Happy slapping?, Healthy eating?, Whats up doc?, Post Office queues, etc.

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Tobi … just to prove the point that white peacocks do exist (Botanical Gardens, Funchal). And according to a bit of internet research, so do albino peacocks … watch this space as I watch the youngster grow (if the cats don’t get it).

Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 5/7/2008

In what I suppose might be termed ‘happy slapping’ in some countries, the first cases I have seen reported of similar occurrences have taken place here on Madeira. A mixed group of youngsters (aged between 12 and 16) have been identified by police as having committed acts against younger children and old people, with the aim of humiliating them. Occurrences have taken place in both Funchal and Santa Cruz, that  a police spokesman has described as “practice of several illicit actions qualified by the law as crime, namely offences to the physical integrity, mischief and defamation”. The  gang prepared a mixture of chemical substances, potentially toxic, and threw them over more vulnerable victims, filming the event on mobile phone cameras and posting them on Youtube on the internet for all to see (the Diário actually has one such film to view on it’s website). The victims were approached in parks, school enclosures, and leisure areas, and ended up with damage to clothing and other personal property, with other reports of vandalism of public property. What a disgrace, and slur to the generally fine reputation of the children of Madeira. Another ‘import’ of a sick youth culture that we could well do without. If they try it with me their mobile phones will be going where the sun don’t shine!

An initiative introduced in 2001 to improve the eating habits of school children is already revealing positive results, through the provision of ‘healthy’ buffets. In with sandwiches, cereals, fruit, and yogurts, and out with the snacks, cakes and sweets. Monitoring has shown a big increase in the consumption of yogurts and sandwiches. I have noticed, and I don’t know if anyone else agrees (and I have certainly read about it in the newspaper), but the problem of obesity is increasing here not reducing, so a pat on the back for selling more healthy foods is not really deserved if children are still sourcing the unhealthy stuff elsewhere on top of what they get through their schools.

Other News :

The medical centre in Câmara de Lobos is so overworked and understaffed without sufficient doctors, the Diário reckons that people are turning up earlier and earlier to get seen. It suggests that to get seen reasonably quickly you need to get up at 4 in the morning, but then cites a case of a woman who arrived at 4.30am and had still not been seen 6 hours later!

It seems that a change in policy with the payment of pensions is causing some problems at post offices (CTT / Correios). The queues are pretty bad at the beginning of the month anyway, but the change in policy this month meant that all the pension payments were issued in the first 3 days of June, instead of the first 5 as usual (reason given: because of the postmen going on holiday). Matters are not being helped by the fact that travellers entitled to the residents rebate (between Madeira and Portugal), now have to claim the rebate at the CTT.

In a tedious political argument that you probably don’t really want to know about, it is alleged that the yellow bus company ‘Horários do Funchal’ achieves just an 18% average in passenger occupation of available seats, but doesn’t care because the government subsidises the company and its inefficiencies. As someone who sees a country bus service that does not serve the outer communities so well in terms of availability, times, and frequency of service (outside the main towns that is), then if true this is clear proof of a ‘two speed island’, as well as an abuse of taxpayers money.

Requests for bankruptcy have gone up 36% in the first half of this year, compared to 2007.

An analysis of construction plans gives a forecast of 600 million tons of cement needed in 2009, beating previous records, even those in 2004 when the European funding was in its peak years. I hope that much cement will be evenly spread, otherwise Madeira might tilt!

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9 thoughts on “Happy slapping?, Healthy eating?, Whats up doc?, Post Office queues, etc.”

  1. Hi Der

    I have been just catching up with your blog as I haven't read it for the last week and wanted to chip in about the micro – chipping of animals which you featured a few days ago.

    I took in a beautiflu dog some months ago and went through the process of having her jabs,and also the micro chip and now she has a pet passport. When the vet carried out the injection of the chip (and the size of the needle is terrifying!) we had several forms to fill and three copies to retain. One for the vet, one for me to go in her passport and the remaining one which he told me had to be taken to my local camera, so that shecould be registered there. The next day I took the papers to the camera as instructed but as usual those incompetant people and the incompetance in total of applying a law and requiring us to stick to it…….in short, they had no idea what to do with the form, they couldn't register as they had no idea how to as no one had ever required this from them. So my dog is chipped but if she gets lost- what and how is going to know?
    Unbeleivable!
    –Sam

    Reply
  2. Don't believe that 18% occupancy (even if it is an average), must be cooking the books we reckon to get those subsidies. If you get on anywhere after Forum Madeira going into Funchal, there are nearly always people standing most times of the day! We usually walk down to the terminus at the Electricity Board when we come back to make sure we get a seat.

    Not knocking the service though, at 85 cents a trip, we think it very good value.
    –Helen

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  3. True Helen, but if you take into account that there are 24 hours bus services run by Horários that probably run almost empty much of the night, then maybe that is why the average occupancy is so low. I am just guessing, and I have no idea if 18% is true or not, as the statistic did come from a politician after all.
    –Der

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  4. Not surprised with the microchipping story Sam. The dog we used to have we took into town to get her registered. After a while they found the correct form, but you could see they were surprised that anyone had actually bothered to turn up to do what was legally required. So what will you do now, as you have legal obligation to have a registered and microchipped dog, technically you are now breaking the law?
    –Der

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  5. Sam, just an afterthought but the dog registration is managed by the Junta de Freguesia rather than the Câmara … you probably already know that but didn't want to confuse everyone
    –Der

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  6. Reading the dog chipping comments I think the writer is being extremely harsh. Obviously they have had some difficult experiences with the authority but incompetence should not be confused with lack of knowledge or understanding. One of the first lessons I learnt in Madeira was patience andI have always found Camara and Loja Da Cidadae people to be very helpful. They don't always get it right but then do any of us. It's not a perfect world and we all need to be understanding when we don't get what we want.Madeira is unique in its approach to all things and I think with a little patience we can all learn to work and live together. To recall the comments on a previous blog – there is always a choice and if Madeira is too frustrating then no-one has to stay.

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  7. There is certainly incompetence in 'the system' and maybe that's what Sam meant, but if a clerk has not been instructed on the changes in registration and dog chipping, then they are not individually at fault, but we normally don't know that. And I agree that officials and civil servants are generally pretty helpful. I often knock 'the system' and politicians on this blog … it's fair sport I think, when a country has or introduces laws that are expected to be followed, but doesn't tell the appropriate authorities about them. You can bet that if you breach them though someone will know exactly what to do, especially when it comes to taxes.

    The comments about going 'home' if people don't like something here I find a little tiresome. Not everybody has a choice, and it's really not the right answer when you are addressing European citizens, especially when different rules apply than to Madeirans.
    –Der

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  8. True Der , and madeira is in Europe, and there ia a European law….

    Anyway, whats happened to Carlos????????? im thinking of putting out a missing persons report…

    And whats happened to summer??? just been up in Gaula and its raining cats and dogs microchiped or not…
    Much fresher up there though , looks like another sleepless night down here.
    –Tobi

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  9. Carlos went on a weekend to the beach I recall. But that was over a week ago. Pres Jardim is due back today after 9 days in Venezuela I think, so that may signal the return of Carlos also, as I am begining to feel they may be one and the same …

    Rained here also, but not that much.
    –Der

    Reply

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