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Friday, March 10, 2006

My dad has found a new crusade... of sorts. He's always wanted to be the kind of guy who writes letters to the Editor's of newspapers. Yeah I know its a strange desire. Well he wrote one today. Guess he just likes it when people talk about him and in Goa there are just a few newspapers and everyone he knows will know it's him tomorrow. That should make him happy. He's been planning this letter for the past 2 days. The Portuguese Consul General said something and a guy my dad doesn't like objected in a letter and another guy objected to his letter and the war of the letters is on. I don't know whether all these people who take part in these letter wars are retired men but I'm guessing that that's the case. Why else would they waste so much time. My dad drafted his letter and then gave it to me to type out and 'read' which translates to 'EDIT EDIT n more EDIT'. I've reworked it so much that if he intends to continue this 'war' I'll end up being the one doing half the work just to keep the continuity. I tried not to change it too much but it wasn't possible. My dad's too pro-Portuguese and I couldn't allow such sentiments to be published. I'd have to deal with all the angry letters that'd follow cos he'd make me reply to them all.
I'm going to add the letter here and also on my Goa365 blog cos there's been no sign of it in the papers and I'd like to make sure it's immortalised in a public forum even if no one who matters ever reads it here.

I fully endorse the views expressed by Agnel Crasto under the title, Goa’s Portuguese Culture in his letter to the Editor published on the 7th March. I would like to add a few comments on the letter written by Lambert Mascarenhas which was published in the Navhind Times dated 4th March under the title “Expectations from Portugal”.

In my opinion when the Consul General of Portugal said there are high expectations of Portugal here, he did not intend to suggest that Goans are making demands on Portugal. Rather he meant that the Portuguese Government will be glad to help meet all realistic expectations. Infact Mr. Mascarenhas has himself pointed out that the Portuguese Government has in the past been very liberal and has allowed granting of facilities equally to all Goans whether or not they speak Portuguese or English. This has certainly caused a lot of applications that do not perhaps meet the current required standards. As Mr. Agnel Crasto said, we should appreciate Dr. Soares’ act in making all those born in Goa before 1961 Portuguese citizens. The Portuguese Government has taken other steps also that should be appreciated without prejudice.

Portugal is in a position to help Goa not only with Portuguese citizenship (which Mr. L Mascarenhas focuses on) but also through other means such as exchange programmes to help introduce scientific, medical and technological know-how and also programmes to help maintain the rich cultural diversity we have inherited from the Portuguese.

As an example, let me cite here the situation some years back. NIO scientists and some other staff including the previous Director of NIO had the opportunity to visit Portugal as part of an exchange programme, even though none of them knew to speak Portuguese well and none of them had any Portuguese qualifications and though many were non Goans.

I would like to raise another issue here. Mr. L Mascarenhas has stated that the only people expecting something from Portugal are the Goan ‘rabble’ as he says who are desirous of Portuguese citizenship. Many people choose to settle abroad for various reasons, jobs/health etc. Are only the Goan minority who want to settle in Portugal to be insulted and called ‘rabble’ or is Mr. Mascarenhas designating all people with such aspirations as ‘rabble?’