Romanian Survival Book

March 20, 2007

Romanian culture of queuing

comert_1453464754.jpgIn the old times – read Ceausescu’s time –there were some rules for queuing. Since the food was inexistent as soon as the rumour reached among the city or the little village and their proud citizens of the communist mother, hungry crowds of people will assault the empty stores….once you entered you knew where is the queue and what for. Many times people didn’t even know what was the product and many people will send their kids to just sit there for them to ‘keep the line’. I never really figured how the rumour circulated but I suppose that were people in charge of spreading and others in charge of over-seeing the whole operation…they will get their share of chicken, bananas, oranges, eggs, rarely fish, rarely exquisite drinks, chocolate and other rarities before all the others. The securitate people had all the necessary in their houses in excess, which has been documented.

 

Anyway…once you spotted your place in the queue, you also needed to secure it otherwise older people will kick the kids out with no remorse….hence, most of the kids were very well trained to overcome any hindrances might appear in between them and the ratio of chicken or oranges or bananas ….otherwise, the parents will be upset and everyone in the family will starve once more until the next rumour of food available will come into town.

 

lapte.jpgThe milk queue was the worst: people will get up at 4.00 in the morning, take these types of bottles –photo bellow – and just put them in line outside the store for a few hours. The milk supply will come around 7.00 a.m., so they could still sleep a few more hours before going to work. The old people, retired, will just sit there chatting and waiting since 4.00 until 7.00 – if you knew one of them maybe they will get your bottles too. Some people could not afford these queues because of work, but pregnant women needed to do it; the powder milk was awful and had no nutrients at all. Better of were those with relatives in the countryside. There were awful, depressing times.

One would expect that these queuing ‘culture’ will build in a community spirit, will appropriate people….I cannot tell and it would be interesting to read a research on that. I would rather say, given the paranoia of ‘tell and go to securitate’, people will rarely make the mistake to open their hart while waiting and chatting with the guy next door….though many did. Considering that all were hungry, suspicious and anxious to grab as much food as possible that was the primary target and nothing else…people will often fight, swear and bully each other while queuing when the food was brought in. Nobody cared about the other but oneself. That might explain why the Romanian dissidence was almost un-existent and why there was not a solidarity spirit among people in this country. Everything was grey inside and outside and everyone will struggle for its own family and that’s all. No time for pity, any time for sympathising with the old woman next to you….she will grab the last piece of meat in front of you without blinking….that was, probably, the queuing mentality on those times.

 

Photos from http://www.igu.ro/latrecut/?cat=29 filled under ‘Alimentare’. Igu is someone who is documenting our past by collecting images of it on this blog. I don’t know why I didn’t think of advertising his idea here, I guess because I really don’t enjoy seeing this pictures yet or thinking of what has been….but nonetheless I think his initiative is brilliant and essential for recuperating and assimilating our recent past …after all that is what we used to be and makes us what we are today.

You can check Igu’s blog from now on clicking right hand in the blogroll under @Past… and I highly recommend it if you are interested and want to understand how it used to be under communism. The site is in Romanian, nonetheless the images are quite helpful.


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March 14, 2007

Romanian Survival Book -statistics

Filed under: Uncategorized — darian @ 8:20 pm

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Best Day Ever: 349

Views today: 61

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It seems that my post on ‘Dating a Romanian’, as subjective as it is got the most readers and is constantly leading in the ‘most read’ articles. That tells a lot. Probably I need to get more politically incorrect and attempt to write some rules on dating a Romanian …it seems like a must do this spring.

More Romanian brain

Filed under: Uncategorized — darian @ 8:14 pm

 A group of young people putting together on line new exciting business opportunities for Romania on http://www.businessideas.ro

Follow up!

March 13, 2007

Romanian brain

Filed under: Politics,Romanian Talent,Society/Lifestyle,Uncategorized — darian @ 5:36 am

scarlet-cat.jpgRecently, an unlikely -perhaps even eccentric considering Romania of today- group of philosophers, political scientists, public relation experts and trustworthy academics have put together their brain, time and energy to create something that is called The Scarlet Cat Club (in Romanian, Pisica Stacojie). The group is quite new and eclectic, having among its members bright and young and older and wiser alike. Also, what is quite unusual is their interdisciplinary, interactive and open-minded approach; people from psychoanalysis get together with others from philosophy, political theory, communication theory, law or arts. Despite the often heated fights over the ideas, concepts or simply the understanding and use of a certain term, nobody got injured by now walking out of the meetings near Universitate, on Edgar Quinet Street, near the Edgar pub, intersection with Academiei, the location of the Cultural Delta Foundation (Fundatia Culturala Delta).

Therefore, I have decided to advertise this initiative here for its amazing qualities and openness to new people, ideas and approaches. They meet every Friday, at 6.30 p.m., if not otherwise announced and they are one of the new and best brains around that money cannot buy. However they will sell you new ideas, concepts and extraordinary approaches to old things, you might never thought about it. They have a proven track record of doing that and strategizing on the future’s new trends and new avenues in political thinking.

More on: www.pisicastacojie.ro or write an email to office@pisicastacojie.ro or just right hand click here under the The Scarlet Cat/ Pisica Stacojie link.

Unfortunately the English version is not ready yet, but they are working on it. Until then, you can read more on them here….

____________

Statement

Considering the discussion about political culture …and there is none;

Considering that people overreact on concepts of which meaning they often fall to understand, while having a blind stake on other, of which meaning should be better explained;

Considering that politics and morality are running against each other for the ‘recent award’, being debated by even more recent journalists and politicians or by often improvised ‘experts’ and ‘analysts’;

Considering that honesty is indispensable more than ever in the direction of assuming ambivalences and unhindered discourse;

Considering that integrity is unavoidable on the way of creating now a reflective community on the social and the political in Romania.

‘Scarlet’ is an alternative to Manichaeism, attempting to uncover shades and to clarify concepts, ideas, doctrines and perspectives.

Furthermore ‘scarlet’ is an alternative to the colourful Romanian politics that waggles from red and indistinct, passing through blue, green, pink and orange, mixing concepts, overstating situations and ignoring the factual, attempting on revolutions but lacking the knowledge and the resolve to achieve it, blaming ideologies without understanding it.

‘Scarlet’ is, minimally, an alternative to a repetitive discourse; it brings on a flexible, rational, critical and reflexive discourse that points out, underlines, makes a fine distinction, clarifies and dissociates.

Objectives

The Post-Recent Political Thinking Club <The Scarlet Cat> promotes an open dialogue and debating of ideas and it constitutes as an independent project initiated by a few people attached to philosophy and political theory.

The Scarlet Cat Club aims at creating a community of reflection and thinking based on common values grounded on integrity in analysing ideas, trends doctrines or ideologies. It attempts at revitalizing the critical outlook and is keen in promoting both individual and group projects, encouraging and supporting similarly the development of research projects or proposals made by individuals or groups, calling a special attention on interdisciplinary projects.

The Club’s activities will focus on consolidation the approach on thematic debates; hence, weekly meetings will have priority, according with a pre-agreed calendar. The meetings are taken place at the Delta Cultural Foundation, University, on Edgar St., right near the Edgar Irish pub.

Outcome

The founder members will develop a series of programs and projects, including policy recommendations, vocational training and research papers.

Delta Cultural Foundation and the Scarlet Cat Club will organize public debates on key issues of political thinking and will bring into attention new editorial publications.

The Scarlet Cat Club is keen on an interdisciplinary approach, being opened to associations, links and partnerships with other foundations sharing the same ideas and principles.

Founder members: Izabella Ghiţă, Viorel Zaicu, Claudia Postelnicescu and Sorin Vieru -who also ‘baptized’ the club as The Scarlet Cat.

The Scarlet Cat is opened to new members. To become a Scarlet Cat you need to be voted in unanimity by the founder members (well we question democracy too – though it does not make us communists!) and by showing a constant interest in our meetings and activities.

 

 

March 10, 2007

Romanian Traditions

Filed under: Romanian symbols,Romanian traditions — darian @ 11:11 pm

19.jpg

The Day of the 40 Holy Martyrs

Bucharest – The Romanian popular tradition and the Orthodox religion are celebrating today The Day of the 40 Holy Martyrs of Sebastia, one of the most beloved holidays nationwide. This holiday of a very old origin used to celebrate the beginning of the Agrarian Year, which marked the official conclusion of winter and the beginning of spring. As an agrarian holiday dedicated to earth, homemakers are preparing eight-shaped bagels symbolising the season cycles. These bagels known as “mucenici” are brought by women to Church in the morning to be hallowed by the priest.

The “mucenici” are then given to the faithful together with a candle lit for the souls of the deceased. There is the belief that on this day the souls of the dead are released on Earth to join their loved ones who are alive to enjoy this holiday together. This is also the day when, as tradition goes, people should drink 40 or 44 glasses of red wine, which will turn into blood during the year, making the drinker strong and healthy. Everybody is supposed to drink the wine, and those who don’t should at least have a taste of it or let themselves sprinkled with wine. Although the number of wineglasses that should be drunk corresponds to the 40 Holy Martyrs of Sebasteia, the custom goes back to ancient Bachian holidays celebrated on the day of the spring equinox.

On this particular day, in villages especially, the youth gather in groups and light big fires on hills with the purpose of driving the evil spirits away, since there is the belief that early spring is propitious for witch-crafters and for those invoking malefic forces.

It is around those fires that “mucenici” and many wine-full glasses are placed on tables, for the souls of the dead that come to the feast. At the same time, “all houses are purified with holy water, as are the animals in homesteads, since people would believe that evil spirits are driven away and they take refuge in the remote corners of the home and in animal stables.

by George Grigoriu

Source: Nine O’Clock Newspaper – http://www.nineoclock.ro

Photo from http://www.orthodoxphotos.com

March 8, 2007

Romanian business man – a possible profile

Filed under: Infamous Romanians,Raving,Society/Lifestyle — darian @ 1:05 am

Ok, first of all, I take full responsibility for the generalizations and limited criteria that will follow in this post. I am in the full capacity of my brain and my mental condition has never been better …as much as would be possible in a country like Romania. Secondly, I am open to any additional or improved profile on this one.

The Romanian business man – a possible profile: what a rich and difficult topic! Once again, firstly, I do not think that we have a real business man in Romania, so the attempt to pile down is quite a challenge. I do except from this generalization the very few who are: polite, nice, extremely well educated, open-minded, genuine and who make a constant effort not to be prejudiced in their judgement based on sex, race, social status, looks. I have met none myself. Maybe they are out there, but I didn’t have the luck to get to know one of these rarities. I did, though, every time, run into the following pattern: well educated, but coming down the roots of being either macho – looking for a cheap extra working hours encounter and raising expectations of that sort, even though not spoken, but efficiently enough through gestures and attitude – or a total hypocrite, with a 100% cowardice attitude. As a young woman, you are obliged to eternally prove yourself and your work potential. I am not politically correct here and I apologise in advance, this is a rant against limited minded ‘business model’ of today’s society, but I often wished I was old, very ugly and extremely obese in the Romanian corporate or governmental environment, to be taken seriously. Backwards Romania to be precise. It is just the way assumptions and stereotypes function nowadays in the corporate world and not only. It would be interesting to make a documentary about this one day….Therefore, being snobbish with the people I allow having judgements over me, I think is healthy for my mental power but not for my work related credentials…but I wouldn’t change that.

After some thought, I think that the business man profile in Romania falls in 3 +1 categories:

A. Is the one I mentioned above: well educated, open minded, but eager to make money fast and enjoy all the power related advantages: a huge car, a medium one, and a small one for the wife. A big house. And a nice apartment for illicit encounters. A secret affair or two, one a bit more serious than the other. A newspaper or a tabloid or just a e-list will do where they can talk about just anything to raise their profile of a ‘smart, nice, open minded bloke next door’. Otherwise, superficial, envious on the fellows like him, utterly ambitious and devoured by his/hers little plans of accession. Lots of connections, but carefully chosen as for this type reputation or the societal appearances are highly important. The types who will give money to charities in public, but never privately, because everything serves an ambition or a hidden agenda; plus they are so insecure that the instant gratification of such a gesture offers them  external sources of confidence and the illusion of public acceptance in an exclusivist club.

B. The second is the crook: the one with dodgy businesses, having somewhere a position in the administrative council of one or more companies, usually connected with the State, endless business connections and affiliations with just anybody in politics, media or other legal business. He usually has a lot of power, an extremely strong position given by the mysterious and never fully known underground links with former ‘securitate’ or police. Usually everything about this guy is unclear and everyone knows something but nobody can prove anything.

C. The business man turned politician or the politician turned business man or both.

This guy will never die and he will never be out of business as long as in Romania the underground ‘securitate’ guy operates successfully and run the biggest companies. Also, as long as our political elite stay the same, meaning: the same old same nomenklatura, including Basescu, Iliescu, Nastase, Roman, Stolojan and their pals. They are all connected and they are all guilty and hiding something.

I would include here also the media moguls: all the big TV channels in this country are owned by very shady people, they know better. All compromised with big businesses, not very clean, connections with ‘securitate’ underground or black money. They have managed, through the power of money to built a network of followers and supporters, second grade journalists and prominent ‘talk –show’ man. So, easy and smoothly their agenda is on and everybody is happy.

D. The small business man. He wants to be like the others – that is one profile.

The other is the guy who studied/worked abroad, got back opened a consultancy or something and wants everything clear, nice and legal. He struggles. He dislikes the above profile and would like to change this negative image about the business type in Romania. He has a wife or a partner and dislikes fooling around because that’s the trend here.

As for the rest, if you don’t fool around, having lots of girlfriends, preferably 20 years younger, you are a sucker. Also, you suck if you don’t take her out with your friends to show her around like an object and buy her a nice bracelet every now and then. Or maybe not. Compulsory you HAVE to possess a big car….I mean REALLY BIG. If you are the gym type now, soon you will inevitably end up like this fellow here….because no matter your posh appearance you are no different.lucianiliescu.jpg

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