PHOTO: Are they going to paint the hospitals in the coded colour?
Three hundred Thai hospitals are being labelled green, yellow, or red, based on how much they charge patients for drugs and services. The Deputy of Internal Trade, Prayoth Benyasut, confirmed the move, with medical facilities labelled “green” having the lowest impact on your wallet.
“We have listed 164 hospitals as green since the price of their medicines was low. The department is preparing a certificate for them.”
The Nation reports that hospitals categorised as yellow or red have prices ranging from acceptable to expensive. In some private hospitals over 5,000 services have been found to be priced too high, with the department saying it’s planning to carry out a costs review for around 200 to 300 services.
Prayoth says yellow and red hospitals will be issued with guidelines early next year.
“At the beginning of 2020, we will hold a meeting to create guidelines for hospitals in these two groups. We expect to announce the cost appraisal in the next year and the price of medical supplies will be specified last, as there are no appraisals we can use for reference. The medical supplies price is currently being coded and the estimated budget for this project is around 4 to 5 million baht.”
It was not explained how potential patients will know how to identify where the coding will be displayed. Perhaps they’ll paint the entire hospital?
SOURCE: The NationKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
MSG makes a comeback with a new campaign against the ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’
MSG, or monosodium glutamate, a common seasoning in many foods from Doritos, to salad-dressing and Thai food, is making a come back. Not that it really went away. But there was 50 years or so when it suffered, unreasonably, a poor reputation.
For years it was branded an unhealthy processed ingredient despite a lack of supporting scientific evidence. It became the whipping boy of Chinese restaurants with people alleging they would suffer from symptoms like dizziness and palpitations after eating Chinese food seasoned with MSG. It even earned the nickname “Chinese restaurant syndrome”.
The Merriam-Webster even added “Chinese restaurant syndrome” to its dictionaries from 1993 after it became somewhat of an urban legend such that it became excepted that a lot of Chinese food contained MSG and that it was, somehow, bad for you. Despite hundreds of studies there has never been any repeatable experiments where it could be proven that monosodium glutamate was bad for consumer’s health or could repeat the alleged side-effects in control groups.
It all started when a biochemist wrote a letter to the New England Journal of Science in 1968 saying that Chinese restaurant food left him “lightheaded and with odd aches and pains”. The next issue of the journal published more purported side-effects.
That grew into a meme that Chinese food was dangerous for you and spread quickly, and even gained some early legitimacy by some medical professionals at the time. A 1969 scientific paper claimed that MSG was “the cause of the Chinese restaurant syndrome,” and said it caused “burning sensations, facial pressure, and chest pain.”
Subsequent scientific studies over the next half century have never been able to validate the 1969 paper’s claims or find any link between the white salt-like substance and any side effects. Studies suggest that any correlation on side effects from eating MSG were probably psychosomatic.
MSG was first introduced in 1908 by a Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda, who was able to isolate unique flavour of a popular broth made from a seaweed called kombu. Ikeda described the flavour as neither salty, sweet, sour or bitter. It was unique. The taste came from the glutamate in the seaweed and earned the new, “fifth taste” which would be called “umami”, neither salty, sweet, sour or bitter.
But MSG has been used as an active ingredient in many Asian foods, not the least Thai food where the white crystals are sprinkled liberally on favourite Thai dishes from the street stalls to the hi-so restaurants.
Now there’s a campaign, “Redefine CRS” headed by Japanese food and seasoning company Ajinomoto to reflect the current knowledge about MSG and the impact of misinformation on the public’s perception of Asian cuisine.
The whole Chinese Restaurant Syndrome was a western construct and never became a ‘thing’ in Asia. So Ajinomoto are calling out the half century of misinformation as “racist”. If MSG was actually dangerous or could conjour up it’s reputed side effects a long list of Asian countries and their populations would be walking around complaining about it.
“To this day, the myth around MSG is ingrained in America’s consciousness, with Asian food and culture still receiving unfair blame. Chinese Restaurant Syndrome isn’t just scientifically false, it’s xenophobic.”
In a video several Asian American figures, restaurateurs, and medical professionals spoke out against the misconceptions surrounding MSG and Chinese food. Famed restaurateur Eddie Huang, whose memoir was adapted into the hit sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat points out that MSG is not only delicious but found in hundreds of commonly used foods we use every day.
“Calling it Chinese restaurant syndrome is really ignorant.”
The campaign proposes a redefinition of “Chinese restaurant syndrome”… “an outdated term that falsely blamed Chinese food containing MSG, or monosodium glutamate, for a group of symptoms.”
Chances are, you’ve eaten it. You light be eating it right now as you snack and scroll through your phone. MSG is a common amino acid naturally found in foods like tomatoes and cheese, which people then figured out how to extract and ferment. This fermented glutamate salt is now used to flavour lots of different foods like stews or chicken stock and seasoning.
A joint study by the World Health Organisation and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation “failed to confirm a link between MSG and the ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome’. The syndrome itself was based on “anecdotal” evidence rather than any scientific fact.”
As the new campaign points out, the public scare over MSG unfairly placed the blame on Chinese food. That myth persists in many western countries where Chinese food as is sometimes considered processed, unclean, or unhealthy.
So, head down to your local Chinese restaurant and thoroughly enjoy your meal because it tastes great, along with all the other Asian cuisines you love. If you feel ‘icky, bloated and tingly’ after your meal it’s not the MSG, you probably just ate or drank too much.
As a side note, The Thaiger was involved in an experiment six years ago in Phuket when we had two control groups of three people. The six people were sat down and told we wanted to measure the effects of MSG in their food. All were given a standard Pad Thai Goong. One group was told the meal had been prepared with MSG, the other without MSG. In the interviews after, the group who ate the food prepared with MSG noted they had ‘tingling around their lips’, ‘feeling of flush cheeks’ and ‘racing heartbeat’.
The other group, who were told their meals were prepared without MSG, had no complaints.
Then everyone was told that, in fact, the meals had been switched, so that the group who thought they had consumed MSG had eaten a Pad Thai Going without any MSG.
Hardly a scientifically-validated study but an indication how we can be easily convinced to believe anything.Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Call centre raid in Bangkok – French citizens arrested
Ten French citizens have been arrested on charges of working illegally at an international call centre in Bangkok. Immigration officials were acting on a tip off and had already obtained a court-authorised search warrant to enter the building on Soi Thong Lor 25 in Wattana, central Bangkok. The building was a four-storey house modified for office work.
Speaking to the media yesterday Immigration Police chief Lt-General Sompong Chingduang says the officers seized laptop computers and signal transmission devices for communicating with overseas clients.
They arrested ten French nationals – seven men and three women. 9 of them had entered the country on tourist visas and had not upgraded their visas to business visas. They were charged with working without a legal work permit. The 10th had a work visa but was for an occupation unrelated to running an online business. He was charged with working outside an “authorised field” in his work permit.
The suspects told police they’d been working in Thailand for about a month, dealing with French clients and some in Belgium.
“They told their clients they were agents for a Singaporean company that facilitated money transfers and taxation services. They usually worked afternoons and early evenings to align with office hours in Europe,” according to police.
SOURCE: Bangkok PostKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Two new SV 14 boats donated to Disabled Sailing Thailand in Phuket
Two new sailing boats have been added to the Phuket fleet of Disabled Sailing Thailand. Two boats have been launched, the S\V Arnaud 1 and S\V Arnaud 2, named after long-time Phuket expat and philanthropist, Arnaud C. Verstraete.
The two 14 foot S\V14 sailing dinghies are designed to be sailed by people with disabilities and will support Disabled Sailing Thailand’s goal to make sailing a sport easily accessible for everyone.
Arnaud kindly donated them to Disabled Sailing Thailand and was present to celebrate their launching in Phuket recently.
“I’ve been following Disabled Sailing Thailand with interest for some time. What they are doing, providing opportunities to people with disabilities that never before existed, is a great thing and something I am proud to support. It’s not only about sailing though, it’s about building people’s self-confidence and giving people with disabilities the feeling of freedom and enjoyment.”
Disabled Sailing Thailand was established in 2015 with the aim to provide people with disabilities the opportunity to experience sailing in a safe environment, empowering them and giving them the freedom and mobility on-the-water that is often lacking in their lives onshore.
The availability of these boats in Phuket is part of an ongoing effort to make the island a more accessible destination for people with disabilities. They will appeal to international travellers with disabilities who are looking for safe and accessible activities to enjoy while traveling, as well as to professional Para Sailors from around the world who can now come and train in Phuket.
Disabled Sailing Thailand’s Founder, Peter Jacops says the kind donation of the two brand-new S\V14s by Arnaud will make a big difference to sailing in Phuket.
“Currently, there are very few boats in Thailand that are suitable for para sailors and the S\V14 is a perfect sailing dinghy for novice or professional. These two new boats means our fleet in Phuket now totals four and we will be able to offer more fun sailing opportunities for people with disabilities on the island.”
Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
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