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Japanese women face a future of poverty #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published January 19, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30380770?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Japanese women face a future of poverty

Jan 19. 2020
A child and her mother look at a diorama of Tokyo at night made with Lego toy bricks at the Lego Land Discovery Center Tokyo on June 14, 2012. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi.

A child and her mother look at a diorama of Tokyo at night made with Lego toy bricks at the Lego Land Discovery Center Tokyo on June 14, 2012. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi.
By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Marika Katanuma 

At first glance, things seem to be getting better for Japanese women. In an economy that’s historically lagged other developed nations when it comes to female workforce participation, a record 71% are now employed, an 11 point leap over a decade ago.

The Japanese government boasts one of the most generous parental leave laws in the world and recently created a “limited full-time worker” category aimed primarily at mothers looking to balance job and family. And one of the most important needs for working families-child daycare-is slowly being expanded.

A woman walks near the Roppongi Hills complex in Tokyo on Sept. 29, 2017. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Akio Kon,

A woman walks near the Roppongi Hills complex in Tokyo on Sept. 29, 2017. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by Akio Kon,

But even with these advantages, Japanese women-whether single or married, full-time or part-time-face a difficult financial future. A confluence of factors that include an aging population, falling birth rates and anachronistic gender dynamics are conspiring to damage their prospects for a comfortable retirement. According to Seiichi Inagaki, a professor at the International University of Health and Welfare, the poverty rate for older Japanese women will more than double over the next 40 years, to 25%.

For single, elderly women, he estimated, the poverty rate could reach 50%.

In Japan, people live longer than almost anywhere else and birth rates are at their lowest since records began. As a result, the nation’s working-age population is projected to have declined by 40% come 2055.

With entitlement costs skyrocketing, the government has responded by scaling back benefits while proposing to raise the retirement age. Some Japanese responded by moving money out of low-interest bank accounts and into 401(k)-style retirement plans, hoping investment gains might soften the blow. But such a strategy requires savings, and women in Japan are less likely to have any.

Japan’s gender pay gap is one of the widest among advanced economies. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Japanese women make only 73% as much as men. Japan’s demographic crisis is making matters worse: Retired couples who are living longer need an additional $185,000 to survive projected shortfalls in the public pension system, according to a recent government report.

A separate study did the math for Japanese women: They will run out of money 20 years before they die.

Dire pension calculations published by Japan’s Financial Services Agency in June 2019 caused such an outcry that the government quickly rejected the paper, saying it needlessly worried people. But economic observers said the report was dead-on: Japan’s pension system is ranked 31st out of 37 nations due in part to underfunding, according to the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index.

Takashi Oshio, a professor at the Institute of Economic Research at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, said private pensions and market-based retirement investments are now much more important than they once were. Machiko Osawa, a professor at Japan Women’s University, was more blunt: The days of being “totally dependent on a public pension” are over.

But there are additional obstacles for Japanese women. Although 3.5 million of them have entered the workforce since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in 2012, two-thirds are working only part-time.

Japanese men generally see their compensation rise until they reach 60. For women, average compensation stays largely the same from their late 20s to their 60s, a fact attributable to pauses in employment tied to having children or part-time, rather than full-time, work. Since the mid-2000s, part-time employment rates have fallen for women in more than half the countries that make up the OECD. But in Japan, the trend is reversed, with part-time work among women rising over the past 15 years.

One of Abe’s stated goals is to encourage more women to keep working after giving birth, part of his so-called Womenomics initiative. But according to a recent government study, almost 40% of women who had full-time jobs when they became pregnant subsequently switched to part-time work or left the workforce.

Machiko Nakajima’s employment trajectory is typical of this state of affairs. Nakajima, who used to work full time at a tourism company, left her position at age 31 when she became pregnant.

“I had no desire to work while taking care of my kid,” she said in an interview. Instead, Nakajima spent a decade raising two children before returning to work. Now 46, the mother of two works as a part-time receptionist at a Tokyo tennis center. Though her husband, who also is 46, has a full time job, Nakajima said she fears for her future, given the faltering pension system.

“It makes me wonder how I’m going to live the rest of my” life, she said.

– – –

According to government data, the monthly cost of living for a Japanese household with more than two people is 287,315 yen ($2,650). Some 15.7% of Japanese households live below the poverty line, which is about $937 per month.

More than 40% of part-time working women earn 1 million yen ($9,100) or less a year, according to Japan’s Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry. The lack of benefits, job security and opportunity for advancement-hallmarks of full-time employment in Japan-make such women financially vulnerable, particularly if they don’t have a partner to share expenses with.

Yanfei Zhou, a researcher at the Japan Institute for Labor Policy & Training and author of a book on the subject, “Japan’s Married Stay-at-Home Mothers in Poverty,” contends there’s a gap of 200 million yen ($1.82 million) in lifetime income between women who work full-time and women who switch from full-time to part-time at the age of 40.

“It’s not easy to save for retirement as a part-time worker,” she said. Single mothers need to make at least 3 million yen annually, or about $27,600-numbers you can’t hit “if you work part-time.”

In Japan, public pensions account for 61% of income among elderly households. The system provides basic benefits to all citizens and is funded by workers from age 20 to age 59-and by government subsidies. Many retirees get additional income from company pension plans.

While widows can claim some portion of a deceased spouse’s pension, the number of unmarried Japanese is steadily rising, having more than tripled since 1980. The latest survey showed the rate for women is 14% versus 23% for men.

One “reason why women’s retirement savings is lower than men’s is that the lifetime salary is low,” said Yoshiko Nakamura, a financial planner and president of Alpha and Associates Inc. “Traditionally, many women chose to limit their workload in order to take advantage of social security spousal benefits, and that created many ‘women’s jobs’ that pay less than 1 million yen.”

Japan has historically created incentives for married women to limit their employment to such non-career track jobs; lower pay means they (and their husbands) can take advantage of spousal deduction benefits. For example, the government gives a 380,000 yen ($3,133) tax deduction to a male worker if his wife earns less than about 1.5 million yen ($13,700) per year.

The private sector does it, too. Many companies give employees a spousal allowance as long as their partner earns less than a certain amount. Some 84% of private companies in Japan offer workers about 17,282 yen per month ($159) as long as their spouse earns less than a certain amount annually-usually 1.5 million yen, though the ceiling is lower for most companies.

Yumiko Fujino, who works as an administrative assistant, should have been happy when the government raised the minimum wage. But she wasn’t: In order for her husband to keep receiving spousal benefits, she had to cut back on her hours.

These limits are known among married women in Japan as the “wall.” Unless a wife is making enough money on a part-time basis to afford income taxes and forgo spousal benefits, it doesn’t make sense to work additional hours. But to work those kind of hours means less time for kids, which is usually the point of working part-time in the first place.

Women who qualify for the spousal benefit, Fujino said, “think less about retirement security and more about the current cost of living.”

Abe’s government is considering changes that would require more part-time workers to contribute to the pension program and mandate that smaller companies participate as well. Takero Doi, professor of economics at Keio University, said the expansion would be a small step toward giving women a financial incentive to work more.

Yoko Kamikawa, a former gender equality minister, agreed that the current pension system-last updated in the 1980s-should be expanded to include part-time workers. Forty years ago, single-income households made up the overwhelming majority in Japan. Since then, Kamikawa said families have become more diverse.

Machiko Osawa, a professor at Japan Women’s University, went farther, saying social security should be based around individuals, not households. “Marriage doesn’t last forever,” she said. “Women used to rely on their husbands for financial support, but now there’s the danger of unemployment, and more men are in jobs where their pay doesn’t rise.”

However, one of the biggest reforms proposed by Abe, “limited full-time worker” status, doesn’t always work as advertised. “Limited full-time” employees often face the same workload they would if they were full-time. Junko Murata, 43, a mother of two, said juggling both work and taking care of her children proved too difficult, so she eventually returned to a part-time job with spousal benefits.

While an increasing number of companies have been giving women the opportunity to work more flexible hours after they return from maternity leave, some women complain of being marginalized, with few opportunities for career growth and advancement.

A government survey released last year offered a bleak outlook. It showed no improvement in gender equality in the workplace, with some 28.4% of women saying they are treated equally at work, up only 0.2 percentage points since 2016.

Yasuko Kato, 42, returned to work as limited full-time accountant three years ago, but said there’s been little change in her responsibilities.

Because she drops off and picks up her kids, she works from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. “I have no extra time at work,” she said. But because of a chronic staff shortage, she doesn’t get any help from full-time employees. As a result, Kato said “it’s difficult to raise my hand for a new role.”

An unlikely parrot love story #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published January 5, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30380157?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

An unlikely parrot love story

Jan 05. 2020
Suzie, a military macaw, left, and Kirby, harlequin macaw, groom each other at TC Feathers Aviary on Jan. 2, 2020. Their offspring may be the first cross between the types of macaws. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Jahi Chikwendiu

Suzie, a military macaw, left, and Kirby, harlequin macaw, groom each other at TC Feathers Aviary on Jan. 2, 2020. Their offspring may be the first cross between the types of macaws. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Jahi Chikwendiu
By The Washington Post · Theresa Vargas · NATIONAL, FEATURES, SCIENCE-ENVIRONMENT, ANIMALS

WASHINGTON – When they met, Kirby and Suzie differed in ways that went beyond what people usually notice first about them, their color.

Kuzie, a hybrid, with his parents in the background, at TC Feathers Aviary on Jan. 2, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Jahi Chikwendiu

Kuzie, a hybrid, with his parents in the background, at TC Feathers Aviary on Jan. 2, 2020. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Jahi Chikwendiu

He was large. She was small.

He had spent most of his life in a loving home. She had been abandoned when she was young.

He was bold and a gifted talker. She was sweet and more selective with her words.

Tammy Morgan says she would never have thought of pairing the two – and yet, she saw how they quickly gravitated toward each other, how they soon started sneaking off to be alone and how he now watches over her, ever ready to place himself between her and any perceived danger.

Kuzie at four weeks old. MUST CREDIT: TC Feathers Aviary Photo by: TC Feathers Aviary — The Washington Post Location: Chantilly United States

Kuzie at four weeks old. MUST CREDIT: TC Feathers Aviary Photo by: TC Feathers Aviary — The Washington Post Location: Chantilly United States

“They fell in love,” Morgan says.

There are love stories, and then there is the love story of Suzie and Kirby. Theirs is a rare pairing, one that both defies nature and resulted from it. The two are species of parrots that don’t normally mate: Kirby is a harlequin macaw and Suzie is a military macaw.

In the wild, they likely wouldn’t have come together. In a Virginia aviary, they are inseparable.

They are also parents. About a year ago, their firstborn hatched from an egg, leaving the aviary with a unique quandary: What do you call a species that doesn’t seem to exist anywhere else?

Morgan, who owns TC Feathers Aviary in suburban Virginia along with her wife, Carey Morgan, says the two never intended to breed macaws. It is difficult work even under the best of conditions, says Tammy Morgan, who has bred cockatiels, conures and caiques.

Macaws usually want a quiet, secluded area to mate.

“Not these two,” she says.

In their case, it seems, nature stepped in, threw her arms up and said, “Eh, what rules?” Quiet and secluded does not describe the aviary. It also serves as a store, so it often is a cacophony of birds squawking and customers talking, but that didn’t deter Suzie and Kirby from taking their affection to another level. Around 3:30 p.m. each day, the two would make their way from a backroom, where birds perch on makeshift trees and in cages, to the front of the store, where the cash register sits.

The staff always knew they were coming because as the two waddled, their talons clicked against the tile.

The staff also knew where they were headed. Each day, the two picked the same unlikely place for an avian rendezvous – a cat carrier. The carrier sits against a wall near the front door and is basically a large open cage lined on the bottom with a plush, pink bed. It provides the cats that live in the store (and keep the mice away) a place to lounge.

But when Suzie and Kirby showed up, any cat that happened to be in that carrier knew enough to leave. Everyone knew what was about to happen for the next 20-or-so minutes.

“It would be one thing if they were quiet, but they’re so loud,” Morgan says. “So finally, I put them in the same cage. It was better there than in front of the store, in a cat carrier.”

Morgan first started taking care of Suzie more than a decade ago after she and two other macaws were left in front of her house by a man who lived with his parents and realized he couldn’t take care of the birds. The aviary sees that situation often enough that the staff warns people who come to purchase pets about the responsibility. If someone comes in saying they want a bird that talks or that matches their furniture, that person will leave with instructions to go home and do some research.

“It’s not buying a goldfish,” Morgan says. “Some of these animals are going to live 60 to 70 years. That’s a 60- to 70-year commitment and one you have to be ready for.”

You have to be ready for a pet that is as demanding as it is stunning. I first learned about the aviary, which used to exist under a different name and at a different address, when my husband and I walked in to pick out two newborn cockatiels. Those birds are now two affectionate 8-year-olds with their own personalities and (loud) ways of telling us what they want.

On a recent afternoon, the volume in the backroom of the aviary is deafening. It is almost time for Morgan to feed some of the birds by hand, and they aren’t feeling patient.

Meanwhile, Suzie and Kirby sit quietly on nearby branches of the same makeshift tree.

When Suzie first came to live at the aviary full-time a few years ago, she had suffered a loss. She had paired up with another macaw that died, and “she was really missing” him, Morgan says.

Kirby had been raised since he was young by Morgan’s wife and was one of several male macaws living at the aviary at the time. He was also the biggest bird in the place and had developed a reputation of being rude to other macaws in group situations. With Suzie, though, he was gentle.

They would clean each other’s feathers with their beaks, which is called preening and requires a level of comfort and trust.

When the two began sharing a cage, no one knew what to expect. What they didn’t expect, though, were fertile eggs.

Morgan says Suzie laid two separate sets of egg at the bottom of the cage, but she didn’t know how to take care of them. Instead of sitting on them, she sat next to them, so they didn’t develop properly.

The next time she laid a set of eggs, Morgan pulled them from the cage and placed them in an incubator. Two didn’t make it.

But from the third egg, on a day when the store was crowded with people for the aviary’s inaugural Parrot Fest, came a tiny lump of a bird.

The aviary took suggestions from customers for a name and settled on “Kuzie,” a combination Suzie and Kirby.

The aviary’s staff, along with their friends, relatives and customers, also started researching whether a military macaw and harlequin macaw, which is a hybrid mix between a green-wing macaw and a blue-and-gold macaw, had ever produced an offspring.

They couldn’t find another.

Kuzie, they realized, wasn’t just the product of an unusual love story. He was product of an unusual love story that might have created a one-of-a-kind species.

Unsure what to call this new type of bird, and unable to find a name that already existed, the aviary again took suggestions. And they again picked one that gave a nod to both parents: “miliquin macaw.”

Morgan describes the days and weeks following Kuzie’s birth in October 2018 as both thrilling and scary. She didn’t know if he would survive. For five months, she woke up every 90 minutes in the night to make him formula and feed him.

She did the same in May 2019 when another egg hatched. This time it was a girl and she was named Millie.

Both Kuzie and Millie have lighter beaks than their parents, which they get from one side of their father’s genetics. They also seem to share his ease with words. Kuzie is fond of saying, “peekaboo.” And as Millie nuzzles against Morgan that recent afternoon, she says, “I love you.”

Occasionally someone will ask whether the siblings are for sale, and each time the answer is the same.

“At this point, everyone is so attached, not only us, but also our customers,” Morgan says. “They’re not going anywhere.”

If they produce more miliquins, those will be for sale.

When that time comes, she has just one hope: that Suzie and Kirby will figure out what comes after making those eggs.

“If they could figure out how to take care of their own children,” she says, “I would appreciate that.”

5 kitchen resolutions that you can actually stick with in the new year #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published January 4, 2020 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30380112?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

5 kitchen resolutions that you can actually stick with in the new year

Jan 04. 2020

Tackle one spot - like that

Tackle one spot – like that “miscellaneous drawer” full of tools you use and tons you don’t – when you have 10 or 15 minutes and feel the burden lift. MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Tom McCorkle; food styling for The Washington Post by Lisa Cherkasky
By The Washington Post · Becky Krystal · FEATURES
It’s Jan. 3! Have you already ditched your totally unrealistic, pie-in-the-sky New Year’s resolutions?

Sure, the pressure to make dramatic changes in your life can be a bit daunting, especially if it has to do with food. But let’s take a step back and dial down the stress. Let’s focus on incremental, attainable goals that will help you – and even the planet – in subtle but substantial ways.

Feeling a little less anxious? Good. Now here’s where to start.

1. Organize.

There are a few universal chaos locations in the kitchen. You know, under the sink where you stash all the plastic bags you promise to recycle soon, the cabinet with all the mismatched storage containers and that “miscellaneous drawer” full of tons of tools you use – and tons you don’t. Tackle one spot at a time when you have 10 or 15 minutes and feel the burden lift. Thin out the gadgets you never or rarely reach for (how many digital thermometers do you really need?), and you’ll be much more likely to find and use the ones you do. The same goes for the spice cabinet.

2. Learn to take better care of your tools.

Your kitchen is full of equipment and tools that can last forever as long as you treat them right. So, learn which items are best washed by hand – knives, pots and skillets are at the top of the list – and how to do that best. Keep your knives sharp (and safe). Keep your cast iron seasoned, and don’t let it sit around wet to develop rust. Don’t use your nonstick cookware on high heat. Don’t heat an empty enameled cast-iron Dutch oven on the stove top. When in doubt, read the manual.

3. Use less plastic and disposables.

Granted, this may be the hardest one on this list. If you’re a plastic wrap and aluminum foil addict, try to eliminate, or at least reduce, your habit. You can find reusable options for almost any kitchen staple these days, whether it’s beeswax wraps, silicone bags, cotton or mesh produce pouches, metal straws and food covers. Shopping the bulk bins to fill your own containers with exactly what you need cuts back on both packaging and food waste.

4. Store your fruits and vegetables better so they get eaten and not tossed.

Produce is essentially a living, breathing thing. If you think you can just toss it in your fridge and assume it will be OK, you’ll be disappointed. Learn which foods benefit from humidity (generally, fruit needs less and vegetables more) and which should not be stored together (separate ethylene-producing items from ethylene-sensitive items). Some – potatoes, onions – shouldn’t be stored in the refrigerator at all. With just a few small adjustments, you’ll save money and food.

5. Keep your kitchen cleaner.

This is always an admirable goal. Whether you’re a clean-as-you-go or clean-at-the-end, you never want to walk away from the kitchen without having tidied up. Procrastination here does not pay off, especially if there are dishes to wash and messes to wipe up. Of course, the kitchen is full of annoying little cracks and crevices, and stubborn stains. Inexpensive tools like wooden skewers, a Magic Eraser scrubber, and toothbrushes are among cheap tools to help you get the job done. You’d also do yourself a favor to spend a few bucks on a canister of Bar Keepers Friend.

7 science-based strategies to boost your willpower and succeed with your New Year’s resolutions #ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย

Published December 29, 2019 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30379978?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

7 science-based strategies to boost your willpower and succeed with your New Year’s resolutions

Dec 29. 2019
How can you increase your willpower and fulfill your New Year’s promise to yourself? (Shutterstock/Melinda Nagy)

How can you increase your willpower and fulfill your New Year’s promise to yourself? (Shutterstock/Melinda Nagy)
By The Jakarta Post/ANN

It’s that time of year when people make their New Year’s resolutions – indeed, 93% of people set them, according to the American Psychological Association. The most common resolutions are related to losing weight, eating healthier, exercising regularly and saving money.

However, research shows that 45% of people fail to keep their resolutions by February, and only 19% keep them for two years. Lack of willpower or self-control is the top cited reason for not following through.

How can you increase your willpower and fulfill your New Year’s promise to yourself? These seven strategies are based on behavioral science and my clinical work with hundreds of people trying to achieve their long-term goals.

1. Clarify and honor your values

Ask yourself why this goal matters to you. Do you want to lose weight because you value getting in shape to return to a favorite pastime of hiking, or because of societal expectations and pressures? People who are guided by their authentic values are better at achieving their goals. They also don’t run out of willpower, because they perceive it as a limitless resource. Figure out what makes you tick, and choose goals consistent with those values.

2. Frame goals and your life in positive terms

Focus on what you want to accomplish, not what you don’t. Instead of planning not to drink alcohol on workdays during the new year, commit to drinking your favorite sparkling water with Sunday to Thursday evening meals. Struggling to suppress thoughts takes a lot of energy, and they have a way of returning to your mind with a vengeance.

It also helps to reflect on the aspects of yourself and your life that you are already happy with. Although you might fear that this will spur complacency and inaction, studies show that gratitude and other positive emotions lead to better self-control in the long run.

3. Change your environment to make it easier

Research suggests that people with high willpower are exceptionally good at arranging their environment to avoid temptations. So, banish all credit cards from your wallet if your goal is to save money. And don’t keep a bowl of M&M’s at your work desk if you intend to eat healthy.

If your coworkers regularly bring sweets to work, ask them to help you with your goals (they might get inspired to join in!) and bring cookies only for special occasions. Supportive friends and family can dramatically increase your chances of achieving your resolutions. Joining a group whose members practice behaviors you’d like to adopt is another great way to bolster your willpower, because having role models improves self-control.

4. Be prepared with ‘if-then’ strategies

Even the best resolution falls apart when your busy schedule and exhaustion take over. Formulate a series of plans for what to do when obstacles present themselves. These “if-then” plans are shown to improve self-control and goal attainment.

Each time you wake up in the middle of the night craving candies or chips, you can plan instead to read a guilty-pleasure magazine, or log into your online community of healthy eaters for inspiration, or eat an apple slowly and mindfully, savoring each bit. When you’re tired and about to skip that gym class you signed up for, call your supportive sister who is on standby. Anticipate as many situations as possible and make specific plans, vividly imagining the situations and what you will do in the moment.

5. Use a gradual approach

When you embark on a new goal, start small and build on early successes. Use one less spoonful of sugar in your coffee. Eventually, you might be able to forgo any sweeteners at all. If resisting that muffin initially proves to be too hard, try waiting 10 minutes. By the end of it, your urge will likely subside.

You might be surprised to realize that change in one domain of life – like abstaining from sweet processed foods – tends to spread to other areas. You might find you are able to bike longer distances, or moderate your caffeine intake more easily.

If it feels like the payoffs are in the distant future, you can plan a small gift for yourself along the way. (Shutterstock.com/shurkin_son)

If it feels like the payoffs are in the distant future, you can plan a small gift for yourself along the way. (Shutterstock.com/shurkin_son)

6. Imagine rewards and then enjoy them

Picture the feeling of endorphins circulating through your body after a run, or the sun on your skin as you approach a mountain summit. Pay attention to all your senses: smell, sight, hearing, touch and taste. Visualizing rewards improves your chances of engaging in the activity that results in them.

If it’s hard to imagine or experience these rewards in the beginning, decide on small, meaningful gifts you can give yourself until the positive effects of the new behaviors kick in. For example, imagine yourself taking a half-day off work each month after you pay down your credit card debt: visualize exactly what you would do and how you would feel. And then do it.

7. Be kind to yourself, even during setbacks

Most people believe the way to increase willpower is to “whip oneself into shape,” because being kind to oneself is indulgent and lacks self discipline. But the exact opposite is true – people who harshly blame themselves for even small willpower failures tend to do worse in accomplishing their goals in the long run.

Try self-compassion instead. Cut yourself some slack and remember that being human means being imperfect. When you fall for that doughnut, don’t despair, and don’t throw in the towel. Treat yourself with care and understanding and then recommit to your goal the following day.

Remember, you aren’t likely to achieve your New Year’s resolutions by being self-critical and hard on yourself. Instead, boost your willpower through a series of small and strategic steps that will help you succeed.

Jelena Kecmanovic, Adjunct Professor of Psychology, Georgetown University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Yoga in prison: another life choice for inmates

Published December 3, 2019 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30378981?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Yoga in prison: another life choice for inmates

Dec 02. 2019
By The Nation

2,261 Viewed

Stretching and bending on the mat, one female prisoner says it is the only time she feels free and no in pain.

Prison life in by its definition limiting and yes, painful, too as the minutes tick by slowly with little to occupy the mind or body. For the fortunate few, there are a number of volunteers doing projects in prisons including art activities, knitting, making furniture, making Buddha statues, all activities that could lead to income-earning work once they are released. There’s yoga too though that appears to be less-accepted on the outside

The Prison Yoga Project is being run by Thirawan Watthanothai, former dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi (RMUTT) and introduced in 2011 at Ratchaburi Central Prison before expanding to other prisons. She also plans to initiate a yoga practice project for men in prisons.

After more than 8 years of running her yoga programme in prisons, Thirawan is determined to continue and expand, noting that it has been shown to be useful to the inmates.

“Ninety per cent of the inmates who come to practise yoga have their own unique abilities and what we need to do is encourage society to accept them once they are released. Most yoga studios refuse to give them work even if they pass the test. I want society to give people an opportunity. There was a case of a female inmate in Udon Thani, whose foreign boyfriend helped her move to Switzerland an even opened a yoga studio for her. She was proud that she learned yoga at the prison, “said Thirawan who started to learn yoga with an Indian instructor after overworking, feeling stressed and unable to sleep.

The idea to launch yoga in prison came about after she helped a fellow teacher prepare a report on life in prison and discovered the levels of stress from which female inmates suffer. She felt yoga could be the answer and set off on a journey to get her idea accepted. It took a while but Thirawan was determined.

“We ask the officers to select young people serving long sentences for yoga practice. If we want to mould them into yoga teachers, they must study from 9am to 2pm every day for several months. We saw how it improved not just their state of mind but also helped with lowering blood sugar. After three weeks, the body adapts and the students want to continue. We selected 25 people to teach yoga, most of them with 20 years to run on their jail terms. Prison administrators and staff cooperate to organize morning yoga classes for female inmates. ”

India, America, England, Australia and Scandinavia have also expressed interest in using yoga as part of their jail rehabilitation programmes and studies have shown that prisoners who have been practising yoga enjoy positive physical and mental or even spiritual health. Research in US prisons has found that yoga helps with concentration, makes the body and mind relax and reduces stress and anxiety.

Patcharee Mungmai, 30, a former inmate was given the opportunity to teach yoga to other inmates. She said that yoga is very helpful to her because while she was in prison, she almost lost her mind.

“In prison, the scariest thing is not being beaten but the possibility of going insane. Yoga really made us more conscious. I was sentenced to 16 years and 8 months, but only served 8 years and 1 day. I was arrested during my 4th year in university as part of a drug round up,” she says. Today she is a speaker on drug prevention at the probation office in Ubon Ratchathani Province.

Flower-bedecked Rama IX Park hosting markets, music, soothsayers

Published December 2, 2019 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30378954?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Flower-bedecked Rama IX Park hosting markets, music, soothsayers

Dec 01. 2019
By The Nation

1,689 Viewed

The birthday of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great is being commemorated all this week at his namesake park in southeast Bangkok.

King Rama IX Park in Prawet district is hosting its annual “Aram Ngam” Sunday (December 1) through December 10, daily from 8am-7pm.

The 500-rai park is a floral wonderland, adorned with hundreds of thousands of flowers and other ornamental plants including petunias, impatiens, verbena, vinca, hollyhocks, zinnia and many species from Europe.

Amid this natural beauty, a recreated “royal palace market” as it would have appeared in the early Rattanakosin Period is selling food and crafts “in the royal style”.

Handicrafts and dishes from each region of the country are on sale at both a dry market and a floating market.

There are cultural performances, DIY activities where you can make something creative to take home, and fortune tellers ready to study your personal horoscope and offer advice.

The park opened on December 5, 1987, in celebration of King Bhumibol’s 60th birthday.

It’s a wonderful place for picnics and exercise and interesting because of its botanical gardens, which have nearly 3,000 species of trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, flowers, foliage and whole woodlots under academic study.

The park is open daily from 5am-7pm, with an entrance fee (Bt10 per person, Bt20 per van and Bt30 per bus) collected only between 9am and 5pm.

CPN, Mitsubishi Estate sign JV to make Central Village SE Asia’s top luxury outlet

Published November 27, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30378774?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

CPN, Mitsubishi Estate sign JV to make Central Village SE Asia’s top luxury outlet

Nov 26. 2019
Preecha Ekkunagul (Left), Yutaro Yotsuzuka (Right)

Preecha Ekkunagul (Left), Yutaro Yotsuzuka (Right)
By The Nation

1,390 Viewed

Central Pattana (CPN) and Japanese real estate developer Mitsubishi Estate Asia formed a joint venture on Tuesday (November 26) at Centara Grand, CentralWorld, to promote Central Village as Southeast Asia’s number one outlet.

Under the agreement, CPN is a majority shareholder with a 70 per cent stake in CPN Village, while Mitsubishi Estate holds the remaining 30 per cent.

The deal brings the total investment to Bt1 billion in the push to take Central Village – a 40,000-square-metre luxury outlet with more than 150 domestic and international luxury brands – to the next level with the goal of making it the best luxury outlet in Asean, a CPN press release said.

The outlet, which delivers an authentic luxury shopping experience to those in and around Bangkok, has succeeded in reaching its traffic target of 17,000 visitors per day, the press release said.

The first phase of Central Village has seen nearly 100 per cent of its luxury brand stores opened. Retailers are offering discounts on brand-name products, which are already 35-70 per cent off year-round. The outlet is also expected to promote tourism and trade between Thailand and Japan, with roadshows and the Thailand–Japan Expo.

Central Pattana president and chief executive Preecha Ekkunagul said the collaboration between CPN and Mitsubishi Estate Asia supports Thailand as a world-class shopping and tourism destination.

“The first phase of Central Village operates under the Bangkok luxury outlet concept,” he said. “Brands that have already opened their stores include Coach, Club21, Ermenegildo Zegna, Kate Spade New York, Kenzo, Max&Co, Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Salvatore Ferragamo.”

Mitsubishi Estate Asia managing director Yutaro Yotsuzuka said: “Our investment in this project is part of our effort to penetrate the Thai real estate market. We considered the following three factors when we decided to enter into this Central Village joint venture:

1. Thailand’s promising potential in terms of investment opportunities, infrastructure and tourism: Thailand enjoys the most progressive tourism growth in Asean. It is estimated that the number of travellers visiting Thailand in 2020 will continue to grow at about 4 per cent;

2. Our confidence in CPN as Thailand’s number one retail property developer: CPN is publicly traded on the Stock Exchange of Thailand. It is a leader in Thailand’s retail industry and the highest valued company in the real estate segment. It has managed to stay a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the second consecutive year as per the recently released DJSI World 2019 list and for the sixth consecutive year as per the Emerging Markets list;

3. The success of Central Village: the project is adjacent to Suvarnabhumi Airport, one of the busiest airports in Southeast Asia. Central Village is a completely new business model in Thailand. Its modern Thai village setting is a unique selling point among world travellers.”

Learning by playing

Published November 16, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30378368?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

Learning by playing

Nov 15. 2019
By Kupluthai Pungkanon
Special to The Nation
Helsinki, Finland

2,040 Viewed

Based on the Finnish education philosophy for kids and adults alike, SuperPark Thailand is all set to make a splash

Finland’s education system has long been admired the world over, not least for its philosophy of “Playing is Learning”. By creating an encouraging atmosphere, schools advocate lifelong earning both inside the classroom and out, bringing sports and life skills into the equation for a well-rounded adulthood.

Bangkok kids and the parents will soon get to discover part of that Finnish philosophy with the opening on November 30 of global indoor activity park SuperPark Thailand on the 7th floor of Iconsiam.

The new SuperPark concept is large, airy and offers more than 25 fun, healthy, safe and energising activities under one roof.  It’s divided into three distinctive areas, the first being “The Adventure Area”, which focuses on exciting play activities for younger children and parents. Among them is iTeacher-Lu, an interactive edutainment game within the basic rectangular space with the games projected on the wall. Kids play by throwing or kicking balls to hit the targets. The iWall, meanwhile, consists of multiple cameras allowing an interactive and “AI” experience across multiple games. For Flying Fox, children are seated on 20-metre zip wires and crash into foams blocks (similar to the Angry Birds movie). Giant tube slides provide an exciting turn at the end with additional acceleration.  Also here is the Kid’s Adventure City featuring multipurpose wooden play towers with traditional play equipment and digital games, the Super Ninja (obstacle courses), Pedal Car Track, and much more.

The second area is “The Game Area”, where young visitors can serve and compete in immersive SuperTennis, a revolutionary tennis simulation system using sensors, projectors and a powerful computer system to simulate a real on-court scenario. Baseball 2.0 is the upgraded version and is only in available in Thailand. Youngsters can also challenge themselves with Robo Keeper, which was made famous by Lionel Messi and has been adapted for SuperPark. For youngsters that still have the energy, there’s a mini Street Basketball court where the hoops have sensors allowing the scoring to be completely automated so visitors can challenge their friends or parents.

The third area is known as “Freestyle Hall” and encourages teens to put down their smartphones and venture into super activities including Super Bigdrop, a tube slide that drops the rider into a Big Air Bag from seven metres. Other activities include the SuperClimb, Skate and Scoot World, Super Boxer (AI Boxing), and a Trampoline Platform. Last but not least, bringing chilly Finnish pursuits to Thailand’s heat, there’s Super Ski where everyone can learn the basics of skiing and

snowboarding in just a few days.

These exciting activities are the brainchild of former teacher and coach Juha Tanskanen, founder and global chief executive of SuperPark who, seven years ago decided to create a safe indoor activity park to align with the nation’s education principles. He brought in physical education teachers to advise on sports and activities that benefit both physical and mental wellbeing and thus help young people lead a more fulfilling life.

Mark Kumarasinhe, left, and Juha Tanskanen

Mark Kumarasinhe, left, and Juha Tanskanen

“We created SuperPark because, firstly, children nowadays don’t move enough and spend too much time playing computer games or on social media. Secondly, they aren’t many platforms where families can have fun together.  I wanted to make an indoor park that targeted a wide range of age groups and that meant a lot of activities – physical development for children, team building for adults, for example. We started in Finland in my hometown of Vuokatti, which is a family travel destination but which had only one small playground where the kids were happy to play but the parents couldn’t join in. That sparked the idea of SuperPark and it has become very successful. We’ve expanded throughout Finland to 10 parks and to Asia, namely Hong Kong and Singapore and now Bangkok,” he says.

“We would like visitors to experience Finnish culture and our education system. Kids learn by doing and move with joy. Maybe families will no longer need to belong to a sport club. They can come here, explore lots of things and also play sports. It’s the Finnish’s philosophy. We should make technology the learning tools. It’s the future of our kids; the ability to learn and innovate.”

SuperPark is very proud of its special environment. One of the big attractions, says Mark Kumarasinhe, chief executive of SuperPark Asia, is the knocking down of barriers.  “In the park, there are many barriers ready to be explored like climbing soft spot mountain, which even toddlers can do.  There’s also the Ninja track where kids learn that even if they are not successful at completing the entire course but can do the first part, the next time they come, they can try the second part. They are following the difficulty levels of the activities. We always give them free time to explore. It’s all part of learning that challenges take time,” he says.

“SuperPark is opening in one of Bangkok’s most famous shopping malls and will be one of the best parks ever. We’ll have everything that the other parks have plus a few activities unique to Bangkok. We’ll have the three areas: The Adventure Area caters to younger kids, the Game Arena has both traditional and digital sports, and the Freestyle Hall is packed with such challenges as the Trampoline platforms and the Ninja Warrior zone. It’s a great place for adults too. Safety is the top priority with the utmost attention to detail given to all design and technical aspects and every member of our staff is fully trained and qualified. So we’re really looking forward to welcome Thais to our

SuperPark.”

Find out more at http://www.superpark.fl/en or http://www.superpark.co.th and follow

SuperPark’s Thailand at http://www.facebook.com/superparkth

A mindset for sustainability

Published November 12, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30378230?utm_source=category&utm_medium=internal_referral

A mindset for sustainability

Nov 11. 2019
 Academic and former industrial designer Torvong Puipanthavong has taken up a new career as an agriculturist, turning his home into a sufficiency economy learning centre.

Academic and former industrial designer Torvong Puipanthavong has taken up a new career as an agriculturist, turning his home into a sufficiency economy learning centre.
By Kitchana Lersakvanitchakul
Special to The Nation

2,904 Viewed

Former industrial designer and lecturer Torvong Puipanthavong ditches the rat race to devote his time to the self-sufficiency philosophy.

Torvong has developed his land according the philosophy of His Majesty the late King Rama IX.

Torvong has developed his land according the philosophy of His Majesty the late King Rama IX.

The sufficiency economy philosophy, introduced in 1974 by His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, is an approach to sustainable development that espouses moderation, reasonableness and prudence as a development framework based on knowledge and virtue.

Torvong in his workshop

Torvong in his workshop

Over the years, it has been adopted by many Thais, one of whom, Torvong Puipanthavong, the former head of the Industrial Design Department and vice-dean of the Faculty of Architecture, King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL) decided to make it his life’s work in 2015 and has never looked back.

“I was 46 when I retired and my friends and colleagues all thought I was mad to be giving up a steady income of almost Bt100,000 a month,” he says with a happy smile, adding that he is enjoying life on his Bt9,300 pension. “Once, I was a part of making furniture design become the most popular subject of the Faculty of Architecture and the most selected by students. As a result, the faculty earned Bt20 million.”

Torvong in his vegetable patch

Torvong in his vegetable patch

The son of a civil servant, Torvong, who is now 50, was raised in different parts of the country before the family settled down in Phetchaburi Province. As a teenager, he was sent to Amnuay Silpa School and his talent for art and architecture landed him a place in the industrial product design course of KMITL.

Torvong points to the canal that winds through his land.

Torvong points to the canal that winds through his land.

“As a student, I learned how to design everything from a toothpick to large items. When I graduated in 1993, I was approached by a major organisation but instead chose to work for a new company so I could learn from scratch. And learn I did – administration, marketing, psychology, and economics – as well as producing artistically beautiful designs that satisfied customers because they were also functional. All I thought of at that time was getting the maximum benefit,” recalls Torvong.

After working at the new company for a while, Torvong decided to further his studies. Short of cash, he opted to work as a lecturer at KMITL for four years and earned a scholarship for a master’s degree in industrial design at Central Saint Martins, the world-renowned arts and design college in London.

Coming home in 2001, Torvong was made head of the Industrial Design Department at his alma mater where he passed on his knowledge to students. Six years later, wanting more free time, he became a part-time lecturer and spent his leisure hours building a loft-style home suited to the Thai climate on a 3-rai plot belonging to his wife’s grandmother Lim in Phetchaburi’s remote Nong Ya Plong district.

Weekends, he would drive home and put on his farmer’s hat.

The 3-rai plot has been developed in line with the sufficiency philosophy.

The 3-rai plot has been developed in line with the sufficiency philosophy.

“At first, I planned to retire at 50 and spend my life surrounded by nature. One day, Asst Prof Pichet Sowittayasakun, the vice dean of the Faculty of Architecture, told me how he based on his work on the King’s philosophy and introduced me to Dr Wiwat Salyakamthorn, or Ajarn Yak as he is better commonly known, a faculty adviser who had been following the sufficiency philosophy on his own land for almost 20 years. After having a conversation with Ajarn Yak, I decided to do the same.”

After two years of learning the King’s philosophy from Wiwat, who is the president of the World Soil Association, an adviser to Agri-Nature Foundation, and a former Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, Torvong was all set to go. “I created a mind map with everything I had learnt about the King’s philosophy with regard to natural agriculture, soil, water, forest, people and dharma.”

That’s not to say he has totally given up on design. These days he uses his talent in art and science to create a life that’s in total harmony with nature. He has set up the Phetchaburi River Basin Agrinatural Community (PAC) and turned his Ban-Rai-Yai-Lim home into a sufficiency economy learning centre.

“I still lecture but these days my subject is the sufficiency philosophy and I work out of this learning centre. That too was a suggestion of Ajarn Yak, who helped me develop my land according to the King’s ‘3 Forests, 4 Benefits’ philosophy. I believe that people today yearn for a simple and natural way of life,” he says.

Torvong participated in “The Power of Human Energy: A Journey Inspired by the King”, a project led by Chevron Thailand Exploration & Production in cooperation with Research and Development Institute of Sufficiency Economy Philosophy, the Agri-Nature Foundation, and KMITL which motivates people to acknowledge the importance of the recovery and development of the Pa Sak River basin in line with the King’s philosophy and local wisdom to sustainably solve the problems of floods and drought. Torvong is one of the driving forces in the Phetchaburi River Basin.

 “I really believe that the King’s philosophy is vital to the sustainable survival of the Thai people.” – Torvong Puipanthavong, former head of KMITL’s Industrial Design Department

“I really believe that the King’s philosophy is vital to the sustainable survival of the Thai people.” – Torvong Puipanthavong, former head of KMITL’s Industrial Design Department

“This project is very important to expand results of the King’s philosophy and serves as a guideline and an inspiration for everyone. The most important thing is the power of humans in helping each other to push it forward quickly. I believe in the power of unity,” says Torvong.

Torvong also respects the late King Rama IX’s teaching: “Our loss is our gain” meaning “our deficit constitutes our profit, or we incur a loss to reap a profit.”

“I would like to write a design textbook that relates the King’s philosophy to a new business system. I think it would be a new dimension of design,” says Torvong. “I really believe that the King’s philosophy is vital to the sustainable survival of the Thai people.”

A massage for a warrior

Published October 31, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30377906

A massage for a warrior

Oct 30. 2019
By THE NATION

1,523 Viewed

The Anantara Spa at the Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel is reaching back to a cherished period of history with the “Siamese Warrior Massage”, which will be available throughout November.

The combination of Thai traditional massage and yoga uses movements from muay thai, dance and medicine to promote overall health.

It mingles rhythmic massage, acupressure, gentle twisting and deep stretching to relieve tension and promote the balance of “qi energy” in the body.

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