Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Das ist Deutschland

406 words

Uh-oh, this country in screwed… and it’s before considering the strange football tournament next month (using any other name for it seems to ‘violate’ the ‘rights’ of a bunch of overpaid Swiss morons) that I have to say that. But even for that event a kind of public motto is Die Welt zu Gast bei Freunden – reminding the locals that they’re supposed to be friendly hosts to the football jerks coming to visit from abroad.

And then, some politician had the bright idea to point out that being good friends with the guests, particularly those who obviously look foreign, might be to let them know in advance that there exist areas in some towns where they better shouldn’t go if they want to leave without being hurt or killed.

And that caused a huge uproar. While local African groups welcomed this as the overdue facing of uncomfortable truths, others denounced the statement as playing in favour of the xenophobes – by giving up certain areas to them.

In all the hysteria it’s a bit difficult to tell how bad things really are.

On another, less problematic but still somewhat screwed up, note: The new central railway station in Berlin was opened this weekend. In a way it sounds like a real screw-up. People said they exceeded both their time and monetary budgets by a factor of two or three. And in the process they also changed the design to be shorter on the outside and less sophisticated on the inside. All that doesn’t sound too promising.

But it means that there is a railway station right in the city centre – i.e. next to the parliament where nobody live – now. It has two sets of tracks on different levels and is made of a lot of glass. If we’re optimistic we can hope that having the railway station there – rather than the two old ones in the east and the west which won’t be serviced by long distance trains anymore in the future – will get some life in the area. If we’re pessimistic, we’ll assume that in their moneysaving ‘strategies’ they forgot to account for the fact that building a huge structure with glass roof means you’ll have to clean it all the time to keep it from looking shabby.

It’ll be interesting to see it (so far the trains already passed through it, but didn’t stop) but it’s not entirely convincing. A shame.

May 29, 2006, 21:26

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