Monday, May 23, 2005

Buyer Beware

The following is from Hungary Around the Clock.

The Free Democrats will honour those who speak out against discrimination with the Bearded Man prize, named after a hostile remark by Fidesz MP Zsolt Semjen. The party has invited the public to submit misogynous, homophobic, racist and insensitive quotes by public figures for posting on its website szdsz.hu.

Semjen told a Christian Democrat convention in February that anyone who wants his teenage son to obtain his first sexual experience from a bearded man should vote for the Free Democrats.

The Free Democrat website also recalls a remark attributed to Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, who once spoke of the need to trade in “aging wives”.

Film director Miklos Jancso will head a five-member panel to select prize-winners. The other panel members will be MPs Matyas Eorsi, Gabor Horn, Peter Gusztos and Laszlo Csozik.

Bearded man prize
Such is the level of political debate in Hungary at this time of year! The Hungarian Prime Minister’s comments earlier this year about the Saudi football team being a bunch of terrorists ought to qualify for first prize but I’m sure it won’t. Apparently Gyucsany and his Ministers are going to spend part of the summer touring the countryside town and villages to explain the 100 Steps plan. I seem to recall the previous government did something similar ..... long lunches with wine and palinka should produce some choice quotes for the Free Democrat website.

Whilst on the subject of poisonous remarks, there have been a few stories recently in Hungary of salmonella poisoning. This is no surprise. It is common here for major supermarket chains to pre-cut more expensive cheeses and wrap them in cling film – they then re-wrap the same pieces of cheese of until they have been sold; sometimes this can take a few weeks; this is a deliberate policy followed by some supermarkets although they will deny it. The other week I saw a display of Parmesan cheese in a big supermarket in the Westend shopping centre that appeared more like a display on how to cultivate penicillin than a showcase of Italian food – cut ham and salami were right next to it. ....... It is not unknown for meat and poultry products to be treated in the casual manner. Dairy products are sometimes left long periods, perhaps even longer, in warm areas prior to being put out in the refrigerated display cabinets – this is less of a concern when winter temperatures are below zero but when the summer comes and temperatures often stay between 25 – 35 centigrade for weeks it is a concern. There are inspectors here but no doubt like most forms of officialdom in Hungary they are underpaid and can be "persuaded" to look the other way.

Just as with Hungarian debt, so it is with food in some of Hungary's supermarkets - buyer beware.