Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

SLOVAK WORD OF THE WEEK

Na zdravie

IT ALWAYS seemed that ‘na zdravie’ (to health) wasn’t the most appropriate thing to say before having a drink. And recent events show that the medical risks can be even more serious than one usually realises. Sadly, the methanol poisonings aren’t the only tragic events of the past week – there was also the discovery of the dead body of a five-year-old in a Bratislava apartment.

IT ALWAYS seemed that ‘na zdravie’ (to health) wasn’t the most appropriate thing to say before having a drink. And recent events show that the medical risks can be even more serious than one usually realises. Sadly, the methanol poisonings aren’t the only tragic events of the past week – there was also the discovery of the dead body of a five-year-old in a Bratislava apartment.

The girl had been deceased for three years without anyone noticing. In a country where you have to visit five different public institutions when a child is born, and skipping school is a crime, that sounds unbelievable. Yet the case proves the same point as the hesitant official reaction to the alcohol scare – in many ways, the state only works on paper. On tons and tons of paper. And the maze of institutions doesn’t lead to more comprehensive services, but to real problems getting lost in the system.

This should be at the heart of the ongoing debate about the supposedly revolutionary reform of public services. But so far, we have heard more about the impossibility of layoffs, the need for a state-run real-estate agency or new names for old institutions, than about what the state should be doing and how. Without more substance, the bureaucratic reform will do as little for the health of the state, as liquor does for that of the body.

Top stories

Gilden: Take the negative and make a positive from it Photo

The works of New York native, photographer Bruce Gilden, who has worked for five decades in the streets of the biggest cities, are on exhibit in the Kunsthalle (House of Arts) in Bratislava.

Bruce Gilden: Feast of San Gennero, Little Italy, 1984.

The ongoing struggle for a free and democratic Slovakia

The people of Slovakia deserve the credit for the remarkable progress that this country has made over the past twenty-five years, US ambassador writes.

Illustrative stock photo

Foreigners: Top 10 events in Bratislava Video

Tips for the top 10 events in the capital between November 24 and December 3, plus regular services in different languages, training, temporary exhibitions and highlights of the year.

Christmas Markets Bratislava

Robert Fico has lost the electoral magic he once had Plus

But his party can still bounce back if they do the things that make parties resilient.

Robert Fico claims that Smer won the regional elections because it is the party with the most chairs in regional councils.