All posts tagged feature

Royal music in the air

Published มกราคม 6, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation




The Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music keeps alive the vision of the late great royal patron

The Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music, founded two years ago in honour of the late royal patron of the arts, is accepting applications for its two upcoming courses until January 13 and March 16, with scholarships available for both.

The institute was conceived in 2007 to commemorate the 84th birthday of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, sister of His Majesty the King. When she died on January 2, 2008, efforts continued with an eye to bringing new audiences to classical music and raising more Thai musicians to international standards.

“The institute is the first such academy in Thailand offering only music studies in a four-year, full-time course leading to a bach?elor of music degree,” says Associate Professor Khunying Wongchan Phinainitisatra, president of the facility and a close aide to the late princess for 37 years.

“Princess Galyani had a great passion for music ever since she was very young. She used to listen to the radio while doing her homework in Switzerland. When she grew up she became a true connoisseur and understood all kinds of music, though the classics were always her favourite. She liked to attend performances, and these were not limited to classical music.

“The Princess could play the piano a little, but her busy royal duties prevented her from pursuing it. She had a long-time wish to improve music studies in Thailand, though. She thought young people should be sup?ported and be exposed to music studies, as well as getting the opportunities to perform, just like in any sport programme.”

Wongchan says the institute has embraced the Princess’ philosophy “Musique de la vie et de la terre” (“Music of life, music of the land”) – which in part alludes to Princess Galyani’s family surname Mahidol, meaning “land”.

As well as offering a degree, the institute maintains a Youth Orchestra and Community Choir and runs the projects Education Populaire and Audience Development. Students and professional musicians are welcome to participate and even members of the public who are just fans of music can find ways to learn and con?tribute.

Already 40 musicians have earned schol?arships, including the renowned Tasana Nagavajara and Jamorn Supapol and the institute’s acting dean, Komsun Silokkunanant.

The Princess customarily interviewed applicants personally, often with their par?ents present, since studies involved consid?erable cost. She saw to it that talented young?sters didn’t have to worry about money. A generous patron of musical organisations and activities, she tapped various sources of money, such as her Fund for Classical Music Promotion. Even while hospitalised in 2007, she attended a show presented by her school’s inaugural scholarship winners at the Thailand Cultural Centre.

“Without Her Royal Highness’ mercy and dedication to supporting the students, and without the funding she raised, we wouldn’t have seen classical-music studies become as popular among young people as they are today,” says Komsun.

“Music is part of our culture. Many musi?cians who studied and worked overseas have come back to support the development of music in their homeland, and now you see the number of orchestras increasing. I received my scholarship from the Princess in 2006 and performed many times while she was present.”

The result of all this, Komsun says, is that the future is brighter and more varied for musical careers.

“At first you focus first being a good musi?cian and playing your best, but with more and more graduates, there should not only be more job available – composers, conductors and teachers – but also creative work, since music is all about communication. The insti?tute gives full support to its students’ future, whether they’ll be working at home or abroad. What we offer is a good starting point.”

The bachelor programme lays the foun?dation for lifetime development. Its goal is to produce graduates with distinctive quality who have a profound understanding of the art of making music and are able to apply that knowledge for the good of society.

Approved by the Office of Higher Education, the course requires a minimum of 132 credits over four years for a passing grade. There are four modules.

“Core” enhances performance with a cur?riculum including Major Skills, Chamber Music, Practice Lab and Performing Musicianship. “Contextual” emphasises research and project-based activities. “Electives” are theoretical subjects that can be applied to practice. And “General” is designed for the conservatory style of stud?ies.

In 2014 the institute admitted 13 stu?dents. Last year there were 19. All of them received full scholarships. They need some musical skill at the outset, and not necessari?ly in Western genres. The aim is to teach the students how to perform their best, so they are constantly challenged, but in a creative environment of understanding and sharing.

“What I’ve found to be a distinct quality of all the scholarship students – what impresses me most – is that they’re all very kind-heart?ed and down to earth, just like the Princess was,” says Wongchan.


Sign up

Write to the Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music at 2010 Arun Amarin 36, Bang Yi Khan, Bang Phlat, Bangkok, Thailand 10700.

You can also call (02) 4478597, email office@pgvim.ac.th or visit http://www.PGVIM.ac.th/admission.


Just ticking along

Published ธันวาคม 27, 2015 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation




In remote Nan, heart doctors from Chiang Mai show up to help with patient tune-ups

LIVING IN A remote rural setting can be something of a challenge for heart patients fitted with pacemakers and defibrillators. This is certainly the case in Nan province, where patients have found it almost impossible to make the journey further north for routine check ups with their cardiologists.

But thanks to a team of medical specialists from the Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital (Suan Dok) who are happy to make the trip to Nan, for the last four years they have all received their annual checks at the local hospital.

Last month the team was based at the Nan Hospital for annual pacemaker and defibrillator check-ups for a total of 96 patients.

The examinations are designed to determine whether the devices are still working well and keeping the patients in good health. A pacemaker helps patients who have an abnormally slow heartbeat, while the defibrillator helps control an off-rhythm heart.

Such devices are placed in the patients’ chest walls and need to be checked on an annual basis.

Cardiologist Dr Wanwarang Wongcharoen of Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital says a pacemaker is indicated for patients with symptomatic slow heartbeat such as syncope or dizziness.

An ICD, on the other hand, is a device used to detect dangerously fast heartbeats and give a shock to correct the heart’s rhythm. It is often recommended for patients who have experienced abnormal heart rhythms or are at risk from sudden cardiac arrest such as those affected by the Brugada syndrome or patients with reduced heart function.

New cases of pacemaker and ICD use patients in Nan totalled three and two respectively in 2013, 16 and eight the following year. This year the number has fallen 10 and seven, says Dr Nualnit Tantisirivit, a physician with Nan’s internal medicine department.

“Most patients are elderly. They don’t want to travel,” she said, adding that the mobile medical team from the Chiang Mai-based hospital is much needed.

It takes about six hours for patients to travel from Nan to Chiang Mai by bus. In addition to the long trip, these patients also have limited financial resources to cover travel expenses.

What’s more is that the travel time and expenses may double if the checks find signs of abnormality. That would mean patients would have to head to Chiang Mai again to get a needed replacement. At present, Nan does not have the medical specialists or the equipment to provide such services.

“Because of the transport difficulties, we consulted with our staff about the way to solve this problem.

“If we travel to the patients, they will have to make the journey just once. If we don’t find any problem, they wouldn’t have to come at all,” says cardiologist Dr Arintaya Phrommintikul. According to her, a defibrillator needs to be checked every year because some old models might have a problem with a short-lived battery. Other common abnormalities are broken wires and battery deterioration.

Thanks to ongoing efforts to improve care for arrhythmia patients, community hospitals have already started sending patients’ electrocardiography results to experts for phone consultations instead of referring patients to medical specialists in a larger province. In addition, the number of trips that patients need to make between Nan and Chiang Mai therefore has reduced from two to three times to just one trip each year.

Arintaya says each patient has been able to save approximately Bt3,116 in transport expenses.

For Nan Hospital the challenge lies in ensuring all the patients come at the same time. The first year of the scheme saw some patients being omitted but this has since been rectified by the sending out of a written invitation and following up with a phone call.


A Heritage lost to greed

Published ธันวาคม 26, 2015 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Red ruffed lemur

Red ruffed lemur

Philippine tarsier

Philippine tarsier




Over half of world’s primaes are on the brink of extinction, a meeting concludes

MORE THAN half the world’s primates, including apes, lemurs and monkeys, are facing extinction, international experts warned Tuesday, as they called for urgent action to protect mankind’s closest living relatives.

The population crunch is the result of large-scale habitat destruction – particularly the burning and clearing of tropical forests – as well as the hunting of primates for food and the illegal wildlife trade.

Species long-known to be at risk, including the Sumatran orangutan, have been joined on the most endangered list for the first time by the Philippine tarsier and the Lavasoa Mountains dwarf lemur from Madagascar, scientists meeting in Singapore said.

“This research highlights the extent of the danger facing many of the world’s primates,” leading primatologist Christoph Schwitzer, director of conservation at Bristol Zoological Society in Britain, said in a statement.

“We hope it will focus people’s attention on these lesser known primate species, some of which most people will probably have never heard of.”

This includes the Lavasoa Mountains dwarf lemur – a species only discovered two years ago – and the Roloway monkey from Ghana and Ivory Coast, which experts say “are on the very verge of extinction”.

There are 703 species and sub-species of primates in the world.

Madagascar and Vietnam are home to large numbers of highly threatened primate species, the statement said.

In Africa, the red colobus monkeys was under “particular threat”, as were some of South America’s howler monkeys and spider monkeys, it added.

“All of these species are relatively large and conspicuous, making them prime targets for bushmeat hunting,” the statement said.

Russell Mittermeier, chair of the Species Survival Commission of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said he hoped the report would encourage governments to commit to “desperately needed biodiversity conservation measures”.

Mittermeier said ahead of next month’s global climate conference in Paris, there was growing evidence some primate species might play key roles in dispersing tropical forest tree seeds, which in turn “have a critically important role in mitigating climate change”.


Great ideas to help the world

Published ธันวาคม 26, 2015 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Benjamas and Watcharin

Benjamas and Watcharin

Sirilux and Siwaporn

Sirilux and Siwaporn

Pattaraporn and Darunee

Pattaraporn and Darunee


L’Oreal’s “For Women in Science” Fellowships recognise advances that could soon be saving lives

L’OREAL (THAILAND), backed by the Thai National Commission for Unesco, has granted fellowships to six women researchers to foster sustainable development in fields ranging from agriculture to curing cancer. In its 13 years, the programme has helped finance research by 55 female scientists.

The “For Women in Science” 2015 programme extends to life sciences, material science and chemistry. In the first, the recipients are Assistant Professors Watcharin Loilome of Khon Kaen University for a study on “Risk Biomarkers Discovery for Screening and Surveillance of Cholangiocarcinoma” and Benjamas Cheirsilp of Prince of Songkla University for her research on the “Isolation and Screening of Oleaginous Fungi for Bioconversion of Lignocellulosic Wastes from Palm Oil Mill to Biodiesel Feedstocks”.

In material sciences, the fellowships went to Associate Professors Sirilux Poompradub of Chulalongkorn University for her study “Development process and improvement of properties of natural rubber products for industrial applications and environmental friendliness” and Siwaporn Meejoo Smith of Mahidol University for “Materials innovation for environmental applications”.

The chemistry grants to Mahidol University associate professors Darunee Soorukram for her study “Asymmetric Synthesis of Bioactive Secolignan Isolated from Thai Medicinal Plants” and Pattaraporn Kim for “Syngas Production from Carbon dioxide and Water through Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell”.

A jury of scientists based its choices on the benefits of the research, accuracy in the process and peer acceptance.

Dr Watcharin has discovered a way to monitor the advances of cholangiocarcinoma, a form of cancer involving mutated cells in the bile duct. “Risk bio-markers, either in serum or urine, can be used to effectively screen the population at risk of developing cholangiocarcinoma,” she explains. “This will lead to early diagnosis, resulting in effective and curative treatment.”

Dr Benjamas’ studies on the technological means to cultivate oleaginous fungi promise to create renewable energy from the natural breakdown of waste. “The wastes would produce not only oil but also a fungi biomass that can be used as either compost or animal feed. The research should be useful to government and industries because this process might be able to reduce energy costs and import dependency and consequently increase the competitiveness of the industry in Thailand.”

Studying the use of rubber, abundant in Thailand, Dr Sirilux suggests that the Kingdom could become a world leader “in the global rubber industry and the sustainability of natural resources”.

“The innovative use of rubber in both its original and waste forms to produce plastic-based green materials and reinforcing agents for rubber will not only improve the properties of several kinds of rubber products, but also promote environmental and economical friendliness,” she says. “My research will be published and a patent registered both nationally and internationally.”

Dr Siwaporn says her studies too ought to enhance Thai “research competitiveness in materials innovation for environmental applications

through fostering international collaborative networks.

“This initiative utilises expertise in many areas of the material-sciences field, so the links provide opportunities for training Thai researchers in cutting-edge science. The materials-innovation research could lead to the feasible implementation of low-cost environmental-protection plans and pollution clean-up systems in small industrial sectors and rural areas, thus benefiting the wider community.

“We hope our research to date will stimulate more interest from the industrial and academic sector, accelerating the development of real-life applications of this technology for national benefit.”

Dr Darunee delved into the chemical compounds in plants known as lignans.

“The asymmetric synthesis of bioactive secolignan from Thai medicinal plants will let us understand the structural and stereo-chemical information of these natural compounds,” she says. “This information is very important in the field of pharmaceuticals and organic chemistry. Fresh knowledge regarding reactions and transformations, as published in the international journals, will have a valuable impact on the organic-synthetic community and related research areas.”

Dr Pattaraporn aims at no less than reducing harmful carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This could be accomplished through the production of synthetic gas – “syngas” – from CO2 and water using a “solid oxide electrolysis cell”.

“Syngas gan be utilised as a fuel or a precursor for the production of many important chemicals, thus having an impact on economics and social welfare. In-depth research guidelines and existing knowledge presented in international publications encourage younger researchers to share their own knowledge and to create networks for further research and development.”

L’Oreal (Thailand)’s Sitanun Sittikit points out that research has been at the heart of the cosmetics firm’s business for 107 years.

“Eugene Schueller, our founder, strongly believed that advancing science and technology was the key to raising the quality of life around the world. So we’re glad to have run the ‘For Women in Science’ programme for 13 consecutive years in Thailand and to have been part of the inspiration and support that Thai female researchers deserve to produce meaningful research.


– L’Oreal’s “For Women in Science” fellowship was launched in 2002. It offers Bt250,000 grants to Thai women scientists ages 25 to 40.


High marks forInternational Schools

Published ตุลาคม 27, 2015 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Usa Somboon

Usa Somboon

Siri Asdathorn

Siri Asdathorn

Thailand is positioned the lead the field in Asia, says the head of the country’s leading school association

THE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS Association of Thailand (ISAT) is perhaps more ready than any other Thai-based private or public endeavour for the inauguration of the Asean Economic Community at the end of this year. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the association is fully geared up to help cement Thailand’s reputation as a hub of international education in Southeast Asia.

Association president Usa Somboon says the emphasis is now stronger than ever on its mission to provide the best-quality education possible while at the same time raising the bar for international schools in Thailand. The association is committed to producing “global citizens”, she says, by giving students the skills they’ll need in a rapidly changing world.

“The association represents 113 of the 147 international schools in Thailand and, together with other government and private organisations, designs the curriculum,” Usa says.

“The growth of international schools in Thailand has helped boost the national economy, with up to Bt20 billion generated annually. Our standards are ranked among the highest in Asia, and three to five new schools open each year, with more and more coming in the future to cope with demand.

“These schools aren’t being established with Thai funds alone,” she points out. “There are also foreign investors interested in building such schools in Thailand, because the country is strategically situated to become a hub of international education in Asia in the near future.”

Usa explains that many of the foreigners coming to work in Thailand – “whether they’re diplomats or on the staff of leading international companies” – want a good school for their children, and meanwhile Thai students no longer have to study abroad. “Attending school here saves their parents a lot of money and indirectly helps the country.”

Thailand’s advantages over its neighbours include good English and other skills among the teaching staff. Third-, fifth-, seventh- and 10th-grade students at international schools in Thailand, for example, scored better in the 2014 International School Assessment math test than their counterparts in South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Finland and the US.

Many have also been accepted at top universities at home and abroad, Usa notes, and tuition fees are cheaper here than elsewhere. “Thailand has a strategic edge for becoming a business hub and a hub for investment in Asean,” she says.

“In terms of our own business expansion, we see international schools expanding into the provinces that have large numbers of foreigners, such as Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani. And those schools can attract students from Laos and Cambodia as well. There also tend to be more international schools in provinces like Chonburi, Phuket and Chiang Mai because of the many foreigners there.”

For students, |the freedom |to succeed

SIRI ASDATHORN, 18, one of the top students at ISB International School, praises an education of this type for the freedom it gives youngsters. They have broader choice in curriculum, lesson content and intramural clubs and activities (or can even start their own).

“We tend to have free time to simply do whatever we love to do,” he says. “I think this instils in us a sense of creativity and passion, which has been highly important to my personal and intellectual development.”

Siri has won top prize for his fish in competitions at the King’s Cup of Thailand Grand Pet Show, the National Ornamental Fish Fair and similar events in Singapore and Vietnam and occasionally speaks about them at workshops.

“My Betta hobby isn’t directly related to my schoolwork, but my school life has given me many things that have allowed me to succeed this way,” Siri says. “I collect and breed the fish, take part in world-class contests, travel around Thailand promoting the ornamental-pet industry and organise Betta-related |fundraising events to benefit cancer patients.

“None of this would be possible without the qualities I’ve acquired from school, like creativity, a global and service mind, determination despite setbacks, and of course, public speaking and presentation skills.”


– ISAT schools must adhere to rigid regulations and standards as set by the Ministry of Education and pass evaluations from renowned accreditation institutes.

– Of the 147 international schools in Thailand, 91 are in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. As of 2013 they had 6,176 teachers and 42,024 students, according to the Office of the Private Education Commission.

– Yearly tuition fees average Bt600,000 (US$20,000 to $22,000), significantly cheaper than in Malaysia ($25,000 to $26,000), the Philippines ($28,000 to $29,000), Singapore ($26,000 to $27,000) and Hong Kong ($27,000 to $28,000).


Push print to taste

Published ตุลาคม 27, 2015 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Pastry chef Anne-Sophie Busch holds a marzipan model of Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany printed by a Bocusini 3D printer at the Print2Taste company premises near Munich. Photo/DPA

Pastry chef Anne-Sophie Busch holds a marzipan model of Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany printed by a Bocusini 3D printer at the Print2Taste company premises near Munich. Photo/DPA

Anne-Sophie Busch operates the computer as the Bocusini prints a 3D marzipan cake. Photo/DPA

Anne-Sophie Busch operates the computer as the Bocusini prints a 3D marzipan cake. Photo/DPA

New 3D food printers convert marzipan goo into shapely eatables

Cookie cutters are so yesterday. Tomorrow’s biscuits will have 3D forms. A German start-up company has figured out a way to shape food with a 3D printer, and has developed printable food mixtures for a variety of printing processes.

Focusing on natural foods and funded to the tune of 40,000 euros (Bt1.6 million) by the crowd funding platform Kickstarter, Print2Taste’s machine, the Bocusini, is the world’s first plug & play 3D food printer and will cost in the region of 900 euros.

The machine, which applies the mix from a tiny nozzle, is due to arrive on the market in 2016.

Working much like a familiar inkjet printer, it squirts a little food on the platen and keeps doing it, depositing layers to build up an object according to a user’s uploaded design, explains nutritional scientist Melanie Senger from Print2Taste.

Chocolate, marzipan and fudge are natural materials for the process. Fine-ground liver paste and a batter to make chocolate-flavour cookies is on offer too.

Its makers believe that its 3D printers not only have a great future in the creation of fancy confectionery, but could have a variety of practical applications.

One area of research is the potential use of 3D food printers to help nursing home residents who have trouble chewing and swallowing food. These elderly people often get served their meals in unappealing pureed form, leading to loss of appetite and malnutrition.

3D printers could make more appetising food with personalised nutritional content. Researchers are already working on the development of an entire menu made with a 3D printer.

Nutrition researchers believe that printed food will become part of everyday life within a few years, with customers able to choose their own custom-made meals from a digital menu.

German Bakery Federation president Peter Becker sees the technology as an opportunity for the development of a whole new craft industry in his sector.

One of the limitations of the confectionery industry is that it is difficult to economically produce anything unless a company is willing to make it on an industrial scale. Using the new production method of 3D printing means customers can personalise their orders.

“The trend towards personalised products has certainly been observed in our area of business,” he says.

Wedding cakes with a photo of the happy couple made out of marzipan are already a regular feature of a confectioner’s business, but soon people will be able to have their cake crowned with miniature replicas of themselves.

“The 3D food printer is on its way, there’s no doubt about it,” says Becker.


Angels of Yangon

Published ตุลาคม 27, 2015 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



From ambulances to funerals, volunteers prop up Myanmar healthcare

With lights flashing and sirens blaring, volunteer ambulance driver Myint Hein weaves through traffic-choked Yangon, a lifeline in Myanmar where healthcare was crippled by decades of chronic underfunding during junta rule.

Emergency services were one of the many casualties of meagre public spending and the retired bus driver is helping to plug gaps in a country still lacking a centralised ambulance system.

“I saw some people die before they could reach hospital because there was no timely transportation or ambulance,” the 54-year-old says of the accidents he frequently encounters on the lengthy Yangon-Mandalay highway.

Now a volunteer at Noble Heart, a local NGO providing free ambulance services in Yangon since January, he is trying to bolster the motley smattering of state and charity-run vehicles serving his fast-growing city where people normally turn to family or friends during medical emergencies.

This culture of self-reliance is partially a legacy of the military era where vast spending on defence came at the expense of health or education.

While budgets have increased since 2011’s end of outright army rule, Myanmar – the world’s fourth-fastest growing economy – is still one of the lowest spenders on healthcare as a share of GDP.

According to the latest World Bank figures health spending increased from 0.2 per cent to just over 1 per cent of GDP from 2009 to 2013.

In contrast 4.3 per cent of GDP in 2014 went to the military, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Small groups like Noble Heart have their hands full.

But like most of the other ambulances on Myanmar’s roads they are only basically equipped and trained, offering more a transport service than full-fledged emergency care.

It’s a hole the quasi-civilian government is finally paying attention to in a crucial election year where they face-off against Aung San Suu Kyi‘s opposition, who are expected to make vast gains if the November 8 polls are fair.

“We have ambulances but they are not fully equipped. People who use them are not trained, it’s just transport. There’s no system at all,” says Maw Maw Oo, associate professor at Yangon General Hospital’s emergency medicine department.

Until 2012 Myanmar “didn’t have emergency care”, he adds, pointing to the launch of his own department as well as a new diploma in the subject and emergency medicine posts.

This year the country will welcome its first fleet of 230 emergency ambulances, aiming to roll out services starting with the main highway before expanding to Naypyidaw, Yangon and Mandalay, the doctor added, with plans also to launch a hotline and train-up its first-ever paramedics.

There have been substantial improvements to a system where patients used to arrive for operations armed with their own needles and medicines due to a controversial cost-sharing scheme that saw the sick pay more than the state.

As a result of increased government funding, since August 2014 emergency care has been free to all, and now other services including some blood tests are also without charge.

But patients still bear 54 per cent of total healthcare spend, according to the country’s WHO representative Jorge Luna.

The state “funding and provision of care is fragmented,” he says, with “inadequate spending” particularly in rural and conflict-wracked border regions.

At an evening clinic run by the non-profit local group Better Burmese Health Care on the outskirts of Yangon volunteer doctor Win Than Naing is hungry for change.

“For decades we’ve been closed off from the world… medical education and innovation just stopped,” says the 30-year-old, pinning his hopes on better policy in a country desperate to catch up with its neighbours.

But as campaigning enters full steam, parties – including Suu Kyi‘s NLD – have revealed little detail of what such policies may entail.

Surgeon Tin Myo Win, the NLD health chief who is also Suu Kyi‘s longtime personal doctor, says he recommended the next government spend “more than 10 per cent of GDP” on health.

But the party’s recently-released manifesto contains no such commitment nor does it lay out concrete plans for improving the country’s health.

For now the wealthy, and even lower-income families who can cobble together the cash, escape across the border to Thailand or Singapore for their healthcare needs, especially for harder-to-treat diseases such as cancer.

Adverts targeting this growing market dot the city and at Yangon airport posters shout of new packages from Thai hospitals offering free round-trip flights.

But these deals are out of the reach for most in the impoverished nation.

For the poor even death comes at a hefty price with families sometimes left in debt by funeral costs.

“Every day around 10 people are too poor to afford a service,” says Hla Myint, vice-chairman of the Social Welfare Society, which has been providing free funerals in Yangon since 2012.

At a cremation site, his team of volunteers carry in the latest body, a 93-year-old man whose wife couldn’t afford the expense.

“We cover gaps that would otherwise be neglected,” he says.

Seeds of plenty

Published ตุลาคม 27, 2015 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



Healthy Camellia Oleifera tea seed oil is coming to a kitchen near you

MEDICAL EXPERTS have long warned against excessive consumption of oily foods but what if there existed a cooking oil that not only added to the taste of the dish but was actually good for you too?

The good news is that there is such an oil and it’s now becoming readily available all over Thailand. Produced by the Chaipattana Foundation, Camellia oleifera tea-seed oil – not to be confused with tea-tree oil – is of extraordinary high quality and has multiple benefits for the health.

Used extensively in China and East Asia, tea-seed oil was little known in Thailand until Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn gave an ordinary brown seed that looked a little like a chestnut to Chaipattana’s secretary general Dr Sumet Tantivejkul, and told him it was a ‘magic seed’. That was 11 years ago and the project has been in development ever since.

Touted as the “olive oil of the East”, tea-seed oil boasts no trans fats, very low levels of saturated fats and a high level of unsaturated fats. These unsaturated fats include 81-87 per cent of oleic acids (omega-9 fatty acid), 13-28 per cent of linoleic acids (omega-6 fatty acid), and 1-3 per cent of alpha-linoleic acids (omega-3 fatty acid). With these compositions, tea seed oil can help reduce the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (bad cholesterol) and increase high-density lipoprotein (HLD) (good cholesterol) and prevent vasoconstriction, paralysis, high-blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It is highly recommended for overweight individuals and the elderly

In addition, given its high level of antioxidants such as vitamin E and catechin, which help raise the oil’s boiling point to higher than 250 degrees Celsius, it is suitable for all types of cooking and food preparation.


Apart from being excellent for consumption, tea-seed oil can be used as an ingredient in many skin care and cosmetic products as well as for fragrance (often mixed with other essential oils). In addition, tea seed meal from the oil extraction can be used as pesticide for Pomacea canaliculata (a species of freshwater snail) in rice farms and shrimp farms and is so versatile that it can even been included in household cleaning products.

Camellia oleifera seeds and sprouts were brought to Thailand from China in 2005 and have since been cultivated on more than 4,000 rai at an altitude of 500 metres and higher in the North and Northeast. Operated by the Chaipattana Foundation together with the Mae Fah Luang Foundation under the Royal Patronage, tea-oil plantations can be found in the Doi Tung Development Project, Ban Pang Mahan, and Ban Pu Na in Chiang Rai.

“I first thought we were talking about shrubs, like the usual tea plant,” Sumet explains. “But the Camellia oleifera is actually a very big tree. About 950,000 trees have now been planted and the project is playing a part in forest conservation because the tree’s value is the seed not the trunk. Local residents won’t cut them down but instead treasure them, as the stronger the tree, the more earnings for them.

“The project will lead to improved wellbeing. It’s sustainable and protects water sources so problems with woodcutting, flood and drought will gradually ease. The Camellia oleifera tree is the answer to many of the problems we face today.”

Fortunately, the tree, which is more used to colder climes, has shown it likes our soil and weather.

“It bears fruits within three years and can be cultivated twice a year here while in China it takes about five years to be fruitful and can be cultivated only once a year. Even though Camellia oleifera originates in China, we have also found it on Doi Inthanon. It is very rare though and because we had no idea about its benefits, the trees were mostly felled,” he explains.

Different types of food and desserts made with Camellia tea oil were introduced at the recent press conference to introduce the product. They included the cooking oil as well as whole-wheat bread, carrot cakes and brownies whipped up by the owners of Coffee Beans by Dao and Verasu.

Thais interested in the story of how Camelia oleifera travelled from China and how it is now playing an important role in helping local people make a living can discover this and much more at the upcoming Camelia Tea Oil Festival being hosted by Siam Paragon.


– The Camelia Tea Oil Festival is set for October 31 to November 2 at Siam Paragon.

– Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will preside over the opening on October 31 at 2.30pm. She will prepare a nutritious dish and a new royal recipe will be granted.

– Celebrity chefs ML Kwantip Devakula and Phol Tantasathien will serve tea-seed oil dishes. Participating restaurants will include Nuer Koo, Taling Pling, Cafe Chilli, Vanilla Cafe and Coffee Beans by Dao.

– The oil and skin-care products are available Chaipattana Foundation’s PatPat at Sanam Suepha and Rama VIII bridge, MCOT on Rama IX Road, King Chulalongkorn Memorial hospital and Paseo Town in Ramkhamhaeng.

The products are also sold at Big C, Golden Place, Phufa, Doi Kham, S&P bakeries in hospitals and Verasu.

– Find out more at http://www.chaipat.or.th.


Minted for His Majesty

Published ตุลาคม 2, 2015 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



The Royal Canadian Mint marks His Majesty the King’s 88th birthday with a collection of medallions

The Royal Canadian Mint and the Canadian Embassy in Thailand are marking the auspicious occasion of His Majesty the King’s 88th birthday this year as well as the close relationship between the two countries, with a collection of celebratory medallions.

The medallions, which are designed on the concept “Love and Loyalty Never End” are available in three variations: the Gold Medallion, made from 99.99-per-cent gold, the Silver Medallion, and the Alloy Medallion as well in a set containing all three. Proceeds after expenses will be presented to His Majesty for charitable deeds at His Majesty’s pleasure.

The designs, for which royal permission was sought and granted, boast unique features made all the more outstanding thanks to Canada’s state-of-the-art minting process. The front has an engraved image of His Majesty, while the back shows the King’s initials, the Thai letters “Phor Por Ror”, placed under the Royal Crown. Also on the medallion is the figure 88, considered an auspicious number. The number eight resembles the infinity sign, which signifies His Majesty’s timeless and endless place in the heart of the Thai people.

Canadian ambassador Philip Calvert tells XP that the initial idea for the project was born two years ago as a way of reflecting the strength of the relationship between the two countries and to also commemorate His Majesty’s birthday.

“The Royal Canadian Mint came up with the design and the Canadian embassy helped with a wide range of activities. This is a very special event,” he says.

Jocelyn Desy, managing director of the Mint’s sales business-to-business, which covers numismatic, bullion and refinery, adds that the Royal Canadian Mint is unique in terms of its security and durability standards. In the late 1990s, it introduced multi-ply plated steel technology and continues to raise the bar by patenting new single and multilayer plating processes for both white and yellow circulation coins.

“The challenge for our artisans was to design something that appeals and resonates with the Thai people. Our designer has managed to replicate the art of Thai stripe painting and computer advancements assisted in engraving and magnifying,” Desy adds.

“The distinctive feature of the

medallions is that they have two portraits of His Majesty the King. That by itself is meaningful. I don’t think this design has ever been produced. Also it offers a very different perspective of the Thai stripe. The design

has been approved by the Royal Household. The Royal Canadian Mint was entrusted a few years ago with the production of the B1 coin but as far as I recall, this is the first time the Mint has been involved with the project for the King. Such a project allows our artisans to learn about new cultures and new designs, and helps us grow too. The real challenge was ensuring that the design resonates with the Thai people, even young collectors.”

The Gold Medallion is 20mm in diameter and weighs 7.8 grams. It is priced at Bt29,888 and comes in a transparent plastic capsule with a box and a production certificate. Just 1,988 medallions are available.

The Silver Medallion is 34mm in diameter and weighs 15.87g. Also housed in a transparent plastic capsule with a box and a production certificate, there are 19,988 medallions on sale, each priced at Bt2,988.

The Alloy Medallion is 35mm in diameter, weighs 13.5g and comes in a paper folder. Priced at Bt488, 199,988 medallions are available.

A collection of the three medallions housed in a transparent plastic capsule and a box, with a production certificate is priced at Bt32,988. Only 988 sets are on sale.


Marvellous medallions

Reservations can be made at Bangkok Bank, Siam Commercial Bank, Thanachart Bank and online at http://www.88KingMedal.com

Find out more at (02) 108 8999.

The medallions will be sent by mail to buyers from November 1 to December 31.


Anyone who has a heart

Published ตุลาคม 2, 2015 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation



A multi-million Baht injection into a charity fund sets out to help kids born with congenital heart disease

LOOKING AT 11-year-old Pharisa “Mint” Tongkhong dressed in her school uniform and playing with a tablet, it’s almost impossible to differentiate her from any other student of her age.

She’s petite – not uncommon among school kids – but her lack of inches has less to do with stature than congenital heart disease. Indeed, the youngster has already undergone three surgical interventions to help her to live like other any child.

Mint was born with a hole in the heart wall between the ventricle chambers, a defect that allowed oxygen-rich blood to leak into the oxygen-poor blood, which made her look blue. The doctors also discovered that her pulmonary valve was malfunctioning, almost completely blocking the blood flow out of the heart into the pulmonary artery and then to the lungs. That caused her oxygen blood level to stay at about 80 per cent compared to most newborns where the level is 95 per cent.

“Her condition was so severe that without surgery she wouldn’t have survived,” says Dr Suthep Wanitkun, a specialist in paediatric cardiology

Dr Alisa Limsuwan, who runs Ramathibodi Hospital’s congenital heart disease project, explains that congenital heart disease is caused by abnormalities in the heart and artery when the baby is in the womb though the condition varies from mild to severe. “About one in every hundred children are born with a congenital heart defect,” she says, adding that in most cases this is not serious and requires no treatment.

Mint was just 10 days old when she was taken into the operating surgery to close the hole and restore temporary blood flow to the lung. The operation was successful. Mint’s mother Waraporn, told XP she was shocked when the doctor informed her of the infant’s problems. Mint is her second child and there is no family history of any heart defect nor was anything amiss picked up during routine pregnancy check-ups.

But that was a decade ago and today such cardiac problems can be diagnosed before the baby is born. In some cases, treatment can begin in the womb.

Ramathibodi Hospital recently launched a project focusing on congenital cardiac disease patients with the aim of offering a complete programme of continuing treatment for patients starting in the foetal stage though infancy, toddlerhood, childhood and adolescence to adulthood.

Waraporn is relieved that she chose Ramathibodi Hospital for her prenatal care even though it’s a long way from the family’s home in Pathum Thani, as it meant that both nurses and doctors quickly noticed Mint’s problem and were able to provide timely treatment.

“Mint’s parents trusted our doctors and that helped us to take up the treatment options we needed to save the child,” Dr Suthep says.

Mint returned to the operating table at the age of three and this time was fitted with a donated valve to replace the old one. Donated valves do however need replacing and last year, she was fitted with a new valve through catheterisation

Mint was exceptionally lucky in that the hospital decided to include her as part of its charity programme, fitting her with a new Melody Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve, which cost Bt1 million. The valve is transported to the heart through a thin, hollow tube (catheter) with a specially designed heart valve inside that’s inserted into a vein. The heart valve is from a cow’s vein that has been attached to a wire frame and replaces the old one helping her heart pump blood correctly.

Doctors chose the Melody valve for Mint as it’s a technology that didn’t need open-heart surgery and the valve can work longer and help to delay the need for the next surgery. Another advantage was that the child was able to return home after just one night in hospital.

The funding came from a Bt40 million donation from Sena Development Company, which aims to help patients with congenital heart disease and purchase new ambulances.

Asst Prof Dr Kessara Thanyalakpark, executive director of Sena Development, says the idea for the charity donation was born when her father Teerawat, the founder of Sena, was hospitalised at Siriraj for a year. The “Baan Ruam Tang Fun” programme operates on a “live to give” concept, with Bt40 million a year being taken from the profit made on building houses. Both Siriraj Hospital and the Police General Hospital have already benefitted from the project.

Thanks to Sena’s generosity, 10 young children will be selected for the Melody valve replacement programme, thus helping them lead normal lives and delaying the need for the next surgery.

This Sunday Sena and the hospital are holding a “Congenital Heart Disease Camp” at the hospital’s Medical Learning Resource Centre in the School of Nursing Building.

“It’s a part of our project to offer complete care to patients with congenital cardiac disease. We educate people about heart diseases – what to do, how to stay healthy, and how to avoid infection, which could worsen the condition. We promote exercising in a manner that suits the patient’s condition, personal hygiene such as keeping the hands clean and wearing a surgical mask, and disease prevention by vaccination,” says Dr Alisa, adding that kids with congenital cardiac disease need special care and the camp provides an ideal opportunity for doctors, parents and kids to learn the best ways of avoiding infection.

For her part, Mint needs to take care of her dental health, as unhealthy teeth and gum disease can enter the bloodstream causing bacteria to build up on the valve’s wire frame. Too much build up, |Dr Alisa says, could lead to death.

-Parents with children who suffer

Parents with children suffering from congenital cardiac disease can register for the camp by calling (02) 201 1685.


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