Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Is there a Finn on board?

Road, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Fields, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Sunset, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Lights, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

I'll come back to the title of this posting, but first another matter. My posting from yesterday was titled Cold, and it did get cold, more than expected, inside the house, as there was an electrical fault in a nearby powerplant and the disctrict heating went off during the night at 22:55. The heating came back ten hours later, at 9:00 in the morning. The temperature dropped well below 18 °C inside the house. Outside it was -17 °C in the morning. A representative from the energy company noted that "it is cold outside so the temperature inside houses may drop". Well, that was some insight!

Do you believe that a governmental committee might once in a blue moon produce something creative and original? Well, this happened here in Finland, when the so-called "Country Brand Report" was made public last week. The report has several titles in succession, "Mission for Finland! How Finland will solve the world’s most wicked problems. CONSIDER IT SOLVED!"

The committee was chaired by the ex-CEO of Nokia, Jorma Ollila, and the report is funny, thought-provoking, practical, controversial, and in parts quite origical. Here is the leading thought: "Finland’s greatest strength is the unbiased, solution-focused approach to problems, which derives from our history and culture. When faced with an impossible situation, we roll up our sleeves and double our efforts." - So, when faced with a hard problem, ask for a Finn to solve it.

The funny parts are mainly due to not smoothing things over too much, showing also the darker and more critical views of Finland and Finns. Here is a great quote from UK:

You could argue that for anyone other than a Finn, it is a disaster to spend three years in Finland, as I have just done. Finland is flat, cold and far from the busy centres of European life. Nature has not favoured Finland, nor has art for that matter. Up until quite recent times, the residents of Finland have included peasants, hunters, fishermen, and a small group of foreign rulers who spent most of their money elsewhere. The rich cultural history of Europe has left fewer marks in Finland than anywhere else in the Western world, perhaps excluding Iceland. Finnish cuisine deserves an extra punishment for its barbaric dreadfulness: only the mushrooms and crawfish are worth mentioning.

- Sir Bernard Ledwidge, Ambassador of the UK, on Finland in October 1972

Here is a fine way to end a posting about Finland, quoting from the report: "In 2030, Finland and Finns will play a prominent role in finding solutions to the world’s most wicked problems: together with others, teaching one another and focusing on the solution. That is, blatantly, openly and sometimes in a somewhat strange manner. The way only a Finn can."

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