Classical piano soothes old elephants at Thai sanctuary

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British volunteer Paul Barton and his daughter Emily Barton, 4, play piano for sick, abused, retired and rescued elephants in sanctuary along Thailand-Myanmar border in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, December 9, 2018. (REUTERS)
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British volunteer Paul Barton and his daughter Emily Barton, 4, play piano for sick, abused, retired and rescued elephants in sanctuary along Thailand-Myanmar border in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, December 9, 2018. (REUTERS)
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Elephants eat their breakfast as they listen British volunteer Paul Barton plays piano for sick, abused, retired and rescued elephants in sanctuary along Thailand Myanmar border in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, December 9, 2018. (REUTERS)
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British volunteer Paul Barton plays piano for sick, abused, retired and rescued elephants in sanctuary along Thailand-Myanmar border in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, December 9, 2018. (REUTERS)
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British volunteer Paul Barton plays piano for sick, abused, retired and rescued elephants in sanctuary along Thailand-Myanmar border in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, December 9, 2018. (REUTERS)
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British volunteer Paul Barton unloads his piano before he plays for sick, abused, retired and rescued elephants in sanctuary along Thailand-Myanmar border in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, December 9, 2018. (REUTERS)
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British volunteer Paul Barton plays piano for sick, abused, retired and rescued elephants in sanctuary along Thailand-Myanmar border in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, December 9, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 14 December 2018

Classical piano soothes old elephants at Thai sanctuary

  • At another music session, several elephants seemed to move their heads and move about in front of the piano as the notes flowed

KANCHANABURI, Thailand: Lam Duan, a 65-year-old, blind Thai elephant is enjoying her lunch, listening to Silent Night being played on a piano.
For eight years, pachyderms like Lam Duan — old, overworked and sometimes disabled — have been rehabilitated with music at Elephants World, a retirement sanctuary for the animals in the western Thai province of Kanchanaburi.
Almost 80 percent of about 3,000 elephants at tourist venues in Thailand, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal and Sri Lanka, endure poor living conditions and diets and are overworked, according to the animal welfare group World Animal Protection.
The animals at Elephants World get good food and treatment for their physical ailments, but the music is an extra, special treat they appear to love.
Several times a week, British classical pianist Paul Barton, 57, sets up a piano against a backdrop of forested slopes and plays for his four-legged friends.
“Maybe some of these blind elephants get a little bit of comfort from hearing pieces of soothing classical music occasionally,” says Barton, who studied at London’s Royal Academy of Arts.
Lam Duan approached Barton as he began to play and she appeared to calm down and focus on the music.
At another music session, several elephants seemed to move their heads and move about in front of the piano as the notes flowed.
The owner of the sanctuary, Samart Prasithpol, 44, said the music seemed to provide the elephants with some special comfort.
“We work here to rehabilitate the elephants physically,” Smart told Reuters.
“The use of music has been useful in rehabilitating their soul,” he said.


Florida offers drive-through Botox to quarantined residents

Updated 04 June 2020

Florida offers drive-through Botox to quarantined residents

  • US state allowed a partial relaxing of restrictions imposed to slow the coronavirus pandemic
  • Elective medical procedures resume, including Botox injections and cosmetic surgery

MIAMI: Quarantined Florida residents worried about their laughter lines and crows’ feet need frown no longer — Botox is back, and it’s being offered at a drive-through.
On May 4, the US state allowed a partial relaxing of restrictions imposed to slow the coronavirus pandemic. That means certain elective medical procedures could resume, including Botox injections and cosmetic surgery.
Michael Salzhauer, a plastic surgeon known as ‘Dr. Miami’ who has also starred in a reality television show, has been conducting drive-through Botox injections in the garage of his building in the posh Miami neighborhood of Bal Harbor.
Salzhauer said the idea struck him as he was sitting in his car waiting for a blood test for COVID-19 antibodies.
“The areas that we inject Botox are the upper face, exactly the parts of the face that aren’t covered by the mask so it’s really ideal,” Salzhauer said, while wearing a mask, face shield and surgical gown as he waited for his next drive-up patient.
Patients sign up online, paying an average of $600 each for a stippling of shots across their foreheads.
Arman Ohevshalom, 36, was enthusiastic as he waited in line with his wife in their car, although it was their first time receiving the injections.
“It’s very creative, and after seeing how they’re running it I feel just as comfortable as I would in the office,” he said.
Florida’s tattoo artists, however, are frustrated. Shuttered since March, they asking why they cannot open, too.
Botox injections are “kind of like tattooing, he’s injecting stuff into the skin,” said tattoo shop owner Chico Cortez. Florida is home to about 10,000 working tattoo artists, according to the Florida Professional Tattoo Artist Guild.
An emailed statement from a Miami-Dade County spokesperson said Mayor Carlos Gimenez has yet to set a date for reopening tattoo shops. “He is working with industry members and the medical experts to come up with the best way to reopen safely,” it said.