Saturday, June 19, 2010

Oh, it's sooooo COLD!

That's the Batswana way of saying it: 'it's CCCOLD' or 'it's FFFAR', with emphasis on the first letter, in the case of distance.

And geee, it really is frigging cold! Temperature below freezing at night, during the day it still goes up to close to 20 or so, but overall it feels very nippy. I'm cycling to work, only one km, and my hands are ready to fall off - in Vilnius at a temperature of minus however many I survive without gloves, but here I really feel that I should have gloves - but gloves in Africa? Seems ridiculous!

Will be back home in a week's time, for a total of 18 hours, before rushing half-way round the world for a meeting, at which I will give a 30 minute presentation. No time to be there, into the meeting, out of the meeting, and straight onto a plane back home. But Im sooo looking forward to getting home, into my own flat, ....and looking at six months' worth of mail...


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Corruption at Vilnius Opera House

Here it says that millions of Euros are missing in the very expensive reconstruction of Vilnius Opera House. Interesting.

The construction/reconstruction has been going on for years, including externally new carpets, new seats (why are theatre seats always red?) and a huge amount of work in and around the stage, which by now should be able to do all the singing and dancing all by itself, without actual people. It really was millions and millions of Euros to be spent, much of it on a German company which had reconstructed a number of major opera houses around the world.

But clearly with procurement things can go easily wrong. We always moan about procurement procedures, and about how long they take, but they are really necessary to avoid funny business. European procurement regulations are pretty good, generally (Lithuania is subject to these, especially for large-scale public projects), but it looks like some whily people around the opera house have found their way around these.

In the past I had heard disgruntled artists mumbling about corruption in the recruitment of foreign performers etc, but you know how it is, if someone is disgruntled. It's not as if we can have the same Lithuanian artists performing every week.

The first comment under the article suggested that since the arrival of the Lithuanian President, a financial whizz, things have been getting cleaned up. I wonder if these investigations will spread? I can think of at least one other institution which I would love to have audited, but won't mention its name here, not even which kind of business it operates in. However much I would like to.