07-08-2005

In this week's Mailbox: are Czech men attractive for western women or are western women unattractive for Czech men? The scouting movement and the upcoming centenary. And, of course, our listeners' competition. Listeners quoted: Cara Honzak (USA), a male listener from Prague, Edward Turnbull (England).

Hello and welcome to Mailbox - the programme in which we answer your questions and share your comments with the rest of our listeners...Pavla is on a well deserved holiday for the next two weeks, so I'm going to be standing in for her. And one of our features last week triggered quite a bit of reaction. This is what we said in Panorama:

"Thousands of Czech women are registered as being married to Germans, Americans, Brits and Italians. But finding a westerner married to a Czech male is nigh on impossible. Only 29 Americans, and 19 Brits were wedded to a real-life Czech male in the last figures for 2003; making them an extremely rare breed."

Well, it appears that some of you beg to differ, including Cara Honzak, from the USA, who says she knows three women in Washington DC alone, who have been wooed by Czech men:

"Although I am sure many of the stereotypes are true about Czech men wanting beautiful women who can cook, clean, and serve them too, I also think that the vast majority of young Czech men have already gone through the same revolution that the rest of us have. If your numbers are correct, it is probably the sheer statistics of immigration. For example, how many young Czech women have come to the US and Britain to work as nannies, as compared to young Czech men? I can guarantee you the ratios are very skewed."

Point taken. We also got an e-mail from a male listener here in Prague, who had this to say:

"I am afraid you have it backwards. For the most part it isn't a matter of western women not wanting Czech men. It is instead, more a situation of Czech men not wanting anything to do with western women. I have talked to many expat women here and dating here for them is difficult as compared to their Czech counterparts. I am sorry to say, as a born and bred American with Czech and Slovak heritage, I've seen the light and I will never date another "western" woman again. I emphasize this is not out of malice but simply a point of fact."

Wow, that hurt. We're going to have to call you for a follow-up feature. If some of you other listeners have anything to say on this issue, drop us a line.

Moving on to a completely different topic now, we have a question from Edward Turnbull, from Northumberland in England:

"2007 will be the centenary of scouting. How many troops of scouts and guides (if any) are there in the Czech Republic and have they planned any centenary celebrations for 2007?"

Well, in the Czech Republic, and the former Czechoslovakia, the scouting movement was banned three times, first by the Nazis, then when the Communists came to power in 1948 and then again in 1968. But after the fall of communism in 1989, older former scouts brought the movement back to life. We don't know exactly how many boy scouts and girl guides there are but there are some 27,000 young Czechs visiting scouting summer camps this year and the country's biggest organisation "Junak", which is the Czech Union of Scouts and Guides, has 51,000 members. There will definitely be celebrations in 2007 but the more important date for Czech scouts is 2011 because that's the centenary for scouting in this country.

 

I'm afraid there's no time left for another question because we need to fit in the monthly competition and it looks like it is much too easy for you as we're only a week into August and have already received numerous e-mails with only correct answers.

"Our mystery man for August was born in the early 1940s in the Canary Islands to a Spanish mother and a Czech father. Reportedly he was raised on a banana plantation. He began by studying architecture and literature but abandoned his studies after just a year and moved to Paris in 1968. He moved to London two years later where he worked briefly as a photographer and then to New York where he dedicated himself to shoe design. Since the 1970s his shoes have been synonymous with high glamour and are sought after by many famous people, from celebrities to royalty."

Some of you will surely have noticed that in last week's Mailbox, we said our mystery man was born in 1943 and not in the early 1940's. Well, after an e-mail from a few listeners pointing to the fact that they believe he was born in 1942, I surfed the internet and found both dates (but 1942 was much more frequent). Since, we're not one hundred percent sure, we've opted for "early 1940's."

Please send your answers to us by the end of August to the usual address, Radio Prague, 12099, Prague, Czech Republic or English@radio.cz. Till next week, thanks for listening.

07-08-2005