. Buy a tripod
5. Carry a spare memory card
6. Make enlargements of your better prints
7. Use different formats
8. Use a polarizing filter
9. Carry your camera with you
10. Use the flash during the day
11. Develop a project
12. Change the batteries
Money Matters: Paul Gambles
MBMG International Ltd.
Out with the Old and In with the New
MBMG Group were fortunate that, despite the recent troubles
in Thailand, its affiliated portfolio manager, and managing director of award-winning
MitonOptimal Guernsey, Scott Campbell, continued with his trip to Bangkok and
presented his views to more than 150 attendees at a series of briefings across
the city and in Pattaya.
Thailand’s volatile political environment combined with the
incredible pressure that was building in the debt-ravaged Greek economy, prior
to the riots and multi-billion dollar international bailout package, created an
anxious backdrop that highlighted the palpable fears of local investors and
raised the questions:
* Is the Western world going to be dragged down into renewed
recession by the contagion of the sovereign debt crisis that looks set to
* What does that mean living here? Will the momentum of the
Asian recovery be sufficient to outstrip the potential second fall of the West
and how will domestic political risk affect the Thai economy?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the three-time S&P-award-winning
Campbell says that even though foreign investors remain bullish on the growth of
emerging markets, Thailand might fail to capitalize on its strengths to become
one of the best investment markets in Asia if politics continues to weigh on the
The currency markets provide an indication that country risk
has already affected Thailand’s performance and recovery over the past year or
so. Despite complaints from local business chiefs and exporters, any suggestion
that the central bank has been intervening in the money market to bolster the
baht seems very unlikely given the very visible build-up of dollar reserves that
have been generated by ‘selling’ baht. In reality, Thailand’s seemingly “strong”
baht has actually underperformed the region’s other currencies by about ten
“That is almost entirely down to the local political
situation. Currency is a barometer of political risk and the Thai Baht has been
pretty much flat since last year [on a trade-weighted basis]. If the political
risk gets sorted out, then you may see the Thai Baht appreciate just to catch up
with the other regional currencies which it has lagged during this time,’’
according to Campbell, adding that the fundamentals for the whole Asian region
are still very positive.
Campbell added, ‘’Asia, along with other emerging markets,
will continue to be the best place for investment for the next 30 to 40 years.
Over the past 10 years, western stock markets have done nothing while Asian
stock markets have grown three-to-fourfold.’’
Thailand is certainly part of that developmental shift, but
political uncertainty has dampened economic growth since problems arose in 2004,
a point reinforced by observers such as Templeton’s Mark Mobius and John Sheehan
of Global Markets Asia. The turbulence has not only slowed Thailand, it has
enabled some other countries in the region to overtake South-east Asia’s second-largest
economy in terms of growth. This can be seen by comparing the kingdom’s economic
growth, foreign-exchange rates and stock market valuations with those of
comparable economies in the region.
‘’If you take the superior GDP (Gross Domestic Product)
growth rate of a jurisdiction like the Philippines and apply this higher rate to
Thailand’s growth from 2005, it can be seen that by the end of 2008 Thailand’s
GDP would be somewhere between US$30 billion and $40 billion higher than now,’’
Problems in Europe loom large on the economic radar, however.
Even though Greece received the largest ever financial bailout package offered
to a single country, it failed to yield the desired bounce in the markets.
Despite the huge problems that Greece faces, its public debt, which is
equivalent to about 125% of GDP, is a small proportion of the EU’s overall
deficit and the fears that the contagion will spread to Portugal, Spain, Ireland
and even the UK, are very real.
“Some people are predicting that in the long-term we won’t
remember the problems of the last few years as a financial crisis, because that
will be subsumed by the emerging sovereign debt crisis in Europe,” says
He believes there is at least a 30% chance of the established
Western economies being dragged back into recession by the problems in Europe
and possibilities of a hollow recovery. Whether this will happen or not should
become clear in the figures of major economies, such as the US, when they are
published in the early second half of the year, with job creation and growth key
indicators to follow.
Regardless of the situation in Europe, the clear fact is that
Asian economies and other emerging markets will dominate the global markets for
many years to come, a time when the former world powerhouses will continue their
decline. Campbell says this is down to simple fundamentals and economic cycles.
The Kondratieff Seasons (see graphic), a long-term economic model that
essentially explains boom and bust, give a clear outlook on investment
opportunities and asset and equity allocations. This combined with a look at
population growth, development and demographics paints a positive picture for
‘’The region is exporting within itself. This has shown that
Asia is much less dependent on the west than it was which is very positive.
Asian demographics also are positive with the population distribution being
similar to that of the United States Baby Boom era. An economy that has a bigger
chunk of people at the bottom [age group] is in a much better shape than the
economy that has bigger chunk of people at the top. India, for example, will
progress through the baby boom stage and isn’t projected to reach the top heavy
state that is starting to impact on the growth of the US today until 2050. In
long term trends this is a theme very supportive of emerging markets growth for
another 40 years or so.’’
“Of course, there will be business cycles, stock market
crashes and credit crunches, but for the next 40 years or so, until the major
Asian economies get top-heavy, the region will be the driver of global growth,”
This changing global dynamic is seeing other economic
phenomena migrate from the West to the East. “In the past, a high-risk portfolio
was emerging market bonds, Japanese equities and developing market property. At
the same time a low-risk one contained US government bonds, German blue-chip
companies and UK property but now, the situation is completely reversed.’’
Asian commercial property is particularly attractive in many
cases with low gearing ratios and good yield carry. And while Asian growth may
lead to higher interest rates, the strong carry differential will be partially
protected by economic growth leading to higher rents and occupancy rates.
Campbell remains bullish on gold as one of the allocated
asset classes and based on a number of technical and fundamental factors expects
gold prices to ultimately rise to between USD2,000 and USD2,500 an ounce. Gold
has been one of the asset classes that have helped Campbell to achieve
exceptional outperformance over the last ten years; a period in which the Dow
Jones Industrial average has fallen by around 30% and the gold price has
increased almost fivefold from its lowest point to current levels of around
USD1,200 an ounce.
From a personal investment point of view, expatriates living
in Thailand need to have a balanced global portfolio, diversified across cash,
gold, hedge funds and property. But they should also try to keep their regular
costs and expenses covered off in Thai baht to reduce currency risk.
If you live in an emerging market and you have liabilities,
costs and debts, you need to match those off in the local currency. If your
expenses are in Thai Baht, they should be covered off in Thai Baht. The reason
why people traditionally did it the other way round is because it made sense
when the emerging markets were in a disinflationary cycle while the west was
bullish - but now it is the other way round.
People who have investments and savings in western currencies
would do well to hedge those risks by looking at strong Asian currencies such as
the Singapore Dollar. Campbell actually manages one of the only global funds to
hedge in Thai Baht and Singapore Dollars.
Despite the current global and local uncertainties, Asia and
Thailand remain strong investment markets, says Campbell, “If you’re living in
this part of the world it is a very positive thing. It is where all the growth
and the change is going to be.”
What is the best way to avoid any pitfalls? Follow the Scott
Campbell credo of multi-manager, multi-asset alpha allocation in the currency
that best suits your individual needs.
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 [email protected]
DVD of the Week:
By Brian Baxter
Elephant and 71 Fragments
two compelling movies make a fascinating ‘pair’ since they share common
themes and yet approach their subjects (each is inspired by ‘random’
killings) in very different styles. They are the works of two of the finest
directors working today. Each film can be viewed as a thriller, in the
strict sense that one is witnessing a suspense movie and we are drawn into a
world that is being completed before our eyes like a jigsaw. The last piece
completes the picture.
Gus Van Sant’s movie won both the Palme d’Or and Best
Director prize at Cannes and its superb cinematography also received
accolades and awards. It is exceptionally elegant, uses time lapse
photography, steadicam (hypnotically), long takes and a complex soundtrack.
Michael Haneke’s work is the more cerebral, with forceful
images and far less movement. Its strength is in its editing and the sound
track and I have no doubt that he is the most accomplished ‘craftsman’
working in world cinema today.
Like most of Van Sant’s work, Elephant was filmed in
Portland, Oregon and its main concern is with teenagers (see also his
Paranoid Park). The setting is a lavishly equipped high school, with
youngsters who seemingly have ‘everything’. Many are good looking, well
dressed, come from affluent families, enjoy relationships and can look
forward to college and ‘freedom’.
But Van Sant’s prowling camera sweeps through the glossy
building and exteriors, picking up random conversations, casual incidents,
flirtations, arguments, the casual detritus of every day life - often from a
variety of perspectives as the picture is gradually completed. This is a
typical school day. Except that, as the film’s tag line states, it is not.
Van Sant’s film is about loneliness, frustration, despair and a lack of
communication. It is not about violence and like his fellow director he
makes no judgment, except upon a society which allows and encourages the
depiction of unthinking violence to go unchecked.
Haneke’s superior work creates its mosaic from numerous
fragments and is also based on true incidents which he uses as the
background to a portrait of a western society (in this case Austria) which
is also willing to accept a sanitized view of violence. His film is more
rigorous, more demanding and even more riveting to watch. As one commentator
remarked, Bresson meets Hitchcock.
Both of these films are available from the DVD Film and
Music shop at 289 Suthep Road (053 808 084) as are many other films by these
two ‘magicians’ of the cinema. Haneke’s work is especially worth looking at
beginning with the early films made in Austria and moving into his big
international successes. Only the remake of Party Games should be avoided.
Let's Go To The Movies:
by Mark Gernpy
Now playing in Chiang Mai
The A-Team: US, Action/
Adventure/ Thriller – A big-screen version of the TV series, and which
captures the superficial and noisy spirit of the original. A group of Iraq
War veterans looks to clear their name with the US military, who suspect the
four men of committing a crime – they were actually framed. Going “rogue,”
the colorful team utilizes their unique talents to try and clear their names
and find the true culprits. Starring Liam Neeson and Jessica Biel. Mixed or
StreetDance 3D: (in Cinema 5, the relocated and larger
3D cinema) UK, Dance/ Drama – In order to win England’s Street Dance
Championships, a dance crew is forced to work with ballet dancers from the
Royal Dance School in exchange for rehearsal space. Directed by Max Giwa and
Dania Pasquini; starring the always terrific Charlotte Rampling, Nichola
Burley, Roy Winsor, and Rachel McDowall, and groups from Britain’s Got
Talent. Generally favorable reviews. At Airport Plaza only.
Nang Takien / Takien: The Haunted Tree: Thai, Drama/
Horror – The latest ghost story to hit the big screen in Thailand, about the
spirit of a suicidal garment-factory worker inhabiting the tree where she
hanged herself when she couldn’t find her boyfriend. There’s probably a
moral in there somewhere. Rated 18+ in Thailand.
Prince of Persia: US, Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy/
Romance – Some of the rather unique moves that you make in the video game
this film is based on, such as running along walls at an angle to the ground,
are duplicated here, much to my delight, as I enjoy the game. And there’s
some sense of the game’s action and visuals. But I can’t believe how
terrible the movie really is. It’s ruined for me by the editing of the
action sequences, of which there are a lot. They’re all rapid-fire, and
devoid of any narrative structure, giving only impressions of battle, with
no idea of who is doing what to whom. It’s as though a fairly good film was
re-edited by some people high on drugs, and the result can only be
appreciated by those on the same drug. It would have to be a fast and jumpy
drug, like methamphetamines or cocaine. Perhaps some of my readers would be
willing to test this theory for me.
The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, a quite luscious and
appealing Gemma Arterton, an enjoyable villain in Ben Kingsley, and a lot of
fun in the comedy of Alfred Molina. It’s an old-style Arabian Nights story,
set in medieval Persia when a nefarious nobleman (Kingsley) covets the Sands
of Time, a legendary dagger that allows its possessor to turn back time.
Also in a Thai-dubbed version at both venues. Mixed or average reviews.
Sex and the City 2: US, Comedy/ Drama/ Romance –
Following through on the hugely successful TV series and first movie, the
girls this time take off to the United Arab Emirates – except they used
Morocco instead. Critics have generally given it scathingly unfavorable
reviews, some of the most hostile and outraged in recent memory. Rated R in
the US for some strong sexual content and language; 15+ in Thailand. Airport
Poh Tak: Thai, Comedy – Directed by popular comedian-turned-director,
Mum Jokmok, this is a comedy parody that explores lives in front of and
behind the cameras of the Thai film industry. Features many of the regulars
on Mum’s popular TV show. Top Thai film for past two weeks.
Scheduled for June 24
Knight and Day: US, Action/
Comedy/ Thriller – The film where Tom Cruise gets to show his chops again,
after some absence. And early reports say this is a superior film in every
way, with the old Cruise magic in place. And the magic of Cameron Diaz.
Studio synopsis: “An action-comedy centered on a fugitive couple (Cruise and
Diaz) on a glamorous and sometimes deadly adventure where nothing and no one
- even themselves - are what they seem.” Directed by James Mangold, starring
Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, and the great Viola Davis who
just last week won Broadway’s Tony Award for best actress in a play (Fences,
co-starring Denzel Washington), the second time she has won that award.
The Karate Kid / The Kung Fu Kid: US/ China, Action/
Drama/ Family/ Sport – Stars a talentless kid who is only in films because
his father is so powerful in the business, and is producing it. The kid is a
spoiled brat, in my opinion, and if I could get away with it, I wouldn’t
even acknowledge the film’s existence. Also stars Jackie Chan, and it was
filmed in Beijing emphasizing tourism sites. Internationally the film tends
to be referred to as The Kung Fu Kid despite its origins as a remake,
because in fact what the kid does now is Kung Fu. Generally favorable
reviews, which I can’t believe.
Bridge in Paradise :
by Neil Robinson
This is another hand
to plan the play on. You are sitting South. Your partner deals and opens one
club. East passes and you bid one spade. West bids two hearts. North
encourages with three spades and you end up as declarer in four spades. West
takes three rounds of high hearts. East follows to the first two rounds and
discards a low diamond on the third round. On the fourth round, West leads
the nine of spades. After the three rounds of hearts, the North and South
hands are as below. You need the rest of the tricks. Before looking at the
full deal, what is your plan for making the contract?
S: ? S: ?
H: J10 H: -
D: ? D: ?
C: ? C: ?
I watched this being
played. Without much pause for thought, declarer at table 1 took the next
trick in hand with the jack. Then he ruffed a low diamond on board and
cashed the ace and king of clubs, with both East and West following. Now he
led a low club to get back to hand. He ruffed with the seven and East over
ruffed. Contract down.
At table 2, the play
followed the same line through the fourth trick. At trick five, declarer led
the king of diamonds and let it ride without trumping when West did not
cover with the ace. However, it was East who had the ace and won the trick.
Contract down. Both declarers complained of their bad luck, but they were
wrong—it was bad planning
At the third table,
declarer paused to count tricks. He saw that, if he tried to set up his own
hand, he would probably take only nine tricks. He could take the ace and
king of clubs, three diamond ruffs on board, and four trump tricks in hand,
if all went well. That is still one trick short of the ten he needed. Then,
he saw a plan which had a good probability of making the contract. This was
to use his own trumps to ruff clubs and try to set up dummy. He won the
fourth trick in hand with the jack of spades and led a club to the ace. Now
he led a low club back to ruff in hand with the seven. West followed, to
declarer’s relief. Then he led a low trump to board’s queen. Both East and
West followed and declarer knew he had made the contract. He ruffed another
low club in hand, with the ace of trumps this time, to make sure there was
no over ruff. Now he ruffed a diamond on board to get back there, and pulled
the last trump with dummy’s king. The king of clubs pulled East’s last club
and dummy’s two remaining low clubs then took the last two tricks. Contract
made. This was the full hand, with North dealer and EW vulnerable. Would
your plan have made the contract?
S: 986 S: 53
H: AKQJ10 H: 76
D: 1086 D: AJ972
C: 73 C: QJ98
What the successful
declarer did is a dummy reverse, setting up dummy, not hand. What is
surprising is that dummy reverse plays can be difficult to see. If you were
sitting North and playing this contract the correct play would be obvious.
But, sitting South, players tend to focus on trying to deal with the losers
in their own hand. Time and time again I have seen players (including
myself) fail in contracts by becoming fixated on their own hand, when dummy
should be the master. Particularly when dummy is strong, or has good trumps,
it is well worth thinking about a dummy reverse.
Bridge Club of Chiang
Mai welcomes new players. For information on the Club go to the web site
www.bridgewebs.com/chiangmai. If you
have bridge questions, or to send me your interesting hands, please contact
me at: [email protected]
How does your garden grow?:
By Eric Danell,Dokmai Garden
Three typical gardeners, the
author, Eric Danell, his wife Ketsanee Seehamongkol and Mika. The author
wears a beard of Tillandsia usneoides taken from his garden.
Quite often when you visit an orchid nursery, you see a greyish mass of
entangled beard-like branches hanging here and there. It looks like lichen,
and some people would call such lichens”moss”. In fact, this is a flowering
plant, of the same family as pineapple (Bromeliaceae). This is not evident
until you look for the tiny green flowers, which are not always present. Its
scientific name, Tillandsia usneoides, implies that it looks like an
Usnea, which is a genus of sometimes garland-like lichens found in
temperate, preferably oceanic, climate. The Spanish moss is native to the
Gulf of Mexico, where it frequently covers whole trees, and it is a
characteristic sight of the coastal areas of Louisiana and Mississippi. Like
with Usnealichens, it spreads easily by fragmentation, i.e. the wind
breaks off a section that blows away and gets entangled in a new tree. Birds
are also fond of this plant, gathering it as nesting material, thereby also
spreading it. Such plants which grow on trees, without extracting nutrients
from the tree, are called epiphytic.
The reason why orchid growers keep it here in Chiang Mai
is to keep it as an indicator of moisture. It quickly signals if the
moisture is too low, by turning yellowish and dry. If it looks happy, i.e.
greenish grey, then the moisture is usually OK for orchids too. Also, you
will find it in floral designs, as it is a very easy plant to propagate in
the tropics, and it has morphology different from most other flowering
plants. In the USA alone, some 5000 tonnes of this plant is used in the
floral design annually. It has also been used as a packaging material, and
even as upholstery in the T Ford car seats. www.dok maigarden.co.th.
Life in Chiang Mai:
By Mark Whitman
A Concert at the Kad and a new book
And several things which I wish I’d never read
With the music scene relatively quiet in Chiang Mai at
present (although I hear there will be several linked piano recitals
starting in mid July) there is good news from the huge 5th
floor Kad Theatre at the Central mall, Kad Suan Kaew. Their next
presentation will be on Friday, July 2nd at 7.30 and
from the programme details it looks a really fun event.
Presented by the Chiang Mai Philharmonic Band under music
director Chaipruck Mekara it is titled Danzon. The theme is a various dance
related works from different cultures, including Russia, the U.S.A. and
Spain. The soloist in Arutanian’s Trumpet concerto is Jakapphan Chaiya and
the other ‘guest ‘conductor will be Daniel Pittman, who always brings out
the best in this wonderful band of young players.
Other works on the programme include A Jazz Suite by
Shostakovich, Danzon no. 2 by Marquez and a selection of Broadway music.
These and other lively pieces are designed to ‘keep you heart dancing’.
Seats are just 100 baht for students and from 300 baht for us oldies. You
can find out further from picking up a leaflet (or tickets) at the
information desk at Central or by phoning 053 224444. Tickets will also be
on sale at the door from 7p.m. It is a large and handsome venue so no
problem if you turn up on Friday week. See you there.
A few months ago a friend – Sam Oglesby -took over this
column just for one week. He wrote a delightful and nostalgic piece about
the Chiang Mai he was then visiting and how he recalled it many years ago.
Sam has recently published his second book simply called Encounters: A
Memoir. And I’m pleased to tell you that it is available here at Chiang
Mai’s premier bookshop, Back Street Books, just across from Thapae Gate,
behind Starbucks and along from Boots the chemist.
The subtitle to the book, charmingly illustrated by
Tobias Sugar, is Relationship Journeys from Around the World and it divides
into 15 chapters giving a highly personal and invariably illuminating
reminiscence of his time spent (mainly working) in many countries. Some of
these are in Europe – Paris or Switzerland - or even back home in the U.S.A.
but the bulk concern Asia.
His eventful life took him from Saigon to Thailand, from
Sri Lanka to Indonesia and to other places including Libya and Japan where
his father worked. These chapters are full of life, opinion and observation
- the kind of observation and travel notes that come from living, loving,
and working in a country not enjoying a holiday there. The book is an
elegant publication in every sense and its 270 pages make for a fascinating
That was enjoyable reading. Some recent nuggets of
information, found in local publications, have been less edifying. Possibly
my least favourite was a piece telling me that there is ‘a newly opened
Cockfighting Learning and Exhibition Centre in Chiang Mai’. It claims to
have ‘educational’ aspects (historical, an exhibition hall) and – can you
credit this? – ‘a training centre, a fighting arena and 80 cocks which are
used for demonstration fights’. So anyone interested in returning to the
cruelties and barbarism of the 16th century will have
a good time. I thought we’d moved on from dog fighting, bear baiting and the
like. Sadly not, it seems.
A headline in a national newspaper informs us that
‘Abhisit rejects the possibility of reconciliation’. How sad, since there is
great virtue – or should one say merit – in being magnanimous in victory and
certainly Thailand needs all the ‘reconciliation’ possible. At the risk of
re-using a favourite quote I would remind the P.M. of what King Pyrrhus said
after winning a costly and bloody battle against the Romans at Heraclea:
‘Another such victory and we are lost’.
And lastly on a more frivolous note I see that there is a
‘Yorkshire Pudding Eating Competition’ soon to be held. All you can eat in
an hour. How edifying. There’s a tag line to a local eatery which puts me
off from trying what I am told is a good restaurant, simply by saying it is
created by someone who likes to ‘eat and eat and eat’. Such information
reminds me of those buffets which advertise their events and claim ‘Eat as
much as you like’. Quantity not quality seems to count as in the ads for the
‘home of the whopper’. Yuck. When I read about such places I have a visual
image, ‘Pigs at a trough’.
By Jane Doh
Maesa Elephant Camp
You may have noticed the recent campaigning to raise
funds for Elephants in Chiang Mai recently, so this week’s Day Tripper
offers a great day out with the added benefit of helping local Elephants.
’Day Tripper’ recommends a visit to Maesa Elephant Camp.
Maesa Elephant Camp is set in the lush Doi Inthanon
Mountains, but just half an hour from the city centre. The camp has earned a
reputation for focusing on the wellbeing of Elephants, and you can observe
and learn about this at the camp. Moreover, fun-wise, you can observe the
Elephants taking a bath in the river next to the camp. Watching an Elephant
take a bath may not sound like fun, but when you actually see it, it is
really quite funny. They are ecstatic. Baby elephants attempt to roll over
adult elephants. Adult elephants spray the babies. They will certainly have
you laughing. Then, there is also the Elephant Show. The talents that have
been taught to these elephants are really surprising. Such as dancing,
playing football, and painting (paintings can be bought at the local shop
within the camp). The mahouts (Elephant trainers) also demonstrate
interactive skills with the Elephants, such as how to get on and off an
Elephant and even how they get a massage off the Elephant with its trunk! Of
course, you can also enjoy petting and feeding the Elephants. On top of all
this, Maesa Camp offers various special activity days (which can be viewed
on their website. See details below), and Mahout Courses which allow
you the fantastic opportunity to learn how to ride, bathe, and give basic
commands to the Elephants, and includes other interesting activities such as
a Thai food cooking class. At the end you will also receive a Mahout
Certificate as a reminder of your day.
So, I hope you will take the opportunity to enjoy a day
with one of Thailand’s amazing treasures: the Elephant.
To get there, travel south on highway 108 (Chiang Mai –
Fang Road) and turn onto highway 1096 (Maerim-Samoeng Road). Follow the
signs to Maesa until you reach Maesa Elephant Camp. Tel: 05320 6247. More
details and location map can be found on the Maesa Elephant Camp website:
www. maesaelephantcamp.com/ Show Times are 8am, 9:40am, and 1pm.
Staying happy in Paradise - the Counseling Corner
by Richard L. Fellner
A Connection for Life:
Body and Psyche
All of us have heard of it - the ‘mysterious’ effects of
the psyche on the human body. Indeed, latest studies show that we can
imagine our constitution like the fuel pump in a car: its performance
defines whether our ‘vehicle’ can drive with full force, if it starts to
stutter - or in extreme cases even breaks down. Whether our soul suffers or
groans will always affect its ‘life partner’: our body.
Heart and circulatory diseases, such of the digestive
system, problems with spine and joints, but also fluctuations in hormone
levels or neurotransmitter imbalances: psychological burden is often a
contributing cause. Also, mental states seem to influence the incidence
of atopic dermatitis, diabetes and sexual problems as well as on the
progression of cancer, as recent metastudies illustrate.
But let’s look the other way now and ask ourselves:
what can we do to make it easier for our body? Most of all, it is
important to cut down on all forms of stress (even if purely
psychological), addictions and bad eating habits, all of which are often
associated with depression as well. Meditation and yoga are great to
improve physical and mental balance. Counseling and psychotherapy can
help to get rid of the ‘millstones of the soul’ - often surprisingly
quickly - and thus relieve our bodies from the creeping loss of vitality
Richard L. Fellner is head of the Counseling Center
Pattaya in Soi Kopai and offers consultations in English and German
languages after making appointments at 0854 370 470.