Saturday, 21 November 2009

About public transport in the UK (10) [Despre transportul în comun în UK]

This may be one of the weirdest posts I’ve ever published here, as only the pictures have anything in common with the theme of the curent series… But I can’t help writing another little story on an up-to-date Romanian reality, using British realities as background.

I may be hopelessly trapped within my own vanity – foolishly imagining that this MunteanUK is somehow interesting (?!) within its bizzareness or, at least, remains very different than a million other dull blogs.

Anyway, here’s what crossed my mind as I remembered the guy in the second image. He is a crook who approached me in Victoria Coach Station, and who tricked me into giving him £ 3-4, so that he could buy a ticket.

It didn’t matter that I had just heard Big Brother’s voice warning the passengers against this peculiar sort of beggars. Like all crooks, he came up with a what appeared to be a convincing story, almost hypnotizing me.

He fooled me just like a big Senegalese made me believe he was offering gold to me (a fascinating story, but only in Romanian) three years ago, in Cape Verde. Both in this British bus station and in Mindelo, I felt I was being tricked just as this was happening, but I couldn’t prevent it.

It wouldn’t be true to say that I am experiencing the very same feeling ahead of the Romanian presidential elections. Yet I wonder whether I’m not being tricked again, as long as – unlike most of the Romanian citizens – I want to go and cast my ballot.

Many people in Romania, of all ages and walks of life – both from the ever shrinking group of Orthodox faithful who practice their belief, and from the bulk of irreligious people – won’t bother to vote. Nevertheless, I want to do it.

I’ve made up my mind ever since my ‘favourite’ announced that he would be running for presidency this year. Although I’m far from being hyperenthusiastic (I’m leaving that for Obamaniacs all over the world), I’m comfortable with my decision.

Democracy is often a Russian roulette, and there’s not much genuine choice left for the voters. Citizens can only choose between some characters who had been previously pushed on the political stage by puppeteers.

Is the same choice left for Romanians tomorrow?! I couldn’t tell. All I honestly feel (it’s a feeling, I can’t explain it!) is that voting is better than not voting. I don’t believe in the theory of sanctioning (or delegitimizing) the political leadership by voting absenteeism.

Far be it from me to judge those who choose not to vote. God will judge us all, most likely not according to our political choices, like we often judge one another. Whether we vote or not, I feel like the whole country is in a bus station on the eve of these elections.

We can hop on the right or the wrong bus, not necessarily according to our wise or unwise choice, but to God’s will. The safety of the journey ahead of us depends not so much on the skills of the driver; it is all up to the Lord, and to how closely we follow His commandments.

[For all the episodes of this series, and all the posts on this blog go to/Pentru toate episoadele din această serie şi toate postările de pe acest blog mergi la: Contents/Cuprins]


Anonymous said...

Bogdan, foarte interesant articolul tau. Ai putea , si chiar iti sugerez, sa scoti o carte cu postarile tale referitoare la viata unui roman in Anglia. Ce zici?

MunteanUK said...

@ MR

I see you've got a flatering suggestion - to publish a book with my blog posts :-) Are they really interesting and/or relevant?

Immodest as I am, there's no way I could deny that I sometimes imagine how the things I put online here would be worth being published in a book. Fortunately, I wake up from this reverie relatively soon.

Do you know any editor silly enough to bet on my 'literary talent'?! :-)

Gregor said...

Dear Bogdan

Thank you for your message; I hope to send you some photos soon (the problem is that my windows computer has internet but the photos only seem to work on linux, but hopefully I'll work something out).

Oddly enough, I just wrote on another blog:

'I think a lot of people on the left tend to be slightly naive about nations in the European heartland because of their progressive domestic policies.

Yet this is mainly because they have far better electoral systems than our FPTP dictatorship where people vote for who they think will be the least bad politician whilst the plutocrat puppeteers chortle to themselves.'

Whilst I know we do not always see eye to eye on economics, surely you would accept my broader point. It is like the Eurosceptic tories who rant (often justly) about the failures of the EU but are in the party that brought Britain into the common market and which has not offered true opposition to Eu policies. We have two parties that are almost identical and voting is a bit of a charade.

My views on voting are weird. It is like playing a game called 'battleships' where one guesses which square an enemy's boat is in. I personally think it is worth voting if I have nothing better to do, but wouldn't go out of my way to do it. I will probably vote SNP purely because I hope that they will reduce the surveillance state and end our religious attitude towards supporting American belligerence. Furthermore, Salmond has one of the least bad attitudes towards protecting the unborn.

Speaking of which, your reply in a previous post was quite shocking. So Romania's population might be about 30% larger if it were not for killing the unborn! It is shocking.

I know nothing about political parties in Romania, but isn't there any party that wants to bring socially conservative values to the nation?

You seem scathing about the beliefs of your compatriots, but given the years of communism, it seems that the church is doing well.

However, sadly, given your previous message I wondr if the Romanians 'deserved' Ceaceascu. Maybe better to have a brute who defends the unborn than a nation full of nominal Orthodox who put their souls into peril.

Incidentally, Ceacescu was shot on Christmas Day. Don't you find that there is something very disturbing about that?

As for your blog, it is very interesting and varied. I started up a blog that deals with various things. Initially it was focussed on the lies about Russia that the British media circulates, but now I think Britain has realised exactly how fickle FPTP politics make for foreign policy. Because the Tories were certain that McCain would become President they gave full support to the idiotic Saakashvilli. Now they are left looking stupid.

Anonymous said...

No, frate draga, multzam fain de raspuns:)))
Amu sa-ti zic si io oarece. :)

Articolele de pe blog sunt interesante si relevante.
Ai putea, de ce nu, sa publici o carte cu cele scrise de tine, fie si in 10-20 de exemplare, macar pentru prieteni. Pe urma vei vedea ce feedback au.
Sincer, mi-ar placea sa citesc o astfel de carte, cu viata englezilor vazuta prin ochii unui roman care a trait zi de zi alaturi de ei.
Le-ar fi de folos si profesorilor de engleza care sunt foarte `in ceata`, eufemistic vorbind, cel putin atunci cand vine vorba de helloween(sic)si fac tot felul de circuri prin gradintiele si scolile romanesti.
Le-ar fi de folos si studentilor si chiar elevilor de liceu, de ce nu!?
Ar fi nevoie doar de un editor entuziast, nu naiv, de unul caruia sa-i placa ideea.
Iti sugerez sa pui toate articolele, cu fotografii cu tot, intr-o mapa si trimite-o la 5-6 editori. Sau macar la unul. Dar nu le tine in sertar sau doar pe blog.
Blogul e grozav, dar este pe net. O carte o cumperi, o pui in biblioteca, o iei cu tine si in varf de munte, la o cabana unde nu ai semnal:) O carte te apropie si mai mult de subiectul tratat.
In fine, nu merg mai departe. Depinde de tine.
Eu iti doresc succes in activitatea ta.
Have a nice day. Scrisam bine au ba? :)

Doamne, ajuta!

Anonymous said...

na, ca uitasem sa ma semnez, dar nu cred ca mai este cazul.


MunteanUK said...

@ Gregor

Good to hear from you again!

1) In order to make it clear for any reader who might arrive on this page, we should explain that FPTP = "first past the post" = a controversed voting system.

More about it here:


2) I agree that FPTP is unjust, and therefore it's a prerequisite of the 'elected dictatorship' to which I was refering here:


3) I also must write something about the Tory position on the EU, British membership, Eu affairs in general.


4) It seems you confessed a 'dangerous' thing here - that you're going to vote for the Scottish National Party. Aren't you afraid that Big Brother is monitoring you?

Anyway, is there a change for the SNP to send an MP to Westminster?!


5) I'm afraid I'd be adding more reasons for disappointment about my country, but there's actually no Romanian ('mainstream' - one that should count somehow) party interested in promoting 'healthy' (not necessarily Orthodox!) social values.

God willing, I will write more about 'similarities' between Romanian an British politics. And you can bet I won't be refering to 'good things' :-(

I'll try to write also about Ceausescu, a dictator whom the British Queen invited in her carriage. She openly gave him all the honours due to a head of state, while, this time privately, she kept receiving at Buckingham her cousin, the former King Michael of Romania (he's still alive).


6) Thank you very much, my dear Gregor. But you are alrealy a 'fan' of my blog (like this MR seems to be - I haven't yet identified who s/he is), so you may not be entirely objective.

MunteanUK said...

@ MR

ba dimpotriva, in ceea ce ma priveste mai era cazul de o semnatura, ca tot am dificultati in te 'dibui'...

se pare ca nu-s atat de perspicace cum ma suspecteaza unii :-(

am deraiat serios de la 'topicul' in discutie, dar - in caz ca vei mai reveni vreodata pe aici - poate imi dai niste indicii:

- a) esti cumva de parte femeieasca?
- b) ai un nume care sa inceapa cu litera A (precum 50% din numele feminine de altfel)?
- c) iubesti orasul Sibiu?
- d) chiar fara sa te fi nascut acolo (in caz ca ai raspuns afirmativ la pct b)?


cat despre vorbele de lauda legate de blogul meu, nu pot decat sa-ti raspund cum i-am zis lui Gregor, ca imi pari deja 'fan' a ceea ce scriu, incat nu stiu cat de 'obiectiva' este parerea ta.

dc tu ai fi unul (una) care sa ia una din cele 10-20 exemplare, cui sa-i dau celelalte 9-19?

Anonymous said...


esti o partida buna...:-)
vezi ce de admiratoare ai??!!!
(mi-au placut comenturile, ha ha)

MunteanUK said...

@ Gabi

How come you are so sure that my reader is a woman?! :-) I'm not...

You may have liked the comments, but what about my article itself?

This is what actually matters for me. I'm not mad about having many 'fans'; but I can't deny that I'm very interested in having people commenting my posts.

Did you bother to go to vote? Or were you 'on duty' on elections day? What do you think about the results?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am young and I am a teacher and I like how you think.
No, I`m not from Sibiu, but I love the city.
My name not starts with A.
I wrote thous comments but not take it so personally.
I feel like I have upset you with my words. I apologize.

Pe romaneste, ca engleza mea nu e grozava: era doar un gand bun catre tine, sa strangi cele scrise intr-o carte, fie si un singur exemplar. Nu mai insist. Poate am atins o coarda sensibila. Inca o data, imi cer iertare.


Anonymous said...

a young woman


MunteanUK said...

@ MR

vezi, draga cititoare - sa cutez a te numi chiar 'fana'?! - la ce confuzii duce anonimatul acesta, fie el si cu initiale?

nici macar nu erai unica vaga persoana pe care o 'banuiam' a fi; asadar, acum se vede limpede, nu-s perspicace deloc.


te iert pt 'anonimat' (chiar daca tot nu stiu cine esti) si te asigur ca nu-i vorba de niciun fel de suparare din partea mea. pur si simplu, mi-am simtit provocate aptitudinile de 'detectiv', pe care vezi bine ca nu le am :-)

eu n-am avut 'suspiciuni', ci imi place sa corespondez cu cei care poposesc aici (uneori mai tai macaroana, ce-i drept), dar vezi ca amicei mele Gabi i s-au parut mai amuzante comentariile decat articolul despre care nu mi-a zis nimic.


sunt convins ca sugestia ta de a publica o carte e facuta cu toata buna-credinta si nu pot decat sa-I multumesc Domnului pt oricine gaseste ca n-a fost o pierdere de vreme sa intre pe blogul meu.

ce si cum va fi, unde as putea gasi un astfel de editor curajos... tot in mainile lui Dumnezeu este totul.


Your English is not that bad, honestly. I'm glad you could practice it on my blog.

If you ever want to disclose your true identity, and you find such correpsondence useful, you could send an e-mail to me - you know where to find me. I'm counting on your perspicacity this time :-)