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20 May, 2024
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Rocking the boat, a not so Cypriot tradition.

Challenging conventions in the quest for change



By Shemaine Bushnell Kyriakides

You know, there's been quite a buzz about the whole corruption scene in Cyprus. It's kind of ironic, really – this beautiful little country, seemingly full of potential, yet tangled up in this mess. I've been living here for nearly two decades, and let me tell you, corruption isn't exactly a new concept – it's sadly pretty common in many corners of the world. But what's particularly disheartening is seeing it here in Cyprus.

Now, don't get me wrong, things have improved since I first set foot here back in the '90s. It's like this place has taken a step forward, and I'm giving credit to the young guns who jetted off to study abroad and brought back fresh ideas. Even the ex-pats have played their part in this evolution. You can see glimmers of change in certain government offices and how animals are treated, to say the least.

But here's the kicker: the real problem is how folks here perceive the whole situation. Some folks say it goes way back to when Cyprus was under Ottoman rule, when they had to cozy up to the rulers to get any perks, you know? And somehow, that mentality lingers. I've had conversations with Cypriots who've got lots to say, but they're holding back, scared to rock the boat. They're worried they might need a favor down the line, so they bite their tongues.

Just the other day, I posted a story about the government thinking of flexible work hours for public servants. Oh boy, did that stir the pot! Loads of my friends and acquaintances had thoughts, but guess what? None of them hit that "post" button. One pal cracked a joke about public servants not working anyway, so flexible hours wouldn't matter. Another quipped that they should at least be taught how to answer the phone – a cheeky way of highlighting a bigger issue.

Funny thing is, expats online aren't shy about sharing their two cents. It's the locals who usually keep their cards close to their chest, afraid of personal fallout or harming their businesses. Now, I'm not slapping a "corrupt" label on these folks, but it's like they don't want to burn any bridges.

Here's the bottom line: for Cyprus to move forward, we need to start calling out what's wrong, even if we're not suiting up for every battle. Each of us can pitch in, take on a fight or two, and together, we'll cover all the bases. Until we locals decide to tackle issues head-on and say "enough's enough," we're just spinning our wheels.


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