Unos 10 000 mil estudiantes realizaron una marcha a la céntrica Plaza Venceslao...

This week in Mailbox: The 21st anniversary of the 1989 Velvet Revolution, a “Czech” week in Denmark, the Czech hard candy Hašlerky. Listeners quoted: Ruth O'Connor, Hans Verner Lollike, Chun-Quan Meng.

1989 in Prague
Hello and thanks for tuning in to Mailbox, Radio Prague’s weekly programme for your views, comments and questions.

This past Wednesday, the Czech Republic marked the 21st anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, a series of peaceful protests that eventually brought down the communist regime in 1989.

Related to the anniversary, Ruth O'Connor from Australia sent us this e-mail:

“I watched a show last evening about all the turmoil that happened in Prague years back and was totally blown away by the struggle that many went through to achieve freedom. Quite amazing culture of people to have gone through all that and come out the other side and rise above all that injustice, truly amazing. I just wondered if you had a site about it all on Facebook, it would be interesting reading for many people. Anyway thank you for your stories.”

As a matter of fact, Radio Prague has its own special and comprehensive page dedicated to the events of 1989 (I’ll include the link in the transcript of this programme) It contains the outline of the events as well as a large photo collection from those days. Moreover, it lists all the news stories and features that have appeared on Radio Prague related to the subject, going all the way back to 2002.

Digging at the tomb of Tycho Brahe, photo: Barbora Kmentová
Hans Verner Lollike from Denmark sent us this message:

“I have to write to you this week, because it is really a Czech week in Denmark in a very positive way. Right now the scientists together are digging Tycho Brahe up in Týn Church in Prague and trying to find out about his life and death, and tomorrow the Czech Republic plays Denmark in a friendly match in Århus in Denmark. It feels good to be together on positive things, where the result is interesting but not important.”

Not only history, science and sport but also food can bring people from two different countries together. Vladimir Val Cymbal from the United States enquired about a traditional Czech hard candy known as Hašlerky:

“I frequently get colds due to my sinus condition (whenever the barometric pressure changes quickly several times – mostly winter and spring time). I have found Hašlerky to be most effective, more so than any other such product. The problem is I can't find a source for them in Los Angeles, California. Do you know of a store I could find them in the Los Angeles area?”

I’m afraid we don’t have any information about shops selling the candy abroad but in the e-mail response to your question you will find a link to the manufacturer’s website. If any of our listeners from the Los Angeles area can help, please let us know here at Radio Prague and we will pass the information on to Vladimir.

The classic Hašlerky candies are black and liquorice flavoured. According to the manufacturer their medicinal properties come from St John’s Wort, Melissa, aniseed and menthol. New flavours recently introduced include honey, sage, camomile and plantain.

Chun-Quan Meng from China shared this with us:

“According to Chinese media, 30,000 new-born babies in China last year were named ‘Shibo’ by their parents! ‘Shibo’ means ‘World Expo’. Chinese names often carry a meaning. One of my friends is named Chaoying which means ‘to surpass Britain’, and another is called Shengmei, meaning ‘to defeat America’. Both them were born in the early 1960s. I know that many Chinese babies born during the Korea War in the early 1950s were given the name ‘Kangmei’ or ‘Yuanchao’, which mean ‘Anti-America’ or ‘to support Korea’!

The Czech pavilion at Expo 2010
Just a brief note on the subject of the World Expo which closed its doors three weeks ago in Shanghai. The Czech Republic can consider its participation a success – the Czech pavilion was visited by more than 8 million people and won several awards. The complete exposition “Fruits of Civilization” was sold and is going to be re-assembled by the Farm of Czechoslovak-Chinese Friendship in the Beijing region and re-open on October 1st next year.

Thank you very much for your comments, questions and reception reports. Before I say good-bye, here is our regular listeners’ quiz:

This month we are looking for the name of the Czech-German author and historian who was born in Prague in 1896 and died in 1970 in Rome.

Your answers need to reach us by the end of November at or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague, Czech Republic. Please join me again next week, same time, same frequency.