“Welcome to the Republic of Thaksin.”

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Mobi’s eBook Market Place

This sub heading will now become a permanent feature of my blog.

I make no apologies for doing this, as I really need to crank up my efforts to market my books and eke out a living, .

Pursuant to these efforts, I have now removed the ‘free’ versions of both Lust for Life and Madju-Raj from this website.

You may have noticed that I have been doing quite a bit of work on setting up  the various links required to sell my eBooks, and hopefully they are now in place and working as they are designed to do.

If you click the link: BUY DIRECTLY FROM MOBI at the top of the right hand side bar , you will be directed to a page entitled ‘Buy Directly from Mobi’, (what else…?), where you will be able to buy a download for my novel, Madju Raj.

When you are on that page, if you click on the Buy Now button you will be directed to a website which will enable you to complete your purchase  of the download. 

This can be done EITHER through your PayPal account, OR by using your credit card directly.

Whatever method you choose, the payment will be processed using the secure services of the PayPal system but you do NOT need to open a PayPal account to complete the purchase and there are no extra charges.

The download will be delivered to you in the form of a pdf file which you can read on your desk top, notebook, tablet, or smartphone and it can also be printed off. 

To those of you who are little bit tech-savvy, you will be given the option of requesting the file to be downloaded as either an ePub or a mobi file. You will then be able to copy the file onto your ‘Kindle’ or similar eBook reading device.

Alternatively

You can click on Buy From Amazon, (located immediately under ‘Buy From Mobi’ on the right side bar), and you will be directed to the appropriate Amazon website where my books can be purchased in the normal way.

At the present time, only Madju Raj is available as a direct download from my website as Lust is under an exclusive 90 day deal with Amazon. When the deal expires, I will make A Lust for Life also available for download from my own website.

Next in line to be published is Tales from Thailand, which was originally published in 2002 as a paper back. The tales will undergo some ‘dusting down’ and revisions, and will then be published on Amazon as an eBook. I will start working on this within the next couple of weeks and hope to have the collection of short stories published before the end of the year.

Also on the agenda are plans to instal an alternative system of buying books through my website, as well as making Madju Raj, (and later, Lust), available on other eBook platforms, such as Nook and Kobo.

That’s enough Market Place news for now. I hope that you find my newly themed site is as user-friendly as my old one, and as always, I welcome criticisms and comments, especially on the vexed subject of the marketing of my books.

I am a novice in this business and welcome any suggestions to improve my efforts.

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Mobi-Babble

It has been another hectic week.

On Monday I was back to see the doc at Siracha to give her the news that the meds didn’t seem to be working and that I was still having the daily ‘runs’ and periodic pain attacks.

The consultation was somewhat inconclusive. She confirmed what I already knew from my own research – that there was little more she could do, short of providing more pain killers and something to help with diarrhoea. I have chronic pancreatitis and I have to live with it for the rest of my life. It could well get worse and the danger of it developing into pancreatic cancer is very high!

So I will persevere with the ‘enzyme’ meds, (as she told me that it may take a while before they are fully effective), and try to work out ways to minimise the fat in my diet.

One of the problems with living in a place like Thailand is that although most food ingredients are available one way or another, some are for sale at an unacceptably high price, and you also have to search high and low to find them. No two imported food items will be sold in the same store.

It is not always easy to follow specialist low-fat- western diets in here, as the country is simply not set up for it. Furthermore, the fact that I am the world’s worst cook and have absolutely no interest in cooking makes my situation a ‘recipe for disaster’ in more ways than one…

At best, Noo can only cook a handful of simple farang dishes, and she also struggles with the concept of low fat, low sugar, meals – farang or Thai. She does her best, bless her, but the food it is not always quite what I need.

Never mind, I am where I am, and I will press on regardless and hope for the best.

After the doc had given me the bad news, I asked her to refer me to a cardiologist, which she did, and I went to see my first heart man in many months, sporting all my myriad medical records, blood pressure charts etc.

It was almost a waste of time. Apart from speaking very limited English, I could see that he really wasn’t interested in my multiple cardiac problems. Maybe the fact that I had a recent heart valve replacement, was complaining of rib cage pains and was taking a host of blood pressure meds put him off. If I was him, and seen the likes of me coming, I would have probably have run away too….

Either way, he just didn’t seem to be tuned in to my medical problems and he told me to go and see my surgeon about the rib cage pains.

However, when I told him about my BP problems and then thrust the list of my meds under his chin, he told me that my beta blocker, (Prenelol),was very dated. He said there were better beta blockers now on the market which might give me better control over the high and low swings in my blood pressure. He also told me that my pulse rate which hovers in the low 50’s and sometimes drops into the high 40’s was too low and if I changed to a more ‘modern’ beta blocker, it might help to raise my heart rate.

So I asked him to write down the name of the new med and am now in the process of trying it out. It’s still too early to see if it is any better.

So at least I got something out of it, but going forward, as far as medical issues are concerned, it seems that I am back alone, with no doctors.

It looks as though I will have to manage my chronic pancreatitis, insulin-dependent diabetes, heart disease, glaucoma and enlarged prostate all by myself, with the aid of my trusty computer.

Was it ever thus…..

PS. I wrote the above ‘Mobi-Babble’ yesterday (Saturday) and last night I had another bad pain attack in my upper abdomen, despite trying to keep to a low-fat diet. The pain killers do help, but they take 1 – 2 hours to kick in and the pain doesn’t completely subside for 4-5 hours. So it was another sleepless night – something I will have to get used to suffering for many years to come – assuming I live that long….

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We had one of the most spectacular electrical storms I have ever experienced the other night. I think it must have been the remnants of the weather patterns that brought Typhoon Haiyan to the Philippines, where it has wreaked such death and destruction.

Our power was out for about four hours, but these outages have become such a common occurrence here of late that we have learned to live with them. My computer notebook, monitor screen, computer sound system and, most importantly – my adsl modem – are all connected to a ups, (uninterrupted power supply), so whenever the power goes down, I can continue working as normal.

However, the ups will only keep going for about an hour when everything is connected to it, so if the power doesn’t return within 10 minutes or so, I switch off the monitor and sound system and disconnect my notebook. This means that the UPS can continue for many hours to power the modem, thus ensuring my internet remains connected. I have over 2 hours of battery life in my notebook and if the power is not back within two hours I can briefly plug it back into the ups to get it partially recharged.

It is fortunate that some months ago I switched from a TV-cable based internet provider to a provider that delivers the connection through the terrestrial phone line network. The cable internet connections always go down whenever there is a power cut, and even a two second outage means the connection will take up to 10 minutes to re-boot –very annoying, as we get frequent, momentary power-cuts.

That problem is all in the past as my new connection stays on throughout the power cuts; as does the 3G connection to my smart phone, which I use as a back-up, but these days, I rarely need.

So with my computer and peripherals running on alternative power sources, my battery driven fans and lanterns, and a good stock of candles, I can happily survive the longest of power cuts….even if, when all else fails, I have to resort to reading a book on my smart phone.

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Mobi-Bytes

Charlie and the Killing Factory (follow-up)

Yes folks, it looks as though my humble blog has finally reached the highest echelons of Commonwealth government.

After last week’s piece, in which I deplored the decision of all of the Commonwealth leaders, (save Canada), to attend the conference in Colombo, the Indian Premier obviously got the message and decided to cancel out, as did the premier of Mauritius.

The other day I was watching a British political TV programme in which the former Labour Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, stated that whereas he had previously decried the  David Cameron’s decision to attend the conference in Colombo, he now wondered whether it wasn’t after all the correct thing to do.

The reason, he told us, was that by attending, Cameron would succeed in putting the media spot light on the gross abuse of human rights  that was continuing to be perpetrated in that country.

Before leaving, Cameron stated essentially the same thing – that he would draw more attention to the plight of the minority Tamils by going, than by boycotting it.

I strongly disagreed. I felt that Cameron’s justification for going was a cheap, cynical ploy to placate his critics.

After all, we had heard the same kind of diatribe from the likes of Ecclestone and the formula one billionaires when they decided to continue staging their grand prixs in Bahrain, despite the government’s brutal repression of minorities and innocent protesters. “If we hold our race”,  they told us, “we will raise the political profile of any ‘wrongdoings’”. What a load of hogwash.

Before attending the conference, Cameron went to India where he re-stated his intention of taking the Sri Lankans to task over their human rights record.

His plans to do this were immediately denounced  by some obnoxious Sri Lankan minister, who stated that Cameron had been invited to his country to participate in the conference and not to ask questions about human rights abuses.

The stupid fool didn’t realise that by spouting such execrable rhetoric, he himself had suddenly raised the profile of an issue that they were desperate to keep as ‘low profile’ as possible..

Then a Channel 4 TV crew were prevented from travelling to the north and poor old Auntie BBC  were roughly manhandled at a press conference. Things were starting to get interesting.

I’ve never been much of a Cameron fan but I have to say that on this occasion he seems to have come up with the goods and has shown my cynicism to be misplaced.

Not only did he travel to the north with a plane load of British journalists and speak with many of those who have been treated appallingly by the viscious Sri Lankan regime, but upon his return, he held a news conference for the world’s journalists  where he told them the way it was.

It was arguably a rash, and even a dangerous thing to do, particularly after the government had expressly prohibited it. 

Judging from the look on his face just prior to the press conference, he must have had  a pretty nasty meeting with the president of the country, a certain Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Rajapaksa insisted that he has ‘brought peace and stability to Sri Lanka’ and rejects the accusations of rape, executions and indiscriminate shelling killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians by his forces towards the end of the war.

I must admit I would shudder to even be in the same room as this evil tyrant. Let’s just take a quick look at a few of the recent events that have occurred during his presidency:

  • Reporters Without Borders has ranked Sri Lanka 165th among 173 countries in its annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index, even  lower than highly repressive regimes  such as Saudi Arabia.
  • WikiLeaks has made public secret US cables stating that that Mahinda Rajapaksa was responsible for the massacres of Tamil civilians and captured Tamil fighters at the end of the civilwar .The cables also state that the responsibility for many of the crimes rests with the country’s senior civilian and military leadership, including President Rajapaksa, his brothers and General Fonseka.
  • In April 2011, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, published a report by a UN-appointed panel of experts, which concluded that as many as 40,000 people were deliberately killed in the final weeks of the war between the Tamil Tigers and government forces.
  • A number of foreign journalists and news teams, such as the UK’s Channel Four News, have reported and filmed evidence of targeted shelling of civilians, executions and atrocities. Dead female Tamil fighters were shown to have been raped or sexually assaulted, abused and murdered.

The truth is that Mahinda Rajapaksa is no better than Gaddafi, or Bashar Al-Assad, or Nicolae Ceaușescu, or…. Fred West!! I could go on and on.

The truth is that the governments of the world know it, yet do and say nothing.

People like Cameron have to meet them and talk to them as though they are civilised, normal  people who care about their fellow human beings, when all the time they know full well that they are evil killers without one iota of compassion in their make -up.

I ask you – who would want to be a politician in today’s world?

But…as much as it hurts to admit it, on this particular occasion, I have to say: “well done ‘Our Dave’!”, You finally earned your salary – not that you really need it.

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Thailand must overcome its obsession with Thaksin Shinawatra

Every now and then I reproduce an news item from the world’s press which  I would like to pass onto my readers. Such articles are usually Thailand-related, and are always written by foreign journalists in the international press.

This is because I do not wish to be accused of unduly pushing my own views, or the blinkered views of those who live here. This is especially so given that the political situation in Thailand has become so polarised – ever since a certain Mr Thaksin got it into his head back in 2001 that Thailand should become his personal fiefdom.

If any of you think that I am doing a grave disservice to the esteemed ex-PM and fugitive from justice, then how about reading this piece written for the Washington Post by William Pesek, a Bloomberg Columnist.

 

“Welcome to the Republic of Thaksin.”

You won’t see these words displayed in the customs hall when arriving in Thailand, but the Land of Smiles has indeed morphed into the land of Thaksin Shinawatra.

That should be giving Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy plenty to frown about. Seven years after the former prime minister was ousted in a coup, Thaksin’s long shadow continues to dominate Thai politics. Since then, the country has seen six prime ministers, the most recent one being Thaksin’s baby sister, Yingluck Shinawatra.

Like many loving siblings, Yingluck looks out for her kin. Recently she tried to ram a get-out-of-jail-free card for Thaksin and other politicians through the parliament – as big a political blunder as Asia has seen in years. Markets plunged and more than 32,000 people joined demonstrations in the capital and 17 other provinces. This week, Yingluck backed down and agreed to scrap the bill for now.

But anyone who thinks that’s the end of Thailand’s Thaksin nightmare is wrong. The proud and acerbic billionaire, Asia’s answer to Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, isn’t about to shelve his obsession with returning home, reclaiming the portion of his telecommunications fortune frozen by the state and succeeding his sister. Many fear Yingluck is little more than a placeholder for big bro.

With his ambitions thwarted for now, the focus has turned to how much money this setback will cost Thaksin. Thais should be worrying instead about how much this political circus is hurting their $366 billion economy. Every day that politicians and policymakers in Bangkok spend obsessing over Thaksin’s return is one that’s not being used to modernise the economy, increase competiveness and avoid the “middle-income trap” that befalls many developing nations and may soon ensnare Thailand.

The politics of personality aren’t confined to Thailand. Asia is awash with larger-than-life populists bigger on charisma and spin than concrete reforms: leaders like Shinzo Abe in Japan, Xi Jinping in China and, in some ways, Benigno Aquino in the Philippines. The same problem afflicts several figures who have yet take the helm, including India’s Rahul Gandhi. All have neglected tough policy work in hopes that a strong personality will be enough to carry them through and bolster their approval ratings.

But Thaksin raised the strategy to an art form, essentially making an entire nation about him. His tenure from February 2001 to September 2006 saw nothing less than the wholesale bastardisation of Thai democracy. He neutered its institutions and enriched his family members and cronies in ways that would have made a Russian oligarch blush.

Like former Italian prime minister Berlusconi, Thaksin was a powerful tycoon who leveraged his business success to become leader. Thaksin, like Berlusconi, was later accused of bending the government to his will and in alignment with his business interests. He got away with it by literally bribing the rural communities that formed his power base. His “Thaksinomics” programme of flooding the hinterlands with cheap loans was never more than Tammany Hall-like doling out of cash for support. The money did nothing to improve the economy’s fundamentals or capacity for innovation.

It’s a strategy Yingluck copied early and often after becoming Prime Minister in 2011. Take her disastrous rice- subsidy plan, which by the latest estimate has cost $19 billion since October 2011 and over time has recorded losses equivalent to 59 per cent of that figure.Thailand is now sitting on two years of export production, which has distorted rice markets in the Mekong River region and cost Thailand the title of world’s biggest rice exporter. What’s depressing is that in that time Thailand could have, say, built a new state-of-the-art airport. Instead Suvarnabhumi Airport, opened the same month in 2006 in which Thaksin was ousted, continues to struggle with capacity constraints that are impeding the all-important tourism market.

Why champion such a debacle? The rice programme is sure to pay huge dividends for Yingluck, and by extension Thaksin, come early 2014 when her government may call a snap poll. The hope would be for Yingluck’s party to demonstrate enough of a mandate to resurrect the amnesty bill. To do that, they will need the farmers. Hence the linear focus on boosting rice prices.

It’s frustrating to think where Thailand might be today had the nation not squandered the last seven years on all things Thaksin. By overreaching so spectacularly with the amnesty bill, Yingluck displayed a level of cluelessness that will further hobble her ability to govern.

The bill might have gotten further if it had also applied to people charged with lese-majeste, which mandates prison sentences as long as 15 years for defaming or insulting the king, queen, heir apparent or regent. Instead the bill would have allowed Yingluck’s brother, army officers and former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who faces murder charges for authorising soldiers to use weapons during unrest in 2010, to walk free – not average Thais. It left the pro-Thaksin Red Shirts and opponents known as the Yellow Shirts wondering who, or what, they had been fighting for.

It’s time that the Republic of Thaksin became less about one man and more about the aspirations and needs of Thais.

Washington Post.

William Pesek

 

Couldn’t ‘ave said it better meself, Bill….

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Mobi-Snaps: There and back’ – a trip to ye olde country’… Part 9

Following our long day out at Matlock, (see last week’s blog), the next day, August 7th, was spent with my eldest daughter and her husband; firstly at their home and then in the afternoon, we drove out to the nearby beautiful Coomb Abbey hotel for an afternoon stroll followed by traditional English ‘tea’. (For non-Brits, ‘tea’ in this context, is a light meal.)

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It was a lovely, sunny day and the above snaps were taken in my daughter’s back garden.

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It was only a short drive from Nuneaton into the historical heartlands of Warwickshire, where Coomb Abbey was located. It turned out to be the most unexpected and glorious of English summer settings.

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I do hope my photographs have done some justice to the beauty of the extensive parklands of Coomb Abbey where, as you can see from the final snap above , we had a very, very nice tea…

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One thought on ““Welcome to the Republic of Thaksin.””

  1. Hi,    You say that you are not a good cook and that Noo Knows very little about Western cooking.

    Have you considered converting to raw food? I love cooking but my body reacts far better to a diet including plenty of raw fresh fruit and veg. Also the acidty/alkalinity of the body is very important……. I start the day with the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon added to a glass of water, it may sound crazy but lemon is a very alkaline “food” even though it has an acid taste. In Thailand you have a huge selection of fresh fruit and veg and it’s cheap. Remember boiled egg and soldiers? Well avocado blended with lemon or lime juice with a touch of sea salt/black pepper/chilli/raw bell pepper served with carrot/brocoli/green beans/mange tout as soldiers makes a lovely light lunch or snack. You can easily make many different dips to go with your “soldiers”.

    If the idea of raw food is not appealing then start slowly and research the effects. I loved reading your true stories and look forward to your weekly blogs…. please, please…… do something for your health other than following the “advice” of the big American pharma companies who advocate adding more and more expensive chemicals to your poor ravished body.

    http://www.alive.com/articles/view/17145/raw-food_recovery

    http://thecoolvegetarian.com/blog/2012/03/the-amazing-recovery-of-dave-the-raw-food-trucker-video/

    There are plenty more.

    http://www.rense.com/1.mpicons/acidalka.htm

    Human blood pH should be slightly alkaline ( 7.35 – 7.45 ).  Below or above this range means symptoms and disease.  A pH of 7.0 is neutral.  A pH below 7.0 is acidic.  A pH above 7.0 is alkaline. An acidic pH can occur from, an acid forming diet, emotional stress, toxic overload, and/or immune reactions or any process that deprives the cells of oxygen and other nutrients.  The body will try to compensate for acidic pH by using alkaline minerals.  If the diet does not contain enough minerals to compensate, a build up of acids in the cells will occur. An acidic balance will:  decrease the body’s ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients, decrease the energy production in the cells, decrease it’s ability to repair damaged cells, decrease it’s ability to detoxify heavy metals, make tumor cells thrive, and make it more susceptible to fatigue and illness.  A blood pH of 6.9, which is only slightly acidic, can induce coma and death. The reason acidosis is more common in our society is mostly due to the typical American diet, which is far too high in acid producing animal products like meat, eggs and dairy, and far too low in alkaline producing foods like fresh vegetables.  Additionally, we eat acid producing processed foods like white flour and sugar and drink acid producing beverages like coffee and soft drinks.  We use too many drugs, which are acid forming; and we use artificial chemical sweetners like NutraSweet, Spoonful, Sweet ‘N Low, Equal, or Aspartame, which are poison and extremely acid forming.  One of the best things we can do to correct an overly acid body is to clean up the diet and lifestyle. To maintain health, the diet should consist of 60% alkaline forming foods and 40% acid forming foods.  To restore health, the diet should consist of 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acid forming foods. Generally, alkaline forming foods include: most fruits, green vegetables, peas, beans, lentils, spices, herbs and seasonings, and seeds and nuts. Generally, acid forming foods include: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, grains, and legumes.

    Sincerely,

    Rob

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