1ST TOPIC – STEREOTYPES Stereotypes – THE CZECH REPUBLIC There is one thing which is common for all nationalities all over the world. It can get people together or, on the other hand, split them up.. Do you know what we are talking about? It is called PREJUDICE!!! People from other countries think that the Czech Republic is still connected with Slovakia. Well, this is not true any more. The Czech Republic was connected with Slovakia from 1918 to 1993 within one state which was called Czechoslovakia. The state split in 1993 and we celebrate the 1st January as the national day. Since the state is quite small and has cca 10 million people it might be not so well-known among different nationalities. The Czech Republic is rather a small country, which isn’t very discussed abroad. Some people think that it was better when we were connected with Slovakia, because we had more respect and more possibilities. What do we seem to be like for foreigners? The good side and the bad side... Opinions on us differ so much!! ... Many people think the Czechs are intolerant and impolite. We have to admit that sometimes it can be true and you can meet such Czechs. For example, a young Chinese woman experienced this situation when she was travelling by bus in Prague. The Czech teenagers still occupied her seat despite of her eight-month-long pregnancy. We are known for being unfriendly to foreigners. One of our citizens from China is telling his stories, which happened in the Czech Republic: „I was very hungry so I decided to go to a pub and order something to eat. The waiter didn’t want to bring me the menu, what is more, he lied to me saying that he had no menu for me!“. In spite of these experiences the Chinese still think that the Czechs are quite tolerant people. But generally it is believed that Czech people are friendly, hospitable, jokeful, sociable, on the contrary they are shy and reserved, sometimes still envious and mean. Another example is ... We don’t understand why the Czechs are famous for being mean because our friends from America told us when they came to our country they were surprised by our typical hospitality. So we definitely can be generous :) Most of young people like going out and having fun like the other teenagers do. Not to be shy, at first we must get to know others better. The truth is that the Czech nation has an excellent sense of humour. People like telling jokes. We shoot many good comedies in the Czech Republic. We just love to laugh. Jaromír Hašek, the author of a well-known book “The good soldier Švejk“, was born here. This is a story about “typical Czech funny guy”. Still many contradictory opinions... Some people also think that Czech men are thieves and women are prostitutes (which is sometimes a plot of foreign director´s films). The others think we are poor farmers, cheap labour, that can make only sunflower oil or a tower clock. Our country is ideal for cheap entertainment, that is true. In contrast to this, we can also be seen from good points of view. We are hardworking handymen appreciated in the world. Stereotypes once again … The Italians are known for their temperament, pasta and mafia, the Frenchmen for wine, cheese, style, the Englishmen like talking about weather. What is typical for the Czechs? We love drinking beer and Becherovka, eating dumplings, and using mobile phones a lot. Czech women have to care of their families, actually they have to do everything. It’s said that Czech girls are really attractive and they love money. We are famous for being always late and being bad drivers. Some students from Italy think that the Czech Republic is a very ecological country. The Czech Republic isn’t such an ecological country as they think. We don’t know why Italian people think we are like that. Maybe, it is because they confuse us with Austria where many wind-power plants are. The Czech Republic has some efforts to be ecological but we are still far beyond the other countries in the world. We have got many woods and people who are interested in environment. However, there aren’t many of them. As a result, woods and rivers dwindle. In addition, we have got nuclear power stations, consequently, we have got polluted air. Food and drinks :) We like beer, wine and junk food. Generally we can say ..... this is true. We have a good deal of beer brands. You might know some well-known. Pilsner Urguell, Budvar and Staropramen are popular ones. Czech people just love it. What is more, it brings refreshing feelings on hot summer days when it is nicely refrigerated. Besides, hops are grown in huge amounts in Bohemia - all around our capital city, Prague. Basically, we have very good conditions for growing this crop and we enjoy the product made out of it. The second beverage that we like to drink is wine. We grow a lot of wine grapes too, particularly in Moravia. As to junk food, our national meal is not very healthy - pork, dumplings and cabbage... but it tastes delicious!!! Like other nations, we are quite fond of junk food too. There are many people who just like eating food at McDonald's What about the Czech language? ... foreigners say that it is very difficult (declination, pronunciation, vocabulary, punctuation, etc) That’s true. Czech language is really difficult for foreigners. Sometimes for Czech people too :) It has hard grammar. Mainly the declination is quite tough for people from other countries who learn the Czech language. For example, in English there’s no declination at all to compare it with our 7 cases. And we have a pretty rich vocabulary. We have a lot of words which can be used for description of one particular thing and it has still the same meaning. And about punctuation - it’s difficult too. There are a lot of commas in sentences and there’s a lot of rules about writing commas. Although our language is difficult, it’s a nice language and we love it. Religion – people from abroad think that we believe in God (Christianity). In the Czech Republic, there is about 30 percent (that is about 3 million) of people who profess some religion or belief. Around 2.7 million Czechs profess the Roman Catholic religion. This fact gives the Czech Christians character of more or less tolerated minority. As to regions, Moravia is much more religious than Bohemia and the countryside is more religious than cities. But Czechs themselves mostly agree that they are the most atheistic nation in Europe. Some of them think that we are members of sects. People in the Czech Republic are rarely encountered with sects. These religious groups are little known in the Czech Republic and are only of a few people. They are mostly closed group which have got only a few people. Most noted are Hare Krishna and Jehovists. These people together create not even 1% of the population in the Czech Republic. Foreigners usually consider us to be a fat nation. If we say : “It’s not true“, it would not be quite as it is, because there are some men and women who are quite fat or even overweight. Like many people say, we have very nice women, so this means they are not fat. Our men don’t care about themselves much. Though they are hardworking, not everyone is exercising. Fortunately for them, they have less problems with their weight. Let's come back to girls then ;) It is said that Czech girls are the most beautiful in the world. Not everybody says that but mostly it is said by those people, who visited the Czech Republic. ... So, it must be true. At least they are among the prettiest girls in the world for sure. Everybody knows Prague. Yes, that’s true. Prague is our capital city and one of the most famous cities in Europe. But when I asked South African, South American or Australian people if they knew where Prague was, they didn’t know. Maybe, they just live too far! They were guessing and said that it was in some European country or a new model of Mercedes. So in our opinion, Prague is well known only among European people. They don’t believe that we are able to be leaders of the EU. Foreigners think that the Czech Republic is a small country without self-confidence and own opinion. They underrate us, but it doesn’t surprise us. Now we have a big chance to deny that and show them our abilities for getting better position within Europe. Although we believe in our qualities we are not sure if our politicians know how to lead the European Union. We are afraid that some of them are even unable to deal with the leadership of one small country. Fortunately, not all of them are like that. We hope that we still have some well educated politicians who know something about EU Presidency. Personalities What a pity, not many people know famous personalities coming from the Czech Republic, although their significance is so inevitable for people’s daily life. Can you imagine your life without contact lenses, nylons or what would surgeons do without knowledge of blood groups? Otto Wichterle – inventor of the contact lenses & nylons Czech scientists take part in research of genetics, treatment of cancer, nanotechnologies, robots and technologies in general. Our success doesn’t cover only scientists but also poets and novelists( J.Seifertawardee of the Nobel Prize, M.Kundera, K.Čapek, B.Hrabal), directors (M.Forman, whose films were awarded by Oscars), classic musicians (B.Smetana, A.Dvořák),contemporary musicians (M.Irglová, K.Gott), sportsmen J.Jágr, R.Šebrle, J.Železný, E.Zátopek, B.Špotáková), politicians (T.G.Masaryk, V.Havel) and many more … But .... foreigners know some Czech topmodels. We think that we have got many world-known topmodels Karolina Kurkova, Tereza Maxova, Eva Herzigova, Petra Nemcova etc. For example recently there have been reports on the Internet about Karolina Kurkova. According to a survey of one’s American TV, Karolina is the most glamorous girl among all world’s celebrities. She even surpassed stars such as Angelina Jolie, Heidi Klum, Scarlett Johansson, Gisele Bűnchen, Penelope Cruz and many others. And .... the money. Many people think we have low salaries. We think this is true because people in the Czech Republic have relatively low salaries. Standard of living could be much higher than it is as well. We are fond of quite expensive things to wear and to use, so we spent much money on them. Salaries in our country are five fold lower than average salaries in other European countries. In the end Get to know us on your own If you come to the Czech Republic you will see that everything is not like it seems to be and you can change your opinion very quickly. So throw away your prejudices and let us show you our real character!