Thursday, June 18, 2009

Urban Exploration - Imperial World Lat Prao (Big C)

Having seen the defunct water park on top of the Big C Lat Prao many times on my way by, I was always curious about what was up there. Well last Sunday I got the chance.

First, a bit of background. The mall used to be called Imperial World Lat Prao, but as Big C is now it's biggest tenant, it's now called Big C Lat Prao. The mall has not fared so well, while it does have many shops, you can tell the mall management is not raking in the money. Many empty store fronts, and run down shops. It does have a cinema, bowling alley, climbing wall and ice rink and seems to be a good place to drop the kids off for the day. It is also a mini headquarters for Taksin's Red Shirt movement. Want to buy a framed panoramic photo of the Red Shirt gathering at Ramkamhenag Stadium, this is the place.

After trying a few stair wells, there was an opening thru the generator room and boom in all it's glory.. the defunct water park. Anyway have a look at the now rotting away amusement park and think Scooby Doo thoughts.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Also of interest on the Big C roof top, is this microwave dish, pointed directly at the Shinawatra Building you can see in the distance. A good way to dial into your head office.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stem Cell donation: Private vs Public

If you are having a baby anytime soon, you'll be presented with the choice of extracting blood from the ambilican cord at the time of birth.  Most likely though, you'll only be presented with the option of private cord blood banking as this is where the money is made.  Private cord banking companies will, well, bank your blood as a bank would.  They deep freeze it in the case your baby may need the stem cells in the future to cure possible blood diseases they may encounter in early adulthood such a leukemia and red blood cell disease thalassaemia, or for other less-proven treatments for cerebral palsy and diabetic ulcers.  While this sounds like a great idea, you'll pay for this privelage - as much as 130,000 baht for the first 21 years of storage.  If this sum of money comes eaisly for your child's well being, then by all means this solution may be for you.  But as real world cures using stem cells are still a ways off, you might have to consider if 130k might not be better spent on quality health insurance, a learning vacation or a pony.

Your other option is public cord banking. The theory here is simlar to donating blood.  Everyone donates for the good of the people in need.  If there were enough types of stem cells publicly banked, when a need arose, you would likely be able to find a close enough match to your own cell type.  The other possibility is that if you do need to make use of your child's exact stem cells, there is the possibility that if still available, you could locate them in the public bank. 

  "The bigger the stem cell bank and registry the better. The great majority of bone marrow transplants use blood stem cells from a sibling, for which there is a 25-per-cent chance of a match. The chance of finding a match from a non-relative are about 1 in 50,000" more...

There is a public cord blood bank in Thailand run by the Thai Red Cross.  You will need to call and let them know you will be donating.  Then on the day of the birth you must alert them and they can come to your hospital as your baby is being born.  A needle is injected into the ambilical cord once the baby is out and there the blood is drawn and whisked away to the storage facility.

Contact: Red Cross HLA Lab
+662 263 9600 ext 1310 or 1312 

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