New Language Center is to Operate Without Teachers.

In an effort to prepare Tatipota’s youth to meet the challenges of an increasingly globalised world, a specialised center will soon be offering local students courses in foreign languages at affordable prices. Named after famed philologist Okalipto Mendoza, the center is located at the very heart of the capital, not too far from the Presidente Jorge Tatipero nose clinic, and it boasts five comfortable classrooms fully equipped with pencil, paper, and erasers. Its program features undergraduate courses in English, Somali, Yoruba, and Bengali. 

However, some complaints have arisen with regard to what appears to be the new institute’s lack of academic staff.

“We’re still looking for someone who can handle Somali,” confirms director Pachinko Mendoza. “But we do have a teacher who knows Bengali, because his wife is a sitar player.”

In reality, it isn’t only the teaching of the Somali language that is causing problems to the Center. Tatipotans are notoriously inept at mastering foreign tongues, and even English speakers are very scarce in the country. Only last month, the European Secretary for Overseas Trips had to cancel his working visit to Tatipota because local authorities weren’t able to provide him with an English interpreter, the only qualified one having been struck down by piles.

The suggestion has therefore been put forward to consider less exotic idioms. 

“Our health minister is known to speak some French, for having been brought up by the Canadian nuns before they were expelled,” remarks Ms Mendoza, “but we haven’t planned to teach French because Tatipotans don’t really want to sing Frère Jacques, and also we wouldn’t be able to provide the minister with an official car.” 

“However, we won’t let the lack of teachers stop our activities,” she confidently adds. “As a matter of fact, we’re successfully replacing the missing staff with radio sets. We’ve already equipped three classrooms with them, and are looking for two more, after which we’ll certainly be ready to go. Young Tatipotans are very smart and they’ll pick up any language in no time if they just get to hear enough of it.”

Education minister Alfabeto Tatipero appears to share her optimism, because he has announced that he’ll be inaugurating the center himself to show support for the initiative. 

“Mind you, we’re looking for a large pair of golden scissors to cut the ribbon with,” says a Ministry spokesman, “but that shouldn’t be too difficult to come across, in this increasingly globalised world.”

Tatipota Refurbishes Its Image

Concerned that Tatipota has dropped to the bottom rungs in the list of the world’s most sought-after tourist venues, authorities are seeking to improve its international image by presenting the country as an interesting example of social engineering. Major changes have already been brought to the hitherto dismal Tatipotan administration of justice in order to give it a reassuring tilt. The top echelons of the police force as well as all of the magistrates have been replaced by representatives of honesty-challenged minorities such as pickpockets, muggers, arsonists, and tax- evaders, so as to make local institutions reflect inclusively the nation’s diverse composition.

Major changes have already been brought to the hitherto dismal Tatipotan administration of justice in order to give it a reassuring tilt. The top echelons of the police force as well as all of the magistrates have been replaced by representatives of honesty-challenged minorities such as pickpockets, muggers, arsonists, and tax- evaders, so as to make local institutions reflect inclusively the nation’s diverse composition.

“Tatipota’s judiciary and the police are now better aware of what crime feels like,” says Police Chief Pepito Bombas, “hence tourists can trust them to be more sympathetic.”

Inclusion of minorities is indeed the buzzword by which authorities are bent on correcting Tatipota’s reputation.

“We don’t want to suffer from the presence of pushy and corrupt majorities any more,” explains Minister of Democratic Reform Pierre Paella, “and have begun dividing each majority into an appropriate number of minorities.”

As a first step in this direction, the Catholic church, which comprises most Tatipotan faithful, has been split up into 5.000 smaller groups, each one being distinguished by such traits as the number of times worshippers cross themselves during the day, the pews they occupy in church, or even the type of hats they wear when it gets cold.

“We are now a truly democratic country of minorities,” proudly says monsieur Paella, “from the red-capped, bermuda-wearing, nose-blowing Catholics of the Northern provinces to the President’s extended family.”

In a further, literal twist to make of Tatipota a flagbearer of civil progress, the national banner has been modified so as not to display any politically incorrect element.

“The colours white, black, brown, yellow, red, flesh pink, sallow, and tan and are obviously out,” says flag designer Harald Littleworth, “but so is green, lest we get accused of culturally appropriating a certain religion that might get offended again, whilst blue might be perceived as us winking at conservatives, so that’s a non starter too. As for patterns, spots make undue reference to the complexion of some of our citizens, crosses appear to be quite offensive to everybody, and lines with circles contain unacceptably heterosexual innuendos.”

“That leaves us with our new grey flag,” concludes Mr Littleworth. “We are exceedingly proud of seeing it flapping in the air like the wings of a non-binary dove on hazy, mildly-clouded gender- neutral days.”

Finally, in order to promote the widest possible acceptance of Tatipota’s innovative

policy, school curricula are being reviewed as academic attention shifts from the country’s perception of the outside world to how the outside world perceives Tapota. “It’s a far less biased and ethnocentric approach,” proudly explains pedagogist Glotta Lexicon, whom we also interviewed. “The first chapter of our new standard history book is entitled ‘A Small Nation of Fascist Parasites’.”

Plastic Surgery Center Opens in Tatipota

This morning, Tatipota’s first ever aesthetic clinic opened its pristine doors to an excited drove of journalists and television crews. The national media were keen to report on the event, all the more so because just until last year the country’s presidenta, Astrid Tatipero, was denouncing plastic surgery as a decadent imperialist practice worthy only of the country’s long-standing rival, the Fascist Republic of Pacota.

Not long after that speech, however, the head of state walked into a glass door at the Tatipero supermarket and had to be rushed to the Tatipero clinic where she underwent twelve hours of surgery to rebuild what was a badly damaged nose. The unusual length of the operation was due to the fact that, since there were no plastic surgeons available, it had to be performed by a veterinarian who was receiving instructions via the internet. A simultaneous interpreter from and into Hindi was also present.

As a result, President Tatipero’s nose is now one third its original size, but her press service is eager to downplay the accident’s consequences on her appearance, and is even trumpeting it as a trendsetter.

“She always wanted to have a potato-chip nose, just like that of our beloved national pop icon, Enemita,” says spokesperson Paulita Zebras, “and that is why she walked into a door.”

“I had no accident at the supermarket, I did it on purpose,” the president herself confirmed upon resuming her duties as head of state. “I wanted to reach out to the younger generation. I’ll be inflating my lips to make them as hot as frankfurters, next. That should enable a constructive dialogue with the students’ movement, and I hope that they’ll stop setting cars on fire.”

Tatipota’s pop idol Purificacion Glorias, better known as Enemita, had her nose narrowed, shortened, bleached, and turned upwards abroad. Though many Tatipotan teenagers wanted to follow suit, they were prevented from doing so by the local lack of specialised surgeons, until a generous donation by the singer enabled the country to build its first center for plastic surgery.

“Young people needn’t go into such trouble as smashing glass doors in order to have awesome noses like mine,” she told the press. “I’m proud to be helping my motherland in a moment of need.”

The new clinic stands on the capital’s main square, opposite the central train station and right next to the Chinese takeaway. President Tatipero named it after her great-grandmother, Crown Princess Petula Titypappy Tatipero, who was reportedly popular among foreign sailors for her engaging looks.

“It’s about time that we had plastic surgery in our country,” comments human-rights’ activist Pippa Suleimanova. “I’ve been wanting to have my face done ever since I was five. If you look carefully, my nose droops a bit to the left like a tapir’s.”

In the meanwhile, Tatipota’s security agency has voiced concern that Tatipotan citizens might end up looking like one another, and it has therefore recommended issuing special biometric identity cards since photographs have already become confusing. 

“They all started having the same nose as our president, and we cannot tell terrorists from our leader any more,” explains the agency’s head, Starkos Molecolas. “I hate to think what will happen once they all start pumping their lips up.”

International Conference Held in Tatipota

On Thursday, last week, La Presidenta of the People’s Democratic Tatipota, Astrid Tatipero, addressed a group of epidemiologists who were attending an international conference on the psychological impact of tropical diseases. 

The conference was due to be held in Chicago, but at the very last moment bad weather diverted the experts’ flight to Tatipota, where suitable facilities were swiftly set up inside the Billy Tatipero Jr. Democratic People’s Basketball Gymnasium. 

Local authorities were all too happy to take in hand what was to be the first international event ever held in the country, barring last year’s promotional accordion concert organised by a group of French tour operators. The meeting understandably received wide coverage on local media, and its broadcast on television replaced all evening programs, including the presidential lottery.

Bravely addressing the conference despite not having had sufficient time to prepare any formal speech, La Presidenta spoke at length about how a childhood fever caused by the collywobble-fly brought about major changes in her personality, leading the politician to embrace New Age spirituality. 

In the People’s Democratic Tatipota, she explained, catching tropical diseases doesn’t necessarily make things turn for the worse; which is why the country isn’t allocating any funds to fight them :

“We must give all those who catch a bug the opportunity of bringing positive changes to their lives, without interfering with the stars.”Collapse

The original presentation sparked off two days of intense debate, which resulted in a paper that the conference’s organisers intend to put on sale on the internet in order to cover consultants’ arrears.

Ms Astrid Tatipero thus concluded the successful event :

“Let me just say how thrilled I am to have had this terrific opportunity of embracing the celebration of my inner child. We must nurture self-growth through the awareness of our own empowerment, promoting a vibrant environment conducive to the acceptance of the outer baby too. Hence, let the feisty little ones flourish and romp, and let us welcome the gender-neutral collywobble-fly in an inclusive show of tolerance.”

After the conference, La Presidenta bestowed on participants the Golden Slipper of the Great Tatipotan Freedom March, and the head of the visiting delegation, professor Zizi Legrand, reciprocated by presenting her with the brass replica of a multicultural European tapeworm.