Bangkok. December 2013.

On the Phra Sumen Road, Bangkok.

– – – – –

Reflections on the King’s Speech
By Joe Whitman, 14 December 2013

The conflict in Thailand took a brief break on 5 December 2013 in a mark of respect for King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s birthday. Most years, depending on his health, Thais look forward to the His Majesty’s annual birthday speech for inspiration and instruction. Previous speeches, often unscripted, have exceeded an hour and usually contain messages that provide guidance in difficult times or glimmers of hope in times of deep strife.

In contrast, his speech this year was marked by its brevity. Its contents was not full of the wisdom or timely counsel of speeches in years past. To anyone watching, it was clearly evident that the king’s health is continuing to fade. At a time where Thailand once again has found itself deeply mired in political conflict, both sides … Read More

Jim Morrison and The Doors Documentary – The Drugs Do not Work

The new documentary movie "When You're Strange" about the rock group The Doors, is also a tale about the devastating effect drugs can have on a single person. The movie depicts the slow albeit inevitable fall of an iconic and unique singer of his time.

We have heard it all before – the mix of rock music and drug abuse. The stories have been told time and again. It is difficult to mention one single musician from the period of the Sixties and Seventies who has not been involved in some kind of drug or alcohol abuse.

Neverheless, while I was watching the new documentary movie – filled with emotions and nostalgia over the brilliant music and original footage – I was stunned by the unfiltered insight into the lives of these powerful yet vulnerable artists. It is surprisingly easy to put yourself in the shoes of a bold and … Read More

Small Businesses and America’s Affordable Health Choices Act

Myth: The House bill pays for health care reform with a “small business tax” that will kill jobs.

Fact: Small businesses benefit enormously from America’s Affordable Health Choices Act – Reform dramatically reduces small business health costs. The Small Business Majority recently released a report that showed that without reform, small businesses will pay nearly $2.4 trillion in health care costs over the next 10 years. If health insurance reform is enacted, the report found that small businesses could save as much as $855 billion over 10 years, nearly 36 percent. This money can be reinvested in the business and jobs.

Most small firms are exempt; others are subject to lower rates. 76 percent of all businesses are exempt altogether from the employer responsibility requirements. An additional 7 percent of these firms would pay a graduated rate of 2 to 6 percent if they do not offer coverage. More than … Read More

Telehealth – The Future is Here

Telehealth is the use of telecommunication systems to provide health or medical care. Examples include videoconferencing, store and forward technologies, and remote monitoring devices. Over the last 5-10 years since the wide acceptance and availability of broadband technology, the use of telehealth applications has substantially increased. The private sector is estimated to be worth over $ 1 billion by the end of 2010. Additionally, over $ 4 billion has been appropriated from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support Health IT. The foundation of telehealth technologies is supported by two main ideas, the reduction in travel time and its associated costs.

According to the American Telemedicine Association, telehealth technologies give a clinician the ability to monitor and measure patient health data and information over geographical, social, and cultural distances. Additionally, these video and non-video technologies are utilized to collect and transmit patient health information. Telehealth technologies can track the … Read More

Dried Fig

This has just became my friend’s favorite snack. First time I tried it too. Taste pretty good – highly nutritious.

Figs grow on the ficus tree (Ficus carica). Native to the Middle East, figs were one of the first fruits ever to be cultivated. Currently, California ranks third in the world in fig production after Turkey and Greece.

It is said that humans could live on Figs alone as a source of food — such is the goodness and nutrition in the fruit

Figs are high in natural and simple sugars, minerals and fibre. They contain good levels of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese. Dried figs contain an impressive 250mg of calcium per 100g, compared to whole milk with only 118mg.

The health benefits of figs include promoting healthy bowel function due to the high levels of fibre. Figs are amongst the most highly alkaline foods, making them … Read More