T – 1991 – Temerin.
Student of MA of Mechatronics in Novi Sad at the Faculty of Technical Sciences. Activist and member of the NGO Society of Nature Enthusiasts FALCO where he participated in local activities, working with children and youth.
Q: How long have you lived in Temerin?
A: Since birth.
Q: How do you feel in Temerin?
A: Well, good. I can’t say anything bad. There are some problems, but generally it’s fine.
Q: And what are some of those problems?
A: The current problem is the society and the state of the society and the country, mostly economic. There’s no work, people are unemployed, there’s no money, and that causes problems, so people are getting angry. That’s the main reason. The society is starting to differentiate, there are places to go out to for some, and not for some others and those are the problems. And as I noticed in Temerin, the great problem is the passivity of people. Whatever people organize, here or at the Center for Culture and Information, before or now, I’ve been following regularly for a while now, there are some openings, people who organize the exhibition come or people who open them, their relatives, up to five people. If there’s no rain, then there are 20 people. That’s a disaster. There’s no people, there’s no social activities, they disappear. And that passivity of people is starting to be expressed through religion as well. That’s causing a problem.
Q: What can we do to improve communication?
A: Motivate people somehow, it’s mostly difficult. The society is very closed here.
Q: Closed in what way?
A: I don’t know, when they rely on public opinion, they get no feedback as far as I know. No opinions, usually there’s no reply. We get nothing. There was an initiative to get a bicycle track here two years ago. OK, we were aware that something like that can’t happen in a month, that it’s a process that takes years, maybe it would take 5-10 years, but we got a reply: it’s not in this year’s plan, but we turned to them to put it in some future plan. And they completely rejected the initiative. We forgot about that. There was already something planned before, but we wanted to slowly activate it and put it into focus, to start the process of turning it into a project, considering possibilities to start something, and that takes money. Now it’s a question whether the Municipality itself should propose a project to be financed or with some association, whether here in the state or as an IPA project, that could work too. We can’t do that on our own. The Municipality has to take charge.
Q: So, a lot of support. And you mention lack of communication and feedback. I’m interested in one aspect now. Since you’re Hungarian, how do you see international communication in Temerin? Do you think there are differences between…?
A: Public communication?
Q: Communication in general.
A: There are separate newspapers both in Hungarian and Serbian. The radio works half the time in Hungarian, half in Serbian. Unfortunately for the media, they release some information, but there’s a lot of mistakes, and that’s a problem. Both newspapers and radio. And then you need to check it out, you can’t trust them, and published information are usually one-sided, not from a wider perspective. It was mentioned before, in relation to the Youth Office, that the Municipalities over there have their own TV channel. I know it existed here too and in the neighborhood on cable TV, it’s relatively easy to set up, but we still don’t have it. That could be done.
Q: How does that division in media communication affect the communication between people?
A: Well, it affects it a lot. In autumn we did a project of planting trees with the support of Ministry from Belgrade, I’m not sure where exactly we got the money from. We notified the media. If I’m not mistaken, only the Hungarian channel of Temerin radio showed up, and we wrote the article for the others and sent it, and they didn’t release it. Or they released just a fraction on it, like a tenth of it. We documented everything we did, but I think we should focus more on the website and then we can release it there and it will be more accessible to people.
Q: Do you think that the situation with communication is caused by the language barrier or that there are other reasons?
A: We made some mistakes too, but the text was translated, so all they needed to do is release it. They didn’t want to. We also made a video and edited it and everything was done. They didn’t release it anywhere, they didn’t want to, like we invited them too late for them to come. I know we notified some of them in time. They didn’t want to, so later they said we didn’t notify them.
Q: Do you miss anything in this community? I mean in Temerin.
A: Well, as far as I see, the problem in Temerin is that we don’t know what we want. We do things day to day. Plans exist, don’t exist. There are many civic associations and part of them work, part doesn’t, they’re falling apart. We have a problem that there are not enough people. We don’t know how to attract more people who want to do something, because we miss work power, there is a desire to do things, but we have no time. I don’t know what to say. People being passive is the main problem, because there are people here, they sit at home, watch movies, play games, there’s a bunch of young people doing nothing but sitting in front of their computers all day long. Those who go to school do that, but there are many who finished school, they’re unemployed, they do nothing at home as well and they have time to do something of social benefit, but they don’t want to.
Q: And does a more active society bring more conflicts?
A: Yes, in a way. But an active society can resolve those conflicts through conversation. Because there were bigger conflicts, fights and so on, it usually happened at night, when people go out. And both sides were mostly drunk by then. They had too much to drink and then they start thinking about differences and who has more. The problems start then, but that could also be resolved if they closed the bars in time, now people start going out at 11 p.m. or whenever. Ok, it changes the society, but they shouldn’t allow… till 1 a.m. would be enough, they could wake up in the morning to do what they need to do and there would be fewer problems. The problems occur mostly between people who provoke them. Sometimes it happens that they’re one-sided, but that’s rarer.
Q: We have this situation in Temerin that schools are separate, I mean the nations have school each in their own language, but the buildings are separate. Do you think that affects the youth in Temerin and the way they bond to each other?
A: Well, it shouldn’t affect them, because we go to preschool together. The fact that the schools are separate does affect communication a bit, we communicate less, but even if we were in the same building it doesn’t mean we’d communicate more. The only thing we could have together is physical education, but that would also create conflicts, because you’d have teams playing against each other, and that usually goes based on nationality, Serbs play against Hungarians, if we talk about football, basketball, whatever, and I don’t believe that would lead to improvement. The buildings are apart, not far from each other, there’s a different schedule and timetable. So there are no conflicts caused by that. We need more information to know each other and how we behave. When it comes to religion, there are many Orthodox customs I don’t understand. OK, I respect them, it’s the way they do it and that’s OK. I do it differently, we don’t know what’s what. And when it comes to the rest, the problems started when people were moved here, people who never had contact with other nations and weren’t used to their existence.
Q: And what are those problems?
A: It happened after the war. There’s a part of Temerin where they settled. There are talks that it was done on purpose coz Temerin had over 50% of Hungarians. Now there are about 30% as far as I know.
Q: That’s correct, some 20-30 years…
A: Now they’ve changed that on purpose. Turned things upside down.
Q: And who would’ve done that? Who has the power to purposely change the balance of population?
A: The government back then and I don’t know who else supported it. It happened before as well, but it should be done slowly, gradually, because it happened before, after the World War II, but not of these proportions, because people who didn’t know how to use a kitchen came here, so they were teaching women how to use these modern kitchens, and what the parquet is, that it’s not firewood. Stories like that were going around.
Q: You mentioned there were some problems then because some people never had contact with another culture. What’s the situation now?
A: I believe it calmed down since then, but this economic crisis had been going on for years. Right now everybody’s trying to get out of here. Both Hungarians and Serbs. I hear about it even in the bus, people finish school here and then go abroad to find a job. They don’t want to stay here. It will cause serious problems, there will be no young people left, and it’s obvious even now that people are leaving, and if the whole generation leaves, so to speak, there’ll be no youth left, and there are already problems with the Hungarian school, they’re closing down grades. There were 4 grades with over 20 students each, while I was in school even up to 25. Right now there’s three to twenty. That’s a big difference in 20 years. And that’s a current trend that will continue.
Q: And how does that make you feel here?
A: Well, I was planning to try and find a job here, but the associations that exist now will start to disappear. Civic and others, because there’ll be no people to take part in them and do something. I don’t know how many people are present and active here. There was something planned for the students, it was organized for the second time too, but there were five people the first time, as far as I know. If there’s five people, that’s not representative of the whole society, and if all the rest are passive, it won’t work. The associations will disappear, there will be problems. OK, we live, we’ll continue to live, but even we don’t know how and we can’t know up front.
Q: Are there any rights, your rights, for which you believe are threatened or not respected enough?
A: We have a school, education is possible, it’s true there’s no university in Hungarian, just a few departments, but since we live here, we have to learn the language and that’s not a disaster and can be done. I don’t like it either when the professor says we have to learn the language, because if they don’t see who’s writing then they won’t… he checked who wrote it, otherwise he wouldn’t have accepted the answer which was technically correct, but not grammatically. Other than that, there are no problems at the university, I’m the only Hungarian in class, but I notice the rest too, there are more Serbs, but three or four of them speak Hungarian really well. But they don’t use it. They know it, but I only discovered that when they’re talking to someone on the phone, and that’s a bit strange after three years.
Q: And in which language do you follow the media, I mean in most cases?
A: Mostly in Hungarian. If I see something on Facebook that they posted in Serbian, I check out the link. I don’t watch news, I don’t keep track of it, I check out weekly newspapers. It’s mostly all familiar.