I am born in Ploiesti city, Romania…
But now I want to get the fuck out from this fucking country… government SUCKS, due to communism, the stupid former communist government and the even more stupid government after fall of communism, completed by many political people arrested for corruption and frequent protests against government.
If during communism government the country stagnated, after fall of communism the country declined: 1990s was dominated by unemployment, inflation, rising criminality, corruption, prices rising faster than salaries, many local factories of cheap products were closed and the country started importing expensive products.
After 2000 living conditions improved. Salaries grew about 4 times from 2002 and 2008. Analysts predicted that late 2000s recession would not affect Romania very hard, but bad management from government caused GDP to continue falling from 2009 for 4 consecutive years (as 2012) and the fall may continue for next years.
Today most Romanians own cars, mobile phones, computers, internet, plasma TVs, etc… but the public systems are the same like in communist times: hospitals, schools, road and rail infrastructure… all have no major improvements! With other words, Romania became a poor country with rich population.
Romania have some unemployment (along 40-60 year old people) but also of vacant jobs (due to deficit of young and skilled workforce), especially in educational and health system. Baby boom in the 1960s, low birth rate in 1980s and 1990s, baby boom in the 2000s, plus massive emigration in 1990s. In 2020s number of retired people will exceed number of workers, making economy unsustainable. Many young and skilled people are going to work overseas being unhappy of local salaries, and 70-year old retired doctors and teachers are called back to work.
Without good infrastructure, good education system, healthcare and skilled workforce, foreign investors stay away and Romania have NO FUTURE!
Political instability and protest against government
After communist was overthrown in 1989, political hole was filled by second-ranked communists leaded by Ion Iiliescu promoting democracy. Elections were organized in 1990 and 1992 and Ion Iliescu won. In 1996 he was defeated by Emil Constantinescu. In 2000 Ion Iliescu won again. Ecomomy declined in 1990s and started rising in early 2000s.
A stupid constitution revision in 2003 increased presidential term to 5 years and no longer match the parliament elections that are held every 4 years. We should accept the fact that the most-hated Traian Basescu can remain president until 2014.
Traian Basescu was elected mayor of Bucharest in 2000, during his term, city infrastructure was greatly improved, he was elected again as mayor in 2004, this helped him to win presidential elections in November 2004. During his term, economy of Romania was the fastest-growing in Europe, joined EU in 2007.
Since 2006 there is an endless political conflict between the president Traian Basescu and the parliament, and not only. Parliament suspended the president in April 2007, many jokes circulated on internet inviting people to vote at referendum to support the president and at parliament elections in 2008 to get rid of the 322 pigs of parliament who suspended president. A referendum was held and 74% of population voted for Traian Basescu to return in seat.
Traian Basescu won a second term at presidential elections in November 2009 in a very tight battle, people still loved him.
Things calmed down after 2008 parliamentary elections but in 2010 the president realized how big is budget deficit as whole world was hit by recession but Romania did not took any measures, he launched austerity measures (cutted salaries with 25% and pensions with 15%), causing violent protests.
Prime minister is designated by the president, and since 2012 it has been changed several times per year, as seen on Wikipedia.
In January 2012 the health reform proposed by prime minister Emil Boc triggered new violent protests against president and government, starting from 12 January. Traian Basescu urged Emil Boc to cancel the health reform and Emil Boc resigned on 5 February 2012 to calm down protests, replaced by Cătălin Predoiu on 6 February, again replaced by Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu on 9 February, then replaced Victor Ponta on 7 May same year.
In July 2012 the president was suspended again by the fucking parliament, and opposition parties put a lot of banners through cities saying “dismiss him!”, inviting people to vote against president. The referendum ended with 88.70% people voted for resign (against president) especially due to austerity measures from 2010, but the referendum was invalidated due to low presence (46.24% of total population with voting right) so the president was allowed to return in the seat, causing another series of protests, asking the president to resign.
Government started thinking whenever should take in consideration Romanian diaspora when calculating election turnout, very few percent of overseas Romanians go to vote and if they weren’t taken in consideration, turnout would have been over 50% and Traian Basescu would have been gone from office.
Small-scale protests. continued in 2012-2015.
In November 2014 new elections were held, Traian Basescu could not participate anymore because already held 2 terms, and Klaus Iohannis took the power. This was the first president of Romania that belongs to an ethnic minority (German). We imagined a good future for Romania to go towards Germany.
In January 2017, a series of ordinances to change justice laws that pardon crimes commuted by political people, encouraging corruption (ordinance 13) made by Prime Minister and Ministry of Justice caused the biggest anti-government protests in post-communist Romania. Ordinance 13 was cancelled, but in 2018 parliament made another attempt to change justice laws, president opposed and this made parliament to attempt again to suspend the president Klaus Iohannis. Street protests revived.
Looks that does not matter who is the president and prime minister, people always protest against government. But is not really their personal fault, the economy and politics as whole plunged Romania deeper and deeper into this shithole.
Be country president for… ONE NIGHT!
2009 elections were tightest in Romanian history. In first round held on 22 November, out of 12 candidates, Traian Basescu was leading with 32.44% followed by Mircea Geoana with 31.15%. In second round held on 6 December, exit-polls made at 19:00 were published when voting stations in Romania closed at 21:00, out of 4 exit polls, 3 showed Mircea Geoana to have won with 51.2, 51.0, 50.7% and one lost with 49.6%. Despite of this, Traian Basescu appeared first in public saying “we won” (video), Mircea Geoana came too saying same thing “we won” (video). Traian Basescu accepted to be defeat and started crying. Over night, Mircea Geoana and his team held a party.
But they did not realized that overseas voting stations are still opened, especially those in United States were significant Romanian diaspora is living, were closing 10 hours later. About 80% of overseas Romanians voted for Traian Basescu because he had long history in politics and and they did not know much about Mircea Geoana. Next day morning official results came: Traian Basescu won elections with 50.33%! So Mircea Geoana was president just for… ONE NIGHT!
Mircea Geoana accused Traian Basescu for fraud and asked re-counting the invalid votes. Some valid votes were found to have been wrongly declared invalid, but this only added few extra votes for Traian Basescu and did not changed results.
The importance of a 2nd voting round if nobody takes at least 50% in 1st round, was seen also in 2014 elections. In first round, out of the 14 candidates, Victor Ponta was leading with 40.44% followed by Klaus Iohannis with 30.37%. In second round, Klaus Iohannis won with 54.43%.
Economy and poverty
The number of cars increased fast in the 1990s, while the roads inside cities are the same like 20 years ago. Romania is also the EU leading in the number of deaths from road accidents (source).
Communist government built about 3 million apartments until they were overthrown, housing about 40% of country population. They done little investment in rural areas or landed housing areas of cities, as they were planned to be demolished and replaced with apartments.
About 55% live in urban areas (cities and towns), but most areas of so-called towns are still rural in terms of living conditions (to get status of town is enough to have a police office, hospital and sewage on ONE street). As 2011, 44% of country population still live without water and sewage (source). Drawing water from wells is the only way for most rural residents.
Salaries in Romania average about 400 euro per month, minimum by law is 700 lei (150 euro), the lowest in European union, but the cost of living is not much cheaper compared with rest of Europe.
The real estate prices in Bucharest rivalize with prices in many European capitals, averaging 1000 euro per square meter, making impossible for young couples to buy apartments and are forced to move to countryside.
The low-cost locally-made Dacia Logan cars are about 6000 euro so majority of population cannot afford it, they buy instead 10-20 year old used Dacia cars at about 1000 euro. In rural areas, but also at outskirts of Bucharest, horse drawn vehicles are still basic form of transportation.
Nationwide car ratio is 1 car per 8 people, same like Singapore. Unlike most major cities where people use public transport and do not need to own cars (unless they live in rural areas), in Romania people living in cities own most cars, reaching ratio of 1 car per 3 people.
People are complaining about buses speed, traveling with a car is always faster than traveling with a bus, unfortunately each extra car on the roads causes buses to slow down which causes more people to use cars = vicious circle. No wonder that Bucharest became the most polluted capital of Europe. People should learn to use bicycles, in a such jammed city, bicycle is the fastest!
Road rages frequently results in fights and sometimes, gun usage.
Drag racing in Romanian style!
Teoretically horse drawn vehicles are not allowed on highways
Funny advertising… high technology vs romanian traditional transportation
Sometimes the horses go on roads on their own…
…and put the car traffic in danger!
Government has installed fences on highways to prevent animals wandering on roads, but they were stolen overnight and sold as scrap metal.
Childhood misconception about communist government
In my childhood, my parents never told me the truth about Nicolae Ceausescu. I understood that he was a good president and was unfortunately killed by an unidentified BAD guy. Probably my parents were happy at revolution but hated what happened after: they lost their jobs, inflation and rising criminality made everything worse, but this should NOT be a reason to hide me the truth.
When I was 15 years old, in October 2004 I connected to neighborhood LAN and in February 2015 got also internet connection, meaning freedom in making friends and talk with strangers, many kids around my age had bad image about communism and accused me for being crazy for saying that I love Nicolae Ceausescu, but they still did not knew much about revolution.
I was SHOCKED when I downloaded from LAN a video containing the Ceausescu’s court case before being shot by the army, realizing how my parents kept me in a lie for 15-16 years, after this using internet I studied living conditions in other countries so I completely changed my image about Nicolae Ceausescu.
In the next years, every December is broadcasted a documentary about 1989 revolution intended to teach young people, I was shocked once again to see that over 1000 innocent people were killed at the orders of Nicolae Ceausescu or killed by army in the mess of the days of revolution.
(this is not the single case in which my family kept me in a lie for years, there are numerous accusations from friends against my parents, saying that my dad shall be shot like Nicolae Ceausescu, for ruling my life, limiting my freedom and isolating me from society, banned me from using phone or internet, before having internet my single way of communication was face-to-face with people that my parents allowed me to get in contact with, etc). Currently I don’t live anymore with parents.
Reasons to love communist government
No unemployment! The government gave a job for everyone.
No homelessness! The government gave an apartment for everyone.
As 1989 the country had zero external debt, also inflation was prevented.
Major improvements in industry, most of production being exported. Unfortunately the factories used outdated technology and caused high pollution, manufacturing bad quality products which hardly got customers overseas, so the profits were low.
Major improvement in public services, the number of schools, hospitals and other public institutions rose greatly during communist government, compared with capitalist government.
Major improvements in infrastructure, especially on rail transport, many lines were doubled and electrified. Cities were redeveloped, houses demolished, many wide avenues were built in 1980s, unfortunately some avenues are unfinished, ending in old ugly undemolished houses, being unusable.
Bucuresti Metro, from 1979 to 1990 the communists opened 55 km of lines, out of the ~100 km planned to have in year 2000. From 1990 to 2010 the capitalists managed to finish and open additional 8 km of the lines started in communism times, nevermind about starting new lines.
Highways, although communist government gave little importance to road infrastructure, they built one highway, 97 km Bucuresti-Pitesti, while capitalists didn’t managed to finish a single highway yet. The 204 km Bucuresti-Constanta highway was started in 1987, construction progress slowly during 2000s and as 2012 is still not fully opened. Main cause are the bad laws which don’t allow the state to takeover the land from owners, they can sue the government and block the project until the government compensate them with a sum of money overvaluated at their own wish.
Most of communist apartment complexes were built with double number of parking lots than the number cars at their time, but today is still not enough.
Tell me which of these were made by today’s capitalist government?
However I have many reasons to hate communist government too. I think that if the communists never arrived in 1947 and the country was still ruled by King monarchy, the living conditions today were even better!
Funny & stupid car registration tax
Romania have one of the highest average age of vehicle fleet in Europe (the highest is in Poland), due to poor population we cannot afford new cars so we choose to import used cars. “RABLA” program was made to eliminate old cars from road, polluting high and in bad condition, prone to accidents. The owners of old cars can bring their cars to scrapyard and receive a ticket, up to 3 tickets can be used to get a discount when buying a new car.
In 2007 Romanian government came with idea to add a tax when you register a car, to discourage us buying what Western Europe citizens throw away (used car imports), tax was initially higher for old cars polluting more, but this turned into protests saying that for old cars the tax exceed car value, the tax was changed to make older and cheaper imported cars to pay lower, resulting in protests from new car dealers that people pay too much to register a new car.
European Union accused us for discrimination and forced Romanian government to cancel “registration tax”, people making lawsuits against government made government to lose money by paying court fees, people started registering cars in Bulgaria where their tax is lower, in 2011 “registration tax” was cancelled and a new “car tax” was added, paid by everyone to avoid discrimination, people protested again.
In 2013 another “pollution timber” was added and people paying previous taxes were allowed to get money back, European Union called new tax illegal too, allowing people to sue government and get money back, but the funny part: people were still obligated to pay the illegal tax when registering a car then sue government to get the money back.
After Klaus Iohannis became president in 2016, a lot of taxes were eliminated in 2017, including car tax. People used the chance to import again used cars from Western Europe, more used cars have been imported in 2017 averaging 10+ years old than the number of old cars eliminated through RABLA program.
Results: 10 YEARS OF NERVES for all drivers. Now government thinks about a new tax for driving inside cities. Have you seen a bullshit bigger than this?
More reasons to hate Romania
Corruption: taxes are scary high but public budget is tiny. How is possible? Simple, fiscal evasion is huge and bribery is a rule. People with university degree but without friends are jobless because jobs are occupied by uneducated people with friends in company.
Bad laws allows the owners to abandon the buildings, some being occupied by homeless people, drug dealers and other criminals, they set fires to heat themselves, sometimes burning entire building. Heritage buildings are in danger of collapse and should be demolished, owners often do this to get rid of buildings to sell the expensive land and built a steel & glass skyscraper in the 19th century historical center. Tourists are welcomed by stray dogs, pickpockets, drug dealers and falling pieces of buildings.
Bucharest was voted ugliest capital of Europe.
Outdated housing conditions: officially 55% of population lives in the cities, but in fact only parts of cities are urbanized (apartment buildings or modern landed houses). Viewed from satellite, many areas of cities looks like slums, houses being randomly built without any rules (compare yourself with Western Europe cities). As 2010, 42% of population live with no sewerage, mostly in rural areas. Even in Bucharest, an European Union capital, some people are still living without running water and sewerage.
The press: everyday I see negative news at TV: crimes, murders, rapes, suicides, thefts, car crashes and politicians arguing. Most are explained with lot of details, apparently they are teaching us how to commit new crimes. I agree just to show car accidents, this may scary people to drive safer.
Crime at every opportunity: never keep your mobile phone in shoulder bag, never leave your car with engine running in front of a shop when you go to buy something, because many Romanians are born to steal, seeking for every opportunity to steal something, knowing that the risk of being reported and caught is low, and even if they are caught by police, most pickpockets are not jailed because the jails are already overcrowded with more dangerous criminals.
Sex life: Romanians are a sexually-obsessed population. I always hear people talking and swearing using sexual words in public places, even 5-year old kids who do not know the word meaning, use works like fuck and dick in children playground, they just imitate language of older kids, while their parents are watching them without doing anything. Underage kids watch porn videos everyday, downloaded via Torrent and DC++ filesharing networks and more recently via websites like Redtube and xHamster. Is common for both boys and girls to start having sex at 14 years, who is still virgin at 18 years is seen like a retarded idiot.
Myself I have a troubled social life due to sexually obsessed people. I tend to play with children in the park, playing football or other children games, and some sexually obsessed children call me a pedophile despite of not doing anything sexual to children. Even funnier, kids who call me pedophile also call me out intentionally to play with them.
The reason for which I play with children at my adult age is because during childhood I did not had this change. While in childhood I had friends of my age, the scandals in family that ended in divorce when I was 16 ended my social life abruptly and made me to lose contact with my friends, I keep having dreams with them at the stage they were when I saw last time.
I also have trouble getting friendship with girls, because most girls avoid meeting invitations from boys, due to many sexually obsessed boys, girls thinks that I am inviting them for sex, even if personally I am just looking for friends. I am NOT interested in sex, porn, or anything adult-like.
The Manele, one of the worst music styles ever existed in the world, can be heard everywhere in Romania and caused lot of controversy, since 2000s it influenced other music styles to migrate to Manele style too.
The stray dogs: see these photos and videos made by a friend in downtown Ploiesti. In Bucharest the number of dogs has been rising since Traian Basescu left mayor seat, reaching 1 dog per 10 people. See also Japanese businessman killed by dogs and Campaign to cull the dogs.
Trash in some areas of city: read more here.
Population lack of reciprocal respect: people are taking care only about their own property and own family, few people are willing to help others when they need help, but they are asking help from others. Few people are willing to do community tasks such as cleaning the green space around apartment buildings, they even throw trash out of window or leave trash on the beach or in parks after barbeque, leaving others to clean up.
People loves to vandalize public things, graffiti is common, including on metro trains and on downtown buildings, some are obscene pictures and bad words.
Southern Romania is inhabited by numerous roma-gypsy people, well known for their bad behavior. Even if roma-gypsy population is officially only 2.5%, romanians copied their bad behavior (or maybe they copied each other). Most of these things not happen so often in Transylvania, which is inhabited by descendants of former Austro-Hungary.
Bad road infrastructure: National car ratio growth from 1 car per 20 people in 1989 to 1 car per 8 people in 2000 and 1 car per 6 people today, but in the big cities it reaches 1 car per less than 3 people. Despite that Bucharest population is the same like 20 years ago and most families bought cars, the number of metro trips doubled too. Clearly that today people needs to travel more. But only half of city population live in walking distance to a metro station.
Inconsiderate drivers: even if the traffic lights are followed, bad drivers rush to enter in intersection even if they have no change to exit from it, blocking the traffic coming from right and cause a chain reaction that affects nearby intersections too.
This happens everyday in Bucharest… hope that you will not need an ambulance!
The way to Singapore
I ACCIDENTALLY discovered Singapore in mid-2008. At that time, I had high geography knowledge but I was never interested in residential architecture of foreign countries.
I just started to study Asian architecture, for inspiration in designing my apartments. I reminded that I saw in a book a photo with some beautiful 40+ storey apartment buildings, so I opened Google Earth and started searching them in Singapore (they were in fact from Hong Kong). I didn’t found them but I found a lot of other beautiful things so I started to love Singapore.
I read Wikipedia articles, I was shocked reading about HDB flat types because they are showing only 3-room and bigger apartments, saying that they no longer build 1- and 2-room apartments, while Romania is dominated by 2- and 3-room apartments. I wondered why singaporeans needs so many rooms. The contrast was in fact even bigger, they do not built any 3-room between 1989 and 2002, all new HDBs were 100 sqm or bigger (90 sqm or bigger after 1997). What a developed country!
Then when I saw Mass Rapid Transit, multi-storey parkings, condos with pools, etc, I realized how much Romania SUCKS… I hope that in the future to move in Singapore!!
In the same period I studied Hong Kong and South Korea too, for moving in, but I choose Singapore. In late 2008 I decided to made a Top 10 Best Cities in the World, placing Singapore 1st, Seoul 2nd, Hong Kong 3rd, while for the 4th-10th ranks I was undecided and changed them several times until reaching current ranking.
Several photos put me in confusion, for exampled the complicated shapes of HDB blocks and the lack of corridors at some floors in case of 1970s/1980s 4-room segmented blocks (look at the block 332 in background of this photo). I was totally shocked to hear that lifts in Singapore do not stop at every floor!!!! That blocks had staircase for each 2 apartments, and corridors only at the floors where the lift stops.
Romania, as well as all Eastern Europe communist tower blocks, have lifts that stop at every floor since 1960s (except the 5-storey blocks with no lift). Let’s say that Singapore was in 1960s a third-world country, but towards 1980s it developed a lot, why they kept installing such lifts until year 1990/1991?
I liked to do statistics about Singapore like how I did about my city. In the early days I was scared due to complicated shapes of HDB blocks and I never imagined that I could ever count apartments. But, towards late 2008, I realized that I have enough knowledge to start counting.
I was confused in counting apartments in case of 1980s blocks with no slits in facade, also by late-1990s blocks where each apartment have a slit in facade rather than one slit per 2 apartments, also the blocks containing both maisonettes and regular apartments put me in trouble.
But in 2009 I was able to identify which apartment types and how many per floor are contained in each block, just by looking in satellite photos (streetview was not available, Google launched it on 2 december 2009).
To be continued…
Emigrant… or not?
After a period in 2008-2010 in which I was fully decided to move in Singapore as soon is possible, but I was in doubt how I could emigrate without my family consent, also in doubt how I could survive in a new world (how I can get a job in Singapore without having a diploma?), maybe I should start own business, be an agent, etc, as I earned a lot of knowledge about Singapore real estate, but is risky.
In 2012 the earnings from my own online business became significant, and is very likely that in 2013 to exceed the average salary in Romania and my parents’ salaries as well. So, I may no need a full-time job, I can survive by my own business, but for this, I need to find a country with cheap life without taking care of local salaries.
I need to stay away from Singapore high cost of living and I may go to Malaysia instead, I was thinking of more alternatives, including Brazil, but I may as well stay in Romania where I can get feed by my family and today I have numerous friends that I didn’t had at the time I discovered Singapore.