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Poland's expats' colonial mentality?


delphiandomine 83 | 17,908
2 Jun 2013 #121
And presumably your Polish is good enough for you to understand well what the non-English speakers tell you?

Oczywiście.

Talking about emigration - if we're talking today, people seem to be going for two reasons. Either they have no hope (someone with no education in Poland is going to struggle) - or they had other reasons. Some of my friends have left, not for money/a better life, but solely because they wanted to get their English to a really high standard and it wouldn't happen in Poland. Others have gone because of loving different cultures - for instance, I know a girl now in Turkey. One thing is certain - the social mobility of young Poles is unbelievable for me, particularly as most of my school friends haven't even left the same city.

No, Polish people aren't poor by world standards.

Actually, the minimum wage isn't anywhere near so high as that. It's currently 1600zl a month in Poland, and in the UK, it is 4950zl a month. That's slightly over three times - which given the astronomical cost of living in the UK, the end result is pretty similar. Social insurance deductions aren't that much different - 12% employee, 14% employer versus 19% employee/20% employer in Poland. The lack of child allowance is replaced with tax deductions, too.

Poland, by Western European standards, is not an easy place for 'ordinary' people to live.

I don't see what's so difficult - there's a health service, a free education service, public transport is subsidised by the State, etc etc. No-one is saying it's easy, but then again, it's not easy to live on minimum wage in the UK either. What the real difference is that in Poland, no-one is going to pay you to sit around. If you went through school shouting swear words at teachers and being thick as mud, then you're going to have a very hard life. As it should be.

If you don't know that, then I'm afraid you don't know Poland.

I'm looking at it realistically - Poland is not anywhere near as bad as you paint it to be.

Of course, I know what 'kombinować' means. Do you?

Absolutely. We all know how social networks are very, very useful in Poland for getting things done.

I suspect that my knowledge of such issues is deeper than yours. It does not come from reading students essays, but rather from real-life experience.

The Polish black economy is huge - some estimates have it at 25% of GDP. The UK is also far, far more keen on hunting such people down.

I know about illegal and semi-legal ways of emploing people here.

People tend to get reported because of personal grudges, not because of do-gooders. This is the big difference.

Rules and regulations are tougher in Poland than in the UK, and are enforced in a far more arbitrary manner.

And yet those rules and regulations can often be completely ignored, like the Poles do. The trick is in knowing which to ignore. I don't want to go into specifics, but for example, I have permission to do something that in the UK would never be granted. There are conditions attached to the permission, but in general, I was able to negotiate with the authorities to get it - it just wouldn't happen in the UK like that.

I'm just stating facts. You are being arrogant for writing about a country you appear to know practically nothing about.

90% of the housing is owned by the city? I'd like to see some verification of that, given that in Poland, the owner-occupier rate in urban areas is 69%. I very much doubt that Szczecin is somehow different. Even my own building has 60% private owners. You do realise that Poland had her own Thatcher-style sell off of council stock, and that most of the flats in the 70's/80's building boom were bought at the time, right?

Perhaps some history lessons wouldn't go amiss.

Ifor bach is right, delph. That's why people emigrate.

Depends who we are talking about, as I think it's important to distinguish between "those who need to" and "those that want to".

Someone growing up in a terrible village somewhere who didn't bother getting an education doesn't have much choice, but then again, the same person in the UK would be sitting on the dole anyway - so fair play to the Poles for actually getting up and doing something.
Paulina 9 | 1,448
2 Jun 2013 #122
Someone growing up in a terrible village somewhere who didn't bother getting an education doesn't have much choice

I guess you haven't heard the famous expression "magister na zmywaku"? ;)

They are after graduation, courses, they know languages, and want to work even for 3.5-5 zł per hour, 600-800 zł per month. This is well below the minimum wage. But anyway have no jobs. Finding a job in the province. Podlaskie is almost impossible ...

regiopraca.pl/portal/rynek-pracy/miejsca-pracy/zdolny-magister-na-zmywaku

Research of Poles living in the UK in 2007 showed that 65 percent of respondents took a job compatible with their qualifications. This was mainly people with secondary and lower education, which performed among others trades: plumbing, the seller, electrician, mechanic, carpenter, welder, warehouseman. Also, many people with higher education were able to find a job corresponding to their qualifications. In this group were graduates of Polish philology, journalists, angliści who were recruited in Polish schools and the media. More than one-third of the respondents worked in breach of qualifications (35 percent.). Lack of employment in accordance with the profession concerned mainly people with higher education. There was here a very large discrepancy between the direction of studies completed and performed in the UK work: political scientist, he was an assistant cook, philosopher - coffee retailer, Polish philologist - an employee of the hotel, lawyer - a carpenter, a sociologist - a waiter, a geologist - the operator of injection molding machines.

charaktery.eu/wiesci-psychologiczne/1169/Magister-na-z mywaku
ifor bach 11 | 152
2 Jun 2013 #123
The results are not 'pretty similar'. They leave Polish people far worse off. The cost of food, petrol, and many other things are pretty similar for both countries.

Furthermore, in Poland you have higher social insurance costs and no child allowance.

Poland, by Western European standards, is not an easy place for 'ordinary' people to live.

It is harder. The fact that you imagine otherwise shows you have little real conception of how ordinary people live in Poland.

I'm looking at it realistically - Poland is not anywhere near as bad as you paint it to be.

I don't know your personal circumstances, but try living on a third of your normal income for a year and then you can look at it 'realistically' yourself.

People tend to get reported because of personal grudges, not because of do-gooders. This is the big difference.

People can and do get reported for breaking the rules in Poland - why this happens isn't really important.

The black economy is huge in Poland because of excessive regulation and taxation, which makes it difficult to run a business honestly and legally.

Don't imagine that those who work in the black economy are 'rich' - often they will get paid less than minimum wage.

People can and do break the rules, (because 'the system' penalises honesty). People can and do get caught. And when this happens the consequences can be horrendous.

Where I live most of the housing stock is still owned by the city. I've written extensively about this.

Furthermore, when it is renovated it often gets sold to the rich rather than the original tenants.

(I'm talking about kamienicy in the city centre here).

My own flat has 140 metres. It previously housed three families. Some (corrupt) rich guy managed to get the whole property for himself, which he then sold to us.

I'll try to find the exact figures for ownership which I don't have to hand.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,908
2 Jun 2013 #124
I don't know your personal circumstances, but try living on a third of your normal income for a year and then you can look at it 'realistically' yourself.

What has that got to do with anything at all? I'd still have health care, I'd still have free education, I'd still be able to eat, I'd still have a roof over my head, I'd still be warm...

The black economy is huge in Poland because of excessive regulation and taxation, which makes it difficult to run a business honestly and legally.

The black economy is huge in Poland because of a lack of enforcement, not for any other reason. If they started going after every single person advertising on Gumtree, habits would change - quickly. It's exactly the same story with driving.

As for those working in the black economy - I'm referring specifically to those who have a trade.

I'll try to find the exact figures for ownership which I don't have to hand.

Numbers vary, but they all seem to come in around 55-70% depending on source. I suspect this might have something to do with those cooperative apartments.

I guess you haven't heard the famous expression "magister na zmywaku"? ;)

Thank you for the links :)

It's another thread, but one thing that interests me about Poland is the attitude of students towards work and specifically work experience.
ifor bach 11 | 152
2 Jun 2013 #125
It has everything to do with things. It's the crux of the issue. No doubt you'd survive the experience, but presumably you wouldn't be happy about it.

Perhaps you'd decide to move to pastures new.
Wroclaw Boy
2 Jun 2013 #126
If you went through school shouting swear words at teachers and being thick as mud, then you're going to have a very hard life. As it should be.

So if somebody is "thick as mud" they should be punished later in life?
ifor bach 11 | 152
2 Jun 2013 #127
I guess you haven't heard the famous expression "magister na zmywaku"? ;)

+10,000 (And for your other contributions)

Perhaps we sometimes misunderstand each other.

You have to be careful with the word 'you' in English, it can mean:

1. You (singular)
2. You (plural)
3. The impersonal people in general

English can be an imprecise language, and this little word can be the source of much confusion and misunderstanding.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,908
2 Jun 2013 #128
So if somebody is "thick as mud" they should be punished later in life?

No, but if they choose to act like an idiot rather than getting their head down, then it's no surprise that they have it tough later.

Nothing wrong with being thick (I know one guy - who despite being intellectually hopeless, now does very well for himself with renovation work), but everything wrong with being a twat.
Paulina 9 | 1,448
2 Jun 2013 #129
Thank you for the links :)

You're welcome :)

It's another thread, but one thing that interests me about Poland is the attitude of students towards work and specifically work experience.

Well, judging by the first link the attitude is as follows: they want a job, any job, but there's no work.
Monika says:
"- Is 3,5 zł little? I would go to work even for 2 zł, because I have to make a living. I have nothing and I'm not going to eat grass."

Talking about new pastures... lol ;/

Ifor bach, I've read Shakespeare in original... But thank you for clarification lol
;D

English can be an imprecise language, and this little word can be the source of much confusion and misunderstanding.

?
I've quoted delph, I thought it was clear that my comment was addressed to him.
ifor bach 11 | 152
2 Jun 2013 #130
?
I've quoted delph, I thought it was clear that my comment was addressed to him.

The comment concerned what I had written earlier in the thread. Were you referring to your own attitudes or those of Polish people generally? When I wrote 'you' did you take this to mean, yourself, yourself and others on this thread, or Polish people generally?

This wasn't any kind of personal attack on you (meaning Paulina) as my friend Tosser Boy presumably took it for.
Paulina 9 | 1,448
2 Jun 2013 #131
I don't know which comments exactly you have in mind.
Foreigner4 12 | 1,769
2 Jun 2013 #132
No, you didn't understand what I meant.

And fair enough but that's why I wrote back to you how I interpreted your words. So instead of just telling me I got it wrong could you clarify what you mean>

Now, not only that foreigners already complained about Polish roads on PF many, many, many times before, but Poles KNOW very well that Polish roads suck. Every Pole complains about them, it's almost like a proverb.

So Poles get to complain about the roads but if a foreigner working in Poland does so then this is interpreted as arrogance but only if someone complains about it for the wrong reason, like Jason did?

It's not about complaining itself, because Poles complain all the time. It's about how you do it. And why you do it.

"You?" I was afraid you'd go there but okay, how should I do it and why should I do it? Give me your rules.

And why do you think that Poles don't know about the basic things that have to be improved in Poland?

Who said we (foreigners) all think the same way? You've shown your face cards time and time again here. You're oversensitive and seem to stereotype foreigners, "you guys" as one homogeneous group of offenders to your sensibilities. Lighten up a bit. Can't we just remark about the same things Poles do without you trying to crucify us? What you wrote about Jason is rather amusing and I now I think I see the point you're making but why paint every foreigner with that brush?

On a side note, shoddy workmanship is something almost every foreigner I've met here has commented on (and I've seen it many times myself), is it wrong of us to discuss these things or do you recommend just accepting it cause, what can you do?

I'll give you an example.

If you have dispensed facef*cks for such a cut-rate price then go ahead and do all the reflecting you need to do sister.
Withstanding that, it's such a stupid remark, I'm surprised you gave it any thought at all. Why even waste a moment of your time on such rubbish? The less audience those people gain, the better.

No, that's not the case. I simply react when some comment is really wide of the mark, when someone thinks sth because someone told him/her sth which is not true, etc

So now that I know you respond to that quality of post, I now have firm doubts about my own.
It looks like you give such replies more time than they're worth but how you interpret such posts as arrogant is lost on me. To me, those posts just don't look inviting.

At what point it became childish? Could you quote or direct me to the right post?

sure, you even did it in the same post as this quote:

I must admit I find your style of writing/discussing and attitude irritating

Thanks for this rubbish you wrote

If you don't consider that childish then first let me offer my sincerest apologies and suggest that perhaps this would account for your views on some things.

Anyhow, I think I finally understand what you were trying to say from the beginning much more clearly.
I also think I understand your tendency to assume the worst of "us" from early on, stereotype "us" and be overreact to comments that are so profoundly stupid it makes me wonder why such a smart cookie like yourself would even care to respond.

I think we're done, thanks for the discussion.
ifor bach 11 | 152
2 Jun 2013 #133
I don't know which comments exactly you have in mind.

Just for example, here:

Anyway, I have to go and watch Pogoń. Thanks for the conversation.
poland_
2 Jun 2013 #134
My own flat has 140 metres. It previously housed three families.Some (corrupt) rich guy managed to get the whole property for himself, which he then sold to us.

ib, you are fueling corruption, kinda smells of double standards there.
Wroclaw Boy
2 Jun 2013 #135
but everything wrong with being a twat.

Its chicken and egg though isnt it delph? Why is he acting like a twat - environment or instinct? and is that reason enough to endure a life of poverty? You appear to support that.
Paulina 9 | 1,448
2 Jun 2013 #136
And fair enough but that's why I wrote back to you how I interpreted your words.

Well, let's say that for me the way you interpreted my words told me something about you. Hence my reaction. But let's not get back to that.

So instead of just telling me I got it wrong could you clarify what you mean>

I did clarify in my last post addressed to you.

So Poles get to complain about the roads but if a foreigner working in Poland does so then this is interpreted as arrogance but only if someone complains about it for the wrong reason, like Jason did?

As I wrote already: "It's about how you do it. And why you do it."

"You?"

2. You (plural)
3. The impersonal people in general

(Thanks, ifor bach lol)

I was afraid you'd go there but okay, how should I do it and why should I do it? Give me your rules.

I'm sorry, but I won't. I'm done talking to you. This is an argument, not a discussion. I have enough.

Who said we (foreigners) all think the same way?

Not me.

You're oversensitive and seem to stereotype foreigners, "you guys" as one homogeneous group of offenders to your sensibilities.

No, of course I don't mean every and single foreigner when I write "you guys". I don't even mean you when I write this because, honestly, I don't even remember your posts on this forum. I don't know, delph seems to understand this, you don't. That's a shame, I wish you did, but OK, I guess I can live with that...

I'm oversensitive? OK. I will never again write what I really think on this forum. No problem. I wouldn't like you to be bothered by some woman's feelings and observations ;)

Lighten up a bit.

You too. Really :) You seem very hostile.

Can't we just remark about the same things Poles do without you trying to crucify us?

As I wrote earlier: remark to your heart's content.

What you wrote about Jason is rather amusing and I now I think I see the point you're making but why paint every foreigner with that brush?

I... don't... paint... every... foreigner... with that brush.

On a side note, shoddy workmanship is something almost every foreigner I've met here has commented on (and I've seen it many times myself), is it wrong of us to discuss these things or do you recommend just accepting it cause, what can you do?

Do what you want.

If you have dispensed facef*cks for such a cut-rate price then go ahead and do all the reflecting you need to do sister.

Wow. So funny. And classy too.

Withstanding that, it's such a stupid remark, I'm surprised you gave it any thought at all. Why even waste a moment of your time on such rubbish? The less audience those people gain, the better.

Maybe I would even explain it to you if you weren't so hostile but... that train is gone already. I have enough, I'm sorry.

If you don't consider that childish then first let me offer my sincerest apologies and suggest that perhaps this would account for your views on some things.

Well, if you consider being tired (it was late) and losing one's patience as childish then I guess most of this forum is a kindergarten :)

I apologize if I offended you with that comment.
As for your style of writing/discussing and attitude I was being honest about that, but I'm sorry if I offended you.

I think we're done

I think so too.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,908
2 Jun 2013 #137
Its chicken and egg though isnt it delph? Why is he acting like a twat - environment or instinct? and is that reason enough to endure a life of poverty? You appear to support that.

Good question. I don't support good standards of living for those that don't contribute back - for me, you have to earn your way somehow.

But going back to the first question - why? Hard to tell, because there are many people from poor (but good) families acting like total twats despite the parents being decent people.
Ant63 11 | 403
2 Jun 2013 #138
Either they have no hope (someone with no education in Poland is going to struggle)

I think this is unfair. Many I know here have skills but there are not jobs available to them in Poland. Qualifications and skills hold little value if there are no jobs.

but solely because they wanted to get their English to a really high standard and it wouldn't happen in Poland

This would form a very small minority in my experience. Most do not diversify beyond their peer group.

which given the astronomical cost of living in the UK

From what I have seen prices have risen considerably in Poland. Unless you are prepared to shop at multiple locations, it's not far behind the Uk

I don't see what's so difficult - there's a health service, a free education service, public transport is subsidised by the State, etc etc.

Delph next time I'm in Poznan, maybe you would like to meet some of the people I know. They would be outraged to hear you talk like this.

The black economy is huge in Poland because of a lack of enforcement, not for any other reason. If they started going after every single person advertising on Gumtree, habits would change - quickly.

If they paid the Police a living wage and employed people that weren't bullied at school, then, maybe, you would have enforcement instead of corruption committed by the forces that are there to prevent it. Perhaps making it an offence to lie in court, or imposing a draconian levy for doing so, instead of encouraging it might help.

but everything wrong with being a twat.

There are some highly educated tw*ts that do very well for themselves but do and say incredibly tw*tish things. Implying you don't need an education to be a tw*t is not fair on the educated twa*ts of this world. We can all be tw*ts at sometime or other. I have made many a tw*tish comment on here. I have decided to refrain from tw*tish behaviour although when I read the statements made on this forum sometimes it does draw the tw*at in me out from time to time.

MODERATOR: Please ban the word tw*t. It's ugly and not a word one should use in a public forum. Forgive me but I did * it out.

Last day in court in Poland Friday. Yahoo! 3 years of wasted time and money. Maybe after I can see Poland in a better light.
TheOther 6 | 3,821
2 Jun 2013 #139
the social mobility of young Poles is unbelievable

Are they mobile because they want to or because they have to?
delphiandomine 83 | 17,908
2 Jun 2013 #140
The problem in Poland is that there is a general reluctance to move for work. It's strange, because they were willing to emigrate for work - but there is this very queer undertone of "you are expected to stay close to family". I've never understood it, but I've seen several cases where people quit good jobs to return closer to their families.

I've always thought for some people, the UK was an escape from the Polish way of being rather than for purely economic purposes.

This would form a very small minority in my experience. Most do not diversify beyond their peer group.

It's the difference between educated and uneducated - those with a good education and a decent job in Poland are far more likely to move to improve themselves rather than for money.

From what I have seen prices have risen considerably in Poland. Unless you are prepared to shop at multiple locations, it's not far behind the Uk

Prices are nowhere near the UK for essential things. Can you get a huge loaf of bread for 40p that has been baked on-site a few hours ago? Nope. Things that aren't essential (electronics, etc) might be equal, but the cost of ordinary life is much lower.

Delph next time I'm in Poznan, maybe you would like to meet some of the people I know. They would be outraged to hear you talk like this.

They would be outraged because they wouldn't want to admit it - they would probably tell me that I'm a "Stupid foreigner" and that life is incredibly hard for them blah blah. Heard it many times, yet rarely seen any real evidence of poverty.

If they paid the Police a living wage and employed people that weren't bullied at school, then, maybe, you would have enforcement instead of corruption committed by the forces that are there to prevent it. Perhaps making it an offence to lie in court, or imposing a draconian levy for doing so, instead of encouraging it might help.

Give it time. Things are improving, but when you see the state of the police in more developed countries, you don't have much faith.

Last day in court in Poland Friday. Yahoo! 3 years of wasted time and money. Maybe after I can see Poland in a better light.

Good luck with it. While the people might have their basic needs met, they certainly aren't getting their needs met with the ridiculous justice system.

Are they mobile because they want to or because they have to?

Those with a good education are going because they want to, the ones without education are probably looking at it from a purely "I can earn minimum wage in Poland, or minimum wage in the UK" angle.
ifor bach 11 | 152
2 Jun 2013 #141
Delph next time I'm in Poznan, maybe you would like to meet some of the people I know. They would be outraged to hear you talk like this.

If I was Polish and on a moderate income I would most probably commit physical violence on some patronising student-w*nker-type Westerner informing me how well-off I was.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,908
2 Jun 2013 #142
I dunno, I think you'd be more likely to get yourself into trouble for all those racist comments you made.

Are all these comments about Poles being poor based on the pathetic salaries you pay? I mean, given all your talk on this thread, are you paying people a living wage on umowa o prace, or are you doing the same old thing of putting them on umowa o dzielo?
ifor bach 11 | 152
2 Jun 2013 #143
I've always thought for some people, the UK was an escape from the Polish way of being rather than for purely economic purposes.

Well, you thought wrong, didn't you.

They would be outraged because they wouldn't want to admit it - they would probably tell me that I'm a "Stupid foreigner" and that life is incredibly hard for them blah blah. Heard it many times, yet rarely seen any real evidence of poverty.

Either you haven't been to Poland, haven't looked or are incredibly unobservant. Where I live I see it all around.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,908
2 Jun 2013 #144
Well, you thought wrong, didn't you.

Are you trying to claim that all migrants are leaving for economic reasons?

Either you haven't been to Poland, haven't looked or are incredibly unobservant. Where I live I see it all around.

Sorry, but city centre communal flats aren't representative of Poland as a whole. It's not exactly a big secret that city centres (especially in places such as Szczecin) are filled with "pathology" - which was very much a deliberate destructive policy of the Communists to put such people there. It's getting even worse now that these places are often being reclaimed by the old owners that want such people out.

Still waiting for some evidence of your claim that 90% of people in Szczecin live in communal flats.

I wonder, do you pay a living wage?
ifor bach 11 | 152
2 Jun 2013 #145
Are you trying to claim that all migrants are leaving for economic reasons?

Of course not all of them are. But if people were migrating for 'personal development' then you would see a roughly equal flow in both directions.

Migration is generally from poorer to richer nations and rarely the other way round.

Sorry, but city centre communal flats aren't representative of Poland as a whole. It's not exactly a big secret that city centres (especially in places such as Szczecin) are filled with "pathology" - which was very much a deliberate destructive policy of the Communists to put such people there. It's getting even worse now that these places are often being reclaimed by the old owners that want such people out.

Spent much time in Polish villages then?
delphiandomine 83 | 17,908
2 Jun 2013 #146
Of course not all of them are. But if people were migrating for 'personal development' then you would see a roughly equal flow in both directions.

But it doesn't work like that, because Brits have little interest in Poland. What's interesting is that Poles are going everywhere, not just to the UK. I wonder if there are any official statistics on the matter?

Migration is generally from poorer to richer nations and rarely the other way round.

Plenty of Brits went to Spain - a poorer country.

Spent much time in Polish villages then?

Quite a bit of time. The pace of construction is staggering by British standards. So many new (and utterly ill thought out, devoid of planning process) houses are going up, even in areas that are far away from cities.
ifor bach 11 | 152
2 Jun 2013 #147
Spent much time in Polish villages then?

Well, believe whatever it is you want to believe then.

I have a mental image of your visiting a Polish farm, (an Ali G sketch when he asks a farmer where eggs come from, the farmer tells him from hen's vaginas, then comments that: "you haven't lived, have you").

I strongly suspect your knowledge of Poland to be something akin to that of Ali G.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,908
2 Jun 2013 #148
I strongly suspect your knowledge of Poland to be something akin to that of Ali G.

Nice insult, but you still haven't answered whether you actually pay people a living wage with a proper contract yet. All that ranting about Poland being poor - I mean, you wouldn't be taking advantage now, would you?
Ironside 49 | 10,106
2 Jun 2013 #149
Well, believe whatever it is you want to believe then.

Ditto I think that is the case in a delph case.
Ant63 11 | 403
2 Jun 2013 #150
I've always thought for some people, the UK was an escape from the Polish way of being rather than for purely economic purposes.

I agree with you on this. I've often heard the word "free" used in conversations which I have assumed is a reference to the impediment of family culture.

but the cost of ordinary life is much lower.

It would be interesting to compare receipts for a weekly shop for a family of four. Trouble is you would never get a like for like comparison.

Heard it many times, yet rarely seen any real evidence of poverty.

It depends on your reference point really. If you are using a Bangladesh slum as a reference point then extreme poverty doesn't exist in Poland unless alcohol is involved. I've yet to come across an apartment building in the UK (I'm sure there are examples) where a single toilet is shared between a whole floor and not one apartment has a bath. I have visited two such places in Poznan. Interestingly these people living there do not use the "I'm poor feel sorry for me" ruse, but better off acquaintances do.

Then there is the lack of safety net if life goes pear shaped which it can do in a moment.


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