Thursday, October 25, 2012

Personal Responsibility

When the Religious Right use the term "Personal Responsibility", they mean "I'm OK; F.U."  However in Ukraine, people are, in a many respects, responsible for looking out for and after themselves.

If there is a hole in the middle of the road, such as an extra large pothole, and you hit it and break an axle, that is your problem.  Same if you are walking through the park, day or night, and step into an open manhole, after someone stole the cover, that is your problem.  Streets, sidewalks and stairs to the Metro icy and you slip and break a leg, that is your problem.  Icicles fall off the old buildings as you are walking by and kill you, that is really your problem.

People are also responsible for looking after their own documents because there is no guarantee the authorities will have copies, in fact, more likely that they won't.  So if you visit the doctor, you keep your own medical records and take them with you next time you go to the hospital or the doctor.  Tanya has medical file folders for both of us.  And several file folders related to the house. All documents to do with the gas permits; to do with utilities contracts (garbage pick up fees are based on the number of people registered to that address); to do with the Village Council.  You name it, we have copies of it and Tanya has it filed away somewhere.

Not sure what would happen if any of them were destroyed.  I'd feel happier if they were all scanned onto my computer, not that the copies would be accepted but at least it would give us a start in replacing them - at a fairly substantial cost, I expect.

On a side note, when we go married, Tanya kept her previous name because of the cost and complexity of changing all the necessary documents.  For example, she graduated from Krasnoyarsk Agricultural University thirty years ago and would have to contact them to change her name on her Diploma.  Go figure.


5 comments:

  1. I really enjoy these posts about life in Ukraine. Yes, I have learned too that people in Ukraine do NOT rely on government to do much for them. They have few expectations of the "system". I have never seen people so patient about line-ups, for example.

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    1. Line-ups are a way of life. In Soviet times they were essential to get scarce goods. Until recently one had to line up for sometimes hours to get a railway ticket as they had to type in each person's name from their passport. We still have to line up in small grocery stores where everything is behind the counter and each person must be waited on individually.

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  2. It appears we are at the extremes now. It's gotten ridiculous here with paperwork. Even in my own profession the paperwork which once took 10 minutes to fill out now can take over an hour. Now for any job one must make diagrams of the work done with colored pencils and precise descriptions. And forget doing the paperwork for a government job. That takes hours. I helped my boss fill out paperwork for one job. I filled out what I could but gave up after about 2 hours.

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    1. Same in schools, universities, hospitals...administration takes more time and money than the actual performance of the purpose of the institution. Does anyone know how this came about?

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  3. Someone sued and won is one part of it. The other part of it was when so many workers were hurt like with asbestos. Companies have to cover their own rears and it's no help that educational standards are slipping. Any more a company must assume a worker lacks common sense. But for me I see this as a matter of balance. There needs to be enough regulations to protect all parties but not too much that it becomes burdensome. I'd sure hate to do my job over there with a total disregard for rules or safety. I'm sure you can appreciate that working in the beef industry.

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