Tuesday 16 October 2007

Local situations in global straits

Global rates

The effects of globalisation have come to my little corner of the world. 6 years ago when I bought my place, I accepted the going fixed rate of interest on my mortgage because I felt rates would go down for the foreseeable future and they did for at least 5 years.

This November is the time for a rate reset and suddenly I wish I knew back then in 2005 that there was a possibility for a rate hike that would see one shelling out a lot more than one ever has done before – that is the credit crunch and rotten sub-prime loans in America filching my disposables. Arghhh!

Local arts

At the same time, I have attended the meeting of our house-owners association which in itself is a bureaucracy that churns out rules that makes one think it is a hostel block.

Beyond that, the entrance atrium had the Y-semaphore indicating the name of our block, but some of the residents felt it did not match up to their aspirational goals of having escaped a working-class label.

So the uppity ones banded together into an arts committee to remodel the atrium which has ended up with a dark green marble wall and plants that cannot stand the atmosphere, any wonder? – it could as well be the well-appointed entrance to a funeral home – how depressing.

Global talk

In the early times, all notices were sent out in Dutch, after a few years, we had them in English too, but imagine my surprise when the notice that ended in my mailbox also had a Japanese translation.

Translation is an inappropriate word because the English version leaves out information found in the Dutch version which states that someone on the fourteenth floor had been pouring deep-frying fat down the drains which were are all clogged up again, just over a month ago. Again? Miscreants!

All versions advise us that it is forbidden to throw fat down the drain as the native version states that translations are offered in English and Japanese to which many a nationalist might remonstrate that we all have to learn Dutch if we live in the Netherlands.

Strangely, the English version goes on the offer the tip to pour warm (not hot!) fat – in their words – in a milk carton and throw that in our communal refuse bin, nothing that the Dutch or Japanese would find useful it seems.

Local meets

A Japanese colleague at work did laugh when he read out the Japanese bit, though I thought there were a good too many pictures (kanji) for little information, I must commend the writer for bringing the Far East to the West.

I do wonder if English would now be allowed at the annual general meeting because the I last attended, my Dutch comments were applauded for their comical value than the seriousness of what I had to say – I have not be that participatory in apartment block politics just for the fact that they end up like Dutch meetings – the desire to congregate and be heard but never reach workable decisions as one stands out antagonising everything regardless of substance.

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