One-Track Georgianism

To all those people who have commented and messaged me over the last few days, I have to say, I am really surprised. All the comments on here and the messages on my Twitter from Georgians have all been very positive, which I found very shocking; usually as soon as I say that Georgians respond to criticism, they start screaming and shouting, I typically get a lot of messages from Georgians screaming and shouting (thereby proving my point completely). It seems there are many more liberal and forward-thinking Georgians than I’d thought, and thanks to all of you, my faith in Georgian people has been slightly restored. It’s just a damn shame that none of you are in the government; I’ve no doubt you could turn things around.

Today I’m writing an extension of the two posts which have attracted so much attention over the past few days, but veering away from politics and more into the Georgian mentality itself. I was prompted after speaking to a young man, Zevzua, from my boxing club on Facebook. He wanted to know why I haven’t been turning up to training lately. 

I find this with many Georgian people I know. They suffer from what people in Britain call ‘One-track mind syndrome’, only its on a nation-wide scale and I’ve christened it ‘One-Track Georgianism’. In layman’s terms, they only have one interest, and Zevzua is a perfect example of this. He never talks to me about anything except boxing. He never does anything at home apart from watch boxing on YouTube and look forward to training the next day. As much as I love the sport, there are times (like this week) when I simply can’t be bothered with it, and because I love reading, studying history, seeing my friends, video games and learning foreign languages just as much I don’t always have time for it. Never mind the fact I was a semi-professional musician in my school years and completed three years in the military. 

Zevzua isn’t alone. I know Georgian people who are only interested in military things, computers, computer games or football. I’ve found it rare that they have a balance. I know one particularly sad case called Ako.

Ako loves university and his academic studies, and from meeting him the first time I took that to mean he was an intellectual, and offered him a selection from my personal collection of books, which deal with the nature of politics, philosophy and a smattering of political commentaries. However, he wasn’t interested. 

He does things like go to meetings of NGOs I’ve never even heard of and comes away from it thinking he’s had an injection of life experience, and isn’t interested in reading books unless its ones his university has told him to study. He’s a sad character, but his persistence in inviting me to do these activities with him becomes very annoying, because I believe One-Track Georgianism leads to a substantial arrogance.

Zevzua, for example, has only been boxing for four months, but talks to me as though I am a complete beginner, even though I have told him I’ve been boxing for seven years and was a multiple champion in the military. Hell, he’s even seen me pummel his friends in the gym, but it doesn’t stop him from thinking he knows a lot of stuff that I don’t. After all, he thinks about boxing all the time, and I obviously don’t, because if I did, I’d be in the gym more often, wouldn’t I? Ako is no different. He actually has the gall to tell me I should be doing more to improve my CV, as though the fact that my private education in Britain at one of our nation’s oldest and best schools counts for nothing, alongside my military service, the fact that I’ve travelled the world from Mexico to Japan and everywhere in between, and also that I am now an official language teacher. 

The thing is, there’s plenty to do in Tbilisi. I used to be proficient in fencing (I was in the national championships in ’08), so I found a club in the city and went along, simple as that. There’s as much to do in Tbilisi as anywhere else in the world, more or less, but I just don’t think Georgians are pushed to find something to do as much as their Western counterparts. My parents certainly pushed me. Before I was 13, I’d been behind a piano for years, I’d sang in a cathedral choir for two years, then I was behind a drumkit, then I bought myself a guitar, I started fencing, boxing and tae kwon do just to try it all out. I wasn’t even sure I’d enjoy half of it, I just wanted to see what it was like; most of it I did enjoy, so drums, fencing and boxing stayed, and the rest went. While I personally never had a part-time job, I know plenty of people who did when they were young, and see no reason why young Georgians couldn’t do the same. 

I’m really thinking now about the hordes of young men who sit around on building steps smoking, drinking and muttering ‘Bicho’ to each other a thousand times a day while they stare at anything with legs that happens to walk past. Couldn’t they find something better to do with their time? I find it very hard to believe they couldn’t, and some of them are of an age wherein getting a job is becoming borderline essential. 

Of course, not all of them are like that. I know a chap called Guram, who is currently learning Japanese and is an avid snowboarder. His mother recently told my wife she was worried about him doing that, but Natia pointed out would she rather have him sitting around with a bunch of boys doing fuck all? Then there’s my old friends Lasha and Eduard. Lasha is an artist, but also goes kickboxing and has a whole stack of books in three different languages on military history. Eduard plays the guitar and speaks six languages, and is currently trying to learn a seventh and eighth. 

Perhaps you people who’ve been so supportive on this blog are like them; the kind of Georgians this country needs to hold up as examples. I’d like to hope so. The more people like that, the better it will be for everyone. 




About tcjogden69

Former soldier, current boxing trainer/student living in Tbilisi.
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4 Responses to One-Track Georgianism

  1. Please don’t compare Georgians to yourself, as we’ve been through different circumstances, hence we had less opportunities to advance our skills and interests.

    • tcjogden69 says:

      I don’t think you’ve really understood my points here. Less opportunities to advance your skills and interests, aye, that would be true if this was still the Georgia of the 1990s, but it’s not, and there is plenty to do in Tbilisi. Lots of Georgians tell me they don’t have money, but still manage to afford cigarettes, beer and regular visits to the casino, so that obviously isn’t true. Hell, I even know a boxing gym where you can go for free. Besides, I’ve listed here the examples of Eduard, Guram and Lasha, who all have lots of interests (I even forgot to mention Lasha is an expert with computers) so I don’t see why some people manage to do it and others don’t. Anyway, the point of this was really how people like Zevzua and Ako annoy me with their ‘expert’ attitudes.

      • I understand your point, but to advance skills (not physical) is a very hard thing there. I experienced on myself the various forms of nepotism meeting you everywhere in Georgia beginning from kinder-gardens to academia or public structures… You can barely do non-payed internship etc, if you don’t have a strong links or backs…That’s a pity that only reading books or self-educating doesn’t really work for living in my county..
        The people you mentioned having beer or cigarettes I’m sure still depend on parents pensions and/or income… There are much less opportunities to advance for sure, and if there are, they are used non-efficiently by unreasonable authorities/officials who disrespect professionalism and skilled labor force… One can’t go to free gym if the stomach is empty!
        Well I admit, that there are lazy Georgians out there too, but trust me laziness nowadays is caused by the dramatic social situation.
        p.s. you have to get used to the fact that in Georgia everybody is an expert of life, politics, football and other bul^^^its, that’s why everybody try to think instead of you!

      • tcjogden69 says:

        Yeah I’d agree with a lot of that, especially about everybody being an expert on life. I’ve never been to a country where nobody is prepared to admit that they might not be the best informed, and that someone else might know better…can’t be helped though, and it’s not true for everyone here, just most of them 😉
        As for the laziness…aye, there’s a lot of that, but I think some people here could do with a lot of introspection. For example, my brother-in-law was a head chef at a restaurant, and for three years made 1500 Lari a month. Since he lived with his mother and didn’t pay rent and his sister paid the bills (typical) so he had nothing to spend it on…however, after three years he quit his job and was then complaining he didn’t have any money. He’d not saved any of it and spent the lot. He’s fairly typical, I think; I know a lot of people like that who aren’t prepared to blame themselves for their own misfortunes, like the beer-drinking-cigarette-smoking bichos who aren’t working. I’m sure they could find a job if they really wanted, there’s never a shortage of unskilled work in any country as far as I know. I don’t know, it’ll take a while to change, but it will do eventually I hope.

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