Posts Tagged ‘English’

Is Czech-Canadian Honeymoon Over?

Saturday, July 26th, 2008 by Jerry Kott

It’s been less than a year since Canada lifted visa requirements for citizens of the Czech Republic. Last February, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper were excitingly positive about Czech-Canadian relations. (more…)

Beijing Olympics And Human Rights

Saturday, July 26th, 2008 by Jerry Kott

The picture says it all:

Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
The Chinese police state doesn’t like the world to see inside China – and rightly so. According to this article in The Globe And Mail, some 400,000 police informants and ‘security volunteers’ are being recruited to ensure the ‘safety’ of the Olympics. Of course, the communist regime in Beijing highest concern is the well-being of the athletes and the visitors. That’s why this top headline is on the Czech Radio website today:

China complains about Czech PM wearing Tibetan flag badge

The Chinese ambassador to the Czech Republic has complained about Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek’s decision to wear a badge bearing the Tibetan flag at a news conference last week. Mr Topolánek wore the badge when he announced to journalists that he would be visiting this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing, but not attending the Games’ opening ceremony. On Saturday, Mladá Fronta Dnes reported that the Chinese ambassador to Prague, Huo Yuzhen had lodged a formal complaint about the incident with the Czech Foreign Ministry. Last week, the Czech ambassador to China was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, to talk to officials about Mr Topolánek’s conduct. According to a Czech government spokesperson, China was concerned that Prague might have changed its political position and begun to advocate an independent Tibet. The spokesperson stressed that this was not the case.

So – what to do about the Beijing Olympics? All past attempts at boycotting the games seem to have been outmaneuvered by the Chinese, even as they keep tightening up their grip on the country.

It just so happened that I spent part of today assembling some furniture for my living room. I bought it at Leon’s – the quintessential Canadian furniture store. Guess where the furniture was made? Right, in communist China. And here lies the problem – as long as we are willing to buy Chinese products, no boycott of any sort will achieve anything. Sure, the Chinese people have better standard of living today than ever before. But they are as enslaved as they have been for the past sixty years of the communist rule.

The only way to achieve anything with China is to stop buying their products. Easier said than done, I am afraid.

Virtual Czech Republic

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008 by Jerry Kott

We have come across a very beautiful site showing off some of the jewels of the Czech Republic in a 3D virtual view. Worth visiting!

Czech Republic through the Eyes of a Canadian Choirboy

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008 by Nový Domov

By Ryan Knowles

I absolutely could not wait for the plane to leave. I had already put my suitcase into the hands of Czech Airlines, and was now desperately trying to shove my enormous carry-on bag into the top shelves. Finding this physically impossible, I resigned myself to a slightly less comfortable flight with my bag stuffed between my legs. I didn’t care one bit though; in a couple of hours I would take my first ever step on European soil, and neither an uncomfortable flight nor jet lag could spoil this amazing experience for me. Everybody that had been to Europe before told me that Europe was a very laid back and beautiful place, and I had heard elsewhere that the Czech Republic was one of the most beautiful places in Europe. I guess you can say that my expectations were a little high.

I arrived at the airport, and couldn’t wait to rush out of the airport and gaze out at the grandeur of the Czech Republic. I expected to see old castles and ancient Cathedrals. What I saw was a very modern city. I would be lying to say that I was not a little disappointed. I had expected some great and ancient buildings overflowing with history, and all I saw was a city not very much unlike downtown Toronto. As we loaded ourselves onto a bus, jet lag hit me like a sledge hammer. This, combined with a familiar and therefore uninteresting view, made me fall asleep almost before I sat down. (more…)

Bastille Day

Monday, July 14th, 2008 by Jerry Kott

Today is the anniversary of the storming of Bastille, the prison that symbolized the absolute rule of the French Monarchy. 14th of July 1789 marked the beginning of the French revolution, and the end of belief that kings and aristocrats had divine right to rule. The citizens themselves would take the matter of the state in their hands, and liberty, equality and fraternity would become the ideals upon which future societies would be built.

Right? (more…)

Call for Volunteers

Thursday, July 10th, 2008 by Jerry Kott

At out last board meeting (yes there is such a thing – if you are into business administration, why not join MMI so you can help out?), we discussed urgent need for volunteers. There are few things that we would really appreciate the help of some enthusiastic young hands:

We are in the final stages of preparing the pool in the park for its opening. I know, late, but better late than never. We have secured some funds to operate it this season, and are looking at pool operators who would run the necessary technical and operation stuff. It needs to be drained and cleaned (hopefully this weekend), and then, for the rest of the summer, we’ll need volunteers to collect admission. It’s not a paid job, but as a reward, you’ll get all the great outdoor time with the free use of the pool. If you are interested, call MMI office at 416-439-4354.

On October 26th, MMI and other community organizations, including the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Toronto, will hold a celebration to commemorate the founding of the independent Czechoslovak Republic in 1918. We are looking for a few volunteers to help with the preparation and the running of the festivities. Again, call 416-439-4354 if you’d like to help out.

We are ad-supported

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008 by Nový Domov

Hi there!

Starting today, we are including ads on the blog. Although we are trying to remain as unobtrusive as possible, the reality of being a charity is that every penny of revenue is dear. Including ads on the web site is one way to generate funds that can be used to support our programs.

Of course, you, our readers, can help us not only by following (hopefuly relevant to you) ad links, but also directly by contributing through CanadaHelps.

Last but not least, if you are interested in sharing your stories, why don’t you register and become a contributor? After all, it’s our readers and their stories what matters most.

Site evolution

Sunday, June 29th, 2008 by Nový Domov

Ahoj!

We have a few more registered subscribers, but I noticed that the RSS subscribe has been hidden from the view, at the bottom of your browser window. We have fixed that. If you have a modern browser like Firefox (sadly, the new Internet Explorer has some compatibility issues and many people are still not upgrading), or use a specialized blog reader program, you can use RSS Feed this link to subscribe to the site content.

We are still in a sort of experimental stage, working on a closer integration with www.novydomov.com (which the blog will eventually be part of), and www.masaryktown.org, the publisher of both printed and online edition of Nový Domov. Please bear with us.

Other than that, we have a new author/contributor, George Jirka Grosman. George is a Toronto jazz guitarist, writer, and an overall fun guy to be with. We appreciate his contributions, and are hoping to attract more contributors to bring you the news, events, and their points of view on the life of Czech and Slovak community here in Canada and elsewhere. Stay tuned!

First registered subscriber!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008 by Nový Domov

Veramarie, whoever you are, welcome to Nový Domov, and congratulations on becoming No. 1!

Party time!

Monday, June 23rd, 2008 by Jerry Kott

Ahoj!

On June 21st, Masaryk Memorial Institute hosted our annual Czech & Slovak Canada Day. I spent most of the day in MMI office working on some computer and IT stuff, as well as getting ready to start publishing this blog. However, I still had some time to have a couple of beers, and enjoy our tasty Czech “vepřo knedlo zelo”.

George Grosman and his buddies jazzing it up.

Photo: Jan Rotbauer

It was a beautiful day, and everyone I spoke to had a good time. We did a few things differently than other years, but everything went quite smoothly. A big thank you to all the volunteers who spent many hours over the last couple of weeks preparing the event.