Archive for July, 2006

Gastarbeiting

Unemployment in Serbia is somewhere around 30%. Of course, many people work without paying taxes, yet most complain there is no work. I won’t try to persuade anyone that any work is better than no work, but still…

Recently, I visited Rudnik, a mountain in central Serbia, which is rich in natural resources. Few years before the World War II, a German miner started a business of digging the stuff out and after the war all the resources were nationalized. Although there are many mines around, the mountain is still rather beautiful.

As pretty as the nature is, some other things simply took me out of my time. For example, a store in the village uses a Slovenian scale for measuring vegetables, fruits and other purchases. It’s surprising that the scale is not a product of the new Slovenian dominance in Serbia (the country is one of the biggest investors recently), but rather a 1979 one.

There is virtually no tourism on the mountain, except for a small motel or two, and perhaps a thousand souls are living there. As it is a mountain, it can’t be a farming place, and except for a second league football team (Rudar), there is no healthy economy, or anything else for that matter, going on for them.

Still, there are mines. The problem is, no miners. I have no idea how the inhabitants of the mountain make their ends meet, but local mine authorities were forced to employ workers from Macedonia, after unsuccessfully trying to advertise job openings in Serbia. The employer pays their rent, expenses, salary and frequent trips back home.

Is it really possible that Serbs are so much better off than Macedonians to be able to afford to be picky about their jobs?

July 25, 2006 at 11:52 pm 3 comments

Ignorance

KharmsI will stay off topic (politics), but a rather interesting thing happened yesterday in Belgrade. A young, handsome man approached an elderly woman selling something in the street:

Man: Hey, lady, what’s that?

Lady: Why would I bother explaining? If you don’t know what it is, you won’t buy it.

Man: You are jumping to a conclusion. I might buy it if I knew what it is.

Lady: It’s plastic stylized tulips, you want some?

Man: I don’t know, how much are they?

Lady: 150 YUD a pop.

Man: That’s too much.

Lady: How do you know it’s too much!? You had no idea what it was a minute ago.

Man: Well, we could argue about…

Lady: Mind moving a bit? There’s a customer behind you.

There was no customer behind the guy, though bricks started falling on his head, or something.

July 21, 2006 at 11:12 am 2 comments

Here and There

Just writing to say hi (hi!) folks. It seems I got a bit summer lethargic, but I will soon write about Sumadija, where I went last week.

In the other news, I’m looking for a job, so keep your fingers crossed, or better yet, HELP! 🙂

July 17, 2006 at 10:55 pm 2 comments

Polyglots

I’m a big fan of Wikipedia. For those of you who have been living under a rock for the last five years, Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia, written collaboratively by its users. One of the famous features of this website is that it has editions in many different languages, including Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian and Serbo-Croatian.

It comes down to this: Bosniak from Sarajevo uses the Bosnian one, his Croatian neighbour uses Croatian, Serbian across the street visits Serbian edition of Wikipedia, while a Sarajevan gastarbeiting in Frankfurt reads Serbo-Croatian Wikipedia.

As any serious linguist will tell you, there is no clear line where dialect ends and new language begins. But, as any sociologist will tell you, people often identify themselves with a certain language, and as any Frenchman will tell you, language was one of the important points in the development of nationalism.

Still, Wikipedia is about bringing free (as in speech) information to the masses, so there is, e.g. only one edition for all English dialects. Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats, on the other hand, live in firm belief that the roof will fall on their heads if they are ever forced to make a compromise in their languages, which are older than amoebas.

After all, take a sentence from an article about comic book which was rather famous in Yugoslavia:

  • Alan Ford was created by writer Luciano Secchi, pseudonym Max Bunker, and drawer Roberto Raviola, pseudonym Magnus. Alan Ford’s character is drawn after a British actor, Peter O’Toole.

Now, compare the differences of its translations:

  • Bosnian: Alan Ford su stvorili scenarist Luciano Secchi, pseudonim Max Bunker, i crtač Roberto Raviola, pseudonim Magnus. Lik Alana Forda nacrtan je po uzoru na britanskog glumca Petera O’Toolea.
  • Croatian: Alan Ford su stvorili scenarist Luciano Secchi, pseudonim Max Bunker, i crtač Roberto Raviola, pseudonim Magnus. Lik Alana Forda nacrtan je po uzoru na britanskog glumca Petera O’Toolea.
  • Serbian: Alana Forda su stvorili scenarista Lučano Seki, pseudonim Maks Bunker, i crtač Roberto Raviola, pseudonim Magnus. Lik Alana Forda nacrtan je po uzoru na britanskog glumca Petera O’Tula.

Have fun marking all the differences!

July 5, 2006 at 1:15 am 13 comments

Pride and Tolerance

I was lucky enough to be in San Francisco on June 25, to attend their annual pride parade. I had a great time — people were happy and cheerful and I could just feel the great atmosphere in the air. Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves, from the hundred and forty year old lady standing right next to me, to that really cute girl who posed for me.

I don’t care much about dempublicans, but it was nice to see their Mayor, Gavin Newsom, take a part in the parade. Elected high officials of San Francisco pretty much have to show up at this event. If a mayor of, say, Novi Sad appeared at such an event without a baseball bat, her political career would be over.

So, here is why I think gay pride parades should be held regularly:

  • They don’t hurt anybody. Promotion of consensual sex between adults does not hurt anybody.
  • Seeing that all this gay people are rather normal and nice people makes their lifestyle more acceptable to the community.
  • If you don’t like gay people, keep it to yourself. It doesn’t matter all that much to you, but it means a lot to people who get harassed because of their sexual preference daily.
  • Parades are fun and can be very family safe. It’s a nice excuse to take your child or children out on sun and fresh air, and possibly discuss what diversity is and why it matters.

I brought my camera along, you can see some of the photos here.

July 1, 2006 at 12:17 am 1 comment


Recent Posts

Links:

Contact me:

I love to get mail! Comments, rants, proposals to form a political party and threats can be sent to serbianmess@gmail.com. free web page counters