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Romania: The land of the lost gentleman

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By Naughtie-McCourtie Rebecca

Romania is the land of the lost gentleman! OH, and the Polish were right to have arrested me…

One thing at a time though… first thing is first… Romania!

Just when I was starting to think that the allusive figure known as ‘the gentleman’ was nothing more than a mythological creature, I met the modern day Romanian man… or should I say men! Real men! Men that you only ever read about in fairytales… men that fit the bill as being masculine, manly, well-mannered and down right dapper! Man as a man should be! Devoid of the fact that I generally like my men brown and hairy, and certainly the average Romanian man fits this bill, it is the disposition of the general male populous in Romania that strikes me as being classically romantic. Ladies, Romania is where it is AT!

I believe the modern-day Western male is going through a drastic feminization process, whereby gender etiquette of the past is being exchanged for male cosmetics, fashion (tight and low-cut fashion), hair-obsession paraphernalia and basically anything and everything that was once purely associated with being ‘feminine’.

I can only assume that the historically recent (and continual) fight for gender equality in the West has resulted in the ‘male’ coming up confused about his place in society. This has seemingly started a revolution against the traditionally defined the roles of men and women. If women want equality then it would appear we must sacrifice chivalry. Women actively participating in the public realm has killed the gentleman and given birth to the modern-day dandy.

How does this play towards equality, though when statistics still indicate that women do the majority of domestic work in a household? Essentially, men are abdicating from their role as ‘masculine protector/provider’, however women are not only retaining their role as ‘caregiver’,but also assuming that of ‘protector/ provider’.

Women are bringing home the bacon and cooking it… and also doing all the washing up afterwards. How is this fair? When woman works, cooks, cleans and looks after you, one would think you could open the bloody door for her! Rarely in the West does this occur.

I have lived in Australia, New Zealand and England and traveled extensively throughout Continental Europe, and let me tell you, chivalry is a rarity. To highlight this trend, I have an example whereby on one occasion I was waiting at a bus stop in the rain (in a country I will not name). When the bus pulled up I was almost bowled over by the young man waiting with me. Evidently eager to get out of the rain and save his heavily gelled locks from the wrath of the rain-drop, I was literally shoved to the side in his desperation.

Should he have given way to me out of traditionalism? Was the saving of my hair more important than his? As a woman that faces every day social expectations as to the way I should aesthetically appear in order to get the ideological ‘attractive’ tick of approval, would I be judged more harshly with hair looking like a wet dog? Or is the modern-day male also subject to this social scrutiny?

If so, has the game of chivalry turned into a game of ‘survival of the fittest’, whereby men and women are equally judged by their appearance? Are we competing against each other for the title of beauty queen? These are the questions that now arise in the modern-day Western world. Perhaps when the men are also gazing into the mirror and asking: ‘who is the fairest of them all?’ chivalry cannot exist. It would be like asking one tennis player to keep one hand behind their back, while the other has use of both. It wouldn’t be fair! Dog-eat-dog world appears to be the new norm!

Mind you, life is a comparative measure, and I by no means wish to suggest that ALL men in the West are manner-less, there are worse things that women could be subjected to. I did have an Egyptian boyfriend once, he was ok on the manners front, but then again he compensated with some pretty dogmatic and degrading cultural expectations that I was just NOT willing to conform to. I would rather have a door slammed in my face as opposed to a d*ck up my arse any day! At least with chivalry or lack thereof in the West, a woman can save herself! So maybe the answer is accepting change in light of a comparison to that which has not changed and probably never will.

Back to Romania, when I came here I was expecting something similar to my initial expectations of Poland. I was expecting sadness, gloominess, coldness, depression, and just like Poland, I was pleasantly surprised. I arrived on a very hot and sunny day to happiness, brightness and all-round pleasantness. The country is amazing! Despite their less than fantastic economic situation, everyone seems happy. Everyone I came across was smiling and as mentioned above, the manners these people have are overwhelmingly classic and dapper in their demeanor.

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Bucharest is like a pinball machine, with its night lighted criss-cross of narrow old alleyways and its outer new city curved streets that encapsulate the grid of the old town. I felt like a pinball buzzing up, down and across the streets lined with trendy cafes, bars and boutiques.

Everything is set within the rustically old and ornate buildings that serve as whispers to the beauty of the past. The elaborate stone awnings and artistically crooked weather worn doorways are a reminder of the word sublime. Bucharest is certainly a place where the past meets the present in the most stylish and fashionable way. I have literally spent my days in this city winding myself around the uneven stone-slabbed streets. Forget the dandy-esque notion of cute Continental European cobblestone alleyways, this city is bold, masculine and handsome in its exterior.

Whoever defined Paris as the ‘IT’ city had clearly never been to Bucharest. These people actually smile, are friendly and exhibit a genuine modesty and appreciation for your tourism. It’s a city where young women are clearly participating in the work force, but young men are still holding the doors open. From the taxi driver who carried my bags to the entrance of the hotel, to the countless men who have stopped in their steps to allow me through a door first… right down to the young teenage lad who waited and held the door open for me in a shop… the men here are getting it right! Classic chivalry still reigns the day!

Moving onto Poland. While indulging in the delights of Bucharest, I started thinking about my whole Poland saga. I had spoken to a few people who told me that my story just didn’t seem right. I told them that I knew I wasn’t the only person who had been told everything was electronic… but alas there were certain people who were adamant that I had been misinformed.

So I double checked… I double checked and after some running around by the embassy, it was determined that I had, in fact been misinformed. I was shocked! It was so unlike Sweden to make a mistake! Their processes and procedures for just about EVERYTHING in life left no room for error- or so I thought. I guess mistakes are human nature though. It’s not the mistake that defines us, but rather how we resolve it.

In typically efficient Swedish fashion, my issue was resolved at the speed of administrative light. I emailed the Swedish embassy here in Romania, who subsequently communicated with the department of immigration in Sweden, who subsequently advised me to attend the embassy in Romania to rectify the problem and HAY-PRESTO! All this in 24-hours and my ID card issue was resolved.

So I guess this means I have to apologize to Poland. They were right… or kind of right. They were right to question my travelling without an ID card. I did have the visa; I just didn’t have the legal proof on me. So I was lucky, as lucky as could be that they did not deport me. Nonetheless, even though I admit I was in the wrong, I still think the Soviet style interrogation room with my daddy-doppelganger was a bit too much.

If the Maltese let me through their airport with a bottle opener knife in my hand luggage (giving me nothing more than a giggle when I pulled it out of my bag in horror, realizing I had forgotten to pack it in my check-in), then I think the Polish could have been a little less intense. Right is right and wrong is wrong. Role playing crazy Kremlin antics circa Stalin era does not assist an administrative process involving multiple languages. Nonetheless, contrary to my previous assertion that my visa was electronic and Poland should have known this, I stand corrected. So, I am sorry Poland for unknowingly not doing the right thing. Thank you for not deporting me.

Week one in Romania down! Week one with no vampire encounters. We’ll see what Transylvania brings… mwahahahahah!

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Indian Film Festival to be hosted by Poland in October 2017

This festival will be organized from 7th - 10th October 2017 in Warsaw & Krakow

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Poland, Indian Film Festival
Poland to Host Indian Film Festival. Pixabay
  • The Indian Film Festival Poland will show path breaking Indian films which have been jointly curated by Mr. R C Dalal and Captain Rahul Bali
  • The Indian Film Festival Poland will endorse the art and culture between the two countries- India & Poland using cinema as a medium
  • Some fun and entertaining events are also planned during the Day 4 of the festival like Indo – Bollywood Dance Performances by Polish Dancers, Indian Food Festival, Polish Musical concerts 

Warsaw (Poland), August 23, 2017: Lately Film festivals have turned into a huge phenomenon across the world in over the last 50 years; they are big celebrated events now that increase the reputation of the cities as well in which they are being organized. Poland will host the Indian Film Festival, the Indian film festival will commence in October 2017. The best part is that India has completed 71 years of Independence in the same year this festival will be organized. A Curtain Raiser Press Conference occurred in order to make the official announcement of the 1st ever Indian Film Festival to happen in Poland. It will be organized from 7th – 10th October 2017 in Warsaw & Krakow.

The Indian Film Festival Poland will show path breaking Indian films, the films have been jointly curated by Mr. R C Dalal and Captain Rahul Bali.  The Indian Film Festival Poland will endorse the art and culture between the two countries- India & Poland using cinema as a medium. It will showcase some fine Indian movies. Indian cinema is known for its vibrant, rich culture and the emotions expressed in Indian movies like love, friendship, brotherhood, family values etc. Indian movies are incomplete without music, songs and some dancing. The movies which spread joy amongst all will be on display. The audience in Poland will have a brilliant opportunity to witness some of the greatest works of art by acclaimed Indian directors. Festivals like these can pave a way for strengthening the bond of friendship between the two countries.

ALSO READ: Kashmir World Film Festival (KWFF) Kicks off in Srinagar, Aims to Promote Film Culture

Ajay Bisaria, H.E. the Ambassador of India to Poland said,” The Indian Film Festival in Poland will be devoted to the appreciation of cinema, art, and culture by showcasing Indian films for Polish audiences and opening new avenues of bilateral cooperation between our countries. This celebration of cinema will be part of a wider Festival of India that we hope will bring a gourmet selection of India’s cultural offerings to our Polish friends, for a whole year.”

Captain Rahul Bali, Co-Founder & Curator of Indian Film Festivals Worldwide (IFFW) also spoke on the occasion, “This festival shall be an annual event which shall feature a rich mix of programmes designed to build and support the growing interest of the Indian film industry in Poland.”  8 path breaking films from India will be shown this year and some award winning directors & actors will grace the event from India and Polish Film Industry.”

On 7th October 2017, the opening ceremony of the Festival will take place in Warsaw at Kino Teka with a lot of joy and zeal. On 10th October 2017, the closing ceremony will take place in Krakow. Some fun and entertaining events are also planned during the Day 4 of the festival like Indo – Bollywood Dance Performances by Polish Dancers, Indian Food Festival, Polish Musical concerts, etc.

“We look forward to introducing this beautiful country which has largely remained unexplored till now to the ever growing Indian Film Industry & seek to develop a lot of synergy in them,” said RC Dalal, Co-Founder & Curator IFFW.

The Indian Film Festival is put together by Indian Film Festivals Worldwide (IFFW) with the sponsors are The Embassy of India in Poland, The Polish Institute New Delhi, Indo Polish Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Indian Association of Poland & India International Foundation.


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Young Kathak Performer Chahek Ladhani Represents India at Cracovia Danza Festival in Poland

Known as the European capital of culture, Krakow is famous for hosting world's best cultural festival

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Chahek Ladhani is a young kathak performer
Gungroos. Pixabay

Poland, August 18, 2017: Chahek Ladhani is one of the youngest Indians to represent the country in the 18th edition of Cracovia Danza festival in Krakow, Poland. Chahek along with ten other students of ‘Alkananda Institute of Performing arts‘ had participated by the side of participants from 45 countries presenting their culture.

Known as the European capital of culture, Krakow is famous for hosting world’s best cultural festival.

ALSO READ: Kathakali: Cultural preserver of classic tales

The audience has appreciated the Kathak performance presented by the young participants. The performance was covered by Krakow National TV alongside other reputable media houses, mentioned ANI.

Chahek learned Kathak at the age of four under the guidance of Guru Alaknanda. The persistence and years of continued practice brought her to this global platform.


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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Fair Immigration? Britain’s Leave Campaign Struggles to Persuade Ethnic Minorities on Brexit

If there was a Brexit, analysts broadly expected a surge in market volatility amid uncertainty over what would happen next

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The Palace of Culture and Science is illuminated in Union Jack colours by Warsaw's capital authorities in support of Britain staying in the EU, in Warsaw, Poland June 22, 2016. Image Courtesy: Reuters
  • Brexit campaigners are trying to persuade minorities to support their campaigns
  • Whilst there is free movement for EU citizens, some British Asians are particularly unhappy at visa rules that apply to non-EU migrants
  • 14 percent of people in England and Wales identified themselves as non-white in the 2011 census

At a limestone North London temple under the image of the Hindu god Krishna, a British Asian minister is striving to persuade ethnic minorities to support leaving the European Union with a message of ‘fair’ immigration and stronger ties to the Commonwealth. Britain is set to vote on Brexit Thursday, June 23.

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British Prime Minister. Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons

Despite polls showing Black and Asian Britons are more pro-EU than the rest of the population, prominent Brexit campaigner Priti Patel has led the charge to win over the fastest growing section of the electorate ahead of Thursday’s referendum.

Leave campaigners have used worries about migration from the EU to tell millions of voters whose families hail from former British colonies that a Brexit could make it easier for people to come to Britain from places where their family roots lie.

Whilst there is free movement for EU citizens, some British Asians are particularly unhappy at visa rules that apply to non-EU migrants, making it difficult to bring over relatives for social functions or staff for restaurants.

“This is about having an immigration policy that brings fairness back and takes discrimination off our Commonwealth countries and off communities like the Indian community, the Pakistani community,” Patel told Reuters, as a dozen praying women in colourful traditional dress chanted at the temple.

There is no official definition of an ethnic minority but 14 percent of people in England and Wales identified themselves as non-white in the 2011 census, and nearly 20 percent said they were not white British, a sizeable group that could sway the outcome of a vote which polls show is too close to call.

But the murder of British lawmaker Jo Cox, who had backed refugee causes, has raised concerns about the tone of the debate on immigration and could make some minority voters think twice about backing the Brexit campaign, experts and voters said.

A poster bearing the message: “Breaking Point: The EU has failed us all” against a drop of a long line of refugees, unveiled by the leader of the anti-EU UK Independence Party, Nigel Farage, also damaged support among minorities.

At the East London Mosque, one of the largest Muslim places of worship in Europe, one voter said she had been leaning “70 percent” towards backing Brexit until Cox’s murder, which helped tip her in favour of continued membership.

“It made me think that if she is someone who is saying that we should stay in, someone of her character then that’s the right decision to go with,” said 33-year-old Zinia Khan, who works in the voluntary sector.

“You’ve got people like Nigel Farage with that poster and then you’re thinking: What are they going to change? How are they going to make things more difficult for people from black and ethnic minorities… and you feel safer if you’re in.”

Farage, who apologised for any offence caused but not for the content of the poster, has repeatedly denied accusations that UKIP is racist. “It was the truth,” he said on Wednesday.

“NOT ENOUGH INFORMATION”

Black and Asian voters tend to back the pro-EU opposition Labour Party, and the little available polling data and previous voting habits suggest the Brexit campaign has faced a difficult battle to win over minority support.

Whilst polls show Britons evenly split on the eve of the vote, four surveys which provided a breakdown by ethnicity showed that half or more of minorities want to remain in the EU compared to between a quarter and a third who back Brexit.

Only around 20 percent back Brexit according to the most recent nationwide findings from the British Election Study (BES) conducted between April 14 and May 4, similar to the 28 percent who supported an exit in a May 2015 Survation poll.

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A YouGov poll taken this month in London, the most diverse part of Britain, showed 52 percent of non-white Londoners backed EU membership, compared to 46 percent of white respondents.

Maria Sobolewska, a specialist in ethnic minority public opinion at Manchester University, said while many minorities backed tougher rules on immigration, they did not trust some of the leading campaign figures such as Farage.

“They don’t like the messengers,” she told Reuters.

“They do have to worry about what it means to hand these people a win and whether it would lead to more isolationist policies but they certainly think: these people are not friendly to minorities.”

While many minority voters share concerns felt by some white Britons about the impact of immigration on the National Health Service (NHS) and housing, polling shows they are less worried about the cultural impact.

“What we know in election studies is that the main difference on issue preferences, which are very similar – jobs, the economy, the NHS – is that immigration ranks lower,” said Sunder Katwala, director of non-partisan think-tank British Future, which focuses on migration and identity.

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Demographic factors could also help explain higher support for EU membership among ethnic minority communities which the Brexit campaign could find difficult to overcome.

Britain’s black and ethnic minorities are younger on average than the white British population, with younger voters among the most pro-EU regardless of background.

There are also distinct differences between Britain’s ethnic communities, many of whom hail from disparate Commonwealth nations in Africa and Asia, according to both the British Election Study and the Survation poll.

Only 42 percent of Bangladeshi Britons want to stay in the EU compared with 63 percent of those from a black African background and 65 percent of Chinese voters, according to BES.

British Indians, the country’s biggest ethnic minority group numbering some 1.4 million people, are marginally more pro-European than the wider population but half said they would either back Brexit or had yet to make up their minds.

“I think the Asian community is divided in the sense that they haven’t got enough information,” said Conservative Councillor Manji Kara, outside the Shri Vallabh Nidhi Mandir temple near Wembley Stadium during Patel’s visit.

A supporter of Brexit, he said his scientist son wanted to stay in the EU and that many others in the Asian community were leaning to remaining in the EU without all the facts.

“Quite a few of the people think they should vote for ‘In’ without actually realizing what’s in it for them if they stay in or what are the benefits of getting out,” Kara said.

-prepared by Saurabh Bodas (with inputs from Reuters), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter Handle: @saurabhbodas96

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