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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Santana out ... next chapter?

The pages are turning fast, the story line is depressing. Chapter heading: President dissolves Parliament because government crisis is undermining political stability. The story line in other chapters - we are in economic crisis: our salaries are the lowest; Greece has overtaken Portugal, so has the Check Republic and Slovenia; no sense of civic duty exists. A scandalous crisis over teachers this year has yet to be resolved. The complex story of a pedophile ring involving top entertainers, politicians and who knows else is still in the blender.

I go to collect a piece of paper (in the mountain of bureaucracy that invades my life) from my local "freguesia" (neighbourhood council). It's not ready because the "Senhor Presidente" hasn't yet arrived. I'm expected to understand that the "Senhor Presidente" comes at the times he pleases.

I complain and everyone in the office stares at me - "Pois ... mas isso é a nossa cultura" they tell me. "Estamos na província". My hair stand on end, my blood boils. Why don't you try rewriting the story I splutter. If you keep selling yourself (and me) that idea, nothing will change. Eyes glaze, resigned looks and I'm aware of my insertion into the "mad foreigner" box.

I ask myself - to what extent does the narrative (in this case a negative one) shape events? Ou seja .... to what extent is it a delusion that events shape the story being related? Isn't one way out of this to start authoring a good story? And what, by the way, is my role in that?


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