The beautiful river Chao Phraya flowing through Bangkok is the main artery of the city, heart of the people of Thailand as well as attraction to thousands of tourists from different parts of the world. In many European maps, this river is named as Menam or Mae Nam, which means Thai main river. Otherwise Me Nam is a generic term, Me signifying ‘moter’ and Nam ‘water’ and the present name Chao Phraya means main river of the Siam kingdom, now Thailand. Originating at a place called Paknam Pho, it travels 372 kms through Thailand and ends its journey at the gulf of Thailand.
This river may be compared to the river Thames in London, Seine in Paris, Rhine in Bonn, Hudson in New York, with reference to its sports activities, public importance, scenic beauty and river transportation. River buses, cross-river ferries, water taxis enable people to move from place to place, abating traffic jams on the roads. Like other cities, river cruises and pleasure trips are conducted regularly on the river with high music and platform for disco dances, where delicious Thai and Continental food are served.
The aim of my visit to the land of Chao Phraya river was to attend the 103rd Rotary International Convention held at Bangkok on May 4, 2011. I, along with my other Rotarian friends set off on flight number KB140 of Drukari at 11:30 am from Guwahati’s LGB Airport and reached Bangkok at 4:30 pm by Thai local time. Due to heavy traffic jam, it took us 2 hours from the airport to our hotel IBIS, where we had reserved our accommodation. IBIS, being a chain hotel had branches in all the main cities of the world. It had a swimming pool, massage and money exchange counter, free internet facility etc. The hotel is beautifully located on the bank of river Chao Phraya, giving a full of scenic treat to our eyes.
One morning, I saw a Thai fisherman catching three Bosha fishes with his angling rod, the same Bosha fishes like ours. I conversed with him in body language and came to know that he comes to this spot most often for fishing.
The next morning after breakfast, we moved to our convention venue “Impact” to collect our kits and badges by taxi which charged us 300 baht. After collecting our kit bags, we proceeded to the “House of Friendship” located at Challenger Hall No 3. The Hall was nicely decorated with lovely fresh flowers. The convention was held at Challenger Halls No. 1 & 2 of Impact Centre. The area of individual Challenger Halls 1,2,3 was 20,000 sqm each. The arrangements were perfect. Bus service, sky train service provided to the delegates was really praise worthy. Moreover, we were provided a free pass amounting to 500 Baht to avail sky train to anywhere we wished during the convention days. Biswa Dutt, Padumi Dutta, Gautam Sarma and I traveled that day by sky train from Mo Chit station to the nearest station of our hotel “Krung Thon Buri” and enjoyed the Bangkok city from the sky train that passed through high rising buildings, beautiful parks, wide roads and market places. One the 1st and 2nd day, we had our dinner at Curry Pot Indian restaurant. In Bangkok, there are lots of Indian people, Indian restaurants and shops which gives you a feel home experience.
During the 1st opening session of 103rd RI Convention in Challenger Hall 1 & 2, around 15, 000 delegates assembled on May 6. The Princess of Thailand inaugurated the ceremony with her brief speech in Thai language. The flag hoisting ceremony of all rotary countries was really interesting. After that, the national anthem of Thailand and India was played and later on the members of the family of RI President Kalyan Banerjee were introduced. The speech of Banerjee was brief but full of rotary spirit. He urged Rotarians to harness their inner resolve and strength to achieve success in their endeavours. “Discover yourself, develop the strength within you and then unhesitatingly, unflinchingly go forth and make the world to embrace humanity,” he said.
The city of Bangkok is a beautiful place with wide smooth roads, high rising buildings, malls, bridges, comfortable star hotels, meals, cheap markets and Chao Phraya river flowing through it. One evening, we enjoyed a cruise for almost two hours with blaring loud Indian music, dance and delicious food. From the boat, we saw a different Bangkok on both sides of the river, full of glowing lights and people busy with their daily activities. Around 92 per cent of the total population of Thailand are Buddhists. Though Lord Buddha was born at Lumbini, a border area of India and Nepal, his existence is very much felt at Thailand. We could see the image of Buddha everywhere. Buddha is the main attraction of the tourists. However, this is not all. You can also enjoy safari rides and visit the elephant parks. Besides, who can do without partaking in the pleasure of a Thai massage with the tender hands of Thai girls. The people of Thailand may not be that good looking but they have good hearts, smiling faces and helping attitude. That is why Thailand is called “a land of thousand smiles”.
From Bangkok, we moved to Pattaya on May 8 by bus. This was a journey of two and half hours. On our way to Pattaya, we enjoyed the sight of villages on the roadside which appeared to be similar to our villages. At Pattaya, we stayed in the hotel “Sunshine Vista”. Pattaya is a recent but fast developing city having population of around 10 lakhs. Walking Street is its main centre of attraction. Walking Street never sleeps at night. All sorts of activities like drinking, dancing, striptease, live show continue throughout the night. Pattaya began to develop during the Vietnamese War, when the tiring soldiers used to visit the place for rest and recreation. Now Pattaya is fully grown to amuse the tourists.
We visited Coral Island, traveling by a speed engine boat from the bank of Pattaya. In between, we stopped at two places for para sailing. The experience was a truly unique one. Coral island is a long beach towards the sea and hills on the other side. We saw a chain of small Souvenir shops over there, including fast food stalls. After spending the first half there, we came back and reached Pattaya at 2:30 pm. The boat on our back journey was placed at knee deep water. While boarding, one of my colleagues, Anjana baideo was about to fall in the sea water but she was narrowly rescued by Gautam Sarma.
On May 11, we left Pattaya and stayed in a hotel named Unico-Express at Bangkok. That day, we decided to take an Indian lunch—Tingra and Kaoi fish in a Bengali hotel. After that, we proceeded to Suvarnabhumi Airport at 1 pm and boarded Drukair flight number KB-141 which brought us back to Guwahati at 6 am.
Thus, a good and memorable trip to the land of river Chao Phraya came to an end but the experiences will be always be cherished forever.
Investors beware of Ponzi schemes
One of the simplest yet most effective investment scams is the ponzi scheme. The promoter promises investors a very high return on investment and says it is secure, but there is no real ‘investment’.
The promoter convinces people to invest with their scheme. They then use the money deposited by early investors to pay the first ‘dividend’ until investors feel comfortable and decide to invest more. Some investors then encourage their family and friends to join. Eventually, the scheme falls apart because the promoter starts to spend the money too quickly or the pool of investors dries up. Here are tips on how to pick a ponzi scheme from a real investment.
* The rate of return is suspiciously high – maybe as high as 10 per cent per month (120 per cent per year)
* The person who tries to recruit you is someone you think is trustworthy, like a neighbour or someone in your office or community.
* The recruiter may have already invested in the scheme and received great dividends
Where do ponzi schemes operate?
Fraudsters and operators of unlawful investment schemes sometimes target community groups to find victims. In some cases, members of the community group have innocently encouraged each other to put money into the illegal scheme.
This means that when the scheme collapses, not only do the investors lose their money but relationships break down between friends, neighbours or community group members.
How long can the scheme last?
If the promoter of the scheme is disciplined about how much money is left in the account to pay ‘dividends’, the scam can go on for many years. Ponzi schemes only require a few people in their early stages to be successful.
How it works?
Here is an example of how a ponzi scheme works and it is shown in the table below. In January, the promoter convinces Mamoni to invest Rs 1,00,000 in his scheme. The promoter then pays Mamoni Rs 10,000 each month using Mamoni’s own money.
As Mamoni receives Rs10,000 each month, she doesn’t suspect anything is wrong and happily recruits friends and work colleagues to invest too. After 3 months, Mamoni’s neighbour Amar decides to invest Rs 1,00,000 after hearing about Mamoni’s great returns.
After both Mamoni and Amar have invested their savings, the returns continue to come in till April. But in May, they don’t hear anything from the promoter. They try to contact him but his number has been disconnected.
The promoter has taken off leaving two devastated people in his wake. Mamoni lost Rs 70,000 and Amar lost Rs 90,000. The promoter got Rs 160,000 out of the scheme.
This example has only two victims but in reality these schemes can have dozens or even hundreds of victims.
Mamini and Amar invest in a ponzi scheme
Month Mamoni Amar
January Invests Rs 1,00,000 -
February Rs10,000 returned -
March Rs10,000 returned Invests Rs 1,00,000
April Rs10,000 returned Rs10,000
May No contact No contact
What to do if you have invested in a ponzi scheme
1. Stop investing any more money
2. Check if the company is on Government list of companies you should not deal with
3. Tell all your friends to stop paying
4. Report the scam to police
Government may be able to prosecute the ponzi scheme operators if proper complains are lodged on time. Government may also be able to issue an alert about the scheme. You should also wern your family and friends, to stop them from becoming victims.
The biggest telltale sign of a ponzi scheme is the suspiciously high rate of return. That old saying applies here: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Before you invest in any scheme, you should do independent checks to see how the returns are really going to be made. Don’t just trust the word of the person selling you the scheme.
The writer is the Principal Financial Planner at EconPenny. Readers may send their queries to email@example.com Ph: 09854089580
1. The magical and melodious sounds of wind chimes have been soothing ears since prehistoric times. Various cultures of East and South Asia, particularly those of Bali, Tibet and Japan have been using wind chimes since ages to attract good spirits and scare away the evil ones.
2. Today, wind chimes have become highly popular. Their mystical chimes reverberate in various houses and gardens across the globe.
3. Construction of wind chimes plays an important role in the sound it produces. Typically in wind chimes, a central clapper in the shape of a disk or ball is surrounded by tubes, rods or other shapes. As the tubes move because of the wind, they touch the central clapper because of which a tone is produced. The sound produced by a wind chime may vary depending on the material it is made of.
4. Decorative piece of wind chime can offer you numerous health benefits. The resonance and vibration of their mystical sound is known to help reduce stress and has a calming effect on the body. Experts also believe that listening to wind chimes creates a sense of balance and harmony in a person’s life.
5. The role of wind chimes has expanded from the home to other areas. In music, they are commonly used as a percussion instrument to add texture to the composition.
6. Many farmers and sailors continue to use wind chimes to check current weather conditions. They hang the wind chimes in various areas to track wind direction and speed. Many home owners use wind chimes as a feng shui element to foster good luck.
7. Wind chimes are hung in various areas to track wind direction and speed. The pitch of wind chimes can help to learn about astrological and climate changes.
8. Wind chimes are traditionally hung outside a house on a porch, deck or balcony. Numerous home owners hang them at front and back doors to welcome guests. In addition, wind chimes are commonly found in the garden as a decorative accent.