Friday, October 08, 2004

upcoming elections

On Sunday, city-wide elections will take place in Bishkek. I only directly heard about them today, when a coworker who recently finished her university studies told me that she’d be going to vote for the first time on Sunday. I knew something was coming up though, because I’ve been finding all kinds of advertising wedged in my door cracks when I came home. I got a mini 2005 calendar, with a candidate on the back, and lots of leaflets. I hung onto one of the first and largest that I received. Given upcoming elections in other places, I thought you might be interested in seeing how a Kyrgyz politician tries to earn the votes of the residents of my apartment building.

This is a rough translation of the flyer. It’s printed on paper that is so thin it’s transparent. A black and white photo of the young and thin candidate stares out seriously from the upper left-hand side. He’s wearing a white dress shirt and a tie and standing in front of a city planning map. The entire flier is black and white except for the first “The capital in clean hands,” which is printed in bright red.

The political party

The capital in clean hands
Kuban Kandiev

Born in 1963, married with two children. University education in economics.

I, Kuban Kandiev, appeal to you, residents of Zhibek-Zholskovo region number 10, to go to selected sites on October 10 and to vote for the candidate who can change our lives and the lives of our children and relatives for the better.

Our Program
Corruption and embezzlement of public funds. Corruption has soiled all echelons of power. Bribes have become the main force to decide any question. A large amount of funds, needed for the city, are spent. But turn and look around – electricity turned off, swarms of rats, garbage on the street, children with nowhere to play and many other problems that surround us. This is a result of the absence of effective control and the ineffective work of the parliament, quiet appendages of executive power, approving all executive decisions. For the control of the parliament, a fight against corruption, “reaching the seventh floor of the White house” it’s necessary to take in honest people, sincerely defending the interests of the electors. Because of this we need to put the capital into clean hands.

Housing and tariffs. Communal services live by the principle – housing for the public, the interests of residents don’t interest them. The prices of communal services are exorbitantly high. In our country, rich in electroenergy, we are going to strive for a reduction in the electric and utilities tariffs. Because of this we need to put the capital into clean hands.

School and children. School has been placed in the backyard of government interests. Bribes are rising, but many school buildings find themselves in an unsatisfactory condition. The work of many children’s institutions has been discontinued because of a lack of financing. Children are mainly denied a harmonious and well-rounded development, while those in power attend only to their own children. Because of this we need to put the capital into clean hands.

Pensioners and the unemployed. Pensioners and the unemployed have become one of the most undefended categories. The pension levels aren’t enough even for people’s minimal needs for food, medicine and utilities. The government and the power in the capital have closed their eyes to the needs of these people. Social security and a minimal standard of living for the undefended populations – are the demands of our candidate. Because of this we need to put the capital into clean hands.

I’m starting to experience communal living myself. The heat is turned on on the same day for everyone in the city.

“When is the heat going to be turned on?” one of my foreign colleagues asked a local several weeks ago.

“November 1st.”

“I thought I read it was October 15th,” I said.

“That’s the official date,” the local woman replied. “But it never actually gets turned on until November.”

My landlady, Zhenya, came over the other night. “If you get cold before the heat comes on, this is what you do,” she instructed me, and showed me how she lights the oven and leaves the door open. “The place will warm up really quickly,” she promised. So that’s what I’ve done for the past two evenings, at least until I go to bed. Tonight the evening temperature is forecast to be 0 to 2 degrees Celsius, or about 32 to 36. And still over three weeks to go until heat!

Other than the risk of fire, does anyone know if there are any health/safety risks to leaving a gas oven running over an extended period of time?

1 comment:

Juke said...

Fire needs fuel and oxygen. The gas is fuel, the oxygen comes from the air that's in the house. If it's cold and you have the drafts all blocked the fire will burn the oxygen in the room to a level that might be dangerous, depending on how big the rooms are, how high the ceilings are, etc. The lack of oxygen and the carbon monoxide make people confused and sleepy.
If there's drafts, or you keep a window cracked by where you sleep, and/or the oven is vented, it's probably okay.
If there's a stovepipe out the back of the range/oven that's good. If you wake up headachey and dull, that's bad.
I'm guessing if it's an old building the ceilings are high - more air. But then the heat goes up there, huh?
Gives you some insight on the craft and science of early folks, doing what they could to keep warm.
Eating starchy food right before you go to sleep, like bread or something, seems to help the body make its own heat, at least for me. A trick I learned camping.
Layers of clothing, thermal underwear, two pairs of wool socks...
Positive attitude! Warm thoughts!