Numerology and chugging along

This morning I had a delightful brunch with a group of friends, among them a Hungarian visitor to this country. In between serious conversations about democracy and checks and balances we joked about some of the idiosyncrasies of the actors on the Hungarian political stage. When I said that I still had no idea what I was going to write about today, they urged me to say something about György Matolcsy’s crazy ideas and Viktor Orbán’s childish dream. So, I’m obliging.

The sharp-eyed Jenő Veress of Népszava is one of my favorites. He is a man with a fantastic sense of humor who delights his readers practically every day with short op/eds, usually about some ridiculous aspect of Hungarian political life. A few days ago he noticed that the address of the Hungarian National Bank is no longer Szabadság tér 8-9. It is simply Szabadság tér 9. The change seems to be so important to Matolcsy that he ordered the employees of the bank to change their business cards. Moreover, according to the personnel of the bank, all rooms that earlier were marked with the number 8 are now labeled 7/1 or 7+1.

Well, I decided to look into the numerological meaning of the number 8, and I learned that it is associated with “money and power.” As one of the sites claims, “the 8 is the great Karmic equalizer, a force that you will reap what you’ve sown.” That sounds pretty ominous to me and perhaps also to Matolcsy. Another source’s interpretation sounds outright frightening: “If you often face obstacles, meet with accidents, and feel unlucky, you are ruled by No. 8 and Saturn. Numerology for 8 when exalted makes you a saint. When afflicted it makes you a proficient criminal.” Well, what do you think of that?

Of course it’s bonkers, but Matolcsy is apt to believe all sorts of nonsense. Do you remember his infamous “red spots”? In 2012 he came up with a story he allegedly heard from Japanese scientists. According to these learned men, 30% of all Japanese and Hungarian babies are born with a “small red dot on their bottoms,” so Japanese-Hungarian economic cooperation is even genetically determined. Soon enough we learned that these spots are not red, not small, and not round, as Matolcsy claimed. Instead they are blue, can be quite large, and are of irregular shape. They are common among East Asians, Southeast Asians, Polynesians, Native Americans, and East Africans. But not among Hungarians.

A year earlier he made the claim, referring to unnamed Persian and Byzantine sources, that Hungarians’ ancestors couldn’t be rivaled in gastronomy and brain surgery. Yes, brain surgery. So, the man is an odd bird with many crazy beliefs. Why not numerology?

Matolcsy also suffers from an excessive concern for his own safety. In the fall of 2015 he allocated 200 million forints for the creation of a security force whose sole job was guarding the VIP of the Hungarian National Bank. A few months later another 140 million forints was spent on a second force for the security of the deputy chairmen, including constant surveillance of their residences. The bank bought several hundred guns and 200,000 rounds of ammunition.

Matolcsy is not the only man who suffers from an excessive fear of ordinary Hungarians. Viktor Orbán is well known for his paranoia. Even when he was the leader of the opposition he hired several body guards, and rumor had it that on October 23, 2006, knowing darned well that there would be trouble on the streets of Budapest after his fiery speech against the government, he escaped as soon as possible in a borrowed armored car. Eagle-eyed observers are certain that he sometimes wears a bullet-proof vest, and I suspect that his VW mini-bus is armored. He seems to be so afraid that, even inside the parliament building, while walking the corridors between rooms, he is followed by four body guards. And let’s not forget that one of his first acts as prime minister in 2010 was the creation of TEK (Terrorelhárító Központ), which was a force of hundreds of highly-trained men whose sole job was the security of the great man.

Oh, yes, TEK. Dozens and dozens of members of TEK worked overtime yesterday at the opening of Viktor Orbán’s mini train line. At the moment the narrow-gauge train can take passengers from Orbán’s Pancho Aréna in Felcsút to the Arboretum that was created by Archduke Joseph of Habsburg, whose former estate now belongs to the Orbán family and their friends. The whole length of the line is only 5.7 km. Orbán would like to extend it to Bicske, from which another leg to Székesfehérvár would be a cinch. And from there passengers could go all the way to Vienna. From Felcsút to Vienna. What a thrilling prospect. And how economically promising.

Orbán's train

Only a select few could participate in the opening run of the train. As a gift to Felcsút, three children from each class of the Felcsút elementary school were chosen to join the illustrious crowd. Those who had not been invited but who came out of curiosity were not allowed near the great man. Nor were the members of the media, who could watch the prime minister only from afar. The sole thing they could report was that he gesticulated a lot.

Apparently, Orbán was somewhat agitated because he is angry at those who don’t understand the importance of this project. These nay-sayers are cynics who don’t appreciate his efforts at building a prosperous Hungary. The audience also learned why rebuilding this railroad was so important to Orbán. It turned out that the Orbán family lived at the very edge of Alcsút. The train, which still functioned in his childhood, went by right next to their house. He was especially fascinated by the inspection trolleys that periodically checked the lines. He still hopes that one day he will be able to drive one. The railroad had to be rebuilt, he said, because “the communists closed it.” A lame excuse for reliving his childhood memories.

The European Union obliged in fulfilling the Hungarian prime minister’s dream. Brussels contributed 600,000 million forints for the construction, although, according to the terms of the grant, if the annual number of passengers does not reach 10,000 the money will have to be repaid. I suspect it will not be terribly difficult for the Puskás Academy Foundation, the owner of the railroad, to come up with a number that will satisfy the European Union.

There were a couple of problems even on the trial run. One of the semaphores stopped working, and the train had to stop when two female DK activists lay on the tracks and the police had to drag them off.

Today the passengers didn’t have to pay the fairly steep price of a ticket–1,000 forints for adults (more than $3.50) and 600 forints ($2.20) for students–for a twenty-minute ride from nowhere to nowhere. Today’s visitors, among them many children, were not exactly thrilled to learn that no one knows when the trains depart or when they arrive. Moreover, for no discernible reason, half-way through the trip, in Alcsút, the train sat idle for 15 minutes. While waiting for the train at the stations (there are three of them), children are provided with no entertainment. But some clever children discovered that Orbán’s train looked almost identical to the Chuggington trains on a BBC’s children program or, what I’m more familiar with, PBS’s Choo-Choo train.

choo-choo train

PBS’s Choo-Choo Train

Chuggington

BBC’s Chuggington

There is not much to see along the route, but some people were happy to discover that one could get a pretty good look at the Pancho Aréna, which normally cannot be approached by sightseers.

Finally, let me report my sad discovery last night that Puskás Academy was just booted from the NB1 category of soccer clubs. It seems that money isn’t everything. All the money that pours into Orbán’s foundation can’t make up for a lack of talent. The same is true about governance. No matter how much the Orbán regime steals from the Hungarian people, they are unable to provide a better life for the country’s citizens. The talent for governance is missing.

May 1, 2016
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Bowen
Guest

A lot of money may have been spent on this little train to Felcsut, and indeed, the accompanying website, which has an interactive 3D experience, should you wish to experience the thrills of the Felcsut train station, or indeed, the train line, from your own home. Sadly, no talent was used in the English text. Nobody seems to have cared about using a proficient writer or a proofreader. I quote verbatim:
“At this station of the Vál Valley Light Railway visitors can be immersed in the history of of Hungarian football.
Anyone interested in Hungarian football history, or would like to see Ferenc Puskás trophies, it must to visit the Puskás Academy.
Anyone interested in Hungarian football history, or would like to see Ferenc Puskás trophies, must visit the Puskás Academy.”
http://www.valvolgyikisvasut.hu/#!home-eng/dovaj

Member

It is very much the mirror of the Stadium’s dream. Lots of money, no talent.

Guest

London Calling!

M8tolcsy is truly barmy!

Forward and onward to the New World on the Felcsút Choo Choo train!

Work sets you free!

(But of a bummer – the communists lifting the tracks – you’re not meant to laugh!)

“Power, wealth and Choo Choo trains in the hands of the people!”

What a hoot!

Regards

Charlie

Guest

Of course, the leading edge technology used in this transport system will have transport professionals clambering to visit from all over the world, won’t it?

webber
Guest

Azeri railway engineers are booking tickets to Hungary as I write this. They all want to know how to lay tracks on perfectly flat terrain for more money than it costs them to put in a railway through the mountains. This knowledge is vital.

Guest

Very amusing!

Guest

We’re on a road to nowhere
Come on inside
Takin’ that ride to nowhere
We’ll take that ride

(Talking Heads)

https://youtu.be/Dz1fl6u8ut0

Guest

Hahahaa… spot on…. music to ride ‘Tamas the Tank Engine’….Things we’d like to know: does Viktor er…… ‘wrestle with his conscience?….in his ‘wild wild life’……😎

spectator
Guest

“We’re on a road to nowhere”

— And accelerating. In order to get there faster.

Hungary performs better!

webber
Guest
Eva, this is profoundly true of Orban’s entire regime: “All the money that pours into Orbán’s foundation can’t make up for a lack of talent. ” Just watch Corvinus University’s ratings start to fall, now that Lanczi has been made Rector, Orban’s daughter is teaching there, and other political appointees have already taken up teaching posts. This, I believe, is just the start for Corvinus (and other universities, btw.) Fidesz, apparently, decided it wants the “best” of everything, so it is taking over the “best” Hungarian university, Corvinus, and placing its own people in it, from top to bottom. They tried making their own university – the National University of Public Service – and poured huge funds into that, while reducing funding for all other universities, but somehow money wasn’t enough. Their own university has lousy ratings. So… They’ve decided to take over the university with the best rankings in Hungary. It seems they think taking over a university is like buying a Ferrari. You just get “the best,” and it is yours. Apparently they assume it will always be “the best,” and don’t quite understand that university rankings (like football clubs) depend on something else, something other than money….… Read more »
Observer
Guest

@webber “…Fidesz, … is taking over the “best” Hungarian university.. … Corvinus will now be degraded”

I am afraid you’re damn right. Whatever Orban touches (in variance with Midas) does not turn to gold, but to something darker and softer …

Tragic, and many Hungarians don’t even get it.

Guest

Re: Magyar ‘talent’

I’m not too sure Orbanists understand the drive for excellence. They’re certainly a long way from the jackpot. Their ‘drive’ isn’t showing much either in education or in futbol. Laggards both.

Back in the 50’s a great team did much for them. It could have opened doors. And it wasn’t the Magyars who took advantage but rather the Brits. Defeat concentrates the mind wonderfully and they went on to develop the game in their country slow and steady. And now has one of the top leagues in the world. And the Magyars? Like Dylan, they ‘threw it all away’. They had the bedrock to build from. But now it supposedly comes from er……Felcsut? Jaysus.

I’ll add that during those times the Stalinists didnt help the situation with their greedy and grubby hands in the country. Today arguably it’s the same old same old now with the ‘Putinists’. Get caught up hanging around in the wrong crowd you pay for decades and decades and decades.

Ron
Guest

I am surprised that you in general are surprised about the Fidesz behavior mentioned in this article. Perhaps you remember the “Fairy Tale” interview with CNN in 2012. At that time Eva made a remark about that Fidesz is truly believe that they reshape the world.

See the last part of the article in the link.

http://hungarianspectrum.org/2012/06/08/economic-and-political-fairy-tales-at-home-and-abroad/

Ron
Guest

Brussels contributed 600,000 million forints for the construction, although, according to the terms of the grant, if the annual number of passengers does not reach 10,000 the money will have to be repaid. I suspect it will not be terribly difficult for the Puskás Academy Foundation, the owner of the railroad, to come up with a number that will satisfy the European Union.

I assume that the amount is HUF 600 million, or EUR 600,000. But EUR 2 billion is a little too much.

furthermore, are you sure that EU allow 10,000 people per year to use the railway before pay back. The original business plan as far as I know was about 7,000 to 8,000 users per day. About 1/3 of Hungary will visit Felcsut “shrine” every year or lat least they hope so.

webber
Guest

Brussels contributed 600 m. forints (ca. 2 m. Euros). Fidesz put in another 257 m. Figures here: http://www.femina.hu/hirhatter/felcsuti-kisvasut

spectator
Guest

But they saved quite a sum, as it quite obvious from the picture above!

Look, they painted the Fidesz party color, orange, only the frame of the front grill and those four rods or handles, whatever they supposed to be, while the rest remained true to the “original” — RED!

As it really should be, as every honest to God Bolshevik will really see!
Back to the roots, in every aspect of the Felcsútian legacy, indeed.

Ron
Guest
Observer
Guest

Guys you have to hear this in Hungarian (lest you missed it in the previous post, courtesy of @bowen).

The half baked felcsúti fanfaron (French, disparaging- self aggrandizing braggart) is really off the handle: https://www.facebook.com/orbanviktor/videos/10154064446206093/ link.

Orban has an insatiable need to compensate for the mixed origin, for the end of-the-row mud-house, hence his fixation on a palace, actually on THE palace.

God save Hungary (from itself)!

webber
Guest

Didn’t sound that bad to me. No real explanation for WHY they had to have that rail link, but okay, whatever, no big deal (and you know I’m not a fan of the man).
It’s not nearly as nuts as the stadium in Felcsút. Okay, hardly anyone will use the line – but so what. Some people probably will. For a few people it’s nice. No prob.

That stadium, though…. it’s like a tumor that has taken over the whole village:
comment image

Member

Why so negative? “hardly anyone will use the line” How about all the schoolchildren who will be marched there, the Polish tourists, all the extras that will repaid, the family tickets that will be given away? Mark my words!

webber
Guest

🙂
You can get a free trip to Pancho stadium, with free seats to watch match regularly where I live.
The same deal goes for some shows in the National Theater.

Observer
Guest

@webber

That “didn’t sound so bad” to you !?
You expect a REAL explanation? Come on! Just listen to the gibberish:

“Why did we have to build a railway between Alcsutdoboz and Felcscut (two small villages)? Why did we have to lay these tracks? .. because the communists dismantled them … What we see is only a small train, ..but a better quality civic life, with more comforts ….”

Actually the stadium (even if it’s the Guiness book overkill in Europe) can be put to some use, not this train from 0 to 0. I guess there will be national program or like for school visits so that someone would turn up. The project will die with the Orban regime, if not earlier.

BTW these scruffy villages are just as dilapidated as have always been, save for the Orban/Meszaros properties.

Guest

“The project will die with the Orban regime, if not earlier.”

All Orban projects will die with the Orban regime. So will his nefarious legislation.

Gyulla
Guest

The Orban regime will live on. It will last for at least 20 more years. And nobody will dare to undo these projects, these constructions. The lefties shit into their pants if they see a conflict and will behave.

Let’s remember that Medgyessy and Gyurcsány and Bajnai all left the crown in the Parliament, they left the unlawful pengefal on the Terror Háza, the lefties left the similarly unlawful Turul statue standing in district 12 and so on.

Oh, no, Orban is a real creator and he is lucky to have so many dumb impotent enemies like the MSZMP and the rest. They will forever lose but they love that, they can still feel themselves important. Orban is a real builder as opposed to the leftist who didn’t builds shit, his buildings, statues, memorial will live on as his great legacies.

Bowen
Guest

Well, Ceaușescu’s architectural legacies live on, long after he was put up against a wall and shot. So, yours isn’t the best argument.

Guest

But Gyulla? (Or is it Gyula1, Gyula2, Gyula3 – or Geza?)

We haven’t got your usual ‘ante-semitic’ quota yet?

spectator
Guest

“Orban is a real builder as opposed to the leftist who didn’t builds shit..”

So right!

As opposed to the leftist Orbán builds shit, indeed!
And those “will live on as his great legacies” — just as you say!
Sometimes even “shit” has the quality to last — “at least 20 more years.”

And by using the right embalming techniques even longer, so keep calm dear, you can stay in a queue, just like your comrades on the Red Square.

Guest

@Gyulla
Forget about the ”lefties”. Sooner or later Orban will be up against THE PEOPLE. They will take no nonsense such as the eternity of Fidesz laws.

Observer
Guest

New Speak or VIP, this double “l” Gyula ?
So, Orban – the Great, the Creator, the Builder, the Carpathian Genius II. and his legacy will live for ever and ever, together with Kim Jong Un ….. in North Korea.

Member

“The European Union obliged in fulfilling the Hungarian prime minister’s dream. Brussels contributed 600,000 million forints for the construction, although, according to the terms of the grant, if the annual number of passengers does not reach 10,000 the money will have to be repaid. ”

Who wants a bet that there will be mandatory and innumerous school trips to Felcsut?
I remember the uproar of “Hungarians” about the expansion of the subway lines, but not too much of a peep about Orban’s choo choo train dreams and the cost associated with it. Maybe Orban sells this as “no Hungarian money paid” but those with the reminiscence of brain would know that the money poured into this “I make up for my lost childhood dream” via Orban, could of spent on something more useful.

Guest

Btw & O/T

How’s Sunday shopping going?

Observer
Guest

The last two w/ends there “normal” crowds, less than the Sat only ones.
On the first all open w/end , April 22-23 the Lambrosian face of Fidesz VP Szilard Német & son were spotted in the large Arena shopping center.

Member

“The talent for governance is missing.” ? THERE IS NO TALENT AT ALL!
The knowledge, the love, respect and care for the people is non-existent, but the victor and his cronies in crime are power hungry, greedy, barbarous and merciless criminals, thieves and murderers. They must have all graduated from the Idi Amin School for Dictators.

Member

For all the money spent, it still looks like they repainted the old Hév box cars from Budapest to Csepel. Of course in the Soviet favorite colors, green and grey.

Ron
Guest

I do not know anything about the old HEV cars. But the locomotive is the old 1960-1961 Mk48 from RABA. As the other number is 2012. i assume that is the revision year.

https://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mk48

webber
Guest

Úttörő kisvasút cars, with new paint.

Ron
Guest

Yep. to be exact the Nyireghaza small gauge train, which went out of commission in 2009.

On the below mentioned website number 13 of MK48.

http://hbweb.hu/jarmu/kisvasut_mk48full.htm

Now I wonder what Mr. Matolcsy will think about number 13.

Slightly OT Nobody mentioned it. But don’t you think it is odd they open the railway on May 1, labour day. What about the pioneers cheering, like “the Good Old Days”.

wpDiscuz