Showing posts with label Immigrants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Immigrants. Show all posts

One more

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Previously on various occasions I have mentioned a view quite a vast number of my fellow citizens have expressed in cyber-discussions. I am a Judas. And so are those who have left Lithuania. Although I have to admit that after my and a few other bloggers' outrage against such opinions those voices have hushed. A Polish friend of mine says similar judgments sometimes are manifested in her homeland.

However. I have converted my best friend to my religion of savor-the-world-and-live-life-before-settling-in-anywhere-especially-when-young-and-without-kids.

I know, living in Ireland is not a per se savoring of the world. Majority of young Lithuanians, Polish, Latvians, Italians and Portuguese flow here because of the wages. And the temptation is high to see nothing beyond a weekly pay cheque.

When I popped in to say hello to my previous boss in Lithuania a couple of weeks ago, she nailed me with a straightforward question What keeps you in Ireland? My sister, I answered hasty. Although I should have added AIB. Hopefully by the end of February I will pay off whatever I have to and then... I guess I'll start savoring more of the world. A very good friend of mine whom I've discovered in Ireland and who recently nearly climbed this (bad weather conditions to be blamed) has seduced me with an idea to go hiking to Himalaya next Autumn. I might as well shut myself in a tiny monastery somewhere on the roof of the world. I suppose it is easy to stay away from carnal pleasures with a view through your window like this.

Back to my friend. My emigration propaganda has finally shattered her shell of doubts and she's heading for Ireland in the end of October. This time it was easy - I didn't even have to persuade her to come along. Although I have done that previously, yet without much success. She is working in a sort of Lithuanian FAS as a graphic designer. Her salary is a joke and the women she works with are useless. She doesn't expect to get a graphic designer job here - her English is not good enough. In fact she says she would be perfectly happy making sandwiches. Although I'm sure she'll go further than that after a while. And then she'll come back. Like many other Judases (strange plural...). And we'll all live happily ever after.

 

A few ponderings about Dublin, future and contentment

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It's a tranquil afternoon in Dun Laoghaire. The sea is about two hundred yards away and the tide never seems to be present here. Delightful. In front of me - a slightly too watery latte (made by a Polish guy who seems to be new in the cafe, ah well, I'll just give him time). It looks like something went terribly wrong with the air conditioning - judging by the reaction at the table next to me I am not the only one thinking the smell is somewhat reminiscent of pooh.

I have to admit Primal Sneeze is right. I am suffocating in frustration. Especially for the past couple of months. I guess the fact that I got a chance to travel this year more than ever (thus the balance in my credit card is zero) had influenced my feelings as well. I know, it is not Cambodia or Argentina (yet), just Krakow, Seville, Italy (Interrailing from Valle d'Aosta to Palermo and back up North) and Denmark (Odense & Copenhagen). Hope you have enjoyed the pictures.

In other words I have been busy exploring the continent and whenever I come back to Éire I have to face the bitter fact that Dublin is a part of an island. Not only just geographically. Despite the fact Dublin makes it to majority of various polls in Europe estimating the possibilities for job seekers and the quantity of happy people living here (and most of the time it's in the top 10 at least) there are still many things to be improved.

As I was reading the list of 20 most liveable cities in the world announced in the last issue of Monocle at work (during those lazy afternoon hours), many customers expectantly were asking if Dublin had made it to the list. I had to disappoint them. The criteria for selecting the cities(sustainability, medical care, public transport, local media, access to international media, environmental initiatives among others) were exactly the ones where Dublin needs a huge push forward.

Bellow are the cities in declining order that, according to Monocle, are the most liveable in the world:

Munich
Copenhagen
Zurich
Tokyo
Vienna
Helsinki
Sydney
Stockholm
Honolulu
Madrid
Melbourne
Montreal
Barcelona
Kyoto
Vancouver
Auckland
Singapore
Hamburg
Paris
Geneva


Despite the fact that almost all of them belong to countries that have high GDP per capita and wages far greater than the ones in Lithuania, it looks like economic factors were not the most essential ones for Monocle. And I take my hat off for that.

By the way, does anybody remember the 178-nation "Happy Planet Index" which reveals the the south Pacific island of Vanuatu with a population of 209 000 is the happiest nation on the planet, while the UK is ranked 108th? The index is based on consumption levels, life expectancy and happiness, rather than national economic wealth measurements such as GDP.

However let's come back to Dublin. I believe everybody could sketch a must-do list which could improve living here. On the other hand a temporary infatuation with a country were you've spent a mere week and living in it most of the time turn out to be two totally different stories. Conclusion - Dublin is great yet it has the potential to become greater and on a vast scale it all will depend on the generation to come. I hope this generation stops scratching the balls (a sight seen on the streets of Dublin more often than in any other city I have been to) and starts using the hands to build a better country. Their parents gave them the Celtic Tiger. What are they going to give to their own children apart passion for Guinness and GAA?

Now don't get me wrong. I deliberately posted this beforehand. Yet I have to assert that constant state of happiness for me is unfamiliar. Therefore (some might say driven by frustration) recently I did the following:

* A couple of weeks ago I applied for a Photography and Digital Imaging course in the National College of Art and Design. As always is the case in Dublin the 24-week-long course should cost what each year of full-time BA studies in photography costs in the Netherlands. One doesn't have to be Susan Sontag to distinguish the level of photography over there and here, in the Emerald Island. The course, after researching the works of the graduates of the college, seems to be one of the best in Dublin and without the promises to teach you to make pretty shots. Fingers crossed...

* Applied for volunteering in Dun Laoghaire Festival of World Cultures. Last year I was over the moon as I watched buskers banging congos, a violinist Oleg Ponomarev in leather trousers, who brought the house down playing Russian//Gyspy music and Congolese guitar wizard Niwel Tsumbu. Many visitors of the festival said they did not expect such a cultural fiesta in an island. This year should be just as good, although what a shame, Lithuanians do not participate again on a larger scale and I don't know whom to blame anymore - our embassy or the lack of initiative in our Ministry of culture or artists themselves... As for me I am getting an M size T-shirt and a badge "Volunteer". Hopefully the boss will be happy enough to give me a weekend off...

There are a few more things but I will keep them undisclosed for a while.

So I guess frustration is THE driving force for me.

Blessed are those who are busy from 8 am till 5 pm and drunk afterwards, for they shall have no time to ask wrong questions.

Blessed are those who fall asleep without wondering what they might dream about for they shall fall asleep immediately.

Blessed are those who fall in love with those who are imperfect and don't attempt to change them for they shall have less grey hair to pluck.

Blessed are those who are not frustrated for they shall live in contentment.

PS
I promise - no more mentioning of frustration :)

 

Roundabout Roma saga: the end (in the meantime)

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Good bye, arrivederci, adios amigos, ou revoir, auf wiedersehen, пока, uz redzesanos, slán leat, ha det bra...

The saga of nearly a hundred Roma who had been camping besides one of the busiest Irish motorways for over two months ended on Wednesday evening, as the plane took off from Dublin airport.

There were no riots, their farewell seemed to be quieter than a Saturday night in Temple Bar (the heart of Dublin's night life). Once Roma arrive in Romania, they will be transported by bus to their respective home villages.

"If you are going to work, welcome," wrote Anne Byrne in a letter to the Irish Independent. "If you are here to benefit from a better welfare system than you have in your own country, then go back and work on improving your own country, don't bleed ours dry."

One might start questioning Irish tolerance, but this story for me is an example of diplomacy - a mere fact of the problem solved peacefully should become an example for any country who is facing similar issues.

When this story broke many were saying that the problem of Roma integration should be solved on the EU level. I can't but agree with that and in a way I am happy I am not the one in the position to implement changes. I just have a funny feeling if this doesn't happen, Roundabout Roma saga might start all over again.

 

Ok. You have your suitcase packed. You've just had an appointment with a dentist (this will keep you going for half a year until you come back). You're sporting a new pair of shiny glasses and a new haircut. Passport and ticket in your pocket.

"Now what?", they ask you before you get on the plane. "What will you do for a living over there?"

It all kicks off with a CV.

Your name.

Skip the letters that don't belong to the local alphabet. Abbreviate your last name. Modify the first one. Become another Paddy, John or Amy. Who cares about the name anyway?

Work experience.

It must be relevant to the position you are applying for. Don't expect anything posh. Miracles don't happen in a day. Otherwise half of the more than average journalists you know from home would be applying for jobs in BBC. PR people would be knocking on the doors of those who partake in making something like this and finance analysts would be doing anything to get in HSBC or the likes.

Perhaps the best ones might even turn out to be lucky. Yet few even try - many choose rather to become local celebrities than international mediocrities. Thus we have 30-year-old journalists who act like gods, love to pose for local celebrity photographers and drive new BMWs. The result - our TV stations tend to focus barely on cheap reality TV shows (they sell) and our reporters can't afford to research for a story for a month (actually, it is the editors and the bookkeepers who can't afford it). Journalists get wasted with MPs, editors go to Majorca with those who advertise on the front page and reality TV shows produce journalists. On the other hand who cares about good quality media? Prime time is given to crime investigations anyway.

Back to the CV.

Since you're not applying for a job in RTE or "Irish Independent" and only want to get those alluring 8.65/hour voila you state your relevant experience. Your summer in the USA and the tables you've waited over there, places you used to go to for a pint back home (nobody examines the facts in your CV anyway) and a few months of experience of making latte in some Dublin cafe.

If you are a bloke you go into construction - they make more than the minimum wage (so ***ing sexist) or into IT if you have any idea about PCs (***ing computer geeks).

You might include the fact you've been working as a news editor for the largeset news portal in the country (a sort of Lithuanian BBC). But it was not in Ireland so who should care?

There's little point to mention a couple of months spent in the national radio as a reporter either. It was not RTE anyway. Besides you're not applying for a reporter's position (although you might consider it later).

Education

Don't bother with subjects taken, just mention having received the degree. In any case nobody knows your university.

Hobbies and other details worth or not mentioning

Make sure your contact phone number is on the very top of the page, bright and clear.

God forbid don't put your photo on the CV (an especially common trend among Eastern Europeans).

For Christ's sake skip "traveling" or "taking pictures" - it sounds so dull. Worth mentioning yoga.

If by the time you hand in the CV you can have a basic conversation with the manager of x cafe in English, it is magic! Don't give up if nobody has called you, print lots of copies and knock on many doors. It is nearly impossible to fail in this economic boom.

After a couple of years you might even chance to apply for a more demanding job - in order for the local celebrities you have left back home not to call you a failure. Perhaps you could even turn out to become an international mediocrity after all...

 

"Confessions of a Celtic Tiger Call Girl"

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A soon-to-be-deported Israeli vice girl - whose forthcoming novel ‘Confessions of a Celtic Tiger Call Girl’ will be published anonymously by Opportunity Press spills the beans on her many high-profile Irish clients.

As confessed to Lorcan Roche of "Mongrel":

***

What does it matter to you, my name? You have all called me so many names in your accents, and whining voices. Horrible, Irish names (Seoige! Ni Bheolain!), Jewish ones too (Sharon!). You called me names as studio sweat and make-up and liquid guilt ran down your candy-striped arses, arses you paid me to whip and insert objects into. Like a torn-up contract for a better Ireland, while you pulled down your Lycra cycling shorts, halfway, and pumped the air.

You called me ‘Glenda’. You made me arch one eyebrow, like Dr. Spock. You made me scrub your pink skin raw, then rub Wintergreen ointment on your member while you babbled about ‘controlled passion’. You made me dress in an English rugby jersey, then you beat me with a copy of LIFE magazine. When you came, without warning, you screamed ‘Stringer! Stringer!’... What does this mean? Should I have tied you with cheap string, the kind my mother wrapped around my battered suitcase the day I left my homeland?

You came to me in the morning, sweating from the studio lights at RTÉ and you made me eat linguine and clams, three bowls, and you wanted me to confess in minute detail what other RTÉ presenters had requested, and it thrilled you (especially what Derek had asked for) and your greedy eyes grew wide and you wanted to see me with olive oil drizzling on my chin, like you often have on TV, except of course you have several chins. My God, I will never forget your lips, so big, and rubbery. They moved this way, and that, on my body, and your tongue was visible, always, like a ferret trying to escape from a ball of silly putty.

You came to me from RTÉ in the afternoon, and you crawled on the floor below me and looked up with real fear in your eyes, and you moaned ‘Grainne, Grainne’ and you asked me to dress in leather and to humiliate you, and to speak with a sexy lisp. Humiliating a grown man, even a redhead, and speaking in a sexy lisp at the same time is hard. But, after watching the show I mastered it. It’s about attitude, heels, and self-belief.

You came straight from the law library, wearing a pinstripe suit. You made me jump up and down for hours to Michael Flatley’s music, wearing a blonde wig and white stilettos. You invited me to a party in Killiney, but I had been there before - to Vico Road, where I was forced to dress in red and have deviant sex with a nanny and a dwarf. Vico Road. Where a famous film director paid me to beat him while he sat in a wheelchair, where a famous singer – dressed in PVC and big stupid glasses – paid me to chase him round the room with a can of fly-killer.

You told me your name was Eamon. You sniffed cocaine off my nipples and you said after that I was a good whore, but not a great whore, that the best whores worked in TV, then you scribbled all over the walls of my apartment, screaming about a homosexual farmer called Giles.

You said your name was George. You seemed kind, but then you took too much Viagra and you held me captive for days while you beat off and talked about yourself, endlessly. You said your name was Michael. I stroked your bald head. I let you play with my stormtrooper costumes. You cried. You opened up to me. But then I saw the guilt in your eyes – and knew it was you who would ring immigration.

***
Was trying to google the book, but couldn't find it. Hopefully will manage to get hold of it.

 

An orchestra of *** immigrants jamming in Glastonbury

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They became famous after a show in "Pizdetz" (the most accurate translation of this Russian expression would be "cunt kaput") - an after-hours club on Ridge Street in New York. The members of the band are from Ukraine, Sachalin, Israel, Moscow and California. I heard them for the first time when a colleague of mine had brought their CD to work and I was overjoyed - for the first time ever I could understand the lyrics better than he (English) did. From the background of thundering drums, banging fire buckets, violins and accordions stories emerged - uttered with a distinctive Slavic accent and interwoven with Russian jokes and exclamations. Thus my encounter with "Gogol Bordello" began.

The front man of the group (or phenomenon if you like), its founder and and soul Eugene Hütz (Євгени Худз) as "Guardian" says has called his band "an orchestra of fucking immigrants, jamming in A minor".Their lyrics are obscene, they give out to everyone - homo sovieticus, West, Europe, pop culture, the system, immigration officers. E. Hütz looks like a an outlaw himself - franticly spinning on the stage half naked and with a distinctive mustache. Their music is everything but easy-listening and E. Hütz roars with a creaking voice every single song as if it was a confession born in the darkest corner of the soul in the middle of the night while sitting besides a campfire and cracking a couple of bottles of vodka. Their music, the so called "gypsy punk", has won admirers all over the United States and recently thousands of music fans were madly jumping with their wellies in the mud of Glastonbury to its rythm.




To get the lyrics

"aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiget down here as a cheap labor force but i beat the system everywhere i goes"

is tough and I have my reservations - I doubt that because of them thousands are going crazy - it is the image of "Gogol Bordello" that puts a spell on you first. Yet behind it remarkably accurate and intense words are concealed - emerging from personal experiences - firstly those of E. Hütz, who had left Ukraine with his parents following the Chernobyl nuclear accident, and those of other members of the band who are now partying together on the other side of the Atlantic after achieving their "American dream" .

There you go critics of emigration - another example of immigrants not only wiping Westerners' asses as you like to stress so often, but kicking them too.

PS
Apparently Madona is known to be a huge fan of "Gogol Bordello", she even invited the guys to join her on stage on 07 07 07 for "Live Earth" gig in London, where she was stamping to their fiddle (or so a similar Russian saying goes).