Monthly Archives: December 2009

Happy 2010!

If you wonder what that funny "BUÉK!" means, here is the answer: "Boldog Újévet Kívánok!" In English, "I wish you a Happy New Year!" And, of course, the piggy is supposed to bring us luck!

With best wishes to all of my readers for the coming year. 

TV debate: Will there be one in Hungary next year?

There have been TV debates in Hungary ever since 1998 when Viktor Orbán and Fidesz insisted on one. The Young Democrats imitated the American presidential debates. In general, Fidesz politicians learned a lot from the Americans when it came to campaign strategy and practice. In 1998 one could bet on the young vigorous Viktor Orbán winning the debate over Gyula Horn, an old MSZMP politician. Indeed, the polls conducted right after the event showed that Horn had lost and Orbán had won. Nonetheless MSZP still came out on top in the first round of the elections. In the end Orbán won only with the … Read the rest

Reconsidering Hungarian welfare policy?

After twenty years of ever growing dissatisfaction with the welfare system as it was developed at the time of the change of regime, a few tentative voices can be heard that question the current practice of doling out monthly cash welfare payments without knowing how much people actually need and how much they are getting from a variety of uncoordinated sources.

I wouldn't be surprised if the impetus for taking a second look at the current system came after Zsolt Szepessy, mayor of Monok, took things into his own hands and announced that as of … Read the rest

László Kövér’s analysis of the Hungarian political situation

I wrote almost a year ago twice at length about László Kövér, the second or perhaps, according to some, the first man of Fidesz. First on January 15, 2009 when I gave some background about his family, his upbringing, and his political beliefs. A day later, on January 16, I summarized a speech he gave in Makó, a town in southern Hungary. It was a pretty outrageous speech but Kövér is known for making intemperate speeches. Often he doesn't stick to the "official" party line and, because of the high position … Read the rest

Populism in Hungary

I've been reading two books of late, cycling between them. I began with József Debreczeni's reinterpretation of his political portrait of Viktor Orbán, left that unfinished and moved on to Péter Kende's book on the trial of Attila Kulcsár, whose Ponzi scheme was fortunately not of Madoffian proportions. Once I finished Kende's book I returned to Debreczeni's Arcmás.

I've already devoted three pieces to this book, with the underlying motif of debunking the alleged transformation of the good guy into the bad guy. I don't believe in such fundamental personality changes. Most likely today's Viktor Orbán … Read the rest

New paganism in Hungary

It's not exactly a brand new story but it still reverberates in the Hungarian media. The last time it came up was on "Ma Reggel," MTV's early morning program, the day before Christmas. I guess this discussion, if you can call it that, seemed appropriate for the holidays. Two priests and Dr. Lajos Papp, a former cardiac surgeon and a spokesman for the Hungarian far right, were invited to talk with Kriszta Jegyes-Tóth, a former anchorwoman of the now defunct "Napkelte."

I guess originally the idea was to talk about the "new paganism" … Read the rest

Happy holidays! A Christmas tree and food blogs in Hungary

Christmas tree-Kossuth ter
A rather handsome tree on Kossuth Square in front of the Parliament Building.

This time of the year families get together and celebrate. Mostly by eating. And that inspired me to look around on the Internet for blogs by enterprising Hungarian cooks. Not professional chefs but ordinary mortals who like to cook. Here is, for example, Limara's bakery that specializes in bread making. The author tells us that she is a mother of two who became a housewife out of necessity. A couple of years ago she received a breadmaker and … Read the rest