Saturday, 31 July 2010

Polish mileage cult and other motoring curiosities

No, I didn’t forget to take the camera, the batteries were down and it takes 16 hours to recharge them so I used a crappy camera of my Nokia 3110 Classic.

Now try to guess how old the car whose odometer is shown on the picture above is. Those who read PES carefully and regularly will surely have no problems giving the correct answer.

Now you’ll ask: “How come?”. Normally such a mileage is typical for a two-year-old car. The prescription is simple: do not use a car when it’s not necessary. Firstly – cut down on short journeys – if your destination is less than 3 kilometres / 2 miles away, there’s absolutely no use taking a car, unless there’s a serious justification, such as: something heavy to carry, driving an ailing person to a doctor, doing big, weekly shopping, etc. Secondly – use alternative means of transport – for healthy people bike is an alternative, as long as the distance is below around 20 kilometres, weather is permitting and a cyclist doesn’t have to dress up. Public transport, whenever cheap and reliable makes a good solution. I can see no point in getting around the centre of Warsaw in any other way, mostly given the shortage and cost of parking space there. So the low-mileage car has been used for mid-distance journeys three of four times a week and as I counted it’s had nine long (at least 300 kilometres to a destination and back) trips.

Poles as a nation have a peculiar approach to cars, which are still the symbol and benchmark of social status. Few people buy new cars, the most often quoted for it are financial and utilitarian. The first group includes: high price, depreciation in value of 30% in the first year, high costs of insurance and servicing. A key argument from the second group of reasons is that there’s no point in buying a new car if the roads are bad, an old car can be repaired by any mechanic in any road-side garage and generally if something bad happens it won’t be a pity.

Poles buy used cars, but change them very often. Changing cars is like climbing a ladder of social status – a Pole starts with an 18-year-old Fiat Uno (a model example to the right), a few months later changes it for a 16-year-old Ford Fiesta, after two years buys a 12-year-old Volkswagen Golf and after next three years sells it and purchases a 9-year-old Opel Vectra. The next step is swapping an almost new Vectra for a brand-make German car, such as BMW, Audi or Mercedes, no matter how old and rickety it is – the make matters! It’s very difficult to find Poles, who, in spite of their low income decide to buy a new car once in ten years or more and replace it with a next new one once maintaining the old one is no longer cost-effective. Just compare how well-maintained first-owner cars are and how those which change hands three or four times look.

It goes without saying that if few new cars are sold in Poland and Poles want to buy used cars, the demand much surpasses domestic supply and so we have import used cars from our Western neighbours, who no longer want to drive those clapped-out bangers and sell them for a song to our home-grown car traders. As a result Poland has become a scrap-yard of Western Europe, an average car in my country is 12-year-old…

An average Pole, although cash-strapped, is a picky buyer. What determines technical condition of a vehicle is a mileage. This measurement is actually very imprecise. Compare two cars which covered 30,000 kilometres – one used in town only (traffic jams, etc.), the other driven on motorways. How an owner of a car maintains it and uses it also matters. We all know all vehicles brought to Poland from Germany are first-owner, non-accident cars used by well-off, over-cautious German grandpas who used it once a week to drive to a Church, kept it in a garage and polished its bodywork from dawn to dusk, therefore mileage after twelve years is 100,000 kilometres or less. If the mileage is too high it means a car’s wear and tear disqualifies it as roadworthy, so a natural reaction of a car trader who deals in high-mileage, but well-maintained car is to roll back the odometer. It might be quite natural, as they’re just trying to earn a livelihood by trading in cars, but it looks more absurd when they come into a low-mileage car in showroom condition, whose owner for some reasons wants to dispose of it. Low mileage is dubious, so to make the car more credible traders tamper with the odometer to increase the mileage. After some research I carried out I can tell you the optimum mileage (for a Polish buyer) is between 15,000 and 20,000 kilometres per year…

Changing odometer’s readout is illegal – some of you would argue. Actually not, you can correct the readout to show the mileage you want to see as often as you want and do it legally. It becomes a crime when you do sell a car and do not inform a buyer what the actual mileage is. Every company which provides services of correcting odometers’ readout has on its website a disclaimer or reservation that correction is legal as long as a new owner of a car is informed about the actual mileage.

But isn’t rolling back the odometer a kind of self-delusion? Odometer should truly and fairly show the distance a car has covered…

And don’t ask about buying the 42,243-kilometres car. First-owner, non-accident, low-mileage cars and rarely for sale!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Will we ever take in death?

Birth is a miracle. Actually the very act of conception is a miracle, the very fact that a new life is created and developed almost out of nothing. Just two cells brought together can produce a new human being. There is one causation of why people are born, but they die for thousands reasons. We never know when and how we will pass away, who will survive us and who will depart before we reach the end of our time here.

Death is also a miracle, only we somehow fail to accept it. A birth, quite naturally, is accompanied by joy. Usually when something begins people are happy and when it ends they tend to be sadder. So the death should involve sadness, which has its specific name – mourning. Symbolised by dark clothes is in fact a state of mind, the way humans try to cope with bereavement. It has several stages, from shock and disbelief up to picking up the pieces and trying to live a normal life, reconciled with the tragedy. What happens to us after the decease remains a secret. The body dies away, but what happens to the spirit? Christian theology comes up with hell, purgatory and heaven – three places where departed souls can reach in the afterlife, depending on their conduct on earth. It is still a mystery and I suppose the fear of death most of us feel is the fear of the unknown, of turning into non-existence.

The thoughts of transience did not haunt me without any specific reason. I have a weird habit – on every New Year’s Eve I wonder if a coming year will be good or bad. The only criterion to determine is if I would attend any funeral. Last seven years were not good in this respect, this year was good until Thursday. I came from work and heard of my mother’s cousins death, premature (she was just 58), but not unexpected. For the last ten years she had been fighting cancer. In the first battle fought in 2000 and 2001 she managed to overcome the disease. The tumour was dormant for next seven years and made itself felt in 2008. For a year therapy proved successful, aunt could function normally until July 2009, then her health began to deteriorate. Her doctors did not let up until the beginning of the previous week. Until then there was still a glimmer of hope…

Today I attended the funeral…

Regardless of the ceremony I felt some sort of anxiety. Exactly on 24 July a year ago my mother underwent a complicated surgery with some complications. I never felt as scared as on that day, those misgivings returned this year and coincided with the funeral. The feeling which keeps me company every day got so intense – is the end round the corner? We all have learnt to get on with it or to drive it away. My colleague leaves the office. Will she be back there tomorrow? Will she not be killed in a traffic accident on her way home? Will I return home safely? Will my both parents be alive in a year? Who will die first, mother or father? I ask such questions a few times a week, I have done so for many years and did not go crazy. How come? I wonder if anyone on 10 April 2010 had doubts if members of Polish delegation to Katyn would return home safely…

The relationships in our family were not very close and I did not take this loss very personally, nevertheless as every such event it made me ponder upon the fragility of human life.

This funeral was in a way odd. Firstly, I have never seen so many people weeping so loudly and openly at a funeral. Secondly, I treated the ceremony as a review of human reactions to bereavement.

My aunt was survived by:
1) Mother, my grandfather’s sister. I saw her at her husband’s funeral four years ago, I saw her at my grandfather’s funeral two years ago. Then she was dejected but she was bearing it up. It was the fourth funeral at which I saw mother crying over the grave of her child and it only strengthened by conviction nothing worse can happen.
2) Husband. I haven’t got a clue why, but many men refuse to accept how seriously ill their wives are and the death comes to them as a bolt from the blue. Women are harder, they have more courage to face up to critical situations, men try to deceive and delude themselves. Is it a way of coping with what they are not capable of coping with? God knows, they end up shocked, in tears.
3) Son. She had never been really proud of him. I looked at his face and my only diagnosis was disbelief. After two days it was still possible.
4) Sister. The most sane in the whole close family, despondent, but seeming to have got through the most difficult phase of mourning.
5) Granddaughter, aged 14. She could not help weeping during the whole ceremony. It is the age when teenagers find it hard to get to grips with their emotions, not the best time to see a member of family fading away and departing much too early.

I had more luck. When my maternal grandmother died I was only 4 and did not understand what was going on. When my maternal grandfather died I was 20. I was more mature and surely found it easier to tackle his decease. He was 87 then and died totally naturally, out of old age, in his sleep, without unnecessary suffering, having received last rites, ready to pass away. At least it gave some relief.

My paternal grandparents are both 84, they still manage on their own, but one day they’ll surely depart. When? How will I react? Uncertainty crops up once again…

And once again the world did not come to a standstill, although seemingly it should have…

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Turn off the heating, please

The weather’s been going over the top this year. To quote some figures: average temperature in January was roughly six degrees lower than long-term average, snow cover in Warsaw reached in mid-February 53 centimetres, in May Poland was flood-stricken, damages totalled up to more than 10 billion zlotys and now the hot spell. After weeks abounding in rainfalls the word ‘drought’ sounds a bit silly, but that’s what we actually have in Warsaw, where we haven’t had any rainfalls since 6 July. To boot, temperature has been hitting +30C or more for nine consecutive days. Heat waves are nothing unusual in Poland, July 2006 was one endless string of sunshine, boiling heat and lack of precipitation, this year the history may repeat itself.

After cool May and moderate June almost everybody (not me!) longed for warmth. As far as I noticed virtually everyone’s had enough of heat after one week of Saharan temperatures. I don’t know which day was the hottest. My car thermometer showed +36C on Thursday, but it was when the traffic was snarled up and my journey from Metro Wilanowska to home lasted one hour – I got stuck in a traffic jam after a motorbike-rider had an accident in Mysiadło and his vehicle, an ambulance and fire engine blocked two lanes. I felt really sorry for commuters who had to travel by sweatboxes that afternoon.

Really lucky are those who have a luxury of driving air-conditioned cars. Travelling is far more comfortable, but the number of tragic accidents on days when temperature hits 30s, sun shines and visibility is good is very high. Drivers tend to put their foots down, but weather is deceptive – just a lapse of concentration and the tragedy is a matter of split second. Right: the upshot of unfavourable mixture of my thoughtlessness, haste, tiredness, inexperience, inattention and taking for granted nothing wrong can happen just outside my own house. ‘Something bad can happen along on the road, but not here’ – I thought. I made a dent on a front bumper in a particularly imbecilic way – I tried to park swiftly in front of my gate, swung the car too quickly and smashed into the brick underpinning of my fence. My neighbours must have had a schadenfreude, thankfully nobody filmed it, as the film could be only sent out to makers of “World’s worst drivers” compilation. After all nothing serious happened, my father (after he cooled off) managed to bring the bumper to its proper shape and varnished it. In reality it doesn’t look as badly as lit by the flashlight in a dark garage, at first glance when you stand a few metres away from the car it’s not even visible. Repairing this (what would mean buying a new bumper hence it’s seriously scratched to the right after my father slid on icy slope and rubbed against the garage door) would cost too much, the car won’t be sold in a few years, quite probably it will never change hands so the mangled bumper will not bring down its resale value. Lesson learnt, now I have to carry on without making such stupid mistakes.

Saturday was undoubtedly the hottest day, temperature in the afternoon hit +35C. Today, on Sunday it’s cooler (currently +25C), but unbearably close. Temperature at home reached yesterday +32.5C, I even somehow got used to it. People find different ways of coping with heat. The common denominator is water. This year problems with water supply in NI are rare, but when the taps run dry it’s no laughing matter. During the current hot spell water pressure was slightly lower than usual but I had no problems taking a shower. Except Sunday, 11 July (when I could bath normally in the bathroom on ground floor) and Friday, 16 July, when there was absolutely no water at all and I ended up bathing in drops of cold water before midnight. Yesterday, despite +35C water was running normally, today forecasters are expecting storm which will bring the desired rainfalls and put the heat wave to the end. Meanwhile my neighbours bought a big foldable pool, poured six or more cubic metres of water into it sat there all (roughly five people at the same) from late morning till dusk for five days of more. The water (not changed) was yesterday as my neighbours claimed +36C hot and the pong was felt in my garden…

It’s been a hot week in politics as well. Jarosław Kaczynski has taken off his mask and returned to his old habits: dividing Poles, verbal blackmailing, passing moral judgements, throwing accusations. New lights are being shed on the Smolensk plane crash. Still I wonder how it’s going to end up. Plus I wonder why blogs run by Michael Dembinski and Toyah haven't been updated since Friday, when they were supposed to have a heated discussion over my last post. Both Toyah and Michael are even-tempered and mild-mannered so I’m sure they didn’t come to blows, but other readers and I would surely be elated to have their curiosity satisfied, if both bloggers gave their own accounts of their certainly fruitful debate.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Cel uświęca środki – a message to my compatriots from the other side of the invisible barricade

I know it, the corporation has made me a sluggish blogger, the heat wave does not serve as an incentive to indulge in writing, so in the coming weeks you will probably find here only one post per week, published over the weekend. But do not worry, I will try to scribble something quaint for Polandian.

Recently I wrote here much about politics. After Mr Komorowski won the final battle I thought about giving up on that topic for a while, but I cannot make that break without having the last word. In the recent weeks I got caught up (yes, adthelad will say I provoked it and he will be actually right) in a discussion with Poland’s Best Political Blogger of 2009, Toyah. The main topic of his posts, published recently only on his own site (administrators of salon24 portal banned some of his posts and eventually he took umbrage and moved writing into an independent location) is not just politics. He is committed and ardent supporter of Jarosław Kaczyński and PiS. Some readers would surely accuse him of a big dose of bias in his blogging, so if you are one of them, glance at the box to the right, at the top of the page. We have democracy and it involves free speech, what means everyone should have a right to air their views, as long as they do it in a civilised way, do not insult nor libel anyone. But the at the heart of free speech lies the right to gainsay what your fellow men say and now I am going to exercise this right.

Toyah is a gifted and prolific writer, moreover he unfortunately is currently jobless, so he can spend much more time blogging than me I do not intend to make this post an endless string of polemics, so I will focus only on the posts published after the run-off of the election.

Over the past week Toyah has been in a funk after The Russian Bour had won the election, or, in other words 53% of manipulated voters had chosen to back the lesser of two evils.

In his post On winter in the middle of the summer he invokes a gross injustice which led up to the bad choice Poles made. Given the support for Mr Komorowski and Mr Kaczyński two months earlier he might claim Mr Komorowski has narrowly escaped failure. He writes about a wasted chance, but his post, as almost any other lacks an in-depth analysis, not of the support Mr Komorowski enjoys, but why so many voters hold something against Mr Kaczyński. Of course Toyah gives several reasons which boil down to manipulations plotted by the System, about a Bad Man, about a plan a deity from above follows out. In the comment thread one of the readers quoted Mr Tusk’s (probably) statement that Mr Kaczynski has a lust for power. Every politician has it, if they had not had, they would not have been into politics, the issue is just what means politicians harness to fight for power. Lemming, another active commentator and a graduate of my university briefly laid out why he voted for Mr Kaczyński. I fully accept his reasoning, the way we differ is how we understand what is good for Poland. We have common goals, the only difference is how we want to achieve them. Lemming would opt for aiming at those goals at all costs, I would prefer more compromise and reconciliation.

On Tuesday it turned out my request for a justification why Mr Kaczyński is the best choice prompted Toyah to change his plans and dedicate the inaugural post (after leaving the salon24), It is time for Jarosław, to me. Toyah is convinced my biggest dream is to exclude Mr Kaczyński from the public discourse for ever, for no specific reason, just because I think he should be denied the basic right to voice his views. In truth my view of Mr Kaczynski’s presence in politics is the same as in Toyah’s example of Mr Napieralski and Mr Kołodko. I simply think it would be better for Poland if he and his party did not wield power and nothing more! And I go along with Toyah who points out why Jarosław Kaczyński is a remarkable politician. If he had not been that unwavering and outstanding he would not have come back to power after being pushed out of politics in the 1990s. Moreover, given all assaults launched at him he keeps holding up well! I really regret Toyah refused to lay it out, step by step, in the simplest words, why Mr Kaczyński would be the best president of Poland. I may only wonder why. If it is so obvious, there is nothing easier than committing it to the blog, maybe he would even convert some other lost Poles. At the end he asks why people hate Mr Kaczyński so much if he is so wonderful. I would not bother to ask about those who hate him, hatred is not a commendable feeling and hardly ever builds anything, it usually destroys. I would ask why so many people are afraid of Mr Kaczyński. An Anonymous commentator speaks about the układ, he still believes it exists. Maybe it exists, maybe not, I am too small to answer that question, but is Mr Kaczyński big enough to crack down on the układ on his own? Or maybe conversely, would not they be more capable of destroying him? Many readers brought up the issue of the disadvantaged, those who did not benefit from the transition and who now are the target of Kaczynski. Yes, I agree, the discrepancy is growing, every week I see both opulence and poverty, they are worlds apart. This inequality is not shocking, it is indispensable in free-market economy, I personally cannot stand how the rich fail to understand the problems of the poor and how the poor refuse to accept the rich could have come into their wealth by playing their cards right.

A day later the blog had its official, belated premiere. In the post titled Right-wing dab hands Toyah brings to account the guilty of Mr Kaczynski’s failure. For Toyah Mr Komorowski’s presidency will be a punishment meted out by God – a good point, maybe this key will unlock the door… How did it happen that we let that woman become a first lady, he asks. Now a bit of malice – who would become a first lady if… you know what. Toyah reproaches journalists of Gazeta Polska for not giving due and sufficient support to Jarosław Kaczyński. The journalists pulled Mr Kaczynski up for what the contender had said about Edward Gierek (a patriot) or about Józef Oleksy (a middle-aged leftist politician). They saw those moves as a betrayal, for Toyah they were logical and justified, actually natural in his pursuit of power. Tactics needs to be changed and concessions have to made in order to reach the end. End justifies the means, Toyah only confirms it. I have to stand up for Mr Sakiewicz and Mr Ziemkiewicz. I have hardly ever agreed with their views, but I could not say about them what other fellows from my side of the barricade would say. They were not the acolytes of PiS. They and many other journalists, such as Mr Terlikowski, have their own views and at least stick to their guns, they are idealistic. Toyah is pragmatic – he thinks if a move can help win the election, there is no doubt it should be made. He highlights Mr Kaczynski’s intention: now it is time to win the election, later we will take back these words about ex-communists. I don’t know how it looks for you, dear reader, for me it is a fine example of duplicity and end-justifies-the-means approach to politics and I will not approve of it. I will not refer to the Wawel spat, but I will quote the last paragraph – he calls Mr Zawisza an enemy just because he pointed at Kaczynski’s inconsistency. Toyah took a leaf out of Mr Kaczynski’s book – the crucial thing is to find an enemy! Now I know why Kaczynski’s vision of Poland took his fancy.

Thursday’s post Men at work did not even need to have its title translated. I don’t know why Toyah wants God to get caught up in this little Polish cesspit. Maybe this is the punishment for "obeying" catholic teachings – is it in line with catholic teachings to accuse someone of murder if you do not have any evidence? Michael D. and I have asked Toyah to give us some details of that alleged murder. To no avail, words of murder are repeated like a mantra and if you repeat something several times, you will finally believe in it. This is how the myth has been created, it has been created from the very beginning. I know and even hold it against the government that circumstances of that tragedy are still unknown. I would love to see all doubts dispelled, but even then for Toyah and the likes it would still be an assassination.

And so we’re alive – Solidarni. The long story recounted. Tell about those people whatever you want, you do not try to deny the tragedy has brought them together. Once pushed around, ridiculed, degraded, they had guts to raise their heads and claim their presence in public debate. Since the tragedy they have shown how strong and united they are, proved their dedication and devotion. But there is a crack on the picture – why do they call themselves Solidarni? As a community they are united, but they are just a part of the nation. I would not like to destroy the new movement, but I am against the way they divided Poles – into the righteous patriots (themselves) and those who had not cried after the tragic death of the late president. This is unfortunately part of the rhetoric Mr Kaczynski has adopted – they and us, bad and good. There was a ceasefire for the period of the campaign but it was just a tactical move, soon it is gone. Actually ardent believers of Mr Kaczynski prefer that divide line – they need to separate themselves from the rest of the society who despise them. PO has supporters, PiS has ardent believers. I hope the new movement will grow in power quickly, quickly enough to mobilise German servants and Russian sidekicks to create the opposition to it. Hey, it is a daydream, PO voters would not give a damn. They will not join any movement, they can only go to the polls and thwart some plans… Maybe Poland is founded on lies and hatred, but the Solidarni are also full of hatred and I suppose it is a kind of revenge for all they suffered before. Anyway, there are people who hate Kaczynski, but there are much more who are afraid of him. I personally confess I am not that afraid, as long as dissenters are not his enemies I feel safe, but there was one moment after 10 April when a spark of hatred went through my head, but after a moment it morphed into anger. It was on 4 July, when Mr Kaczynski said his brother and other fatalities of the plane crash had died martyrs. Can anyone tell me why that tragic accident was a męczeńska śmierć?

Lord, listen to our prayers. The heat is getting unbearable so it is time to draw to a close. Can anyone tell me why Poles fall out and break friendships because of politics? I know many educated people, my peers, who are PiS-followers and guess what – it is not the reason not to be on speaking terms, we are still friends, we just avoid talking about politics! Political views should not tear us apart, but many hard-line supporters of both PO and PiS do that.

End justifies the means, not to a degree the world witnessed in the twentieth century, but small sins are surely acceptable in IV RP. As far as I know Jarosław Kaczynski did not accept his niece’s second husband, a son of one of SLD tycoons. Now Mr Dubieniecki is going to join PiS and soon might be one of the most prominent politicians of the party. Whenever the power is at stake it is surprisingly easy to change views.

Komentarze po polsku mile widziane.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

A sigh of relief

Or not yet? Perish the thought! It was a close call - depending on the poll Mr Komorowski has the edge of two to seven percentage points over Mr Kaczynski.

This day was marked for me by a blend of fear and certainty. I somehow felt Poles have their heads screwed in and remember the rule of Jarosław Kaczyński and his deceased brother, but the certainty was balanced by fear. The fear that Poles would shrug off the election, go fr holidays, etc. Today in the morning I was queuing up for five minutes to cast a vote and people around didn't look like PO-voters. Then in the afternoon I cycled around the neighbourhood and stopped outside a few polling stations. I looked at those faces, I came back home, turned the TV on and looked at those faces and feared the worst, though hoped for the best.

The turnout, around 53 per cent, lower than two weeks ago, wasn't impressive, but majority of Poles decided to take the matters into their hands and choose a peaceful and future-oriented president. Now it's time for Poland to move ahead, without squabbling, suspisions, without playing dirty and putting into practice the old adage "end justifies the means". Yes, I still claim Mr Komorowski will probably be a mediocre president, but he is predictable and at least he guarantees peaceful, balanced presidency, based on mutual respect, co-operation, pursuit of compromise and mutual respect.

I wonder when the first protest is logded to the supreme court and I wonder what the supporters of Mr Kaczynski feel now. If you can share your emotions with me, leave a comment please.

Friday, 2 July 2010

The last bombshell

Yet before I have to keep my mouth shut, the last gasp of the campaign. Actually I wonder what happened in the last days that began to tip the scales for Mr Kaczynski? Was the final phase of Mr Komorowski campaign full of slip-ups? Have so many Poles realised he is an enemy, if he gets backing from “ex-communists”? Did Mr Kaczynski perform that well during the debate on Wednesday? Or maybe he won over some voters by saying comrade Gierek was a patriot? Was it a good move? Many of his voters still look back on the golden decade, which was the time of their lives – the system eased off, Poles felt a whiff or relative freedom and affluence. At the same time socialist economy fell into its knees, but did they care?

Having flattered those poor people who remembered 1970s as the time of prosperity, twin brother of the late president addressed students. A quaint idea, given that beginning of July is a period of long vacation in Poland and students generally tend to keep away for their schools. Despite unfavourable holiday season, Mr Kaczynski put in an appearance at the University of Warsaw, where he rolled out his agenda for students. Apart from reassuring he supported unpaid studies, even on two faculties, he brought up the same topic I raised in late March – unpaid internships. The candidate of Law and Justice claims all internships should be paid.

Maybe for some frustrated students the notion could be appealing, but let’s take a closer look. We live in a free country and unpaid internship contracts are nothing bad as long as both parties accede to the terms. A company gets labour force for free, a student gains experience and learns on-the-job. Any attempt to regulate it is doomed to fail, as a result many (poor) private companies would simply abandon their internship programmes.

This is an excellent example of a situation where something doesn’t function properly in the economy, but regulations can only make things worse. Offering remuneration for a doing a job, which means creating value added is a matter of decency. You can’t regulate corporate decency. After all market can function properly and companies which offer unpaid internship hire worse interns, because the better ones turn down their offers and take jobs where they get paid for it. Of course this applies as long as we speak about voluntary internships, not obligatory ones. Under some new regulations, every second-year student of BA programme at SGH will have to do an internship obligatorily. Thank God the internship I had after the second year of my studies wasn’t obligatory and wasn’t unpaid. I’d like to thank authorities of my school for taking away freedom and responsibility from students hands.