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

Government ignores anticorruption demands Photo

Protesters gave the government two weeks to fulfil their demands.

Blog: We can always count on the nerds…

Brands need to focus on doing good and that this approach is the only option if they want to stay relevant, credible and even profitable, says Thomas Kolster.

Thomas Kolster speaking

Drivers in Bratislava should prepare for worse traffic

Dissatisfied taxi drivers will go on a protest ride from Petržalka to Lamač on Wednesday.

Taxi drivers protested against Uber already in 2015.

Blog: Underground economy flourishes in the queues

A foreigners' real experience at the foreigners’ police department in Bratislava.

Foreign investors said they would welcome less bureaucracy in Slovakia.