Reader feedback: More needs to be done at grassroots level

Re: "Je tu bordel: Slovaks down on apparently better life", By Tom Nicholson, Vol.8 No.29, August 5-11, 2002

Reading this article, I can't help but thinking that Slovaks, and even expats living there for a while, expect too much from politicians.

A politician has to do the job he was chosen for, but the article shows that a mentality-change is needed by the Slovaks at large. Not only should Tesco go out of its way to remove ad hoc traders near its shop, but their clientele should also avoid that Tesco shop, if Tesco doesn't seem to care.

The policeman should have gone and picked up some colleagues, returned and arrested the guy who had insulted him. If people don't act at the grassroots level, how can they expect a politician to do anything about it?

Mentality is of course a strange thing. I have some black workers in my employ who look after my environment perfectly - when, in a manner of speaking, a leaf falls on my lawn, it is removed very quickly. When these workers go home to Soweto however, they toss beer and coke cans, cigarette butts and whatnot out of their own windows, making their environment look like a garbage heap. They appear to look through my eyes when on my turf, but stop doing so when on theirs.

I walked around in Slovakia for a couple of weeks in 2001, and I am sure that the article focuses on an aspect of Slovak society that should rather not be advertised. What I saw on my walk, fortunately, did not leave the bad taste in my mouth I was left with after reading this article.

My father always used to say: "It's a bad country where no one lives well." The more that is done at the grassroots level, the more politicians can do, or be forced to do.

Oscar Stolk

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