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february / march 2013

The Case for Boarding Bangkok Tree house Organic Food

PLUS

One Year in Bangkok


what’s inside editor@elbkk.com subscribe@elbkk.com copy@elbkk.com admin@elbkk.com accounts@elbkk.com Sarah Jane Svensson Photographer and Social Diary Editor Photography@elbkk.com Zoe Popham Features Editor zoe@elbkk.com

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February Calendar

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March Calendar

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8 Expat Ladies Mission 12 Organic Food 18 Dentists and Dental Care 22 Dealing with the Emotional Struggles of Expat Life

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26 Throw Your New Year’s Resolutions Out

Ruth Richert Features Editor ruth@elbkk.com Editorial Contributors Dr Donna Robinson Judith Coulson Daniel Remon Ghislaine Bovy Jackie Rossi Wakanyi Hoffman Kompalya Thunderbird Judy Blair Ditthakorn Wongsuk (Olivia) Jessica Oates Anna Power Eve Black Samantha Pryor Rungnapa Jiamram (Paew) Thai administration manager paew@elbkk.com 0853 062 258 Amanda Hyciek 088 494 4831 Sales Manager amanda@elbkk.com

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Georg Josef Riedel

32 Kings Cup Phuket 36

Land Values

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The Case for Boarding

48 Second Language Acquisition 50

BKK Tree House

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Books Review

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Elephant Trekking

60 New Year? New You! Colour Me Up! 62

Books Review

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One Year in BKK

Sasipanwadee Kantapak (Sasi) Sales Manager 086 655 5161 sasi@elbkk.com

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Finance by Judy Blair

Phil Coate Sales Manager 090 493 8902 phil@elbkk.com

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BKK Blonde

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Wellness Centres

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Expat Mama

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Young Expat Leaders

Nick Argles 0897 213 384 / 088 106 1379 Publisher & Managing Editor nick@elbkk.com

70 No Need to be Stressed

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Poaching the Elephant

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Bilingual Bites

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BKK Counsellor

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Postcard from Shanghai

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Photo Social Diary

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Useful Stuff

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Visit www.expatladiesinbangkok.com to see our website and to see our new facebook page - facebook.com/expatladiesinbangkok.com - please ‘like’ us now! The information contained in this magazine or website, while believed to be correct, is not guaranteed. Expat Ladies in Bangkok magazine or website and its directors, employees and consultants do not accept any liability for any error, omission or misrepresentation in relation to the information. Nor does it accept any loss, damage, cost or expense incurred by any person whatsoever arising out of or referable to the information displayed within the Expat Ladies in Bangkok magazine or website. Any view expressed by a journalist is not necessarily the view of the Expat Ladies in Bangkok magazine or website. No part of Expat Ladies in Bangkok magazine or website can be reproduced or copied without the express consent of the publisher. |

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Events in Bangkok 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

14th Thailand Baby & Kids Best Buy 2013 Venue: Queen Sirikit Convention Centre

10:00-23:00 Thailand International Jazz Conference at College of Music, Mahidol University (until 03/02/13)

La Fête- French Thai Cultural Festival (until 04/13) Bangkok Guitar Fiesta at Thailand Cultural Centre (until 05/02/2012)

Bangkok Monday Hash House Harriers RUN (Every Monday Night)

11:00-13:00 Thai and Indian Cooking Class at Face Bangkok

Food Pack Asia 2013 at BITEC (until 03/02/13)

21:00-2:00 Bangers and Mashups at Qbar

9:30-17:00 Breakthrough: Oil Painting Exhibit at Rotunda & Garden Cafe (until 03/02/13)

21:00-3:00 Boom Box Mondays at Qbar Free Entry

9:00-12:00 Samitivej First Aid & CPR for Kids at Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital

Luna Sea Live 2013 at Impact Area

Exhibition Thai Tai: A Measure of Understanding at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (until 03/02/13)

22:00 Flosstradamus at Bed Supperclub

Free Sunday Concert in the Park at Lumpini Park

Feb 2013 Camera in Motion: A Global Perspective at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

Ladies’ Night at Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub Cocktails priced at 100B and 50% off for ladies

9:00-18:00 The Ladies Golf Club at Royal Gems Golf City

21:00-3:00 Radiotron Tuesdays! at Qbar Bangkok

18:00-23:00 Ladies’ Night at Oskar-Bistro Ladies walk in free

21:00-3:00 Ladies’ Night at Qbar Ladies walk in free

21:00-3:00 Bangkok Ritual Thursdays! at Qbar

22:00-1:00 La Rueda Bachata party, No Charge

19:00 Ladies’ Night at MyBar Dusit Thani Ladies drink free from 7-9 p.m.

22:00-1:00 Latino Sabotage at Zaks Wine Bar, Salsa – Bachata Party

Cycling Tour with Manohra Cruises Bangkok: Riverside Every Weekend

21:00-2:00 Bangers and Mashups at Qbar

Cocktail Marathon Price: 499B free flow cocktails Time: 10 p.m. – 1 a.m. Venue: w xyz bar at Aloft Bangkok

Chinese New Year - Year of the Snake

15:00-20:00 Elefin Salsa - Bachata Party, No Charge

Ladies’ Night at Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub Cocktails priced at 100B and 50% off for ladies. Mimetic scene at DOB Hualamphong (until 17/03/13) Tues-Sat 10.30am-7pm; Sun 10.30am-5.30pm (closed Mon)

12:30 Paramore Live in Concert at Centerpoint

22:00-1:00 La RuedaBachata party, No Charge 22:00-2:00 Sucka Free Sundays With DJ Tech 12, Tul and MC Hydrophonics! at Qbar Bangkok 21:00-3:00 Boom Box Mondays at Qbar Free Entry

21:00-1:00 Spanish on 4 – by rumPuree

21:00-3:00 Radiotron Tuesdays! at Qbar Bangkok

A Mindful Yoga Retreat 18:00-23:00 Ladies’ Night at Oskar21:00-3:00 Ladies’ Night at Qbar at New Life Foundation, Chiang Rai Bistro Ladies walk in free Ladies walk in free - 2/13/13 at 7:30 PM - 2/17/13 at 5:00 PM Travel Thailand Travel World 2013 at Thailand Coffee, Tea and Drink 2013 Thai International Travel Fair 2013 at Thailand Bakery & Ice Cream 2013 at IMPACT (until 17/02/13) at IMPACT (until 17/02/13) Queen Sirikit Convention Centre IMPACT (until 17/02/13) (until 17/02/13)

19:00 Ladies’ Night at MyBar Ladies drink free from 7-9 p.m. 10:00-12:00 Bangkok Prep Hosts FunFilled Circus Party at Bangkok Prep

22:00-1:00 Latino Sabotage at Zaks Wine Bar, Salsa – Bachata Party

Conflicts of Interest - Exhibition at H Gallery BKK (until 12/03/13)

Cocktail Marathon Price: 499B free flow cocktails Time: 10 p.m. – 1 a.m. Venue: w xyz bar at Aloft Bangkok

Mara Exhibition at the Banyan Tree (until 31/02/13)

22:00-1:00 La Rueda Bachata party, No Charge

15:00-20:00 Elefin Salsa - Bachata Party, No Charge

19:00-3:00 Confidential Sundays at Bed Supperclub

22:00-2:00 Sucka Free Sundays With DJ Tech 12, Tul and MC Hydrophonics! at Qbar Bangkok

Illuminations – Exhibition at The Thavibu Gallery (until 17/03/13)

Ladies’ Night at Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub Cocktails priced at 100B and 50% off for ladies.

21:00-3:00 Boom Box Mondays at Qbar Free Entry

21:00-1:00 Spanish on 4 – by rumPuree

22:00-1:00 La Rueda Bachata party, No Charge

21:00-3:00 Radiotron Tuesdays! at Qbar Bangkok

22:00-1:00 Latino Sabotage at The Fraser Suites Salsa – Bachata Party, No Charge

22:00-1:00 Nest Roof Top Salsa - Bachata Party

22:00-1:00 Bed Supper Club Salsa - Bachata Party

21:00-3:00 Bangkok Ritual Thursdays! at Qbar

22:00-1:00 La Rueda Bachata party, No Charge

HomeWorks Expo 2013 at BITEC (until 03/03/13)

Thailand International Education Expo Siam Paragon (until 24/02/13)

22:00-1:00 Latino Sabotage at Zaks Wine Bar, Salsa – Bachata Party

Cocktail Marathon Price: 499B free flow cocktails Time: 10 p.m. – 1 a.m. Venue: w xyz bar at Aloft Bangkok

Bangkok Expo 2013 at IMPACT (until 03/03/13)

21:00-2:00 Bangers and Mashups at Qbar

22:00-1:00 La Rueda Bachata party, No Charge

Calypso Cabaret at Asia Hotel

15:00-20:00 Elefin Salsa - Bachata Party, No Charge

22:00-2:00 Sucka Free Sundays With DJ Tech 12, Tul and MC Hydrophonics! at Qbar Bangkok

7:00-12:00 Breakfast at the Oscars: Bangkok Style! at Rembrandt Hotel

Complete Femininity Workshop at Agama Yoga, Surat Thani (until 01/03/12)

21:00-3:00 Boom Box Mondays at Qbar Free Entry

Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair 2013 at IMPACT (until 02/03/13)

21:00-1:00 Spanish on 4 – by rumPuree

22:00-1:00 La Rueda Bachata party, No Charge

22:00-1:00 Latino Sabotage at The Fraser Suites Salsa – Bachata Party, No Charge

22:00-1:00 Nest Roof Top Salsa - Bachata Party

22:00-1:00 Bed Supper Club Salsa - Bachata Party

21:00-3:00 Bangkok Ritual Thursdays! at Qbar

22:00-1:00 La Rueda Bachata party, No Charge

Please submit forthcoming meetings, events and promotions for Expat Ladies to attend in April and May for considered inclusion to events@elbkk.com 4

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Events in Bangkok 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 6

Mar 2013

21:00-3:00 House Seduction at Qbar Price: 700B + 2 Drinks

22:00-1:00 Latino Sabotage at Zaks Wine Bar, Salsa – Bachata Party

22:00-1:00 Cocktail Marathon at wxyz bar at Aloft Bangkok Price: 499B free flow cocktails

Monthly Auctions at Sila-Sai Convention Hall, Riverside Shopping Centre

21:00-2:00 Bangers and Mashups at Qbar

22:00-1:00 Cocktail Marathon at wxyz bar at Aloft Bangkok Price: 499B free flow cocktails

10:00 Safe Place in the Future (?) Art Exhibition at Jim Thompson House Art Centre

15:00-20:00 Elefin Salsa - Bachata Party, No Charge

22:00-2:00 Sucka Free Sundays With DJ Tech 12, Tul and MC Hydrophonics! at Qbar Bangkok

21:00-3:00 Boom Box Mondays at Qbar Free Entry 21:00-3:00 Radiotron Tuesdays! at Qbar Bangkok

21:00-1:00 Spanish on 4 – by rumPuree

22:00-1:00 La Rueda Bachata party, No Charge

Santana: The Sentient Tour at IMPACT Arena

Back to School with SUM41 at Centerpoint Studio

18:00-23:00 Ladies’ Night at Oskar-Bistro Ladies walk in free 22:00-1:00 La Rueda Bachata party, No Charge

Burma 2012 Art Exhibition at 2nsakestudio Bangalore Fashion Week World Tour – Bangkok Edition at Crowne Plaza Hotel (until 10/03/13)

22:00-1:00 Latino Sabotage at Zaks Wine Bar, Salsa – Bachata Party

22:00-1:00 Cocktail Marathon at wxyz bar at Aloft Bangkok Price: 499B free flow cocktails

9:30–12:30 Bambi’s Second Hand Yard Sale at NIST

14:00 Berryz Kobo Concert Tour 2013 at Siam Paragon

21:00-2:00 Bangers and Mashups at Qbar

15:00-20:00 Elefin Salsa - Bachata Party, No Charge

22:00-2:00 Sucka Free Sundays With DJ Tech 12, Tul and MC Hydrophonics! at Qbar Bangkok

21:00-3:00 Boom Box Mondays at Qbar Free Entry 21:00-3:00 Radiotron Tuesdays! at Qbar Bangkok

21:00-1:00 Spanish on 4 – by rumPuree

22:00-1:00 La Rueda Bachata party, No Charge

10:00 Thailand International Furniture Fair 2013 at IMPACT (until 17/03/13)

10:00 Bangkok International Fashion Fair and Bangkok International Leather Fair 2013 at IMPACT (until 17/03/13)

4th Annual Women’s Leadership Conference at Royal Benja Hotel (until 15/03/13)

Bangkok Community Theatre dinner theatre 8pm production of Blithe Spirit, at The British Club BAMBI WOMBLES Dinner

22:00-1:00 La Rueda Bachata party, No Charge

10:00 HomePro Expo 2013 at IMPACT Arena (until 24/03/13)

22:00-1:00 Latino Sabotage at Zaks Wine Bar, Salsa – Bachata Party

22:00-1:00 Cocktail Marathon at wxyz bar at Aloft Bangkok Price: 499B free flow cocktails

Ploenchit Concert at IMPACT Arena

21:00-2:00 Bangers and Mashups at Qbar

22:00-1:00 Cocktail Marathon at w xyz bar at Aloft Bangkok Price: 499B free flow cocktails

15:00-20:00 Elefin Salsa - Bachata Party, No Charge

22:00-2:00 Sucka Free Sundays With DJ Tech 12, Tul and MC Hydrophonics! at Qbar Bangkok

21:00-3:00 Boom Box Mondays at Qbar Free Entry 21:00-3:00 Radiotron Tuesdays! at Qbar Bangkok

21:00-1:00 Spanish on 4 – by rumPuree

18:00-23:00 Ladies’ Night at OskarBistro Ladies walk in free

21:00-3:00 Ladies’ Night at Qbar Ladies walk in free

22:00-1:00 La Rueda Bachata party, No Charge

22:00-1:00 La Rueda Bachata party, No Charge

Bangkok Community Theatre dinner theatre production of Blithe Spirit, at The British Club 12:00 The Guess Who at IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Centre (until 24/03/13)

22:00-1:00 Latino Sabotage at Zaks Wine Bar, Salsa – Bachata Party

22:00-1:00 Cocktail Marathon at wxyz bar at Aloft Bangkok Price: 499B free flow cocktails

21:00-2:00 Bangers and Mashups at Qbar

22:00 Flosstradamus at Bed Supperclub

21:00-2:00 Bangers and Mashups at Qbar

15:00-20:00 Elefin Salsa - Bachata Party, No Charge

22:00-2:00 Sucka Free Sundays With DJ Tech 12, Tul and MC Hydrophonics! at Qbar Bangkok

21:00-3:00 Boom Box Mondays at Qbar Free Entry

The 34th Bangkok International Motor Show 2013 at IMPACT Arena (until 07/04/13)

21:00-3:00 Radiotron Tuesdays! at Qbar Bangkok

21:00-1:00 Spanish on 4 – by rumPuree

18:00-23:00 Ladies’ Night at OskarBistro Ladies walk in free

21:00-3:00 Ladies’ Night at Qbar Ladies walk in free

22:00-1:00 La Rueda Bachata party, No Charge

22:00-1:00 La Rueda Bachata party, No Charge 10:00-21:00 Bangkok International Book Fair at Queen Sirikit national Convention Centre (until 08/04/13)

11:00-9:00 Furniture Show 2013 at IMPACT Arena (until 07/04/13)

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22:00-1:00 Latino Sabotage at Zaks Wine Bar, Salsa – Bachata Party

22:00-1:00 Cocktail Marathon at wxyz bar at Aloft Bangkok Price: 499B free flow cocktails

11:00-9:00 Fashion & Jewelry Show 2013 at IMPACT Arena (until 07/04/13)

21:00-2:00 Bangers and Mashups at Qbar

15:00-20:00 Elefin Salsa - Bachata Party, No Charge

22:00-2:00 Sucka Free Sundays With DJ Tech 12, Tul and MC Hydrophonics! at Qbar Bangkok

February / March 2013

Please submit forthcoming meetings, events and promotions for Expat Ladies to attend in April and May for considered inclusion to events@elbkk.com


Expat Ladies Mission Statement By Ruth Richert

Living in Bangkok as an expat woman can be both extremely exciting and deeply challenging. Bangkok is full of surprises, from the delectable curries at your local street vendor, to the crazy traffic on Sukhumvit, to the fusion of Western and Eastern cultures. Adjusting to life here is no less surprising: at times you may want to embrace all that the cosmopolitan metropolis has to offer, while at other times you may find yourself arguing with taxi drivers, or wanting to hide in your house and never come out. You may feel like a baby learning to walk for the first time. When I moved to Bangkok this past summer, I was surprised by many things, particularly my reaction to life in a new culture. At times, I wanted to embrace all that was ‘Thai.’ I went through spurts of studying and practicing my Thai language skills, investigating social opportunities and clubs in the city, and sampling new foods every chance I had. However, I also experienced depression and culture shock, and several times, after one too many plates, declared that I would never again eat Pad Thai. I was surprised by the irrationality and the intensity of my emotions. Now that my life

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is beginning to level out a bit, however, I recognise that many of my experiences are typical of anyone adjusting to a new culture. It is important to acknowledge both the challenges and the excitement of life in a new culture, and at the same time, to realise that there are things you can do to ease your transition. Challenges: Simply adjusting to normal life activities in a new country can take time. Even the most straightforward activities, such as visiting the grocery store, can morph into epic endeavours. Navigating the city is an adventure that confuses even the most avid Bangkok explorers, and can certainly be overwhelming to newcomers. Learning to bargain and shop at markets may be a new skill for some expats, as is the adjustment to buy snacks and meals at local street vendors. These activities are challenging even for women who have household help. It takes time to train staff to clean in the way that you prefer, or to prepare meals that your family enjoys. It is surprising how much energy it takes to learn new ways of doing normal life activities, and adjustment is an ongoing process.


For many women, the move to Bangkok is accompanied by an increased standard of living. Compensation packages for expat workers are often more generous than what you would receive in your home country. Additional income can be both a blessing and a curse. Having increased financial resources make services such as top quality schooling and medical care more accessible, and makes many comforts – such as imported groceries – and conveniences possible. Cooking, cleaning, driving, landscaping, and almost any other variety of assistance is also available in Bangkok. For some women, these services are one of the best treats that life in Bangkok can offer. For other women, particularly those whose primary role in their home country revolved around homemaking, extensive household help may make them feel purposeless, and necessitate a redefinition of their role. It’s been argued that Bangkok is a primarily a man’s city. From entertainment to corporate culture, men are catered to extensively. This is particularly the case in Bangkok’s entertainment industry. The sex trade is inextricably intertwined with much of the nightlife in Bangkok, something that may be particularly difficult for expat women to adapt

to. Whether you have arrived with a partner, are looking for dating opportunities in Bangkok, or are simply hoping to enjoy a little nightlife, the sex trade can be a threatening and depressing presence. It can prove an additional challenge to women searching for their place in a new country. Opportunities While there are many challenges involved in adjusting to life in Bangkok, there are also many exciting possibilities. Bangkok is truly a city that does not sleep, and there are opportunities for almost any activity and hobby that you can fathom. From fitness clubs, – anything from the local Hash House Harriers to Salsa clubs – to Thai cooking and language classes, to endless massage options, there is truly something for everyone in this city. Establishing yourself in a new city often provides a chance to nurture new interests and meet new people. It is the chance for a fresh start. Just as one of the difficult parts of being in a new country can be a shift in your identity, so too can it be one of the best parts. One of the biggest life changes that many expat women notice upon moving to Bangkok is the loss of their community

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and relationships. While staying in touch with friends and family can partly assuage these feelings, it is also important to develop relationships and community in Bangkok. Clubs and classes can be a great way of connecting with new friends, as can local churches or other religious institutions, the PTA at your children’s school, and corporate organisations. Many expat women find it helpful to join one of the numerous expat women’s clubs in Bangkok. There are many that have been developed to address the needs of women from a particular country, and others that are not country specific. They can provide a sense of community, and an avenue for women to share their experience with other like minded expats. It can be comforting and inspiring to know that other women are going through the same joys and challenges as you. Expat Ladies in Bangkok The team at Expat Ladies in Bangkok understands what it is like to adjust to life in Thailand – we’ve been there! Our writers and editors include businesswomen, mothers, trailing spouses, artists, and fitness gurus. We understand the trials and tribulations that inevitably accompany this massive life change. We strive to create a sense of community among our readers, and to address the topics that are important to this unique demographic. Currently, we are the only magazine in Bangkok that specifically focuses on the female expat community, and we want to be an all inclusive resource that helps you live well in Bangkok. One of the most important things our magazine provides is a round-up of the information, events and advice that apply to your life in Bangkok. You will find events calendars, information on various clubs around the city, suggestions for weekend getaways and vacations, and recommendations for new stores and restaurants to try. We are a one-stop shop for the information that you need. Our goal is to provide a magazine filled with articles that are timely, entertaining, unique, and of the same calibre as your favourite magazines from home. Expat Ladies in Bangkok articles cover a wide range of material, from timely information and advice, to profiles of inspiring women in Bangkok, to fashion and fitness tips, to hard-hitting feature articles. Recent issues have included articles ranging from information on schools and daycares, to an interview with the woman who launched IKEA in Thailand, to the lives of Buddhist nuns in Thailand. We continue to search for interesting stories so if you have one to share and would like to send it in please do so to editor@elbkk.com Our quest is to bring women together of all nationalities, creeds and cultures, to entertain and inform and make life easier by learning for each other’s mistakes and experiences. Join us now. To ensure that you get every issue of the magazine in the future sent through the post to your home address subscribe to the magazine by sending your details to subscribe@elbkk.com we look forward to welcoming you to our group.

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Organic…

to be or not to be? By Jackie Rossi

It may be interesting for you to think back to when you first became aware of organic foods. Have you heard of Robert Rodale, founder of organic farming in the US, or Adele Davis, pioneer of healthy eating and ‘You are what you eat’? Do you know the difference between a free-range chicken and a caged bird? And even if you do, does it make any difference to the taste or quality of the meat? Do you take a moral stance and concern yourself with the quality of life for the animal before you eat it? Or are you more polarised in your views and has that persuaded you to become vegetarian or even vegan? More than at any other time in history, people are making decisions about what they want to eat and how it has been treated before it reaches the table. Whether food was organic was probably not something that our parents or grandparents would have been concerned about years ago. In those times, having enough food to

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eat (of any sort) was the main priority for many and having a choice of foodstuffs and how they have been grown is relatively new. It is a phenomenon that has only come about since we have become wealthy enough to be able to choose whether to eat healthily or not and, of course, since the development of pesticides and chemicals. For the vast majority of its history, agriculture can be described as having been organic; only during the twentieth century was a large supply of new chemicals introduced to the food chain. The organic farming movement arose in the 1940s in response to the industrialisation of agriculture known as the Green Revolution. In the twenty-first century, most of us have the luxury of deciding what we would like to eat rather than if we can eat at all … thus we can decide whether to choose organic or mass-produced foods. Organic food is food which has been produced to standards designed to keep the production more ‘natural’. Fewer, if


any, chemicals are used and most pesticides are banned - when they are used they are very carefully controlled and are normally organic in nature themselves. Each country has its own rules and regulations about food products, but generally, organic foods are foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilisers. Organic foods are also not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives. In many countries organic food production is a heavily regulated industry, distinct from private gardening. Currently, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan and many other countries require producers to obtain special certification in order to market food as organic within their borders. In the context of these regulations, organic food is food produced in a way that complies with organic standards set by national governments and international organisations. The generally accepted definition of organic food is food which is produced using environmentally and animal friendly farming methods on organic farms. These methods are legally defined and any food sold as ‘organic’ must be strictly regulated. Organic farming recognises the direct connection between our health and how the food we eat is produced. Artificial fertilisers are banned and farmers develop fertile soil by rotating crops and using compost,

manure and clover. Organic animals enjoy the very highest welfare standards – they are truly free range and have plenty of space and access to fields. Thailand is predominately an agriculture-based country, with a large proportion of the population deriving their livelihood from the agricultural sector. The favourable climate and well-developed agricultural processing facilities make Thailand one of the top ten agricultural exporters in the world. The main exporting commodities are rice, pineapple, baby corn, shrimp and chicken and they account for a large part of world trade supplies. Many government authorities have initiated projects and activities centred on organic farming promotion. However, organic farming is not a recent phenomenon in Thailand: local farmers have practised traditional farming for years. Such practices have been developed and enriched through farmers’ knowledge of local, agro-ecological and environmentally sustainable ways of farming. The foodstuffs may not be labelled as ‘organic’, but many may well be! Many of us are very lucky in the twenty first century to be able to choose what we eat and make decisions as to how it has been cultivated. Eating healthily and ‘well’ are ideals which concern many of us as we have become more conscious of the need to take care of our bodies and to truly believe in ‘We are what we eat’.

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Healthy eating in Thailand By Ruth Richert

The choice about whether or not to go organic can be a challenging and personal one. Whichever way you lean, healthy food is important. However, finding healthy options in an unfamiliar country can be daunting. The good news is that Thailand’s warm climate and agriculture based economy yield a wide variety of options for consumers. The range of fruit and vegetables available in supermarkets and local markets is truly mind boggling, and there is a seemingly endless array of world cuisines to sample in Bangkok. A little strategic planning can go a long way towards helping you achieve a healthy diet in this city. Eating out: Bangkok has endless dining options, from the carts that line many of its streets, to high end restaurants. This is both a gift and a potential minefield for healthy eaters. The ubiquity of doughnut shops, and the burgeoning fast food industry can lead to chronic temptation – and this doesn’t even begin to cover the many Thai treats available everywhere (iced coffees and mango sticky rice!). Traditional Thai cuisine, while often touted in the west as being fresh and healthy, has its own set of issues: sugar, fat, MSG, and salt are often used in abundance. While many of the ingredients are healthy – lean meats and vegetables – it is important to be aware of unwanted additives. Fortunately, there are healthy dining options in Bangkok. Many restaurant menus offer grilled lean proteins, salad rolls, and fresh or cooked vegetables. Salads are becoming increasingly popular, and are easily available. Many of the larger grocery stores such as Tops and Big C offer their own salad bars complete with greens, proteins, and assorted fresh vegetables. There are also fast food restaurants devoted solely to salads in some of the major malls, such as Mega Bangna. Sushi restaurants abound, and there is even a growing organic fast food presence in malls, with Lemon Farm Paradise Park providing an excellent example. Thai street food can offer some healthy options. Som Tam, a unique Thai take on salad, is a favourite of many Thais and expats. It’s particularly healthy if you ask the vendor not to add sugar, and to go easy on the fish sauce. Grilled fish and chicken are available at many stalls, as is cooked corn, assorted vegetables, and rice. Vendors offering bean, greens, and assorted veggie salads are also becoming increasingly popular. Smoothie stands offering fruit, vegetable, and various milk options are another good street food option, and if you ask the vendor to leave out the sugar, they are a healthy snack.

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While shopping for groceries when you first arrive in Bangkok can be intimidating, with time, you may find that there are more options for fresh food than what you left behind in your home country. Supermarkets often have a wide selection of fresh vegetables, and many offer certified organic options, in addition to standard produce. The fruit selection in Thailand is simply unbeatable, and ripe choices are available year round, unlike the sometimes anaemic selection found in the winter months in colder countries. Local markets are also an excellent place to buy fruits and vegetables. Prices are often lower than in the supermarkets, and the selection is definitely unique! If you haven’t already, give custard apples, mangosteen, and rambutan a try. The Thai selection of leafy greens and herbs is abundant, and can make cooking an adventure - sample water spinach, morning glory, and the endless varieties of basil. Learning a few words of Thai can make a market adventure run much more smoothly. Sometimes the best way of getting a healthy meal that’s also quick is to combine street/market options with a little home cooking. Below are a few easy meal suggestions to get you started. 1. Cook a large pot or rice cooker full of brown rice in advance, and serve it with multiple meals. Here are three simple sample meals that combine the rice with market items: •B  uy grilled chicken and greens at the market. Sauté the greens with a bit of chilli and garlic, and serve them with the chicken and brown rice. •P  urchase a whole grilled fish from the market. It will often come with fresh vegetables and herbs. Fill rice paper wraps with the fish, herbs, and brown rice or brown rice vermicelli for a simple salad roll •M  arinate cubed tofu in soy sauce, ginger, garlic, chillies, and vinegar for an hour. Stir fry the tofu, and when it starts getting crisp, add a heaping helping of mixed market greens (broccoli, rapini, water spinach, boy choy, etc.) as well as the leftover marinade to the pan. Serve with brown rice. With a little strategic planning and a sense of adventure, maintaining a healthy diet in Thailand can be simple and enjoyable.


Cell Therapy For Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Pain Degenerative joint disease, arthritis, and osteoarthritis are all the same disease characterised by pain in the joints (i.e. hips, knees and other joints). Literally translated as inflammation of the joints, osteoarthritis is part of the family of diseases known as arthritis which refers to 100 various diseases. Osteoarthritis commonly causes disability as the joint cartilage breaks down causing painful and stiff joints. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are effective treatment options. Osteoarthritis often only strikes one joint, usually a joint that bear a lot of stress such as the hip, back, knee, or hand joints. Symptoms include pain, painful use of the joint, painful periods after the joint has been used, joint discomfort during significant changes in the weather, swelling in a joint, stiffness of the joint, bony lumps in the hand and finger joints, a decreased amount of joint flexibility.

The cartilage between joints is supposed to be smooth to allow joints to easily slide over it while in use. Over time some people lose this smoothness of the cartilage and there is a rough, sandpaper like appearance to the joints. This means that the joints can no longer slide gently over the cartilage. This is osteoarthritis. The cause is time and age and the eventual wearing down of the joint’s cartilage, but it is not necessarily easy to indicate who will suffer from osteoarthritis and who won’t. Joint stress, injury, and heredity tend to play a role in these factors, but it is not an absolute. Bony growth in osteoarthritis patients is the result of the body’s attempt to repair the joint. Instead of being able to repair the joint, the body makes it more difficult with the addition of these bony growths. Risk factors for osteoarthritis include gender, as osteoarthritis strikes more females than male, age, as osteoarthritis is typically found in people over 45 years of age, joint injuries especially those related to sports, obesity, diseases that cause malformations or disfigurement of the bone structure, weakened quadriceps, and other forms of arthritis. The greatest complication related to osteoarthritis is pain, as often the pain can be so detrimental that it is crippling and prevents mobility or the use of the joint. It is not uncommon for a patient to experience acute and intense pain for the first year of living with osteoarthritis only to have it diminish to reasonable levels. Pain medications are often more intense for the first year of living with osteoarthritis but can cause complications of their own if used for too long. Thus, pain medications are only used when absolutely necessary.

Dr. Napapat Thanakritdejawong (MD)

Dr. Napapat is a Medical Doctor with specialised training in anti ageing medicine. He has numerous years experience in both ER and primary care departments at major hospitals in Thailand. Dr. Napapat is part of our Regenerative Medicine team, working closely with our surgeons and heading our surgical assessment and post surgery management department.

www.IntelliHealthPlus.com

+66 (0) 2 650 7709


An Effective Treatment Option Available for Osteoarthritis and Muscoloskelatal Pain Clinical Issue The goals of treatment are to reduce pain and improve joint function. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and Paracetamol are commonly used as first-line treatment for OA pain, along with exercise and weight loss. The treatment described below is intended to promote healing of damaged cartilage in the joints, reduce inflamation related joint pain and reduce the pain, fatigue & sleep disturbances related to Muscoloskelatal pain. This therapy can also be called an anti ageing treatment. Stem Cell Therapy for Osteoarthritis Stem cell therapy is the first treatment for Osteoarthritis that positively improves tissue and does not destroy joint tissue. The other three popular treatments: use of supplements Glucosamine and Chrondrotin, Viscosupplementation (joint injections of Hyaluronan) and Arthroscopic surgery have been the only option available until stem cell therapy became available. Stem cell therapy has a safety record demonstrated in both animals and in humans for many years. At this time it appears to be very safe and highly effective. Stem cell procedures may eliminate the need for joint replacement surgery. Fat-derived stem cell procedures are showing significant results with joint repair. Quality of life is improved through the significant reduction of pain, and the rebuilding of healthy tissues helps restore normal functioning in joint areas. Overall Improvement Benefit

• On a study done by our clinic on 29 osteoarthritis patients treated with adiposeSVF and assessed each month for 6 months reported that over 80% of patients treated show a significant improvement of between 50 - 100% in pain and mobility of the joint. • The repair process takes time - with the improvement at its maximum level by 6 months • Whether young or old the improvement by stem cell therapy was the same. The Adipose cell therapy programme used is approved by the FDA in Australia and compliant with FDA regulations in most other developed countries. This method is a same day, same clinic process, using your own regenerative cells. Our method does not use any animal products, bacterial products or manipulation of the cells. There are services for banking/storing of cells for future use. This option is very favourable with our patients, as they can use the stored stem and regenerative cells for follow up treatments of the same condition or other treatment uses.

Improvement in Pain and Mobility of Osteoarthritis Patients after Stem Cell Therapy as measured by Standardised WOMAC/HOOS Scores Dr. Kampol Poophawatanakij (NMD, OMD, CPNI)

Dr. Kampol is an American license holder in Naturopathic and Oriental Medicine, he is also certified in Psychoneuroimmunology. After active practice in the USA for more then 10 years, he returned to Thailand to continue his work. Dr. Kampol currently is part of our Regenerative Medicine team, heading our Physiotherapy and Muscoloskelatal pain management department.

Treatments are available for specific medical conditions like the above and many other conditions such as Diabetes, age related degenerative conditions and anti ageing therapy. Dr. Khwansawass Sawasdipol MD

Dr. Khwansawass is a Medical Doctor and holds a fellowship in clinical research of Dermatology from Harvard Medical School USA. She has extensive experience in Cosmetic Medicine including Botox, Fillers and Aesthetic laser treatments. Dr. Khwansawass is part of our Regenerative Medicine team and heads our Dermatology department.

Urbis Building 7th Floor (The AETAS Bangkok Hotel) 53 Soi Ruam Rudee, Phloenchit Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330


Dental Services in Bangkok: How to Find Quality Care for Your Pearly Whites by Ruth Richert

When you planned your move to Bangkok, dental health may not have been the first thing on your mind. There are so many details involved in planning and executing an international move that the task of finding a new dentist sometimes falls by the wayside. However, once your teeth need a little loving care, it becomes imperative to find a dentist that you can trust. Unlike many of my expat friends in Bangkok, finding good dental/orthodontic care was among my top priorities when my husband and I moved to Bangkok this past July. I’d already spent a veritable fortune on treatment in my native Canada for a complicated jaw problem, and I was halfway through a braces programme. My orthodontist in Canada assured me that I would be able to find good care in Bangkok, and sent me off with a list of Bangkok orthodontists who had experience with my particular system of brackets. Shortly after arriving, I booked a consultation with one of the orthodontists on the list.

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I’m sure that a bad case of culture shock didn’t help the situation, but I left that appointment in a state of mental meltdown. When I arrived, a sour-faced receptionist told me to take a seat. After some time, I was escorted to a dizzying succession of rooms, where I was photographed, poked and prodded, and informed that I needed to repair my fillings. Considering that I had simply booked a consultation with an orthodontist, I was confused as to why these extra steps were necessary, but no explanation was given. After another extended wait in the lobby, I was finally brought to an orthodontic room. For what felt like an eternity, all the staff in the room ignored me, until one woman walked over and basically shoved her hands into my mouth. With no introduction, she told me that my face looked crooked, and that I would need to have several teeth pulled. She then proceeded to change my wires, and it became clear that she had never seen my bracket system before. When she finally removed her hands from my mouth, I asked her


what her name was. It turns out that she wasn’t even the orthodontist with whom I had booked the original appointment. For a new arrival to Bangkok, it was a traumatising experience. Needless to say, I never went back. The story has a happy ending, however: after several neurotic phone calls to my orthodontist in Canada, and a bit of online research, I am now a patient at an excellent clinic. My new orthodontist questioned me extensively about my jaw problems before his hands got anywhere near my mouth, and he has a good understanding of my bracket system. The friendly secretaries at the office are also a nice touch. It has been a relief to discover that quality dental care is available in Bangkok. In order to spare our readers the misadventures that I experienced, Expat Ladies has put together some general suggestions and clinic options for starting your Bangkok dental journey: General suggestions for finding good dental care: Get recommendations from other expats Personal recommendations are one of the best ways to find a new dental clinic. Friends and acquaintances can offer an unbiased perspective, and can give you a sense of what to expect, particularly in terms of patient care. Conduct online research This is especially important if you have specific concerns, as I did with my unique bracket system. It enables you to weed out inappropriate options before you waste time with an appointment. Even good clinics may not offer a full range of services, or treat patients of all ages. Clinic websites may not go into a great deal of depth, but they can often give you a general idea of the services offered, and the prices. Don’t hesitate to phone the clinic if you have questions that the website cannot answer. It can also be helpful to look up clinic reviews online. While anonymous posts should be taken with a grain of salt, they can provide a general sense of patient satisfaction levels. Ask questions! I wish that I had been bolder about asking questions at the first dental clinic I visited. Remember, it’s your mouth, and your money, and you should feel free to ask as many questions as you like. If you feel rushed, or your concerns aren’t fully addressed, perhaps it’s best to look elsewhere. Request a tour If you have questions about issues such as sterilisation, equipment, or patient comfort, a tour can be helpful. While you may need to give some advance notice, a good clinic should be able to provide one for you.


Book an initial consult/check-up It is a good idea for your first appointment to include a consultation or check-up, and not much else. This will give you a chance to decide whether the treatment recommendations, dentists, and office are to your satisfaction before you commit to having any work done. Ask about qualifications and standards In Thailand, there are no laws that prevent general dentists from practicing a full range of dental and orthodontic treatments. There are cases, for example, in which dentists without the appropriate training prescribe braces and other specialised treatments to patients. It’s a good idea to check qualifications before you let anyone near your pearly whites! Remember that quality services carry a price tag While there are undoubtedly local clinics that provide good dental care in Bangkok, tread with caution. They may offer bargains, but due to Thailand’s lack of stringent dental standards, you get what you pay for. If you are looking for rigorous certification, high standards of hygiene, specialised or invasive procedures, and communication in English, you will likely need to visit one of the expat focused clinics in Bangkok. Their prices may be significantly higher than local clinics. However, in many cases they are still much more affordable than what you would pay at home, and when it comes to your teeth, it just might be worth it. Where to go This is by no means an exhaustive source of good dental options in Bangkok, but based on research, recommendations, and personal experience, the following dental care offices provide excellent care. This list is a good place to start your search.

1.Bangkok International Dental Center (BIDC) BIDC is considered one of the top destinations for dental care in Bangkok. It has passed a variety of rigorous local and international standards, and offers a wide range of dental services. Its specialty is implants and cosmetic dentistry, and it utilises the latest dental technology. BIDC employs a wide range of specialists who are able to address complex and specific dental issues. The majority of BIDC’s practitioners have received international education and training in addition to their legally mandated Thai certification.

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While I am not a patient at BIDC, I had the opportunity to go on a tour of the main facility on Ratchadapesik Rd., and I was very impressed by it. The receptionists were friendly and efficient, and the lobby area was bright, comfortable, and spacious. I was able to take a peek at the treatment rooms, and they were very clean, modern, and well-staffed. I took particular note of BIDC’s thorough sterilisation procedure – instruments and equipment are put through no fewer than four separate stages of sterilisation. Note: BIDC does not provide dental services for children under the age of 6. Locations: Bangkok International Dental Center: 157 Ratchadapesik Rd., Ding Daeng District, Bangkok Tel: 02 692 4433 Dental Signature by BIDC: Siam Paragon Mall, 2nd Floor, Room 238, North Colonnade, Rama 1 Rd., Pathumwan, Bangkok Tel: 02 610 9630

2. Thantakit International Dental Center Thantakit was established in Bangkok in 1945, and is another excellent option for a broad range of dental services. I am currently a patient at Thantakit, and have been pleased with the level of care I receive. After my original braces fiasco, I wanted an orthodontist who would communicate with me, and Thantakit delivered. During my initial consultation, Dr. Thiti patiently and helpfully


answered the multitude of questions that I posed, and thoroughly examined my bracket system. His treatment plan has been appropriately cautious, given my jaw problems. Like BIDC, many of Thantakit’s practitioners have received international training. Thantakit follows rigorous sterilisation procedures, and offers a wide range of dental services. The main branch in Petchaburi is a mix of comfort, spaciousness, and play space for children. Locations: Thantakit Dental Building: 1939 New Petchburi Rd., Bangkapi, Huaykwang, Bangkok Tel: 02 718 0777 Thantakit All Seasons Place Branch: Unit 301, 3rd Fl., CRC Tower, 87/2, Wireless Rd., Patumwan, Bangkok Tel: 02 685 3444/5 Thantakit Prantunam Branch: 745/43-44 Petchburi Rd., Ratchatewi, Phayathai, Bangkok Tel: 02 252 6297 3. BNH Bangkok Hospital BNH is a full service hospital, and offers dental services

through its dental center. Many of its practitioners are internationally trained, and it offers a wide range of treatments, including implants, Damon and Invisalign braces, and cosmetic dentistry. Unlike many dental clinics, it is equipped to provide procedures requiring general anesthesia. Location: BNH Hospital: 9/1, Convent Road, Silom Bangkok Tel: 02 686 2700 4. Bangkok Smile Dental Clinic Bangkok Smile offers a wide range of cosmetic and operative dental services. Like other top Bangkok dental offices, many of Bangkok Smile’s practitioners have received training internationally. Implants are one of its specialties. Locations: Sukhumvit Branch: 32/5-6 Sukhumvit 21 (Asoke Road), Wattana, Bangkok Tel: 02 664 2800 Ploenchit Branch: 545/2 Ploenchit Rd., Pathumwan, Bangkok Tel: 02 251 4982/3


Dealing with the emotional struggles of expat life by Dr Donna Robinson

Settling blues Transitioning out of any familiar environment can be stressful, especially if this new environment is a different country all together. Families, men and women, come here from very different places and have often left from different cultural backgrounds, away from family or other support network, hobbies, interests, away from their old jobs and their children’s school. Often I see people in my clinic who having already lived here for a year, it suddenly hits them and they feel low and disillusioned. It is not surprising that the sudden change of moving into a new country affects us, but what is reassuring is that anyone who moves here can seek help to settle in, and those are the ones that end up not wanting to leave! I still have vivid memories of my first year in Bangkok; it was towards the end of that year that I became depressed. Previously, I had been practicing GP and medicine which included a lot of practical work, but when I moved here I

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found a job in an organisation that told me they have never had a foreigner before. They offered me an office job, requiring administrative skills to write proposals and reports on health projects. I remember crying while my husband would help me write proposals, it was like starting to learn all over again. I would ask him things such as ‘What is an objective?’, ‘What is a goal?’. At the same time I was also taking Thai classes, I was busy with little time to relax or time meet friends (that I had not yet made). I also joined a women’s group, which back then I felt too young and unsure for, however in the 22 years that have passed I have grown to enjoy and appreciate the group more and more. At least one in every six people becomes depressed in the course of their lives. And I believe that the added stress that expatriates face push this statistic even higher. What are the symptoms of depression? Depression shows itself in many different ways. People don’t always realise what’s going on because their problems often


seem to be physical, not mental. They tell themselves they’re simply under the weather or feeling tired. But if you tick off five or more of the following symptoms, it’s likely that you are experiencing some form of depression: • Being restless and agitated • Waking up early, having difficulty sleeping, or sleeping more • Feeling tired and lacking energy; doing less and less • Using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual • Not eating properly and losing or putting on weight • Crying a lot • Difficulty remembering things • Physical aches and pains with no physical cause • Feeling low-spirited for much of the time • Being unusually irritable or impatient • Getting no pleasure out of life or what you usually enjoy • Losing interest in your sex life • Finding it hard to concentrate or to make decisions • Blaming yourself and feeling unnecessarily guilty about things • Lacking self-confidence and self-esteem • Being preoccupied with negative thoughts • Feeling numb, empty and despairing • Feeling helpless • Distancing yourself from others; not asking for support • Taking a bleak, pessimistic view of the future • Experiencing a sense of unreality • Self-harming (by cutting yourself, for example)

Dealing with depression While feelings of depression will pass in 6 months or so for most of us,there are ways that you can actively address the issue; you should consider the following ways to help yourself: Medication in the form of SSRIs (Anti depressants) These are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which work by boosting your serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is responsible for feelings of well-being, and SSRIs maintain a higher level of serotonin thus lifting your mood.It is easy to say,but medicine such as an SSRI isn’t a quick fix to make you feel better and depersonalise the situation so you don’t think about “Me” (yourself all day), instead you can start to look at things in positive ways, make changes, and start to do new things and make friends. I’ve often found that medication works best combined with lifestyle changes, for example increased exercise as well as a more balanced diet. This helps decrease the chance of becoming over-reliant on the medication, and augments the chances of feeling better. It is important to treat depression, since excessive amounts can affect brain function and can have a wider impact on your life. It often takes between two to four weeks before the drugs take effect. The usual recommendation is that you


stay on them for six months in order to prevent a recurrence. If you feel that you may be depressed make sure you seek medical help, it is a highly treatable condition. I often tell my patients that depression is like an injured knee,by using the treatment it will get better but at the same time even aftertaking some Ibuprofen, it will take time to heal. Another type of medication is St Johns Wort, this is a traditional herbal medicine which helps relieve anxiety and remedy low spirits. It too works by interacting with Serotonin and also noradrenaline and so is similar to SSRIs.It can be bought at many health shops that sell products made by GMC or Blackmore’s. Because it’s effects are fairly mild you don’t need a doctor’s prescription however it is important to research any medication before you take it, especially if you take other medication regularly. If you take St Johns Worth then don’t take SSRI (anti-depressants) at the same time. Whenever I encounter patients who are dealing with stress, anxiety or depression I find that an appropriate and effective form of treatment is counselling. Whether you’re adjusting to expat life, grieving or even going through relationship troubles being able to speak to someone is always helpful. Counselling services used to be fairly sparse in Bangkok, but as the number of expats grew so did the availability of help. There are now several counselling organisation in Bangkok and some individual counsellors, some specializing in different areas of counselling. At my clinic we have enlisted the help of Samantha Pryor who is an experienced and highly qualified psychotherapist and hypnotherapist. I’ve found that when dealing with personal problems you can’t emphasise enough the importance of counselling. I always say don’t look at a counsellor as an agony aunt where you will just vent until you feel better, you’ll learn some useful practical exercises on how to deal with your thinking habits and behaviour.You can look at counselling as some life coaching; ideally it will not only help your immediate problems but also help you tackle other issues that crop up in life. Apart from immediate life events depression can be caused by other factors that are completely out of your control. As such it is important that if your depression lasts for extended periods of time or arises for no reason, you see a doctor to determine the cause. Health issues such

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as underactive thyroid hormone condition can lead to feelings of fatigue and exhaustion. This issue is common in both women and men and is easily treatable. Also low levels of vitamin B12, or vitamin D3 can induce symptoms of depression: often this can be normal but a blood test will check your levels and a doctor will be able to advise if you need supplement or not. An untreated medical problem such as anemia can also have an impact, symptoms can augment over time to the point where you can no longer ignore it. However this too is easily treatable, an amendment in diet or even iron supplements can easily alleviate such symptoms. Of course adapting a regular exercise routine can help by boosting your endorphins. Endorphins are responsible for pleasurable feelings and these are released whenever we exercise. As a result your mood is immediately uplifted. Also I am a strong believer of people feeling good when they look good, and exercise is definitely the most effective method to feel good! And finally adopt some new hobbies and interests so you that don’t dwell on yourself all day. I remember feeling isolated when I first moved to Bangkok, only to discover several women’s groups and other activities on offer. Nowadays Bangkok is such an international place with organisations for nearly everyone. I personally love to exercise as well as get personally involved with my children’s school, I was glad to meet people with similar interests through the British Women’s Group and school commitments. These proved to be a welcome distraction and before I knew it I was well adapted and settled into my new life here.


Throw Your New Year’s Resolutions Out by Daniel Remon B. HMSc.

Yes, it is that time again when most of you have decided to make some changes in life as part of your ‘New Year’s Resolutions’. These resolutions are normally related to our health. Stop smoking, start training, join a gym, get a personal trainer, lose weight, start eating healthier and so forth. According to a study conducted by GNC, 55% promised to eat healthier, 50% resolved to exercise more, and 38% wanted to lose weight.

Research shows that less than 20% actually stick to our new promises we make to ourselves, and for most, by February, we are back into the swing of old habits. The internet is full of articles to help you overcome the same challenges you face every year. Resolutions themselves are the problem! So this year, I want to do something different. Here we will offer you some inside tips to help you become that 20% and ensure your resolutions remain in tact and

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become achievements. Never again will you need to make these New Year resolutions. From this point forward, they are known as your BSL. They are, or ‘were’ the Bull **** Lies that your previous self used to rely on for success. We all know, that these BSL’s quickly fade away by week 4 of the New Year. So, remember this; BSL’s are no longer an option. Non-existent. Nudda. Zilch. Zero. Develop a Support System Tell your friends and family about your goals and how you will achieve them. Better still, set some mutual goals with your friends and work together. Ask them to follow up with you on your progress from time to time to ensure you are on top of things. Join an awesome community of like minded, driven and ambitious people. This is the key to our success at Aspire, and this holds true for all areas of life. If you want to be successful in business, surround yourself and learn from those who are already successful and form the image that you want to become. This is simple science at its best.


Visualise Your Desired Outcomes Regardless of your goal, you must - and I will stress this point, you MUST visualise exactly what you want to achieve in life. Your ideal body, your ideal bank account balance and your ideal luxury vacation you’re going to take at the end of the year. Now the most important element in visualising is to attach the emotion and visualise how you ‘feel’ when you are your ideal shape in your dream destination on that dreamy beach. Just use the next 30 seconds to demonstrate how powerful this can be. Elite athletes and sports scientists have proven that visualisation techniques actually create neural impulses and responses to thinking and feeling successful performances. You are no different and can benefit from practicing the same techniques. Form Rituals Rituals are different from habits. For me, habits are too commonly associated with ‘bad habits’ which we know are easy to break and it is too easy to fall back into ‘old habits’. Habits are actions we perform and practice daily, both good and bad. Habits are words that we are familiar with, we are comfortable using and comfortable falling back into. By ‘changing our language’ and using different words, such as ‘rituals’ we engage in new experiences, new mind sets and great results. Rituals are spiritual and engaging actions which link both the physical and mental components to habits. By engaging the emotional feelings and your neural system, you create behavioural change and a shift in your subconscious which connects to your desired outcomes. It is your subconscious which directly affects your outcomes. Ask Specific Questions Asking frequent, strategic questions about your feelings, your opinions, outlooks, outcomes and desires is also fundamental to changing your behaviours for the long run. You can ask questions related to all your daily activities, goals and objectives on every topic related to health, family, business, wealth and success. If you are tempted to indulge in something that you probably shouldn’t, ask yourself ‘is this food going to help me towards my ideal body?’ If the answer is no, then your decision is easy; Just Put It Down! Other questions you can ask yourself include: What’s my outcome? What benefit will (this particular action) have on my desired goal? Is feeling (enter a negative emotion) going to help me? Am I doing everything I can to achieve my goal? What can I do NOW to be better and get to my goals faster? You get the idea. Make sure you implement and practise this every day, not just today and drop it next week. Formulate your rituals! Fuel for Energy Start to use a different vocabulary when it comes to eating nutritiously. I could go on with all the magic pills and crash diets that exist, from Atkins, Paleo, Asian, low carb, high carb, low fat to Mediterranean as well as all the detox strategies out there. At the end of the


day, you MUST change your mindset and focus on eating healthy, natural wholesome foods. Focus on ‘fuel’ – simply supplying your body with the energy it needs to perform optimally. For the majority of people, we know diets don’t work. Changing your eating habits does not constitute dieting. Some other tips to help you fuel efficiently include: eating slowly, eat proteins and vegetables, fast occasionally, eat only when you are hungry, be flexible, prepare as much food at home as possible, plan your meals, eat out less and lastly, ENJOY eating healthy, nutritious foods. Only Use Positive Language As a results coach, personal trainer & wellness coach, this has to be one of my all time favourite, and most powerful rituals for both myself and for my clients. Eliminating negative language is such a powerful ritual to engage in. Words like ‘can’t’, ‘cannot’, ‘shouldn’t’, ‘won’t’, ‘try’, ‘maybe’, ‘should have’, ‘might’ and ‘but’ are no longer in use. This helps you focus on the more empowering language such as I MUST, I WILL, I CAN. These also trigger positive emotions which aids the success process. Using these empowering terms helps you to be specific with your decision making processes. Achieving absolute clarity in everything you set your mind to and everything you aspire to achieve in your life. Affirmations are also another powerfully effective tool. I have used affirmations very successfully with many clients and with myself. Get Professional Assistance Employ the services of a professional. Find a personal trainer or coach who can devise the most appropriate exercise and nutrition programme for you - which you enjoy and can make a part of your lifestyle. They will help you stay on track and help you work through the tough times with strategies for every challenge. If you have worked with personal trainers in the past and had exciting results, for this year consider taking that to the next level and find a success coach. A success coach will help to tie in all your goals in life, inspire you and guide you towards the ultimate results and achievements that you could every dream possible. No doubt you noticed a very distinct difference in the success of your goals. These are known to a rare few, and it is my objective to help as many people as possible, lose the BSL’s, get focused, take action and achieve their ultimate lifestyle through health, energy and success that can inspire others to achieve the same. Daniel Remon is the Founder and CEO of Fitcorp Global – An international performance coaching company based in Bangkok, Thailand and visionary behind the ‘Aspire Club’, which has created the ultimate team of personal trainers in Bangkok and the only results driven performance facility in Asia. You can learn more at www.theaspireclub.com and www.fitcorpasia.com.

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Genesis by Dr. Gene... A place like no

other... The city of angels’ hangout for “trend setters” in thirst of skin perfection. Dr. Gene is the “must have” dermatologist on the list of people to meet. She is the “master” of all the latest anti-aging solutions by combining technologies and customizing treatments that will turn you into a Phenomenon. Discover the latest Signature Procedure by Dr. Gene called Zero G2 from the Zero G

SERIES. A treatment that offers two technologies in one. FaceTite RF and AccuLift Laser for guaranteed skin tightening and lifting. These can also magically melt the unwanted fat in the lower face area. This ONE TIME only custom procedure is US FDA approved and is proven to be the BEST long lasting non-surgical face lift! Experience a whole new level of skin care at

Genesis by Dr. Gene, the skin clinic of the chosen few, the ultimate art gallery of skin possibilities, where the masterpiece is YOU!

The Non-Surgical Face & Neck Lift V-Shape Face Double Chin Redefined Jaw Line Skin Tightening 1 Time Procedure

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TCCC Business

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Georg Josef Riedel at the St Regis by Ghislaine Bovy

I had the pleasure of interviewing Georg Josef Riedel in the splendid ‘The Decanter’ room at the St Regis Bangkok Hotel.

which plays a crucial role to appreciate all the nuances of aroma and taste from the finest wines of the world.’

Going through the press kit, I noted a quote from Time magazine which summarised what the Riedel wine glass company is about: ‘The Riedel family has never stamped its name on a single bottle of wine. But over the past 50 years, this Austrian clan of master glassmakers has done more to enhance the oenophile’s pleasure than almost any winemaking dynasty.’

To the question asked: ‘How do you explain the success of Riedel over the generations? What differentiates you from other glassmakers?’

As I waited for the interview to start, I admired the Riedel glasses on display. Surfing www.riedel.com before a joint interview with a charming reporter from The Nation, I discovered a whole new world, a world of exquisite wine glasses.

Georg Josef replied ‘As you know, brands have cycles and we have to keep inventing to go through all the cycles and continue to be successful. The last three generations of this family owned company has made it possible to expand thanks to the production wine friendly glasses. With the increase in wine consumption across the world and particularly in Asia, wine connoisseurs have come to realise the importance of ‘tools’ such as our grape varietal specific glasses and decanters as perfect vessels to enhance their enjoyment of fine wines’.

Interviewing Georg Josef is akin to entering the world of fine wine tasting. He is passionate about wine and even more passionate about Riedel glasses.

To my question ‘What is your position in South East Asia? How do you view the market?’.

As he stated, ‘Riedel Crystal has been producing glass for over 250 years and I have the privilege of continuing this tradition of making outstanding glassware. I travel all over the world to educate wine lovers in the importance of the glass

‘The market in Asia is growing exponentially which is understandable since when you grow from 1 to 2%, it is already a major increase (laughs). I consider Japan, Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong as mature markets. In China, we

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have our own subsidiary. Here, in Thailand, the market has been growing in the past 5 years and I find it a privilege to be here to lead the workshops on comparative tasting in our glasses.’ ‘Riedel Crystal educates approximately 40,000 people each year using wines from every region to demonstrate how the right glass enhances the experience of wine drinking.’ Georg Josef adds ‘For me, drinking wine is first of all drinking with the people you love. Drinking a glass of wine for me is full of emotion. It is a celebration! May I add that consumption of wine is said to be healthy, well, at least in moderation’ he says with a smile. ‘Being a wine connoisseur myself, I developed a passion for providing the best ‘tools’ to enhance the qualities of the wines. For me, the glass is an amplifier of wine, the ultimate expression’. Talking about the market in Thailand and the participants to the workshops, Georg Josef stated ‘Italthai, the sole importer of Riedel Wine Glass in Thailand, is supporting us in organising these workshops. In all, we will have had nearly 250 participants for our workshops in Bangkok. The number of Thai wine connoisseurs is on the increase and so is their interest in discovering the true expression of wines.’ ‘Today, I heard about wine being produced in Thailand. Next time I come, I want to go and visit the local wineries. I look forward to the visits as I didn’t know wines were being produced in Thailand.’ It is also a dream of mine to develop drinking vessels for non alcoholic beverages which also creates memorable experiences for consumers. I envisage vessels for high quality coffee, complex teas and even spring water. The sensuality of taste shows that designs of Riedel calibre can be made for these beverages.’ As we finished the interview, Georg Josef Riedel accompanied us to the ‘Astor Ballroom’ where 108 people were already seated, 80% of them Thais which was not a surprise since we all witness the growing interest in wines here in Bangkok through the constant opening of wine tasting bars and exclusive clubs serving bottles of wine at prices topping 10,000B a bottle. I sat next to the reporter of The Nation who admitted she didn’t particularly like wine and was really wondering why glasses were so important … until the end of the workshop when she actually admitted wine is very good when served in the right glass … convincing then, isn’t it?

reaches different parts of your tongue and palate to create a total taste perception. One glass makes your tongue fresh, but you still feel thirsty, the other one refreshes you thoroughly and the third one makes you taste the minerality of the water. The water actually tasted different, surprisingly true and quite unbelievable at the start. Over the next half hour, we analysed a number of elements such as aroma, wine complexity, versatility and ‘mosaic’ according to the glass we drank it from. We were invited to eat small pieces of either milk or dark chocolate to discover how their taste would vary after drinking the wine from the different glasses. The audience went silent, just feeling for the very first time for most how important it is to drink wine in the right glass.

We had three Riedel glasses in front of us and three plastic cups of the most popular wines in Asia among which Pinot Noir is one of the favourites, and then we started the tasting with … water.

As they all left the room with their Riedel Crystal Vitis Tasting Set Red Wine, they realised they just had found what to buy as the perfect Christmas gift for the people they cherish. They went out and bought more glasses and one of the splendid decanters also on display.

Yes, water because water as well as any other liquid tastes different if you drink it from different glasses. Swallowing is like breathing, it is essential, when you swallow a liquid it

Thank you Mr Riedel, this was truly an experience of a lifetime and I shall never drink wine the same way again. I will make sure I use the right glass, a Riedel glass! |

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The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta By Ghislaine Bovy

Between December 2nd and 8th 2012, more than 1500 sailors and crews from 35 countries on 75 racing yachts in 10 classes, and 40 windsurfers and dinghies were racing off the Kata Beach Resort & Spa, the host sponsor. Kevin Whitcraft, the president of the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta Organising Committee, summarised the event at the opening by saying ‘We are very proud that the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta is able to take a regional role in contributing to the growth of the Thai sailing community and the yachting industry in Thailand, reinforcing its position as one of the world’s premier sailing destinations. It serves as an inspiration for new and improving Thai sailors, giving them a superb opportunity to experience international competition. From a wider perspective, it is hugely beneficial for Phuket, a part of Thailand famed for its beautiful surroundings, legendary hospitality and suitability for hosting Asia’s ultimate Regatta’. It was a pleasure for me to cover my 5th Phuket King’s Cup Regatta as both a journalist and community manager posting on their facebook page www.facebook.com/

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phuketkingscupregatta?ref=hl. As a circumnavigator, I love sailing boats, windsurfers and dinghies - anything on water really - so it was as much fun as it was work for me. The number of ‘Likes’ and ‘Shares’ of the hundreds of photos posted on the facebook page was very encouraging. Participants in the King’s Cup Regatta were keen to get information on their mobile phones as soon as they came back from racing each day. I also covered the parties, which are among the best parties in Phuket all year round, and have to say that the sponsors really made them exceptional in all aspects of decoration, food and beverages. Prize giving parties were held at the Kata Beach Resort & Spa, the Boathouse, Phuket Orchid Resort & Spa with the Candlelight Ceremony celebrating His Majesty The King of Thailand’s 85th Birthday and Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket. Hundreds of thirsty and hungry sailors went to each party and it was important to have a ‘lay day’ during the week for them to recover… It was also a pleasure for me to work closely with the Thai media in the Media Centre to present their readers with brilliant shots from the Media boats. And, as a sailing boat fan, I had the privilege, given to me by Jerry Rollin the Race Officer, to be onboard the Start Boat for two days to take my own photos of boats especially at the Start Line. If you are looking for a really special, fun filled week during 2013, don’t hesitate to go to Phuket for the 27th Phuket King’s Cup Regatta which takes place November 30 to December 7, 2013.

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Land Wealth By Heather Wetzel

A fundamental wrong in economic policies that exist worldwide. There is a similar argument currently going on in Thailand and in the UK about the position of wealthy people from overseas buying property in these countries. In Thailand, although overseas buyers are limited in what property they can buy, there is some objection to them buying any. At the same time, there is a growing voice about overseas property buyers who leave their properties empty or underused throughout the year when there is a shortage of homes and business premises available at affordable prices. The point of those supporting such a limitation in both countries is based on a misunderstanding of how the land market actually works in favour of big landowners and against the majority of the population be they tenants or home or business owners. Once land and other natural resources, including oil, minerals, the airwaves etc, are owned and controlled by a minority of people or organisations, they have the collective power to not only determine the price we all pay for the use of these valuable natural resources but also to hold them out of use thereby creating an artificial shortage which allows them to charge even more to those needing them for their home or business. If the governments of the UK and Thailand (and those of the rest of the world) considered how land values are actually created and to whom they go, there would be the opportunity for these governments to reduce other negative taxes such as income tax, corporation tax, sales taxes etc by collecting at least some of the natural resources wealth that the ’owners’ take as their unearned income. Land wealth is created from the collective demand for land to be used for homes, business or leisure and the price of land reflects the supply available and the demand for land. The price of land per hectare or rai will vary according to its location and its productiveness regardless of whether the land is used for farming, commercial activity, homes or leisure. The greater the productivity possible on a site means the greater the value and therefore the greater the price.

But who pays for the infrastructure that enables offices, shops and factories to operate efficiently – the roads and public transport that allows goods, workers and buyers to reach their destination; the police and fire services that keep people and buildings safe; the water, sewerage and street cleaning that helps keeps us healthy; the schools that educate tomorrow’s workers and the health services that protect and heal us and so on? Taxpayers and consumers pay for these services whether they are provided in the public sector or in the

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private sector. Investment in businesses that produce our food, make our clothes, build our homes, produce services and goods for us to consume is ultimately paid for by us all as consumers. Land owners have the power to decide whether or not to grant us access to a natural resource that they claim ownership to but they have not created that land nor have they created the value that land has, whether it is used as a fertile farm or a city shop or a village bank or a home or in a park. The combined efforts of society as investors, consumers or workers create land value and therefore land wealth but it is land owners who take this wealth as theirs and this distorts our economies and reinforces economic and social inequality and poverty in our economies. The more we create, the more they take. In the UK like in Thailand, an increasing amount of development land is owned by overseas rich property speculators who, in many cases, have joined the ranks of home based land owners by leaving their development sites idle. Idle because they are not investors at all but are land speculators – waiting for land values to rise so they can sell their sites and make a fortune without lifting a finger. Apartments in high status buildings such as the new Shard building at London Bridge station are being bought by rich property owners who will leave their apartments empty for most of the year. Again, the investment is not in the apartment but in the value of the location of the building and when land values rise again, these owners will benefit from an increase in the price of their apartment purely because of the increase in the value of the land on which the building sits.

The Shard, London, UK


However, there are concerns expressed because there is a huge shortage of affordable homes whilst many houses and apartments remain empty for all or a large part of the year. There are also numerous development sites that have lain idle for tens of years but which have planning consent for homes and commercial premises. To say there is a shortage of homes whilst thousands of homes are empty or waiting to be built is not enough; there needs to be an incentive for the owners to bring their properties into use instead of leaving them idle while they wait for land values to rise to a level where they will either sell them or bring them into use. On 4 December 2012, the Bangkok Post posed an interesting debate on land ownership in Thailand and the economic problems that arise as a result. (http://www. bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-fromnews/284680/foreigners-own-one-third-of-thailand ) They reported that Ombudsman Siracha Charoenpanij had claimed ‘that a third of land in Thailand, or about 100 million rai, is now in foreigners’ hands due to proxy ownership made possible by legal loopholes and corruption’. The Bangkok Post challenged these figures but did state that ‘if the Ombudsman had focused on the problem of nominee land ownership in resort towns only, his concerns would have been legitimate because the crux of the problem is corruption. But the Ombudsman’s cautionary words ended up carrying no weight as he pointed fingers in the wrong direction about land grabbing, complete with unbelievable statistics.’ The article raised the problem that farmers experience because of the cost of farm land. The article continues ‘Start with the fact that 90% of land owners have one rai or less while the remaining 10% of private land is owned by landlords. Seventy percent of this land is speculative, lying idle and unproductive when 4.8 million farmers are struggling with landlessness and not having enough land to till. More farmers are also losing their land every day as farming is a loss-making business with rising investment costs and depressed farm prices. This is why the number of tenants has risen to nearly 60% of all farmers, according to the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry. Since land rents can be as high as a third of total investment costs, solving the land ownership problem is thus crucial to solving farmers’ perennial indebtedness.’ However, it is not just farmers that experience the problem of large land owners charging exorbitant rents for the use of the land they claim ownership to, the same problem is also faced by those wishing to set up a business of any sort – factories, shops and offices all need land to locate the building on. Also, homes cannot be built without land. A recent study

carried out by Thammasat University shows that 80% of the land is owned by just 10% of the population and that the richest 20% of the country own more than half of the value of all household assets. No matter which country, monopoly ownership of land and therefore land wealth is immoral and unjust and distorts the economy. History has shown us that land owners taking land wealth as theirs makes the economy unsustainable, inefficient and perpetuates poverty, inequality and discriminates against those who create the wealth in the first place. The Bangkok Post not only identifies the problem but also identifies a real solution to the problem that farmers face; they say ‘Land reform is the way to go. A progressive land tax, a land ownership ceiling, the setting up of a land bank to help the landless, community land ownership, a transparent and online land ownership data system - all these ideas have been repeatedly discussed. But they remain just that, ideas, because the rich and powerful do not want to see changes.’ Land speculation was a fundamental cause of the world recession – the solution to land speculation is to collect at least a part of land value through an annual land tax levied on the annual rental value of each site according to its optimum permitted use. Let’s hope that the Thai government looks at the social inequality and economic destruction caused worldwide because of land owners taking the wealth that is created by our collective efforts and which landowners take as their unearned income at the community’s expense. Heather Wetzel Vice Chair of the Labour Land Campaign in the UK Email: heather.wetzel@labourland.org Website: www.labourland.org |

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APPLYING FOR SCHOLARSHIPS TO AN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

All parents want what’s best for their children and a great education is one of the most important things you can offer. Unfortunately, good schools can be very expensive, and if you don’t happen to have an expat contract with a company who is happy to pay school fees for your children, then paying tuition fees may be a huge challenge. KIS International School is very pleased to help students receive a high quality education through the well-respected International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes. Not only does KIS offer the globally recognised IB Diploma, but it also offers the stimulating and challenging IB Primary Years Programme and IB Middle Years Programme, ensuring a relevant, academic ally strong, well balanced education for children from 3-18 years old. The KIS Scholarship programme is now its 15th year and once again, the school is offering the sought-after One Million Baht IB Diploma Scholarship (which is actually worth more than 1 Million Baht), academic scholarships for students in grades 6-12, and financial assistance to international profile families for children from 3-18 years old. KIS scholarships enable good students to gain recognition for their outstanding performance and offer them access to an excellent education with a strong university entrance qualification in the IB Diploma. The prestigious One Million Baht IB Diploma Scholarship is awarded to one well rounded, academically strong and motivated student, who is selected through an exam and interview. The winner receives free tuition at KIS for the

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duration of the two years of the IB Diploma and does not pay the registration fee. Strong runners up may receive partial scholarships as well. KIS is now inviting students in Grade 10 (Year 11) to apply for the 1 Million Baht Scholarship. Past winners of the One Million Baht scholarship have gone on to win scholarships at prestigious universities in the UK and the US. Academic scholarships are offered throughout the year to students who are applying to Grade 6 or higher, and who are above average academically, active and motivated. Financial scholarships are also offered year-round, and they are awarded to international profile families based on financial need. All scholarships are open to new applicants who are fluent in English. Applicants should also be doing well at school and be well-rounded students. Each applicant will be required to sit an exam and undergo a personal and/or family interview as part of the application process. There are a fixed number of scholarships, and spaces in some classes are limited, so we would encourage families who are interested in applying to contact KIS as soon as possible. Applications for the One Million Baht Scholarship must be received before April 24, 2013. For full conditions and more information about the scholarships please contact linda@kis.ac.th or sakonwan@kis.ac.th


You are invited to our

Jungle Picnic Saturday 9th March 2013

The fun starts at10.00am and finishes at 1.00pm

Free Shuttle Bus to and from the MRT at the Thailand Cultural Centre, Exit 2.

Reserve your tickets today! Visit our KIS Facebook page for reservations and event schedule: http://www.facebook.com/kisinternationalschool Email: kim@kis.ac.th

Address: 999/124 Kesinee Ville, Pracha Utit Road, Huay Kwang, Bangkok 10320 For directions go to: www.kis.ac.th


Instilling a Love of Learning: At the heart of Bangkok Patana School

T

"To forge a chain ... to learn in Bangkok Patana School and then go on, all over the world, into different systems of education, but all bearing the mark of our school, which is the mark of the scholar, one who loves learning because it is satisfying to himself." Mrs Rosamund Stuetzel, Founder of Bangkok Patana School his was the wish, over 55 years ago, of the school’s founder and is still held at the core of the school today. From its humble beginnings in the back garden of the Stuetzel family home on Ploenchit Road, Bangkok Patana School has grown into one of the leading schools in South East Asia, offering education from Nursery through to graduation.

For children in the Primary School and specifically in Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2) their education starts with discovering who they are, in a special learning environment tailored to each child. “Our teachers strive to develop independence and initiative in our students as well as inspiring a genuine love of learning that they will take with them throughout their lives,” describes Jason Cooper, Assistant Principal of the Primary School. “The school’s Primary curriculum utilises a holistic approach that focuses on developing the whole child. Our learners are confident in themselves and their surroundings. Through focusing on the learner and their learning we are able to help students challenge what they thought was possible and discover their true potential.”

Every parent wants their child to be prepared for the wider world of the future when they leave school. Bangkok Patana students achieve some of the best academic results in the region thanks to a British curriculum cornerstone that is complemented by best-practice models from around the globe, including the International Baccalaureate. As Jason Cooper explains however, a good education is about more than just good grades. “Our learning programme is tailored to help students meet the agerelated expectations as prescribed by the English National Curriculum. At Bangkok Patana School we do this by personalising the learning and utilising a skills-based approach that is aimed at developing a rich and deep understanding in our students.”

www.patana.ac.th |+66 (0) 2398 0200 | admissions@patana.ac.th | 643 LaSalle Road (Sukhumvit 105), Bangna


Nurturing young learners to fulfil their individual potential Developing Knowledge and Understanding

Inspiring Creativity

A

t Bangkok Patana we provide the essential rigour of a British curriculum incorporating best practice from other programmes to reflect our international setting. Our aim is to nurture and develop a lifelong love of learning in our young students.

Encouraging Curiosity

A

t key points within the Primary School we benchmark ourselves against UK schools using National Curriculum Tests. In 2012 over 96% of our Year 2 students achieved their age-related expectation, or above, compared to 87% in the UK.

Building Confidence

W

e also understand the importance of learning outside the classroom. Extensive opportunities for children to flourish and develop their personal interests are provided through our varied extra-curricular activities programme.

To find out how our child-centred approach to learning and outstanding teaching staff can help your child fulfil their potential from 2 1/2 to 18 years of age, please contact us at admissions@patana.ac.th

www.patana.ac.th |+66 (0) 2398 0200 | 643 LaSalle Road (Sukhumvit 105), Bangna, Bangkok

Bangkok Patana is an IB World School accredited by CIS and NEASC


NIST International School - 36 Sukhumvit 15 Sukhumvit Road Klongtoey Nua Wattana Bangkok 10110 Tel +66 (0) 2651 2065 Email : admissions@nist.ac.th www.nist.ac.th


The Case for boarding By Stephen Challoner Headmaster—Bromsgrove International School, Thailand

In Thailand, as elsewhere, the decision on schooling for your children is a very serious one. As expats, there are many types of Boarding schools on offer. This article considers a different kind of option. Many expats may have a view of boarding schools dating back many years. A picture of early starts, regimented precision, functional organisations that many simply care not to remember. Boarding schools today are so very different. Boarding Schools are unique; an education in and of itself. Living in a boarding school community leads to learning that is just as (or more) valuable than the education you get strictly in a classroom. It is about learning for life because it strongly develops character. Boarding schools produce well rounded individuals who fit in well to the outside world. Going to boarding school also means venturing into something unfamiliar and that is a positive thing because we all grow through change. Boarding schools by their very nature are communities where the willingness to explore new

things is inherent. Boarders repeatedly make ventures into the unknown. Boarders become more self-reliant because they take responsibility for themselves, always though with plenty of support from staff and peers. Young people as boarders have to take responsibility for their own actions to a much greater degree than if they were living at home. There is always a structure within the day and evening but boarders still need to make choices around how they spend their time, what activities and opportunities to take, and how to create a reasonable balance between work and play. That leads to increased maturity, greater self-sufficiency, and superior preparation for University. With every little challenge that boarding school presents, they learn a little bit more about themselves and become a little bit more comfortable with themselves. Boarders meet new types of people. There is a lot of enjoyment too and many friendships for life are forged. Imagine living in a house with a bunch of your best friends. It is a great life socially. It is very common in boarding school for roommates to become close friends and also a wonderful |

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support network. The friendships made in this environment are ones remembered for life. By the nature of residential life, strong working relationships are also made with teachers. For them too it is way of life and they dedicate themselves to young people during term time.

schools actively aim to recruit students from a wide range of geographic, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds. – plays a vital part in this. In a city such as Bangkok, boarding schools attract from many cultures; many nations and this enhances the overall experience beyond belief.

Boarders are overseen by friendly, professional and committed House Parents, for whom the happiness of the boarding house depends upon the happiness of individual boarders and the strength of the relationships they build with each other. Often, House Parents become the most significant people in a child’s boarding life - whatever the age of the child - and they take that privilege very seriously indeed. Pastoral care is very strong indeed in boarding schools and is vital to ensuring that each child is happy, thrives and succeeds, whatever their interests or talents.

At boarding schools, pupils are exposed to a wide range of individuals and cultures, whereas local options may expose you to a narrower background of students. They learn tolerance, respect and also the dignity of difference.

Boarding also prepares young people for the global village. Having a wide range of international friends - boarding

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They can also take full advantage of all the facilities a school offers. If you send your child to boarding school, you are buying the whole package: academics, athletics, social life, extracurricular activities and 24/7 supervision all rolled into one. That’s just part of the boarding school DNA. It is an incredibly good deal for many thoughtful parents. Of course


they will miss their mother and father, their siblings, their own room and all those other special things they know and love. But, the truth is that they will be off to college anyway in a few years. Getting a head start on leaving home is not a bad thing. It will pay huge dividends in later years as they will have had to learn to cope and adjust to new circumstances at an earlier stage in their life. Many different options exist for boarding. Most boarding schools will offer full boarding—24/7 with students only returning at the end of each term, but flexible boarding with the weekly boarding option is now ever popular. Returning on a Sunday evening or Monday morning to stay until Friday afternoon seems to offer a ‘best of both worlds’ for many. Students and parents still have time together at weekends but parents are safe in the knowledge that full care and supervision is guaranteed during the week. So what do the children do? A typical day will run as follows: 6:30am Put on radio, wake up, register of students, make bed, shower and get dressed 7:00am Tidy up and check rooms, beds made etc. House closed for boarders. 7:15am Breakfast compulsory for all students (residents on duty tick off boarders at breakfast). Any medication will be administered at this time by the school nurse. 8:00am Boarders to school, school routine 3:00pm Extra curricular activities (Tue, Wed, Thurs) in house supervision/English for boarders (Mon, Fri) 4:00pm Residential boarding curriculum – English, Science, Maths, Thai, etc. 5:10pm Roll call taken by duty member of staff. 5:15pm Dinner and Head of Boarding notices. Students go back to house and get changed. Behaviour is monitored in dining room to make sure that the children eat a proper meal.

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6:10pm Primary and secondary prep starts. This is supervised for the whole of the prep period to maintain a good working atmosphere. We ensure there is no food or excessive talking. Homework diaries are checked and signed. 7:30pm End of primary prep /evening snacks 7.35pm Evening activities for primary students 8.10pm Secondary prep ends 8.30pm End of activities for primary students. 8.40pm Start of secondary sport, games and recreation. 8.50pm Primary lights out 9.30pm End of secondary activities. 9:30pm Showers and bedtime routine. Lock up and check communal areas. Register students. 10.00pm+ Lights out depending on age. At weekends, additional activities, study time and cultural and other trips are arranged. The days are busy with the emphasis on fun and a positive working environment. In Bangkok, we should not underestimate the difficulties of congestion and the time we spend in cars in traffic jams. In simple terms a one hour journey each way to school is ten hours in the car each week for the child and the driver, usually the parent. What a waste of time for both! Boarding schools are also very strong communities with fine traditions and values. That influences all who join them. The shared experience of this tradition and history creates a strong network of people and a feeling of community and identity that lasts for life. That matters in a rapidly changing outside world. Boarding schools in Bangkok provide a safe, caring, friendly and welcoming environment where students can feel relaxed and at home. Please take a look—it may just be the right option for your child.


Second Language Acquisition By Donna Townsend Kensington International Kindergarten

I have been working at International Schools for a few years now and one of the questions frequently asked by parents is ‘when will my child be able to speak English?’ Second Language Acquisition depends on many different factors which makes it difficult to set timescales for parents. The age of the child, their previous exposure to English and their developmental stage in their first (home) language are amongst the factors affecting second language acquisition. If a child has a delay in their home language then learning a new one will take longer, pushing children to learn English in this situation could also cause further delays in their home language. During my time as a teacher and now a Head Teacher I have always encouraged parents to be patient and to continue speaking their home language to their child. Research tells us that ‘supporting children’s home languages helps them to feel valued and gives them the confidence that they will need in order to take risks and make the mistakes which are necessary when learning and using another language.’ (Browne 1996:149) Being secure in the home language will support the acquisition of a second, third or fourth language because children have something to build upon. The next question asked is what you can do as parents to support the acquisition of English. My answer to this is always to be patient first and foremost; your child will only learn if they feel relaxed and confident – pushing them and having unrealistic expectations will lead to a child becoming nervous about

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experimenting with a new language. Expose them to English, songs and stories, games and some English television programmes, for example Peppa Pig. If your child is attending an International school where English is the teaching medium then they will be hearing English all day. Not only people speaking English to them, but people speaking around them in English. Most importantly relax, if your child is very young then this process will come naturally to them if they are in an environment rich with language. However learning another language can be difficult for some children; these children normally show a delay in their home language first. If you know that your child is having problems with your home language then take them to see your doctor. Children sometimes need help with language and communication, it is not unusual and if you react quickly then the problems can be dealt with more effectively. During this time it is important to

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maintain your home language and not pressure your child into learning English. Once your child is confident in your home language and after listening to English on a regular basis, they will begin to experiment with English words. It will start off with one or two but will soon expand and within about one year your child will be able to talk in short sentences. The process leading to this point can take around 6 months to 1 year and is often called the ‘silent period’. Research suggests that to go from a child’s first exposure to English to the day they reach native like fluency the process will take between 5 and 7 years. The most important thing to remember is that children learn when they are happy, interested and supported. Have fun and enjoy the journey your child is taking towards being bi or tri-lingual.


Bangkok Tree House By Jessica Oates

Idly flicking through facebook one afternoon, one of my friends had updated her status with ‘a lovely afternoon spent chilling by the river’. Thinking they must have left the city for the weekend, perhaps for the greener banks of Kanchanaburi, I was surprised to see the location looked close - in fact, only 30 minutes from my apartment in Nana. This was worth further investigation. Upon Googling the tagged place, a website called the ‘Bangkok Tree House’ quickly popped up, with quirky looking accommodation and an overriding Eco vibe. This was definitely worth a closer look.

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So, as a surprise for my husband a few weeks later, I booked us into a ‘Bee Hive’ for a Saturday night escape from the city. Leaving the apartment at the reasonable hour of 11am, plus not having to navigate through the heaving Sukhumvit traffic, added brownie points to our destination. An achievable adventure in itself was the unique journey there - with no direct road and only direct river access, it’s very easy to take a taxi and boat but not as much fun as BTS, taxi and boat, much more of a ‘Planes, Trains, Automobiles’ experience! A


walking map is helpfully provided on the website, an idiot’s pictorial guide of how to get there; in a nutshell, take the BTS to Bang Na exit 2 and then a taxi to the port ‘tha num Bang Na’, which costs about 55B. Once at the port, there are 2 options to get yourself and your luggage across the river, either by pedestrian/motorcycle ferry, at the steep charge of 4B per person, or via rocket boats at 30B per person. Having never encountered these boats anywhere in Bangkok before, it’s clear to see where they got their name, with the tail an orange flame at night and the sound reverberating around the river. Alighting from the ferry, it’s a mere 5 minute walk from the pier to the Tree House, strolling past a hidden temple, along an elevated walkway, fringed with banana, coconut and papaya trees. Having visited this part of Bangkok before on a bike tour, the protected green zone areas of Bang Ka Chao and Bang Nam Pheung, also known as Bangkok’s ‘Green Lung’, are the last truly green areas in this built-up city. It’s surprising when asking amongst Thai people, expats and tourists how little this part of the city is known about, let alone visited. For many this can only be a bonus, as the residents of this last green frontier of the city strive to maintain their slower, more traditional way of life.

Restaurant Elevated walkway

Joining in this battle is Joey Tulyanond, owner and Chief Greening Officer of the Bangkok Tree House. A 6 year journey preceded their opening in February 2012 - as Joey puts it ‘2 years to find the land, 2 years to talk to the locals and 2 years to build’. The brief to the architect was to make the building sympathetic to its surroundings, to blend in with its environment, utilising organic materials, bamboo and reclaimed driftwood from the river. Accommodation with a ‘green’ heart, one of the few in Bangkok, they are committed to cleaning up their part of the Chao Praya - as of 22nd October 2012, they had removed 839kg of trash from the river, 1kg for every booking made. Since it’s opening, the Tree House has attracted both national and

international press attention, with an increasing number of tourists making it their temporary home and Bangkokians seeking respite from the city at the weekends. There are 11 rooms in total, ranging from ‘The View with a Room’ to the ‘Tree Top’ nests (see website for price details). Our nest for the night was the ‘Bee Hive’, constructed from mainly wood and glass, you enter into a bathroom/dressing room with a double shower and toilet open to the elements - you can pull the blinds down to preserve your modesty. The 2nd floor is all bedroom with a view, a selection of traditional handmade Thai toiletries and films/TV provided as entertainment with a ‘green’ message. The ‘piece de resistance’ is the nest on top, a double sun lounger overlooking the river and the greenness of the jungle. This is the perfect spot to wile an afternoon away, chilling out, reading a book and watching the various boats go by. There is even a much sought after breeze to be enjoyed up there, whilst you watch the sun slowly dip behind the trees. After not having to dress for dinner (it’s very much a casual affair) we moved to the restaurant to enjoy the tranquility, only interrupted by the occasional rocket boat speeding by - don’t panic though, these stop at 10pm! The covered restaurant area has innumerable, decorative bamboo pipes dangling from the ceiling, perfect for the wary bats who like to nest there. Choosing from the different seating options available, we grabbed a corner nook and sat down to peruse the food and drink menus. The offerings are very much of a ‘like Grandma used to cook’ vibe, with a contemporary twist, hankering after the traditional Thai way of life. Their aim is to use what’s immediately available, hence there is little red meat or poultry, instead using seafood, vegetables and fruit. They use locally sourced, organic produce in their dishes as much as possible. We enjoyed the evening set menu, consisting of Tamarind Shrimps, Seafood Salsa, Green Curry Dory - the stand out dish had to be the Mango |

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Special Fish, sour, sweet and fresh - followed by Mango and Sticky Rice. We washed it all down with a very reasonably priced bottle of Prosecco. Feeling very satisfied, we headed to bed at the ungodly hour of 10pm. After a hearty, fresh breakfast the next morning (the scrambled eggs and French toast come highly recommended), we got chatting to the owner Joey. Having met him on a previous reccy of the place, we got chatting again about his swimming pool. He had a vision of a natural pool thus sought the advice of a local ‘sage’ Khun Chookiet, who devised a natural filtration method, using ‘jor’ lotus, water hyacinth and reeds. This means half the pool is for swimming and the other for filtration. Having recently opened, the pool hadn’t been used yet and he swiftly challenged us to be the first, so we went for a dip. It’s a must-do experience, at first a little strange to not be in a chlorinated pool but very reminiscent of a dip in a Cumbrian lake, only much more tropical! For our intrepid spirit, we were rewarded with a gift of 3 ornamental candles! After this final burst of energy, we packed our bags and commenced the 30 minute journey home. We had a very lazy time at the Tree House and left feeling thoroughly refreshed, as though we had really escaped the city. There are many things to do in the area if you want to be more active, as depicted in a hand-drawn map which covers an entire wall at the Tree House. If you want to go cycling, they offer a 1 hr complimentary tour or if you’d like to explore deeper, there’s a guide who speaks both English and Thai who can show you the local sights and folk. With floating markets, temples and picnics in the park, you can take it at your own pace. If you are in need of a breather from the bustle of Bangkok, this place can’t be beaten.

Exterior

Nests

For more information, see www.bangkoktreehouse.com Pier 52

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Book Reviews

Reviewed By Anna Power

Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd After a long and happy marriage, Jeanie is shocked and confused when George moves permanently into their spare room with no apparent reason. They maintain a close friendship and to their friends and family appear to have the perfect life. However Jeanie wants more than this and certainly she does not want to retire to the country and give up her health food shop as George expects. Thursdays are the highlight of Jeanie’s week as that is when she looks after her granddaughter Ellie and takes her to the park. On one such Thursday she meets Ray, looking after his grandson Dylan and their friendship quickly makes Jeanie question whether it is worth staying in her loveless marriage.

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson An hour before his one hundredth birthday celebration, Allan Karlsson escapes out of the window from the old people’s home he lives in avoiding the party he had no wish to attend. Set in Sweden, this is the start of his journey involving criminals and suitcases of money. As the story unravels we learn about Allan’s earlier life, linking a potted history of the world over the last century, including tales of him meeting American presidents and assisting with making an atom bomb. Described as a Swedish Forest Gump, this is an entertaining and heart warming read from when Allan steps out of the window to the last page.

The Racketeer by John Grisham Malcolm Bannister is a small town Virginia lawyer convicted (wrongly he says) of money laundering. In American history, only four active federal judges have been murdered. Judge Raymond Fawcett has just become statistic number five. His body is found in a lakeside cabin along with that of his young secretary. There is no sign of struggle or forced entry. Bannister did not know the judge, but knows who killed him and why - information he is willing to reveal once his early release from his ten year sentence is secure. A move away from Grisham’s typical legalistic plots, this is nonetheless an intriguing tale of prison, lies, murder and Caribbean islands.

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova One morning, high flyer Sarah Nickerson is running late for work and takes her eye off the road for a moment too long, when trying to dial into a meeting. As a result, Sarah suffers from a traumatic head injury and although her memory and intellect are not affected, she loses the ability to perceive any information coming from the left side of space. In other words the left side of her world is gone – she can no longer see her watch and can only eat food on the right side of her plate. This beautifully written novel about survival is achingly real and is a reminder of how much life can change in just a short space of time.

Expat Life Slice by Slice by Apple Gidley Apple Gidley has been an expat from an early age and in this self penned novel she takes us through living life in 26 different countries including Malaysia, Australia and Thailand! A little different to most memoires, Apple doesn’t recount her life chronologically, rather groups her experiences together from her volunteer work to keeping in touch with friends and family and how she dealt with the more different issues such as the death of a loved one along with the challenges being an expat can bring. The book provides a fascinating and humorous look at expat life – an excellent read for both veteran and new expats.

You Had Me at Hello by Mhairi McFarlane At university, it was always Ben and Rachel against the world, although Rachel’s steady boyfriend and Ben’s constant stream of different girls meant their relationship never went past the platonic stage. Then it all went wrong. The former best friends and partners in crime have not spoken for ten years. They bump into each other one rainy day and find that life has moved on: Ben is now married; Rachel is in the process of ending her long term relationship. However, Rachel immediately feels the old friendship – and feelings - return. This is a funny and modern day love story with a much fresher feel than the usual ‘one that got away’ affairs.

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Elephant Trekking in Chiang Mai By Anna Power

I recently escaped the hustle and bustle of Bangkok to spend a few days in Chiang Mai. With the flight only taking an hour and just under 1000B with Air Asia I was reminded again about how many travel opportunities were now open to me living here. This was my first visit to Chiang Mai and the main purpose was to go elephant trekking. Set up in 2006 by Nayok Satien, the Thai Elephant Home holds itself out as being the most eco-friendly elephant home in the area. All of the elephants have been rescued from unpleasant conditions, such as Noi who used to walk along streets dependent on tourists to give her owner money to buy bananas. Indeed, the Home has a long waiting list of elephant owners keen to house their elephants there because of the good setting. The Home is run by manager Joe along with his wife and son. Programmes range from 2 hours to 30 days. Only one trek per day is held, giving the elephants plenty of free time to bathe and play.

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We were collected from our hotel at around 8.15 am (we were the last to be picked up) and we arrived at the Home just after 9am. There was 12 in our group altogether from the UK, Canada, United States and Japan. Once Joe had taught us some basic Mahout elephant commands (the most important one being ‘How’ meaning stop) and we were dressed in our Mahout clothes (these were ours to keep as a souvenir along with a CD of pictures of the day), we were taken to meet the elephants and introduced to the one we would be riding for the rest of the day. Initially riding an elephant felt very odd and I was far from my comfort zone. I had already convinced myself that I was bound to fall off and indeed walking down steps and into the river I felt like I came close, but I quickly relaxed and by the end of the day I was getting on and off Mabel, my elephant, like a pro (although possibly the Mahouts would disagree with that statement!). Once safely across the water, we trekked for about an hour


up into the jungle - glimpses of the river every now and then were a reminder of just how high we were. A couple of the girls were not so brave and elected to walk along their elephant instead. Although on occasion it does feel like the elephants might try and venture off track and into the verge, a friendly Mahout is in close proximity at all times which helped to allay my fears. Elephants I now know are frequent snackers - Mabel was particularly greedy, stopping every five minutes to snack on grass and bamboo and at one point attempting to demolish a tree!, Hungry as ever a couple of the elephants wandered to our picnic stop and were more than keen to finish our delicious Pad Thai lunch leftovers. It was then time to play with them in the famous Black Mud Spa (one of only two places this can be found in Thailand). It goes without saying we all ended up getting equally as dirty, but rich in magnesium and calcium this unexpected spa treatment was more than welcome.

All needing a good wash, we trekked downhill (this was more scary than uphill!) back towards the Mae Taeng River. You might want to take a small amount of money with you, as a bag of sugar canes can be purchased along the way for 50B which the elephants enjoy. Once in the river, Mabel took great pleasure in throwing me off her back and blowing water at me through her trunk! It was fun cleaning the mud off her, although it felt somewhat surreal. Prior to this my contact with elephants had been practically minimal and it was only a few hours earlier that I gingerly fed the elephant that greeted us upon arrival a banana grimacing a little. Now here I was swimming with Mabel, and cleaning her trunk and body with ease and confidence, not feeling in the least bit scared. I also realised the time must be close to 3pm, and I felt so lucky to be having such an amazing experience when my former colleagues in the UK would be in the same

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old monotonous routine of opening their morning post. Experiences such as these are for me what being an expat is all about, and a large part of our reason for moving to Bangkok.

regretted not wearing trainers. However when we started the trek, the Mahouts told us they preferred people to wear flip flops as these could be removed more easily, which is kinder to the elephants.

Once back at the Home, we were treated to a hand and foot spa and then watched a slide show of our day put together by the professional photographer who accompanied us.

The day cost 4000B and certainly this experience could be undertaken for far cheaper, but it was important to me to only use an organisation with morals and ethics even if that came at a price. It was sad to look down into the valley and see an elephant dancing show when we were high up in the jungle and elephants carrying tourists on their back in heavy cages along the river. Any profit made by the Home is used to help save the local jungle.

Before heading back to our hotels in the minibus, we were taken to see their baby elephant, which at four months old was just adorable. The Home advises that you bring a change of underwear which is a must as it is impossible to avoid getting soaked in the water. I would suggest however that it is best to wear an old swimsuit under the provided Mahout clothing as it ends up not only wet but dirty from the mud spa. It is also better to wear flip flops. I was worried at the start of the day as mine kept falling off when I climbed on my elephant and I

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The day was fantastic, well worth every aching muscle - it would be an amazing place to spend a longer time visiting. It seriously was an unforgettable experience and the first of many I hope I will have whilst living in Thailand. I feel in this trip I just scratched the surface of Chiang Mai – I am already planning my next trip!


New Year? New You! Colour Me Up! By Ditthakorn Wongsuk (Olivia)

If the eyes are the windows to the soul then is it time to add some attractive framing and make your peepers stand out as alert, soulful and beautiful? A true reflection of your inner self in 2013! This year it’s all about bringing out your natural beauty but not being afraid to add a flush of New Year colour to your eyes and lips. Party season might be over but let’s face it, in Bangkok you’re hardly sinking back into obscurity with the same old same old. While you might not want to make up like you want to make out, with a doll-like visage painted on, make 2013 a year to really show your true colours, and make a statement about who you really are. Add a dash of sparkle to your eyes and pucker up with some luscious lips and get ready to kiss hello to a New Year and a New You!

•P  ink promises new beginnings, femininity and romance. Bring the colour of love into your life in 2013. •P  urple hues take confidence and a sense-of-self to wear. This shade adds a touch of magic that is completely charismatic, especially with a shiny sheen and sparkle of rich tones. •O  range might not look good on everyone but lessen the tone to give your face a youthful energy ready to tackle the year ahead. Top Tip! Try Laura’s New Crème Smooth Lip Colour to take your lips to the next level, with rich and long-lasting colour and brilliant shine that creates the appearance of fuller lips.

•R  ed has to be the all time classic. Think passion, sensuality and drama. Add some excitement, allure and sophistication with a bold, strong pillar box matt red.

STATUS: Permanent SIZE: 4.00 g/0.14 OZ. PRICE: 850B |

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Step outside the box with your eyes and choose colours that really complement your skin tone, your fashion style and your aura. Bangkok is not the country for heavy makeup but stunning eyes can make you glow like a star at night and shimmer in the sun during the day. Earth tones such as browns and grey combined with light tones can really make your eyes stand out and look mesmerising. Top Tip! Try Laura’s Shimmer Bloc with light-reflecting properties that blend together to give the skin a healthy allover glow with a hint of natural colour and light.

Beauty Capital of the World! So you’ve run out and bought some brand new lippy for the New Year and a ravishing rainbow of exciting eye shadows, only to be let down by dull and sagging skin? A brighter, clear complexion can certainly give your eyes and lips a rosier look and rejuvenate your whole face. Thankfully, you’re lucky enough to be living in the beauty capital of the world! New technologies for skin are available this year and they can offer a non invasive, cost effective New Year You! •U  ltherapy is one of the most popular skin rejuvenation processes. It uses ultrasound to tighten, brighten and lift skin to bring back your youthful glow, without going under the knife. Ulthera is safe for all skin types and stimulates collagen production. It’s the only FDA approved device for this purpose and can be used on the face, neck and even eyebrows. From 55,000B session •T  hermage is also known to tighten and lift skin not only on the face, but the rest of the body too. Thermage is a relatively new, non invasive way to treat photo aging and wrinkles. The treatment uses radiofrequency energy that tightens skin and smoothes out wrinkles. It’s an incision free procedure which is fast and typically requires no downtime. Unlike lasers, Thermage can be performed on patients of all skin types. From 90,000B session

Shimmer Bloc Mosaic 1,300B & Angle Cheek Brush 1,200B

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Take a look back to how you looked in 2012 and what you would like your new impression to be for the coming year! Do you want to make a new statement, turn back time, or simply reflect in your face, and eyes your youthful energy and enthusiasm for life in the Big Mango. If colour communicates revealing unconscious and conscious messages about your personality what does you makeup bag and skin tone and pallor say about you?

This month’s make over features two lovely ladies: Lina Djillali is French-Algerian and working as a legal researcher in the ECPAT-an NGO who fights the commercial and sexual exploitation of the children worldwide; and Carla Soledad Rivera is a fashion artist and a professional flamenco dancer who was born in Chicago and raised in Ecuador SA. They are the founders of the flamenco group Toke Tacon. Laura Mercier team introduces the two look that has magical steps for a new you. Lina is using the Flawless Face Look showing her natural look while Carla wears the Night Look expressing her stunning beauty.

Want to be our next makeover feature? Send us a picture and a description of why you’d like some Makeover Magic.

Email; Olivia@urbanbeautythailand.com www.urbanbeautythailand.com

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Bangkok BLONDE By Sequin Jones

I stomp around the streets of London with a large hunk of Thai girl, stuck to my head.

‘Why can’t you be happy looking English?’ Boyfriend spat. ‘I just don’t understand why you want to change yourself!’

Why stomp? Well, it’s hit me that a pair of perfectly fitting shoes will cost my monthly Thai salary in this city, and the insatiable appetite which I’ve developed in Asia isn’t aided by the absence of food stalls in central London.

‘Improving myself, not changing myself totally!’ I’d reacted defensively, thinking back to the hairdresser’s words that evening.

And, the part about me having a Thai female attached to my head?

‘I’ve had to use a Thai girl’s hair to create your extensions,’ she’d announced abruptly, ‘And, as there’s not enough bleach in stock, you’ll have to come back tomorrow so we can lighten her hair to match your colour.’

I twist a strand of soft blonde hair around my index finger and pull out a memory of my life in Bangkok.

I first remember the horror on my Thai boyfriend’s face, on my return from the hairdressers last month. ‘Extensions??!’ Boyfriend had exclaimed in an almost attacking tone, as he’d surveyed my hair and spun me round like a pottery wheel.

‘All the Thai girls at work have such long, silky hair,’ I’d whined. ‘And Khun Yim said her friend could do them cheap…’

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Owing to the lack of long Caucasian hair for sale in Thailand, it appeared my head would spend one night in multi-cultural turmoil; its top half blonde, its bottom-half black. The sight was bizarre, to say the least. Boyfriend hated my new look despite any amusing observations that it was, in some way, symbolic. He wouldn’t even sleep beside me in bed that night, saying he didn’t want to touch ‘the Thai girl’ by mistake. At the time I’d arrogantly believed he was threatened my new ‘outer beauty’, but it became clear the next morning that his resistance was linked to ‘Old Thai Wives’ tales.


‘Are you sure the Thai girl was alive when the hairdresser cut her hair?’ he’d asked over my shoulder as I brushed my teeth. ‘Because I heard they use hair from dead people’ he’d continued, leaving me to obsess at my two-tone reflection. Tentatively combing mine, then the Thai girl’s hair, I promised to keep all doubt a secret between myself and the mirror alone. Cold and alien, the dark hair before me was figuratively, and literally, a foreign body. Attached to my roots by molten plastic glue, the black glossy extensions flowed beneath my paltry, straw-like offering. I’d headed straight to the hairdressers that morning, to be met by my personal ‘emergency-hair’ team – a gaggle of women who sighed heavily with frustration after each ineffective bleach application. ‘This Thai girl’s hair refuses to go lighter,’ the head hairdresser had lamented, to which all heads shook and hands proceeded to mix more chemicals for my red scalp to absorb. 4 hours, 8 applications and 12 washes later, ‘the Thai girl’ finally relented, and allowed her hair to morph into a seamless golden blonde. ‘Your Thai hair just didn’t want to be English!’ my Boyfriend had joked that night, then froze mid-stroke, realising he was touching the very hair in question. Looking for the reassurance I craved, checking that I didn’t secretly want to be a Thai girl, I turned to Khun Yim – hair extension fixer by night/Thai receptionist by day. Khun Yim, known for her impressive knowledge of Thai beauty secrets, ironically carries round a Caucasian body part all of her own. Sick of her ‘ugly, flat Thai nose’ (her words), she’d saved up for rhinoplasty with one of Bangkok’s best surgeons, and a higher nasal bridge was created for her from a thin piece of thigh bone.

night, after my hair flicked his shoulder, and he belatedly flinched. ‘Well Khun Yim has the bone of an American in her nose,’ he answered curtly. ‘And probably a dead American at that!’ Stopping briefly at a shop window filled with high-numbered ‘Pound’ signs, I take a rest from my heavy bags, cold rain spitting down. I look at the skinny body of a fashion model and know there’s a limit to wanting things you can’t have, reminding myself there are also things that I don’t actually want. But isn’t it human to want what you think you can’t have? And, as long as you know who you really are inside, surely superficial parts can never intrude into your identity. When I return to Thailand, I’ll be sure to remind my Boyfriend of this. Although, for the sake of an easy life, I may just promise to avoid using dead body parts in any future beauty options. Regardless of my mixed-blood hair, I no longer feel the same way about the Thai girl’s hair as I did back then. For the past month we have bonded in more ways than one. I’ll miss her warmth and protection once I return to Bangkok and it’s time for my appointment to remove her. ‘Not long now,’ I murmur as I jump on a Double Decker and head to the airport. Not long until I’m collected in warm Bangkok by my Boyfriend and friend with the celebrity nose. I twist a strand of soft hair around my index finger with repressed excitement, getting off at the stop for the airport. I can’t wait to return to the land of cheap clothes, food stalls, warm rain… and possible future hair donations.

Having no similar identity issues with her personal portion of foreign body, Khun Yim went so far as to claim her bridge was created from a piece of ‘very cute American guy’. No further self-consciousness seemed apparent as she showed all and sundry the dog-eared Catherine Zeta-Jones clipping which the surgeon had used as a reference. ‘The doctor said he’d give me her nose and, you see?’ she’d gleefully exclaim. ‘Isn’t it the same?’ When I tell Khun Yim of my Boyfriend’s reaction to the extensions she’d so carefully tracked down for me, she is equally self-assured, ‘Just because we want something from another culture, doesn’t mean we want to be that culture’ she calmly states. Armed with this advice, I’m ready for battle: ‘Khun Yim understands what I’m saying!’ I’d barked at Boyfriend that Catherine Zeta-Jones


One Year in Bangkok By Sequin Jones

January 1st – Hit the New Year Running Remember those personal training sessions I bought myself for Christmas? I’d booked the first one for 7am this morning; in hindsight, the most unbelievably stupid way to start the New Year (especially when Boyfriend’s family Karaoke & Whiskey event is the night before). Anyway, my Trainer’s called ‘Ping Pong’ – he’s 21, has spiky hair and his boyfriend dumped him last night just before the New Year countdown. Wasn’t sure if he understood my translation of the English phrase ‘manymore-fish-in-the-sea’ – or whether it was an accident he increased the running machine speed and didn’t understand when I asked him to slow it down. Although this is my first training session, I already get the feeling it won’t work out - Ping Pong says I don’t smile as much as his Thai clients do when they’re exercising, and he can’t understand how I can wear mismatched socks and not iron my work-out clothes. Luckily I bumped into my favourite banana-shake-seller on the street outside the gym, and she rustled me up an extra special shake with double condensed milk to cheer me up. Unfortunately I only got to drink half of it though, as my motorbike-taxi driver shouted at me mid-journey, blathering that sucking a straw at high-speed could kill me if a soi dog ran out and he had to brake suddenly. Nothing to do with the fact we weren’t wearing helmets and that he has a severe neck tic… Despite all my good intentions, it wasn’t the greatest start to the year. February 14th – My Funny Valentine Valentine’s Day is a strange old celebration and, as with many borrowed festivals in Thailand, the rules seem additionally askew, if not slightly inappropriate. To prove the point in hand, here are examples of text messages I was greeted with on awakening this fine morning:

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1. ‘I Love You 4 Everly’ (From my 42 year old receptionist, female) 2. ‘My Lovely Friend, Thunk You. Valentine Day!!!’ (From the elderly office cleaner, female) 3. ‘U R THE GR8-ST WUMAN IN MA WORLD’ (From the guy who I buy dodgy DVDs from) 4. ..................................... (From my boyfriend ........ nothing).

The most fascinating message however has been from my afternoon taxi driver who, after I’d paid him the fare, looked up through fluttery eyelashes and stuttered in his very best English, ‘Happy Wal-len-tine D-D-D-Day Miss-Ter...’ I know he meant well, but the ‘Mister’ part kind of killed the moment...

March 23rd – All Hail the Miracle Food I can’t even be bothered to write about the past 3 days; needless to say I spent most of it in the bathroom. The culprit was Sunday’s extremely spicy Thai evening meal with Boyfriend’s family. I’m now sitting here, staring at my rice soup and thanking the heavens for it. I really don’t know how I lived without this miracle ‘cures-everything-under-the-sun’ food before coming to Thailand. As is standard, I’m the only one who’s suffering. Boyfriend merely shrugs sympathetically with the ‘maybe-it’s-because-you’rea-farang’ look as I feebly stagger to the bathroom again. However, I mustn’t


moan too much as he’s the only person in the whole world who can handle me when I’m ill and pathetic.

(with a touch of rapping), in a Buddhist country in May and 40 degree Celsius heat!

I used the ‘downtime’ to catch up on some comfort reading, which lead Boyfriend to ask the heart-chilling question, ‘Who’s Jane Austen?’

At the end of the class, one of the aerobics ladies invited me to try out her new business venture - in house saunas.

When I answered she was an author that I have loved my whole life, he replied with, ‘Has she written anything famous?’ I spent the rest of the day in bed. April 29th – ‘The Right Tone’ Stayed up until 4am drinking last night and my hair was all smoky this morning. Popped downstairs to the salon to get a ‘wash and blow dry’ before work in an attempt to feel human. As the hairdressers and the motorbike guys are the first people I speak Thai to each morning, there are often occasions when I forget which one I’m talking to. The vocab confusion is all the more compounded when a heavy hangover is added to the mix. In my zombie-like state this morning, I ended up asking my hairdresser for a ‘set soi’, a self-created mix of ‘set die’ (wash and blow dry) and ‘sut soi’ (the end of the street). Unfortunately as the word ‘soi’ (in a different tone) also means ‘chop’, I opened my eyes to two inches less hair. It was all I could do to get out of the hairdressers without crying. However I bravely managed to keep it together until I got on the motorbike. Unfortunately by then I was a sullen mess and was again not paying attention when my driver asked if I wanted ‘straight’. My head still in the salon, I argued that I wanted ‘curly’. We were all confused. There are some mornings when it’s safer to use sign language. Or could we just ban hangovers? May 12th – Fresh Air and Soap Suds One added benefit of today’s good weather is that Community Aerobics was alive and kicking. In fact around 400 Thai people of all ages, sizes, jobs and backgrounds showed up and the Park was packed! So much so, we had to squash up quite a lot and concentrate on not hitting each other by accident.

I was under the belief she owned a laundry business, which she confirmed to be true. According to her, saunas and laundry are actually in the same line of business (with one pipe leading between the two). I politely declined her kind offer of a free ‘body steam’ in the fear of smelling of washing powder for days. I do, however, salute her entrepreneurial skills. June 2nd – The wedding reception that never really started Boyfriend’s friend from film school got married today and around 20 of his fellow classmates and us attended the wedding dinner, held at a hotel outside Bangkok. There were the usual Thai/Chinese wedding courses on offer - jellied eggs, fish stomach soup, quail eggs and suckling piglet – topped off with watered down whiskey I have now dubbed ‘yellow water’. I doubt if a drop of alcohol has ever passed by it… Pre-entertainment was the usual karaoke on stage. And I will say it one more time… although it’s very egalitarian that anyone can go on the stage to sing karaoke at a Thai wedding reception, not everyone should be allowed to… Heard a few painful renditions of formerly beautiful, love songs... made worse by heartfelt sobbing and tight smiles. As the desserts were being laid out (taro, sticky rice and huge chunks of fake cream wedding cake) the couple’s families asked everyone to raise their glasses in a toast. ‘At last!’ I gleefully chuckled to myself, ‘the disco part of the night will be soon!’ But no, next was the sound of scraping chairs as everyone left. I was the last one there, surrounded by stained satin table covers and lots of half drunk yellow-water glasses. ‘The food’s finished.’ Boyfriend explained to me, as if that would make everything OK. ‘What, no Dancing Queen and bad ‘70’s hits?’ I muttered as I skulked away home in my nice party dress. At 8.30pm. Bah Humbug. July 17th – The Communal Umbrella Heard those familiar first flashes of lightening this morning and emerged to find the Motorbike Taxi Gang had already retreated beneath their makeshift shelter to play ‘Beer-bottlecap-chequers’.

Today’s aerobics session wasn’t without some expected ‘Thainess’ of course; midway through, the music changed to a hiphop version of ‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas’. I seemed to be the only one amused at dancing to a Christmas classic

Had an important meeting though so chose to risk it and run up to road to catch the Skytrain instead. 5 seconds later I was in the middle of a veritable monsoon. As I splashed through the Bangkok streets I heard a tinny voice shout out, ‘Over here, under my umbrella!’ Thankfully |

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it was one of the local coffee sellers who owns a street stall en route. She was hunched up under her green umbrella and beckoning me to cross the road (read: canal) to relative dryness. Trapped together under the green umbrella we spotted the nearby noodle seller having some problems of his own. It seemed his plastic sheeting had broken and he was now stranded on the opposite side of the street. There was nothing for it, but to invite him over too. There the three of us were, squashed under that little umbrella with the water spilling over it, every car that passed a sworn enemy. Not only were my legs wet with muddy road water, but my make-up was down my face and my clothes were now my second skin. 15 minutes later we were all still there and getting cramped. Not only was the coffee seller trying to boost our mood (and temperature) with attempted hot coffee preparation, but a bedraggled soi dog had decided my body would make a nice shelter. What with the smell of coffee, noodles and wet dog for a further 10 minutes, I decided to make a break for it – against the wishes of all my fellow umbrella-sharers. They looked at me with concern and handed me a parting gift - a plastic noodle bag joined with a bag for takeaway coffee cups – to cover my head. Just imagine the scene as I ran into my meeting, 1 hour late… I smelt good. August 8th – I am the Gecko The sky’s been heavy and humid all week. Feels like it could rain at any possible minute, yet not one single raindrop falls all day.

3) C  all his apartment reception – they haven’t seen him for 6 days The Thai staff are wondering if he’s dead. They say he’s a foreigner with no family to ‘take care’ of him so it’s not surprising really. They say he could be in a hospital somewhere with no-one to ‘take care’ of his hospital bills, or in trouble with the police/in prison because ‘no-one took care of him’ at the time. Spent days trying to convince the office that sometimes nonThai people do, in fact, know how to take care of themselves alone and don’t always think of calling up every 10 minutes to check people know they’re ok. No one looked convinced. This morning one of the cleaners remembered overhearing the Boss telling Jim he needed to improve his reliability. The office consensus is that Jim may have ‘lost face’ and understandably killed himself. I argued that I doubt he’d do something that drastic and held firm to a logical explanation for Jim’s disappearance, even calling his apartment once more and asking the reception desk if they’d seen him. ‘We didn’t see him LONG time now’ the apartment staff answered with concern. To which a group of us (including the admin department, cleaner and marketing team) jumped on motorbikes, ready to go and break into Jim’s room. But despite getting the key to his room and entering with ease, inside there was still no sign of Jim. ‘He must have had an accident and died outside’ summed up the accountant. ‘Just check for his toothbrush!’ the cleaner squealed (having watched a lot of Forensic Crime Scene Shows no doubt). ‘It’s gone!!’ squealed back the receptionist! ‘Maybe he went somewhere and then got killed’

The grey skies remind me of London office-life in winter - nothing to look forward to but the clock slowly counting down to my next ‘vending machine trip’ and fantasies of snuggling up in a warm duvet at home. Except for here it’s 35 degrees of course, so it’s not the fairest comparison…

As I saw it, Jim had probably done a runner and gone back to Europe or on holiday, except most of his clothes were all still here... but what to do next?

I actually don’t mind a bit of heat, especially when the office air con is on ‘freeze-them-to death’ mode and lately I’ve been using any excuse to get outside for a bit of heat relief.

‘JIM! Where the hell have you been?’ I screamed.

My Buddhist Boyfriend has his own theory about my ‘super weird’ behaviour – he believes my need for daily heat absorption is perfectly obvious - I was a gecko in my last life. Why? I suppose it’s because geckos are more active in warm environments and survive by migrating to warmer climes. Or maybe he’s saying I’m cold-blooded and have sticky-out eyes… September 12th – Missing Employee Today climaxed the frenzied search for our company’s newest freelancer – Jim. He hasn’t shown up to work for the last 5 days and so it was left to me to track him down. It went something like this: 1) Call his mobile phone – no answer 2) Call his land line – no answer 66

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It was a few hours later that I got the call… ‘Hi, it’s me, Jim! I’m sorry to call so late.’

‘Me? Oh, I met some really cute girl on Sunday night and I’ve been staying round her place ever since’ he replied. ‘Well, we called your phone about 100 times, left messages on your apartment door and even got into your room! You didn’t get back to us for SIX DAYS!!’ ‘Yeah, sorry about that. I lost my mobile the night I met her and I only went back to my room to grab some shirts and a toothbrush. Actually I got back to my room tonight and saw all these notes all over the door, stuff like ‘Call the office IMMEDIATELY!’ It really freaked me out, so what’s happened? Has someone died?’ October 15th – Today I electrocuted my client A bad thing just happened in my office and it’s all because of my new tennis bat.


Let me explain... I bought a Thai ‘mosquito killer’ in the shape of a tennis bat with the purpose of combating the hoard of Killer Mosquitoes that have invaded my personal space, and which I’ve been secretly fantasising about zapping all holidays. I know these mosquito bats are extremely un-Buddhist (my boyfriend believes living things should not be killed if the only purpose is personal amusement). However, I successfully argued that buying the tennis bat was a matter of self-defence; these are no normal mosquitoes, I believe them to hang out around the plant pots in the corner of my office, strategising the best parts of my body to inject. Their undercover antics resulted in me returning home from work last week with countless red bumps on my arms and legs. In fact, as the ‘cold season’ onslaught raged, I was completely defenceless. Until now... ‘chuckle’ Of course, as soon as I bought the thing, the mosquitoes suddenly went on holiday, meaning my shiny, new tennis-bat has lain dormant for a week. In fact, I would’ve forgotten it, had not my client just touched it ... and been virtually thrown across the room! Damn it. I bet he’ll ask for a discount now... November 21st – Loy Krathong The basic procedure for Thailand’s famous festival seems to go something like this: 1. A  s soon as the sun goes down, jump into taxi going to a river/water source and spend the next hour or so in traffic... 2. G  et dropped off in vague area of the river. Spend the next hour looking for ‘The One’ (i.e. The. Right. Krathong) 3. Once perfect krathong has been purchased take lots of photos of it, grab some food from the zillions of food stalls, and then head down to the water. 4. Stay alert! Slippery grass and steps are serious danger factors, as are people wandering around lighting each others candles and incense in front of your face. 5. Once candle AND incense stick are successfully burning, kneel down next to the water, pull a few strands of your hair out and place a 1 Baht coin in the middle of the krathong. 6. Crouch down, raise krathong to forehead and attempt to wai /pray with eyes closed. Avoid slipping over or coughing on incense fumes. Or setting your hair on fire.

7. If brave, attempt to take photos of your beautiful krathong with twinkling candle and incense as it floats away into the distance... without dropping camera in the water or yourself falling in after it. 8. If married or going out with someone, follow these special procedures or kiss your relationship goodbye: Ensure both krathongs remain side by side throughout their entire watery journey. If this works your relationship will survive one more next year. If your krathongs float off happily in opposite directions... well, what can I say? 9. As you set your krathong on the water, the current should pull it down stream, along with the other 100,000 or so beautiful, sparkling krathongs that reflect in the river, under the big moon. 10.Stand and stare. Without doubt, the sight should take your breath away... December 16th - Watch Out! Mop about! Earlier in the week I was stopped in my tracks by an out-ofplace object in the middle of the street; a 5 foot mop was sticking out of the road. Coffee-seller-woman remarked that a manhole cover had slipped off, so she’d stuck her mop in the hole to warn motorbikes and cars not to drive into it. Ingenious. As I continued onto the office I heard a scary commotion akin to a traffic accident behind me, but which was actually lots of motorbikes and cars screeching to a halt to check out the mop. On last backward glance, the mop had acquired its very own fan-club of five - a local security guard, two pedestrians, one taxi driver and the soi dog, who’d ambled over to mark the mop as its territory. When I left the office the same evening I decided to check out how our ‘Friendly Warning Mop’ was faring and was pleasantly surprised to find a CD swinging from its head, I assume with the intention of reflecting headlights of oncoming traffic. People are very thoughtful. As of today the mop (with many new and varied accessories) is a veritable health and safety icon and has become a permanent and much loved, feature of our street. Thailand. Never a dull day!

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Infinity EL shoppers By Judy Blair Infinity Financial Solutions

Women have a tendency to shun investment because it is something they do not understand, or they think it is such a risky activity that they will lose any money they put into it, leaving themselves and their families short of cash. The thing is, not only is investing quite a long way away from gambling, women also have some of the best skills known to man to help them get the best out of it. After all, we are avid consumers and are frankly unrivalled when it comes to comparing products and a favourite pastime for many of us - shopping! You see choosing your investments is very similar to shopping for something you want, you just need to change the word ‘buy’ for ‘invest’. There is a risk that you will lose some money when you invest, but in by far the majority of cases you will not lose all your money, and if fortunes turn you will regain it. When deciding about where to invest, you should think about the things you like as a consumer. Perhaps your car is a good example. Does your car company continually work to improve its emissions, is it looking to build more economical cars? Do your friends have the same good impression of the company that you have? If so, then the chances are it is creating the right vehicles and listening to consumers, and it would probably be a good stock to hold. Or what about your make up – do you and your friends specifically choose a brand because it is not tested on animals? Many still are. If you have a good reason to buy the product, then you may also have a good reason to invest in it. Organic food is another growth area – pardon the pun – as it is becoming increasingly important to many of us to avoid the pesticides linked to diseases such as cancer, and to encourage our farmers to grow food without harming the ecosystem around them. Is there a particular company’s food that you buy because it is organic? Does that company invest in developing the way it grows its crops without having an unnecessary impact on the environment? Is its business model sustainable? If the answer to these questions is yes, and you happen to know that the food also tastes great, then again why not buy the shares? If you look at the amount of spending you do in a month, or a year, and use just a fraction of that - even

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10-15% - to invest, you can really start to improve your financial status. Of course there are risks involved in investing, but there are risks involved in shopping too - how many times have you bought an item of clothing that fitted perfectly, but after gaining a few pounds at Christmas you could not get in it again. Is this a risk? Sure it is. Does it stop you shopping? No, of course it doesn’t. A good adviser will take your wishes and interests into account and help you keep risks to a minimum, so you can make your money work well for you. Think of it has having a personal shopper, but one that will help you to build your hard-earned cash instead of relieve you of it.


Book Reviews The Entrepreneur by Bill Heinecke Bill Heinecke is said to be the most successful western businessman in Thailand and after reading his book I can see why. A lot of what he says is just plain common sense but the way it is written, his wit and humour make it a very good read. All business people in Thailand should read it as it teaches you subtle lessons of how to conduct business in the Kingdom but it is also entertaining in many other ways. His business portfolio in The Minor Group stretches from fast food to five star restaurants, franchises to sales of business jets. He develops an empathy and loyalty from his staff and obviously has worked hard to get where he is taking risks along the way, some calculated, others forced upon him. Each chapter starts with quotes to make his point and I read it in less than a week not wanting to put it down. His reputation is as a straight talking, fast thinker that takes no prisoners comes across in the book. He has approached everything he has done with a passion and a desire to be the best realising that the customer is king. Through circumstances beyond his control – political uprising, 9/11 and global economic downturns he has lost his fortune more than once but shows a natural resilience and ability to be able to start over and build a better future to deal with adversity. I felt like I got to know him reading his book and guess that is the sign of a good book. He certainly knows how to win over his hosts in Thailand.

The Mystery of Mercy Close, Marian Keyes After a slightly disappointing previous book, Marian Keyes is back on form! In The Mystery of Mercy Close, the chart-topping Irish author tells the tale of Helen Walsh (whose four older sisters have all starred in their own novels) as she battles with her many demons at the same time as investigating the mysterious disappearance of Wayne Diffney, the ‘wacky one’ from Laddz, a washed-up boy band set to play a comeback gig in a matter of days. If you read one book this year, I’d highly recommend this one. Keyes oscillates beautifully between laugh-out-loud humour and poignant descriptions of modern-day depression and I guarantee you’ll have read it from cover to cover in 48 hours.

Reviewed By Elly Earls

The Hunger Games Trilogy, Suzanne Collins A cross between Big Brother and 1984, The Hunger Games trilogy is set in Panem, an imagined, dystopian country of the future in what was once North America. Every year, a savage reality TV show invented by the power-hungry leaders in the country’s Capitol is broadcast live. It involves 24 teenagers, two from each of the country’s 12 districts, fighting to the death in a huge outdoor arena and was created to remind the districts’ inhabitants how totally they are at the mercy of the despotic authorities. Throughout the trilogy, we follow the progress of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, one of the games’ unfortunate contestants, as she falls in and out of love, battles for survival, and ultimately becomes a symbol for rebellion in a world more similar to our own than we might like to admit.

Into The Darkest Corner, Elizabeth Haynes In Elizabeth Haynes’ first novel, she tells the story of Cathy Bailey, a twentysomething woman living alone in a London flat in 2007. Paranoid and suffering from chronic OCD, she can’t go more than a few minutes without checking that the doors are locked and the windows secured. But when the narrative flashes back to 2003, we soon learn the reason: her gorgeous, charismatic and spontaneous ex-boyfriend Lee turned out not to be so perfect after all, and, although he was put behind bars for what he did to Cathy, he’s about to be released. I was absolutely gripped by this book and extremely impressed by this first-time author’s powerful portrayal of the effect domestic violence can have on a once outgoing and vivacious woman. Although I wasn’t quite as taken with her second novel, Revenge of The Tide, I’ll definitely be first in line for novel number three, Human Remains, set to hit the shelves next year!


No need to be stressed By Judith Coulson BKK-Health.com

Do you belong to the millions of people that use the beginning of a new year to reflect on their life, job and purpose in the universe? Are you creating a list of things you would like to achieve, change, implement or eliminate in the coming 12 months? To have goals, plans and ambitions is driving you, makes you grow and step out of your comfort zones. But sometimes plans, goals and ambitions can cause us anger, frustrations and fears and you need to learn how to deal with them, to not end up with chronic stress and turn an inspiring experience into a health threat.

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What is on your list for the next year? • Work on a more fulfilling relationship? • Get another degree? • Be a better parent? • Lose these extra kilos and exercise more? • Increase the savings and manage the budget better? •W  ork less and spend more time with your family and take time for hobbies? • Work toward that promotion? Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand. It can be caused by both good and bad


experiences. When people feel stressed by something going on around them, their bodies react by releasing adrenalin and cortisol into the blood. These chemicals give people more energy and strength, which can be useful if their stress is caused by physical danger and to respond to a danger such as running for your life. But this can also be a bad thing, if their stress is in response to something emotional and there is no outlet for this extra energy and strength. If adrenalin and cortisol stay in your system for a long time they will give your brain a toxic bath. At the same time your heart rate will increase, blood sugar levels will elevate, blood vessels will constrict and breathing will get heavy. If you fall into the habit of being stressed on a regular basis your body is continuously pumping out excess hormones at inappropriate times for prolonged periods what can cause serious health damages in the long run and makes chronic stress a global health issue. Stress places pressure on your entire endocrine system, impairs its immune function and triggers illnesses, weight problems, blood pressure problems, stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal disorders, muscle weakness, clogging arteries, impaired memory, colds, flus, skin disorders and repetitive strain injuries.

You can take steps to be less reactive of stressors with the right food choices and activities that can dramatically assist your body to handle stress. STRESS RELIEVING FOODS Green asparagus: Helps in the formation of red blood cells and is high in the antioxidant enzyme glutathione, which helps liver functions and therefore has a positive effect on your mood and ability to deal with stress. Garlic: Is high in the detoxifying allicin and a powerful antibiotic with both antiviral and antifungal functions. A mood booster as well as cholesterol and blood pressure lowering agent. Avocados: They contain 14 minerals and all of them help regulate body functions, stimulate growth, aid red blood cell regeneration, prevent nutritional anaemia, fatigue and the inability to cope effectively with stress. Brown Rice: Is high in vitamin B’s together with other grains, legumes and green vegetables. The B vitamins are essential for your nervous system to function and cope with stress. Sunflower and sesame seeds: Sesame and sunflower seeds a rich source of potassium, B vitamins, unsaturated fatty acids and zinc which play a critical role in the health of the andrenal glands that produce adrenalin and cortisol. Cabbage: Is a good stress busting source of the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, betacarotene and the mineral selenium. Antioxidants fight the damaging effect of free radicals in your body, released in response to stress. Berries: Blackberries, strawberries and raspberries are rich in manganese and vitamin C. Insufficient vitamin C can weaken your immune system and make you feel generally stressed, tired and weak. Cucumbers: They are wonderful digestive aids and have a purifying effect on the bowel and the liver. They are packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals that have a marvellous effect on the skin and liver. When the liver is properly nourished it can help to balance hormones, boost mood and beat stress. One of the easiest ways to prepare your body for a hectic day is a vegetable juice for breakfast, add a teaspoon of grounded seeds and nuts to it and you are ready to rock the day.

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HERBS • Siberian Ginseng and the herb Astragalus can be taken together to help the adrenal glands to adapt and cope better with physical and mental stress. • Liquorice root is most beneficial for correcting low cortisol output so the adrenal glands get a chance to rest and recover. • Evening Primrose supports the stressed body in absorbing urgent needed nutrients and vitamins in the right quantities to cope with stressors. • Herbal teas can be very effective at relieving many stress symptoms. They contain natural substances that nourish the central nervous and glandular systems. Try which of the following work best for you: lemon balm, hops, kava, ginseng, camomile, passionflower, liquorice or valerian. EXERCISE Regular exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. Walking, cycling or slow jogging, dance lessons or a gymnastic class are great ways to get started. Stretching, Yoga or Tai Chi can relieve muscle tension and relax your mind. Even everyday activities such as house cleaning or garden work, walk with the dog, take the bike to the shopping mall or walk instead of driving with the car or take the stairs instead of the elevator can reduce stress. RELAX YOUR MIND • Write a diary. It may help to write down things that are bothering you. Write for 10-15 minutes a day about stressful events, how they made you feel and how you could prepare yourself to cope with them better next time.

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•L  et your feelings out. Talk, laugh, cry and express anger when you need to. Talking to friends, family, a counsellor, a coach or even random strangers about your feelings, can be a healthy way to reduce stress. •D  o something you enjoy like a hobby, creative activity or volunteer for a good cause •M  editate. When you meditate, you focus your attention on things that are happening right now and relax. AVOID •T  oo much caffeine as found in coffee, tea, sport and soft drinks. Caffeine causes the release of adrenalin and increases stress. •A  lcohol is a major cause of stress and the combination of stress and alcohol is a deathly mix. Alcohol stimulates the secretion of adrenalin resulting in nervous tension, irritability and insomnia. •S  weets and refined flour and rice foods, dishes to salty and high in unsaturated and trans fats can cause stress on the body what results in the exhaustion of the adrenal glands. This can result in irritability, poor concentration, depression, anxiety and emotional instability. •A  void foods containing additives, preservatives and other chemicals that put a great amount of stress on your body with the result that energy and valuable nutrients are spend to cope with it, what will weaken your immune system. Enjoy your stress free journey into a successful, fulfilling and exciting new year. Napoleon Hill says: ‘Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.’ Set, plan and manage your body resources to achieve what your mind can conceive and believe in 2013. For further information and resources visit: http://bkk-health.com/stress


Imitation - the best form of flattery? Bored of all the imitation handbags on offer in Bangkok but can’t quite stretch to the real thing? Here’s some ideas for an original bag that won’t cost the earth, in some cases literally, and will ensure you stand out from the crowd. Now, I’d like to make my stance on this clear from the start - I love a Mulberry as much as the next girl and, as I can’t justify the real thing, I do have a ‘real’ Bayswater dangling from my arm. Recently however, I have started to tire of following the crowd and owning the same fake as every other girl in this city. Since I started consulting for a niche UK handbag

brand, I’ve started to appreciate the true quality of an original piece, which feels like it’s been created just for you. However, it’s not just standing out in a crowd that is the issue. Let’s not forget that the counterfeit goods industry is illegal, can devalue a brand, is a disincentive to innovation and can also be dangerous. A museum in Bangkok, owned by the law firm Tilleke & Gibbins, confronts the issue of IP (Intellectual Property) with a floor dedicated to counterfeit goods displayed alongside the real thing, many of them seized in raids for their clients. The items on display cover every facet of wares, from bags,

31 Thanwa According to owner and designer Boonyanuch Vittayasamrit (Kae), 31 Thanwa or 31st December is her ‘happiest day of the year’, as it is her date of birth and of new beginnings for many people. Seeing an opportunity to expand her family’s handmade leather shoe business established in 1952, she created 31 Thanwa, taking the traditional shoemaking techniques into a contemporary direction. She aims for her product, for both men and women, to be simple, practical and bold, following the ethos of ‘Less is More, not Less is Boring’. The latest collection boasts beautiful, minimal pieces with geometric and gold details, in burnished shades of the finest leather. The brand is currently stocked at W Store at the W Bangkok Hotel, Roof Hideaway at Muse Thong Lor 10 and the Siam Centre. www.31thanwa.com www.facebook.com/31thanwashop

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to sunglasses and, more worryingly, pharmaceuticals, creating an unusual and fascinating display. If you wish to visit the counterfeit goods museum and look into this issue further, an appointment can be made, see www.tilleke.com/firm/community/ museum for further details. So, duly armed with this knowledge and a desire to support the design talent in this city, I decided to dig a little deeper into the Bangkok bag scene. I discovered a thriving industry and a diverse range of alternatives to satisfy every pocket and arm.


The Remaker Looking to reduce your global impact this year? Well, you can, whilst still wearing the latest accessories. Taking inspiration from everyday life, the man behind The Remaker, Yuttana Anothaisintawee’s mission is to ‘Reduce, Reuse, Remake and Recycle’. Forget hemp and organic cotton; he takes a whole host of waste products from billboards to military tops, and breathes new life into them, to create bags, accessories and home decor items, all handmade here in Thailand. His latest collection of ladies bags is made from truck and motorcycle inner tube, giving a tough edge to the bags with pops of bright colour to add a fun, feminine touch. His designs are available at a wide range of stores across the city, including Propaganda, TCDC and the Eco Shop, see contacts below for full details. www.theremaker.com www.facebook.com/TheReMaker

The Remaker

The Remaker

PAA If you are currently sporting a candy coloured bag, chances are you’ve bought into the PAA vibe. What started out in 2008 as a small shop selling fun, on-trend, bags and shoes, now has a firm following on facebook with over 65,000 likes. Designer and owner Pinnapaat Siriakkaraseth’s (Paa) inspiration comes from vintage styles, passed from generation to generation. However, feeling there was a limitation to what was available; she decided to offer vintage modern styles in a plethora of bright colours. The aim was to make timeless pieces that would always co-ordinate with the latest trends; think, having fun with your accessories season upon season. The flagship store in Siam Square is bursting with colourful bags, shoes and clothes for both men and women; their Panini clutch at 1350B in orange and grey is a personal favourite, roomy enough for lipsticks and gadgets. www.facebook.com/paashop |

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Kloset Etcetera If you haven’t heard of Kloset, where have you been hiding? Founded in 2001, the brand’s owner Mollika Ruangkritya has built one of Thailand’s most successful and internationally recognisable labels. Still based in Thailand, Kloset personifies the culture’s whimsy and playfulness, mixed back with handcrafted details and feminine features. Coming under the umbrella of the Kloset brand is Kloset Etcetera, a range of accessories from bags to stationery, based on successful fabric prints from past seasons. Alongside Kloset and Kloset Red Carpet, it’s more sophisticated older sister, Kloset Etcetera aims to bring something different to the market, creating items which are cute and colourful but practical, still maintaining the quality but at a more affordable price - what more could a girl want? The bags range from small totes to hand luggage, stocked at various outlets across the country, see website for more details. www.klosetdesign.com

Zalora If you are looking for more of a quick fashion fix delivered straight to your door, Zalora could be the site for you. The ‘No.1 Online Fashion Store in Thailand’ has more than 400 brands from across the globe and over 40,000 items on the website, from both local and international designers. The range is diverse, from apparel, accessories and shoes to beauty and sport, for Men, Women and Kids. They carry handbags ranging from classic Italian styles from Fornarina to quirky, conversational pieces from Bagazilla. It’s also available in 7 different countries across Asia, so if you get hooked, you can get it on your next posting! The Thai site isn’t available in English as yet, so you may need the assistance of a Thai friend - perhaps you could buy them a little Zalora gift in return? www.zalora.co.th Alongside the handpicked brands above, there are a myriad of places around the city offering original bags and accessories to suit every fashion conscious lady. You only have to step out at lunchtime to a market, haul over to JJ at the weekend or swing past Terminal 21 to see them on display. So, give your fake a break and dangle one of these off your arm instead.

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omroom - Bangkok’s little spiritual haven

As the New Year settles there comes a time of reflection, setting new goals and resolutions. It’s a time to raise awareness of where we are on our journey. It’s a time to be conscious of the change within and the change that surrounds us. When moving in a new direction a helping hand can be a blessing. Are you in search of finer balance in your lifestyle? Or perhaps you are looking to define a new dimension in life? Possibly entertain your curiosity to learn more about healing in connection to body-mind-spirit? omroom may just be the treasure trove you’ve been meaning to discover. New to Bangkok, omroom is a special place to explore holistic living and personal development in the care of heartfelt people in a more intimate setting. Does ‘Reiki’ or ‘Human Design’, ‘Naturopathy’ or ‘Ayuverda’ sound familiar to you but you never had the opportunity to try? There is no place like omroom where you can learn and experience such diverse transformational techniques. Cosy and peaceful, this little haven hosts a variety of local and international consultants who offer their unique gifts in different modalities. A regular weekly schedule features private consultations and group workshops. Regular classes in yoga, qigong and various meditations are designed to inspire and help you create a daily routine for balance and wellness. Enjoy inspirational films during their frequent ‘Open House’ activities where everyone is welcome to try these

subtle but powerful techniques at an incredibly friendly rate. omroom is a place to try something new! In a world where so many people are alive, but very few are actually living, founding partners Caroline, Mutsumi and Tulaya were brought together by their desire to seek peace, love and fulfillment in a supportive environment. Together they realised their dreams in omroom where they aspire to share the joy of healing and transformation with friends, loved ones and beyond. Their passion for holistic lifestyles intends to help you discover your power within, empower you to reach for the stars and transform in ways you could never imagine. It is their wish that your experience at omroom will inspire you on your journey. omroom is conveniently located near BTS Chidlom in the Alma Link Building on the 8th floor. A more intimate setting with modern, contemporary design, omroom is the perfect location to be a part of your daily routine. Stop by on the way to work in the morning and sign up for a yoga session. If you are downtown for morning errands, join an introductory talk or book a private session with one of their featured consultants. To unwind and de-stress from a busy day, make omroom your after work destination for meditation or qigong. There is something here for everyone seeking a finer balance, wellness and happiness in life! Curious to jumpstart your personal resolution and transform? Visit their website to explore how you can begin today at www.omroom.net |

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Health and Wellness in Bangkok By Kompalya Thunderbird

Health and wellness is designed to balance the entire body, mind and spirit of the individual. Health and wellness centres are educating the public and changing the way we view health. Recognising the entire body system is whole and in its natural state, healthy. Despite this, how do we choose centres which focus on well being and not the obsession of external beauty alone? With pollutants in the air, nonstop traffic and a work schedule, that seems to last twenty four hours a day, we must stop and question, what is the true definition of health and wellness? The state of wellbeing is not only the treatment of the external body, but how we eat,

sleep and create. It pertains to our internal relationship with ourselves and our external relationship with the world around us. Our mental balance and spiritual connection (whatever this means for you specifically). Health is often summarised, as a state of physical agility, eating within the four food groups, while maintaining regular visits to the doctor. This limiting definition excludes the mind, body connection and the potential to truly live in wellness. We are all capable of sustaining a natural flow of wellness, but we must first begin with a clear indubitable understanding, that it is our human right. No matter what illness we may have, what disability

we have experienced, whether it is temporary or permanent, balance is our birth right. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), health is a state of complete physical, social and mental wellbeing. Due to the craze of health and wellness centres in Bangkok, one would assume that most of us dwelling in this great City, never experience a day of stress. Comparable to most cities around the world, stress and the anxiety that comes with residing in an urban environment can exhaust us. Leaving most of us craving a quick pick me up. However, we understand the approach of wellness

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is on preventing illness, prolonging life as oppose to treating dis-ease, in the body. We begin to grasp that health is “my� responsibility. With that in mind, we start to create choices within our diet, exercise and daily routines, which will preserve a healthy colon and keep a balanced mind, with plenty of water, committed physical activity and laughter. Yes, laughter. Yoga is one way to this path. Yoga is a science, which allows mind, body and soul to connect, revitalising us from our core. As, we seek a holistic approach to balance all aspects of our lives, we must consider using modalities which will prevent disease, stabilise our metabolism, decrease high blood pressure and de-stress our body an mind. When I practised and taught yoga in New York for four years, I witnessed the lack of vitality and robust health in many of my students. Balance is an integral part of sustaining ones vitality. Tension, work related issues, toxic relationships and poor food choices hounded my students on a daily basis. In questioning their daily practise of yoga, I was surprised at how many surmised, that everyday ailments would in prove with only a few classes. There was no impetus to practise on their own or to eat in accordance to what their body needs . Junk food, fast food, limited rest coupled with toxic behaviours remained within their daily lives, with the expectation that a few yogic classes or wellness visits would change the totality of their being.

What I witnessed in New York is similar to Bangkok. Our behaviour on health must modify in order to receive the maximum benefits of this new health craze. Our lifestyle must include all aspects of wellness to preserve optimum health. Your wealth is your health. Yoga can be used each day along with other modalities. However, it does not stop there, we are all magnets to external forces, which dictate how we should look and feel about ourselves, the food we should eat, even how we think. Moreover, we can become caught within the vicious cycle of negative thinking. To release a few of these patterns, step by step, begin by asking yourself, what is toxic in my life right now? Recognise it and be willing to let go. When we reduce the virulence in ourselves we are free to live abundantly. Reiki is a healing force that can assist in releasing impurities within the body and return us to wholeness. Reiki is a gentle energy healing system, administered through a light gentle touch (sometimes no touching at all). This therapeutic system is known for balancing the chakras, aiding digestion, reducing stress, decreasing back pain, muscle tension and more. It can be received on its own or in conjunction with other forms of healing even western treatments. Not to be confused with massage, Reiki stands on its own as a healing technique, that started in Japan, (with arguments that its origin is from Tibet). Reiki practitioners can be found in Bangkok, adding serenity to your daily life.

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Vitallife, Wellness Centre is recognised as a leading pioneer in anti ageing medicine in the region. Developing successful programs and educating the public in Thailand. Its success is due to their expert panel of doctors, who are highly-trained in Functional Medicine, Antioxidant Therapies, Nutraceuticals and Herbal/Dietary Supplements; with their main focus in Preventive Healthcare. Their programs include, sports medicine, beauty and skin, weight management, hormone, age management, preventative and regenerative care. Vitallife Wellness Center at Bumrungrad International is based in Bangkok, Thailand. http://www.e-vitallife.com Tria Integrative Medical Institute, services is structured to fulfill all components to wellness, with multiple benefits to overall health. Its varied programs include,

Tria


natural anti- ageing and bio identical hormone replacement. Integrative detox with varied programs for your specific needs, integrative weight management, integrative rehabilitation and pain management, integrative beauty and more.With spa, skin and beauty programs Tria is proving to be one of the best wellness centres in Bangkok. Treating the emotional, cellular and physical aspects of their patients you are sure to receive state of the art treatment. http://www.triaintegrativewellness.com

Ariya

Ariya Wellness Centre, Ariya is a unique wellness centre, with a cafe that offers organic raw food.Their intention is to heal physical ailments and cultivate a balanced mental state. Raw foods can offer easier digestion, purity and alkaline the body. When the body is alkaline we can experience overall health, free from many maladies. Ariya’s principal is natural healing to prevent disease. By relying on the power of “the self� and not dependent on drugs and chemicals. Ariya Of Life is organised to provide knowledge. Ariya offers raw vegan food classes and is located in the Lumpini section of Bangkok. www.ariyawellness.com. BKK- Health, believes that health and nutrition is your number one asset. Nutritional deficiency, stress, lack of sleep and exercise are the main cause of disease, in executives over the age of forty. BKK offers more than just

a quick fix, but programs for fitness, nutrition, holistic health care and medicine. BKK works with clients, to understand the cause of their ailments and puts them on track to aiding the body to return to wholeness. http://www.bkk-health.com

Wish to see your child achieve a greater sense of calm? Improved attention skills? Healthier relationships? Increased self-awareness and impulse control? Mindfulness training for children and teens (and interested parents) is now available in Bangkok. One-on-one and small group classes are offered in the Sukhumvit area by former International School of Bangkok teacher Siri Chandler. Students learn through age-appropriate games and activities designed to cultivate awareness, kindness and compassion. After eight classes, most parents report noticeable improvement in attention span, friendships, family relationships, and grades. Children are happier, kinder, calmer, more appreciative, more focused, better behaved, and better able to handle stress. For more information: Mindfulness for Children www.mindfulnessforchildren.org 080-250-7779


Expat mama unpacked By Wakanyi Hoffman

How to beat that new expat mother feeling and create a sense of community for yourself. Let’s face it. Being an expat is not everyone’s cup of tea. Especially if you are a mum. Suddenly you are propelled from a life surrounded by extended family, friendly neighbours, a circle of lifelong trusted girlfriends, and for many, straight out of a high-flying career, to the often demeaning title of a ‘trailing spouse’. Most ‘trailing spouses’ are the mothers, whose husbands receive little or no support at all from the companies that

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send them abroad in the first place. These husbands are expected to work around the clock and travel far from their families for weeks and some even months at a time. When we arrived in Thailand just a year and a half ago, I was sporting possibly the largest belly bump in the history of Bangkok’s ‘farang’ mamas. I was eight months pregnant but from the constant stares I was receiving; it seemed I was a few months overdue with the popping date! In a bid to convince myself that my belly was not as scary as it looked, I decided on a maternity photo shoot. Part of me felt this was the last belly bump I would sport in my lifetime


and I wanted to see for myself just how gigantic it was. The only decent photos came out of an outdoor shoot, thanks to great dusk lighting that gave a hazy side view of the oversized watermelon-like belly. The up-close, indoor shots of the real thing can only be rated PG-13. Perhaps all I wanted really was a distraction from the craziness of settling into a new country with two older children, an absentee husband, searching for a home when my nesting instincts were at their peak, dreading the looming childbirth, finding the right school for the kids and most of all, desperately searching a support system. That does not sound like a ‘trailing spouse’. The appropriate term should be ‘married but single parent’. The inappropriate one simply being, ‘loony mama on the loose!’ The good thing about this whole expat mum thing is that we can smell another ‘married but single’ mums from across a supermarket aisle. And quite often, we always seem to run into someone we know or someone who knows someone who we might have known in another country somewhere in our expat nomadic lives. My friend Jen, with whom we fondly recall our Nairobi Tuesday play dates with our then only babies happened

to be posted here in Thailand. But like me, she too is often a ‘married but single’ mum. She endured my ranting, meltdowns and raging outbursts with a knowing look. That’s all you can give really. A look that says, ‘I have been there yes, it is never going to get easy, so just cry your heart out right now and then get on with your life with the little shred of dignity you still have left. Oh, and remember to invite me to a ‘girls only’ vacation twenty years from now and I will remind you how pathetic you were crying over relocation. In fact, call me tomorrow and we will go for a foot massage.’ It is not all that bad, you see. But what is it about moving that brings out the devil in otherwise well-respected, cool, calm and composed, well-educated women across the globe? Surely nomadism must be well ingrained in the human DNA. When I think of the Maasai back home in Kenya, the pastoral ethnic group that shifts whole villages with every changing season just so their cows can feed on green grass, I wonder if we ‘modern’ mums overreact just a little bit. But I’m soon reminded that the Maasai mum moves with a built-in support system. Forget the non-existent husband. She has her girls, her mums and various other relatives to rely on for moral support. The physical locale of her brood matters little for her heart is always at home.


For us, our hearts are often scattered in various expat postings, longing for certain circles of friends, while filled with guilt for not recalling what life back in our ‘real’ homes was like and dreading the emotional process of making a new set of friends whom you will eventually bid farewell. Our children naturally expect us to ease them into our new ‘home’ with instant friends while keeping in touch with the old. If you have moved every year like me that is a tall order to meet. Our daughter, now six, has celebrated each birthday in a different country. She is on her second passport. Her younger brother and sister are closely following suit. If we were to put together a collage of her birthday photos, surely her friends would be enough to represent all the United Nations member states at the General Assembly. Seriously though, I often wonder which of her childhood memories will have the greatest impact in her adult life. Trekking in the Himalayas? Watching the Wildebeest migration in the Mara? Snorkeling in the South China Sea? Salsa-dancing on a beach in Cabo San Lucas? That’s when it strikes me that creating a sense of family, even though not blood relatives is really key to succeeding in this often misunderstood world of diplomatic travels. The only way to do that is by simply asking for help.

Most often than not, your first ‘family’ abroad is the staff in your house. Your maid, nanny, driver, gardener, guards, all those women and men who dedicate their lives to making your stay in your host country most comfortable. With the exception of the US, we have mostly lived in developing countries where having domestic help is not only natural and affordable, but also culturally it is considered the best way to successfully manage a house full of children. Growing up in Kenya, I cannot recall any of the helpers who came and went with each rainy season, but I do remember their constant presence in my life. We called them ‘aunties’ for they were almost always distant relatives of my mother’s extended family. As an expat mom living in Asia, I struggle with this concept a lot because of the way in which help here is viewed in a mostly caste-like system. While those lovely nannies and maids fall at the bottom of this awful hierarchical system, where does one draw the line between treating them as a part of your family versus treating them like employees? After all, they are not related to us in any way. Our guilty conscious reminds us all that these women take on our babies as their own, clean our houses, cook for us, twelve hours a day with permanent smiles on their faces. Surely, the pay they receive, even top-dollar expat rate, cannot equate to the impact they have on our families.


We need them just to keep our sanity. We need them to guide us through the intricate maze of cultural navigation that is our newfound home. They don’t often know this, but the truth is that what they do on a daily basis is provide us with a cultural orientation class. As a stay-at-home mother though, the need for a full time nanny is a hard concept to justify with family and friends back in developed countries. Critics will roll their eyes in dismay at your slightest complaint of the difficulties of managing a house full of children since they assume you mostly sit legs propped up all day with a servant running around at your beck and call while a manicurist daintily paints your toe nails. While this scenario might be true for a lot of ‘stepford-like wives’ who, once faced with the relief of having someone else do all the diaper duties and mopping and ironing gladly embrace this culture and allow the nannies and maids to take over the running of the house, this is generally not the case with most mothers living abroad. The dilemma most of us face is trying to hang in the middle by constantly balancing the act of letting someone into your home without allowing them to take over your home, but still remaining like family.

driver trying to swindle me out of an extra 50 baht without ever raising my voice and so on. But when it comes to how to treat my baby’s diaper rash, how to discipline my older two or how to lay off the extra oil when making Khad kra pao, I call the shots. I am the mommy, she is my helper. Those roles should never be reversed at any time. But K. Joom is my number one friend. She’s the one who remembers when I last called the landlord to service the air conditioners and more importantly, where we keep all of that record for future reference. She is the one who I call for translation when lost in a taxi and immediately after that, I magically find myself at my doorstep. She knows my children more than my own mother does. I would trust their lives in her hands if I had to. She may not be of blood relation to me, but she is as close to family as I will ever find living away from my blood relatives. Take that help, along with the ladies complaining and whining at the coffee mornings, fellow mums dropping their children off at school that annoyingly prim and properly dressed hot mama you always run into when you are looking your worst. Those are your family abroad. They have all been in your shoes and have dealt with the move in their own different but effective ways.

It is not easy. If the family you were given is difficult enough to navigate during a family reunion, imagine letting someone in on all your domestic business.

When it is all too much to handle, especially in the beginning, call your blood family. Invite someone, such as a girlfriend you left back home to come visit. Pay for their visit if you have to. You might be surprised how relieved they will be to know that you have not replaced them with new friends.

My Mae baan and I have what feels like a big sister-little sister relationship. She is exactly 10 years my senior. I allow her to command me on issues ranging from how to avoid mosquito bites without the use of too much Deet, how to keep my cool when speaking to the guy at True Vision online, how to successfully but politely get my point across to a cab

Most of all remember this and repeat it over and over on a daily basis. Your husband or partner or boyfriend is not your girlfriend. So find those girlfriends fast and complain to them often, listen to them complain and finally ditch the complaining and start doing something worthwhile with your time in your host country. |

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Developing Very Young Expat Leaders By Alan E. Nelson, Ed.D

Although quality research on young leader development is still embryonic, one study shows that 62% of leadership ability may be genetic, meaning we inherit a wiring and predisposition to lead from our parents. Add to that environmental dynamics of being raised among leader type parents and kids (i.e. international schools) and you can see how excited I am, as a young leader development specialist, when I get the opportunity to communicate to people associated with expat children. Many expats I have met are leaders. They are either recruited by their companies to supervise projects internationally or their personal motivation drives them beyond home borders, to pursue their dreams and aspirations. That is why expat families, more than most, should be interested in young leader development. Parents can do four things to help their children and youth, reach their leadership potential, early in life, while their character is mouldable and cognitive abilities are developing. 1. Identify leadership aptitude and do not confuse it with other attitudes and behaviours. 2. R  ecognise ways you may be inhibiting your young leader’s development, without realising it. 3. P  ractice at home strategies for exercising leadership muscles. 4. Get children with aptitude into formal training.

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1. Identifying aptitude: While we don’t claim to predict who will emerge as leaders later in life, we have learned how to identify those with the ability to learn sophisticated social skills required for leading, early in life. Here are five of the most common indicators of leadership aptitude among children: 1. B  ossy & opinionated: Although this is less dominant among Asian culture families, this is nearly always an indicator of aptitude. Although this quality can irritate adults, especially if they misperceive it as rebellious or disrespectful, we recognise this as common behaviour of future leaders. While we strive to teach these students appropriateness and emotional intelligence through the training programmes we design, we consider a little ‘edginess’ as a good sign, opposed to many schools and parents, who see this as a negative attribute and often label such students as troublemakers and rebels. 2. S  elf motivated: Most kids with higher leadership aptitude tend to exude a natural disposition toward setting goals, working on projects, and accomplishing things. 3. L  istened to by peers: Observe nearly any group of people and you will notice that a few members get a lot more ear play than the rest. They do not always talk a lot, but when they do, heads turn. The same is true among


children and youth. Children and youth often seek advice and input from these students, because the young leaders help them form their opinions. 4. O  rganises others: Children with higher leadership aptitude are naturally good at organising others. This may involve getting others to play a game or project. This distinguishes a young leader from merely a popular student. The latter tends to lack the software to think organisationally and therefore, although being well liked, often does not enjoy being in charge. Our work with schools shows that approximately half of students elected to students governments are popular, but not leaders, in that they lack organisational skills. 5. N  egotiates well: Ever experience a child who talks you into letting him or her stay up late to watch a favourite TV programme? If this is a common occurrence, you may have a young leader in your home. We are not talking about the kid who throws a fit in the store to get his way. Rather, this child presents her case, offers support, and convinces even the most resolute adult that her ideas make sense. We see this quality a bit stronger in Asian culture families, especially among peers.

misunderstanding parents and teachers confuse these natural wing-flapping of fledgling leaders with rebelliousness, so we suppress them, send them to the Headmaster’s office or to their bedroom. But young leaders need to be heard and appreciated for their ideas, because that’s what they bring to society.

For a free leadership aptitude assessment that you can take on your child, go to www.kidlead.com and click on the Free Aptitude Assessment. Those clicking the ‘Parent’ response will generated an automated e-mail with their child’s Social Influence Survey results. Minor differences exist in how the very young begin to display their leadership aptitude. For example, in our work with 2-5 year olds, we have discovered that social behaviours such as initiating role play (giving themselves leading roles) and striving to be the teacher’s helper emerge at this stage. 2. Recognise ways adults inhibit young leaders: Although space does not permit me to go into much detail here, adults typical do not consider leadership to be a child’s behaviour, so they often thwart young leader development, without realising it. The most common two responses from adults are punishing outgoing behaviour and disallowing more than one leader in a family. There is a difference between strong will and rebelliousness, having opinions and being disrespectful. Young leaders naturally have a lot of ideas and challenge things that go against their plans, because that’s what they will be paid well to do later in life. Unfortunately, |

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When we only allow for one leader in the family, whether that be mum or dad, we further stunt a young leader’s growth. When parents are insecure with their own roles, they may perceive a young leader as trying to take over a home or simply be irritating. But sharing power is what strong leaders do. The same is true in a family. If you want a plant to grow large, you repot it, to let it expand. The shoe should not tell the foot how big it can get. Letting our children truly lead, while living in the safety of a home environment, is a powerful tool.

project has three components: a clear measurable goal, the child as leader, and at least two others on the team. Cleaning her room and washing dishes teaches responsibility, but not leadership. Instead, ask your son or daughter to ‘lead’ dinner, deciding what and when the family will eat, who will do what in food preparation, table setting, and cleaning. Everyone has a role. Though simple, a project like this has all the basic elements of more complex leadership scenarios, such as decision making, conflict management, negotiation, role definition, and limited resources (i.e. time, help, food).

3. Develop home strategies: Over the last seven years, as we have researched and design our young leader curricula, we have noticed that the best place to develop effective, ethical leaders is not Stanford’s Executive Programme or similar high dollar, corporate training events. It is actually in your home, while leaders are young and mouldable. No other people have more influence in a young leader’s life than mum and dad.

Another way to develop a young leader is to assist your son or daughter in leading a community project. Think of a potential community service topic that your young leader is passionate about, whether it is animals, the homeless, poor people, or those who are physically challenged. Find a local charity that aids this cause. Let your young leader brainstorm ways of raising awareness and/or funds or needs for this agency. It may be something like organising a car wash, going door-to-door for canned goods, or doing garage sales of gathered items from friends and neighbours. Again, the goal is to do this leading a team, not alone.

The reason leadership development needs to start early is that by 14, most of a leader’s character is established. Change is far more difficult post preteen years. Naturally that takes leadership development away from traditional exec training programmes, where over 90% of the participants are 30-50 years of age. One way to do develop a young leader is to turn normal house chores into leadership projects. A true leadership

Great life skills are numerous, but leading is about helping others to achieve together. As a parent, create and take advantage of teachable moments on a regular and individualised basis. These become fertile soil to instill both values and skills that will become a part of your young leader’s life for good.


4. Seek formal training. Although academic tutoring, art and athletic training are in abundance, practically nothing has existed until recently, to formally train leaders to reach their potential. The reason we created LeadYoung Training Systems is because no executive-calibre, organisational leadership training programme existed for ages 2-13 and not in a scalable, economic format for teens. Most ‘leadership’ programmes for adolescents consist of character, personal growth, and team building activities, all of which are good, but are not distinctly leadership in terms of what leaders do later in life, change organisations. Our bias is to seek programmes modelled after proven executive training content and methods that include active learning, peer interaction, trained coach feedback, and are designed by leadership experts. Question programmes claiming to be leadership that do not include these qualities. These four strategies will help you give your young leader a 10-25 year head start on the competition. Not only is leadership a 21st century commodity sought by employers, it is also an increasing value among top universities. But for this to happen, parents must become more aware of their child’s aptitude for leading and then hone that potential appropriately. If you want to change the world, focus on leaders. But if you want to change leaders, focus on them when they are young.

Dadi Nursery Early Learning Center. The first truly bilingual English-Chinese pre-school in Thailand.

Dadi Early Learning Center is a joint venture between the China based Dadi International Pre-school Group and a Thai-British educational initiative that aims to bring the best of educational practices to Thailand. ‘We use the British Early Years Foundation stage focusing on distinct themes and activities. Our Chinese programme incorporates an equally Child centered approach through structured activities such as Abacus Maths, MIT and Brian training techniques. All of our classes are instructed by qualified native language speakers.’ Where we are:

Narathiwas Srinakarin Road

369/3 Sathupradit Road (Soi Narathiwas 24) Chong Nonsi, Yannawa, Bangkok 10120 Tel:+66-2-674-3190, +66-2-674-3191 Fax: +66-2-674-3189 Email: dadithai@hotmail.com

The Complete

Chan Road

Soi Narathiwas 24

Ratchadapisek Road

The Narathiwas

Rama 3

Soi Sathupradit 19

www.dadikidthai.com

Expressway

Sathupradit Road


Poaching the ‘Elephant’ By Lyndsey Clapier

My entrance into Bangkok was somewhat clichéd. Like many others, I came here on holiday and realised I wanted to become a resident. Teaching English appeared to be the ticket. I talked about it for quite some time before I realised I actually had to move to Thailand. After obtaining a teaching certificate; I left the town I was suffocating in, the job I hated, and a handful of dysfunctional relationships behind me. I arrived in Bangkok with no plan and little money. The thought of being on my own in a foreign country was terrifying. I grew up in a small town in Idaho, never more than 20 minutes away from a support system of friends and family. If I had known how being an expat in Bangkok would bring me back to life and shape my future, I would have made the move sooner. I speculate that my experience is shared with many of the tens of thousands of foreigners that also live in Bangkok. Certainly most foreigners have recognised the proverbial elephant in the room in Bangkok: the subtle disdain expatriates exude towards each other. This concept first came to me in my early days as an expatriate, a theory on Western dynamics in Bangkok. I admit, I first googled ‘western women in Thailand’ because I wanted to see someone living a life similar to mine. A single, American woman in her twenties, trying to figure it all out, had to be blogging about it. I found a few blogs, but instead was sucked into reading terrible stereotypes about Western women in Thailand. For days I read the numerous

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comments, blogs, websites, travel sites; wondering how true this information was. I had only been in Thailand for 2 weeks; I didn’t know how I felt about Thai women, didn’t trust my self-awareness and didn’t know any other expats. I hadn’t even started teaching yet and I was branded. The ‘research’ wound up being the catalyst to the change I was seeking in coming to Thailand. As I scrolled though numerous blogs and webpages written for and by expats, I was shocked and devastated to learn that all Western women living in Thailand are bitter, fat, manipulative, jealous, controlling, materialistic, pathetic and basically the most evil creatures in existence. I was at a place on my own path where I questioned every single aspect of my own identity and I vowed I wouldn’t be perceived that way by any Western man. Initially, the constant reminder of the negative archetype was in my mind as I interacted with western men. You shouldn’t care what other people think, I know, but I did. My experience in Thailand had to be a success and I thought avoiding being typecast was a good plan, if only just to make friends. I was hired to teach at a school where I was one of two women in a large room with 10 male teachers. For the next several weeks, I kept my head down and never showed the slightest interest at any of the conversation about nightlife and Thai women. My non reaction, I hoped, would reflect my open-mindedness and I wouldn’t be pegged as the typical


banal, Western woman living in Thailand. It apparently worked, because I was soon invited for a night out with a small group of the male teachers. I was thrilled to get a peek at what I anticipated was the more exciting side of life in Bangkok. I hadn’t made any friends and was even more elated to socialise with someone who I wasn’t looking at on Skype. My introduction to Bangkok nightlife began on Soi Cowboy. A place I was intimidated by after reading about how Western women didn’t belong there. I ignored my hesitation and ended up getting a valuable education. This weekly tradition of cocktails has continued for almost a year. The education I have received in expat culture, street food, nightlife, are things you just don’t read in guide books. I have become close friends with these men and my interaction with them has been invaluable. They have never hesitated to answer my naïve questions about their perspectives on western women, everything sexpat, and how they think they are perceived. I have been honoured to learn their very personal stories about their initial transition to Thailand and all the ups and downs that come with expatriation. In an early part of my journey, I sat across a large, older woman on an overnight train. She was inquisitive, yet guarded and appeared to be jaded. Like spotting the Lochness monster, I saw the personification of the stereotype, she was exactly what I never wanted to be. Undoubtedly, western men could fit into a few clichés of their own, in fact the term ‘sexpat’ is one that most foreigners living in Thailand have locked into their vernacular. I refused to box them into this moniker, as I wanted the same respect. While I did encounter a few, mostly I found it to be quite wonderful that these older men had been given another shot at love. I often reported to my friends at home that I had found the fountain of youth…for men. As time went on, I began to observe that foreigners don’t really talk to each other. In fact, they appear to outright avoid each other. So many times, a western woman who appeared to live in Thailand walked down the street; I had the urge to run up to her and interrogate her about her story, but my intuition always told me no. Recently, I was leaving a bar in Thong Lor, chatting away with a friend in English. We passed two lost foreigners who spoke perfect English looking for the bar we were coming from. Instead of asking us, they asked a confused Thai security guard. My friend and I went on our way, just as guilty as they were. I did meet three female friends: a post-op lady boy, (who can barely speak English, but I know her struggles and she knows mine) a wonderful woman who came to Thailand at about my age and left to South Korea just recently, (she was so easy to relate to in the shakiest part of my adventure) and a colleague. Why aren’t foreigners friendly with each other? Is it because each foreigner wants to believe that Thailand is ‘theirs,’ they know Bangkok best, they speak better Thai? Is it competition between western men for Thai women? Could it be a war between varied nationalities? A possible war of the western sexes? Or is it the unspoken, blogger hate that

so many websites seem to be waxing? Is this battle between foreigners affecting falang-Thai dynamics? For me, chalk it up to fear. In a new culture, I was on my best behaviour. In the beginning of my experience, most responses and behaviour derived from a need to acclimate to Eastern culture and be accepted by Thai people as well as fellow expats. Early on this path, I realised that these were actually my opinions, not just cultural deference. Being completely adaptable to anything foreign, confirmed the idea that I had been this way all along. After this epiphany, I began to tiptoe then sprint outside my comfort zone: quit smoking, started running, began a novel, applied for graduate school and continued to aim higher and higher. I am leaving Thailand soon to pursue a graduate degree, but if hadn’t been for those few opinions of western men living in Thailand, it might have taken a huge detour on the road to self-actualisation. The bridge between Thais, Westerners, and their respective cultures is often rickety, unstable, and forever under construction. The West and the East may not always understand each other, but the currency of a smile in this LOS and some patience will go a long way. Coming into this adventure with an open mind and heart helped me forgive my past, establish my future, and figure out who I am - a female expat, teaching and living in Bangkok. In my attempt to be completely adaptable to anything foreign by simply trying to poach the ‘elephant,’ an idea began to crystalise within me that I had been this way all along. |

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Bilingual Bites Deliciously Launched

Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa was the elegant location for the Samut Prakarn International Ladies Club (SILC) book launch on 15 November. ‘Bilingual Bites – An International Recipe Collection’ is a special fundraising project for SILC and sales of the book will provide funds for the group’s ongoing involvement with several local schools and communities in need. With the glossy cookbook featuring more than 100 favourite recipes supplied by SILC members, and launch proceedings taking place in the acclaimed Trader Vic’s Restaurant, complete with gourmet treats, the morning was definitely all about food! Special guest, Mrs Kathy Heinecke represented Minor group the main sponsors, graciously ‘launched’ the cookbook, commending the project for its community spirit. GM of Anantara Riverside Claudia Pronk and Linda Belonje represented generous sponsors Anantara and KIS, and added their voices of support. On hand was the ever-charming Executive Master Chef Chumpol, one of the four Iron Chefs Thailand, who not only supplied some recipes for the book but also took the time to inscribe many of the books for the throng of food-lovers attending the launch. He also prepared some of his favourite

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dishes and everyone enjoyed tasting his wonderful fare. The launch was also a time to mention the dedicated SILC members who had devoted many months to the project and Sarah Chaplin, SILC Chairwoman, thanked Shirley Tan and Chris Rajakarier and their team for all their efforts in coordinating the project. As well as sampling delicious food, guests were entertained by a lively performance from the children of Mahawong Pre-School, which is one of the schools supported by SILC. Sporting chefs hats and armed with vegetables, the children encouraged the audience to ‘Eat their carrots, eat their beans’ and finished off with a very sweet rendition of ‘Que Sera’. Guests were united in enjoying such a gourmet and entertaining morning and queued up to enthusiastically lend their support by purchasing the cookbook, along with the eye-catching limited edition apron and spoons. SILC members, who represent many countries around the world, have always enjoyed cooking and sharing their favourite dishes and are very excited about having this opportunity to share with a wider audience. Having the recipes appear in Thai and English means that the recipes can be enjoyed by both Thai friends and help with communication in our home kitchens.

February / March 2013

Since launch day ‘Bilingual Bites’ has been selling fast. If you would like to purchase a copy please contact: • S  amutprakarn International Ladies Club, Bangkok (SILC) Email: silcchair@gmail.com Website: www.silcthai.com/contact • Neilson Hayes library • C  herry’s sweet kitchen in Nichida cake shop close to ISB


Bangkok Counsellor By Samantha Pryor

The most commonly used proverb in the English language is ‘the grass is always greener’ and it’s probably something you’ve heard mentioned by someone else, or even referred to yourself, on more than one occasion. It’s an easily understood phrase often used to express discontent, envy and jealousy. Reflecting on ‘the grass is always greener’ comes from the idea of looking at a neighbour’s lawn and seeing it as better looking, healthier and overall greener then your own. There could be dead patches of grass and it could be overrun with weeds, but in reality you’re just unable to identify anything negative about it whilst also ignoring everything positive about your own. Our troubles in life come from when we believe in this myth that ‘the grass is always greener’and feeling that other people have the better lives whilst we become depressed, anxious and persecuted with the perception that we have so little in comparison. I hadn’t given this much thought until recently when a conversation with an Expat acquaintance revealed his desire to be reincarnated as an Expat wife. On further discussion,

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I realised that his envy was aroused by the ‘limitless amount of free time’ that he perceived he would have along with the ability to do what he wanted, when he wanted and all without the pressure of work, stress and financial obligations. This notion of reincarnation was, for him, like winning the lottery as he dreamt of endless days doing just as he wished. It seems that whilst he was working in an air conditioned office in his suit and tie, the thoughts of being able to walk barefoot along a beach became more appealing than the everyday routine of going to work.

‘The secret is to learn to want what you have and not want what you don’t have’

– Buddha

Obviously this is a very romantic, idealistic thought compared to what it really means to be an expat wife, where the free time often becomes more of a burden than something to be treasured. I’m also sure that, for many expat wives, if they were given the choice and opportunity to pursue a career of their own this would be preferred rather than being faced with the constant reminders that such possibilities and independence were left behind long ago.


A great example of the belief that ‘the grass is always greener’ isn’t what it seems from the other person’s perspective whose life is in envy. However, it appears that this is not always considered as both these scenarios are played out within the realms of expat life and between the relationship of husband and wife. Consideration towards acknowledging a partner’s situation, and how it could be affecting them, is often avoided as husbands believe their wives to be ‘lucky’ and vice versa. Naturally this can have an adverse effect on the relationship as feelings of resentment appear along with the reluctance to pursue anything other than fulfilling our own needs and enhancement of self-satisfaction. The perception of ‘the grass is always greener’ in this instance places an unnecessary strain on the relationship and can cause irreparable damage if the people involved are unable to see how their situation as expats affects them both differently as individuals. The perception too many outside the expat experience is that our ‘grass is always greener’ as we are considered ‘lucky’ to live in a country that they would like the opportunity of visiting one day. Despite the fact that someone’s holiday destination has become our reality, with the similar day-to-day routines of everyone else’s lives, it seems that as expats we no longer have the right to discuss or acknowledge any difficulties that we may be experiencing. Whilst our reality also involves coping with the daily challenges of a different language and culture, most often friends and family don’t wish to understand or reason with any other perspective than it being paradise. Becoming unable to share our thoughts and feelings, whilst also trying to maintain relationships where nobody seems to want to empathise with our perspective of life, often becomes testing and unfulfilling. Trying to live up to other peoples’ expectations that our grass is much, much greener than theirs often feels impossible and can add to the strain of our expat existence; if we can’t be happy here and everyone else is telling us that we should be, then where can we be happy? This can lead us to start questionning ourselves and begin another vicious circle of ‘the grass is always greener’ as we start looking at other expat lawns and comparing them to our own. But, are we allowed the opportunity to sit back and focus on the greatness of our lawn, without feeling arrogant and better than others, if everyone around us is determined to make us feel that our lawn is so much better than theirs? I believe we have become conditioned to denounce our own lawn, even if we don’t want to, in an effort to make others feel better about theirs. However, if we don’t appreciate the positive aspects of our lives, no one else will. From either perspective, by denying ourselves recognition of the goodness in our very own lives, we believe that we have

nothing good to work with and are without the capacity to work with it. By nature we are conditioned to focus on what we need to have, rather than what we have already. As a result we lose focus, self-confidence and hope. Nobody can understand, or appreciate, how it feels to live the life you live, except for you, therefore to expect anyone else to understand or acknowledge your difficulties, challenges or frustrations can often be futile, as in turn, you cannot appreciate theirs. But empathy, rather than sympathy, is really the core of what we all need to feel to believe that our experiences are being acknowledged, rather than dismissed. Learning to develop a sense of empathy starts with listening to what is being said, rather than passing judgement, whilst being objective and learning to balance our perspectives compared to our perception of what we believe it means to have perfect grass. As a result a heightened awareness of someone else’s experience is gained, alongside the key issues they face and how they affect them. For us to dismantle the myth that ‘the grass is always greener’ and that it is possible to have someone else’s life, or indeed someone else’s lawn, we must also start to recognise that we only have our own lawn which we must tend and water the best way we know how. If we accept our reality for what it is we have the chance to develop it, to improve it and to grow it. |

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Thai Tattoo By Julie Maude

If you made the effort to travel all the way to Thailand you’d be foolish not to pick up a few souvenirs enabling you to brag to your friends about how exotic and lush were the places you travelled. When a friend is over for coffee, or better still, a glass of wine, you can steer their gaze towards the photograph of you frolicking in the turquoise Andaman waves or the one of you laughing full bellied as the elephant you are riding into the river turns its head and sprays streams of River Kwai onto your arms and chest. Oh, how jealous they will be as their eyes flit across sun kissed pictures of you, eating fresh lobster, exploring exotic market places or standing in the midst of unusual, verdant scenery. You can then show them the authentic, batik wall hanging that you bought from that village so tucked away, only the most pioneering of travellers would even think about venturing there. Then pull out your collection of fans whose printed images were designed eons ago for Siamese princesses. Yes, us occidentals love to boast and flaunt how open minded and well travelled we are by displaying our selection of trinkets from far flung places. But, what about those of us who choose to stay in some neighbouring country of the Orient, us recalcitrant women who refuse conformity in our home countries, instead, opting for the chaotic

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freedom of amazing Thailand. What are we to do with all those souvenirs? Who can we show them off to apart from each other?

ellipse, whose hue is different to the rest of the leg. The motorbike exhaust burn, recurrent in this part of the world where legs stay bare in the eternal heat.

The little wooden frog whose back you scrape with the short, stout stick to create a sound which surprisingly, resembles the mating call of the bull frog, has relinquished its novelty and is now stuffed into some drawer or other. The once exquisite looking, finely hand painted ceramic vase is now flawed by chips and scrapes and is confined to the dusty corners of the utility room. The bespoke silk dress hangs in the wardrobe as a distant memory of something that used to fit, oh yes it did, before age and sticky rice began their fleshly manipulations.

And being a Phuketian, yes, I have one too. On my right leg. Turning into my pebbly soi one day, the tyres didn’t grip, sending the whole bike skidding onto its side. I fell to the right and the exhaust singed an irrevocable imprint into my calf. It ought to be unsightly but the edges of the scar are smooth and precise. I can live with it.

Well, there is another kind of souvenir of Thailand that seems to be ubiquitous amongst us expats! A souvenir that in many cases stays with you forever. Yes ladies, let me introduce the illustrious ‘Thai tattoo’. Although, it hardly needs an introduction as I’m sure we are all familiar with those telling patches of skin we see, that have been seared and etched onto the limbs of our fellow expats and most likely, yours too! I have an assortment of ‘Thai tattoos’ on various parts of the body which have been acquired at inopportune moments during my years in Thailand. The first one had its beginnings on Lamai Beach, Koh Samui. It was one of those delicious but rare, long weekends away from teaching. As we luxuriated in the holiday sunshine, my friend and I wondered if 10am might be too early for a beer. The answer was unanimously, NO! From then on we were easy targets for the wandering beach hawkers. We said yes to everything; tie dye singlets, obsidian and turquoise bracelets, cotton kaftans and a sweet little henna tattoo each. And this was my first Thai tattoo because later in the evening (after quite a few more holiday drinks) without a second thought, I walked into a tattoo parlour and had the henna tattooed over, for real. So, my first and nicest Thai tattoo was an actual Thai tattoo! After this, it became a little messier as my skin was tarnished in a variety of incidents. Next up was a New Year’s Eve on Kata Beach. Intoxicated by the festive atmosphere (and maybe a festive cocktail or two) I proceeded to light my Kongming Lantern and let it float into the lovely night sky as a symbol of peace and dreams to be fulfilled. Yes, tranquillity and calm drifted in with the sea breeze, enveloping the merry, New Year beach crowd. The lantern lifted and as it rose, so did my spirits. And as it rose, burning into the night sky, the waxy base dripped onto my thigh, burning into layers of skin. So there it is, my New Year ‘Thai tattoo’, a smallish, slightly off spherical branding. The most prevalent of the ‘Thai tattoos’ is scorched into the calves of many a Phuketian. That unmistakable sloping

Another time I was sitting on my bike, waiting to turn right and cross two lanes. There had been a halt in the oncoming traffic and so I was waiting patiently on one lane in front of a truck until the traffic ceased enough to cross the further lane. The woman in the truck decided to move forwards and forgot to look through the windscreen to see if I was still there. And guess what, I was still there! But how could she have realised this when she had far more important things to occupy her immediate attention like the phone call she was engrossed in! And engrossed she was; it took her longer than I would have wished to notice my screams as she shoved into me, knocking me over. The wing mirror snapped in half with the force of it hitting the ground. The piece left in the casing had a razor sharp edge which carved a deep slit to the side of my knee. Someone called an ambulance whilst I sat on the sidewalk, decorating my leg, flip flops and the immediate vicinity in rivulets of scarlet. I now have a perfect ‘stitches scar’ to show for my sins. My most recent scars were the result of an unfortunate incident which regrettably happens quite frequently in Phuket. Riding home late one night, a guy rode up beside me and tried to pull my bag from my shoulder. He sent me careering across the gravely road. As I slid, layers of epidermis and dermis were scraped from me. I came to a stop and the bike was a little away from me. Gathering myself up, I looked at the bloodiness and tried to assess the damage. I remember seeing my bike and thinking that I couldn’t possibly muster the strength to lift it from the ground. The perpetrator had got off his bike and was standing close by. I was in a state of shock and bewilderment and questioned him as to how and why he could do such a thing. Somehow I managed to get him to lift my bike for me; I knew it would lie there all night otherwise. He then remembered that he was a ‘badass’ and saved his face by trying to grab my bag again. His efforts failed, I was strident and hung on releasing a shrill to awaken the dead. So, he didn’t get possession of my bag or any money but it did cost me quite a bit on medicines and dressings. My left side took the brunt of the fall and now russet patches are scattered across the foot and ankle. A larger one sits below my elbow, but over time it seems to be fading. |

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A Postcard from Shanghai By Eve Black

The Paris of the East, The Whore of the Orient; intoxicating names for a city, especially when you compare them to the fruity but bland-in-comparison Big Apple, or our very own Big Mango. But Shanghai is the kind of city that inspires extremes, whether it’s the architecture, the weather, the nightlife or the shopping, nothing is done by halves in this glittering metropolis of 24 million people. And just to put that number into a little more perspective, the current population of Bangkok is around 8.5 million. But back to Shanghai where contradiction is a way of life and nothing exemplifies that as much as the architecture: from the tangled mazes of old homes that house several generations of one family and lie just streets away from the art deco facades of the foreign trading houses lining the waterfront Bund, to the blindingly bright glass skyscrapers that give the city its distinctive skyline. Many older locals still reside in these tumbledown brick and wooden homes, despite the government’s vigorous attempts to bulldoze them so that they can build apartment blocks for the rapidly growing Chinese middle class. Some are happy to move – they are given a nominal amount of money for their home and packed off to a new apartment somewhere miles away on the edge

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of the city, but here, in the shadows of some of the world’s tallest buildings, others refuse to go without a fight, hanging on for as long as possible to their home and their history. But what of Shanghai’s younger residents; how do they unwind after another day spent pushing paper at an office desk, serving up Caffe Latte Grandes in Starbucks or manning the counter for a 12 hour shift in Family Mart? What occurs after dark in this city whose notorious past conjures up images of slick haired playboys, shady gangsters, glamorous flappers, sultry nightclub hostesses and brawling drunken sailors? Well, the intoxicated sailors might have shipped out, but come nightfall when the neon illuminates the night sky and the music starts pumping, the city streets, bars and rooftops become reminiscent of Shanghai in her heyday. Despite their city’s exotically decadent past, however, a lot of younger Chinese are not given to kicking up their heels and partying into the small hours. For many, a typical night sees nothing wilder than a (usually alcohol-free) dinner with friends in a local hot pot restaurant followed by an evening spent playing online games, chatting to friends via instant messenger or tuning into the latest thrilling installment of a Korean soap opera. But Shanghai’s salacious charms have managed to entice many of their peers and there is a myriad of both Chinese and Western style restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs for those who like their evenings with a hearty dash of hedonism. And if it’s hedonism you’re after, Shanghai won’t disappoint. In enormous, brightly lit, red and gold restaurants hoards of middle aged Chinese men and women cluster around tables to eat, drink and be exceedingly merry. Room temperature beer and the throat-burning, eye-watering local white spirit baijiu (literally, white alcohol) fuel the fun, leaving the tables and floors strewn with the debris of another good night out. The Chinese have a word for this kind of atmosphere, renao, meaning ‘hot and noisy’ and that is just the way they like it. There’ll be no candlelit tables, velvet drapes or romantic tables for two in these restaurants, thank you very much! As wages rise and many Chinese are earning much more money than before, the accession of the middle class has seen many people eschewing more traditional establishments and forms of entertainment for a night on the tiles. Whilst Shanghai has a prodigious amount of places to grab a drink, the clubs fall firmly into one of two categories: Chinese style or Western style. A typical club catering for a local crowd is an eye-opening experience and something that should be succumbed to at least once. Any party animal whose idea of a night out to remember involves crystal chandeliers, bizarre live dance performances, waiters dressed in checked golfing outfits (complete with matching cloth cap), sharks (in tanks), Jules Verne Steampunk style interiors, LOTS of strobe lights, gallons of whisky and green tea (mixed), ear-splitting pop music mash-ups and the clatter of dice games will be ecstatically happy with the local club scene. |

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For those who believe that less is more however, Shanghai also has a wealth of beautifully stylish clubs where the clientele is less dice-playing and more cocktail sipping. Many of the chicest of these places attract big name DJ’s and patrons dance whilst admiring the stunning views of the Huangpu River and the modern neon-lit skyline of Pudong on the opposite bank. The cost of a round of drinks in one of these places would leave most average Chinese families (and even some expats) open mouthed and faint hearted in astonishment. Contrasts abound in the bar scene too. Multi-floored American sports bars with big screens and pool tables, dimly-lit French wine bars with reclaimed wooden benches, New York loft style bars with battered leather couches, holein-the-wall places to grab a cold beer but not much else, the landscaped gardens of 1920’s villas and achingly hip designer bars that serve exquisitely mixed craft cocktails can often be found jostling for room all on the same block. As well as being a city that loves to party, Shanghai is also a dedicated shopper’s paradise. The Shanghainese people, particularly the women, are notorious throughout China for being obsessed with designer labels and the latest “it” bag or shoes, and many will think nothing of spending 3 or 4 months wages on a ‘must-have’ handbag. Shanghai style is not subtle and whether they have money or not, Shanghai girls will more often than not be wearing something dripping in glitter, sequins, feathers or netting. Or possibly all four! Any given metro carriage on any given weekday morning will hold at least a handful of ladies making their way to their sober office job dressed in a short black lace tutu, skin tight leopard print leggings, 6 inch heels or – and these are very popular - t-shirts with meaningless cutesy slogans or appliqued teddy bears and bows. This love of dressing up is understandable after the Mao era where identical navy blue suits for both men and women alike was the norm, though this makes another Shanghai quirk even stranger because alongside the fluffy jumpers and sparkly hairclips there is a curious breed of Shanghainese lady who is quite happy taking to the streets and supermarkets in her pajamas. In summer pajamas will be cotton, possibly checked or with a floral pattern but in winter they will be padded cotton or made from fleece, and almost without exception will feature a garish teddy bear design. Despite the local government’s best efforts to eradicate the scourge of daytime pajama wearing (it causes China to ‘lose face’ - especially in a city with so many foreign residents) by slapping up posters, stringing up ‘advisory’ banners and even running 10 minute long TV infomercials, it looks like the pajamas are here to stay. Walk down nearly any street in Shanghai and you’ll find expensively chic tapas bars, scruffy-looking ‘pink light’ massage parlours populated by bored looking girls, designer boutiques offering high end, monochrome and oh-so exclusive European fashion, pirate DVD stores where posters still advertise The Matrix or Friends box sets, trendy wine bars where young, hip Chinese and foreigners sip wines that

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come from anywhere but a Chinese vineyard, and smokefilled mahjong shops where old men spend hours poring over their clacking tiles and trying to outwit their opponents. Herein lies the wonderful thing about Shanghai; amidst the organised chaos of the constantly-honking traffic, the ever present construction noise and the old folk who practice tai chi to music played at an ear splitting volume at 6am in every residential compound, you can turn a corner to find a pocket of serenity in a hitherto undiscovered, traditional Chinese garden complete with a lily pond, stone bridges and a red and green painted pagoda. As you sit and relax and take in the scene that has lain unchanged for 1000 years, the only indication that you’re in the present are the tops of the skyscrapers flashing in the sun and peering down at you amongst the willow trees.


A day out on ‘Lady Ann’ By Ghislaine Bovy

I met Pat at a BNI networking event and couldn’t resist joining a group of BNI members for a day at sea. Pat, usually called Ann, truly is the Lady Ann of ‘Lady Ann’. She is a charming and friendly Thai lady promoting trips from the Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Pattaya on her motor yacht with her son as captain. Sunday morning at 08:00 we left Bangkok for Pattaya to be onboard at 09:30. I have to say I prefer sailing boats but this small and comfortable motor yacht looked like the perfect vessel to get out at sea far from the crowded Pattaya. We first anchored near a very remote tiny island where I enjoyed snorkeling for an hour before the exquisite lunch served on board, BBQ squid, prawns and fish with plenty of rice followed by exotic fruits. Early afternoon, we motored off to the so called ‘Monkey Island’ for a stroll on a white sandy beach. As I watched the giant tourist boat ‘Russian Adventures’ sailing past with more than a hundred people on board, I felt privileged to be on the ‘Lady Ann’, just 10 of us enjoying plenty of space either on the lower deck or the upper deck without suffering from the massive crowds and the blaring music onboard the other vessels we saw that afternoon. As we returned to Bangkok late afternoon, I thought to myself, I will join Pat again. I recommend this one day outing, it is a perfect way to get away from Bangkok and enjoy the sea. Don’t hesitate to contact Pat. Should you want to mention you heard about ‘Lady Ann’ from me, she knows me by my Thai nickname, Gigi. For more information on ‘Lady Ann’, please find it here: http://www.ladyannyachting.com

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PHOTO DIARY

Photographs by Zoe Popham

BAMBI Bazaar

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Photographs by Zoe Popham

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http://www.thai-polo-club.com

Pink Polo, Pattaya

Good Food, Great Service + Excellent Coffee From great value All Day Breakfast, Pastas, Gourmet Sandwiches, Salads, Grills, Thai favourites, and of course delicious cakes and excellent coffee; there is something for everyone at The Coffee Club. :: Free Wi Fi & No Service Charge

:: LOCATIONS Turtle Village, Mai Khao Beach, Phuket Jungceylon, Patong Beach, Phuket Chaweng Beach, Samui Royal Garden Plaza, Pattaya Pattaya-Naklua Rd, North Pattaya Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok Major Ekamai, Bangkok NOW OPEN Kata Beach, Phuket

@thecoffeeclubth

The Coffee Club Thailand


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http://www.silcthai.com

SILC - Bilingual Bites Book Launch


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BNOW’s Tinseltown

Thonglor branch

44/7-8 Soi thonglor 13, Sukhumvit 55

Tel: 02 712 9861

Sukhumvit 39 branch

39 Boulevard Tower A,29/23 Soi Sukhumvit 39

Tel: 02 160 0325

www.regina.co.th


PHOTO DIARY

BNOW’s Tinseltown

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IPC Charity Night

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PHOTO DIARY By Sarah Jane Svensson

IPC Charity Night

WOMBLES Dinner

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USEFUL STUFF Size Guide

Emergency Phone Numbers

Female Clothing Size Conversion Chart

Korean

Emergency Call 191

44

55

66

77

88

5

7

9

11

13

15

17

19

SS,XS

S

M

L

LL,XL

XXL,3L

4L

5L

36

38

40

42

International

XS

S

M

L

XL

XXL

US UK

0-2

4-6

8-10

12-14

16-18

6-8

8-10

12-14

16-18

20-26

France

32

34-36

38-40

42-44

46-48

Private Ambulances (English speaking): • Bumrungrad Hospital 02 667 2999 • Bangkok Hospital 1719, 02 310 3000 • BNH Hospital 02 632 1000 • Samitvej Sukhumvit 02 712 7007, 02 711 8000

Italy

36

38-40

42-44

46-48

50-52

Highway Police 1193

Japan

Fire 199

84-86

88-90

92-96

Ambulance and Rescue 1554

Lumpini Police Station 02 555 993-4-5-6-7

160-165 165-170 167-172 168-173 170-176

China

Medical Emergency Call 1669

98-102

Tourist Police 1155 Tourist Help Center 02 282 129

Measurement References

Bust (cm)

81-83

83-89

89-96

96-103

103-107

Walst (cm)

61-63

63-68

68-75

75-81

81-86

Hip (cm)

86-89

89-92

92-99

99-106

106-112

Crime 1195 Snakebites : • Chulaongkorn 02 256 4214 • Thai Red Cross 02 252 6117

Bust (inch)

32

33-34

35-37

38-40

42

Walst (inch)

24

25-26

27-29

30-32

34

National Disaster Warning 1860

Hip (inch)

34

35-36

37-39

40-42

44

Bangkok Airport Information 02 132 1888 Siam Taxi 1681

Women’s Shoes Size Conversion Chart

Korea (mm)

220

225

230

235

240

245

250

255

260

265

270

Japan (cm)

22

22.5

23

23.5

24

24.5

25

25.5

26

26.5

27

US

5

5.5

6

6.5

7

7.5

8

8.5

9

9.5

10

Europe

35

36

36.6

37

38

38.5

39

40

40.5

41

42

UK

3

3.5

4

4.5

5

5.5

6

6.5

7

7.5

8

Nakornchai Taxi 02 878 9000 Lost Credit Cards : • American Express 02 273 0022 • Diners Club 02 238 3660 • MasterCard 02 232 2039 • Visa 02 256 7324

Consulates & Embassies: Panama

02 237 9008/9 02 679 7988/9

Peru

02 260 6243/45

Philippines

02 259 0139/40

Poland

02 645 0367/9

02 319 2686

Portugal

02 234 2123

Kuwait

02 636 6600 02 636 7461-3

Qatar

02 660 1111

Romania

02 617 1551 02 240 2522

Lao

02 539 6667/8 02 539 7341 02 539 3642

Russia

02 268 1169 02 234 9824

02 957 5851 02 957 5852 02 254 6630

Latvia

02 266 5931 02 634 0140-2

Saudi Arabia

02 639 2999 02 639 2960 02 237 1938

02 636 0540

Luxembourg

02 677 7360

Singapore

02 286 2111 02 286 1434

Malaysia

02 679 2190/9 02 629 6800

Slovakia

02 677 3445/6

Mexico

02 285 5995 02 285 0815-9

Slovenia

02 234 7637

Principality of Monaco

02 662 3023-6

South Africa

02 659 2900

Mongolia

02 381 1400

Morocco

02 679 5604/06

Spain

02 661 8284/8

Sri Lanka

02 261 1934/5 02 665 7299

Myanmar

02 233 2237 02 234 4698 02 233 7250 02 234 0320 02 637 9406

Sweden

02 263 7211-10

Switzerland

02 254 4596

Turkey

02 274 7262/3 02 355 5486

UAE

02 639 9820

UK

02 305 8333

USA

02 205 4000

Vietnam

02 251 5836/8 02 251 7202 02 251 3552

Argentina

02 259 0401

Israel

02 204 9200

Australia

02 344 6300

Iran

02 390 0871-3

Austria

02 303 6057-9

Italy

02 250 4970

Bangladesh

02 392 9437-8 02 390 5107-8

Japan

02 207 8500 02 696 3000

Belgium

02 679 5454

Bhutan

02 274 4740-2

Brazil

02 679 8567-8

Brunei

02 204 1476-9

Bulgaria

02 627 3872

Cambodia Canada Chile

02 251 9470/74

China

02 245 7032/3 02 245 7036/44

Czech Republic

02 255 5060 02 255 3027

Cyprus

02 261 8408-9

Denmark

02 343 1100 02 213 2021

Egypt

02 262 0236 02 661 7184 02 726 9831

Finland

02 250 8801

France

02 266 8250-5 02 627 2150 02 657 5100

Germany

02 287 3862 02 287 3862

Greece

02 679 1462

Hungary

02 641 1567

India

02 258 0300-5

Indonesia

02 252 3135

Ireland

02 677 7500

110

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Expat Ladies In Bangkok

Korea

|

Nepal

02 390 2280 02 391 7240

Netherlands

02 309 5200

New Zealand

02 254 2530

Nigeria

02 711 3076/78 02 711 3547 02 381 4480

Norway

02 204 6500

Pakistan

02 253 0288/9 02 253 5325

February / March 2013


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111


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