Tomorrow is the Student Association elections. An enterprising group of candidates are running a votes-for-cola scheme in the canteen. You agree to vote for them, and they give you a bottle of coca-cola.

Still, they put up a good performance of democracy. All the candidates look the same, smiling young men in suits. There are a few women, to break up the pattern. Nobody has a political programme.

There was a small corruption incident here a week ago, something about illegal construction work on the Dostyk building. I’ve grown pretty cynical here.