7th of September Blues

For those of you who don´t know, today is the Brazilian Independence Day. I don´t know much about politics and presume there is not much to celebrate, but you have to be blind not to see that something tense is going on. Something is shifting.

After some massive protesting, Brazilians are slowly learning one thing: the government should fear public opinion more than the press. This may sound a little obvious to countries like the US or European countries, but Brazilians haven´t fully understood the power they have. They limit their participation to voting and complaining, but little is really done toward forcing the government to listen to their woes. No one has been able to explain this to me, 11953267_1032919433414338_6114491051835807124_nespecially Brazilians, but I suspect it is just how Brazilian society works. Get on with your life, look after your own and pretend the rest is not there. That just isn´t working anymore.

Too much neglect has led to this point. Pointing the finger to the government they chose is not going to work. They have to actually get up off their asses and do something. Not many have fully realized this, but it´s changing. The two inflatable dummies created to shout public opinion in the face of the government seems to be a good step. Seriously. It might sound far-fetched, but those dummies represent more than outsiders could comprehend. They are the smack in the face the government needed, the F-you protected under tight guard.

On the government side, they are as deaf as usual although visibly more irritated, scurrying to find more idiotic ways to take money from Brazilians to pay for their inefficiency and bad decisions. Who was it that said people need a common enemy to come together? Well, that is what is happening in Brazil. It´s them against us now.

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On the innocent bystander side, things are also changing. The economic hole the country is in is forcing people to treat customers better, create more innovative ways to attract our attention, offer discounts (whaaatttt?), show more respect, more “comradeship”… before all hell broke loose, you would not get much respect or attention from a shop attendant or waiter. Now they are falling all over each other to convince you to buy or taste something.

The other day, someone told me cars made in Brazil are cheaper in Mexico because Brazilians pay for the higher price. Simple as that. Service providers and manufactures in Brazil (and I presume people here in general) have this annoying habit of lowering quality, raising prices and treating each other badly for no reason. As if wanting to see just how far they can go. Now real-estate is going down, although they still haven´t gotten the knack of attracting customers in creative ways (free TV if you buy a 100,000 BRL 35m2 flat is not creative, sorry) instead of actually putting the price down to, say, what it´s worth. Oh, and car sales are hitting rock bottom. Clothes are actually almost the same price as they are in the rest of the world, although there is still a long way to go. People are now considering fixing things instead of throwing them away (buying = status, even if your fridge is empty) and of buying good quality used cars instead of bad quality new ones just to impress the Joneses.

Yes, things are changing. And as a firm believer that bad things always have a sunny side, I am just watching the social shift and eager to see the outcome.

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Why Brazil Is Its Own Worst Enemy | Daniel Wagner

Any article with a title like this one is bound to be interesting! Must read.

Why Brazil Is Its Own Worst Enemy | Daniel Wagner.

Review: Prejudice? Really?

An article I read the other day: Voices of Brazil, the models facing prejudice at home, from the Guardian, really bothered me and I just felt I had to write something about it, being black and all.

First of all, the author accuses Brazil of choosing a white couple to represent the country in the World Cup draw, which is downright incorrect. Brazil chose Camila Pitanga and Lázaro Ramos, two black actors, for the draw and Fifa rejected them and chose the two white models and couple, Marcelo and Fernanda.

Secondly, black models are rare anywhere in the world, Why? Because we are a minority in most countries and women find it harder to identify with women of other races and because models are chosen for other reasons, not because of colour. I mean, the world´s catwalks are not exactly abundant with Asian models, are they? People should never be forced to choose someone because they are this race or that race. That, to me, is racist.

Maybe black models have more chances outside Brazil, but it is precisely for the “tropical” look that they are chosen so being from Brazil might even be a bonus. Countries where there is a low population of black people are usually the ones who hire them the most. But again, so what?

I just wish people would stop whining about idiotic things and start acting to improve the serious things this country has to change. Picking on a country for just about everything is not going to solve anything.

There, I´ve said it.

Gringa Go Home!

The other day, someone left a comment on an article I wrote about my Driving School Experience, asking why I didn´t go back to my country. This type of comment is very common (although it´s the first one I´ve received) when you are a foreigner commenting on the defects of another country, so I would like to officialize my response to the comment and to all future comments of this nature.

As a person without a fixed nationality, I do not have a “home” country. Furthermore, I firmly believe that a country is one thing and it´s people are another. Brazil is the best country in the world, although Brazilians do not seem to think so. They treat their own country with indifference and do little by way of civility. They allow their chosen governers to miseducate their children, spend all the money they pay for decent services on themselves, charge them illegal charges, unfounded charges (what is the seguro obligatório, for &*%&¨$ sake? How can that work if no one demands yearly car checks?) and mislead them election after election after election.

I was born in Latin America, as as a Latin American I know that all Latin American citizens  suffer from an intefiority complex. It´s not the country, it´s the people that have issues. The reason behind the complex is complex, but all people of these countries respond to criticism from “foreigners” in the same way. This, however, does not prevent them from criticising their own country almost 24 hours a day. So my question is always the same, when I hear people grumbling about their own country, “why don´t you do something about it”. “Why don´t you start stopping at zebra crossing to let people pass?” “Why don´t YOU pick up that litter the previous idiot dropped?” “Why don´t you abide by the law when you pay the cleaning lady?” “Why don´t you treat employees with respect?”

Many Brazilians I know would happily change their currency to US dollars, their language to English and their country to the any other country, but I would not. I am a citizen of Brazil by choice, after a 5-year battle to obtain citizenship and I have more love for this country than most Brazilians will ever have.

In my blog I do not critisize Brazil, but Brazilians, because they do not know the wonderful place they are lucky enough to call home. I came to Brazil with an open mind and I am considered very objective. Absolutely everything I write about is based on direct observation and personal experiences in Brazil. Nothing is invented or unfounded. So if you have an issue about my blog, please don´t bother leaving falsly patriotic comments and read something else.

Thank you.