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RarinJinda Wellness Spa, the stream of gems in the heart of wellness Unwind, rejuvenate, refresh and relax your body and mind at RarinJinda Wellness Spa, luxury world-class spa with skillfully trained therapists and award-winning facilities in the heart of two of Thailand's capitals, Bangkok and Chiang Mai RarinJinda Wellness Spa, Thailand’s premium and innovative wellness spa, offers luxurious pampering in spa sanctuary with latest spa technologies along yet deeply rooted with Thai hospitality. Recognised both locally and internationally with numerous awards, including 1 of 8 Most Luxury Spas in the World by Agoda, Best Luxury Destination Spa at the World Luxury Spa Awards, Best Spa Resort Destination in Thailand at Asian Lifestyle Tourism Awards, Best Day Spa at Asia Wellness Spa Festival Gold Awards, Excellence Destination Spa by Thailand Tourism Awards and many more. Curated spa treatments are creatively adapted from traditional and contemporary spa theories around the world aiming to deliver luxurious Thai hospitality style and exotic spa journey towards health and wellness.

Signature treatments include - Elements of Life (90 mins), our signature treatment, which seeks to restore a person’s balance with nature through a combination of water, fire, earth and wind treatments. - Ayurvedic Hideaway (120 mins), a treatment adapted from the ancient Indian therapy that stresses a balance of three substances: wind, spirit and air, stimulating and cleansing your chakra. - Pregnancy Massage (90 mins) uses the organic Safflower Seed Massage Oil to do soft and light massage techniques to cure the aches and pain in the body areas that carry the baby weight (for mothers with over 16 weeks pregnancy). - Therapeutic Massage for Office Syndrome (90 mins) uses the combination of gentle relaxation and strong deep remedial massage techniques along with the aromatic massage oils to holistically treats the whole body and traces the discomfort as far as possible back to the original cause. - Siamese Himalayan Salt Therapy (60 mins - exclusive at Ploenchit branch), a traditional Thai massage in a special ‘Himalayan salt room’ designed to cleanse the respiratory system. Technically called “Spleotherapy”, mineral infused air is beneficial to numerous health issues including asthma, whooping cough, and ear infections. With total of 3 branches; 2 in Thailand’s capital city, Bangkok Ploenchit and Ratchadamri area and 1 in Chiang Mai, RarinJinda Wellness Spa has its own distinctive character and style in interior design. RarinJinda Wellness Spa Ploenchit, the first Roof-Top Spa, embraced in Bangkok’s most lavished location that offers expediency of metropolitan lifestyle. RarinJinda Wellness Spa Ratchadamri, a private paradise with perfect blend of tranquility and urban life. Conveniently accessible from Bangkok’s downtown area. RarinJinda Wellness Spa Chiang Mai, the most comprehensive wellness spa in luxurious and spacious sanctuary situated in the heart of Chiang Mai city, by the Ping River.

Be mesmerised at RarinJinda Wellness Spa whether you are in Bangkok or Chiang Mai For more information, visit www.rarinjinda.com


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QSCBC campaign 10th year anniversary Appreciating the gift of life Breast cancer mammography Breast cancer surgery Thai Japanese diplomatic relations QSCBCF Think Pink! Breast cancer and the women of Pattaya What do you do next? Prostrate cancer The anatomy of chronic pain Time sleeps by ... IVF Bangkok Support Healing hands in Jodhpur, Rajasthan The diary of Madame Astrid A love for teaching Response to enrolment fees article Meet the headmaster The Royal Palaces of Rajasthan Stockholm in my heart! Tulum in Mexico Ubud Bali; Let’s recharge! Luang Prabang Eating in moderation Gluten free or not

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Welcome to Expat Life The editorial content in Expat Life is created by an enthusiastic and passionate group of volunteer, talented individuals. Without them there would be no magazine. The publisher would like to thank those individuals and welcomes submissions from any of our readers that have an experience, hobbies, an opinion or their pastimes to share. If you have travelled anywhere in Thailand and discovered a ‘hidden gem’ or had a holiday with family or friends in SE Asia or beyond, then we would like you to share it with us. If you are a nutritionist, dietician, fitness trainer, doctor, surgeon or a specialist in any field then please find time to share your expertise with others and draft up to a 1000 or 1500 words and we will sub edit, proof and publish it. If you would like to join our group and get your prose published online or in the magazine then please email nick@elbkk.com Accounts Panumas Kayan (Daow) daow.elbkk@gmail.com

Administration Juntanipa Suebma par.elbkk@gmail.com

Art Dew Piyaman dew@elbkk.com

Accountant Premchit Thongcharone

Skate soccer in Ghana Koh Libong Sanctuary of Truth #1 hidden health challenge A vegan lifestyle Can art save Thailand’s oceans? Did you know? Trash Heroes in Thailand Superwoman Protecting the internet Phi Ta Khon festival Wear glitterati, need no worry The back up plan for expats IWC Scholarship Foundation Break a leg six times a year Chef Alain Passard Social gallery Too young to stop living

Advertisers welcome If you are a manufacturer, distributor or retailer and or if you supply and sell services and products to the affluent expat/international resident in Thailand. Or their constant stream of friends, family and business guests visiting from overseas. If you want to engage and connect with high net worth individuals and families then let us send you our profile and present our business case. You will find no better expat targeted strategic marketing solution in Thailand today. Please write to nick@elbkk.com (English) or par.elbkk@gmail.com (Thai) or call 02 331 3266

Publisher and managing editor Nick Argles nick@elbkk.com 089 721 3384 / 083 734 2333

For all advertising, editorial, marketing, social media or sponsorship enquiries please write to or call the publisher: Nick - nick@elbkk.com (English) or Par - par.elbkk@gmail.com (Thai)

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Visit www.expatlifeinthailand.com or www.facebook.com/expatlifeinthailand The information contained in this magazine or website, while believed to be correct, is not guaranteed. Expat Life in Thailand 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 Expat Life in Thailand magazine or website. Any view expressed by a journalist is not necessarily the view of Expat Life in Thailand magazine or website. No part of Expat Life in Thailand magazine or website can be reproduced or copied without the express consent of the publisher.

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FEATURES

The QSCBC awareness campaign 2017 10th year anniversary The QSCBC awareness campaign, is celebrating 10 years of the photo campaign, to bring greater awareness of the risks of breast cancer to the general public, a disease that is now affecting more women in Thailand. The breast cancer awareness photos are displayed in public areas to highlight the key message, early detection of breast cancer may save your life. The media, shopping malls, the BTS, schools, factories, universities and hospitals, have all displayed the photos every year during October’s International Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to help the cause. The campaign lists myths and truths about breast cancer, which have been gathered from patients, most frequently asked questions and are available in English or in Thai. The photos are free to anyone interested in sharing them on social media or to display (details at the end of the article). Every year, the international women diplomats to Thailand have been a great support of the Queen Sirikit campaign. This year’s photographic contribution is shown on the front page of the Expat Life in Thailand for October, to honour October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast Cancer Centre Campaign 2015

The Ambassador of the Republic of Bangladesh, Ms Siada Muna Tasneem, a keen supporter of the QSCBC campaign, was unfortunately out of the country at the time of the photoshoot. The diplomats, some of whom have now departed Thailand, were photographed by one of Thailand’s best photographers, Amat Nitipark. The diplomats are requested to display the photo campaign at their embassies and share them with their staff, companies and communities from their home countries, as well as visitors. Fellow breast cancer ambassadors every year, include many well-known media stars, businesswomen, role models in society, Buddhist and Catholic nuns, women from slum

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“ I have chosen to participate in the QSCBC campaign in order to help raise awareness about the importance of screening for the health of women. I view this campaign as very important in the effort to raise awareness. ” H.E. Dato Nazirah binti Hussain, Ambassador for Malaysia communities, indeed women from all walks of life, colour and creed. Generously, all the participants volunteer their time. The QSCBC campaign is the first national breast cancer campaign in Thailand and has also invited male and transgender stars to emphasise the fact that anyone can get breast cancer. 1% of men have been shown to be breast cancer cases.

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FEATURES

Appreciating the gift of life - every day by H.E. Evren Dağdelen Akgün, The Turkish Ambassador to Thailand

Cancer is a scary word. And the disease itself is truly scary. Creeping up on one, often at a time when least expected. A diagnosis, for instance, comes when life is already full of its challenges - and you just do not need one more problem. Or it may come when everything is going well in your life, so much so that you feel happy, strong, almost invincible, on top of the world! Either way, cancer strikes when you are way too busy to take a moment to listen to your body and almost certainly as you are taking your health for granted. So, when cancer hits a person, or a loved one, it is the ultimate desperate realisation of one’s finiteness. That you or they may no longer live to see next spring, summer or that a father, mother, son, daughter may no longer be. It is a harsh face off with one’s existence - and our place in the world. Cancer is never just a physical ailment, but a rollercoaster of many emotions, often too complicated for all those affected to fully grasp. Above all, cancer is mostly about self-discovery. It can also make one realise one’s potential as a fighter. It is a journey - albeit one, I hope no one has ever to embark on. But if one day you or a loved one has to go through this journey, it is important to know and accept at the outset that it can indeed be a tough upstream journey. I have had one too many experiences in this regard. Knowing and accepting that it is a difficult journey is important because then it becomes easier to not give up at the first hurdle. The

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treatment process can be lengthy and may not always go uphill. Different protocols may have to be tried, progress may reverse and then pick up again. The important point is to be prepared for a rough ride and persevere. This journey sometimes begins with an early detection – but often not. Either way, access to good medical care, from beginning to end is a trump card. It is the first pillar in a sound structure to fight the fight to the end, to a happy one. A good support system beginning in the family, amongst friends, in society and through public and private means is the next important pillar. Then there is the much acclaimed morale aspect. It can be half the journey. But while it is very important to keep up your morale, my personal experience with cancer in my family has sadly shown me that beyond a certain point, morale alone just cannot swing the odds. Good medical care is absolutely necessary. The real trick in fighting a victorious battle however, is to actually never fall prey to cancer. If at all, this is only possible by prevention. Here, and I can speak from personal experience, it is extremely important to know your family background at least two generations back and do a bit of research also horizontally in the family tree. Going back to discovering the health issues faced by great grandparents

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is golden, but do not underestimate the significance of what grabs your cousins for instance. Family history in health is a valuable and worthwhile puzzle to work out. It is the first step in determining where to look for the traps! Advances in genetics will surely continue ushering in huge advantages in this respect, but until they are widely available at affordable rates, you may still need to work out part of the puzzle based on your own family clues. If prevention is not possible, then early detection is your best bet. Then come good medical services, efficient post-op care where applicable, and treatment. Good nutrition can help tremendously too. So can meditation, spiritual and religious belief. To instil confidence or to seek acceptance ‌ Once a survivor, the patient has to face, often as a lifetime challenge the prevention of cancer from recurring. And that brings us back to the beginning of the whole cycle. This is also the point where a switch to lifelong healthy habits, from eating to exercise should be taken up, in line with improvements in the general health condition of the patient. Cancer is one of the major causes of death in Turkey. According to the latest available figures, every year 100,000 men and 70,000 women are diagnosed with cancer. However, I am proud to say that Turkey today possesses all the necessary tools to take each of the steps of this cycle in a most efficient, reliable and successful manner. Cancer is a problem of community health and it is getting more and more common across the world. Together with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and chronic lung diseases, cancer is among the four leading causes of deaths due to noncommunicable diseases, accounting for around 80% of total deaths worldwide. Around 14 million patients are diagnosed each year with cancer. As grim as this picture is, statistics tell us that one third of this disease is preventable, with the other one third being treatable through early diagnosis. In this context, we have given an exemplary struggle against tobacco and obesity as the building stone of cancer control. Turkey is declared to be a leader country and cited as an example by the World Health Organisation regarding the anti-tobacco struggle. I am happy to note that Thailand, too, has been quite an achiever in this regard too.

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Turkey is among the few countries that has a National Action Plan on Cancer; has set up its Cancer Institute and begun the Cancer Genome Project, aimed at individual treatment for cancer patients. Our efforts are not limited to the domestic agenda. Conscious that good health and healthcare form the basis of sound and functioning societies, and indeed that sustainability is contingent on healthy societies, we have been working to make sure that high quality in the health sector is not seen as a luxury but a necessity. Health is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as agreed by the international community in 2015. Therefore, Turkey’s efforts in this sector also include the international domain. We organised on the margins of the 13th Islamic Summit Conference on 14 April 2016 in Istanbul, in coordination with Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) General Secretariat, a special session on First Ladies’

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FEATURES

Leadership on Cancer Control. This session, in line with the decision of the 5th Islamic Conference of Health Ministers held in Istanbul in 2015, provided a platform to sensitise the political leadership of the member states on the increasing burden of cancer and to deliberate upon ways to expand access to effective prevention, diagnostics, treatment and care. The special session aimed for the leadership of First Ladies to bring transformational changes and crossnational collaboration in the fight against cancer by drawing attention to increasing cancer cases in Africa, Asia, Central and Southern America, and to assess the opportunities for international cooperation and to raise social awareness about cancer. Turkey is the lead country of the thematic area of cooperation titled “Disease Prevention and Control” under one of the six sections of the OIC Strategic Health Programme of Action, and sees cancer as one of the most important diseases that needs to be fought in this respect. Turkey is also contributing to global efforts to enable low and middle income countries to implement cancer control actions. The İzmir Cancer Registry, a Regional Hub for North Africa, Central and West Asia, in Izmir, on Turkey’s Aegean coast, is one of six hubs within the regional hub system of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organisation (WHO), to provide expertise and support to registries worldwide. This initiative is described as an onsite assessment of the cancer registry needs in target countries in order to determine specific plans for areas of improvement. The İzmir Hub provides the necessary support, training, advocacy, and research opportunities to cancer registries across 29 countries in North Africa and Central and West Asia, such as consultations, tailored education, and the fostering of research and networking capacity. Turkey's accumulated experiences in the field of medicine have led to a great synergy with another of its

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comparative advantages, namely tourism. The health sector is now driving the tourism sector and vice versa. Rightly known as a favourite tourism destination with its natural beauties, modern resorts, diverse historical sites, cultural wealth and gastronomy, Turkey, the 6th largest economy in Europe, and the 6th most visited tourism destination in the world, is today also one of the most popular medical tourism destinations, with over 740 million medical tourists visiting in 2015, half a million last year and half a million in only the first half of 2017. While Turkey is home to Asklepion (Pergamon), one of the earliest medical centres (2nd century AD) where treatments employed included psychotherapy, massage, herbal remedies, mud and spa treatments, with its modern healthcare infrastructure, today’s Turkey is among the top ten medical tourism destinations, up seven places from only five years before. In line with advances in adding state of the art technology to its top quality medical human resources capital, Turkey has been pushing upwards in providing quality healthcare within a cost-effective range in terms of comparable healthcare in many other countries. In addition to oncology; surgical cardiology, ophthalmology, dentistry, plastic surgery, organ transplant, orthopaedics, in-vitro fertilisation and brain surgery are amongst the leading fields that attract patients to Turkey. Turkey celebrates the 94th Republic Day this month. By 2023, when the Republic is 100 years old, Turkey’s goal in health tourism is to welcome two million visitors facilitated by the introduction of certain incentives in healthcare zones, specifically tailored for foreign patients. Still, despite all national and international progress and no matter how well-developed or how high quality the medical infrastructure may be, the goal in fighting a winning battle against cancer should be prevention. Remember: prevent (healthy lifestyle, self-awareness, self-appreciation), detect (regular checkups), treat, follow up and keep your chin up!

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FEATURES

Breast cancer mammography There has been a lot of discussion recently in the media discussing the risks of mammography for breast cancer diagnosis. According to Dr Kris Chatamra, who has had over forty years experience in the field of breast cancer, having been a senior clinician in the UK and an internal examiner at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, a lot of the information is from unfiltered sources and not accurate. Modern mammography gives out very little radiation, compared with the equipment from 10-15 years ago. Mammography plus breast ultrasound, if carried out by an experienced breast radiologist and a good standard of equipment, are still the best screening investigations for breast cancer. It is also essential to have a thorough

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clinical examination by an experienced surgeon. The claim that only 85% of lesions can be identified by the most modern mammography is avoidable, if the above methods of examination are adhered to. Breast cancer has become the leading cancer killer of Thai women and it is Dr Kris’ sincere belief that patients, whatever their socio-economic background, particularly the under-privileged, deserve the very best technology and medical care available. He has dedicated the last twenty-five years, as founder and honorary director of the QSCBC with his British born wife, Khunying Finola, to raising funds to provide the most up to date equipment and post-graduate training in the UK and US, for medical and nursing staff for the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer (QSCBC). The centre has consequently become one of the most modern facilities internationally with a remit to raise the standard of breast cancer care in Thailand, offering the most modern approach to diagnosis

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and treatment. Despite being built up from nothing, based on the generosity of donations, the QSCBC has become one of the most up to date institutions for breast diagnosis, probably one of the best in the world. In March 2017, H.R.H. Princess Sirindhorn visited the new CT-mammography machine, at the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer, the latest addition to the battery of equipment for the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer at the QSCBC. The CT-mammography is the first complete unit in the world, which provides a real 3D picture of the breast. The extra clarity and complexity of

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the image supplements the information from the standard mammography and can greatly help in the planning of surgery and gives out very low levels of radiation. H.R.H Princess Sirindhorn visiting the QSCBC’s new CT-mammography machine, with Dr Kris Chatamra H.R.H. Princess Sirindhorn visiting the chemotherapy facility. Patients wearing the latest scalp cooling equipment to prevent hair loss. The QSCBC was also the first recipient internationally of the most up to date tomosynthesis mammography, 3D mammography (the latest of three machines at the QSCBC), which due to the capability to add a contrast material provides a clearer definition of the breast image.

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FEATURES

The addition of the latest thermography equipment measures differences of infrared emissions from the breast and can help to pinpoint lesions of abnormality. Thermography gives out zero levels of radiation, which has been a controversial issue for patients and can be repeated as often as required. Some women are discouraged from having annual breast cancer screening due to the fear of pain and discomfort, but the CT- mammography and thermography do not require breast compression during the examination. These new technologies, however, complement the conventional mammography and ultrasound examination and do not operate alone. In July 2017 the QSCBC, became the first institution in Thailand and in the region, to install nanostring technology. This advanced methodology, gives an analysis of a patient’s breast cancer gene profile and categorises the results into low, medium and high risk groups. The low risk group can be excluded from having unnecessary chemotherapy, so this new technology is an aid to planning a far more specific treatment plan geared towards the individual, rather than a blanket treatment approach. A new and renovated chemotherapy day care unit was also opened at the QSCBC in March 2017. The unit offers greater comfort and close nursing supervision for patients receiving chemotherapy. The unit provides a special facility for cooling the scalp to reduce hair lost, which can be very distressing to some patients undergoing chemotherapy. The volunteers of the Bangkok Breast Cancer Support group, many of whom are from the expat community, (chairperson Daljeet Saluja) - were active in finding donations for chemotherapy pumps and specialist chairs for patients. The support group, which is for English speaking patients, was set up twenty years ago by Dr Kris with some international patients and is based alongside the Friend to Friend breast cancer support group, which takes care of the Thai speaking patients, at the QSCBC. Both groups actively offer emotional and practical support, including, specialist bras, prostheses and wigs.

For more details contact sharonkania@hotmail.com or Raymonde at lemieuxray@gmail.com

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Food and Beverage

The Coffee Club The next time someone says ‘where will I meet you’ you can say with confidence the Coffee Club at a key location in Bangkok knowing that it will be a relaxed meeting place in a convenient location, with easy access in good surroundings. You will be able to park or there will be good transport links, the BTS or the MRT. It will be at a major mall, shopping destination or upmarket residence. Somewhere that you will be proud to be seen and or say that you have visited. The original concept was Australian, launched in Brisbane in 1989, and it first opened its doors in Thailand in 2010. They now have 35 branches across Thailand and it looks like they will not stop growing. The outside design and signage is tastefully executed, often with floor to ceiling windows and the black uniformed waitresses will greet you at the door with a smile and a congenial greeting. They will show you to a table in the modern clean cut comfortable restaurant and the smell of freshly cooked food will waken your taste buds and make your tummy rumble. The attentive staff are very polite and have obviously been briefed to smile whilst taking and serving your order. The menu is graphically designed and the dishes look like they have been drawn by an artist or carefully arranged by a photographer. The food is delivered promptly and the good thing is that when the dishes arrive they look exactly like they do in the menu - so often not the case I find in restaurants. Top quality food and a wide selection of hot and cold drinks to suit all ages and all tastes for any meal and all day dining - superior and healthy ingredients (such as fresh spinach leaves, vine tomatoes, ripe avocados, red and white quinoa, bruschetta, white bread, sour dough, lemon slices, oil and butter). They have a wide range of meat and fish dishes but if you want something lighter and healthier try out the salad selection where they have a range of tasty options. The healthy nutritious ingredients and uncompromising tastes melt in the mouth.

Asian chicken slaw Seasoned with fresh herbs the grilled chicken breast with cabbage, fresh spinach leaves, mint, coriander, crispy shallots topped with creamy coconut chilli dressing. Grilled chicken with quinoa salad A healthy dish with grilled chicken breast and a crispy salad, mixed with beetroot, red quinoa, Australian spinach, roasted Japanese pumpkin, feta cheese, a sweet and sour balsamic vinegar dressing with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds. Salmon, cauliflower and fennel salad Try their salmon salad with roasted salmon mixed with cauliflower, fresh spinach leaves, shaved fennel, radishes and lime with a sesame dressing.

Branches Bangkok: • Baan Rajprasong • Convent Road Silom • River City • Ekamai • Hive • Maze Thonglor • Riverside Plaza • Maitria Hotel • Mode Sathorn Hotel • Chatrium Sathon • Suvarnabhumi Airport - Food Stop • Don Muang Terminal 2 Phuket & Krabi: • Banana Walk Turtle Village - Mai Khao Beach

Pattaya: • Harbor Pattaya

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Beach Point Phuket • Jungceylon - Patong Beach • Jungceylon 2 • Phuket Airport • Kler Hotel Patong Ao Nang Samui: • Central Festival Samui • Samui – Chaweng Beach Chiang Mai: • Thapae

North Pattaya

Royal Garden Plaza

Tuk Com Pattaya

Hua Hin: • Blu Port Hua Hin

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Motorway - Outbound

Hua Hin


EXPAT LIFE in Thailand


Health and fitness

Hair thinning and hair loss by Dr Palinee Rattanasirivilai

Healthy hair is the first sign of youth, wellbeing and selfcaring. Hair thinning has become a health concern these days. It may indicate other health problems like thyroid or autoimmune diseases or a nutritional and hormonal imbalance. The treatment for hair loss may include hair tonics, topical treatments, oral medication and surgical hair transplant. Recently, an innovative treatment for hair loss was introduced, whether the cause is genetics, hormonal or nutritional imbalance called the platelet rich plasma hair therapy (PRP), also known as autologous-conditioned plasma (ACP). PRP is a state of art, non-surgical, totally natural, alternative medical procedure for the treatment of hair thinning and baldness from the patient’s own blood plasma. It contains essential growth proteins which can naturally promote hair cycle into an active growing phase. Help to restore one’s hair, confidence and the end result is a fuller, stronger head of healthier looking hair. The procedure takes about 1 hour, also called a lunch break hair therapy, as patients can return to their daily routine in no time without bruises, swelling or scars. A little blood processes via biomedical centrifuge to extract highly concentrated growth factors in your own plasma, which later is injected by the doctor into your prepared scalp or treated areas using a special micro needle. There is no need to shave or cut the hair. Depending on the individual’s needs and treatment plan, patients may repeat the procedure monthly for 4 times or until the desired result has been achieved. It is possible to use PRP hair loss therapy alone to promote hair growth or it can also be used in combination with other treatment including pills, scalp tonic, a hair transplant or restoration surgery. PRP hair treatment is

contraindicated in patients with blood cancer or the latter stage of other cancers, uncontrolled diabetes, autoimmune disease and or a serious systemic infection. The advantages of PRP therapy: • Suitable for both men and women, aged 16 - 65 years old • Simple and quick, natural, non surgical procedure • Safe and effective • Quick recovery period • No risk of allergy • Beautiful and natural looking end result

Programme: Autologous Conditioned Plasma (ACP) 15,000B per visit 50,000B per course (4 visits) Dr Palinee Rattanasirivilai Specialty: Dermatology (Specialises in hair loss, hair transplant and scalp disorders) Certifications: 2013 - Doctorate of Science in Dermatology, Hair and scalp disorders, Boston University, USA 2013 - Annual American Academy of Dermatology meeting in Florida, Miami, USA 2012 - Annual American Academy of Dermatology meeting in San Diego, CA, USA 2011 - Master of Science in Dermatology, Boston University, USA 2011 - Atlantic Dermatological conference in Boston, MA, USA 2011 - Annual American Academy of Dermatology meeting in New Orleans, USA 2010 - Summer American Academy of Dermatology meeting in Chicago, IL, USA 2009 - Diploma in Dermatology, Mahidol University, Thailand 2008 - Certificate in Dermatology, Institute of Dermatology, Thailand 2006 - M.D. (Honours), Chulalongkorn University, Thailand


FEATURES

Breast cancer surgery and reconstruction by Robin Westley Martin

Legend has it that the ancient Amazon tribe of warrior women in Asia Minor would cut off their right breast in order to be a more efficient and accurate archer. Rather extreme. In the modern world the most common type of cancer in women is cancer of the breast, and the treatment is the same as that adopted by the Amazons of old – a mastectomy. But there the similarity ends. Nowadays the surgeon who removes the breast of a patient will also reconstruct the breast, a well tried and tested procedure, that surely aids with the psychological recovery of the ladies who have suffered from this type of cancer. The month of October is dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness, and we went to talk to one of Thailand’s top oncologists, specialising in breast cancer, Dr Kamolrut Pibul, Asst. Professor and surgeon at the Breast Care Centre of Phyathai 1 Hospital on Sri Ayudhaya Rd., Bangkok. Dr Kamolrut received her Doctorate in Medicine from Chulalongkorn University, and subsequently furthered her experience in breast cancer by studying abroad, at medical faculties in Australia, Italy, and the USA … countries that are at the forefront of research and technique into breast cancer surgery, and subsequent reconstruction. Dr Kamolrut told us that she always gives her patients who are going to have a mastectomy, information about reconstruction of their breasts after removal. “In my experience, patients up to the age of 50 years old will choose to have breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. After the age of 50 or so patients are not as interested in

reconstruction, and just want to get rid of their cancer, and do not want to bother about further surgery or scarring.” Dr Kamolrut said that during surgery she will try to preserve the nipple and aureola area, as it helps with the psychological recovery of a patient, after the breast reconstruction. If the tumour is too close to the nipple area, Dr Kamolrut told us, and it also has to be removed, there is the option of nipple and aureola reconstruction. Reconstruction of the nipple is done with tissue on that site and a medical tattooist will construct the aureola. Breast reconstruction is usually carried out at the same time as the mastectomy, to minimise the discomfort and deformity of the patient, and also because the surrounding skin might contract and make a later reconstruction more difficult. If the nipple and aureola have been conserved, the sensations felt will not be the same as before, but there will be a return of some feeling, and the patients tend to feel better about themselves, which aids the recovery. Dr Kamolrut said that in Thailand double mastectomies are rare, and that during reconstruction she will match the breasts to be alike, so that the patients’ profile will be the same as before the surgery. If there were a double mastectomy required, the breasts would be reconstructed from photos taken prior to removal. Autologous reconstruction of the breast uses skin, fat, and sometimes muscle from another place on your body to form a breast shape. The tissue usually comes from the belly or the back to create the reconstructed breast. Breast cancer patients in Thailand who go to public hospitals will usually opt for autologous reconstruction, as they can receive this type of surgery for free, whereas they would have to pay for a silicone implant. In private hospitals, such as Phyathai 1, autologous breast reconstructions versus silicone implants, are about 50/50. LIFE in Thailand EXPATEXPAT LIFE in Thailand 19


FEATURES

“In my experience, patients up to the age of 50 years old will choose to have breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. ” Surgeons like Dr Kamolrut are extremely experienced at either type of surgical reconstruction, and she told me that within approximately 10 days after a mastectomy and breast reconstruction, her patients are fully recovered, and do not even need to return to hospital to have their stitches removed, as they dissolve away. Dr Kamolrut said, “Although the incidence of breast cancer in Thailand is not as prevalent as it is in the West, it is still the most common type of cancer found in women here. I would recommend Thai women, if they can, to have a mammogram at the age of 40, and to repeat it annually.” She said that there are regional differences within Thailand, and that there are more cases of breast cancer in urban areas than in the rural countryside. This is largely due to lifestyle and environment. Dr Kamolrut said that women in urban, city areas tended to have late pregnancy, less children and go back to work after three months, as this is how long the government gave them after having a baby. Therefore they were only breastfeeding for up to three months. Conversely, Thai ladies who live upcountry could get pregnant earlier have lots of children and breastfeed for up to a year. Dr Kamolrut said that the longer women breastfeed for, the less chance of them developing breast cancer was. She urges mothers to breastfeed for as long as they can. Ladies, be safe, and if you are unfortunate enough to develop breast cancer, be secure in the knowledge that you will be in the good hands of Dr Kamolrut, or other surgeons like her. Don’t despair, you will soon be viewing your unchanged profile in the mirror, and drawing admiring glances from your loved ones. Early detection is the best key to cure and prevent cancer.

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FEATURES

Celebration of 130 year of Thai Japanese diplomatic relations

Left to right: Kimiko Phornprapha, Mamoru Morata, Shigeo Hayakawa, Keisuke Karaki, Maynica Sachdev, Fumito Kawaii, Chayaporn Phornprapha, Kiwamu Honda, Dr Mitsue Saito and Dr Kris Chatamra To celebrate 130 years of Thai Japanese diplomatic relations in 2017, the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer (QSCBC) and Foundation organised a combined breast cancer seminar with the Japanese Embassy. The symposium took place over two days on July 16-17, with lectures presented by the invited speakers Professor Mitsue Saito, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Professor Kris Chatamra and members of staff of the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer Centre (QSCBC). The meeting was attended by members of the Japanese community and doctors from hospitals across Thailand. The event was supported by

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H.E. Mr. Shiro Sadoshima, Ambassador of Japan, the First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan, Keisuke Karaki, Shigeo Hayakawa, CEO of Yamaha Mamoru Morota, Fuji Film and Chayaporn Phornprapa, MD of Mazda. The Slum Outreach Project Screening for Breast and Cervical Cancer Project for the underprivileged. The QSCBC has been operating a breast and screening project in the slums of greater Bangkok for nearly twenty years. The project, which relies on donations, visits different slum communities, taking place over two days, every four months and out of normal QSCBC clinic hours. The QSCBC medical and nursing

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team visits the slum communities, registering and teaching the women about the risks of breast and cervical cancer on the first day and always working alongside an organisation that is based in the community, to ensure that the candidates are genuinely in need of help. A questionnaire has been designed to assess how much the women understand about breast and cervical cancer before the teaching session and it is given again afterwards to check that the women fully understand the information. The youngest teenagers are very much welcomed to teaching sessions, to bring awareness of these two cancers and offer cervical pap smears if appropriate. On the second day, the women are brought to the QSCBC hospital by coach. One hundred women can be given a medical examination, breast ultrasounds and mammography, if they are forty years and over. The limit of time needed to carryout the full breast tests limits the numbers of women that can be examined in a day. Many more of the younger women can be examined, because they only require cervical examinations and pap smears which needless time to administer. Occasionally if breast symptoms are in evidence, breast screening will be offered in case further investigation is needed. All the women receive cervical pap smears, bone density and other basic health checks. The Thai speaking breast cancer support group, Friend to Friend and the English speaking, Bangkok Breast Cancer Support Group are active helpers of the project. The women are encouraged to bring their children and a team of both Thai and expat volunteers organise play activities. All the funds are raised for the breast and cervical screening with support from many organisations and individuals, including Club Canada, The American Women’s group and the International Women’s Club. As many of the women live an almost subsistence existence, food and drinks are given throughout the day and

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taken home, to alleviate the worry of feeding their families. Professional beautician’s also volunteer their services to offer the women cosmetic makeovers and massages while they wait to be examined. Despite the medical tests, the aim is to create a fun and positive atmosphere, which will have the additional benefit of encouraging the women to tell their neighbours to join the project in the future. Breast cancer for many women in these communities has always equated with a death sentence, with so many of the women not having access to screening in time. Many of the women hide their tumours out of fear. According to Sister Joan Evans, who lived and worked in the slums of Klong Toey for 30 years, before the QSCBC and foundation project was started twenty years ago, I could only give a woman in her final hours, a bottle of rum to ease the agony of their untreated cancer. The screening project is key to offering these women a chance at early detection of cancer and treating the cases which are diagnosed. Pink Park hospice and convalescence home, being built by the QSCBC and Foundation, is desperately needed to serve these very poor patients.

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Health and fitness

The right care right away CAN SAVE both life and the quality of life Sukumvit Hospital sucessfully treats stroke patients with advanced therapy that removes blood clots in the brain.

Dr Juksanee Woranuchkul Neurologist

Dr Jackree Thanyanopporn Neurosurgeon

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Dr Juksanee Woranuchkul, Neurologist at Sukumvit Hospital recently explained that there has been a significant increase in the number of patients suffering from strokes. The resulting of stroke caused by loss of blood flow into that part of brain or that blood vessel broken. Most of strokes usually were ischemic stroke. The symptoms for such conditions are weakness in arm and leg, vertigo, facial drooping, speech difficulty, or suddenly loss of consciousness. Major factors of stroke usually originates from preexisting conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, heart problems, or blood coagulation disorders all of which can significantly raise the chances of stroke. First of all, the treatment depends on what kind of stroke (ischemic stroke or hemorrhagic stroke) and what mechanism of that patient. The treatment of ischemic stroke is to bust or remove the clot. It has, however, been proven that timely treatment within the first 4.5 hours, or more commonly known as the ‘Golden Period’, can significantly help the patient make a speedy recovery and get back to nearly total normalcy.


Dr Juksanee further explained that the preliminary diagnosis is done by the patient’s medical history before sending them for an CT/MRI brain, so as to be able to determine the exact location of the clot or leakeage. An additional investigation using either an advanced ultrasound technique or CTA/MRA brain can also be used to look for the brain vessel problems. Furthermore, what kind of mechanism and risk factor of stroke must need to determine. As for the standard treatment, the first step is given an injection Alteplase to dissolve the blockage in the vessel if indicated and patient be arrival within 4.5 hours after onset of stroke. Hence, timely arrival to the hospital plays a major role in the successful treatment and recovery. Mechanical thrombectomy will be concerned when the major brain artery be blocked. When promptly administered, it can save lives and reduce the long-term effects of a stroke. Timely treatment averts permanent disability and death. “This endovascular procedure, also known as ‘mechanical thrombectomy’, is conducted in a cath lab, where trained doctors use a wire-cage device called a ‘stent retriever’ to remove the blood clots. To remove the clot, doctors thread a catheter through an artery in the groin all the way up to the blocked artery in the brain. The stent opens and grabs the clot, allowing the doctor to then remove the stent with the trapped clot” explained Dr Jackree. Dr Jackree recommended that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent strokes. Appropriate exercise, balanced diet, proper rest, and abstention from smoking and other high-risk habits are necessary. Annually check up was be recommended for everyone. And last but not the least, it is of utmost importance to rush a stroke patient to the hospital within the golden period or as soon as possible. It can save both lives and quality of life. Here are some symptoms to be on the lookout for you experience: • Paralysis or numbness of your face, arms or legs • Trouble with speaking or understanding • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes • Acute severe headaches • Trouble with walking

“Sukumvit Hospital, which began its operations in 1977, has just completed a major makeover. Not only have they built a brand new building, but the entire team of doctors, specialists, nurses and assistants have all been trained with the singular aim of helping their patients maintain optimum health. Then there are the equipment, state-of-the-art MRIs, Cath labs and myriad of others, so that their specialists have the best available tools for diagnosis and treatment. Conveniently located on Sukhumvit Road with English speaking staff, Sukumvit Hospital is now ready for any emergencies or treatments.”

Sukumvit Hospital 1411 Sukhumvit Road (Ekkamai BTS) Prakanong nua, Wattana, Bangkok, Thailand 10110 Tel: 02 391 0011 www.sukumvithospital.com www.facebook.com/sukumvithospital EXPAT LIFE in Thailand

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FEATURES

Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer Foundation Pink Park convalescence and hospice home for the poorest patients in Thailand. A vital continuation of the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer’s (QSCBC) work, is the new convalescence and hospice home for the poorest patients - Pink Park, which is being built in Minburi and will be completed this year. The work of the QSCBC in the slums of Bangkok for over 20 years, caring for the most under-privileged patients and the daily caseload of the centre, showed an urgent need for a facility which could offer a safe, clean place for patients to recover after treatment. The centre’s long experience has highlighted the problem that patients could not be discharged home because the conditions for so many individuals are dire in their slum communities. Patients are forced to recuperate for long periods, in acute hospital beds at the QSCBC; beds which are so desperately needed by new surgical patients.

Completed patient rooms at ‘Pink Park’, QSCBC Foundation, convalescence and hospice home for the underprivileged.

Trees previously responsibly sourced and planted at the QSCBC Foundation,‘Pink Park’ hospice and convalescence home for underprivileged breast cancer patients.

funds for the Pink Park convalescence and hospice for cancer patients. The facility will also be a teaching centre for palliative care that will adopt the highest standards possible. A designated office space has been generously offered by the GP Group, with particular loyal support of the Shah family. The leading developers Sansiri have organised the project management of Pink Park and generously carried out the work on a pro-bono basis. Plan P Landscape an internationally award winning landscape design company has also donated their services. Pink Park will be built in two phases comprising of low-level buildings to eventually care

Other patients cannot be released from hospital when sadly they have come to the end of their lives because they would be left to die in unsanitary conditions, often in great pain. Pink Park will serve as a convalescence and hospice covering the needs of patients nationally and offering a refuge and sanctuary for those without financial means. The QSCBC has set up a special foundation, the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer Foundation (QSCBCF), to continue to raise

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for 80 patients. Accommodation for staff, an activity and skills centre for patients, a teaching centre for nursing and medical staff and counselling rooms are all part of the project, which is planned to be opened this year. Fifty acres of donated land has been landscaped to prevent flooding and responsibly resourced trees began to be planted two years ago. It is hoped to make the project self-sufficient, as far as possible, by growing organic produce. In May 2017, friends of the QSCBC, led by Manjit Walia, organised a very successful fundraising event which raised over 600,000B to buy saplings for the project. The QSCBCF is encouraging the public to donate funds for responsibly sourced trees which can be planted at Pink Park as birthday, anniversary or wedding gifts or in memory of loved ones; each donor of a tree will be listed on a plaque. For details please email maynica@qscbc.org May 20th 2017 ‘Pink Park’ Fundraising Event A successful event organised by Manjit Walia and her ‘Pink Park friends’ to raise funds for responsibly sourced trees to be planted on the donated land for ‘The Pink Park, hospice and convalescence home for underprivileged breast cancer patients’. The project was initiated by Dr Kris Chatamra and Khunying Finola and will be open to patients all over Thailand.

Showing the construction progress to date, of the first phase of the QSCBC Foundation’s ‘Pink Park’ convalescence and hospice home which will open later this year. A low level complex with patient rooms as well as an activity centre and counselling rooms. Responsibly sourced trees grown from saplings continue to be planted.

On 24 May 2017, H.E. Dato Nazirah binto Hussain the Ambassador of Malaysia, was invited by Dr Kris and Khunying Finola Chatamra, to see the progress of the Pink Park project and also to meet the local Muslim community who are close neighbours of the project. It is hoped that the project will be a support to the local economy by providing jobs. H.E. Dato Nazirah binti Hussain, the Malaysian Ambassador to Thailand, with Supanaree Sumonmart the QSCBCF manager and team, visiting the ‘Pink Park’ in Minburi and meeting the local Muslim community.

From left to right: Clare Poon, Asri Bandat, Mukda Sorensen, Ruth Keijdener, Dr Kris Chatamra, Manjit Walia, Winda Braun, Susan Lim, Raymonde Lemieux and Susan Chan

“ I was very impressed by the Pink Park hospice

‘Pink Park Friends’ raising funds for the QSCBC ‘Pink Park hospice and convalescence home’ May 20 2017.

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and convalescence home for breast cancer, particularly as it will help the most under-privileged. I was touched by the compassion that this project will show to the poorest patients and the care of the QSCBCF team. I was also delighted to discuss the project with the local community. ” H.E. Dato Nazirah binti Hussain, the Ambassador for Malaysia EXPAT LIFE in Thailand

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FAMILY and RELATIONSHIPS FEATURES

Think Pink! It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

by Carolyn Ford Counselling Psychologist

Most of us know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, but have you ever wondered how the Pink Ribbon came about? It turns out that ribbons have been used to symbolise remembrance in folklore and song since the 1700s, and were (relatively!) recently rejuvenated by the pop group Dawn with the classic “Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree” in 1973. Yellow ribbons were tied around trees during the Iranian hostage crisis, and red ribbons began to appear at the end of the 1980s to raise awareness for HIV and Aids awareness. The pink ribbon was first seen in 1991 when the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation gave out pink ribbons to every participant in its New York City race, and shortly afterwards Estee Lauder and Self Magazine began to support the cause - the rest is history. So the pink ribbon has become synonymous with breast cancer awareness. The global awareness that has been raised through the pink ribbon has helped increase early detection of breast cancer, made women more aware of the importance of doing regular breast self-examinations, and increased funds directed toward finding a cure. The pink ribbon signifies the aspiration for the health, vitality and empowerment of women. And why the colour pink? Because pink symbolises femininity, romance, compassion, tenderness, nurturing and health. But most importantly perhaps, in colour psychology it symbolises hope ....... Hope that we will be well, hope that they will find a cure. Hope is the belief that a positive outcome lies ahead. This belief can be difficult to hold onto in the face of cancer. Knowing how to create a sense of hope in life can help people face cancer survivorship with strength and confidence. Years ago when I ran a support group in a hospital for people fighting cancer, I asked the group what they were grateful for, and what they hoped for. I recall feeling anxious - how could I ask these people about gratitude and hope as they endured chemo and faced sickness. I was amazed by their courage, and insight and the small yet so important things they were grateful for: the sunshine, the visit from their family, seeing their friends …. and the hope that that treatment would be successful and

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that the cancer would go into remission, or that they would live to see their child grow up. For those with cancer, there can also be a new set of concerns about what life will be like after treatment. There may be changes in one’s body, with implications as to how we view ourselves and our self-esteem, on our sexuality, and how we can talk to partners about intimacy or fears .... Deciding what role hope will play as changes and uncertainties are managed will help us find ongoing sources of strength and positive thinking. Holding onto hope and being in denial is not the same thing. Denial means that one is avoiding reality and refusing to admit the truth. Hope is realistic. It is being honest with oneself about the current situation while still looking forward to positive outcomes in the future. There is no right or wrong path to finding hope. Hope comes easier for some people, others struggle, but there will be times when bad news or disappointing results will challenge everyone. How can we hold onto hope when faced with such adversity? • Talk. To family, friends, co-workers. Try and find a faceto-face or online support group. Sharing one’s story, and learning about the challenges and joys others experience in their survivorship, can be an important source of hope. • Like my support group members, some find hope by looking forward to planned events, like a child’s graduation from high school, a wedding or another type of gathering with friends and loved ones. Every day try and find at least one thing to be grateful for. •R  ead positive stories of cancer survivors. Participate in finding a cure - raise money, raise awareness - be alive and changing the world •A  nd it almost goes without saying that if someone has a religious or spiritual belief embrace it and find hope and peace. So this month let’s think pink. Let’s support our sisters, friends, and mothers fighting this disease. Let’s raise awareness and move towards finding a cure. Let’s all have hope.

Bangkok Breast Cancer support group www.facebook.com/BangkokBreastCancer

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Health and fitness

How to choose the right filler? by Dr Chidchon Sakjirapapong

Nowadays, fillers are popularly increasing not only among adults, but also in teenagers. They all want to look young and beautiful but surprisingly a lot of them don’t have any knowledge about fillers and the side effects it may cause if they choose the wrong products. So, let’s get to understand about each type of dermal fillers and their differences. The first type are “Permanent Fillers” such as silicone, paraffin, Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) and Polyacrylamide substances, which after injected will permanently stay within the skin, won’t disintegrate naturally and have long term side effects. The second type is the “Temporary Fillers” like Hyaluronic Acids (HA) which are very safe, can last approximately 4/6 months up to a year or a year and a half and will disintegrate naturally but are not freely used. Fillers are used to fix the signs of facial ageing for instance adding volume and smoothing out the deep creases from the nose to the mouth (called nasolabial folds or laugh lines), vertical lines around the edges of the lips, filling out depressions (hollows) under the eye area and augmentations like cheeks, nose, chin and lips. However, the specialists must properly select the most suitable filler type and correct molecular formula filler for each area of the skin. Also, they need to use high-quality fillers since these substances will be injected and stay in the patients’ body. Moreover, the fillers used should be certified by Thailand Food and Drug (FDA) otherwise they might cause side effects and complications. Please keep in mind that you should always choose filler treatments only by certified specialists and at standard hygienic places.

For further inquiries or to book please contact: Mon - Fri: 8.30am - 17.30pm Tel. 02 640 1111, # 3515 (Ms. Kristina) / # 3548 (Ms. Yuvadee) Email: kristina_nac@phyathai.com, yuvadee_cha@phyathai.com

Programme:

Perfectha Subskin: 16,000B per visit Perfectha Derm: 18,500B per visit Perfectha Deep: 16,000B per visit Juvederm Ulta Plus: 19,500B per visit Juvederm Volbella: 19,500B per visit Juvederm Voluma: 19,500B per visit

Dr Chidchon Sakjirapapong Specialty: Dermatology (Skin, Laser, Botox, Filler, Biopsy and Surgery) Certifications: 2013 - 2011 - World Congress on Anti-Ageing and Regenerative Biomedical Technologies, USA 2012 - Fellowship in Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology, Mount Sinai Hospital, USA 2012 - Diplomat of Anti-Ageing Medicine, USA 2012 - 2010 Annual American Academy of Dermatology meeting, USA 2010 - Aesthetic Dermatology, Academy of Wellness and Aesthetic Dermatology, Mae Fah Luang University, Thailand 2010 - Skin Laser Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Thailand 2010 - Diplomat of Dermatology and Dermato Surgery, Institute of Dermatology, Thailand 2005 - M.D. Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Thailand

Address: 364/1 Sri Ayudhaya Road, Thanon Phyathai, Ratchathewi, Bangkok 10400


Property

Sansara is bringing hospitality living to the residents of Hua Hin Situated on the stunning Black Mountain Golf course in Hua Hin, Sansara is creating a totally fresh approach to living in Thailand tailored to people who want to live the dream not maintain it! When you think about buying an apartment or villa in Hua Hin you don’t often hear people mention the community they are building or the hospitality service that will be available to all residents. Sansara is different, they are not only the developer they are also its long term guardians. Every resident will have access to an onsite concierge as well as a “lock up and leave” service which includes filling your fridge and collecting you from the plane when you return home. This new style of living is causing waves in Hua Hin.

“ One of our new residents lived in a pool villa in Hua Hin but was fed up with the hassle of maintaining the dream, that’s why they are moving to Sansara.” Sansara isn’t like other property developers as they offer a buy-back guarantee on the property which means they have a vested interest to keep the property increasing in value, how they plan to do that is simple … Build a place where the community and lifestyle are so desirable that there is a waiting list for people to live there. Sansara is building a development to the highest possible standards and specifications. Just 20 minutes from Hua Hin and less than 3 hours from Bangkok’s international airport. In a relatively short timeframe Black Mountain has become one of the most desirable places to live in Thailand. As well as the European PGA golf course, it has an international school, driving range and waterpark surrounded by the breathtaking landscape of the 27 golf hole course. A new community mall is also slated for construction in 2018.

“ We chose this location specifically for its striking beauty and feel that being connected to such a world class golf course is a perfect fit for the active community we are building.” Sansara will also have a wellness centre on site, community clubhouse, swimming pool, gymnasium and concierge services that you would normally associate with a luxury resort.* What is unlike a resort is these facilities will be used as part of Sansara’s Community Development to re-enforce and grow the active community. What to expect at Sansara •S  mart home (with voice activated) technology throughout your property •A  100% buy back guarantee ** •L  ong lasting, top quality building materials •P  remium architectural design and build quality •A  unique and active community •R  esort style hospitality

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From what we understand right now they are also offering special discount rates as well as inclusive furniture but these offers are expected to end soon.

Some of the services and benefits for residents • At the plane, airport meet and greet service with fast track clearance twice a year. • Support in obtaining retirement visas and immigration • Personal assistance services • Annual health check • 2 rounds of golf per week at Black Mountain golf course • Complete maintenance of homes, gardens and facilities • 24 hour security • Housekeeping services • Guest suites • Preferential insurance rates and medical services • INS 24 hour emergency response • Discounts at selected restaurants, hotels and retail outlets in Hua Hin • A wide range of recreational and wellness activities including yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, meditation, aqua aerobics, cycling, hiking and trekking • Spa and massage services • Complimentary shuttle to downtown and Black Mountain golf course • Happy hour at Sansara Beer Garden Sansara plans to offer a trouble and stress free environment for its residents in the warm tropical climate of Thailand. Whether you plan to live here year round or just get away from the harsh winters of your home country, Sansara is offering you something quite unique.

Interview with Hans Van Steertegem - General Manager What attracted me to working at Sansara was the dedication and freedom the management team were prepared to give me to create a unique environment and culture. The staff and our approach to our residents is key to developing the community and moving it forward from a concept to a working, thriving entity that will be seen by visitors as a breath of fresh air to the norm. We are working hard to hire the right staff and to ensure that they bring with them a positive attitude to the community. We have brought in consultants from all over the world to ensure we are putting together something truly special here. Hans came from an international hotel background and is aiming to provide similar services to his residents and the community. *These items are in different phases of the development. **Buy back guarantee - Sansara Hua Hin is continually serviced and maintained by our Lifestyle Management team. The development undertakes to buy back the property for the same price that you paid for, should you decide to leave at any time. Contact customercare@sansara.asia for full details.

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FEATURES

Breast cancer and the women of Pattaya by Jess Thakkar

We all know what breast cancer is and all of us knows someone that's either survived it or has, sadly died from it. It's a cancer that can be fought if caught in the early stages. Yet so many women, especially here in Thailand, die needlessly because of it every day. Why? Because they don't have regular breast screening and are unaware of the importance of self examination. Often the cancer is detected when it's too late. Ten years ago this May, my dearest friend and neighbour from when I lived in the UK, died of cancer. She had previously had breast cancer, and had been given the all clear after a mastectomy. Two years prior to her death, it came back but this time in her hip bone. Cancer does that, it surprises you and frightens you, it comes back, the one thing we all hope never would. Sarah’s story is not unique. Many women die all over the world, everyday of a cancer. Sometimes it's due to having breast cancer. Sometimes it's after they "recover" from breast cancer. What we all need to be is vigilant. We all need to check our breasts every month. And act on anything that doesn't feel "right". But many Thai women don't. Hence the figures, that seven women die every day due to breast cancer. A figure given to me by Dr Tapanutt Likhitmaskul, a breast surgeon at Bangkok Hospital Pattaya. I've been told that one of the highest rates of cancer

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in the country, is in the area between Laem Chabang and Rayong. Pattaya where I now live, is somewhere in between. I was astonished, yet why should I be? This area is highly industrial, with many pollutants in the air and sea. We also have a high number of women "working", in the tourist sector. So it could either be environmental or due to the sheer number of women in the location, pushing up the figures. The doctor agrees with me. There isn't a firm study to suggest why. He feels the number of women suffering from breast cancer may also be because there is a slight increase in the women coming forward for breast screening and mammograms. Historically Thai women have shied away from having mammograms and acting on any abnormalities they may find upon self examination, in fact many women are unaware of how to self examine. I spoke with Ms Wallapha Sawasdikool, an international marketing executive from Bangkok Hospital Pattaya, she informed me that this is due to a lack of


“SAVE BREAST SAVE LIFE�

education and awareness regarding breast cancer. The women have heard that the mammogram hurts and because of that they don't want to go through it, therefore they don't act on any abnormalities they may find. It's the role of her and members of her team, that have the responsibility of educating the community. They invite local women to meetings, in the City Hall and other community centres to educate the woman on the perils of breast cancer and the importance of self examination. They have a specific team that does this every month. This is largely due to the fact that year on year breast cancer rates are on the increase. Their message is that early detection can saves lives. Their motto being "SAVE BREAST SAVE LIFE". I don't think they could be more direct! Bangkok Hospital Pattaya prides itself on having the most up to date equipment in the Eastern seaboard in its dedicated breast centre which has been open for over a year. The centre has the latest 3D digital mammogram machines. Providing more clear and concise images of the breasts. Picking up even the smallest abnormalities. I have attended this clinic for a breast screening myself. I did so last month coincidentally, before I even thought of writing this article. I was very impressed, I suffered little pain, the nurse was very kind and gentle, I felt comfortable and in control at all times. The mammogram itself was followed up by an ultrasound, and then by a consultation with Dr Tapanutt. The whole process was very thorough and I highly recommend it. It's a far cry from the awful painful mammograms one has to endure back home through the NHS. So I can emphasise with the women that avoid having a mammogram here. But it is still important to have one. The cost of the breast screening at this centre is high, too high for the average Thai to afford. This was my question to Wallapha. She agreed and said thats why they are emphasising the importance of self examination. It's a vicious circle, the women fear the pain inflicting machines in the government hospitals, therefore don't go for their regular screenings, which aid in early detection. This increases the number of untreatable breast cancer cases as it's found too late.

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Wallapha agrees the price has to come down and the women need to be more educated on the subject. The centre sees mainly foreign patients. They can afford it, and they can have treatment straight away, there are no waiting times for those that can pay. Dr Tapanutt, tells me that the risk to Asian women is significantly lower than that to women in Europe/USA and Australia. But there, the women are aware and taught the risks of breast cancer and the importance of self examination. Sadly something Thai women lack. He quoted "the symptom of breast cancer is no symptom" and that is why self examination is so important. The lumps that cause concern don't cause pain, and hence Thai women think nothing of them. Which he fails to understand. As a result, the doctor has taken to the radio airwaves in a bid to promote breast cancer awareness. Every Wednesday afternoon from 5pm on City Radio, (emergency cases permitting), the doctor along with a DJ, host a question and answer radio show. In conjunction with a SMS campaign encouraging medical treatment if any abnormalities are found. Which he was very positive about and felt was working.

This is a simple yet effective way of getting the the message out there, in a not so serious way. It's fantastic that Bangkok Hospital Pattaya are helping to bring down the rates of breast cancer in my local area. I'm sure many other hospitals around Thailand are doing the same. It made me realise how very lucky we are in the west, medical treatment and education is there all around us. This is a cancer that can be fought. If caught early enough. I wish the team at BHP all the luck In world at spreading awareness. So please be vigilant and spread the word. And remember " the symptom of breast cancer is no symptom"

Jess Thakkar was born in the UK to parents of Indian, East African origin. She followed her husband to Thailand in 2010. She is the president of Rayong Pattaya Ladies Circle, an expat women's group based in Pattaya. EXPAT LIFE in Thailand

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FEATURES

Your family member or friend has just been told they have cancer, what do you do next? by Karla Walter

So many friends and family members are told this news every day around the world. It is a shock, a disaster, traumatic, helpless, void of emotion to some and others cry uncontrollably. Whatever your initial emotion is, it is time to breath, observe and set about your plan for your family member or friend. You don’t have time to waste. It has been my experience that most people go into helpless mode and then “try” desperately to do something. What is the “to do something” you are looking for? You cannot take it away. That is the first item on your agenda. There is no good saying to someone, “I’m sorry and I wish it was not happening”. It is, they require love and support not your emotional issues of not knowing what to do. Other people go into, “I will make you feel better mode?” This is a reaction of your inability to change the situation right now. The comments or discussions are, “I will make or buy something to make the person feel better.” The following are some suggestions of what people might make or buy. Pisang goring, Thanpthiam, Khao man, chocolates, cakes, biscuits, ice cream, donuts, cream and custard desserts, etc., It is amazing how many

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people go into I will make or buy you something sweet to make you feel better. This is the emotional connection to food. The reason that people are choosing this type of food is to remove part of their own pain away in their helpless state. What if you reversed that and said to yourself, (after you get over the initial shock of the information), “I can help this person.” How does that make you feel, how does that change the situation? You become an integral part of the change required to help this person return to a healthy state. You have plenty of time to feel helpless, just not when you are with them. It is for you to be the shining beacon of hope and positivity. Now you can shine by buying or cooking food that will help to build healthy cells. That is your purpose and calling. Let your family or friend know what you are doing for them.

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They will be so happy that someone is taking the time to think about what can bring about a healthy change. There is no nutritional value in sugary desserts or highly processed food. None! Don’t make their cells struggle, provide food that will fill the cells with minerals, vitamins and proteins. Once again be apart of their recovery. Don’t go behind their back and eat all those cakes and desserts yourself because you are feeling sad. You too need to eat healthy food to keep you strong. That is where the togetherness part comes in. You don’t want a person to feel that they are doing this alone. It becomes a family process and when friends come, they join in with the extended health plan for all. I don’t ask people to eat or prepare food that I would not eat and prepare for myself. When working with people who have had this diagnosis, the whole family embraces the change. Don’t make the person feel different because they had to eat different food. This not about exclusion, it is about inclusion. Close family and friends can coordinate cooking delicious healthy food. Thailand is full of fresh vegetables. Nothing too hot or spicy, good protein from fish or chicken. Very little red meat, it requires a lot of energy to break it down. This is the same for people all over the world. Only a small portion of side raw salads - cooked food is best. If you are not someone who can cook or likes cooking, bring flowers when visiting or bring a book, magazines, watch movie’s together. Go for a walk, meditate together, sing

together, dance together, laugh or cry together. Enjoy healthy meals together that someone is happy to make with love and the knowledge that it is helping the situation. As I have already discussed, don’t forget about yourself. Many times, the family and friends put their own needs last. Be careful not to do that. It is so important for you to take care of yourself so the person can witness people being healthy and happy and then they are more likely to connect with all that positive love. Family and friends can take it in turns to make breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Yes, there are plenty of desserts that do not require sugar, preservatives or food colourings. Mango and sticky rice for example without all the sugar. Cook it and see for yourself. I have always been an advocate to remove sugar and processed foods from the diets of people with cancer and many other illnesses. Also from the diets of healthy people. Our body does not require a lot to be healthy. It does require a selection of certain nutrients to make every cell a happy cell. Protein, vegetables and fruit to simplify it. When you embrace this type of thinking when caring for someone, it helps you to care for yourself giving everyone a chance to return to good health or to maintain it. Too many people get caught up in the belief that, if I give you something sweet it will make you “feel” better. We don’t won’t someone to feel better, we want someone to “be” healthy. Feeling is an emotion. Changing their cells to be healthy enables them to accomplish their dreams and wishes in life. You have the ability to change a person’s life so make it happen.

Karla Walter Health practitioner and coach karlawalter@me.com www.living557.com

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EXPAT LIFE in Thailand

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Health and fitness

Prostrate cancer by Daniel Sencier

As a prostate cancer survivor, I dedicate a significant amount of time raising awareness of this disease, which if detected early enough, can be cured. Part of my research often involves meeting eminent specialists who have dedicated their lives to advancing treatments, knowing that the more knowledge I can take on board, the more I can offer through my now internationally recognised blog http://www.danielsencier@blogspot.com One such person I met recently was Dr Viroon Donavanik, a radiation oncologist visiting at Chularat 3 Hospital in Bangkok. Originally from Thailand, he received his medical degree from Siriraj Medical School/ Mahidol University in 1971, and after a further 3 year internship, mainly in Thailand, he moved on to further his experience and qualifications in the US. Then practicing in Newark, Delaware, his skills and certifications provide a long list stretching from the 60s, when

cancer was a scary word associated with death, through to now, when new hope shines for millions. He travels back to Thailand three/four times a year to help keep the country at the forefront of prostate cancer treatment, sometimes holding seminars, but also catching up with family and friends. I've talked to many doctors who've known less about prostate cancer than I do, but when you're diagnosed, you do tend to become your own

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‘expert.' Dr Donavanik's knowledge was extensive, and he was happy to discuss my case and share his opinions openly. At 71 years of age, he is as alert and lively as a man half his age, and his enthusiasm for medicine is apparent in every word. He warned that because my father had died of prostate cancer and my brother had also been diagnosed, that my son Kyle, who's in his mid 40s, should be made acutely aware of his increased risk. At that age,

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Health and fitness

his PSA should be around 1.5, and this should be checked annually for any sudden change in speed-of-increase. For example, next year he might still be at 1.5 or even 1.6, but if he suddenly went to 2.5 or 3.0, he should then see a specialist. Normal PSA is considered to be less than 4.0ng/mL, and when my result came back in 2010 it was 3.8, within limits, so I thought I was in the clear. Luckily I had a doctor who spotted that even though I was within the required limits, my PSA had grown dramatically since my previous one the year before. Crucially, it's this rate of increase that gives the best clue that further investigations need to take place. I had undergone robotic surgery at Addenbrookes Hospital in the UK, but Dr Donavanik wasn't convinced that there was much advantage to this type of surgery when compared to open surgery; apart from less blood loss and recovery time. He indicated that each case had to be looked at separately, and the next significant advance in treatment would likely be through immunotherapy, boosting the body's natural defences to kill cancer cells. His specialism, when the cancer is still contained within the prostate gland, is Brachytherapy, a treatment where radioactive iodine 125 seeds

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are implanted directly into the prostate tissue. The doctor explained, there are two types of this treatment, ‘high dose,' where the seeds are planted temporarily and then removed, and ‘low dose,' which are implanted for a short time, never removed and lay dormant after the radiation levels have depleted. He uses the latter. He poured the tiny titanium seeds

EXPAT LIFE in Thailand

from a jar into his hand, the same metal that giant jet engine fan blades are made from! I held one, so small, nothing like I expected! He went on to explain. They are placed one by one through individual implant catheters, into the prostate tissue. Precision is crucial and an ultrasound probe inserted through the anus, helps the surgeon steer each seed to its final destination. Placement can be so exact that nerve bundles that control erectile function and urinary incontinence can be spared damage and cancer targeted in particular areas of the gland. The success rate for this procedure is in the mid to high 90s, and its popularity is growing fast. Dr Donavanik was very optimistic when talking about the future of cancer treatment. Progress made in trials is always pushing the boundaries, and new or improved treatments are being developed every year. One in 8 men will eventually be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. So when you're in a bar next, look around, see the crowd chatting and laughing. But likely, many of those

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men are blissfully unaware of the time bomb they are carrying, and yes, you could be one of them! It's a lottery, like most other diseases, and if you're lucky, you'll avoid them all, but with prostate cancer, you just need a little basic awareness and the will to have that annual blood test. That means, from the age of 40, you have regular PSA (prostate specific antigen) testing. I did that seven years ago because my father had died of the disease some twenty years before, so I knew my risk was much higher. Go to any of Bangkok's modern hospitals and ask for a PSA test. They can usually do it straight away, taking a small blood sample and you'll get the result within an hour. It could be the best 1,000B you ever spend! But don't forget, even if you are within limits, write that figure down, get it out next year and compare the two. They should be almost the same. If the amount has doubled, see a specialist, it could save your life!

Daniel Sencier was born in London 1951, the son of Belgian/Irish parents who settled in England after the war. He spent his childhood being raised by his grandmother in the Republic of Ireland, before moving to go to school in England. He is married to Beverley, who is Head of an International School in Bangkok, and they have eight children between them. After service in the military, aircraft and hotel industries, he retired to further his education at the University of Cumbria. He successfully completed a Bachelors Degree in Wildlife & Media, and qualified as an English teacher. Now in Bangkok Daniel is organiser of the ‘Bangkok English speakers lunch group’, encouraging others to improve their English and explore this wonderful city.

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Health and fitness

The anatomy of chronic pain

- a personal journey through physical pain by Barbara Lewis

Everyone has experienced pain at one time or another be it: physical, emotional or psychological pain, not a pleasant experience. What if you had to live with it day in and day out what would it do to you. There are all kinds of reasons people have to live with chronic pain, diseases like: cancer, fibromyalgia, MS, muscular dystrophy etc. Doctors say there is an unsubstantiated relationship between chronic pain and the impairment to live our daily lives. I find this laughable. I am sure that people who suffer chronic pain would agree with me. There is a direct relationship between one’s impairment to carry on normal activities of daily life and the level of chronic pain a person suffers with. I am writing this article in part as a cathartic experience to express to those around me how I feel and suffer so that perhaps they can understand my behaviour better. I also hope that my experience with pain is not an isolated feeling and that my expression of the experience might express the feelings of others who suffer. Helping people around us understand is really important to our self-esteem, I feel.

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Some individuals are very lucky and have a concrete diagnosis of their condition and their medical practitioner works with them to manage their pain level so that they can function well in their environment. This may require multiple drugs and lots of trial and errors before the right combination can be found. It is not great when you feel high but have the pain under control and can function somewhat or don’t have the pain under control and function inadequately. Here is the thing about pain. Everyone has a level they can tolerate once beyond this level a person might cry out or seek some kind of comfort from that pain whether it is medical or something else. When you live with that level of pain constantly where you are beyond your level of tolerance it is a constant drain of energy because you are always working to control it. It is a constant battle between you and the pain you feel and it is emotionally and physically draining. It makes you feel weak and fatigued. Much of the time you want to sleep because of the fatigue the pain causes however the pain itself prevents you from actually sleeping to get rest as the pain is constantly waking you or causing your body to move or contract to find comfort.

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I have the unfortunate chronic pain that attacks my joints and muscles. It is like a giant massive toothache (a really bad one) all over my body. I am a pretty active person and I have always been one of those women that people look at and think that I am in really good shape and am younger than what I am. Part of the reason for this is because I work at keeping very physically fit and my weight down. I used to be a bodybuilder so I still have quite muscular arms and legs and now at over 50 I think it is incredibly important to work even harder at maintaining my muscles as this is how I will support my spine and keep my weight under control. So what you might wonder has this got to do with chronic pain – everything. Unfortunately the pain I am experiencing everyday prevents me from doing things or if it doesn’t it takes so much energy to complete any task that completing one task a day is exhausting. The drugs I am on right now finally have diminished the pain to the point where I can function better but for sure I do feel high and sometimes worry I am going to pass out. The doctors and I will have to continue to work on this. This chronic pain has rocked my self-esteem to my very core. The last time I saw the doctor I broke down crying because I essentially said I just couldn’t take the pain anymore. Not that I have thought about it, but I can certainly understand why people who are in constant chronic pain physically or emotionally, commit suicide because sometimes you just can’t get people to understand how much you need help. It is amazing when a medical practitioner sits across

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from you and says that your tests are normal and that there isn’t really anything wrong. They smile and you are supposed to be happy with that outcome. You know the pain is real. It isn’t in your head. It makes me a like I am going crazy when they say things like that, so I have come to the point of saying “OK that is fine but it doesn’t change the fact that I am in pain all the time so now what?” Doctors I believe have the tendency to write women off especially when the complaints are pain and fatigue. An example of this is I have been suffering extreme fatigue, probably due in some part to pain, for at least the last five years yet the I have never really felt any doctor has taken me or it very seriously even when it was so great that I literally felt like I had been up for like 48 hours solid and had hit a wall and couldn’t keep my eyes open – that feeling you get when you are so jet lagged you are ready to fall down from fatigue. When my husband went in to get a check up the doctor asked if he was tired and he told him he can sleep anywhere which is true. The doctor immediately started investigating this. As long as I have known him he has been able to sleep anywhere but I do have to say that over the last few years he has seemed more tired than normal maybe I am putting extra stress on him? As it happened he does have some Vitamin D issues and haemoglobin issues. It was just interesting to me that a doctor jumped on the fact that he could sleep anywhere, a common trait, and I think if a woman had mentioned the same thing I don’t think it would have triggered the same response. I digress. The pain can seem never ending, a vortex you are sucked into and can’t get out of. It can be emotionally all consuming just to keep it under control or deal with, so that you just can’t deal with anything else. I noticed that when I

EXPAT LIFE in Thailand

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Health and fitness

was at points like this my personality changed I became so short tempered and unable to tolerate the smallest deviation from my expectations. I am never short tempered with my dogs and I was even short with them never mind with my husband who bore the brunt of my discomfort. I am sure people you know hate asking you how you are because if you are honest this could cause a diatribe response of all the problems you are having and feeling and they might wonder what they unleashed. Seriously though I know I am careful about who I talk with about how I feel but then this means certain key people hear about my condition all the time and I am sure it gets very old. I know it does for me. I used to wonder why with some of my older relatives they were so consumed with their health and when you asked after them that was really all you heard about, well, now I fully understand. When your life is consumed with dealing with a health issue that is what is foremost in your mind at all times and so that is what you talk about. I fortunately have found a doctor(s) that I can work with who each deal with different aspects of my pain but are helping me manage it. Although they reside at the same hospital it seems that there is no team approach to patient care and each one sticks to their own expert field which can sometimes be a little frustrating but at least they all can see my records and history which adds some consistency which I haven’t had for a long time moving country to country. Right now things are going OK, the medications seem to be in the correct dosage so that I can function at a fairly normal level and not every day is consumed by pain. I feel lucky. Is it a zero on the pain scale as my neurologist would like it to be – no, but as one lady told me who suffered all her life from chronic headache/migraines she wouldn’t know what a zero felt like.

Social media has given people an outlet that allows for both information and a forum for discussing what is happening to you so you don’t feel alone in your struggle. I think this also helps to make the medical community more accountable. People can ask others about treatments and protocols to find out the best current medical/non medical practices that can help their condition. Sometimes you can suffer a symptom that you think is simply nutty, where maybe this time you have lost your mind, only to find out it is much more common than you think and lots of people have had the same thing happen, it just isn’t written up in the medical symptoms. The internet can sometimes be a curse however if people decide to start diagnosing themselves. It can lead to people believing they have something much worse than what they have so I think the internet information always needs to be approached with caution and verified in person by experts.

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Barbara Lewis is a regular contributor for EL. She has just started a new job as a teacher at Rose Marie Academy we wish her well and hope that she will keep writing!

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FEATURES

Time sleeps by ... by Robin Westley Martin

‘There are only two things that are certain, death and taxes’. This was famously quoted by Benjamin Franklin, in a letter he wrote in 1789. Another item that could be added to this list of inevitabilities is our need for sleep. We cannot live without it, and lack of sleep, or adverse features within it, can cause or contribute to a wide range of other medical problems. In the USA – where the most up-to-date statistics are available – public health and safety is threatened by the rising prevalence of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) and other sleep disorders. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is diagnosed when occurrence is observed of at least five episodes per hour of sleep, during which respiration (breathing) temporarily ceases. It is now estimated that approximately 26% of the population in the US suffer from OSA or other sleep-related problems (American Academy of Sleep Medicine). The famous actress Carrie Fisher recently passed away due to a combination of problems related to sleep apnoea. In Thailand Dr Jakrin Loplumlert is the country’s top expert in the field of sleep science, and he says that the trend in Thailand is following that observed in the USA. Dr Jakrin studied in Thailand at both Mahidol and Chula Universities’ medical faculties, and went on to further study in Cleveland, Ohio, where he left with a Research/Sleep Medicine Fellowship/Observer ship from the University Hospitals Case Medical Centre, in 2014. He subsequently returned to Thailand, and has since then led the sleep science team in the Neuroscience Centre at the Bangkok Hospital, located on New Petchaburi Road.

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Dr Jakrin told us that there are a number of common sleep problems, such as sleep related breathing disorders, snoring, OSA, insomnia, inadequate sleep, narcolepsy, sleepwalking, etc. Of which the most commonly occurring is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. Dr Jakrin said, ‘OSA is found more within the male population, showing clinical manifestations such as snoring, waking up to go to the toilet, waking up gasping, waking up unrefreshed, morning headaches, daytime confusion, memory problems, or Excessive Day Time Sleepiness (EDTS).’ Dr Jakrin told us that OSA sufferers often exhibit a variety of more extreme medical problems as a result of their condition. It can cause or contribute to hypertension, coronary artery disease, cardiac arrhythmia, stroke, kidney disease, diabetes or mood disorders such as depression or irritability, to name the most common.

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FEATURES

It can be seen, therefore, that OSA is a serious problem for the public health of a country, and urgently needs the help of experts such as Dr Jakrin. And the aid they can receive is thorough, meticulous, and has a great success rate. Patients (Thai and foreign) from other hospitals in Thailand – and sometimes even other countries – are often referred to Dr Jakrin, and the process begins. The first step is to have a physical examination, followed by a polysomnography examination. This is an overnight stay (with an optimum 8 hours of sleep time) in a well-equipped hospital suite, where the patient’s brain activity, heart rate, digestive system, et al, is continuously monitored by a technician, who can also observe their sleep pattern on a CCTV screen. The evaluation for suspected obstructive sleep apnoea also involves a thorough review of their medical history, and a focused upper airway examination to look for sources of potential obstruction. Patients are provided with an in-depth analysis of the sleep study results, and a treatment plan is then tailored specifically to their needs. This treatment could be supply of an oral appliance; drug treatment with melatonin or a medicine with a similar effect; Ear, Nose or Throat (ENT) surgery; or in 90% of cases the first-line therapy for most patients with OSA is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) treatment. This is a procedure that utilises a CPAP machine and a disposable facial mask to provide mild air pressure to keep breathing airways open. Occasionally, patients find a full-face mask a little too claustrophobic, and opt for a mask covering only the nasal

region. For the treatment to be most effective, the CPAP machine should be used every time a patient sleeps at home, while travelling, or during naps. Getting used to using a CPAP machine can take time and does require patience, but the benefits are many. The doctor may need to adjust the pressure settings for a particular patient, and he or she will have to work closely with the sleep doctor to find the most comfortable mask that works best for them. Some patients notice immediate improvements after starting CPAP treatment, such as better sleep quality, reduction or elimination of snoring, and less daytime sleepiness. But equally important are the long-term benefits that cannot immediately be recognised, such as helping to prevent or control high blood pressure, lowering the risk of stroke, and improvement of memory and other cognitive functions. The majority of patients quickly become used to using a CPAP machine, combined with the relevant mask, and the success rate in curing OSA and its and the success rate in curing OSA and its related medical problems is high. Related medical problems is high. It not only has the effect of immediately reversing apnoea and hypopnea, it also decreases somnolence and increases quality of life, alertness, and mood. If you suffer from snoring or other sleeping disorders it might be a good idea to make an appointment to see your doctor. And if you are here in Thailand you might soon find yourself making the acquaintance of the always amenable Dr Jakrin. Happy dreams.

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Welcome to IVF Bangkok Support by Samantha

One year ago I launched IVF Bangkok Support. It has been a humbling and inspiring experience and I wanted to share it, in the hope of spreading the word and to help lift the taboo associated with fertility treatment. I am an IVF veteran. Our daughter is a miracle baby, born in 2012. I started fertility treatment at 29 years old and we had our precious daughter when I was 39. They say that trauma is often forgotten, compartmentalised, closed shut and thinking back this couldn’t be more accurate. It is as if I have concertinaed the last 15 years and it is only when I consciously expand the bellows that it all seeps out. The whole fertility process is definitely the most difficult thing I have ever done and apart from the treatment itself, the devastating consequences and the life-changing experience it also resulted in my developing post-traumatic stress disorder. Surprisingly this did not stop me from functioning. In fact I think it made me even more determined to succeed. If I was going to fail at becoming a parent I was definitely not going to fail at anything else. In 2011 we did our seventh fertility treatment, our third cycle in Bangkok and by some miracle our prayers were answered. After 10 long years of heartache, our baby girl arrived. I am not going to go into huge detail regarding our

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long and arduous journey, but suffice to say it was very long. I had 1 x IUIs, 3 x IVFs, 3 x FETs, 3 miscarriages (m/c), 2 x laparoscopies, and had been diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis, congenitally deformed fallopian tubes, hydrosalpinx and a genetic blood disorder, Factor V Leiden. It is quite safe to say that without our dedicated Bangkok doctor I certainly would not be writing this article today. The care, dedication and professionalism was certainly a five-star experience and ultimately our treatment here was successful when all else had failed. Speaking to others, it seems Bangkok is very much on the map and has a lot to offer when it comes to fertility treatment. There are many outstanding clinics and doctors here. When we expatriated to Bangkok almost three years ago I knew I wanted to give back to this beautiful city. We were with our daughter who was now two and half years old and from our condo on the 27th floor, looking down at the blanket of Bangkok lights, I decided to set up IVF Bangkok Support in the hope that it would help someone. If it helped just one person, then I would feel immensely relieved. Back in the day, in 2002, social media had not yet exploded and the journey I was facing as a 29 year old was daunting. My friends were having babies: my best friends, my stepsister, my neighbour, my husband’s niece’s daughter. As each year passed it got harder, my friends were going for baby no 2 or 3. So like so many other women going through the silent journey, I stopped calling my friends, or I just slowly stood back and retired into my childless world. During the 10 years or so of trying to conceive, I had attached myself to a small IVF fertility forum. Each member had their own mountain to climb and we found refuge together. Not only that but we learned a lot, shared our knowledge, discussed, studied and cycled together. We talked about what tests might be available, which clinics offered them and compared notes. We celebrated our joys and shared our grief. We became

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close, and I am still in touch with some of these remarkable ladies today. To celebrate IVF Bangkok Support’s first year I am writing this article to welcome new members, and to expand our community in the hope that knowledge grows which onsequentially makes support more effective. Fertility treatment is full of unknowns and to be able to share, discuss and gather information is invaluable. Together we automatically become stronger. Throughout my years of treatment it became clear to me how much stress was impeding my cycles. As each cycle came and went it just got worse. To allow oneself to fall into the great depths of negativity is also inevitable; another trap I fell into. The financial side of things is also devastating as many couples are forced to plough all their savings into yet another cycle (one IVF cycle can cost approx $8000-$10000 per cycle). It’s like making that ultimate gamble, except you have to pump your body full of drugs, and go through the whole physical ordeal too, hoping and praying you land that golden ticket! Life gets put on hold year after year. It’s not surprising that we lose hope and start sliding down that wall of fear. There is good news however is, as much as we feel negative and that we feel alone, it is actually very rare for fertility treatment not to work and we should cling on to the hand of hope and believe in it wholeheartedly.

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It may take a few cycles, but ultimately success rates are higher for those who go through multiple rounds. Each cycle is informative and with that the odds increase in our favour each time. Also there are many more tests available and science is progressing at great speed. For example, PGT (preimplantation genetic testing) is a common test these days (not one that was commonly available in my day) and can significantly reduce the chances of a m/c. So together, collectively, we prop each other up, and hopefully reduce stress, and share our journey. We have down days and that’s OK. We can feel overwhelmed too and that’s OK. We can feel anger, or jealousy or resentment: it’s all OK, but most importantly we don’t have to go through it alone or silently. Our members either live in Bangkok or come here for treatment from abroad. Some are quite active and others prefer to read and post little. Whatever you prefer – if you are about to start treatment, are in the process of it, are having a break or about to start treatment for baby No 2, you are more than welcome. If you feel you would benefit from IVF Bangkok Support please go to the Facebook community page and send admin a private message; https://www.facebook.com/ivfinbangkok/ or send an email direct to ivfbangkok5@gmail.com. Admin will then invite you to the closed and very private group IVF Bangkok Support.

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FEATURES

We meet up once a month at D’Ark at EmQuartier in Sukhumvit (we meet at 10am on the first Wednesday of every month). Our monthly meet ups have been both inspiring and empowering. To share and discuss whilst drinking Earl Grey tea with avocado toast is completely normal. Being the only one who is not going through the treatment, it has been quite an honour for me to host each one. I always leave each meet up feeling slightly euphoric. The strength, unity and support of each member is quite overwhelming. My message to anyone thinking or in the process of doing fertility treatment is one of hope and perseverance. Make sure to arm yourself with knowledge and do your homework: information is gold. Bangkok has some of the best doctors worldwide. Go with your gut and never be afraid to ask questions. Be selective and be mindful but not obsessive. Believe in the future and hold on to hope – it is your friend. Baby dust to you all,

Testimonial 1 “Trying to find a starting point for fertility treatment in Bangkok was incredibly overwhelming for me. But plucking up the courage to join the IVF Bangkok Support Group was the best thing I could have done. From the outset, there's been nothing but warm welcomes, support, and practical advice. A major part of this experience for me has been not knowing what questions to ask, but the group has helped me immensely in that area. By reading and listening to what other people have asked, and the responses they've received, I've already learned so much, and this has helped me to get my head in the right place. Though I haven't been able to attend more than one meeting, the support I've received just by being part of the Facebook group has made a world of difference to me. The combined knowledge and experience that the ladies share is incredible. But it's not just about that, of course. Thanks to this group, I've found a doctor and clinic that I'm comfortable with, and more importantly, I've been given the nudges that I needed to get my head out of the sand and closer to where I want to be!”

Samantha x

Testimonial 2 Even though I had two successful cycles in Australia giving us our two gorgeous boys, I was struggling TTC a baby girl. I came across the Bangkok IVF Support Group through a friend. It came at a time when I really needed it. This group of lovely ladies, who I had never met in person at the time, understood what I was going through. I was able to get some much needed emotional support, as well as some excellent recommendations for fertility yoga, acupuncture, recommended clinics and doctors. If it wasn't for this group, I may not have found the right doctor and right clinic for me. This clinic offered sperm selection, NGS-PGD testing, and embryo glue with a 5 star service.

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WHERE EVERY CHILD MATTERS

Dusit Dusit

Open Day

Come and join our St. Andrews family and meet our students and staff

Enjoy Enjoy our our traditional traditional British British afternoon afternoon tea tea made made by by year year 5&6 5&6 students students served served with with freshly freshly baked baked scones scones

Wednesday November 8th th, 2017 9.00 - 11.00 am At Dusit campus

Scan Scan the the QR QR code code to to register register your interest and book your interest and book a a tour tour of of the the facilities facilities with with our our student student council council

253/1 253/1 Sawankhaloke Sawankhaloke Road, Road, Dusit, Dusit, Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand Thailand 10300 10300 +66 +66 (0) (0) 2668 2668 6231 6231

LIFE-LONG LEARNERS LIFE-LONG LEARNERS

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EQUALITY EQUALITY

ACHIEVEMENT ACHIEVEMENT

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RESPECT RESPECT

NOBILITY NOBILITY

EMPATHY EMPATHY

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RESILIENCE RESILIENCE


Health and fitness

Healing hands in Jodhpur, Rajasthan by Harris Woodman

Dr Goverdhanlal Parashar was initiated into the field of osteopathy by his father Mr Sanwarlal Parashar. With his guidance, Dr Goverdhanlal completed his "Doctorate in Ayurvedic Medicine" from Allahabad University, India. Having had 5 spinal operations, two within the last 4 years in two of Bangkok’s best private hospitals and being diagnosed with spina bifida occulta - a congenital disease passed down by my father, in my mid 20s. Having 6 lower lumbar vertebrae with 3 of them now fused caged in titanium and carbon. Scoliosis, fibromyalgia, numb feet from the calves down due to stenosis and feeling much older than my age of 60, I was recommended to see Dr Parashar on one of the various ‘camps’ that he holds over a long weekend flying visit to Bangkok. Camps is a good name as when I arrived at the Prem Yog Prana Yoga Centre off Sukhumvit 26 the centre was absolutely packed full of people, mostly from the Indian community, queuing to see the master and his team. I took my place in the queue and after waiting was ushered in to see the doctor. The room was crowded with people but taking control he told me to undress and lie on his table. His hands moved meaningfully up and down my spine and I felt movement in various joints that had been stiff and painful for many months/years. He did not need my medical history and was able, by manual examination, to define my problem/s one after the other. A crack here, a manipulation and a stretch there. Turn over he said. I did and he skilfully moved my neck from side to side before making the necessary adjustments. I was in and out in less than 10 minutes and was told to return the following day. The same procedure followed and after the third day he suggested that I if I came to his clinic in Jodhpur, Rajasthan he could work on me daily for 5/6 days and improve my quality of life. I did not need telling twice so we matched diaries and I scheduled a trip to see him 2 months later in his home city of Jodhpur in northwest India. I have only been to India once before and that was

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over 20 years ago to Goa which I was told was not typical of India. I arranged a visa with the kind assistance of the Indian Embassy in Bangkok, booked my passage and counted down the days until we could meet again. For anyone that suffers from chronic pain, one of our contributors Barbara Lewis has written a super piece in this issue about the subject, they will understand that it is like having toothache 24/7 - it wears you down and you carry it like a heavy sack of coal on your back every day. I flew from Bangkok to Mumbai stopped overnight in the airport hotel and flew on to Jodhpur the following day. I arrived unannounced and caught a taxi to a Taj hotel in town. They were not expecting me and the GM, who was luckily on site on a Sunday, handled my arrival with care and professionalism making me feel most welcome. Thank you Mr Vijay. As soon as I had settled I took a hotel car to the clinic to see where it was and what time it opened. It was Sunday and closed so I went at 10am the following morning and took my place in the queue. The fee was 100 Rupees - less than 2 US Dollars! I met one of Dr Parashar’s sons Hemant received treatment and was told to come back again that evening for another adjustment. The fee in the evening was then 50 Rupees - less than 1 USD! Dr Parashar, his mother, his 2 son’s, daughters, their families, cousins, and it seems many more all live above the ground floor surgery on the 2 floors above. This is a humble existence and I am sure that doctor’s all over the world would be amazed to see how little they have as a family despite bringing so much medical and psychological care to so many people in distress. I went morning and

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night each day and repeated the process each time seeing Dr Parashar the master, or one of his two sons as each day one of them at least was in Delhi or visiting another city holding a ‘camp’. They seem to be constantly travelling to ease pain. Each visit I sat and watched the other patients in the waiting room who suffered from a wide range of problems from fingers and toes to joints, backs and the disabled. The waiting room was cramped and always full and the air conditioner was broken so the stifling air was just circulated by 2 oscillating fans. Everyone held their little piece of paper so tightly waiting to see ‘the team’ who worked on 3 beds in one small cramped surgery. There were always 4/5 physiotherapists, osteopaths and their assistants in the surgery and each of the 3 tables was constantly occupied by grateful clients. On a busy day morning and evening 10am 1pm and 4pm - 8.30pm they will see more than 350 patients. Each day my back gave a little more and towards the end of the week Dr Parashar and his 2 sons told me that they had broken down the calcium between the joints, my neck was manipulated and gained more movement and the tension in my muscles, tendons and bones relaxed a little more giving my shoulders relief. Someone had lifted the heavy sack from my back or at least made it lighter. No machines, no fancy devices just some massage oil and the knowledge and experience of their healing hands. A couple of days before I left Hemant, Dr Parashar’s youngest son, took me too a hospital that the clinic is having built on the outskirts of town. We passed some ramshackle squats at the side of the road which were just pieces of tarpaulin pulled over wooden poles and the poverty was overwhelming. I have seen poverty all over the world but not like this. These people have nothing and they are raising families and coping with extremes in the climate. In the summer April - July Jodhpur gets to 45C plus and the winter November to February it gets to 7C. These people live under they makeshift shelters through hot and cold. We arrived at a building site on 5 floors and Hemant proudly walked me floor to floor telling me what department was in which area on what floor. At last they will have a suitable place to treat the many patients that put their trust in them every day. Dr Goverdhanlal is a delightful man for those that have not met him, a man of few words, but he has a warm reassuring smile and believes that his ‘gift’ and now that of his son’s and associates should be given freely, or as cheaply as possible, to his patients.

They treat those without money for free not wanting to see anyone suffer and never turning anyone away. They are not just Brahim they are saints in my humble estimation. Their caring and benevolent attitude made a marked impression on me that week. When they visit Bangkok they request no payment from patients over the weekend and will often see in excess of 1000 sick, injured or disabled patients, most of his clients being from the resident Indian community in Thailand. When they hold their camps all over India or in countries all over the world Dr Parashar is too proud a man to ask his clients for payment but I believe that everyone that sees the doctor and his team in Bangkok should make a donation of at least 1000B as in October/November 2017 they are opening a hospital in Jodhpur for those that cannot afford hospital treatment and it is to be run under a charitable foundation. Everyone that sees the doctor and his team in Bangkok can afford to pay 1000B and by means of comparison the first class chiropractors that I have been seeing in Bangkok on a weekly basis for many years now charge in excess of 2000B per appointment so believe me 1000B is cheap! For 50 years they have been treating the poor and people not capable of affording high cost treatment from our surrounding community with free care and osteopathy treatments. They are a not for profit organisation. The new hospital has been long overdue and thanks to donations, loans and grants the family are rising to the task of creating a hospital, wellness and treatment centre and they need your help! They will not ask you themselves so I am making this impassioned plea on their behalf - without, I should say, their permission!

SHRI SANWARLAL OSTEOPATH CENTRE 905, 2nd D Road, Sardarpura, Jodhpur - RAJASTHAN - INDIA email: drparashar@rediffmail.com The Shree Sanwarlal Osteopath Charitable Sansthan is a charitable institute registered under Societies Registration Act 1958 and has also been registered u/s 12A and 80 G of Income Tax Act, 1961 with the object of providing osteopathy pysiotherapy, ayurvedic, panchkarma and a fitness centre. EXPAT LIFE in Thailand

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Expat Stories

The diary of Madame Astrid Garcia, wife of the Ambassador of Colombia by Madame Astrid Garcia

How did forty years of marriage begin? My husband and I met in high school. He chased after me for years, constantly vying for my attention. He would walk me home from school and would ask me to be his girlfriend. I just wanted to have friends so every time he asked me, I would say no. He was very persistent. Then one day my girlfriend told me that she wanted Andelfo! I saw the two of them together and decided I had to have him before it was too late! So the next day he walked me to the bus stop. I told him, “Ask me the question that you always ask me”. He asked me what my favourite movie was? He asked me if I had band rehearsal that weekend? He asked me if I would go to the basketball game on Friday? I insisted that he ask me the question that was most important to him, the one that he asked every time, but he would not ask, he was enjoying the moment. So I had to to remind him, “You always ask me to be your girlfriend”. He smiled and said, “Oh! That question.” I shook my head and said, “If you ask me again I will say yes”. That was many, many years ago now.

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“If you ask me again, I will say yes ” You love to travel! What has been your most recent adventure? Last month I went to Bhutan and Nepal with my travel buddy and dear friend Soraya. She loves adventure as much as I do! We first went to Bhutan, a mysterious land north of India and

EXPAT LIFE in Thailand

south of Tibet in the Eastern Himalayas. It is a truly unique country to visit. We visited many beautiful places but what impacted me the most was the house of the King. It is not a palace at all but just a small house house next door to a big monastery. The King of Bhutan is legitimately modest and serves as an example to royals around the world. After visiting Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, we drove up a mountain up to Punakha, a province in the country. It took three hours to drive there and we had to climb up to 12,000 metres above sea level. We enjoyed viewing all the way from Thimphu and Punakha colourful gigantic flags waving in the winds and 108 stupas. The stupas are beautiful monuments to Buddhism and relics of the past.

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Along the winding roads to Punakha are speed limit signs suggesting a maximum of 40kph. I asked the guide why he drove so slow. There was no traffic and it would have been fine if he went fast. “The recommended speed is 40kph and if I go faster it will just save us four minutes but will endanger us and all of the people that come our way”, he replied. All the signs come as recommendations, not as prohibitions. People follow them because they believe them. The country has many amazing monasteries with the highlight being the Tiger’s Nest. It is believed that Guru Ripoche, founding father of Bhutanese Buddhism, arrived there on the back of a tigress and meditated in the monastery. To reach the peak of the Tiger's Nest, we hiked for three hours plus half an hour on a mule. It was totally worth it and our guide entertained us with the amazing history of the mountaintop monastery. Another monastery we visited was the Taktsang Palphug Monastery. In Thimphu I bought the most unique, colourful, handmade leather boots. The villagers make them in the mountains for their everyday use and they pass them down from child to child when they don't fit anymore. I can't wait to wear them in a next adventure!

Photos of the Goddess are strictly forbidden but there are postcards of her for sale, I’ve included a picture of her below. It is very interesting to see that they still conserve her costume. The Goddess is selected from many candidates at the age of 8 years old and will be there until she is 14. She lives a recluse and secluded life, only seeing her father. She is barred from seeing anyone else. When she is done serving her term as Goddess

she returns to her normal life. Many can not adjust to regular life again and have problems but the families will still offer up their daughters to become the Goddess as it is considered a grand honour for the family. Fitting with the adventurous nature of our travels we went paragliding in the Pokhara mountains. The drive to the paragliding site was along a narrow road through the mountains. Our driver went very fast along the dangerously winding roads. I told Soraya that if we arrive in one piece, the paragliding would be not dangerous at all!

What was Nepal like? Our trip to Nepal was fascinating as we were able to visit the impressive art and architecture of the Kathmandu world. One of the highlights was Durbar Square where you can find the oldest stupas. The historical site harks back to 460 AD and was built by King Manadeva. The stupa provides an enchanting view of the city. We also visited the palace of Hanuman Dhoka which houses the living Goddess Kumari. The young Goddess appears for visitors. You can see her for just a few minutes at exactly 11am everyday on the balcony.

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Expat Stories

which was a great achievement for our country and we want to celebrate it through the eyes of our artists.

You have a very active social life. We attended the Colombian Concert, we saw how your music had all Thais and foreigners dancing, tell us about the concert. The Colombian Music Concert was the highlight of this year. We brought the Eibar Vallenato Group for a concert to the Bangkok Art and Cultural Center (BACC). Eibar and his group’s music was so captivating that he had Latinos, Thai’s and foreigners dancing and singing in the aisles. It was incredible that even those who did not understand the lyrics could enjoy the music and engage with a completely different culture. Vallenato transmitted a radiant energy and rhythm. What other events have you been to? We were invited to the Opera Dinner at Vertigo Too. It was a great choice for a special night. The performance was filled with the magic of Broadway musicals, jazz, and pieces of the renowned classic play Les Miserables. We had a delicious dinner accompanied with some dear friends.

The dinner included a mouthwatering duck and orange sauce for dinner. I suggest you reserve well ahead of time as I am sure it will be again filled in advance. We are ready to return to the Opera for excerpts from Carmen on September 13. We recently had dinner at the Korean residence as a farewell for our dear friend Enno and Juri, the Ambassadors of Austria. The Korean Ambassadors were not only great hosts but they have one of the most beautiful embassy residences in Bangkok, with an alluring collection of art from Korea. We had a great night full of interesting stories and the company of dear friends. The charming couple from Austria were be sorely missed. Residing in Bangkok has allowed us to create a fascinating group of friends. We regularly enjoy dinners at the Colombian residence with friends from all walks of life. Our friends are academics, artists, business people and politicians who join us for music and friendship in a family atmosphere. This was last Saturday at our Summer Get Together. You are always so busy with new and interesting art projects in different countries. Do you have any art projects here in Bangkok? Yes, the Embassy of Colombia and the Museum of Chulalongkorn University will be exhibiting a powerful art collection called ”Winds of Peace.” The collection is an honouring of the Colombian peace agreement

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I heard that you have succeeded in bringing Sotheby's to Bangkok for a unique contemporary art auction in October. Can you tell us more about this? Yes I am so excited! On Wednesday October 4th, we will have a Museum Night Opening Reception in the presence of celebrities, Ambassador’s, diplomats, and VIPs from the business, political and academic world along of course with all of the art collectors.

The auction by Sotheby’s, who are sending in a team from Hong Kong specifically, is organised to benefit underprivileged children in Bangkok through the Yuvabadhana Foundation. It is a rare opportunity to be able to acquire international art directly from the artists here in Bangkok and to raise funds for the little children.

For the Museum Opening Night reception and Art Auction information you can contact info@aotaart.com

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Education

A love for teaching by Jocelyn Pollak

“All you need is love”, according to John Lennon and 65 year old Thai English teacher, Thim. I had the opportunity to sit down recently and chat with Thim about her English teaching career which has spanned over 4 decades. After surviving over an hour of my inquisition, I had one final question for her: what advice do you have for new teachers like me?

After 30 plus years of teaching, I was expecting a laundry list of advice, perhaps a checklist to solve all my problems. Maybe it’s because I am new to the job or maybe because her wisdom led me to believe she had specific answers for all my challenges. Her answer was so beautifully simple but is lost on so many new teachers. Love. Love what you do, teach from the heart. Love your best students as much as your worst. Inspired by the British and American music of her childhood, Thim was drawn to English from a young age. She was ahead of her time in knowing the value of speaking English. Nowadays, everyone understands the importance of learning English; but in 1960s Thailand, especially for those like Thim who were not wealthy and privileged, learning English was an obscurity. “I loved the music. The Beatles, The Carpenters, Nat King Cole. I wanted to understand. I wanted to travel the world, be a guide, maybe even fall in love with an American!” she joked with a smile that lit up her face. “I wanted opportunity.” She never intended to be a teacher, but almost as if the job found her, it became her life’s work and passion for over 30 years. Every day, from the late 70s until her retirement in 2009, Thim took a bus 2 hours each way to her school where she taught for 6-7 hours per day. With a starting salary of just 2000B per month, she barely broke even. Thim

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taught Prathom 5, 10 year old students. Foreign teachers at her school were paid 50,000B and given a housing/food allowance. Her classes had 60 plus students in them despite government regulations intended to restrict classes to 30 or fewer. Thim found the most challenging part of her job was to motivate the students to learn in an environment, both at school and in society, that did not value English. So, she turned to her first love, music, to make lessons fun and interactive. “I made up my own song that students sang to greet me (she sang) ‘Good morning teacher’, it was more fun than the usual greeting.” For those unfamiliar, Thai students are required to robotically stand and greet their teachers … Hello teacher. How are you? I’m fine, and you? Music and activity became the backbone of Thim’s lessons. Thai schools hammer students with grammar, grammar, grammar. Memorisation and regurgitation are the standard. On top of these largely ineffective practices, her school gave almost no support to English teachers until the mid 90s, when they finally got books! Shocked, I asked what materials she used. She answered as if it’s was totally normal, “I made everything myself. We all did. And I would act out things like ‘I am eating’ to show students. And of course, music.” Imagine 6 classes of 60 students with no teaching materials. On top of that, “they put all the bad students together and all the good students together. I had to plan all different lessons.” As a teacher myself, this sounds like an absolute nightmare. Despite these fundamental challenges, Thim’s passion for teaching was unwavering. As our interview came to a close, I asked how she feels about retiring. With a noticeable change in demeanour and her first frown of the hour, she said pity. Pity for the teachers who only see it as a job and don’t teach from their hearts. Pity for the students who have a teacher who doesn’t love their job. When I asked what she missed most, her warm smile returned and she said, “The students, the good ones and the bad ones. I miss their smiles.” This thought led her so effortlessly into her final piece of advice, Love is all you need.

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At KIS International School in Bangkok, Thailand all students can shine. The midsize, caring community allows KIS students to be confident and to be appreciated as an individual, with unique dreams and strengths. The school is a full IB school, offering the International Baccalaureate Programmes for all age groups (IB Primary Years Programme, IB Middle Years Programme and IB Diploma), ensuring an academically rigorous curriculum that not only prepares students to be successful at university, but also teaches important life skills. KIS, it’s all about Knowledge, Inspiration and Spirit. Check out the students’ videos to learn more about their passion www.kis.ac.th

Tel: +66 (0) 2274 3444 Email: admissions@kis.ac.th

“A better future starts with one person who cares about a better world.” Fran, Grade 10, designed a sustainable building for his personal project.


INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL BANGKOK


I N T E R N AT I O N A L S C H O O L

BANGKOK


Education

Response to enrolment fees article In the Aug/Sept issue of Expat Life there was an article “Bangkok’s international schools create barriers to change” the author raises the important subject of the substantial and non-refundable upfront fees charged by the city’s international schools. Called registration, enrolment or admissions fees, for some families these will certainly act as a ‘barrier to exit’ should they wish to look at changing schools, for whatever reason. As an employee of an international school who has worked in this sector for a decade I have been asked to reply anonymously to this article. I will aim to highlight some of the reasons these fees exist and also offer some suggestions for families, whether they are new arrivals to the city, looking at schools for the first time or possibly considering a change to their child’s school. The enrolment fees come from a time when there were fewer international schools and more families living here on the traditional expatriate packages. The international schools first started to charge the fees to ensure they had some guarantee that children of expatriate workers would take up a place offered in the school. This was, and still is, used to prevent parents accepting offers at several schools, as their child’s place was only guaranteed once the enrolment fee had been paid. In my experience, it is only when you chase parents to pay the enrolment fee that you find out if they will be taking up the place or not, with some families accepting original offers at three or more schools. If for any reason an expat family does not take up their placement in the city, once the enrolment fee had been paid, the school who had counted the child into their numbers for that academic year would have some recompense. This is particularly important if the school has turned down another child for the same place, which would be difficult to fill once the academic year has commenced. There is also a need for most schools to generate an additional revenue stream to go towards the high costs of campus development and recruiting new staff. Tuition fees normally only cover the day to day running costs of the school, so it is the additional fees that support the building of, and renovations to, school facilities and also the annual recruitment of the best international teachers. Both of these have high costs associated with them but are both incredibly important for attracting families to the school, and keeping them there once they have joined the school community. Whilst enrolment fees were historically introduced at international schools in Bangkok partly due to the reasons outlined, they have now become standard practice, with every full-phase international school I am aware of levying this charge. However, as the author of the original piece points out, the international school and corporate landscapes in Bangkok are both changing. More schools open each

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year alongside existing schools increasing their capacities, however fewer families appear to be on the traditional packages whereby a sponsoring organisation covers all the school fees. At my school we have a rapidly increasing number of parents paying their own invoices for both the upfront and termly fees. If you are looking to change schools for whatever reason, it is worth asking the schools you are considering moving to whether they are able to waive any of the upfront fees. In this competitive marketplace schools need to try and be flexible to the needs to their prospective parents, either by removing/ reducing the enrolment charge full stop (which doesn’t appear to be happening anytime soon) or at least in certain circumstances. I know some schools that are able to deduct the enrolment fee already paid at a previous school from their upfront fee. I would also advise parents to make sure they visit several schools when making their initial choice. Of course, go and look at those recommended to you by colleagues and acquaintances, however make sure you go and see some schools that may not have been mentioned to you, based on your own child’s needs. As we all know every child is different and what might be right for your colleague’s family might not be suitable for your own. Would you child prefer a smaller school with more individual attention, or a larger school that offers a very specific interest that they wish to continue? If your child is passionate about drama, which school offers the best opportunities for them to get stuck in? If gardening is their thing, which school has after-school activities that can nurture and grow this interest? Sometimes the most obvious choice isn’t always the one that is most suitable for your child. If your child is old enough and this is possible, take them to visit the schools up for consideration, their opinion may differ from yours! As the author described, sometimes your preferred school is just not available due to the number of students, however in this instance speak to the schools involved and be honest with both your first and second choice schools. Some schools may be happy to offer a pro-rated enrolment fee based on you only being with them for one year whilst you wait for a place in your preferred school to become available. A member of the senior academic team at my school read the original article to which I am responding and said that it “hit the nail right on the head” when it spoke about schools removing “barriers that hinder their customers from making changes when their needs are not being met.” Whilst I am unable to influence the international schools to remove their large enrolment fees, as the market influences change and more expats ask for these to be discounted, eventually we may find that these barriers get broken down.


Education

Dr John McGrath

- bringing trilingualism to the forefront of international education Dr John McGrath has one memory that will stay with him always. Years ago, while a principal in the Canadian school system, the counsellors and teachers came to him wanting a student to be expelled. He listened to them and then talked to the student. Realising that the student came from a difficult background, he decided to let her stay. Five years later, the girl showed up at his door. She had a teaching degree and was about to start helping others from backgrounds like hers. “She told me her brother was living on the street and if I hadn't stood up for her that day she'd be there too,” he said. “She wanted me to have her teaching certificate. She wanted to thank me for not only saving her life – but the lives of those students she would be teaching in the future.” This image has stayed with him throughout the years and taught him that no child should be left behind. That there are options and people can change. “The sad thing was that I couldn't save her brother,” he said. “But knowing that I made a difference in her life means I can help people like her brother in the future. If we work with students, they will work with us. They want to grow up to be happy, healthy members of society. They look our way for guidance. When we give up on them, we are really giving up on ourselves. That can't happen.”

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Now, years later, after retiring from that school system, Dr McGrath is the Headmaster of the Thai-Chinese International School. He brings with him 30 plus years of experience, and a sincere hope for the future of the children under his care. “I never wanted to stop helping people learn,” he said. “Retirement was not an option for me. I looked where I could teach, and chose Thailand because I've always loved Asia.” When he was younger, he won the world Tae Kwon Do championship in Malaysia and knew from that moment that he wanted to return to Asia. “That was one of my first looks at the outside world,” he said. “It showed me that there were people different than the people I grew up with and me. I saw, though, that while we are different, we are all human. We all have the same desires and drives. We all want the good life. As an adult, I see it as my job to do what I can to remind people of that, and work with people to show them the way.” McGrath says that he views teaching and running a school not as only helping the children in your care, but in helping the larger community for years to come. In a way, educators create a legacy of good that radiates out across the world. “Working in education creates a continuity,” he said. “From one generation reaching to the next, who will then


“ I never wanted to stop helping people learn ” reach the generation after that. You aren't teaching one child or 10 children. You are teaching everyone whose lives they will affect in the future.” He spent his first four years in Thailand at the American School of Bangkok, but was constantly looking for a new challenge. At the Thai-Chinese International School, he found it. “It wasn't only the exceptional reputation of the school,” he said. “It was that they have a history of stressing the importance of trilingualism. I've always thought that that was the key to success. It broadens the mind, increases creativity,

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and helps you communicate better with others. It is a skill that is needed to compete in the 21st century.” He knows this from direct experience. Both of his children are multilingual, with one speaking five languages. “My children are my inspiration when it comes to trilingualism,” he said. “They have the world at their fingers. One is in theatre arts, and the other is a writer. They can use their languages to communicate with the world and find success wherever they go.” Trilingualism is very close to Dr McGrath's heart, and a real passion.

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Education

“People today talk a lot about how we need to teach STEM courses,” he said. “And it's true. We do. But not at the expense of multiple languages. If I speak one language, I can communicate where I am. If I speak two, that broadens my world. But with three languages you can communicate across the globe. You can have a great idea in STEM – but if you can't communicate, you can't get it out there. You need the ability to stretch your mind and incorporate great ideas.” Dr McGrath comes from a line of educators. Both of his parents were principals. “Education is my chance to give back to society and help nurture its growth,” he said. “I chose The Thai-Chinese International School because it gives me a great chance to work one-on-one with both teachers and students and promote trilingual education to the world at large.” He notes that the trilingual education at the Thai-Chinese International School has been a huge success.

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“Speaking multiple languages helps people become more creative,” he said. “It helps you even not matter what career path you choose. You need to be able to think outside the box and find new solutions. It shows you ways to transmit your ideas to others and to relate to how they feel. You can forge connections that will help you throughout your life.” He has now spent five years at the Thai-Chinese International School, and believes it is where he will be for the rest of his life. “I was here yesterday. I'm here today. I'll be here tomorrow,” he said. “Trilingualism matters. Education matters. Nothing is more important than learning and passing on the knowledge you acquire to others. This is where I was meant to be. This is the best school in the world, and we are constantly working to make it even better.”

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Reviews

Connecting generations through superior craftsmanship and innovation since 1845 In 1845 when Swiss émigré John Moses Brunswick create his first billiards table from his custom carriage shop in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA this was the founding of the oldest and most respected premium brand of quality billiards tables and accessories in the world. Brunswick today is synonymous with the heritage of the game, accuracy and perfection of play and the craftsmanship inherent in its product’s build quality.

Commercial use Brunswick billiards tables are found in hotels and resorts, private clubhouses, distinctive restaurant lounges and bars, games rooms, recreation centres and dedicated billiards halls. The Brunswick Gold Crown has reigned as the industry’s best playing competition pool table since 1961.

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Home use Today architects, interior designers, home owners, and hospitality entrepreneurs choose Brunswick billiard tables, games room furnishings, billiards accessories, shuffleboard, foosball and table tennis products for their durability and connection to the Brunswick billiard’s brand heritage. Brunswick billiards tables and accessories are the focal point of family activity rooms, media rooms, and “man caves’. Leading designers utilise Brunswick tables as they would any other finely crafted furniture to create beautiful, contemporary, traditional, eclectic, or unique personal themed spaces, in private homes, clubhouses, or work spaces. The trend today is for families to invest in their homes and use them for entertaining family and friends in a relaxing, fun and safe environment.

Quality heirloom products Inside a Brunswick table you will see innovation after innovation. Every Brunswick table is a timeless tribute to excellence in design and workmanship as well as accuracy of play. Brunswick tables feature one inch slate framed in solid wood and a playing surface of 100% lamb’s wool bathed in Teflon. Once you have played on a Brunswick table you will instantly feel the difference. Proud to stand behind every product that carries the Brunswick name, the tables are guaranteed for a lifetime.

Active recreation Sports Engineering And Recreation Asia (SEARA) Ltd is the exclusive regional supplier for quality Brunswick Corporation products including Brunswick Billiards, Life Fitness and Hammer Strength home and commercial fitness products.

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Travel

The Royal Palaces of Rajasthan by Harris Woodman

Although there are royal residences all over the north western state of Rajasthan I centred myself in Jodhpur, the second largest city in the state popularly known as the Blue City. The name is clearly befitting as many of the houses in the old city are shades of vivid blue. This is particularly noticeable on the north side of the town, known as Brahmpuri for the many Brahmins that live there. Blue apparently repels the mosquitoes. It is located 535kms (roughly 5 hours by car) from Jaipur, 200kms from the city of Ajmer, 300kms from the Pakistan border and 1.5 hours by air from Mumbai. It was formerly the seat of the princely state of the same name, the capital of the kingdom known as Marwar. Jodhpur is a popular tourist destination, featuring many palaces, forts and temples set in the stark landscape of the Thar desert. The climate of Jodhpur is generally hot and semi arid, but with a rainy season from late June to September when I went. Temperatures are extreme throughout the period March to October except when the monsoon rains produce thick clouds to lower it slightly. In the months of April, May and June, high temperatures routinely exceed 40/45C making it uncomfortable. However the city’s generally low humidity rises and this adds to the normal discomfort from the heat. The city is also known as the “Sun City” from the bright sunny weather it enjoys all year round. The main attraction in the city is the 15th century Mehrangarh Fort which is a former palace that’s now a museum, displaying weapons, paintings and elaborate royal palanquins (sedan chairs). The old city circles the fort and is bounded by a wall with several gates. Rising perpendicular and impregnable from a hill which is 125 metres above Jodhpur’s skyline this historic fort is one of the most famous in India and is packed with history and legends. It still bears the imprints of cannonball attacks courtesy the armies of Jaipur on its second gate. Chiselled

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and sturdy, the fort is known for its exquisite latticed windows, carved panels, intricately decorated windows and walls of Moti Mahal, Phool Mahal and Sheesh Mahal. The city has expanded greatly outside the wall over the recent past. I visited the fort and spent 2 hours wandering round admiring the views across the city and countryside and the intricate architecture within its walls. Jodhpur lies near the geographic centre of the Rajasthan state making it a convenient base for travel in a region much frequented by tourists. I based myself at the Vivanta by Taj Mari Hari, which was an excellent choice as the venue was opulent and very comfortable, the standards of hospitality and service offered

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by the General Manager Mr Vijay and his staff were first class, beyond expectations. The intricately carved arches and delicate jharokhas transported me to a different era and the hotel was so large that in most areas I went I was alone The staff in all departments were polite, genial and could not do enough to make my stay pleasant. The building originally built in 1922 for the Maharaja Hari Singh had long corridors of marble with high ceilings which were tastefully decorated with art, sculptures and flowers. The hotel has 90 rooms and 3 suites and was very comfortable and provided an oasis and sanctuary to me in the urban jungle of Jodhpur city with its sights, smells and chaos on the dusty, dirty streets. I can highly recommend this hotel and will return myself to experience the excellent service standards of Tajness as Mr Vijay named it. One of the reasons I relished my visit to Jodhpur is that it is because it’s a wanderer and a photographer’s paradise. The colours, textures, the architecture and the people are just some of the many reasons why it is a photo opportunity on every corner. I swear even the way that people languidly sit on their front steps is better than any professional model can pose. Women sweeping the roads and the trash wearing colourful saris to me just looks stunning. At times, it feels like you are driving through a Hollywood set while you sit cocooned in the hotel car driving through the crowded streets, horns blaring to avoid hitting cows, dogs, and street vendors. Motorbikes everywhere, it’s a cacophony of sounds, smells and chaos, but somehow it all works. The roads are in an appalling state as the rains have created potholes and washed away the surfaces. Umaid Bhawan Palace is another impressive landmark for the city and is the current home of The residence of Maharaja Gaj Singh II. It was built by his grandfather Maharaja Umaid Singh in 1929 to counter a famine which

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had hit the state at the time. It was also known as the Chittar Palace while being constructed thanks to the use of stones drawn from the Chittar Hill. The palace was designed by HV Lanchester, a renowned British architect, and was completed in 16 years. Built with sandstone and marble, the architecture of the palace is described as a blend of lndo-Saracenic, classical revival and Western art deco styles. It is recognised as one of the largest private homes in the world and also one of the more spectacular buildings. It is the only palace built in the 20th century. However all around the state there are royal palaces that you can visit and even stay in. I was invited to stay in a fort called Rohet Garh about 40kms from Jodhpur city centre. Totally anonymous you would never know it was there if you were not delivered or collected. Rohet Garh is a 29 bedroom boutique hotel based in Rohet village some 40kms from the centre of Jodhpur. The owners of Rohet Garh also own and operate Mihir Garh, the Fort of the Sun out in the desert perhaps 40 minutes or so from Rohet Village. This is a luxury resort hidden away far from the madding crowds with just 9 magnificent suites. I hope to get invited to stay there next time I visit Rajasthan to experience the solitude and unrivalled luxury that the resort offers. There are 3/4 main seasons in Rajasthan summer which is so scorchingly hot that they close for 2 months in June and July, the rainy season which starts late July and runs to September and winter which I am told is warm sunshine during the day but the nights can get down to as low as 7C. It was my first real foray into rural India but I loved it and I cannot wait to return to explore more. To meet the people and experience the sights, smells, sounds - a feast for the senses.

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Travel

Stockholm in my heart! by Agneta de Bekassy

Sweden's capital Stockholm, is often called the "Venice of the North". This city is built on fourteen islands and on the banks of the archipelago where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea. The city centre is virtually situated on water: Over 30% of the city area consists of water and green parks. All fourteen islands are connected by 57 bridges. Gamla Stan (the old town) is located on a small island. Here you will find plenty of restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques on the winding streets. You also find the Royal Castle and the

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world's most long-established bank: the Bank of Sweden, founded in 1656. From downtown Stockholm it's easy to catch a boat and to visit the islands. There are approximately 24,000 islands and islets to choose from. There are plenty of interesting places to visit in and around Stockholm. Amongst the top ten are: Gamla Stan (Old town), The Royal Palace, The Vasa Museum, Skansen, an open

EXPAT LIFE in Thailand

air museum, Fotografiska, The City Hall, Moderna Museet (The Modern Museum), boat sightseeing, Royal National City Park, Sky View (on the top of the Globe). The Globe looks like a huge golf ball and here you can attend sports events, concerts, musicals, etc.

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If you desire a long walk in the most beautiful of surroundings, I suggest a walk on Djurgården. Here you will find beautiful paths to follow, e.g., Kronprinessan Victoria och Prins Daniel's kärleksstig (Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel's love path), a gift to the city when they got married. At Djurgården you also will find the ABBA Museum, a constant exhibition. Everywhere in Stockholm you can hire a bike. In all Scandinavia, it has become very popular to rent a bike. Where to stay if you visit Stockholm? The city offers plenty of hotels in all price categories. The most famous and exclusive hotel is the Grand Hotel, located at Nybroviken overlooking a part of the harbour. Here VIP guests stay when visiting

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Stockholm. At Djurgården, we have Villa Hasselbacken and Villa Källhagen, both very popular and beautiful hotels. Villa Källhagen is located only a few metres from the waterfront in very green surroundings. It is a popular place for summer weddings. Sweden has never been very famous for its cuisine, but there is a lot more than meatballs with mashed potatoes and Lingon berries (Cranberries). In fact, our country offers a lot of beautiful raw products. We have plenty of fish and seafood, meat like moose, venison, boar, and beef. We also have lots of very good tasting bread. In summer, I suggest you take a boat out to Fjäderholmarna, a beautiful island with restaurants serving traditional Swedish food which comes with a beautiful view over the sea. Sandhamn is another popular island. Here you find Stockholm high society, enjoying the maritime atmosphere and all the good restaurants. If you are brave, you can take a dip into the frigid sea, seldom more than 22-23 degrees Celsius. If you ask me to describe it today, I would say Stockholm is a young and trendy city. All the popular international brand labels you can find at NK (The Nordic Company), the biggest and finest department store in the city. NK

became well known after the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Anna Lind, was stabbed in the store on September 10th, 2003. At famous Biblioteksgatan (Library Street) you will also find many of the same best known brands. Today, I find that Stockholm offers everything a modern city should have. Let me tell you a few facts about Stockholm, starting with the Royal Palace. The Palace is the official residence and the Major Royal Palace of the Swedish monarchy, now inhabited by Carl the 16th Gustav. This palace was built in Baroque Style by the architects Nicodemus Tessin the Younger and Carl Hårleman. It was opened in December 7th, 1754, and was renovated in 2011. If you want to learn more about the Palace, I recommend a guided tour. The King and Queen Silvia live at a Palace located in Drottningholm which is

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situated and built on the island of Lovön. This beautiful castle was built in the late 16th century. Drottningholm Palace is one of Stockholm's three World Heritage Sites. It's a nice excursion to visit Drottningholm. The combination of the exotic Chinese Pavilion Pleasure Palace, the Palace Theatre and the magnificent gardens, combine to make a unique experience. The Palace Drottningholm was built by architect Nicodemus Tessin the Elder under a commission by Queen Hedvig Eleonora. Part of the palace is open to the public year round. Crown Princess Victoria, with her family, lives at Haga Slott (Haga Castle) outside Stockholm. This castle was the birthplace and early home of King Carl, the 16th Gustav. The family of the Crown Princess moved to Haga in 2010. A number of rooms in the main apartment are used for the Crown Princess Couple's representation. The Haga Castle was designed by Carl Christoffer Gjörwell (1766-1837) and the building was completed by late 1805. Today the castle has been renovated to suit a family lifestyle with small children. Crown Princess Victoria's younger sister Princess Madeleine divides her time between Sweden and England, and their brother Prince Carl Philip and his wife, Princess Sofia, are living at

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Djurgården with their son Alexander and are soon expecting their second child. If you visit Stockholm, I think you should pay a visit to the Vasa Museum. This is today the most visited museum in all of Scandinavia, with more than one million visitors every year. It's a maritime museum located on Djurgården. The museum displays the only, almost fully intact, 17th Century frigate ship that has been salvaged, the 64 cannon warship “Vasa” which sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. The museum was opened in 1990. In 1981 the Swedish government decided that a permanent Vasa Museum was to be constructed and a competition for the design of the museum building was organised. 384 architects sent in models of their ideas and the final winners were Marianne Dahlbäck and Göran Månsson with "ASK" (BOX). The inauguration ceremony took place on November 2nd, 1987. The museum also features three other museum ships moored in the harbour outside: the icebreaker Sankt Erik, the light vessel Finngrundet and the torpedo boat Spica. Talking about Djurgården, if you feel youthful and childlike, visit the amusement Park Gröna Lund. Here you will find all kinds of attractions and

EXPAT LIFE in Thailand

on the big stage, you can listen to live bands with artists of varying fame. Stockholm is absolutely fantastic in the summer, but honestly, it is also very charming in winter time. A stroll in the Old Town, shortly before Christmas, is a wonderful experience. Here you can enjoy a hot, spicy wine called Glögg in Swedish and crispy gingerbreads or a Hot Dog, the old fashion way. Go skating in Kungsträdgården or just walk around and admire the Christmas decorations. The Swedish population is especially known for decorating their homes at Christmas. In every window you will see small lamps giving an inviting heartwarming feeling. As the winters are long and very dark, the people do everything they can to lighten it up. I can warmly recommend a visit to Stockholm, in my eyes, one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

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Property

Bangkok relocation tips: Your pre-flight checklist Moving house, so they say, is the most stressful event after a family breakup or losing one’s job. Lekky Iamyoung believes it. The owner of specialist expat home search firm 1D Property says: “It’s a highly charged, emotional time. You’re making pressure decisions every day for weeks. I faced the same hurdles when I relocated back to Thailand with my Aussie husband and daughter after more than 20 years in Australia. Believe me I’ve been there!” That’s one of the reasons why Lekky gets many of her referrals from mothers at Bangkok’s international schools. “I’m both an expat mom and a Thai. Finding a home for my clients is the easier bit; mostly it’s about being a trusted, friendly workaholic who does all the stressing for you!” she laughs. We picked a few tips from Lekky’s relocation checklist. 1. Make the search for an agent your No 1 priority The real estate industry in Thailand is unregulated, with plenty of pitfalls for the unwary newbie. Finding a professional, trustworthy agent will save you several headaches. Not all agents are the same and Lekky suggests choosing a registered company with verifiable client testimonials and a visible, accessible owner: “Many websites have thousands of duplicate, mostly expired listings but no human face. Where is the personal service, work ethic or accountability?” 2. Put your agent to work before you arrive The best agents spend a lot of time discussing your personal circumstances and lifestyle. “I prefer to do my homework before my client arrives in Bangkok so I have several properties lined up. It’s a major stress reliever! A good agent should also come with lots of free advice about things like shopping budgets, internet and phone, bank accounts, TV streaming, football pubs, etc.” 3. Location and lifestyle That enchanting house with a garden and swimming pool in a secure compound 15 kilometres away from Sukhumvit Road may sound charming but if you like eating out then it can quickly become a lonely place, says Lekky. “The two most important things are your commute to work and lifestyle, which for many expats often means the BTS Skytrain routes in Sukhumvit or Silom.” 4. Tap into an expat network early Professional standards are not what you’re used to at home. In this environment, word of mouth is gold and the

cream rises to the top eventually. Lekky strongly advises tapping international schools’ good parent community networks. 5. Know your budget The perception that Bangkok is cheap is dating quickly. It’s not yet Singapore or Sydney – and many household items are cheaper than home – but if you like eating out or buying international brands then it’s pricier than you think. Don’t make assumptions – there are a number of expat websites with quite accurate budgeting tools. 6. Don’t take pets lightly Bangkok isn’t the best place for pets. Most condos and apartments ban pets (cats are marginally easier), territorial strays roam the streets and public parks don’t allow dogs. It can be done but Lekky advises making pets a big ticket item in your relocation plan. Bringing your pets to Bangkok is straightforward on paper but the reality can be different. “We had an awful experience with heartless customs officers at the airport despite having all our papers,” Lekky says. She recommends using a company with direct Thailand experience that’s prepared to take door-to-door responsibility. 1D Property Co., Ltd is a registered company in Thailand, focused on providing Bangkok expat families with a highly personal, professional and ethical home search service. Lekky can be reached at: Tel: +66 8 6413 0974 | Email: 1dproperty@1dproperty.com Website: 1dproperty.com Line: @1dproperty | Facebook: 1dpropertybangkok EXPAT LIFE in Thailand

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Travel

Tulum in Mexico by Neil Brook

Sometimes the best travel adventures are spur of the moment, throw caution to the wind journeys that reward with incredible experiences and end with promises to return. Heeding a friend’s advice on a recent visit to Cancun and after a day in which to me is quite a sterile, could be anywhere type of place, I hired a car, booked a guesthouse and sped off to explore Tulum an hour and a half south. While it's undeniable the sand is white and sea is clear and blue in Cancun, the entire Riviera Maya is blessed with what is surely some of the clearest ocean in the world. Tulum provides a more authentic Mexican vacation spot devoid of the high rise hotels littering the beach at its northern neighbour, where instead, ecotourism is front and foremost in the minds of locals where it's hard to spot the number of beachside clubs and hotels hidden beneath the trees clinging to the sand along an almost endless coastline being washed daily by the same unbelievably clear, blue water.

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Long ago Tulum provided the gateway and lifeline to the inland city of Coba though it's port and the area is treasure trove of ancient Mayan ruins where one of the most advanced pre western civilisations flourished. Skilled astronomers and mathematicians, they developed a written language and were the first to cultivate chocolate! I've chosen the Secret Garden Hotel, a small hotel with a few rooms built around a central garden (surprisingly!) perfectly located a block back from the main street. Having downloaded an offline Google map finding my way around proves easy although the hotel doesn't come up on an offline search. Note to self for next time. The street however does and after a few kind directions from another hotel reception I am relieved to know I am on the right track, a few hundred metres along. Dropping off my bags I consider leaving the car at the hotel and walking to explore. A thought relegated to the trash heap after the local sightseeing map provided by the hotel proved very useful, however was not drawn to scale. Hiring a bike seems a popular way to get around, however it's a distance to the site and with the temperature pushing 35 degrees, well good luck with that!  Back in the car I head

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down to visit the ruins which date back over 1500 years. El Castillo is perhaps the most recognisable image of Tulum. Sitting on the cliffs twelve metres above the sea crashing below it’s the focal point of an archaeological site with perhaps the most stunning view in the world. I'm surprised to see steps leading down to a beach, tucked in under the shadow of the castle looking down from above as the ebbing tide allows towels to be laid out on the sand while the water invites with gentle waves. Sharing the sand with a select group this is private beach club privilege without the minimum spend, except for the $4 site entry fee. I'm not prepared for this so give the sea a miss although in the heat I would no doubt be dry in minutes. Others have weighed up the odds and splash about with gay abandon. I've parked the car along the beach road and walked into the ruins so while driving back ‘happy hour margaritas’ grabs my attention. I drop off the car, hail a cab and allow Mezzanine, as the name suggests, a cool spot sitting above the rocks, to draw me in. While others sit on the deck I follow the steps near the bar that head down to the beach and settle into a nook in the wall with two chairs and a table a metre from the sand. A turtle nest roped off with a warning not to touch greets as I pop to the beach for a swim (now I'm prepared). Fans of David Attenborough or National Geo will be familiar with the plight of the annual migration of sea turtles and their offsprings’ struggles for survival. If you're lucky you'll witness the mothers climbing up the beach or the babies dashing for the sea. Only 1-2% survive and the locals do everything they can to give them the best chance. Anyway, it’s Mexico so the Margaritas are alway good. Frozen suits me although they don't remain frozen for long and I'm soon adding ice into my second one as I sip quickly to stop the melting ice overflowing the glass.

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While Tequila is synonymous with Mexico, once you've visited, Mezcal will be on the tip of your lips. At least it should be at least once. Sipped like a fine Cognac or Scotch it will either get you going or knock you out. Forget the stories you've heard about eating the worm at the bottom of the bottle. You won't find this grub in the good stuff! Tulum has taken ecotourism under its wings and many restaurants and hotels here operate with solar power, use organic produce, grow their own fruit and veg and even raise and prepare their own animals. Zero carbon footprint is the goal and many are close to and some have achieved this. The rest of the world take note. Restaurants prefer not to hand out plastic straws as they point to images of distressed turtles displayed on tables. The USA alone uses enough plastic straws to wrap around the world 2½ times EACH day! Something to think about where you're snipping your next cocktail. Besides Margaritas taste better when you lick the salt on the rim of the glass. There's a ‘jungle kitchen’ across the street hidden in the trees. Octopus is on many menus here and the chargrilled tentacles emerge from the open kitchen perfectly cooked, tender and a little crunchy on the ends. A Tequila cocktail of some sort washes it down. The next day I'm heading into the jungle to explore Coba, 45kms inland, the site of ancient Mayan ruins dating back to 600-900 AD where they struggle to free themselves from the trees, reminiscent of those in Angkor Wat. Along

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the road I pass through a small town where the main street is lined with shops and boutiques. Beautifully ornate hangings, furniture and hammocks in every imaginable colour spill out onto the footpaths. I'll browse on the way back as everything I've read advises to get to Coba early. I arrive just before eight when the site opens with only a handful of others although not before the sat nav guides me down the wrong roundabout exit. I've heard the stories of people being blindly guided over cliffs and down dark alleys and as I can still read the street signs which are positioned to guide even the novice explorer, I turn if off and follow my nose on the way back. Hiring a bike I peddle around the jungle exploring like Lara Croft or perhaps Indiana Jones and head for Nohoch Mul Pyramid, the tallest pyramid on the Yucatán Peninsula. You can still climb this one, although I guess it's only a matter of time. Unlike the Egyptian pyramids which were built to house the remains of royalty, these are stepped, so you can climb closer to the stars. Forty-two metres and 120 steps up the panorama over the canopy of trees is awe inspiring as the ruins of stone towers pop up here and there through the greenery. Weaving in and out along the dirt tracks there are towers and huge monoliths craved with artwork standing like tombstones around almost every corner and it's incredible to be a solitary explorer at most of them. Hitting the exit just as the tour buses start dumping the masses I am ready to explore the cenotes. Perfect timing. Cenotes are sink holes that form limestone caves with sparkling clear waterholes and they are scattered all over the place. After trekking through the jungle I am ready for a swim, although not before showering to keep the water pristine. Descending the winding staircases into the earth where spotlights illuminate the dim and the luxury of fans stir up the air, you can see the bottom of the pools which in some places are thirty metres deep. There are three cenotes close to Coba (Tamcach-Ha, Choo-Ha, Multum-Ha) and as they are down windy dirt roads they are secluded and quiet. The tour

groups are relegated to the largest ones lining the highways where carparks can accommodate tour busses by the dozen and where swimming resembles a public swimming pool on a hot summer's day. Here however after waiting for one couple to leave, I am alone, floating on my back looking at the stalagmites hanging from the ceiling and playing with the few fish that have somehow found their way here while bats and birds dart about. I've worked up an appetite and have already decided on El Camillo Jr back in Tulum. The ceviche here is said to be one the best anywhere and I'll second that. Their mixed ceviche with prawns, fish, octopus and sea snails is delicious. I order the small and am thankful as it’s enough to feed a small army. There's a limit to how much raw fish I can eat at once however most locals are tucking into large portions resembling seafood platters. And that includes the kids. An obligatory Cerveza from a list of twenty local brews while dipping homemade corn chips into a spicy molé (like chocolate sauce with a kick) completes a lunch that will keep me going until dinner. I am always planning my next meal! The drive back to Cancun is easy and I follow the signs, although the speed limit seems to change with concerning frequency for no apparent reason. I see some signs that are barely legible, the numbers faded into oblivion by the scorching sun. Perhaps they were meant for the road before the highway connected the dots along the coast? I decide to follow the flow of traffic although I settle at 120km/hr in my little three door compact as others fly past.

Neil Brook will try anything once and agrees with the bizarre foods motto, if it looks good eat it! He now calls Vietnam home and is looking forward to discovering more of Asia, making the most of this opportunity. A regular contributor to the Aussie travel site The Big Bus Tour and Travel Guide he enjoys sharing his experiences, endeavouring to create a fresh perspective as he travels the globe. @treadingtheglobe I www.treadingtheglobe.com

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Ubud Bali; Let’s recharge! by Margaret Elizabeth Johnston

Staying healthy as one travels is always a challenge. Whether it is healthy food choices or trying to work out in your hotel room, making sure you walk enough and drink enough water without your kitchen at hand can make or break a holiday. I have been having a roaming “holiday” and more like a sabbatical as of late with living in different SE Asian countries. I am leaving Bali Indonesia in a few weeks after spending 3 full months in Ubud, the world yoga capitol and vegan/vegetarian centre at same time, they seem to go hand in hand. I was vegetarian for 15 years “back in the day” but since have slipped back into average ways with eating, yes, still healthy, but having dairy and meat too. I now have been back on the meat and dairy free programme and the lightness of being and pure energy I have been feeling is certain. Of course, since I am doing yoga everyday too, it is a bonus! Ubud is a place where one can come to rejuvenate, go for yoga, spa treatments, eat healthy easily and enjoy the cool of the mountain air here on Bali. It is a centre for healing; mental, physical, emotional and even spiritual. Hinduism is what prevails and the Balinese families live their spirituality, in every moment of their waking time they are aware of the deities and the desire to appease them, thank them, pay homage and respect.

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The amount of temples and incense burning surpasses anywhere else I have seen so far in SE Asia. One can find accommodation in beautiful hotels with a pool for $15 a night (I was in Pande Permai Bungalows off Agoda and had the Superior Delux air con room for $15 night and it was absolutely fabulous) or rent through airb&b for about $450 a month and have a decent place to call home for a time. I have met a lot of health leaders that charge a fair amount for a health programme, package deals to come and just indulge in all Ubud has to offer. However if you want to go it alone it is easy to do. I came here and joined the unlimited pass at Yoga Barn for a month for $200, there are over 13 classes a day including all different types of yoga for the beginner to the advanced, sound medicine healing’s with indigenous instruments, a selection of guided meditation classes to choose from and even some Thai Yoga Massage

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and Acro yoga to learn! Kundalini and Pranayama breathe work classes, ecstatic dance evenings and Sunday free form dance were the highlights for me! There is a holistic health café with wheatgrass shots, jamu (a turmeric/ginger/lime/ honey drink famous in Bali), smoothies of all sorts, brown/red rice dishes with tofu/tempeh and veggies. Fruit bowls, vegan and raw food choices, teas and coffees, elixirs for health and snacks made with fresh ingredients. Yoga Barn truly is an “all-in-one” experience. One can come to Ubud and give themselves their own mini retreat just buy putting themselves up in a nice hotel/homestay for the month and buying the YB unlimited class card. If you go 2 times a day that is just over $3 a class, it is well worth it! There are 10-20 class cards available too but this isn’t a sales pitch for YB, this is just one of the many ideas that I am suggesting for a healthy easy retreat that doesn’t cost a lot. There are a few other centres too, Radiantly Alive and Intuitive Flow are the other two well known yoga/meditation centres. I am offering a list of some of the better restaurants for vegan/raw food or vegetarians: Seeds of Life, Soma, Moksa, Alchemy, Clear, Atman, Bali Buda, Mudra and Sayuri. There are many others but these cater for the extremely advanced health conscious person and you can refill your water bottles at these places also. Bali Buda has a healthfood store around the corner from the restaurant and there is a used bookstore of good value called Ganesh next door. If yoga isn’t your thing, there is a good gym called Ubud Fitness Centre and one can buy a week or month pass. It has all the normal cardio equipment and air con/café/changing rooms. There is also aerobics and some dance. The main attractions, or shall I say “experience’s” the health and spiritual seekers seem to flock to is the Tempak Siring Temple, the Pyrmids of Chi, Akasha and a few Ashrams in Ubud. The little village is no longer little anymore and has grown over the years with galleries, massage centres, little local yoga centres, clothes and jewellery for the yogi and/or metaphysical person. Crystal shops, tarot cards, sacred geometry designs on T shirts and made out of metal to hang in your windows. The whole Ubud vibration is about

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raising your mindset to another level of awareness and I feel that even though it may be a bit overkill, it is a fabulous place for likeminded souls in the health and spiritual family to come together and for the novice to explore new ways of living and thinking without feeling threatened. As usual, I have been carrying around my suitcase with my art portfolio and paints ready to get to work when inspired. The last painting I did in Ubud is this magnolia painting called Blooming Radiance. “The Dance of Shiva is a well-recognised symbol/deity in Hindu mythology; it is the continual dance of creation and destruction involving the whole cosmos; the basis of all existence and of all natural phenomena. I represented this is my own way by incorporating the Ring of Fire that surrounds Shiva in combination with rays of sun shooting from the centre through the darkness. The magnolia is a symbol of strength and endurance yet with a gentle unfolding. We are all capable of connecting with the One, reminding us of our own inner light that can shine forth through any turmoil, being receptive to uplifting and healing qualities that flow through the universe to guide our way on. Sometimes we may get lost in the darkness and then from somewhere within we can remember and bloom again. There will always be death and rebirth, dark and light, self-doubt and amazement. Being in Ubud has set me on a rather "esoteric" path. It is exciting to see what happens when I allow myself to "step out of the box" on paper with my art and a way for me to express what I am going through visually. I will be "off the beaten track" with my artwork for a while but something else may develop as I go. I highly recommend Ubud in Bali for a place to recharge, recreate or discover new ways to be healthy, happy and harmonious in your life! Journey's are gifts to ourselves, the ups and the downs, the all of it. Our inner journey is also worth taking.

Margaret Elizabeth Johnston ND enjoys travelling through different countries to explore new ways of living that may inspire her paintings, writings and teachings. Holistic health is a way of life for Margaret as she hopes to ignite in others some fresh ideas and paths that can be taken. You can follow her journey through her website or Facebook: www.mejcreations.com EXPAT LIFE in Thailand

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Luang Prabang - the UNESCO World Heritage site in Laos by Harris Woodman

Luang Prabang is a province of Laos, located in the north of the country. Its capital of the same name, Luang Prabang, was the capital of Lane Xang Kingdom during the 13th to 16th centuries.

It has been listed since 1995 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for unique architectural, religious and cultural heritage, a blend of the rural and urban developments over several centuries, including the French colonial influences during the 19th and 20th centuries. Situated roughly 646 miles from Bangkok and 7 hours drive by car. The surrounding countryside is stunningly beautiful with forested mountains all around shrouded by low hanging clouds - enchanting after the grid locked concrete chaos of downtown Bangkok. The climate was cooler and certainly more pleasant than Bangkok, 1376 miles from the equator, coordinates 19°53′09″ N, 102°08′06″ E and with a population of 47,378 and was founded approximately 1,200 years ago.

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I recommend that you drive as the roads are safe, traffic relatively pleasant and well mannered after Thailand and it is useful to have a car to visit the surrounding countryside and see the countryside which is green and verdant. As Luang Prabang is between 700 –1,800 metres (2,300–5,900 ft) above sea level the climate made a pleasant change from the humid heat of Thailand. We went in late July whilst in the rainy season so it rained at night and showered throughout the day but it was tropical rain not like the grey miserable dampness we know from Northern Europe. We had booked a long weekend in Maison Souvannaphoum, run by The Banyan Tree Group, the former home of the Prince of Laos before it was a democracy. A boutique property in keeping with the rest of the UNESCO

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World Heritage site that has mostly kept the town in it’s original style. The hotel has only only 20 rooms in the Garden Wing, each with their own balcony overlooking the gardens and four further rooms in the main building. Although it is rumoured that a new wing is being built soon which will increase the accommodation compliment. Bordered by rivers the Mekong begins in the Lasagongma Spring which is in the plateaus of Tibet, the disputed part of China, and flows about 2,703 miles (4,350 km) Southeast to the South China Sea off Vietnam. And the Mae Kok River, a tributary of the Mekong that flows from the east but angles north just before the confluence of the two rivers. The locals here are water people. Fishermen and farmers now buoyed by the tourism industry. We saw many Chinese, Japanese, Thai

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and Koreans and of course Northern Europeans and Americans. Pretty cosmopolitan all said and the town is now centred around tourism from the day and night markets selling arts and crafts, silverware and paintings, clothes, shoes and souvenirs. I am not sleeping too well at the moment and even that had its advantages as we got up at 5am the first morning after hearing the monks wake up call to go for a stroll and saw mostly the younger monks in their saffron robes collecting alms. A long snaking queue with their bowls, but

things have moved on and as well as accepting rice, as is the norm, they now accept crisps, snacks and candy, and even have accomplices with them that carry plastic bags to collect the booty. This is obviously fuelled by the local women that have set up stalls, just tables in the road loaded down with said products which they sell enthusiastically to all of the tourists and sightseers who come to observe and pay respect to the tradition and Buddha.

“ Their are several Wat’s and temples situated in the city at various strategic locations amongst the old shophouses, guesthouses and alleys linking the circular main, supposedly one way, streets. �

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Travel

We chose to make a cash donation, much to the dismay of the local ladies that hustle every 100 metres. It was good to see the monks collecting though and even giving back to several local children and small family groups seeking to share in the offering from the locals and tourists. Their are several Wat’s and temples (photographic opportunities) situated in the city at various strategic locations amongst the old shophouses, guesthouses and alleys linking the circular main, supposedly one way, streets. Traffic is not heavy though and one just has to be mindful of the many tour minivans and three wheeled tuk tuk’s (motorbikes with a cart on the back and no suspension - well the only one we tried didn’t!). They seem to claim precedence of the road along with the mud splattered pick up trucks and four wheelers. I enjoyed wandering round the street markets and plastic sheets on the side of the road where the locals display their handmade embroideries, scarves, blankets and rattan goods and bartering with the vendors. We also walked through the vegetable, fish and meat markets but as the morning sun rose and the heat increased we retreated back to the hotel. The local fish and meat came complete with hoards of flies, bluebottles and oddly enough bees. I think that they came with the produce so make sure to eat in the hotels and established restaurants - the locals must be immune!

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Back to the hotel and as it is a Banyan Tree property it had a wonderful spa where I had a 90 minute treatment that was the best massage I had had in years, and I have massage at least once a week. The full body treatment was firm and strong and she stretched and kneaded me perfectly making me feel refreshed yet calm and serene. It was so good I went back the following two days in a row. I just couldn’t get enough of it! The food at the hotel was first class, we made the mistake of choosing a local restaurant to eat out at, which even boasted a cookery school, but the food and or service was not nearly as good as at Maison

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Souvannaphoum. The staff were very gracious and showed great pleasure in serving us - thank you Joy and all the waiters in the dining room. I enjoyed visiting the street markets and the larger town market - I can never resist a bargain but I think that the vendors were not ready for my negotiating skills. The young children manning the stalls got the best deals from me. I could not be too hard on them but was slightly perturbed when one little sweet girl told us that she had finished school at 12. Sad but I guess a true reflection of life in Laos.

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Living on the poverty line made selling local arts and crafts for the family take precedence over her education. We drove up into the hills and the forests surrounding the city and there one could see the hardship. They seemed to be a happy race though and not as sharp as the Thai’s. Laos seemed to be perhaps 10 years behind Thailand. I felt that the countryside was prettier but I do wish that someone would teach the locals in SE Asia to look after the environment and how to dispose of their garbage both ethically and responsibly. It creates such a scar on the countryside, we even saw fly tipping up in the hills - why? Governments, communities and the

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authorities have to come down heavy on perpetrators to stamp this out. We visited the quieter Wat’s and climbed the many steps making me realise both my age and how dreadfully unfit I am - why do Buddhists place their temples at the top of steep mountains? I get how they can been seen by all around but surely they preclude the older generation from visiting and following their faith. Having said that when we did catch our breath and my vision was eventually restored the views were beautiful so I guess its a case of rewarding faith and effort. We crossed the Mekong river to the other bank to get a better view of Luang Prabang on a strange diesel boat with two platforms either side crowded with motorcycles, cars, and

people. Health and safety would not have approved in the western world but the locals were unperturbed and it did the job adequately. It was cheap for the motorcycle we had hired and two passengers and the town was quite safe riding the little motorbike around. We climbed the steep stony hill into the riverside village and beyond, which my girlfriend found frightening, and were met with muddy tracks and unmade roads but again the children and women in the streets seemed quite happy presumably the men folk were away earning, farming, driving, in industry or working serving the tourist trade. I enjoyed Laos and will definitely go again with so much of the country yet to explore. A special mention to all the staff that made our stay at Maison Souvannaphoum so pleasant. We were only there for 4 days but were met with cheery smiles and greetings wherever we encountered them and I wanted to take the masseuse home with me!

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Property

Mae Phim beach in Rayong province King Taksin of Thailand came to Rayong after the fall of Ayutthaya. During his short stay he built a navy then went on to Chantaburi to assemble forces to fight back and to retrieve the Kingdom of Siam from Burmese occupation. There is a shrine in Rayong where local people pay respect to King Taksin. Rayong is located in Thailand's eastern seaboard. Located 179 kilometres and less than 2 hours from central Bangkok and has an area of 100km long coastline of about 3,552 square kilometres. Although the north is hilly, the province consists mostly of low coastal plains. Several islands in the Gulf of Thailand belong to the province, including the popular tourist destinations, Ko Samet, Ko Mun, and Ko Khod. One of the best beaches in the province is Mae Phim. The small sleepy town and the 7km long sandy beach is roughly 40 km and 30 minutes drive from Rayong city. Mae Phim beach is situated just over 2 hours and 200km’s from Bangkok down the motorway and followed by exiting to a newly upgraded highway 344. The white sandy beach faces due south so the beach is cleansed each day and the water is crystal clear. The densely planted trees - Casuarina and broad leaf trees run the whole length of the beach and provide welcome shade from the hot sun. Without large waves, the beach is an ideal holiday destination for families with swimming, water sports and maritime activities being the main leisure pursuit.

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It has been referred to as one of the most beautiful mainland beaches in Thailand - crystal clear water, nice views to the islands and a clean beach. At the weekends the beach is populated by Thai’s enjoying the fresh air and the water sports but during the week you can have the beach to yourself but for a few others enjoying the fresh breeze coming off the sea. The long open beach is ideal for walking or jogging not too crowded and perfect for swimming. There are a number of local resorts, shops and restaurants but most of them are at the eastern end of the beach. The middle and the western end are much quieter but for a Grand Bleu hotel and a few condominium complexes. The Grand Bleu hotel had an all day dining restaurant which we found useful - the food was of a high standard, reasonably priced and they also had a spa. There a host of seafood restaurants at the eastern end of the beach selling the fresh catch of the day. They attract the locals and tourists from far and wide, although during the

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week they, like the beach are relatively quiet. Everyone has their favourite restaurant on the beach road. You can build up an appetite by walking the beach and choosing a lunch or dinner venue. I needed the walk back as my eyes were much too big for my stomach and I ate far too much of the freshly caught seafood. There are a number of small resorts and bungalows that line the beach mostly at the far east and west ends. In the middle the beach is left to nature for almost 4kms. Early morning and evening walks avoiding the suns rays are jut the ticket. The area around is quiet not over commercialised. This small town is a very quiet place so all ages can enjoy the sun and feel safe from kids to the old. There are also restaurants on the main street and they cater for different tastes from Thai to western food. Changing the robe for Phra Chedi Klang Nam and the Loi Krathong Festival the annual events are both held during November and will both be celebrated on Mae Phim beach.


NGO

Keeping children’s bellies full with Breakfast for Kids project by World Vision Foundation of Thailand

Currently there are more than 10,000 children in Thailand who do not have the chance to eat breakfast. Full nutritional intake is especially important to children aged 1 - 12 years old as it is pivotal to their physical and intellectual growth. A large number of children from impoverished families hardly ever eat nutritious breakfast meals. They are undernourished and are coming to school hungry since that their parents are too poor to provide them with morning meals. Sometimes all the children get to eat in the morning is sticky rice dipped in chilli, while many others arrive at school with an empty stomach. Not many of them get to the luxury of eating breakfast and dinner; in fact they have to wait with growling bellies to eat lunch - their first meal - at school. These groups of children are small for their age and have low immune system. They cannot concentrate in classes, hence their low academic performance. In order for children to start their day with full bellies, World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) is working with various child development centres across the country to introduce the ‘Breakfast for Kids’ project. The children in these development centres, whose age ranges from 2-6 years old, are now eating healthy morning meals. Breakfast for Kids project is also relieving the burdens of families who do not have the time or money to prepare breakfast for their children. Mrs Chitra Thumborisuth, WVFT’s National Director said that WVFT works to improve the wellbeing of children, their families and communities. Children will grow up to become

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Children at child development centres are enjoying healthy breakfast meals

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important assets of the country and deserve to be fully nurtured, be it in the areas of education, morality or health and nutrition by eating quality morning meals. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The project also organises training for teachers, parents and child development centre staffers for them to recognise the importance of breakfast for pre-school children. “World Vision Foundation of Thailand has been working on the Breakfast for Kids project since year 2010. We find that children have noticeably better development since eating breakfast daily. Physically, they are gaining weight and emotionally, they are in better moods, are more talkative and participate in activities more. They are learning to socialise and share food with their friends. Most important of all, the children have adjusted their eating behaviour. They are eating more breakfast and their parents are paying more attention to their morning meals as well. In 2016, Breakfast for Kids project has provided 868,442 breakfast meals to 6,208 children in 150 child development centres and 5 schools across 39 sub-districts of 21 areas in 16 provinces. “These achievements are only the beginning of the success story. There are still many more children who are waiting for the chance to eat a full breakfast. With a donation of 20B per meal, you can give them a nutritious morning meal, which will spur their physical growth and mental development. Children need to reach their full potential in order to become productive citizens.” ‘Breakfast for Kids’ project is among the several projects pursued by WVFT to help impoverished children, families and communities to have better wellbeing and become self-sustainable. Please donate to the Breakfast for Kids project at: World Vision Foundation of Thailand Tel: 02 022-9200-2 Fax: 02 022-9203-5 Website: www.worldvision.or.th Line@ ID: @worldvision-thai

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“I remember the day I visited Achira at home and found him and his sister

eating rice with plain water. But after he was enrolled at the childcare

centre, Achira is eating full morning meals and has gained more weight and height. These days he is smiling, is more cheerful and participates

more in activities,” said teacher Anchalee, who is the Headmistress at Baan Thum Wiang Kae Child Development Centre in Nan province’s Thum Wiang Kae district.

Mrs Chitra Thumborisuth, World Vision Foundation of Thailand’s National Director

Achira, a young child who enjoys full breakfast meals at Baan Thum Wiang Kae Child Development Centre in Nan province’s Thum Wiang Kae district

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Health and fitness

Eating in moderation by Cody Jackson

One of my favourite things about Thailand is all the delicious food! Thailand knows how to do food right. I love all the curries and spices. Before, I couldn’t even eat a jalapeno without crying but now I can thoroughly enjoy a “ped nid noie ka” green curry. Oh, and I love all the thai sweets! Luk chop, mango sticky rice, and coconut ice cream just to name a few. It’s easy to get carried away because these mouthwatering desserts are so cheap. How do we give up dessert and still stick to our fitness goals? I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to give up desserts. If you are someone who can give up sweets cold turkey and not think twice about it, then that’s wonderful. Some of us, like myself, are mentally attached to sweets. I remember when I was dating my husband his freezer would always have ice cream in it yet he is extremely fit. He was the one who convinced me this method of dessert in moderation actually works because he is living proof of it. I have many friends who want to visit dessert cafes in Bangkok. It’s a social thing. I will get Line messages inviting

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me just to have dessert. I constantly get hung up on the thought that if I go I will mess up my fitness goals because I’m eating unhealthy. It’s not true though because it is all how you handle it. If I go I will share a dessert with a friend or I will get a small dessert. Being fit doesn’t mean you can’t have a social life. Let’s face it, eating is part of our social lives. I used to drink a lot of carbonated soda pop. I grew up on Coca Cola and Mountain Dew. When I started getting into fitness I began to look at nutrition labels. One can of Coca Cola has 39 grams of sugar. According to the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are 37.6 grammes for men and 25 grammes for women. One can of Coca Cola exceeds the recommended amount of sugar for both men and women. So, I made the decision to stop drinking it. Instead of just limiting the amount of pop I consumed, I quit out of the blue. The following days after not having a pop were rough. I had splitting headaches and I craved Coca Cola. My body felt like it was going through withdrawals. I was irritable and tired. If my body was reacting this way within the first week, how was I going to get through the following week. I broke on day seven and I remember drinking so much Coca Cola I vomited. My body felt worse after I drank it. Quitting cold turkey like that was worse than if I had gradually quit or just drank less in general. It was harder for me to control my urges to drink. I wasn’t strong mentally either because the want for the pop made me feel miserable. I kept having to think “I can’t

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have that” and it just made me want it even more. If I had just made the decision from the beginning to still drink it but just not as often I wouldn’t have made myself sick. When I ask my husband about his ice cream habit he tells me something similar. His advice is not to punish yourself. Being healthy and fit shouldn’t be about what not to eat. It should be about self-discipline and self-control. You should still enjoy the food you love without overdoing it. When he eats ice cream he will eat just a few spoonfuls and then puts it away. He does not eat half the carton and that is the key to controlling your weight. This doesn’t mean that you should eat all unhealthy things and just limit the amount you eat of each thing. You should still make a conscious effort to make healthy food choices by eating more fruits and vegetables. I talk about moderation when it comes to the unhealthy foods. Those foods that you know are not good for you but you feel like you can’t live without them. My weakness is chocolate. What’s yours? The problem people have when I tell them about eating in moderation is “when do I stop” and that is a fair question. This is where a lot of people fail because their limited portion size is much different compared to another person’s portion size. I like to keep it simple. If you are asking yourself when to stop eating then you need to stop. If you can look at the nutrition label then follow the suggested portion size or

smaller. A great phone App I have is My Fitness Pal. It is a way to have fun reading nutrition labels. Sometimes in Thailand I can’t make out what the nutrition label says so I scan the barcode in the App and 7/10 times it will pull up the nutrition information. This App is also great for counting calories and setting nutrition goals. If you want to add me my username is CodyDurr. There is so much information out there about what to eat and what not to eat. So many articles online tell us what not to eat. We are constantly reading about new diets and hearing about how to manage weight. One week something will be good for us and the next week we hear the opposite. It’s so confusing for me! That is why I stick with eating in moderation. I still feel great at the end of the day and my body thanks me for it.


Health and fitness

Gluten free or not, that is the question? by Karla Walter

Thousands of people around the world who have taken gluten foods out of their diet have made a vast improvement in their health. People who have coeliac disease, gluten intolerance or sensitivity to gluten related foods have benefited from a change in diet. The next group of people are those that think it is going to benefit their health even if they do not have any digestive, absorption or sensitivity issues. One final group are those who think it sounds good at a party or because a celebrity has become gluten free in their diet. Whatever your reason for taking gluten out of your daily food intake, it is important to make sure that the health of your body stays your number one focus. Let’s break this down and take a look at each group. Being gluten intolerant is not about what can you substitute, it is, “What does your diet look like.” People who have been diagnosed with coeliac disease have damage to villi due to inflammation caused by gluten. There are a number of symptoms such as bloating, skin rashes, cramping, sleep issues, nausea and many other symptoms that people have experienced. It is important to get the right diagnosis to help with the changes in a person’s diet that needs to take place. Blood tests are very helpful.

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Many people ask what foods can I substitute? Make the enquiry about, “What are all the wonderful foods that I can eat to help decrease inflammation and return my cells to a healthy state.” It may not be that your body returns to eating gluten foods, it may be that your body eats foods that no longer give you the symptoms of the inflammatory internal state. Supermarkets are now stocking foods that are labeled gluten free. The words free from are becoming more and more familiar. This becomes part of your daily, weekly shopping experience. Reading labels is also very important as prepackaged foods may still include gluten related items in them. Check your beauty products, many have gluten related foods in them. Cross contamination from cutting boards, spoons when cooking, reusing bags that may have had gluten products in them. All these areas need to be addressed. Concentrating on fresh vegetables and fruit will be your digestive friend. My suggestion is also to remove nightshade foods such as tomatoes and potatoes to help the inflammation decrease. These foods may be added back into the diet when symptoms are decreasing significantly. In Thailand where there is a lot of spice and the best option is

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to take it out. There is so much amazing food in Thailand that hot spice is not necessary all the time. Food is about building healthy cells. Like the nightshade group of foods, it may only be for a short period of time that hot spiced food is removed. Legumes with grain is a wonderful source of protein and may be easier to digest than heavier meats. Many coeliac people also choose to be vegetarian for some time to help alleviate symptoms. Be careful about iron levels, that they do not drop to anaemic levels. Taking meat out of the diet has complications if not approached with the right balance of foods, especially your source of protein. If you choose to remove gluten from your diet because you think this will benefit your health, that is a personal choice and not one to be forced on others. Everyone’s health is different and people choose different paths to find what is best for them. Gluten free is not a detox diet. You may feel an improvement within yourself due to not eating a lot of bread, cereals or processed foods. That in itself is your body being happy. If you are thinking about gluten free because you read a celebrity is “going or gone gluten free”, know your body first and learn what it is before making any great changes. Gluten free grains are amaranth, buckwheat, corn/cornmeal, flax, millet, quinoa, rice, soy, tapioca, to name but a few. Flours that are gluten free include: rice, soy, corn, potato, bean. Grains to avoid which contain gluten are wheat, rye, barley, triticale, brewers yeast, wheat starch.

We know many of these foods as, pasta, noodles, bread and pastries, crackers, cereal, granola, croutons. Read the labels when buying croutons, flour tortillas, beer, malt vinegars and other malt related foods as these to may contain gluten. It is the day to day foods that need to be avoided if you have true gluten intolerance symptoms like French fries, potato chips, candy bars, deli meats, some soy sauces, cake fillings that contain flour, pancakes with wheat flour to name a few. The safest way if you are gluten free is to read the labels if purchasing prepackaged foods. Avoid takeaway unless you know that there is no flour or gluten foods being used. Eat the wonderful selection of fresh fruit and vegetables that mother nature provided and that our supermarkets stock. Choose your words carefully. Change your mind set from a victim state of, “I can’t eat this or I can’t eat that”, to, “There is so much I can eat and I am so creative with my food to take care of myself”. Live life to the full, health and happiness Karla

Karla Walter has completed extensive studies in homeopathy, nutrition, Traditional Chinese Medicine, macrobiotics, Shiatsu massage, vegetarian cooking, human bio science. Karla has been changing lives through private counselling, public lecturing and teaching. www.living557.com karlawalter@me.com


Life

Skate soccer in Ghana by Thomas Groves

One of the exciting aspects of being a university professor is the ability to explore, discuss, and debate multiple topics with students all over the world. While many opportunities have been presented to me I was extremely excited when I was awarded the Sverdrup Global Teaching Fellowship. This allowed me to pick campuses in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa to continue my teaching for a period of three months. I quickly selected the dream location to teach in Accra, Ghana. While conducting my research in preparation for my trip, I came across a unique story of an organisation with the goal to raise awareness of polio through the sport of football (soccer). This immediately caught my attention and became one of my main goals to witness while I passed my time in Ghana. My trip started with a 1:30am flight from Bangkok to Accra via Addis Ababa. Although a long journey everything

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went smoothly and I was picked up at the airport by a university staff member. As soon as we left the airport I started to see street beggars on the side of the road. This is common all over the world but one aspect that stood out for me was the fact that many of these people who are physically challenged were moving on small homemade skateboards. I asked the university staff if this was common and his reply was that there used to be a high rate of polio in Ghana, which is now successfully being combatted, however this has left a lot of people with paralysis and unable to work. He went on to explain that many individuals were now turning this personal challenge into sport by playing a form of soccer. Once settled in I started to ask staff, students and faculty but no one seemed to have heard about this sport that I was talking about. The most common response was how does this teacher from Thailand know about a sport being played in Ghana and we do not. The more I read about the sport the more interesting it became. The organisation running the event is called The International Federations of Skate Soccer (IFSS). Skate soccer is a unique game with the goal to raise awareness for the eradication of polio, change perspectives of the physically challenged and to provide good sportsmanship. The players are physically challenged and are mainly polio survivors. The players sit on homemade boards, slightly larger than a skateboard and play association football. The players control the ball with their hands and with a few exceptions follow all regular football rules. It was my luck that two weeks after my arrival a game between Ghana and Togo would take place. Ghana, known as the Rolling Rockets, is known for currently being one of the best teams in the sport and were looking forward to a great game against the Togo Hawks. I had reached out to CEO of the IFSS, Albert Frimpong, who invited me to join the

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match. On game day I headed to the Accra Sports Stadium expecting a small court set up with a few people around but was pleasantly surprised to find huge banners, flags, sponsors and loud music with a live DJ. As we are used to in Thailand, events in Ghana also do not always start right on time but it did allow time for the dance and acrobatics show that kept the audience engaged.

As the time came nearer the crowd start to grow and a live band with drums and trumpets started playing. The first bus to arrive, all the way from Togo, was the Togo Hawks. As these men came off the bus you could easily see the great athletic ability of the players. Soon after a large group of local fans were dropped off all of whom had different physical challenges but were filled with energy to watch the upcoming game. I could feel electricity in the air as the Rolling Rockets of Ghana arrived. As these proud men came off the bus I was no longer looking at men with physical challenges but athletes in prime condition. I found it interesting as to see the crowd filled with sponsors, the financial elite, celebrities and locals and as the game went on many fans who came off the streets who had physical challenges. As I took pictures of the event I noticed people were no longer watching a game to raise awareness

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of polio survivors being played by physically challenged people. We were all there as fans watching an outstanding sports game. I even saw the university driver at the game standing and cheering for his country of Ghana. It was hard not to cheer for Ghana, as they played their experience, physical fitness and passion was intoxicating. Plus, the home crowd were so loud it was hard not to get involved. In the end the Ghana won 5-1 in an exciting match. The IFSS hopes that with the growth of the sport that more jobs will be generated for the physically challenged. With the aim of changing the perception that is often held about people with physical challenges. In my remaining time in Ghana I hope to photograph these athletes more, bringing back stories to share with students, our future leaders, to show the impact that a small group can have on a global scale. Demonstrating the ability and drive to overcome challenges these athletes truly participated in a game that left the audience wanting more. The IFSS is growing quickly, gaining larger sponsorship, and have the target of adding Skate Soccer into the Paralympics. I can honestly say that I went to the game expecting a small charity event and left a huge fan of these outstanding athletes and I have no problems stating that it was one of the most enjoyable sporting events I have ever attended. I really hope that this story will inspire to football loving nation of Thailand to create its own team and possible challenge the Rolling Rockets in a Skate Soccer international.

Thomas Groves is a Webster University Media Communications lecturer holding his BA, MA in Media Communications and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education. Thomas teaches photography, digital production, advertising and communications theory. He is an avid photographer who enjoys travelling around the world documenting the beautiful and strange. To see more of his work, check out his website: www.thomasgroves.com

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Travel

Koh Libong - unexpected island idyll by Scott and Nori Brixen

Travelling in coastal Thailand during the rainy season is risky: it might bucket down for days, cities can flood, many businesses close shop, and if the sea whips up boat journeys can be dangerous. Despite this, we'd booked a few nights at Anantara's Si Kao resort in Trang Province. We planned to use the hotel as a base for exploring Trang's little-known southern coast and offshore islands - if we got lucky with the weather, that was. Getting to the hotel was easy: a short flight to Trang Airport, and an hour's drive to the coast in a rental car. The Anantara Si Kao is spectacularly sited on a long, (effectively) private beach with drop-dead views of multiple karst islands in the Andaman Sea. During the drier months (typically NovemberApril) the hotel offers day trips to its private beach club on beautiful Koh Kradan. But it wasn't a drier month. It was wet, wet, wet. So no boat rides, no dugong encounters, no mangrove planting, no nature walks. And the waves made the sea too rough to swim in. Still, the rain didn't dampen our enjoyment of the hotel and its stunning location. Between the Kids’ Club and hotelbased activities like fish-feeding and frog-catching, our boys kept busy. And whenever the sun did show its face (even if briefly), we all rushed to the pool.

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After a good sleep, we decided to brave the incessant drizzle and take a road trip south of Si Kao. My secret mission was to cross into Satun, the only province in Thailand’s “Deep South” that I hadn’t yet visited. (Satun City is also the gateway to the Tarutao Islands, which are within eyesight of Malaysia’s Langkawi Island.) This was a recon mission. So we turned right down any road - paved or otherwise - that looked promising. At one rocky beach, a menacing monkey attacked our van as soon we pulled in. On the hunt for another beach, Google led us to a dead end in a poor fishing village. Back on the highway, something neon green on the shoulder brought me to a stop; it was a dead pit viper. By the late morning, the rain was getting so heavy that my wipers were flapping at top speed. Nori and I were trying to stay optimistic, but our adventure was looking like a washout and the kids were getting bored, and therefore, annoying. Then we hit Hat Yao (Long Beach), a pretty stretch of


sand with a karst pinnacle rising at its south end. The water was too rough to swim, but I was intrigued by a flat island in the distance. A bit further down Hwy 5010 we saw a sign for Hat Yao Pier and decided to have a look. Parking next to a seafood restaurant raised up on pilings, I wandered over to the tiny admin building and stopped an old Muslim man. In my best Thai, I asked “Boats from here go where?” “Koh Libong,” he answered. Koh Libong? Until I started doing research for the trip, I’d never heard of it. None of the Thais in my office even knew where it was. There were a smattering of resorts on the southwest of the island, but it seemed like most of them closed during the wet season. Over lunch at the restaurant (delicious crab rice) we resolved to return the next day and explore the island. The next day, I couldn’t stop smiling. Adventure! Sitting on the bow of a longboat, motoring noisily towards Koh Libong with the sun on our faces, I couldn’t believe our good fortune. After crossing the 3km channel, we paralleled a long, empty beach before turning into a mangrove-lined estuary. We unloaded at the tiniest of piers, where groups of women sat cracking shells and picking the meat from piles of swimmer crabs. “Mister! Mister!” we heard a voice calling. A jolly-looking Muslim man in his fifties approached. Our transport had arrived! “Sawutdee krup!” I replied in Thai. “We’ve never been to Koh Libong before and want to go to a beach beautiful beautiful. Is there one?” He nodded and smiled. We piled into a little trailer hitched to his motorcycle and started off through the little town. It didn’t take long before we were driving through deep jungle with butterflies everywhere. The whole way, our friendly driver was asking us questions. When we explained that the boys were two sets of twins he nearly had a heart attack. We arrived at the west coast of the island 20 minutes later, and walked the last 100 metres to the beach. As we stepped onto the sand, I looked over at Nori and we both smiled. My god, it was beautiful: a gently curving beach scattered with giant shells. Far off to the north, we could see Koh Mook and Koh Kradan, and to the west, the twin islands of Koh Rok Yai (big) and Koh Rok Noi (small). And we had the whole place to ourselves. I still get a chill when I think about it. We spent 3 glorious hours on that beach: collected shells, jumped over the little waves, found a dead two metre reticulated python and watched as a group of villagers disentangled the legs and claws of three species of crabs from their nets. There was no place to eat, but we had brought biscuits and Pringles and water so we were fine. A few hundred metres down the beach was the smart-looking Andalay Beach Resort, but it was closed for the off season. On the ride back to the pier, we asked the captain to make a small side trip. Just around the corner from Hat Yao

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was a hidden beach, inaccessible by road. Framed by karst outcrops, it was tempting to make a landing. But the captain pointed at the swelling waves and the steeply-sloped beach and crossed his arms in the international “no go” signal. As we drove back to the Anantara, the boys dropped off to sleep one by one. It had been an amazing day. I’d tested my Thai and was pleased with how much I’d progressed. I was grateful for my wife’s adventurous spirit. And I was delighted to share the discovery of an incredible ‘unknown’ island with my boys.

Scott & Nori are avid travellers and knowledge seekers who have travelled to 110 plus countries across all 7 continents. Now they're sharing their wanderlust with their two sets of twin boys, Tai, Logan, Drake and Kiva. Follow their travels at www.twotwinstwavel.com EXPAT LIFE in Thailand

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Travel

Magnificence of the Sanctuary of Truth by Arlene Rafiq

The scene is astonishing! With an area of thirty two acres, intricately carved teakwood and a gigantic height of one hundred five metres stand majestically - an architectural wonder seen by only a few in Thailand.

The magnificence of Sanctuary of Truth is in its building of intricate carved wood that must have taken millions of hours of the best craftsmen in Thailand. Every piece of wood some imported from Malaysia, Myanmar and Laos has a story to tell and centuries old original. One panel flooring which is two inches thick is cut from one huge tree and each tree can only produce two panels of straight almost perfect hardwood. Looking around you feel the spirit of a bygone era still echoes within its interior where huge pillars stand proud. As you enter the elevated complex, you gasp at the even more incredible vision ahead. The high ceiling measuring about sixty metres shows beautifully handcrafted carvings probably never seen before. You are still rubbing your eyes of wonderment and disbelief when you stop to stare at the finely carved figures on its posts with obvious manpower time and effort spent. The carvings are not just Asian design but also depict Persian art. The rest of the structure is covered with giant carvings depicting ancient Buddhist, Hindu and Chinese arts. This building that awes people who have seen it called ‘Sanctuary of Truth” is another work initiated by the late Khun Lek Viriviphan, the same man behind mega projects such

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as Muang Boran (Ancient City) and Erawan Shrine, amongst others. His spirit and passion laid out the masterplan of this unique place after completion of Muang Boran. Khun Lek was a very simple man who rose from humble beginnings. He had excellent understanding of various religions and practices in his lifetime the value of respect, trust, love and generosity that he thought of this colossal project for his people to learn by. It’s a whole new world of knowledge of Asian art and history made available to everyone for a measly entrance fee. Khun Lek also chose the city of Pattaya known for its bold entertainment to build this structure to change the people’s view of the city as not just the amusement capital of Thailand but as a cultural hub, a place for art and culture. Khun Lek gave the best part of his life building projects leading hundreds of the best builders and craftsmen. The quality of design emphasises Thailand’s shared artistic tradition with its neighbours, China, Laos, India and Cambodia through assimilation of its neighbours’ architectural technique. The building which was started in 1981 is 85% complete and expected to finish in another 15 years. There are various misconceptions about the structure. Some thought that every wing represents one country’s culture

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and art but the truth when you look at each carvings you can vividly see the various cultures that is depicted in every layer of art. The west wing which is called the beginning of time shows the four elements in its sculpture. The wind element shows the movement of the wind passing the trees in the way the trees are carved. The second element which is fire shows a sculpture of a Chinese dragon. The water element which covers the world is manifested by a simulation of water flowing signifying the beginning of life and the earth element shows a sculpture of half man/half woman which signifies fertility. Another misconception is that due to it’s proximity to ocean the colour of the wood changes to copper like and some parts had to be refurbish due to termites that can be frustrating to the artisans in charge of restoring a new structure. The truth is the greenish colour is due to the solution with copper contents injected to the wood to help in its preservation. Looking at the intricately carved statues, you are almost taken into a vision of ambiguity and awe. Our very knowledgeable guide, explains what the figures represent and symbolises but with hundreds of them I can only absorb so much. It is explained further that the four-faced Brahma is an artist’s interpretation of God who sees everything around him and not the common belief that he has four faces. There is also a sculpture of Lord Krishna holding a woman which symbolises man’s duty of protecting a woman and not as an object of lust although Lord Krishna was construed as a lover of women. Another sculpture is that of Krishna again lifting the mountain which represents the world and the life under him as his people he is protecting from harm and devastation of flood, reminiscent of Noah’s Ark but in a different perspective. The East wing shows a huge sculpture of a family which is the most important aspect in a person’s life. It represents the parents’ responsibility of nurturing their children with love, respect, trust and knowledge. As a result of these good values instilled into the children, they will also in return share the same values to their neighbours, their surroundings, only when the world follows this philosophy that peace will come forth. In the Northern part of the structure are visibly Chinese sculptures but as you come closer, it’s not just pure Chinese

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but a combination of Chinese, Thai and Burmese art put together as one. What were noticeable are the eight sided posts which are completely different in design as the posts in the southern wing. For centuries, the Chinese believe that eight is the most auspicious number so the eight sided posts follow a superstitious belief that eight is a symbol of wealth and power. With the Northern part of the wing as the beginning of the Thai civilisation and closer to China, the architecture here depicts its relationship with the country and how the belief was passed on to its neighbour. When you make a 180 degree turn to the South it shows differently designed posts that of the Khmer era. Obviously influenced by Hindu art, it shows Lord Krishna in different forms. The wing also shows different sculptures representing the deities who control the movements of the nine planets. In Khun Lek’s vision, he unselfishly included other cultures by combining arts represented by these countries on its four wings. As the sun sets and the rays touch a ball of sand that hits the building, part of it illuminates that gives a magical moment. It takes you to the understanding of what the edifice in the middle represents. It’s one huge structure with four open sides and with five steps taking you inside. The openness is a symbol that everyone can enter enlightenment. It’s never too late to fight evil and be united to reach Nirvana. Happiness is a state of being desired by every man, whatever his religion, race or creed but it’s only by truth, respect, kindness, love and trust that man can achieve it. Furthermore, Khun Lek believes that humans are merely dust in this world and that we shall return to it when our time comes to an end. The Sanctuary of Truth is not just a beautiful teak wood monument. It is not considered a temple, a palace or a home. It is open to everyone as is evident by the no doors and open air atmosphere. It is a museum of fine arts taken from various cultures put together as one to create a beautiful masterpiece. In the same concept that man too who comes from diverse culture can come together and be united as one for peace. If it’s possible to put man in the same light as how the building was formed, peace will reign in the world. Blown away ten times more, the concept is based on philosophy. No corners were made without a meaning. They are all connected like the universe. Every piece of wood, every design to the smallest detail was not created just for beauty but with a purpose. It is a one man’s vision … a genius. EXPAT LIFE in Thailand

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Health and fitness

The #1 hidden health challenge for expats living in asia by Monique Jhingon

Being an expat can be highly rewarding. From travelling the world, meeting new people, learning about different cultures to exploring new opportunities, there are many reasons to love living the expat lifestyle.

But what we don’t often talk about is how moving around the globe can take a toll on your health. About 13 years ago, my husband and I escaped for a long weekend getaway to Bali. Having just gone through an international relocation to Singapore, this little vacation was much needed. He had been extremely busy with his new job, I had been extremely busy settling the kids into school and doing up our new home. My in laws had flown in from India to look after the children and there we were: surrounded by tropical beauty, staying in a gorgeously indulgent romantic suite, looking forward to the romance and blissful long days on the beach. It was perfect … except for one thing: I was so fatigued that I barely made it out of bed the entire weekend. I had been struggling with health issues for a while. Fatigue, skin rashes, digestion out of whack, mood swings and more. Unfortunately it was on this trip that I hit rock bottom. The frustration of not being able to enjoy my holiday, combined with the fear around my confusing symptoms and the inability to resolve my issues made me decide to do whatever I could to start feeling better. When I got back from that disappointing trip to Bali I embarked on a committed and almost obsessive search to find the answers. Over the years I studied with some of the world’s leading health and nutrition experts, became a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Functional Nutrition Practitioner, healed myself and started helping other expats optimise their health.

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And here is what I learned: at the root of most health issues that trouble expats lies a compromised digestive system. Transitioning to environments and climates very different from the one you grew up in, exposure to different hygiene conditions and new micro organisms, stress and overwhelm due to relocating can all trigger digestive imbalances that, if not resolved, contribute to perplexing and frustrating health issues that can have a ripple effect on your entire health and wellbeing. The way this shows up for many expats is through not so glamorous digestive issues such as stomach pain, gas, bloating, acid reflux, diarrhoea or constipation (or both!). Or perhaps your weight is creeping up, you have mysterious allergies or reactions to the things you eat, skin rashes or you seem to be catching every cold or flu that is going around. And if you are like most other expats, you try to take care of this on your own: by popping some pills, trying to eat healthier or exercising more. If that doesn’t solve the issue you see a local physician who most likely treats your symptoms with medication but fails to address the underlying root cause of your problems. Good health begins in the gut. If your digestion is compromised (and this can show up in many different ways!) you are not going to be able to absorb and utilise the nutrients from your food, no matter how healthy that food may be. You are not going to have optimal energy levels and you will see a ripple effect in your health. That ripple effect is different for everyone; we all have our own unique “weak link”.

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improved, my skin cleared up and I got my energy back. Since this is different for each person, try replacing one thing and see how that makes you feel.

Fortunately there are a few things you can do right away to begin healing and optimising your digestion. Here are two ways to get started:

2. Add probiotic and prebiotic rich foods We have around 100 trillion microorganisms housed in our digestive tract. These bugs play an important role in our health and influence our digestion, immune function, metabolism, brain chemistry and even our weight and cravings. The truth is that most of us walk around with too many bad bugs in our belly and not enough good ones. We want to bring in more good bacteria (probiotics) and more importantly eat the foods that feed them (prebiotics).

1. Cut out trigger foods These are foods that are contributing to digestive distress and internal inflammation: sugar, refined carbohydrates, conventional dairy, processed foods, bad fats such as refined vegetable seed oils, gluten, and GMO foods (corn and soy) are a good place to start. Replace these foods with nutrient dense, whole and minimally processed, fresh foods.

For example, when I cut out gluten from my diet and replaced it with more nutrient dense vegetables my lower backache almost immediately disappeared. This inspired me to see what else could be causing my symptoms. The results were amazing. After clearing my own trigger foods my digestion

Fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha are rich sources of probiotics. Onion, garlic, leeks, green asparagus, turnips, green bananas, and boiled and cooled potatoes are some examples of foods rich in the fibre and resistant starch that feeds your beneficial gut flora. By addressing the root cause of your health problems: your digestion, you can literally transform your health and your life and get back to enjoying the expat lifestyle. I have done it, so have many of my clients and you can do this too. Take charge and get back to feeling like yourself so that you can make the most of your life and travels abroad.

Monique Jhingon is a Functional Nutrition & Lifestyle Practitioner who offers select private coaching to expats whose health and digestion has been compromised as a result of transitioning into new environments, cultures, climates and foods. You can read more on her website and sign up for a free nutrition breakthrough session here: www.moniquejhingon.com

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Food and Beverage

A vegan lifestyle by Brighde Reed

More and more people are slowly becoming more aware of the benefits of a plant-based (also known as vegan) lifestyle. The newly released documentary on Netflix “What the Health” has highlighted the impacts of the health implications of consuming an animal product heavy diet. Another film, Cowspiracy (also available on Netflix) discusses the environmental catastrophe caused by animal agriculture and through social media. Thanks to those films and many others, many people are becoming more aware of what animals go through to become the bacon or burgers and they are deciding to take actions to make their values align with their values of compassion and nonviolence. Discovering this information for the first time and wanting to take action might feel overwhelming to think about, especially as an expat in Thailand, a place where at first glance it might feel that eating vegan is impossible. Indeed animal products seem to be in nearly every single dish! If only there were vegan meats to help the transition! Happily, Thailand is one of the best places in the world to inch (or sprint) towards a vegan lifestyle. Here are seven tips and tricks to help you and your family make more plantbased choices: Tip Number 1: Keep it simple! If you have lived in Thailand for any length of time, you will know that Thailand has so many incredible locally available fruits, vegetables, tofu, beans, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices that are good value.

These items really are the keystones of a healthy plant-based diet and are available in every supermarket. Eating these do wonders for your health, carbon footprint and of course animals. Tip number 2: Find your ingredients. As you start poking around all the vegan recipe websites you find something that looks so good and you’re desperate to make it. You check the ingredients and there are many of them that you’ve never heard of let alone know if they are available in Thailand. They certainly aren’t available in the local supermarket. What to do? Well, the good news is that there are a number of places in Bangkok where you can buy those vegan cooking essentials like nutritional yeast (aka nooch) or tempeh (a fermented soybean product, high in protein with a nutty flavour)! Radiance Wholefoods has a ton of products that will help you stock your pantry. Sunshine Market also has vegan protein powders, snacks, cruelty-free toiletries and snacks. The best part? They have online shops and they deliver for a small fee! For the few items that these shops don’t stock, consider using iherb.com which is similar to Amazon but for health foods. Their product line has 35,000 products and if you keep your order under $70 you won’t get hit for import taxes. iherb also ships at a reasonable price if you keep your order below 4lbs. Tip number 3: Replacing your stables: What about milk for my coffee or tea, yogurt for my cereal or cheese for entertaining!?! What about (gasp) ice cream? Finding the right milk for coffee in Thailand can be difficult. Thai

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produced alternative milks are often very sweet and they can curdle with the acidity of the coffee. Many of the imported brands work much better in coffee and replace dairy milks more convincingly. A word of warning, avoid the non-sweetened varieties. Cow’s milk contains lactose, a type of sugar, so buying unsweetened non-dairy milks will usually certainly not make a convincing substitute at first. If you don’t like the first one you try, try one of the many other brands on the market and stick it out for several days. You’d be surprised how quickly you will get used to it. For yoghurt and ice cream, there is a new brand Rivon (which you can find in every 7-11) and Cocomuch’s coconut yoghurt. Cocomuch also makes a delicious coconut based ice cream and yoghurt which is available in many locations throughout the city. www.spa-foods.com has a wide range of vegan meats from sausages to chicken wings that can be great on the BBQ. Finally, cheese. There’s good news here too! Bangkok Vegan Cheese by Barefood has a range of wonderful fermented nut cheeses that they deliver to many locations around the city. You can find them on Facebook. They are amazing! Tip Number 4: Eating out and social situations: The Happy Cow website and App is the largest database of vegan, vegetarian, veg friendly and health food stores in the world and Bangkok has 184 listings on there, with 81 of them 100% vegan. When heading out with friends and family, think about the cuisine and which might be already vegan or ways you can easily ‘veganise' them. Ask for Pad Thai without the egg or fish sauce, Penne Arrabbiata without the parmesan cheese. If you’re worried about communicating with your server, learn a few phrases that will help you or keep a copy of this language sheet in your pocket. If you are not able to

choose the restaurant or you have a function to attend look at their menu online to see what they might have available or call ahead (or just use their social media) to see if they can accommodate you. You might be surprised what they will do if they have time to prepare. I have found most restaurants and venues very happy to accommodate vegans. Tip Number 5: Cooking at home: If you are cooking for your family or even just yourself, cooking vegan can certainly entail a steep learning curve. When we cook vegan food we are relearning a lot of what we had already learnt. This can feel like a lot of work at first. Happily, there are plenty of people and services available in Thailand that can help through these more challenging times. Vegan coaching is available online and in person. These personalised programmes, usually 3-6 months long, include oodles of resources, meal plans, help and support from vegan experts to address each person’s or family’s needs. Special meal plans and programmes can also be designed for those who want to treat or reverse serious health conditions like heart disease, diabetes and

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Food and Beverage

hypertension. There are several people in Bangkok who offer personal or group vegan cooking classes including May Kai Dee over in Khao San Road. If you really want home cooked meals but don’t have the time to do it yourself, Maricel’s Vegan Crush has a personal chef service. She buys what she needs, comes over to your house, cooks meals for your family based on what’s in the refrigerator and washes up afterwards. An anniversary, birthday or dinner party? She can also cook for you in your house. For those days when cooking is simply too much, then consider ordering delivery. Chef XP offers food delivery from May’s Veggie Home (one of Bangkok’s favourite vegan restaurants) and Food Panda has a whole category of vegetarian food and you can add comments like ‘leave off the cheese’ as needed. Tip Number 6: Travelling: Thailand has many tourist attractions that involve animal exploitation like elephant riding, poorly-run zoos, crocodile and snake farms and even tiger temples. Vegans prefer not to support these establishments but if we like animals or want to see them, we can feel stuck. Living in urban areas makes it even harder to interact with animals and develop a love and appreciation of them especially as so many condo buildings forbid companion animals. So how can we instil a love and appreciation of animals in ourselves and children without exploiting them? To begin with, documentaries can once again come to the rescue! The Planet Earth series, for example, show remarkable animal behaviour in their natural habitat. It’s beautifully filmed and really instils a sense of wonder and awe when you watch it. Next, there are lots of domestic animal shelters in Thailand (like Soi Dog and Paws) which really need help from volunteers to help socialise the animals and get them ready for adoption. If you have some time at the weekend, you can go over and enjoy some petting and playtime with the animals. It’s extremely rewarding and

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the animals gets something out of it too! Elephant Nature Park, which now has several sanctuaries around Thailand rescuing elephants from terrible situations, hosts a myriad of volunteering possibilities. Boon Loot Elephant Sanctuary in Sukhothai allows stays as a volunteer or just to spend time with the animals in one of their three cottages. The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project based in Phuket in one of the national parks can be visited by the public and they accept volunteers too. Seeing animals in the wild is also one of the best ways to see them. You can have a number of wildlife encounters by visiting some of Thailand’s national parks. Our Jungle House based just outside Khao Sok National Park even has had sun bears on its grounds. Also, take pleasure and joy from watching even the most commonly seen animals. Mindfully observing and appreciating ants, pigeons and sparrows can give wonderful insights in to them as individuals and we can learn much about their behaviours. Tip 7: Community: Vegans or people who follow a plantbased diet will definitely find themselves in the minority more often than not. Many new vegans don’t know a single other vegan. It can be hard to be “the only one”. Therefore, it’s really important to find community. Online community is pretty easy to find and there are a plethora of opportunities but there are certainly real benefits to meeting other vegans in real life. Happily Bangkok has a thriving vegan scene. The Bangkok Vegan Meet-Up has social events with potlucks or at restaurants, as well as opportunities to volunteer, be an activist and even get educated through cooking classes, watching films, book clubs or talks from experts. You don’t even have to be vegan to attend, indeed, the atmosphere is very welcoming and is intended to be a very safe space. Veg curious people can ask questions of other members, swap tricks and tips, share stories and receive support and make friends. Finally, and this is probably an eighth tip in itself: be kind to yourself. Without a doubt, transitioning to a vegan diet is not easy for everyone. It’s easy to make mistakes at first. Indeed, even long term vegans make mistakes from time to time. The important thing is to be kind to yourself. If you mess up, whether inadvertently or you have moments of weakness, don’t be too hard on yourself. Stand back up, dust yourself off and get back on that vegan bike and continue your journey. You might very well find it is the best decision you ever made.

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ArtS and Culture

Can art save Thailand’s oceans? by Ewen Mcleish, photos by Heidi Mcleish

Artist from holiday island Phuket crusades to curb marine plastic pollution, while Greenpeace South East Asia say the artist’s message is urgent: Thailand has seen rapid increases in personal consumption in recent decades, resulting in the escalated use of plastic bags, cups, straws and takeaway containers. These single use items find their way into our oceans. Anchalee Pipattanawattanakul, Ocean Campaigner for Greenpeace South east Asia, is concerned by recent research into mismanaged plastic waste. According to the journal Science, Thailand ranks 6th out of 192 countries, in terms of mass of improperly disposed plastics. ‘In 2016, Thailand produced 2.7 million tons of unwanted plastic and styrofoam,’ Pipattanawattanakul adds. Plastic pollution Pipattanawattanakul goes on to explain that marine plastic pollution arises not only from mindless littering, but also from gaps in the waste management system. These gaps allow discarded plastic to find its way into the marine environment either when dumped inland and blown by the wind or washed via waterways into the sea. “This has an impact on sea life,” Pipattanawattanakul continues, “for example floating plastic bags look similar to jellyfish, which turtles can mistake for food. The items also break down into micro plastics and release chemicals into the sea. These are then ingested by juvenile fish, potentially

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affecting humans if these fish end up on our dinner plates,” she says. Environmental artist Prasopsuk Lerdviriyapiti has spent years trying to tackle these issues. Lerdviriyapiti, or ‘Eco Artist Pom’ as she likes to be known, hopes to use her art to highlight the plastic tide engulfing Thailand’s seas. Ocean dreams Eco Artist Pom grew up inland in Thailand’s north but always dreamt of the ocean. Eventually moving to Phuket, she began earning a living sketching portraits for tourists, filling her spare time with boat trips on the Andaman Sea. “I was amazed by the bright blues and greens of the ocean; the reds and oranges of the sunlight, the blackness of the night, and the silvery shimmer of the moon,” she muses. But the young artist had yet to experience the ocean’s true powers. The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami brought this mighty power home to Lerdviriyapiti. Luckily she escaped drowning as the water crashed ashore. “My portraiture stall was down by the beach, but I decided to set up later than usual that day, narrowly missing the terrifying tsunami.” Plastic everywhere “Afterwards I rode my bike up to higher ground and took in the scenes of destruction. I visited every single beach on the island and was horrified by the destruction, broken homes and dead bodies.” There was the obvious horror of the human tragedy, but the eco artist also recounts how she was also shocked into noticing our abuse of the oceans. Lerdviriyapiti saw how the tsunami had picked up rubbish, dumping it back onshore, spreading it everywhere, and smothering once pristine beaches and swathes of mangrove forest. Lerdviriyapiti resolved to collect this plastic debris up and create with it. “I wanted to repurpose it to show people how things once lost at sea could be used again” she said. This resulted in her 2004 mixed media work ‘The Remains of the Day’ and a range of handbags made from recovered plastics, which she now sells at her small gallery on the island.

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Art with a message Lerdviriyapiti’s most recent work focused on the seriousness of marine plastic pollution. In conjunction with Greenpeace Southeast Asia she constructed an impressive 3.5 metre high pavilion-like installation entitled ‘Blue Ocean’ and exhibited at Bangkok’s Arts and Culture Centre. Bringing home the enormous variety of objects swirling around in our oceans, Lerdviriyapiti’s display included hundreds of discarded plastic bottles crammed with small collections of washed up items - from lighters to bottle caps to dangerous used syringes. The artist relates how the contents of each bottle fascinated her in its own way: “There’s ‘a never to be told’ story behind all these things. They could have been carried for miles by the waves, but where from? Who owned them? What could the owners’ story be?” she wonders. The installation included brightly coloured coral, a large sting ray, many tropical fish, a whale shark and dozens of jellyfish. The striking colours reflected the natural beauty of our oceans, but were synthetic in origin: the creatures were made from plastic bags, bottles and other debris from Phuket’s beaches. “The animals were not just there to look cute, they are stuffed with old plastic representing how the material is ingested by them,” Lerdviriyapiti explains. “People may know about plastic bags taking centuries or decades to decompose; I used plastic collected from over a decade ago to show how long this stuff lasts,” the eco artist continues. Can art stem the tide? Lerdviriyapiti talks passionately about her art, her ideas and feelings about humanity’s environmental crisis. She is

making ecological art with a message her life’s work. But can art do more than share one artist’s concerns? Can it really make a difference to Thailand’s plastic pollution problem? The artist explains that everybody relies on our environment to live and breathe, meaning that environmental problems are actually international problems. At the same time: “visual art is an inter-cultural language that everyone can understand,” she says. “It’s ideal for highlighting crossborder issues that ultimately effect us all.” “Ultimately, art cannot solve this crisis. But by raising awareness about the problem, I hope to help my people and my country. I don’t expect to change everyone’s mind, but I would like people to ask why our oceans are filled with trash, and what they can do about it,” Lerdviriyapiti explains. “What art certainly can do is start the conversation,” she concludes. And with campaigners like Pipattanawattanakul from Greenpeace stating: “The marine plastic pollution problem will worsen unless society changes its mindset and behaviour,” this is a conversation that not only needs starting but also needs acting on. The artist can be contacted through her Facebook Page Eco Artist Pom. Fast facts: •G  reenpeace South East Asia estimate that the average Thai uses 1080 plastic bags a year. If we laid all these bags out from end to end they would stretch from Bangkok to Chiang Mai 42,251 times. •S  imilarly it’s believed that each person in Thailand consumes roughly 720 disposable straws per year. If everybody’s straws were piled together they would fill Bangkok’s Sanam Luang three times over!

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Education

Did you know that in Thailand the average person uses 8 plastic bags each day? by Krishina Ramani

In Thailand over 500,000,000 plastic bags are used and discarded every day. At every convenience store, mall or street food stall there are plastic bags given with every purchase. This may not always be the case, but consider that our convenience contributes to Thailand’s annual flood problems. Bangkok Insurance brokers

Remember the 2011 floods? They affected an estimated 8.2 million Thai people, while causing economic losses of about 2 billion dollars to the country. There are a multitude of factors that have contributed to this flood, however one of the big culprits for causing a flood of this magnitude are, you guessed it, plastic bags. But how could such convenient items cause such harm? It is a fact that only 31% of Thailand’s waste is disposed of properly. The rest are left in the streets, roads, and in the sewer systems. When plastic bags are continually wasted at the rate they are currently, sewer and drainage systems are left clogged with what many people deem as a “convenient item”. When these systems are blocked, water cannot effectively be drained back to the reservoirs and oceans from which they came, causing the immense flooding issues Thailand is used to. Not only that, but Thailand is sinking. It is estimated that by 2030, Bangkok may be submerged. This is alarming news, and once again, part of the problem is plastic bags.

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Aside from this, plastics are toxic. Some plastics are considered to be carcinogens in fact, when exposed to high amounts of heat. However, these effects may only come into play when these plastics are digested or exposed in liquid form to humans. It’s said that 69% of plastic that isn’t disposed of properly ends up in the oceans and seas that surround us. In 2012, it was estimated that around 4.8 - 12.7 millions tons of plastic have been left in the ocean alone. When plastic is discarded in the sea, the harsh winds and currents work to reduce it to extremely small parts, breaking it apart slowly. The result are “micro plastics” - plastic waste that is too small to discern or see. This makes it extremely difficult to track and get rid of these plastics, so they usually end up in the stomachs of aquatic life without them or anyone even knowing until it’s too late, the toxicity of the plastic has done its job. These aquatic animals are then left dead, washed up on shore.

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GreenPeace Australia But of course, not all marine life would die instantly. This means that usually the plastic stays in these creatures stomachs, until they are, possibly, fished. With the micro plastic still in their systems, they are then consumed by us, where we inherit those small bits of plastic. So yes, that dangerous carcinogenic plastic can end up in our bodies when we enjoy that fresh sashimi. Along with all of this, Thailand’s disposal cost for the 31% of plastic garbage amounts to 600 million baht everyday. So this issue is not a matter of putting your garbage in the right place, as this cost would only increase. Money, presumably acquired through taxes. So what is the solution? Simple. Reduce plastic bag usage, from that average of eight plastic bags per day to zero. It sounds easier than it may be. But there are ways that as a community we can reduce that number. Bring your own reusable cloth bag to the supermarket or mall when shopping. This will cuts the number of cuts plastic bags given with purchases. Learn to refuse a plastic bag. You can hold it in your hand or out it in your pocket. You do not need a plastic bag. Similarly, double bagging is also unnecessary. Sign the petition for #EightToZero on Go Petition in order to pressure those businesses to get their employees to ask customers one simple question at the checkout: “Do you need a plastic bag?”. This petition is part of the campaign that Expat Life is leading. By asking this question, it will change consumer habits, “Do I need a plastic bag?”. More often than not, the answer will be no. This question will be able to help sufficiently lower the number of plastic bags used each day.

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Jellyfish or plastic bag?

If this simple questions can help make the difference of just one less plastic bag a day, then it would be worth it. we have to make Thailand a safer place in the future. Your name can help create the change needed to achieve that.

www.gopetition.com/petitions/eighttozero-reduce-plastic-baguse-in-thailand.html

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NGO Education

Trash Heroes in Thailand by Leslie Finlay

I first encountered Trash Hero in Thailand in 2014. The islands of the south were true paradises, but with all of the characteristics marking a well established and immensely successful tourism economy: gorgeous sapphire blue water, perfectly placid but for the odd plastic bag or hunk of polystyrene bobbing with the tide; white, sandy beaches bursting with fluorescent pops of colour - candy wrappers, discarded toothbrushes, and once, part of a license plate from Nevada; businesses slowly encroaching along the beach toward the sea, with their development a cascade of discarded straws and cigarette butts fringing the sea. Fingering across the keys of his full-size keyboard - one of the few possessions he’d toted across the world - Roman Peter, a dive instructor by day and musician by night, told me about how the locals were trying to draw attention to the islands’ plastic imposters. Their idea was truly simple: to educate residents and tourists alike about the negative impact this waste has on our environment.

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A group of 17 volunteers assembled - Thais and tourists alike - to start to clear its blemishes. The next week, 27 people showed up to help. Then it was 47, then 50. The motto “We clean. We educate. We change.” was born, and it spread like wildfire. Three years later, the weekly cleanup originating on those very same Thai beaches has blossomed into a global movement. Trash Hero World now has 42 active chapters in nine countries - Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, USA, Czech Republic, Switzerland, China and Singapore. In total, nearly 50,000 volunteers have participated in Trash Hero projects. Trash Hero World mobilises volunteers to remove the waste we already have, collaborates with other organisations and local governments to encourage responsible practices, facilitates education initiatives and provides the tools to help implement behavioural change.

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Weekly cleanups Thailand remains at the heart of this global undertaking, alone boasting 21 chapters spanning all corners of the country - a number that seems to grow each month. Last year, Trash Hero Thailand won the prestigious Thailand Green Excellence Award in the category “Outstanding Contribution to Green Tourism in Thailand.” The movement’s roots begin with its cleanups, attracting thousands of volunteers weekly removing metric tonnes of waste from Thailand’s beaches, lakes, rivers, cities, jungles and landscapes. These events are about more than just picking up trash, however. Chapter leaders work to sensitise volunteers - the Trash Heroes themselves - to the global waste problem and actively educate them on how to affect change through their own daily lives. One volunteer from Trash Hero Ao Nang testifies to this impact. “We do it because there is no better way of “educating” people about the impact of trash than to take them up and get them to pick it up,” Trash Hero Seema of Ao Nang said. “Our volunteers come from local communities, schools, or are tourists. They all experience firsthand where litter goes,

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and they take that experience home. We’ve seen a change in behaviour in almost everybody who cleaned with us. It changes you.” Bottles & bags programmes Trash Hero aims to provide the tools to incorporate these long-term behavioural changes. Since 2014, more than 180 businesses participate in the Trash Hero “Bottles & Bags” programme, providing re-usable alternatives aimed at reducing the amount of waste created in the first place. More than 33,000 stainless steel water bottles have been sold to date, which equates to an estimated 12 million plastic bottles that were not produced. Many of these businesses offer free water refills for Trash Hero reusable bottles, and the project has driven efforts to reduce waste further. Veranda Phangan, one participating business, reported realising zero plastic generated during its latest professional yoga teacher-training course. “With more and more people visiting our gorgeous island, more and more trash is accumulating and more people are becoming aware of this challenge,” said Chad and Colleen, the owners of Veranda Phangan. “The awesome thing about awareness is that is also increases what people ask for.” Education That awareness remains consistent as Trash Hero’s cornerstone mission - particularly through programmes aimed at children. Even in the early days of the first organised

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beach cleanups, volunteers would screen documentaries for the local children to help explain how pollution negatively impacted the environment. One of the videos showed the autopsy of a bird with a stomach full of plastic. “All the kids were silent,” Roman recalls. “All watching in awe like they couldn’t believe there was a lighter inside of a bird.”

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Trash Hero Thailand actively organises projects for local schools to increase awareness about environmental problems and how to build responsible waste practices. This includes organising cleanups, providing written classroom materials and multimedia presentations. Trash Hero Phuket launched a Student Challenge inviting students on the island to send in photos of themselves with full bags of waste from the beach for a chance to win prizes as recognition. Trash Hero is even in the process of self-publishing a book about a child called “Trash Hero” who experiences the devastation of waste in the environment firsthand. The book is geared for readers aged 5-10 and will be translated into local languages. More and more chapters are reporting back that huge numbers of children are joining the cleanups week after week. Trash Hero firmly believes in the importance of developing environmental awareness in the next generation of heroes.

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Collaboration Partnerships and cooperation with local governments fuel Trash Hero’s reach further. Around the world, Trash Hero chapters actively participate with organisations like OceanCare, Bye Bye Plastic Bags, #BreakFreeFromPlastic Initiative, and Let’s Do It! World. Throughout Thailand, several chapters have backed the initiatives of the Global Ecobrick Alliance, a group whose mission is to eliminate waste through up cycling. Ecobricks are plastic bottles stuffed solid with non-biological waste to create a reusable building block. The keep plastic from entering the ecosystem and empower communities to adopt zero-cost solid waste solutions with many practical applications. All of these efforts - from weekly cleanups and refillable water stations at local businesses to education programmes at local schools - make sure the issue of waste and its disposal is kept at the forefront of the local agenda. “Behind the scenes”, Trash Hero is constantly working on building relationships and creating positive, long-term solutions for the prevention of waste. For Trash Hero projects to be successful, the whole community must act together. Businesses, community leaders, schools and individuals enact the change as a unit, and visitors introduce meaningful exchanges, bridging cultures toward a common goal. “It’s been an incredible journey, starting with a few black bags and a desire for change,” said heroes from the Ao Nang chapter. “Along the way, with the simple mission of a weekly beach cleanup, we have spread the message to local people, businesses, schools and government. Trash Hero comes from and is part of the larger community and it is together that we make a difference.”

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Women's Empowerment

Superwoman by Ravit El-Bachar Daniel

Kathy Barnett shares loves with those in need If you attend one of the women's groups charity events – you will probably see Kathy. She doesn't miss an opportunity to socialise for a good cause. After maintaining a busy life in New Zealand, in 1999 she and her husband found themselves starting a whole new life experience in Thailand, and welfare involvement became a big part of it. The twin sisters back in their singing days

“I am always inspired by those with the biggest hearts”, says Kathy Barnett. “You meet many living in this exotic place. I am sometime too compassionate ... something I have yet to grow out of. Thailand has been a huge inspiration in my life, it is why I have to stay.” I first met Kathy a few years ago, when I attended the quarterly inter-women meeting with the presidents of all the international women's groups in Bangkok. Everyone on her turn introduced herself, and said which organisation/group she represents. Kathy had 3 or 4 'hats' – she represented a few groups under different roles. And she sounded so passionate about each group and charity activity she was involved with. 'Wow', I thought to myself, 'This lady never rests'. After serving as the president of the Australian New Zealand Women’s Group (ANZWG), president of the Soroptimist’s club, secretary and scholarship foundation

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volunteer of IWC (International Women’s Group) and representing Thailand in APEC – Kathy still claims that her life in Thailand is quite simple. Simple? It doesn't look simple to me. Back home, in New Zealand, she feels she was much busier. “I had been teaching young teens at a private school in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. I was also a director of our family Champagne importing company, and ran another company, which rented Italian villas to Kiwis and required me to travel every year to Italy for inspection. I also took care of our 2 acre garden, which was shared with a German Shepherd. Life was extremely busy for me and my husband Justin”, Kathy explains. Tell me about your first steps in Thailand “Arriving in Bangkok in 1999, and knowing no one, I was determined to be part of my new world, and to get involved with charity works. Justin and I first, with the help of a Thai neighbour, helped rebuild a temple and one of its Buddhas in Dao Kanong. This experience gave me an insight into Thai life. I then joined ANZWG as a member.

Baby milk powder project in Klong Toey


Twice a week a group of us went to Pakkred Orphanage. There I met many different nationalities who were all involved with hugging and loving the babies. I quickly joined the ANZWG committee and within 18 months was President for 2 years. I also joined book clubs and the National Museum Volunteers Group (a must for anyone staying in Bangkok). My life was beginning to be full and interesting.” ANZWG charity event

You were involved along the years with many charity activities, how did this enthusiasm start? “While being ANZWG President the thing I loved the most was being involved with all the welfare activities. I travelled and saw all the work that ANZWG was involved with in those days. Once your heart has been opened to this, you can never let it go. In my former life, I have travelled extensively and also managed to live in America, Canada and England. But in Thailand it has been the first time that I have been able to help others. Thailand gave me the opportunity for 'hands on experiences'. Being able to help, and share love to all of those in need fulfils my every need.” Since the first time I met you I was impressed by the fact that you are very involved with different roles in many social clubs and projects. And you seem passionate about them all. What projects keep you busy nowadays and in the last few years? “While being ANZWG President, I was invited to lunch at the Australian Ambassador's residence. Here I met many other Presidents and Thai women, one of whom was a Senator; after telling her what I had been doing the past few years, she invited me to be part of the APEC women's conference being held in Chiang Mai that year. I would be representing Thailand. I loved it.

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“ Being able to help, and share love to all of those in need fulfils my every need. ” All nationalities shared the idea of the 'universal women', and after 4 days of conferencing and making many friends, I loved the idea of empowering women for the better of all societies. Sadly I learned that only a few of our motions were accepted by the actual APEC conference later held in Bangkok. Once back in Bangkok I was asked to talk to some different groups about my experience. I met the two Soroptimist International clubs. (i.e. SORO=sister, OPTA=the best) and later joined the SI Dusit club. I have been President for 3 terms, was National Representative for Thailand for 4 years and have joined many conferences for our federation SI South West Pacific. (SISWP). I also belong to the International Women's Club (IWC). I rejoined a few years ago and was acting secretary and then correspondence secretary. I am also on the IWC scholarship foundation.” It seems you are a very busy woman ... “Apart from attending meetings, playing golf, socialising and catching up on correspondence, my life is quite simple. Back home I worked, taught, went to the gym 4 times a week, With scholarship SI Dusit students from the hilltribes

Enjoying golf with the girls

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walked the dog, did the garden, ran two businesses, did all the housework, and enjoyed time with my friends. Here in Thailand I am getting lazier.”

Becoming a grandma

Do you take time off? What do you do then? How do you pamper yourself? “Friends, golf, reading, computer games, drinking wine and eating the superb assortment of food in Thailand, plus the frequent trips to London to see my son and my daughter's little family.” What drives you? “Loving life and people. I do love time with myself, but a part of me would die if I could not share my joy with others.” Two years ago you changed status to a grandma. Your grandchild lives in London. How is it to be a grandma on a remote control? “I have always loved children. I have loved teaching them, so the ultimate joy is now to be a grandmother. I Facetime many times a week, and my wee Lanchai (grandson) is adorable - words cannot describe all the feelings and amount of joy one gets from this experience. My friends know how Gaga I can get. At the end of this year I will have two grandsons under two years. There is a busy time ahead for me as a grandmother.” Tell me a little about your own childhood. What type of child have you been? What kind of childhood you have experienced? “I was lucky enough to be born a twin. To always have a best mate by your side is beyond words. We are identical mirror twins, i.e. she is left handed while I am right handed, etc. We did everything together. We were never allowed to be bad tempered or disagreeable and our parents hugged and kissed us every morning and before bedtime. Being brought up on a sheep farm we always had each other to rely

on. From a very early age we sang for hours a day together, and taught ourselves the guitar. As we got older we sang, performed at concerts and did an annual TV stint. At teachers college and university we modelled for extra cash, and really had a great time. The only really huge shock to our life, was our mother dying of cancer when we turned 21 years. One of my greatest regrets is not having this angel any longer in our lives. She was not there for my children, and so I just do things as I know she would have loved to have done.” Who is Kathy that not everyone knows? “Oh ... I keep that to myself. I hate bullies, cruelty, and those who insist on an argument. I just keep away. I am very spiritual.” What are you proud of? “I am very proud of my family. I love and adore them all. I am also lucky that I have been given the chance of a second marriage after 22 years - the magic is still there and I know how blessed I am.” Your top tip to inspire other expat women in a foreign city? “1 + 1 = 2; but in some countries 3 - 1 = 2. Learn to accept that they may do it differently while the answer can be the same. Do not judge too early.” Where do you see yourself in ten years from now? “Just loving life, here, in Thailand.”

With family

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IT

Protecting the internet by Bernard and Jonathan Collin

England and Australia are currently trending in the tech community because of their desire to ambitiously undermine the way the internet functions. (https://arstechnica.com/ tech-policy/2017/06/australia-to-target-encrypted-messagingapps-at-upcoming-security-meeting/) Citing a variety of reason such as criminals, terrorists, and foreign political agents to explain why we should undermine our currently established security. This is in drastic contrast to the call from professionals in the industry who are currently trying to push for increased security of communication protocols (a better HTTPS). By taking a complex issue (security) and simply looking at one very narrow application of it, various ministers in England and Australia are calling for backdoors to undermine the ability of people to protect their data and communication. And when looked at in this narrow view in the context of nefarious agents and criminals, their point seems like a great plan. But when placed within the wider context of encryption and it’s uses, the flaws become glaringly apparent. Encryption is a maths formula, made to protect information. It’s designed to be so complicated than simply trying to reverse engineer it would take more time then the value of the data locked within the alterations. This is how we protect communications and information. It is also what allows data breaches to not be crippling events. If the communication is intercepted, or the data is stolen, when correctly encrypted it is still safe. Your personal details, the company’s payroll, the client’s information is kept from being divulged. The current proposal is to create a backdoor. We retain all the benefits of encryption while giving our governments a key to open all locks at the drop of a hat. The problem arising is that currently encryption has one solution. A backdoor is essentially a second solution to all encryption with that formula. It creates the same solution for a large amount of secure information. The burden will be placed on providers of encryption to create this one key for all their methods of securing information. The dangers of this are that we could be mandated to register our data and the ways to access it in a database. This would limit the damage from key breaches but create a large database full of targeted attack potential. Or we create one key per provider that would allow them to crack any and all encryption locks of that provider. Creating one piece of duplicatable electronic data that could open all locks.

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In response, providers of encryption will either comply and carry the burden of potential breaches, or move to do business in legislative zones that do not mandate encryption backdoors. The recent problems the Australian government with securing Medicare details and their response to the difficulties shows who will bear the brunt of such mishandling. (https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jul/08/ data-breaches-undermine-trust-in-governments-ability-toprotect-our-information) In response to the discovery that data was actively available and breached, the response was “traditional criminal activity”. What do we take away from all this? Encryption is a major part of securing our data and our communications. It is important to be aware of how much of our details are secured from access. Encrypt your devices and data. Back it up. Secure a secondary set of access credentials. Devices can be lost, stolen, destroyed. Having a backup of encrypted data is fantastic but useless if that data cannot be unlocked because the device with the credentials is destroyed. Best practices are to get a security professional to create not just an encryption methodology, but also a contingency plan. Have an audit. Evaluate how secure you want to be. And make sure to retain control of its access in case of major crisis.

Bernard Collins is the CEO of SafeComs, established in 1999 in Australia with a focus on computer security in the SME and enterprise market. In 2003 he launched the Asian branch of the company located in Bangkok. Prior to launching SafeComs Bernard was CEO of Pacer Software Inc in Europe and was with Digital Equipment and Apple. info@safecoms.com 02 105 4520 EXPAT LIFE in Thailand

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Travel

Phi Ta Khon festival by Scott and Nori Brixen

If hundreds of people wearing lurid, ghoulish masks with schlongish noses and shaking giant wooden phalluses doesn't sound like a family friendly event to you, then you're clearly not from my family and you're not getting an invite to my next party. I'd been desperate to see the Phi Tha Kon (ผีตาโขน) "Ghost Mask" festival in the northern province of Loei since I arrived in Thailand. It's not that difficult to get to: a 1hr flight to Loei followed by 1.5hr drive to Dan Sai Village. But work kept getting in the way of my vacation (something I plan to address). And it doesn't help that the date for the festival is divined each year (sometime between March and July) by local mystics. This year, however, the gods and the diaries were aligned and the festival weekend was wedged between business trips to England and Singapore. When we arrived on Saturday morning, the main road in Dan Sai was already filled with troops of Phi Tha Kon dancers wearing matching patchwork trousers and those utterly

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distinctive leering masks. This was just the "practice session" for the big parade on Sunday, but it was already a very festive environment. The Phi Tha Kon danced to techno music blasted from lorries bristling with speakers. They happily posed for selfies and family photos. They playfully menaced visitors with donkey-sized wooden dongs. Everyone was in a good mood, including my boys, who found the whole thing hilarious. The festival was fun during the day, but at night, things really picked up. After getting the boys to bed (they were exhausted after such an early start), we returned to the centre of town. The indefatigable Phi Tha Khon were dancing like crazy in the main square, and an open area near the town's

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wet market had been converted into a raucous beer garden with live music on stage. And as usual at any big Thai event, the food options were delicious and super cheap. Sunday was the big parade day, and it was hectic. The number of people in the streets quadrupled. It felt like everyone from Loei and the nearby provinces had descended on tiny Dan Sai. We had to park a kilometre away from the parade route and it took 45 minutes to weave through the knots of tourists. The temporary bleachers erected opposite the main plaza were dangerously full, and even if you could find a seat, there was nothing to look at; the parade was already a few hours behind schedule. Fifteen minutes later we decided to give up; the boys were hot and hungry and getting grumpy. On the walk back to our car, we stumbled upon a little secret: all of the parade participants were lined up down the road heading towards our hotel! They were bored too and happy to pose for crowd-free photos. In addition to the Phi Tha Kon, there were troops of "Mud Men", festival princes and princesses dressed in beautiful traditional outfits, giant zombie figures and dozens of groups of school kids. The Phi Tha Kon festival is Dan Sai's big thing. Everywhere we looked there were vendors selling Phi Tha Kon T shirts, coffee mugs, miniature Phi Tha Kon figures riding toy motorcycles. And of course I couldn't pass up the opportunity to buy a real Phi Tha Kon mask ‌ especially when it only cost 1,500B! It's not a stretch to call this the Mardi Gras of Thailand. But with a key difference: people behave themselves. Despite the liberating anonymity of wearing masks, the widespread drinking and the phallus pistols, nobody got out of control.

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The festival was wild, but ultimately still conservative. Nobody was rude. It was sad to think that the same kind of event could never be pulled off in the USA or Europe without at least a few people doing something stupid. My family will definitely be back for the Phi Tha Kon festival. And if you're planning a trip to Thailand around that time, you should seriously consider making the trip up to Loei. You could combine it with a trip to the delightful riverside town of Chiang Khan and stay in a hotel overlooking the Mekong and Laos on the other side.

Scott & Nori are avid travellers and knowledge seekers who have travelled to 110 plus countries across all 7 continents. Now they're sharing their wanderlust with their two sets of twin boys, Tai, Logan, Drake and Kiva. Follow their travels at www.twotwinstwavel.com

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Fashion and Beauty

Wear glitterati, need no worry. It’s a trend, FW17 by Talar Zambakjian

It’s almost fall/winter season in Thailand. Although not much variation is felt in our weather innuendos, nonetheless, fall is a period of closeness, social vibrancy, invitations and charming events comme d'habitude.  We all know and we perhaps are intuitively preparing ourselves for these obligations; in a wardrobe sense, in our accessories sense and in the sense of plainly put ’keeping up with the times, the style times …' I was thinking how to refresh my style and ideas for this fall season? There’s a lot of new choices, trends and window displays are dazzling with new fabrics and cuts. What is in and what colours for us Bangkokian fashionistas, what should we focus on when doing some virtual shopping? I want to get the right thing and probably get the things right too. Style matters, especially when it comes to “acte social” of dresses, accessories and style.  The monsieur should be kept

impressed … Let’s see the many colour outlines and cuts ... feels like 80s. Having a look at the FW2017 runways, it all comes clear to me: here are the major trends I have to focus on this autumn/winter 2017 season: You are free to add and make suggestions.

Givenchy, Armani, oversized coat from Dolce to finally, over the knee red boots by Fendi. Another major colour to wear this season is brown. Brown is the new black for this fall. Many major brands are using it amongst others there was Balmain, Pucci and Moschino.

Red and chocolate brown: In the summer season mix of 2017, red was mixed with some leading colours and styles in almost every accessories and clothing's at the major brands especially by Gucci. This season the red remains a dominant tone of fall 2017 too. Wearing red from top to toe is noticeably the next big thing, and I challenge you to do that while shopping at the mall. Red was seen at Oscar De La Renta to

Furs and nylon coats: Vintage style furs. Just the basic style, as if they were borrowed from grandma's wardrobe. A must wear for the cold winter. Seen in Celine, Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors FW17 runways. As for the nylon coats, they are always nice, stylish and chic. The best solution for travelling into countries with rain. 

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Victorian collars: High Victorian style collars are very in. Shakespeare style shirts, very classic high collar dresses were seen this season on runways, mixed with modern materials and patents. You’ll wear like the older sister but be the younger one. Always want to feel young. You know what I mean. Hmm, check out Galliano and Kenzo on this.     

Oversized shoulders and the deconstructed looks: This season is more like borrowing your grandfather 80s suits. The shoulder pads are must this season. Some brands like Ports 1961 and DVF and Wang went on mixing materials, cutting shoulders. In other words, using old and classic pattern into new modern way. Express your romanticism through your shoulders. See Dries Van Noten.    

Florals: Again for this season the floral is in, but for winter more like the couch or window vintage style florals from tops to chic gowns. Also spotted in many brands the Russian doll style look, from top to toe applying the strong colours like Gucci, Altuzarra and Kate Spade. Don’t you have to attend that tea gathering at The Oriental or the Sunday fun chat at Gaysorn. 

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Formal velvet and glitters: This FW17 formal dresses are the full velvet look or full glitters. Using the winter colours like red, navy blue, yellow or the mustard colour, many brands like Jason Wu, Neil Barret, and Aquilano Rimondi used these rich colours. Ladies, this is something to wear for your soirees. You know, the long sexy dress which reveal your fine silky figure when you walk into ballroom … gets noticed and starts drawing in the conversations. Please don’t forget the right perfume. Hashtag’ feminine. 

Mid-length skirts/cowboy style/fun suits: Some others trends that you can take out of your wardrobe and use it for this season are: the mid length with full flouncy skirts. Seen at Dior, Victoria Beckham and Valentino. The cowboy style is creating novel ideas for this season at notably Calvin Klein, Alexander Wang and Balmain. As for the fun suits, it continues from the last season to the upcoming one, yet the colours are more cosy and mixed with suede material.   

Accessorise FW17: Wide belts and belted coats: Wide waist belts on top of dresses, pullovers, pants and jackets and a must is on top of coats. Classics stretched. Fishnets as tights: This time instead of under the torn denims, we see the fishnet tights under the feminine dresses. Fantasy extended. Retro hats: Heavyweights for this season with vintage textile and look. Headwear articulated.  Glittery boots: This elevating boot trend will make you feel like a shining

star. We've seen Rihanna wearing the Saint Laurent ones. Chanel pairs reminds us of the 80s thriller fashion zones. Foot fetish instigated. Western ambiances, authority dresses, colours and accessories. So you need to build your conversationalist tone and feelsome topics ladies. Be ready to feel, wear and act confidently because the trend karma is in our direction. Being inspired and setting your couture ideals will be important in fall/winter 2017 season. You need to represent that dashing je vis librement charisma inside with the glitterati boots and jetset character. Don’t stay shy, it’s your time to charm and feel awesome. Sip the Champagne and get your services sharpened because this fall we’ll be rocking together. That all from me Talar,   #Be_A_Starlette for now.  Love xxx

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FEATURES

The back up plan for expats: Have you got yours? by Isabel Valle

How long have you lived the expat life? Do you worry about what might happen if anything goes wrong? Do you have a plan on how to mitigate the risks that expats may be exposed to whilst on assignment? Are you concerned about any of the following: • Job loss • Lack of new job prospects within the company • New assignment in a high-risk region • Local package/no family benefits/ family not welcomed to join • Failed assignment • Failed relationship • Inability to repatriate with employer • Physical/mental health risks/illness • Injury/disability/death

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Have you thought about all the above possible case scenarios or any others? How would that affect life as you know it in a foreign location? I am not trying to worry you here. However, the reality of moving overseas in an expat assignment creates a whole new range of scenarios that we need to be aware of. Added to this, is the potentially vulnerable position that expat partners put themselves in when they take career breaks and become financially dependent. It is therefore important for expats to acknowledge that life goes

EXPAT LIFE in Thailand

wrong, and also that with a little bit of intentional planning we can set ourselves up for riding through those low moments with as much control and certainty as possible. Having a back up plan to ensure that our loved ones and life in general is taken care of in the event that anything goes wrong during an expat assignment must be a priority to prevent us from falling victims to unfortunate life events. Personally, as well as in my years of experience working with expatriates and leaders from all walks of life, I know how much these worries play in our minds. In most cases, trailing spouses leave their careers behind to follow their partners. They worry that if anything goes wrong, they won’t be able to support themselves, their family and their lifestyle. I have witnessed many instances in which expat families have suffered a loss of varying degrees, and the devastation that it leaves behind for those who are left to pick up the pieces and continue to live life to the best of their ability.

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So is there anything that can be done to alleviate such times? Whilst there are areas where you many not be able to anticipate or exert any control over, there are also plenty of opportunities and options for you to create a sense of security and certainty if anything was to happen. So allow me to share with you some of the best strategies to set in place to help you avert risk and set you in a comfortable position in the event that misfortune strikes: 1. The very first step of the process is to actually have an open, candid and transparent conversation with your partner. What happens in the event of death or divorce? Brainstorm some ideas, and go through different case scenarios. It is important to share your opinions and expectations, and to reach consensus to an action plan that you both agree on. 2. Speak to your employer. Ensure you have an understanding of what the company will do to mitigate some of the risks, and how they will contribute in these circumstances. Making assumptions on the company’s behalf is a very risky move, so do the homework and find out exactly what is covered so that you can build on whatever gaps you feel need to be taken care of.

3. Get expat financial advice. There are so many things to take into account when considering your financial situation as an expat. Speak to a financial adviser who specialises in expatriates to help you create a successful financial plan and build an investment portfolio to ensure you meet your financial goals, and let them make your money grow for you. 4. G  et life and disability/income protection insurance. Protecting your ability to earn an income should be considered a priority to ensure your family could cope financially if you or your partner suffers disability or death whilst you are overseas. This is a worthwhile, good value option to put your mind at rest. 5. Make or update your will – consider specifics such as who will look after your children in the event that anything happens to you and discuss with all parties involved for commitment. Wills for expats are a difficult subject to write about because they are difficult to define.

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Laws which govern an expat’s state will be different depending on their home nation and on the laws of the country in which they currently reside, so do some homework and have your will updated accordingly. 6. Create a power of attorney document and give it to a trusted friend or relative who can act legally in your interest, if necessary, whilst you are abroad. By doing this, the person you assign will be able to handle financial matters, make healthcare decisions, or care for your children if you become incapacitated. This can also be a handy option to have if you own assets in your home country and would like someone to manage and make decisions on your behalf whilst you are away, without having to be present. 7. Share all relevant information with each other. Keep informed on the state of affairs (bank accounts, assets, advisor’s contact details, etc). Keep a private document – updated every 6 months with details

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and personal costs at any given emergency, such as natural disasters, political disorders, terrorism, etc.

on all bank accounts, passwords and assets, together with any other relevant information, so you can access if in need. Everyone should be aware of the back up plan. 8. If able to, and if it is not covered by your employer, ensure you have a full comprehensive health insurance plan that covers the whole family. Consider including evacuation, outpatient and inpatient fees, hospital stays, and repatriation. Depending on your circumstances – i.e. your home and host country – you may be eligible to free or subsidised healthcare. If you don’t have any cover, the costs of even minor routine medical treatments can quickly mount up over time. 9. If able to, create an education savings account to help pay for your children’s education in the future. Whether your employer is fully or partly financing your children’s schooling fees, the costs associated with good English speaking schools, rising university fees, boarding fees, etc will no doubt add up. Allocating a monthly amount for your children’s education when they are young will help ease these costs when you really need them.

whether to continue to pay personal contributions to your personal pension back home, whether your host country will allocate a pension for you, how much your employer will contribute towards retirement costs, etc. As an expat, the rules around pension get more complicated, so if you are able to, put some money aside into a retirement account to ensure you have a comfortable life when you stop working. 11. A  dditionally, you must set aside some of your monthly income to serve you as a safety net and a contingency plan. As an expat, things may change quickly and you may need to tap into this money to get you through a difficult period, paying a house’s deposit or school fees, legal fees, etc. In volatile environments specially, we must be prepared to evacuate, or access resources for transport

12. Have an independent bank account in your own name and your own credit card, along with some contingency money to pay for administrative, legal representation and any other costs. Let’s be real. Relationships break down, accidents happen, and particularly for the accompanying partner, it can lead to a period where in some countries, are unable to tap into their own assets and finances. So be protected. 13. Have a nest – a place to call home. So that if you need to flee your current location, you have a base and a place to safely get to. If possible, don’t rent it out, it needs to be available to use as you see fit. If this is not an option for you, discuss available options, whether family and friends, and again discuss this with those involved to reach consensus. 14. If you are not working and earning an income, work on upskilling yourself, stay in touch with your industry, stay connected with

10. Create a retirement account to set aside some extra money for the future. When working and living abroad, you will need to consider

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previous employers, attend industry related networking events and conferences, etc. Keep your certifications updated and figure out ways in which you can stay current in your field; you may be able to do some voluntary work or do distance learning to keep it up to date, so that if need to you may get back to your profession. 15. If you are interested in working as a trailing spouse, there are many ways in which you can set yourself up to earn an income doing what you love. Nowadays the opportunities are endless, so do some research. Some examples of this would be freelancing work, online business, becoming an author, etc. 16. Earning revenue is a key part of this plan. Understand what is available in both your home and host country. If possible, create some passive income opportunities so that if your main source of income stops, you have some additional resources aiding you during the adjustment period. Examples of this would be property rentals, selling an ebook, online products or courses, blogging and getting affiliate links, purchasing high dividend stocks, creating an App, selling professional photos online, etc. Be creative and don’t limit yourself here. 17. Network. For expats, networking can help to replace or rebuild the support systems that have been left behind in the home country, and helps expats establish themselves in their host country. Both business and social networking are important for sharing resources and a healthy way to meet others and form social relationships that may prove crucial during challenging times. During your expat assignment, keep an active presence in expatriate

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circles. You never know, those connections may be key in helping you transition out of an unfortunate situation. And likewise, be there for close connections. 18. V  isualise different case scenarios and brainstorm ways in which you could handle these situations. You will be conditioning your brain to manage these circumstances if they were to happen, allowing you to deal with them in a more effective and productive way if and when it happens. Ask yourself: “What’s the worst that could happen?”, followed by: “How could I best handle this scenario if I had all the resources that I need?”. Then, work on creating those resources, should you need them in the future. 19. A  sk for help. We all need it, and it is perfectly OK to ask for it. Talk to family and friends, or better yet, work with a professional to help you set yourself up for success and create en empowering mindset that will have you pushing through limitations irrespective of the situation. Whether coaching, counselling, financial planning, legal services, etc, there is an array of professional services available to help you create what you need. 20. Above all, develop a flexible mindset to be able to adapt to what the assignment may throw at you. Your ability to stay open minded and your willingness to try new

ways of doing things will go a long way when it comes to securing a more certain future. Things may not go according to the original plan, and having flexibility to adjust to what’s required will save you a lot of hassle. So, how many of the above have you already got in place? Which ones do you think you need to work on setting up? What else can you think of that will help you stop worrying and live in the moment knowing that you have taken care of things as much as you can? If you still find yourself worrying, then ask yourself, “what is it specifically that I am worrying about, and what can be done to get rid of it?”. With some intentional planning, you may be able to put your worries to rest and enjoy all the incredible perks that come with an expat assignment. So do some work on it now and put it out of mind to enjoy life fully. Here’s to your success! Isabel

Isabel Valle is an accredited ICF PCC Coach, Leadership Mentor and Facilitator currently based in Bangkok. Isabel has held senior positions within the hospitality industry in countries around the world, and facilitates a holistic approach to leadership, growth and success. She specialises in virtual coaching and online mentoring that inspires action and helps leaders from all walks of life around the globe bring their gifts to life to help them create professional excellence and personal fulfilment. More information available on www.isabelvalle.com.

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The International Women’s Club Scholarship Foundation by Kathleen Pokrud, President of International Women’s Club of Thailand

The International Women’s Club of Thailand (IWC) is one of the oldest and largest social clubs in Thailand. Founded in 1964, it currently has around 400 members from 80 different countries. Our membership includes many prominent Thai and expat personalities. Over the past 50 years, IWC has worked to foster friendship and mutual understanding amongst women of different nationalities, promote education and social welfare for the Thai community, and improve the status of women. IWC also works in coordination with other women’s organisations in Thailand and abroad. Girls’ education in Thailand A century ago, there were no schools for girls. Education took place at home with emphasis on the domestic arts, such as cooking and embroidery. Upperclass parents sought to enrol their daughters at one of the royal courts so that they could be properly educated by female royals, and well versed in the Thai language, flower arranging, court manners, embroidery, and cooking. With such credentials, they could become good wives and mothers in charge of their households. Before the establishment of a uniform national education system at the beginning of the 20th century local Buddhist

temples were the educational centres, but for males only. The impetus for educational development picked up pace during the reign of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), who undertook a major reform of the Thai education system, with the introduction of the first public schools and the expansion of education at all levels. In 1921, under the reign of King Rama VI, the Compulsory Education Act required that all children from ages 7 to 14, boys and girls alike, attend school. In 1932, when Thailand became a constitutional monarchy, educating the whole population became a priority of the government and many reforms were introduced. Nonetheless, when it came to making decisions about sending children to school, boys were still chosen over girls. Even up to the 1990s, illiteracy was considerably higher among women than men. At the home level, parents perceived that educating daughters could interfere with their duty to care for elderly parents in later life. Besides the traditional family structure, the labour market also contributed to the gender gap since it was expected that sons would become household heads and so men should have better access to job opportunities. The longstanding gender gap in educational attainment favouring boys over girls has narrowed. Thailand has made progress in promoting the rights and capabilities of women, and since 1992 more female than male students have enrolled in higher education. IWC Scholarship Foundation IWC members take part in various activities, but we maintain

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a focus on social welfare through our IWC Scholarship Foundation, established in 1994, which provides an ongoing educational fund to support less fortunate, but deserving female students with scholarships which are awarded annually. Many IWC members are mothers and daughters ourselves, and we sincerely believe that “when you educate a girl, you educate a family.” Each year, IWC helps students to further their education by giving continuous support until their graduation. The foundation awards 30-50 scholarships each year. IWC also supports many organisations around the Kingdom of Thailand, particularly those with an emphasis on the welfare of women and children. Our scholarship recipients are students at university, high school, middle and elementary school levels. The funds

In commemoration of King Rama IX International Women's Club of Thailand proudly presents: “An elegant Thai evening” Date: 11th November 2017 (Saturday) Venue: The Sala Thai Ballroom 5/F, Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen's Park 199, Sukhumvit Soi 22, Klong Ton, Bangkok Time: 6:30 p.m. Registration 6:45 p.m. Cocktail Reception 7:30 p.m. Dinner Price: Platinum VIP ticket -5,000B Regular ticket - 2,200B (Table of 10 is 20,000B) Entertainment includes: - Singing - Live band - Fashion show - Door prizes - Raffle draw - Dancing - Prizes for best dressed Theme for best dressed: Thai attire from old to modern era For reservations contact: Nora Kositamongkol 081 936 0778 Mukda Sorensen 081 814 2221 Proceeds go to IWC Scholarship Foundation Dress code: Elegant Thai attire/lounge suit

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they receive help cover costs for books, school supplies, lunches, uniforms and tuition. Teachers and professors at the various schools and universities help oversee our recipients and report on their grades and progress. The average cost per student per year is 3,500B (elementary), 5,500B (high school), and 15,000B (university level). In recent years, the scholarships have concentrated more on high school and university students. To raise money for the programme, IWC holds an annual fundraising event. The IWC Annual Fundraiser gives students who enter the programme the opportunity to to reach the highest level of their abilities without fear of having to leave school before they are ready to do so. Secure in the knowledge that they will be able to complete their studies, we believe that our students are given the fighting chance to graduate as worthy, confident and contributing citizens of the Kingdom of Thailand.

Kathleen Pokrud is the President of the International Women’s Club of Thailand. Based on His Late Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej's guiding principles, the vision and theme for IWC this year is "Friendship and Love". As a long established and prestigious social club in Thailand, the club’s mission in 2017 is to build stronger ties among the members, and extend their positive energy and love to friends and community. With the support of this year’s energetic committee, IWC has hosted 2 very successful events with strong support from the Diplomatic Corps and participation from various ladies’ groups in Thailand. In January there was the Welcome of the Rooster Chinese New Year event and, in May, the IWC International Food Fair. IWC is looking forward to another major function in November featuring “An elegant Thai evening” in commemoration of King Rama IX, to honour the club’s proud Thai heritage. It promises to be one of the social events of the year. EXPAT LIFE in Thailand

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ArtS and Culture

Break a leg six times a year by Don Harrelson and Bonnie Zellerbach

Bangkok Community Theatre, Thailand’s oldest English speaking theatrical organisation, will have staged six delightfully varied productions by the end of 2017, and local theatre lovers still have a chance to be involved with three of them. BCT’s 45th season has already delivered Eve Ensler’s provocative staged reading of The Vagina Monologues in February, an inventive small ensemble production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in March and a two night Fringe Festival of short plays and musical numbers in May with 8 different directors and a cast of 30 strong performers. Onstage in September and October, BCT will entertain Bangkok audiences with the American hit musical comedy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. This quirky show revolves around an eclectic group of sixth grade contestants who have all entered the contest for very different reasons. The production features an engaging, tuneful score and a sweet, funny book which will cause audiences to fall in love, both with the show itself and the “perspicacias,” “jocular,” and “effervescent” spellers. The cast of 9 features several BCT regulars and new faces alike. Tickets are on sale

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now at the BCT website and avid theatregoers won’t want to miss this delightful production. Now in rehearsal, and soon to be staged at M Theatre’s Blue Box theatre in November, is Annie Baker’s award winning play Circle Mirror Transformation. An absorbingly natural yet outrageously funny play, Circle Mirror Transformation will prompt audience members to question what they really know about the noble art of acting. Tickets for Circle Mirror Transformation may be purchased on the BCT website and front-of-house and backstage volunteers are very much welcome. The sixth and final production which completes Bangkok Community Theatre’s 2017 season is an inventive ensemble version of the heartwarming Dickens story A Christmas Carol. This untraditional rendition of the traditional tale follows Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey on Christmas Eve to find out the true meaning of Christmas. Visited by three ghosts, Scrooge travels through time to see how life was, is and will be.

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Auditions for A Christmas Carol will be held on October 3 and are open to English speaking men and women aged 16+. This is your last chance to get on stage with BCT in 2017 so why not audition? BCT is constantly looking for new talent to get involved with productions both in front of and behind the scenes; with expats moving to and from Bangkok at all times, the organisation is ever evolving. BCT welcomes actors, musicians, artists, graphic designers, ticket sellers, seamstresses and so much more. Some theatre tasks need to be filled by experienced thespians but most are open to people willing to pitch in and learn on the job. Formed in 1972 when The Amateur Community Theatre (mostly Americans) and British Bangkok Dramatic Society joined forces to shape the current theatre organisation, BCT is the largest and longest running English language theatre group in Thailand. With voluntary support from all over the globe, BCT continues to provide theatrical productions of almost every variety and style. Members range in age from 16 to 80 with a broad mix of nationalities including Thai, Indian, American, English, Australian, South African, Israeli, Malaysian, Filipino …. to name but a few! Some like to tread the boards onstage, others like to help out behind the scenes, and some choose to extend their support as audience members. The defining trait amongst BCT members is a love of theatre and a willingness to pitch in. Kellie Abley, a Bangkok veteran of 9 months and 3 shows, is a perfect example of the BCT mentality. Originally from the north of England, Kellie moved to Bangkok in July

2016 and volunteered her services as props mistress for BCT’s December panto, Aladdin, as a way to meet new people outside of her workplace. As chance would have it, the production was also in need of a performer to play “Panda”, a non speaking, adorable, furry mascot beloved by all. Stifling her fears of being onstage, Kellie volunteered and found herself not only learning how to make a giant panda costume but also became a celebrity overnight! The panda head looked fabulous but was a little difficult to see through and Kellie almost broke her leg, literally, on more than one occasion. Not to be put off, she went on to perform in The Vagina Monologues in February and is now taking her first crack at producing our November show: Circle Mirror Transformation. She is delighted to be part of the BCT community and continues to benefit from learning new skills, embracing new experiences and making new friends. To add to the many opportunities on offer, BCT also hosts monthly club nights on the first Thursday of each month where members and friends can get together to hone their craft and try out new things. Recent club nights have included play readings, stage combats and audition techniques.

Tickets to all BCT productions may be purchased on the BCT website at www.bangkokcommunitytheatre.com. Upcoming shows and dates: •T  he 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee September 29, 30, October 6 & 7, M Theatre’s Creative Industries on Petchaburi Road. •C  ircle Mirror Transformation November 2, 3, 4, 9, 10 & 11, M Theatre’s Blue Box Theatre, Petchaburi Road •A  Christmas Carol auditions October 3 with performances set for December 1, 2, 8 & 9, M Theatre’s Creative Industries on Petchaburi Road.

For more information about BCT, the shows or auditions, please email info@bangkokcommunitytheatre.com or visit our website at www.bangkokcommunitytheatre.com or like our Facebook page at Facebook/Bangkok Community Theatre.

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Food and Beverage

Masterclass with Chef Alain Passard by Marla Groves

It’s not everyday that you get to meet and learn from a 3 Star Michelin Chef; so I have to admit that I was a little nervous when I showed up at the Issaya Cooking Studio for the Masterclass with Chef Alain Passard of Restaurant L’Arpège in Paris, France. I’ve had the honour of learning from and working with a lot of fabulous chefs, during my career, but never one so highly decorated and Chef Passard. Very shortly after my arrival, the butterflies turned into sheer excitement for the experience that was to come. Right before the class started, Chef Passard cheerfully came in and welcomed each attendee with the traditional European greeting of kissing us on each cheek. The warm reception put me right at ease, and I was now ready to soak up every ounce of wisdom this chef was about to bestow on us. The focus of the class, to my delight, was vegetables. Chef Passard is renowned for his couture approach to food, and for his creativity with vegetables. He began the class with a short lecture on his approach to food as a sustainable,

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organic, seasonally focused, and locally oriented chef. He told us how he equates food to fashion by using the notion of textiles and fabrics as the inspiration for his dishes. The seasonal, sustainable, organic, local part I totally understood, but food as fashion – I was interested to see this in action! Chef Passard began with a demo of one of his famous desserts, a Rose Bouquet Tart. This beautiful creation is made by layering thin strips of apple and rhubarb, then rolling them up to resemble a rose. Each “rose” is then arranged in a low profile tart pan that has been lined with a very thin layer of unbaked puffed pastry. Once all the roses are arranged in the tart shell, creating a bouquet, then half a dragéed almond was placed in the centre of each rose. Next, in perfect French form, little pieces of grass fed butter were placed around the top of the tart prior to placing it in the oven. When the tart was done, it was dusted with powdered sugar and served with a delicious caramelised honey sauce. This tart was magically simple and wildly complex all at the same time. It was totally delicious. It was not too sweet or too heavy. ‘C’était magnifique’! After this beauty, I was excited to see what Chef Passard would be cooking up next. The following dish was blanched white asparagus wrapped in strips of rhubarb. They were then sautéed in butter with a bit of salt and pepper. This lovely creation was again, so amazingly simple, yet intricate in its presentation. Let’s not forget that the flavour was completely balanced.

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The next vegetable creation Chef Passard and his team prepared for us was a simple salad of steamed and raw seasonal vegetables with a sweet and sour dressing. A wide variety of seasonal vegetables such as snow peas, carrots, cauliflower, white and green asparagus, radishes and broccoli florets were arranged on a plate and dressed with a beautiful lemon/honey emulsion. The tart and sweetness of the sauce, perfectly complemented the natural flavours of the vegetables, without overpowering them. I’m not sure I’ve ever tasted a better salad than this. The final completely vegetable centric dish Chef Passard and his team prepared for us was stuffed green cabbage with Parmesan sauce. In this dish, blanched small green cabbage leaves were filled with a lovely mixture of sautéed seasonal vegetables. The stuffed cabbage leaves were then formed into a tightly wrapped ball and then heated gently in a water bath. Once the balls of stuffed cabbage were warm, they were served in a small bowl, topped with fresh tarragon leaves and set over a delicious Parmesan cream sauce. In addition to these delightful vegetable centric dishes, Chef Passard prepared a delicious Brittany Lobster dish and a hot/cold egg custard dish both were wonderful, but my favourite dishes in this masterclass were his inventive fruit and vegetable plates. Chef Passard held true to his passion for creating unique and delectable bites where vegetables are the star rather than an afterthought. This class has helped ignite a new creativity for finding ways to make vegetables

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shine in my own dishes. I look forward to getting in to the kitchen after our upcoming summer adventure. I’m so pleased to have found Issaya Cooking Studio, in time to participate in Chef Passard’s class. It was an honour to learn from him and experience his passion for vegetables. His friendly and open demeanour made for a delightful class. In addition, it was a wonderful opportunity to meet the other class members, who are all involved in the culinary world one way or another. There were several Bangkok restaurateurs, a number of private chefs and a few executive chefs at Bangkok restaurants. I’m truly grateful to Chef Alain Passard and his marvellous staff for coming to Bangkok and sharing their love of food and cooking with all of us. I hope one day to dine at Restaurant L’Arpège in Paris. Who knows what wonders Chef Passard will be cooking up then?

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IWC's Mother and daughter luncheon

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Swedish ladies night out - Prosecco evening with Indian food at Maya, Holiday Inn

Concert Gallery at Black Cabin by Bernardo Diaz

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Indian Independence Day at the Shangri-La hotel

Indonesia Independence Day at Siam Kempinski

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Antonio Vivaldi with the Baroque ensemble, part of the Italian Festival 2017

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Concert at Sala Sudasiri Sodha by Khun Nat Yontararak

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US Independence Day 4th July at Bangkok Patana School

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US Independence Day 4th July at US Embassy

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Chef Fabio - "About Eatery"

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mind matters

Too young to stop living by Zipporah Gene

After two scares and a sleuth of health issues, I’ve finally embraced the fact that dying isn’t the worst thing out there. I’ve always been petrified of dying. There was a period in my life where it felt like family members were dropping off like flies, and so the thought of my passing away, scared the life out of me. I was that child that, for a while, played it safe. I saw terrors in table edges and perils in plastic bags. Flash forward a decade or so later and, as with everything, this fear had become boxed away with all my childhood toys. Travelling, exploring, the general hubbub of cosmopolitan living, led me out of my comfort zone and banished the fears I’d once held so close to my identity. So, by the time I reached my mid 20s, charged with the blissful ignorance of youth, I felt invincible. I’d almost forgotten the anxiety that came with it all, till I sat in that hospital room and my doctor mouthed the word - growth. For a while, I’d felt ‘off’. I lost my appetite and had been all over the place mentally, but couldn’t pin down the reason for it all. I blamed it on my big move back to London to study for my Masters; I blamed it on the stress of the messy breakdown of my six year relationship; I blamed it on the fact that close to my thirties, I’d sort of ‘lost my way’ and didn’t know which direction my life was going. But, after spending a week in agony, constantly breaking out in cold sweats and trying to push through my university lectures, and a hold a full time job, I’d decided to see my GP. She recommended a full checkup, which led me to that cold, lifeless hospital room. I just stared at the floor. In some twisted way, I blamed myself. I deserved it. As the doctor spoke about all the tests they’d run and mouthed to me some other information that I’d long since forgotten, I ran through my diet. I know it sounds silly, but in my mind, I tried to think back to what I’d eaten that could have caused this. Or perhaps it was the fact that I hadn’t switched to organic shampoo? Was it because I sometimes binged on non-gluten free foods, even though I was a longsuffering celiac? I’d watched as my aunt, vibrant, vivacious and beautiful as she was, succumbed to skin cancer and imagined myself going the same way. Day by day, losing a piece of myself, while something strange and alien drained away my life force, till I was gone. All my fears had been realised and something inside me broke. “They’d have to do a biopsy and run more tests,” “I’d have to visit the MacMillan Cancer Centre and see a specialist”.

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The list went on, but in my morbid, twisted, little mind, I was already good as dead. Call me a hypochondriac if you must, but my biggest fear was unfolding right before my eyes and I’d already given up. People talk of beating cancer or fighting cancer as if it’s a ‘thing’ you can attack, subdue or box, they very rarely talk about what happens to you - to your mind. Mine was a mess. If everything can be broken down to fight or flight, I’d abandoned ship and was already half way around the world with a new identity and a fake moustache. I spent the next three weeks, hiding the news from my friends and family but slowly breaking down inside. In moments of lucidity, away from my self-imposed mourning, I’d imagine all the things I would do, if it turned out that the growths were all benign. I made promises to God, promises to myself that I’d take life by the horns and never waste another day, if I could only live to see another year. I must have gone through all the stages of grief - and back - because defeatism gave way to anger, grief to shock and denial. Eventually all I had was hope. Hope that my story wasn’t over. Eventually after being prodded and poked more times than a pin cushion at a seamstress’ shop, it turned out my growths were benign. I’d had three, but none of them fatal. Lucky me. I could live to write another day. People suggested that I get a tattoo or go skydiving, or do something drastic to commemorate this period of my life. I went to the park. Walking barefoot in Epping on a dreary Wednesday afternoon was all the celebration I needed. My blinkers were off. I’d lived through what was my greatest fear and found that even though I’d handled it badly, I still carried on. It was OK to fail, fine to feel down, perfectly normal to give up, because life simply goes on. I’m sorry that I don’t have any revolutionary anecdote for you but that’s what I’ve learned. And though it may seem innocuous now, it has grounded me in such a way that nothing else has in my life. I’m not afraid anymore. So now, even now, after everything that I’ve been through in the last year, my brain has somehow managed to rewire itself - I’m invincible. Zipporah Gene is a freelance journalist, writer, and self-professed frequent stuffer of face. When she’s not writing for various magazines and newspapers, she’s on: shedoesliving.com

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Congratulations...

To our superheroes, cowgirls, artists and footballers who make up our Class of 2017, on their IB Results 100% pass rate from a cohort of 114 students (We are not academically selective)

22% achieved 40 points or more out of 45 They achieved an average score of 35 points (The World Average is 30 points)

We wish you all the best as you spread across the globe, to attend top universities and take advantage of the many post-secondary options your excellent results have opened for you. admissions@patana.ac.th www.patana.ac.th Tel: 02 785 2200

Celebrating 60 years of British International Education

Bangkok Patana is a not-for-profit IB world school accredited by CIS and NEASC


Expat Life in Thailand October/November 2017