PHUKET: Over the past 42 years, I have listened to stories of infidelity, both from the victims’ and betrayers’ perspectives. Whether from clients, my own personal experience or those of family and close friends, infidelity frequently washes up on our shores.
Most victims that I have worked with become plagued with self doubt and intense anger. They frequently question their own being, what they did wrong and how their loved ones could treat them in such a way. Others face bouts of vomiting, sleepless nights, anxiety, insecurity, complete obsession with the third party and even shame.
Betrayers often feel equally as lost and sickened by their actions.
I remember one particular woman in her early forties who had betrayed her long-term partner on a
number of occasions. She displayed a level of hopelessness far greater than any victim I had ever seen. She was left riddled with guilt, totally ashamed, confused and unable to justify her actions. Her partner, however, was able to help guide her through her infidelity. The relationship survived and became a stronger, more connected and fulfilling relationship. While some infidelities do lead to a break up, it is my personal belief that infidelity does not necessarily have to spell the end of a relationship.
When I look back at my own experiences with infidelity, I wish I had been more cognizant of some simple concepts, ideas and strategies that could have helped me. It is important to note that infidelity refers to any emotional or physical act that violates trust within a relationship.
We often view infidelity as just a physical act. However, can engaging in intimate conversations online, playing pool on a regular basis with an attractive lady, flirting with golf caddies, hanging around in massage parlors, becoming overly familiar with your tennis coach or accepting late night calls of a personal nature from a co-worker constitute an affair? The reality is that affairs can, and do, occur without sex being involved, generally originating as peer relationships in which platonic boundaries have been overstepped. Talking to your partner about his or her definition of infidelity is crucial to understanding where the boundaries lie, making the relationship feel clear and safe, and avoiding painful hurt in years to come.
Phuket, in particular, is a hotbed of temptation, with the high availability of commercial sex services in bars, clubs, brothels and massage parlors.
The simple availability of short-term partners in Thailand can add a new dimension to your previously thought-out relationship parameters. So make your expectations clear to your partner, discuss what you consider acceptable behavior and live by the boundaries you have both agreed upon.
I don’t believe that there exists a secret formula to know whether your partner is having an affair, but there are some common behaviors that may signal your relationship could be in trouble.
Awareness of these enables you to identify them and raise concerns with your partner, and may help to bring back a healthy relationship, before it reaches a crisis.
A lack of productive and meaningful communication may be a warning sign that your relationship is heading for trouble.
People in failing relationships communicate less. Being able to openly, honestly and respectfully communicate your work, life, money or sex concerns is vital for a successful relationship.
A CHANGE IN SEX LIFE
A decline in sexual intimacy is common in troubled relationships. However, a sudden increase in sex caused by feelings of guilt or from a need to explore new moves learned outside of the relationship, can also be a cause for concern.
LACK OF LUST
Whether your partner is not forth-coming in their whereabouts, are overly secretive about their cell phone usage or no longer share financial details, increased secrecy is never a positive sign.
A CHANGE IN APPEARANCE
A drastic decline in appearance of both or either parties may signify that they no longer care and are unhappy in the relationship. Conversely, if you or your partner has recently become obsessed with their looks and pays excessive attention to their appearance, this could also be a sign of an affair.
Make no mistake, recovering from infidelity is a painful and emotional rollercoaster that takes time.
Rita Dobson, MBPS, BACP, is a professional counselor with a graduate diploma in psychology and an MA in counseling from Monash University. Rita has lived in Southeast Asia for more than 20 years. She has been working with youths in community centers, schools and young offenders’ institutions, as well as supporting their families. Rita can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Rita Dobson
500 people own 36% of equity in Thai companies
Roughly 36% of Thailand’s corporate equity is held by just 500 people, highlighting wealth inequality in the Kingdom, according to a study released by the Bank of Thailand’s research institute.
Each of these 500 amass some 3.1 billion baht (102 million USD) per year in company profits, according to the report from the Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research. In contrast, average yearly household income in Thailand is around 10,000 USD.
A report out this week from the Economic and Business Research Centre for Reform at Thailand’s Rangsit University also pointed to divisive and polarised politics being another root cause of the economic divide.
Thailand’s private sector is dominated by tycoons running sprawling conglomerates. According to the World Bank, the gap between the mega-wealthy and the rest of the Thai population of 69 million is among the many economic challenges for Thailand. According to Bloomberg, the perception of a divide, exacerbated by an economic slowdown, is a major political fault line.
“Magnates arise in Thailand from institutional factors that privilege certain businesses,” said the executive director of PIER, author of the study.
The institute said Thailand needs to promote competitiveness to reduce profits from monopoly power and bolster entrepreneurship to create a more equitable distribution of corporate wealth.
The research is based on analysis of 2017 Commerce Ministry data on the 2.1 million shareholders in Thai firms, and was funded by the University of California San Diego.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
Thais go bananas over freak plants in pursuit of lottery numbers
PHOTOS: Daily News
The answers are in the banana leaves.
Thai people LOVE playing the lottery (and gambling generally). In fact they’re BANANAS about the twice-monthly lottery (it was drawn again today). Daily News has reported about two unusual banana trees growing in front of a shop in Klong 4 Pathum Thani, just north of Bangkok. The trees did not have blossom and on one plant two bananas were pointing skywards. On another there was a whole bunch pointing up into the sky.
There was a steady stream of the faithful lighting incense, praying and rubbing powder on the trees to get lottery numbers. One group thought ‘542’ was the magic numbers and a path to riches (we’re not sure how they came to this conclusion). 53 year old Surachai says the trees had been growing for a few months and that he’d never seen anything like it before.
An unnamed agricultural expert suggested that there was probably something wrong with the banana plants. Trees and malformed animals are a favourite source of inspiration to select numbers for the lottery, as are numbers of houses and vehicles involved in events where people experience “miracle” escapes from danger, or even bizarre accidents.
SOURCE: Daily News
The K-pop Olympics: performers battle in the K-pop festival
On the streets, in parks and garages, seven Cuban youngsters spent seven months practising K-pop moves to secure a spot on their dream stage: an appearance in South Korea to imitate their idols. 13 final teams from 80 countries are competing in the 2019 event.
At the grandly titled and government-funded Changwon K-pop World Festival contestants from around the globe perform imitation dances or sing cover versions of the genre’s biggest hits, with thousands of fans cheering them on.
In terms of global heft, South Korea is overshadowed by its much larger neighbours China and Japan, but the event is a way for Seoul to derive soft power from one of the country’s biggest cultural exports. In terms of pop-power, South Korea’s K-Pop is now a recognised world-wide music phenomenon with bands like BTS and Blackpink figuring amongst the other big-hitters on the Billboard charts and outselling their western counterparts with millions of albums and downloads.
Finalists for this year
Cuba’s Communist government is one of North Korea’s few remaining allies: when President Miguel Diaz-Canel, successor to the Castro brothers Fidel and Raul, visited Pyongyang last November he was only the third foreign head of state to do so since leader Kim Jong Un inherited power in 2011.
But rather than geopolitics, Havana performer Karel Rodriguez Diaz – whose mannerisms and sleek hairstyle could easily be mistaken for those of a K-pop star – is more motivated by high-tempo beats and superslick dance moves.
“We never had a place with a mirror or a choreographer who could teach us the steps” but they kept on practising, he said.
His team-mate Elio Gonzalez added: “We are so excited to represent not just Cuba but also the whole of Latin America.”
Some 6,400 teams from more than 80 countries entered the competition, according to organisers, with 13 groups from places as diverse as Kuwait and Madagascar winning through to the final in Changwon, where they appeared on stage waving their national flags.
“This is like watching the Olympics, a K-pop Olympics,” said the event’s host Lia, a member of K-pop group ITZY.
The Korean Wave
K-pop – along with K-drama soap operas – has been one of South Korea’s most successful cultural exports to date. A key part of the “Korean Wave” which has swept Asia and beyond in the last 20 years, the K-pop industry is now estimated to be worth $5 billion, with boyband BTS its latest high-profile exponent, becoming the world’s most successful band in the past 12 months, selling out stadium concerts within minutes, around the world.
The South Korean government has financed a variety of K-pop themed events in what CedarBough Saeji, a visiting professor at Indiana University Bloomington in the US, said was a form of long-term “soft power diplomacy”.
“When you are covering you get to ‘become’ those idols for the three and a half minutes of the song,” she said, adding that performers will go so far as matching their clothing, accessories and hairstyle to their heroes and heroines.
“The cover dancers of today will be diplomats, news reporters, and business leaders in forty years,” she went on.
“And hopefully they’ll still have a soft spot in their heart for Korea. Korea can’t win the world through hard power – armies, economic bullying – but with soft power even a small country like Korea has a chance.”
The music also provides an artistic alternative for overseas fans, especially those in developing countries, Saeji added.
“The West, especially the United States, has been so dominant culturally for so long, and having a different cultural pole to look to provides hope that one’s own country can experience similar success in the future.”
Be who you want
Beneath its glitz and glamour, the K-pop industry is also known for its cutthroat competition, a lack of privacy, online bullying and relentless public pressure to maintain a wholesome image at all times and at any cost.
Sulli, a popular K-pop star and former child actress who had long been the target of abusive online comments was found dead on Monday, with her death sending shockwaves through fans around the world.
“I think a day where (people) would be ashamed of the K-show business will surely come,” a South Korean online user wrote in the wake of the star’s death.
“I think an industry that makes money by (making people) sing, dance, undergo plastic surgeries and go on a diet to please the gaze of others since they are teenagers should really go bankcrupt.”
But for Kenny Pham, a finalist from the US at last week’s contest, K-pop’s diversity – with some tunes having dark themes, while others were “cute” or sensual – is what gives him a sense of liberation.
“I like how expressive you could be,” the 19 year old told AFP last week.
“I feel like it’s a place where you could show the passion you have for music, dance or fashion. No one is bashing you for what your likes are.”
SOURCE: Agence France-Presse
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500 people own 36% of equity in Thai companies
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