Monday, December 31, 2012

Cum am devenit producator de ler

Pe cand eram student la Maryland am avut parte de o experienta foarte interesanta. ASTROM (Asociatia Studentilor Romani) era condusa de unul din colegii cu care locuiam in casa, asa ca am participat si eu la multe actiuni de-ale lor. Iar una din preocuparile constante ale ASTROM era organizarea de spectacole cu artisti romani care faceau turnee prin State (asa am ajuns sa ii vedem pe cei de la Divertis sau trupa teatrului Nottara, de exemplu). In acei ani inca nu era moda concertelor de sarbatori in Romanai, asa ca Hrusca, fiind stabilit de multi ani in Canada, facea in respectiva perioada spectacole pentru comunitatile de romani din Statele Unite si Canada. Intr-unul din ani s-a hotarat sa vina si in zona Washington DC si cautand oameni de contact in zona a ajuns la ASTROM. Cum nu prea erau oameni disponibili la acel sfarsit de an pana la urma m-am oferit eu sa ma ocup de organizarea acelui eveniment, adica sa fiu un fel de producator. Primul pas a fost sa cautam o sala, de obicei gaseam sali in campusul universitatii, dar atunci a fost o problema, asa ca a trebuit sa caut in alta parte. Pana la urma am ajuns sa inchiriem o biserica anglicana din zona. Am batut palma cu cei de acolo, am trimis emailuri la oameni cu data si ora spectacolului si acum credeam ca lucrurile sunt gata. Insa cu trei zile inainte de spectacol ne suna Hrusca sa ne spuna ca a ramas fara instalatie de sonorizare. In mod normal el isi aducea singur instalatia, dar de data asta la intrarea in State vamesilor li s-a parut suspect ca se cara cu asa ceva dupa el, desi nu declarase ca vine in scopuri comerciale (va dati seama ca toate spectacolele astea se faceau la negru, banii incasati nefiind declarati la fisc), asa ca nu l-au lasat sa intre cu aparatura respectiva. Iar noi fiind printre primele locuri unde avea sa vina ne-am trezit ca trebuie sa facem rost in doua zile de o instalatie de sonorizare. Pana la urma am gasit o firma care inchiria asa ceva, dar era nevoie sa o si transportam. Am gasit mai multe masini si am carat boxele alea cum am putut, am intins cabluri, testat microfoane, dar pana la urma total a fost gata la timp. Desi am "produs" si eu la ler in acel an, nu am aflat nici atunci mai multe despre ce e acest ler. "Leru-i ler" va intra in legenda definitiilor recursive alaturi de "GNU in not UNIX", asa ca mai bine urmez indemnul celor de la Kamikaze: ler it be :)

La Multi Ani! si tot ce va doriti in 2013.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Why is Romania different?

Why is Romania different? is the title of the latest book by Lucian Boia. It is not a book about how Romanians are the chosen nation, au contraire. It explores the reasons why the Romanian society is behind other western and even eastern European societies. This is in fact a compared history of the institutions and social habits from Romania (or the former regions of Valachia, Moldavia and Transilvania) and other countries. The book already generated a lot of reactions in the media, two examples being those of Dan Tapalaga (here) who complains about the last chapter where the current political situation is analyzed and Alina Mungiu Pipidi (here) who argues that the whole Balkans region has the same characteristics. Since I liked all the books I read of Mr. Boia, starting with the one which shook the view of Romanians about their history 10 years ago (Istorie si mit in constiinta romaneasca), I highly recommend this one too.

Monday, December 10, 2012

An die Sonne

First snow of this winter in Bucharest and we are fast approaching the smallest day in the year. The candidate I endorsed didn't do well in the elections, he will not get a seat. It seems pork-barrel and not sound policies it's still the way to win the elections around here. So let's think about the sun for a moment, it gives us all our energy in the end, but it's up to us what we do with it.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

A candidate to vote for

Another round of elections is approaching in Romania and I am among the fewer and fewer people that will go to vote again. Most of the people complain that all politicians are the same and none of them cares about their problems, but only to get rich. This is a dangerous point of view in my opinion, because the consequence is to ask why do we bother to organize elections if all politicians are the same? Since after each elections we end up with different laws and policies, there must be some difference between those who vote for one law or against it, isn't it?

Since 2008 we have a uni-nominal voting system and you actually vote for a person, not a party list. So, like four years ago, I decided to endorse a candidate that represents me best in these elections. His name is Gabriel Biris and he is a lawyer specialized in the tax code. What he promised in this campaign is not just something for his electoral college, but for the whole country: to push for a change in how labor is taxed. The truth is that labor is heavily taxed in Romania and this leads to people trying to declare their income in any other possible way than payroll in order to pay smaller taxes. Or not to declare it at wall and work on the black market. So only a small part of the population appears in the statistics as being an employee. This is unfair in two ways: first for the people who honestly declare their employment contract because they end up paying far more taxes then other people and secondly for the people that are forced on the black market due to these taxes because their are cut from social benefits in the future (like retirement benefits).
As a professional in this area Mr. Biris understands very well these problems and he wants to improve the tax code so that these huge discrepancies can be closed. Also, he is already rich and not from businesses involving the public sector, so probably he didn't enter politics just to get richer. His campaign also has a fresh style, including many town-hall meetings with the citizens from his electoral college, not just for shaking hands, but also for discussing their problems.

So if you have your residence in D3 electoral college from Bucharest I recommend you to look at this candidate and vote for him. If you are not in these college I still encourage you to take a look at the candidates in yours (you can easily find that here), see who is the best for you and the country from your point of view and go to vote. I have a strong opinion about an alliance that should not win in these elections, but even if you don't share my view, I think that informed and active citizens will lead in the end to better politics and policies.