Posts Tagged ‘bribery’


October 25, 2015

Today is a special day in Ukraine. Firstly, the country has turned its clocks for the winter time – one hour back. Secondly, the local elections have been held.

It took me about an hour to set the time. I would never have thought there are so many devices with the time function in my flat! The process wouldn’t have been so vexatious, if it were only about moving the minute hand 360 degrees backwards. But, being a perfectionist (“precision is my inspiration”), I went to and set the easily adjustable digital clock for the new time from the Internet. Then I walked around the flat from one time piece to the other (including mine and my wife’s dumb-phones)  synchronizing all the clocks and watches with the Internet time on the clock I had adjusted. Particularly hassling were the pedometer and the tonometer: I had to rummage in heaps of the respective manuals containing the respective instructions before I put the right time on them. Having done all that, I’m sure that after a month or two I’ll happen to find another “forgotten” watch still running according to the summer time. However, I considered the back of the winter-time job to have been broken.

At 8:00, by the time when ballots started being cast, I was at the local constituency. Young ladies whose job was to hand out the ballots and give you some accompanying slips to be signed, couldn’t find my name first, but after five minutes they found it. When I entered the voting booth I discovered that there was no chair and no pen there. So I got out of the booth and demanded that those items, so indispensable for the success and comfort of the voting, should be brought in. Everything was done as I asked for. In the seclusion of the booth I read two long papyruses with names of the parties (about 40 or 50 of them) and candidates (about 20), ticked the selected boxes on the sheets and cast the ballots. With the feeling of my duty fulfilled I left the constituency. I knew that my choice would not be successful (with a few exceptions, I have always voted not in sync with the prevailing current of thought), but I was overwhelmed with the gratifying sense of accomplishment.

DSC05319Incidentally, the main entrance hall of our block of flats has been redecorated and the walls painted aggressively green (see the picture). One of the most likely winners in the election campaign (definitely, financed by sponsors with lined pockets) had it done to remind the dwellers who they should vote for. Alongside, all the mailboxes for surface mail had been removed to be allegedly replaced by new ones, but as of today no replacement has been done (see the picture). My suspicion is that the new mailboxes will be hung up only in case our benefactor has been elected. If not, the flats can be without any mailboxes.DSC05321

Having returned home, I put on my track suit and went out again – this time for a jog. I was jogging for 2 hours and 32 minutes, having covered 21 kilometers. With my weight in the morning being 78 kg, I weighed 75 kilos after the jog. The blood pressure decreased from 141 over 80 to the unbelievable 75 over 50 (kind of too low) when I finished DSC05326-bjogging. The heart rate rose from 66 to 93. The age of the jogger is 66 years 5 months and 5 days. Again, the same sense of accomplishment  (see the picture of yours truly)…

The day was crowned with two talks with our children via Skype, and two blogs (including this one) written.  A wonderful Sunday!

Just a couple of post scriptum words about the elections in Ukraine. As I have said, the elections are local, which means they are about communal services streamlined, transport improved, secondary schools functioning better, etc.  I came across a cartoon on the Internet (see the picture)  in which a candidate (named Mr. Blah-Blah) for the position of the head of the village is speaking before an audience of a few elderly village women promising that if he is elected Ukraine will join the EU, the salaries and pension will be increased, and there won’t be any conscripts in the army – only contract service. Really, why should the Ukrainians be overly concerned with picayune details… Let’s think BIG!2015-10-25Cartoon



October 29, 2011

During the External Independent Assessment (English Language Test) held last summer in Ukraine, secondary school graduates were offered an abridged article by Benedict Carey, an American journalist writing for the New York Times. The beginning of article deals with the start of the academic year in September and with the difficulty of prodding high school students into studying after the summer holidays. The first question on the article and the paragraph to which the question is related are given below.

Read the text below. For questions (6 – 10) choose the correct answer (A, B, C or D). Write your answers on the separate answer sheet. 


Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits 


Every September, millions of parents try a kind of psychological witchcraft, to transform their summer-glazed campers into fall students, their video-bugs into bookworms. Advice is cheap and all too familiar: Clear a quiet work space. Stick to a homework schedule. Set goals. Set boundaries. Do not bribe (except in emergencies).


6.  In the 1st paragraph the author advises parents NOT to __________. 

A/  behave in a dishonest way in order to get an advantage

B / deliberately tell a child something that is not true

C / offer a child something in return for studying

D / make a child feel guilty for something he/she has done offer a child something in return for studying 

The majority of those who were tested chose the answer A (“behave in a dishonest way in order to get an advantage”) associating the word bribe with the meaning give money to someone (illegally) to gain influence, which was definitely wrong in this context, since the author meant that parents should not lure their children into to studying by promising, say, to buy something for them, or by giving permission to use their car, etc. (hence, the correct choice is C). I looked through the comments of the students who had undergone the test and were sharing their impressions right after taking it. Many of the participants in the forum sincerely believed that the author’s advice DO NOT BRIBE was about not giving presents to secondary school teachers (!!). The practice of parents “sweetening” teachers to get them favourably disposed towards their off-springs is quite common in Ukraine.  Those who had chosen A were just measuring the American reality with a Ukrainian yardstick.

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