Archive for the ‘Rants and Raves’ Category

Michael Jackson tribute event in Vienna: Cancelled!

Michael Jackson tribute is not going to happen in Vienna

MJ tribute is not going to happen in Vienna and he probably wouldn't care

I pity all those guys who bought tickets, which cost from 63 to 518 euros, to see the Michael Jackson tribute in Schloss Schönbrunn in Vienna. After it was announced, big names in music biz started to came up. Madonna, U2, Stevie Wonder. Guess what? It won’t happen anytime soon.

On Tuesday the producer George Kindel and Jermaine Jackson initially presented “some of the artists” (13 so far). Michael’s brother and initiator, Jermaine, felt insulted that the Austrian media dubbed these artists as B-listers. On the other hand, Mr. Kindel claimed that he and his business partner didn’t name any names and it was the Austrian media that invented the famous musicians. Grammy winner Mary J. Blige huge in Vienna? In the US, perhaps. And Chris Brown? Isn’t this guy in trouble now after he has been accused of punching his girlfriend Rihanna a few months ago? Natalie Cole found the whole thing iffy.

In fact, it is indeed iffy. On the first day it was conceptualised, commerce and pure marketing were clearly plastered on this event. It was a vehicle for Michael’s brother and some people to make money. It was not love and respect that drove them to do this. And I wonder why Vienna? “Michael loves castles and his music is majestic” was the reason they gave. And I thought of massice traffic, and thousands of promotion for the city. But does Vienna really need this?

It turns out it is already cancelled. The place might not be anymore in Vienna, but Jermaine determined to push it through in London: “We will hold the concert in the city that he himself chose for his comeback concerts but, due to his tragic death, he was not able to do.”

Vice Mayor Renate Brauner pledged to finance the event 600,000 euros, yes, that’s your and my money. Though today she and her people from the Wiener Tourismus stated that not a single cent flowed into the event.

Are you disappointed that the MJ tribute is not going to transpire in Vienna on Sept. 26?

Just another victim

As the story of Mike Brennan unfolds, which I am pretty sure you know very well by now, I have the strangest feeling that if you are  a foreigner in this country who is not from the USA, the UK, etc.,  you are f*cked. Seriously.

Just by looking at the number of victims before Mr. Brennan, they shared the same thing–they were all black and all of them came from Africa. Their voices were too low for the whole society to hear. Though Mr. Brennan’s case has created a buzz surrounding this awful incident, the Viennese Police’s “apology” is half-hearted.

The simple question “Is there racism in Viennese Police” from last week’s “Club 2” was left unanswered by the head of the police. Instead we heard propaganda and beating-around-the bush declarations that they are doing their best to combat it. True, they are doing their job but why they cannot accept is that there are bad apples in the force and somehow racism exists in the structure.

Someone told me I would have a difficulty if I were an African woman. Hearing it was not easy to digest but I understood where he was coming from.  I believed him. It is not easy to be a black person in Austria. It is not easy to be a black person in the US. It is not easy to be a black person in Asia.

But over the years, I’ve been seeing a pattern on how Blacks and Latinos are portrayed in the world of videogames and Japanese animation.

The pattern that I had noticed where how Blacks were portrayed and it carried onto other fighting games. Blacks were usually portrayed as brainless boxers and wrestlers. To add a bit of diversity there were Blacks portrayed as kickboxers and capioerists. But that got pretty old after awhile, yet the Japanese still continued to portray Blacks in that fashion. That was how they stereotyped Blacks.

And if we believe the Biber article that came out weeks ago, the blacks belong at the bottom  of the ethnic hierarchy of Ausländer in Vienna.

Wieder mal die beliebte „Neger raus“-Schmiererei in der U-Bahn entdeckt? Wenn ja,  muss der „Autor“ dieser Kritzelei nicht unbedingt ein „echter“ Österreicher sein. Bei den Jugos und Türken sind die Schwarzen in der „ethnischen Hierarchie“ ganz unten angesiedelt. „Der Schwarze“ lebt ohne Papiere hier, Asylstatus abgelaufen. Er dealt mit Drogen aller Art, am Urban Loritz Platz, vorm Flex und am Karlsplatz. Sonst sitzt ist er mit seiner Gang im Volksgarten, raucht einen Ofen und macht fette Schwaboweiber an. Aufenthaltsvisum gegen Riesenschwanz, da kriegt jeder was er will.

Could it happen to Barack Obama too? Haderer has the answer. (Link via Biber)

Police brutality and Barack Obama

People playing music on public transport

For a long time I thought it was only teenagers who force their environment to listen to whateverkindofmusicitistheylistento on public transport. I’ve meanwhile also come across adults who play (.. different, but equally annoying) loud music on their mobiles on buses and trams. The only difference I have noticed is that some of the latter will put their phones close to (one of) their ears for a “better” listening experience (.. which does not really make any difference for anyone else sitting close to them).


What do YOU do when people play loud music on public transport? – Do you react at all (i.e. ask them to turn the volume down/why they aren’t using headphones/whatever)? Or do you just sit there and wait for the moment you can get off your bus/tram/subway?

Doctor, doctor, I am sick

Doctor, doctor I am sickLike what they announced, and what I have heard from my general practitioner’s recorded message, there’s no Ordination tomorrow. Almost 15,000 doctors will join the nationwide protest.

I don’t feel well. Wonder why I am blogging for the heck of it. But I don’t have to talk nor go anywhere today so… Nevertheless, it is not the good time to fall sick tomorrow.

So chin up there’s always the next day.

Doctors’ demo (link in German)

First Null


Oesterreich vs. Kroatien

What more the Austrian team could do? The first half was terrible. They didn’t know what to do with ball and seemed that they were tense unable to channel the negative energy (nervousness…) to something positive. The second half was way much better but wasn’t enough. The goal was not meant to happen.

But, hey, there were a few irregularities that the referee didn’t notice. The Croatians played rough.

The question remains: Who will be the European Masters of Football in 2008?

Link (in German)

Vapiano and Free Will

Vapiano is a nice piece of concept gastronomy in the 6th district. Something like the “Subway” of fancy italian cuisine. Good pasta, nice pizza… and RFID chip cards to pay. A bobo‘s dream come true.

Above the self-service counter they have a giant chalkboard display with lots of recipies, poems, drawings and… oh. What’s that?


“Free Will Doesn’t Exist.”

How very honest.

Welcome to Vienna, German Speakers. Here is Your German-Viennese Dictionary

As any German speaker will tell you, this wonderfully complex language comes in a variety of flavours.

When one studies this language in school, one is taught “High German” Hochdeutsch or Oberdeutsch, which is actually spoken in large swaths of the German speaking world: like the TV. The reality is that almost everywhere has a specialized dialect and, in fact, some are so specialized that they are barely related to German anymore. One of the more perplexing to decipher, at least to my ears, is the Viennese dialect.

Viennese dialect seems to be spoken with a different palette than the rest of Austria – more laid back, mumble-y and in the back of the throat, and freely mixes verbs and nouns from other languages and slang to the point where it almost seems to be a different language. I’d be curious to know what native German speakers from, say, Hanover, would think of it or would they be able to understand it.

So, to welcome all the European Championship football fans from the German speaking world, I give you Wiener Dialekt im Alltag — a site with “Wienerisch” to German translations — complete with audio.

A German friend might correct one’s “Wienerisch” or Austrian/Bavarian expressions because they are not proper German, while a Viennese friend might say that when one expresses something in a more “proper” German, it sounds “pifkisch”. Pifke, from what I can tell, is sort of like the American word hick or redneck, but with a less regional connotation and more toward “uncultured”.

For those wishing to know a bit more, here is a cool little site about German dialects and a site with a listing of the major German dialects.

And finally, here is a Wienerisch-Deutsch converter, a Wienersich dictionary and the Wikipedia entry for Wienerisch.

Austrian flag is flying high

austrian flagI didn’t have any idea that Austrians are patriots, too. I mean, just look at the Austrian national flag proudly displayed on every fifth car.

I have known the Austrians as a very reserved folk. They wouldn’t tell you how much they earn in a month or who they are going to vote. Thy wouldn’t play the national anthem in the cinemas before the last screening. And now look, flag euphoria is hovering in the air.

I am not used to seeing Austrian flags unless there is a Feiertag. Unlike in the United States where seeing Stars and Stripes is usual in many households, Austrians are showing that they are very proud of their country (or their national team, depends on how one sees it) just in time for the EURO 2008.

According to an article from Der Standard, the Austrians are also patriots.

Tatsächlich erweisen sich die Österreicher im internationalen Vergleich als besonders patriotisch. Bei einer weltweiten Umfrage des Meinungsforschungsinstituts der University of Chicago zum Nationalstolz aus den Jahren 2003 und 2004 landete Österreich auf dem vierten Platz, geschlagen nur von den USA, Venezuela und Australien. Besonders der “allgemeine Patriotismus”, der sich nicht auf besondere Leistungen bezieht, ist in Österreich stark ausgeprägt. Acht Jahre zuvor lag Österreich sogar auf dem zweiten Platz gleich hinter den USA – und beim allgemeinen Stolz auf Platz eins.

Sources 1 & 2

If we follow George Orwell’s definition of patriotism in comparison with nationalism, one can say that the many Austrians are darn proud of this Alpine Republic:

By “patriotism” I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.

An Austrian told me it is the standard of living in Austria that makes life almost perfect. It could be the country’s highest ranking when it comes to security and cleanliness, or the social welfare, the culture, etc.

The Austrians are not as flexible as the Americans or not as cosmopolitan as the other nationalities. But they love to travel and see other places. Thing is, most of them would rather stay with their own kind. Like going to Turkey or Dubai, but rather stay in German-speaking clubs provided by the travel agency back home. The majority of Austrians are proud of their language, their culture, their food. They aren’t comfortable and often refuse to practice or learn other languages. It doesn’t matter if they can. They won’t dare talk to you in other languages (for example, in English) but their own mother tongue. The reasoning is they live in a German-speaking country. To borrow Stormtroopers of Death‘s song “Speak English or Die,” speak German or die???

To emigrate? No way! As much as possible they wouldn’t if they had the choice as they cannot imagine living somewhere else but Austria.

Of course, there are others who think that place is not important as long as they feel home.

If my observations are wrong, please be my guest to correct them.

In the end, a Viennese colleague finds the flag-waving just funny and should not be mistaken as bigotry.

Land der Berge, Land der Neurotiker?

“He wanted to spare his family a shame.”

Or himself, the murderer? I wonder what he was thinking when he killed his own family brutally by ax.

The 39-year-old man, identified only as Reinhard S. by police at a news conference here, turned himself in in the early hours of Wednesday, saying: “The bodies of my dead wife and child are lying in my flat.”

Sources 1&2

According to the authorities the reason for this hideous crime is financial.

But is it only the issue of money? Nothing is known about the man except that he worked as a PR consultant, his wife a government employee. How about his relationship to his dead wife, his deceased parents and father-in-law?

In less than a month after the family drama in Amstetten Austria is again hogging the headlines with another crime such as this.

Once again, the Austrian reputation is in question. What is happening to this country? The suspect doesn’t typify the usual image of a killer. Neighbours talked about the normality of the family: middle class, the husband and wife are both academics, a growing child, a house situated in the so-called noble district, Wien Hietzing or the 13th District. The neighbours didn’t notice anything that could disturb this harmony.

Now they know that there is something wrong. Everything is only facade.

Is there such a thing called Austrian syndrome?

BBC is looking for Austrians.

Yes, the popular British media wants the natives’ opinions/commentaries concerning the “Horror House” or the Amstetten case.

Are you Austrian, and if so how do you think this latest abuse scandal will affect your country’s citizens and will it affect Austria’s reputation internationally? How will the country cope with this in the long term?

The international press, the British especially, believes that it certainly affects the whole country because of (rotting) bad apples that exist in this country.

I find it hard to believe that media have the nerve to pose the above-mentioned questions. First of all, it is not Austria’s fault that evil incarnates also live in this country. When the world is full of them. Second, if only the media (local and abroad) try to check their own (mis)behavior–the paparazzi breaking in to the hospital where the victims are confined, publishing their real names, photos and the address. Instead of leaving them alone, they sensationalise the facts and make a profit out of the victim family’s misery.

Like every nation of the world it has its positive, as well as negative, side. It has a tradition/code of ethics that outsiders cannot easily fathom.

You cannot teach an old dog new tricks but educate the younger ones.

Plus, there’s always Sisi, Gemütlichkeit, Sound of Music and Mozart. In the end, they will prevail over the evil Josef Fs and Wolfgang Priklopils in this country.

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