Archive for the ‘News’ Category

picknick in the park

It seemed like a revelation for any trained Viennese: getting into the grass in parks and recreational areas will not longer be prohibited. But be careful, because nothing is as simple or straightforward as it might seem.


For any young kid from Vienna coming to London for the first time it was strange: people getting onto the lawns and grass of parks to rest, have a picknick or take a nap. And no grown up in a shabby uniform chasing them off the green. Now the city of Vienna will discard the “Liegeverbot” (prohibition of lying down) for their parks. Cool.

But – and this wouldn’t be Vienna if there were no “but” – this is only meant for the parks under the control of the city of Vienna, eg. Türkenschanzpark, Kurpark Oberlaa or Stadtpark. A lot of other parks are under the control of the “Bundesgärten” (federal gardens administration), like the Burggarten, Volksgarten or Heldenplatz and they have no inclination of letting people onto the green and they will even increase the number of shabby uniforms on grey old men to control the lawns are leaft untouched. There will also be private security companies helping to control these awful crimes.

Summing up that means that in those places, where there was no control in the last year so accordingly people are already using the green lawns there to rest, bathe in the sun or whatever, the status quo will become a legal foundation. Not much else, but better than nothing. I’ll tag it as a small step of the city towards more liberty.

The good, the bad and the ugly the articles written by Washington Post and The New York Times raise a few questions concerning their coverage of Dr. Kurt Waldheim. And if you aren’t a careful reader, you would end up believing what you read.

Like any soldier of war, if you desert your troop, you are ordered to be sentenced. And if you disagree to the ruling government or ideology, you better hide or else you are dead. This is more or less the scenario during this era.

Despite the negative mood that the US mainstream media create about him, this memorial tablet goes to show that if you were a non-Jew/non-gypsy/non-gay Austrian and not a pro-Nazi but a communist/socialist that time you would be dead.

Just like the Viennese Viktor Christ, an ordinary citizen who was murdered in 1941 by the Nazis.

Kurt Waldheim is dead


As an expatriate/immigrant, I barely know Mr. Kurt Waldheim except for the political history/current events I learned from school. And the small fuss in the ’80s: the Waldheim controversy. Consequently, the government of United States barred him from entering the country. (Small, as it doesn’t strike as a big deal when you live in Asia by that time.)

Truth is my personal opinion concerning the Nazi and the German-speaking people has changed throughout the years. It was from being a negative-bigoted to positive-understanding. Not veering towards a favourable view on the fascists but the people who participated in it.

Maybe having an Austrian connection aside from being interested in your history helped my full understanding of the subject by having heard both sides of the story/coin.

So what is the connection of all these statements to Mr. Waldheim? Simple. The reason the US government put him on the watchlist is because of his Nazi past.

Mr. Waldheim, the former Austrian president, an ex-diplomat and former UN secretary general, was a former Nazi officer who joined the Nazi machinery to kill Jews and millions of others during the World War II. It was a controversy in the ’80s in and outside of Austria, the country, which according to BBC, is too small to matter in international terms.

I have known old people who were soldiers that time, even their children. There’s this one person who told us that he was not forced by the Nazis but he himself volunteered. He was young, only 17. He wanted to be part of it and he believed in the ideology and that they would succeed. Though like the others it was all too late before he realised that everything they, he and his comrades and the Nazi hangers on, had done was wrong. So wrong they even lost their loved ones because of that. Because of his deep disappointment and depression he has refused to be part of any political party/creed.

It would be stupid and lame to hear Mr. Waldheim say, “I was just doing my job,” in the eyes of the victims. But the name of the game was self-preservation. He was only human after all. Like the others he might have gone to believe that they were doing the right thing. He was told to do it like the US soldiers or the Muslim extremists today who are ordered to maim or exterminate their enemies.

So should Mr. Waldheim, after all these years, be forgiven after all these years? The answer is yes, we can forgive but we shouldn’t forget.


This is the end of “Mitten im Achten”

Mid-April the Austrian broadcasting company ORF made a huge program reform. Central point of the new program was a daily comedy-soap (the first one ever to be produced in Austria) about people living in a house in the 8th district of Vienna. Therefore it was called “Mitten im Achten” (in the middle of the 8th).

The viewership figures went down continually until they hit rock bottom the last week – so the show was cancelled.


Rock bottom – that is also the intellectual level of that show, which doesn’t mean that nobody would watch it. Probably the contrary. Anyway, the ORF blew 6.5 million Euros on two and a half month of portraying the lives, dreams and talking of people living in Vienna.

I have been living in Vienna for quite a while now and though I know types that the producers tried to portray I never heard anybody speak the way they did in the show or talk about issues the way they did. (The show will be replaced by “Malcolm” with beginning of July, which is a lot closer to my teenage years by the way.) “Altagsgeschichten” give a way better introduction to the way (some) people in this city are than this show.

In a few years DVD-boxes with all shows will be traded as “cult” and people will miss the times when the show was on, like they always do. Maybe one of the local stations (PulsTV or Okto) should pick up on the show (probably too expensive) an re-start it on a smaller level (probably still too expensive).

New zine around


It is called „Hydra” and it is a little strange. Probably what they call irony or fun, anyway, it is an interesting mixture of music, ego-writing, weird reviews and satire. The first issue is out now and availaible for free around town (I picked up mine at the Substance record store.) Issue one features Modest Mouse, a big thing about emo, the Euro 2008, this and that and some crazy reviews and other banter. It is all quite incredible and has that nice charm of early students doing something funny. Sometimes it is a little too youngster-funny, if you know what I mean, and the issue is rather small, but then again, it is a start of something, which I always encourage (it’s better than Komasaufen or voting AG…)


Be afraid, be very afraid?

Err, should we feel alarmed now? Should we take cover?

A supposed to be warning coming from an Islamist group via Globale Islamische Medien Front (GIMF) is threatening the governments of Austria and Germany for representing “an important support for Bush and his gang.”

Although reading the warning issued, you could say that these guys are reading the current events in Austria, especially the way they specifically pointed out the policies set down by the new government. It mentioned the socialist party’s broken promises: the planned deployement of troops, ability to maintain Austria’s neutrality and most of all, the botched abolition of university fees.

Populist idealogy, but hey, if it works?

It also talked about Austria’s political stability.

Austria was and is still, one of the safest countries in the whole world. Its people does not know correct threat and its economics is rosy, because mainly the winter and summer tourism on, which bring Austria annually much money, relies.

… and the Austrian soldiers’ proximity to Mujahidin.

They are closer to them as others (soldiers). And the Mujahidin prepares at present forwards for the spring attack, because of which the whole world trembles, before it took place. Fast and take off your soldiers decide, because this is not your war and this war can it also bear. This is a war between the Mujahidin and America and everyone, which places itself into its rows.

Lastly, it spoke of impending terroristic attact if the current coalition government will be like the the social democrats in Spain, “when they deceived their people, by withdrawing their soldiers from the Iraq, but sent 600 others to Afghanistan.”

So, should we be afraid now regardless of the Interior Ministry’s calling of the video “relatively abstract”? Although the ministry has been on alert ever since Mohammed caricatures came out in May 2006.

(Thanks to Altavista because I am lazy)

International Day of Women is every day

Flocked among the guys, no one discussed the urgency of International Day of Women in Austria yesterday. Ha!

Did you know that suffrage right was granted to the Austrian women in 1907, a year before the Filipinas got theirs?

And that ever since 1911 the women have been fighting for their right on the streets?
Still, the Austrian maedels have more rights than the rest of my fellow women.


Anyway, I normally patronise any political parties but if you are interested, the Austrian electromagnetic pop band Saint Privat will render their services to the city of Vienna for the benefit of women. (I am a fan, so what?) Valerie and co. are performing at ega Frauen im Zentrum, Windmühlgasse 26 in the 6th District on March 10, at exactly 20.30 p.m. Entrance is gratis.

Cigarette Machines

Lots of new legal stuff with the beginning of 2007. For instance some bad news for underage smokers: Beginning with yesterday all cigarette machines will be checked for safety measures to ensure that minors (under the age of 16) are not able to buy fags at the machines like they used to.


This works in various ways: you’ll have to insert your ATM-card or send a SMS to the machine (what?) so your age can be checked. On the plus side you can pay cash, ATM or even have your nicotine added to your phone bill.

Or quit smoking altogether.

According to the city council, about 90 % of all machines have already been re-modelled to adhere to the new legal situation. Twelve “Trafikanten” have already been fined for running unsafe machines.


Can this really protect you? They are really available for 11 euros or something each! Thrift stores in Vienna carry them for 1 euro per 6 pieces!
While I shopped at the Bipa, I saw about two dozens of boxes of protection/protective masks in the corner. This is part of the Health Ministry’s campaign to combat the so-called “super flu pandemic.” Wearing the mask is supposed to be one of the preventive measures.
The first time I saw the Health Minister Maria Rauch Kallat’s press conference demonstrating how to wear it, I thought it was a joke. So I went to the site and went to the FAQ page.
I know that during the outbreak of SARS in 2002-2003, Asians wearing a mask became a familiar sight.
But you know I am not sure if we are gonna see them Viennese walking with their masks on. My colleagues are getting sick one after the other but it isn’t connected with flu or even colds but a “mysterious stomach problem.” So there you go.
A tip and not at all a secret: Never fail to take Vitamin C (1000 mg) every day! It really helps!

More snow

It started snowing right now heavily and this time the ground is starting to cover up..


Ah, the benefits of web2.0 and just-in-time user generated content. A true liberation and the first step towards a higher level of civilization. Super! Unfortunately, all we seem to do is talk about the weather. Maybe they should rename this the Vienna Meteoro-Blog. Maybe my mind is just too single-mindedly. But what do you ecpect in this kind of weather…

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