Monthly Archives

November 2015

[Just for fun] The 5 Reasons why Finnish girls are hot! ♡

Finnish girls
hot finnish girls

(Source. One of the most beautiful Finnish girls: Emma Schnitt from The Voice of Finland, Season 3)

Hey folks! Today I am going to blog about the 7 reasons why Finnish girls are hot. Quick post while waiting for salmon to cook. ♡ If you want to know how to get a Finnish girlfriend, read here.

Background/ benchmark of my beauty ideals: Um…I don’t know why it seems like a taboo for a girl to look at a girl even though she is not turned on by girls. It’s so weird! I talked about this in a Fashion and Consumer Behavior class at Aalto with my Singaporean (exchange student) friend, and she agreed that girls look at girls pretty much all of the time.

However, a Finnish lady sitting next to me was like “Really!?!?!? you look at girls more than you look at guys?!?!?!?!”

I don’t understand why it is strange! Here are some examples of ladies whom I think who are hot, from all over the world: Aishwarya Rai (India), Madhuri Dixit (India), Yukie Nakama (Japan), Angelababy (China), Song Ji-hyo (Korea), Tang Wei (China), Siti Nurhaliza (Malaysia–OMG I used to go crazy over her), Thale Jørstad (Norwegian), Monika (The Phillipines), Charmaine Sheh (Hong Kong), Jamie Yeo (Singapore).

If I didn’t list your country, it is not that your country has no hot ladies– it is simply that I am not informed enough about your country  to know who is hot there.

And one of my favorite past-time with my Singaporean guy “bros” is to look at hot ladies at cafe, or walking past cafes along Orchard Road, one of the busiest shopping district in Singapore. As you know, Singapore is pretty cosmopolitan so we have all sort of pretty and hot ladies in town all the time! It’s eye candy for us hehehe.

So without further ado, here are the 5 reasons why Finnish girls are hot. ♡

Reason #5: Finnish girls have good skin!

pihla

(Source. Pihla Viitala)

It’s the same reason as Finnish boys! Sauna, good air and high-quality water, no UV rays because no sun in Finland = Good skin!

Reason #4: Finnish girls can pull off a magical fairy-like look with silver/white/ pink hair!

laurab

(Source. Laura Birn)

Honestly, just look at Laura Birn. She looks like a fairy who just walked out of a fairy tale book.

The best thing about being naturally (light) blond is that you can dye whatever colour you like to your hair without bleaching, and that colour can come out strong. For Asian darker coloured hair, you have to bleach your hair and that really damages it X10000.

However, this is not the best thing about Finnish girls. The best thing is that they can look naturally elf-ish/ pixie-ish, which is totally cool, like this:

angst

(Source)

I remember one time when we were still staying in Vantaa. I saw this really hot Finnish lady with SILVER HAIR walking along the streets, while I was on the bus. I was really amazed! How can someone have such long beautiful silver hair and pale skin? She’s like–a pixie or something. Such a mysterious look and magical vibe!

There is also this really amazing photoshoot done by Miki Toikkanen (more on her in reason #5) on Salla-Marja Hätinen (Of Sallan ja Miron matka maailman ympäri). 

Miki Did It Photography

(Source)

OMG SO PRETTY. ♡

Reason #3: Finnish girls are so cute!

Check out Miki and Noora! ♡♡♡♡♡♡

nooraandmiki

(Source)

So cute OMG!

Miki is also crazy talented as a photographer. You can check her portfolio out here and visit her store Winkie Winkie here.

They can also be passionate!

finnish2

(Source. Eurovision 2013)

Hot! ♡

Reason #2: Some Finnish ladies are very independent, but actually secretly girly.

hellokitty

(Source)

Okay in my previous post, I spoke about how I have two Finnish friends who are secretly girly, because they like Hello Kitty but are sort of ashamed to admit it in public as liking Hello Kitty is deemed as non adult-like.

These two Finnish ladies, however, are very, very independent. For example, I realised they can fix cars. o.O. I can’t even drive OMG–because of the fear that I might kill someone due to reckless driving. :X

Did I mention that my boyfriend’s “bro” has this really awesome Finnish girlfriend who used to drive him home at 3am after the overnight gaming at our house? She’s super sweet and pretty also. What a sweetie–I personally will never drive anyone home at 3am, even if I can drive haha!

So if you happen to date a Finnish girl, you can rest assured that she is independent in the sense that she can do all the practical stuffs, but can also be very girly and feminine in private. ^^

Reason #1: The Nordic ideal of beauty tends to be health. Finnish girls tend to be healthy and they glow!

Perhaps I need to explain more here.

You see, in Korea/Japan/China/ Singapore, the ideal of feminine beauty is to be as fair (like Snow-white fair) as possible.Whenever I buy beauty products for my Nordic friends as presents, I have to be very careful to make sure that there are no whitening properties in these products, because “fair” is not an ideal in Nordic regions, as it makes Nordic girls look pale and maybe even give the impression that they are feeling ill.

Also, in the Japan/Korea/China/Singapore context, it is important to be slim. Whether you are the “healthy” sort of slim or the “no muscle” sort of slim is irrelevant.  This is why sometimes ladies go to South Korea to cut off some leg muscles to attain skinny legs. It’s a real thing, not a joke at all! Actually in South Korea parents sponsor their daughters plastic surgery packages as a present after their high-school graduation too. It’s simply a socially-accepted (and welcomed) ritual.

In Finland however, the ideal of beauty is health. Therefore most Finnish ladies pay attention to what they eat or drink, and work out quite often. They also tend to use ethically-produced/ organic products.

And if you think about this closely, this concept of “being comfortable in your own skin” is pretty appealing, and makes a girl pretty hot. =) FTW for loving yourself just as you are, sistarrrr

Okay actually this post was originally titled “7 reasons” but my salmon is cooked, so I am going to eat now! Just figure out the remaining 2 yourself. ♡

Hope you’d enjoyed this post, and have a great Friday ahead! 🙂

3 differences in the Finnish vs Singaporean business mentality.

Commentary

Hmm today I want to make some random observations about how “business” and “money” are conceptualised in both Finland and Singapore.

Caveat/ HUOM: Quite some people tend to lapse into this voodoo “The grass is greener on the other side” mental framework when conceptualizing differences in both countries. For example, they might tend to compare the “cons” of one country with the “pros” of the other, which then is not logical.

Anyway, all societies are different–they have various quirks, celebrate and champion different ideals, and have governments which focus on different priorities in the macro-picture. And having been on “both sides of the grass” and thought about this topic, I think I can articulate some salient differences in the way both Finns and Singaporeans think about money and businesses.

Can you extrapolate the following analysis to Europe Vs Asia? I am not sure. Why don`t you share your thoughts with me?

Difference #1: Finns tend to think long-term in businesses. Singaporeans tend to think short-term.

A huge, huge thing I had learnt from school is that Finns plan a lot.

By a lot, I mean a lot. Most of my classmates plan and plan and plan, and if the plan isn`t perfect you don`t see action. The contingency planning is also excellent–my Finnish classmates would plan what to do if Plans A, B, C, D, E, F, G etc don´t work.

Of course this is under the assumption that my friends even turn up for school. Some Finns really don`t give a damn about school, but I think that is fine too because they are enjoying life, even though this means that I have to do more portions of the project work. And building up their careers too OMG, considering most university students in Finland also work part-time in large Finnish companies.

Also, the smart Finnish folks I have had the fortune of working with do tons of concept generation. So for a given project, they will think about Concept A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and then after that, choose the best one democratically.

In addition, Finns tend to worry about long term stuffs, such as sustainability of businesses, environmental concerns, global warming and climate change, etc. The goal of businesses seem to be to make the world a better place.

For Singaporeans however, er…we just do? As in not so much planning is involved. We come up with a reasonable idea, and then just execute to see what happens. I think this is good because it gives us speed.

In my project-work experiences with my Singaporean friends, we seriously “just do”. There are few cases as contingency planning wayyyy before–we will think about how to deal with crisis on the spot as they occur, haha. This is probably why we get things done fast.

This is however, slightly problematic when there is an error in direction, because you have to redo.

Also, Singaporeans tend to think more about how to profit-maximise in their businesses, rather than having long-term concerns about `making the world a better place`. Of course in any viable products that can generate profit, the product has to value-add the consumer.

However, I haven`t met any Singaporean who told me about “making the world a better place” in their main objective of starting a business. The main reasons would tend to be “I want to be rich and value-add my customers”. Not so much of “I want to make the world a better place via my products.”

I suspect this is the one main thing as to why Finns are “productive”–because you dont see the amount of planning that goes behind the work. Planning is invisible, you can plan stuffs during your free time, during exercise, when you sleep, etc. But because they dont go back on their direction once the plan is close to perfect, they work really little hours in execution.

So against the background of a complex changing world, who is to learn from who? I think the key is balance and therefore both Singaporeans and Finns can learn from each other. Singaporeans can learn to plan more, when Finns can learn to worry less and “just do” more.

Difference #2: Most Finnish companies are contented to just serve the Finnish market. Most Singaporeans are contented to just be financially rich.

On one hand, I have often wondered why Finns are so innovative but few Finnish companies want to be more ambitious to do global expansion. You see, Finland ranks really high globally when it comes to innovation! Read here, here and here.

However, I believe there is an invisible “bubble” when it comes to Finland. It is as though Finns live in their own world.

Now this is good and bad. Good because if you live in your own world, you won`t get polluted by the world`s nonsense. You will just take your time to think, live your own life as you deem fit, and just enjoy nature. Bad because there is a risk that you simply won`t be ambitious. Why? Because the bubble is comfortable and safe–life can be better, but I am not starving. So?

So most Finnish companies actually only target the domestic market, which then is a problem because the market is small. If you ask, “What about Nokia Smartphones?” Well it sort of failed. “What about Rovio?” Well it sort of is failing, having conducted lay-offs last and this year too.

The worst thing here is that it could potentially be impossible to even describe “ambition” to people who have defined “ambition” as “just having a job”.

The pros of bubbles is that it gives you a comfortable, safe and sheltered life. The con is that there is a high risk that it makes you f*cking complacent and ignorant of what is going on outside this bubble. So if you want to be in a bubble, make sure you have a keen understanding of the world`s happenings.

One company that could afford to be more ambitious is Fazer, the Finnish chocs company. HELLO I eat Fazer every freaking day! And every 4 months when I return to Singapore I will buy at least 5kg of Fazer as souveniers. Fazer is close to the nicest milky chocolate on Earth. =)

On the other hand, most Singaporeans really just want to be rich. I think Singaporeans live in a bubble too, and the same applies. We think that Singapore is a comfortable, sheltered, prosperous safe haven, and there is no need to do anything “out of the box”.

However, because from young we are subjected to a cut-throat education system, our survival instinct is pretty strong, because we are fixated about money. This fixation abut making a lot of money is good and bad. Good because you can be sure that SIngapore will continue existing to 100 years old (yay!), because there is economic sense in whatever we do. If a company doesnt make profits, it gets kicked out and dies, for example. Bad because when you are so focused on making a lot of money, sometimes the price to pay may be high, such as mental/ physical stress and less time spent with loved ones.

Come to think about it, the average Finn and Singaporean are pretty risk-averse. They prefer to work for large companies rather than do their own start-ups. The difference is that if you work for a large firm in Singapore, you have a chance to be really filthy rich. This is not true in Finland because of the high income taxes and low income disparity, but in exchange you get work-life balance.

 

Difference #3: The terms “filthy rich” and “money” are close to being taboo in Finland. This may not be so in Singapore.

This brings me to point number #3: The concept of money is different in both nations.

In Finland, I think there is this weird sense of jealosty against rich people and big companies. Finns seem to think that rich people and large corporations are necessarily evil.

Because of the strong unions in Finland, there is also a tendency for Finns to think that companies exist to employ them, and not for profit-maximising purposes.

Take for instance this recent Finnish Post office–Posti strike incident. Posti went on strike today! The main reason given is, and I quote–

“While the company is making profits, employees conditions are being weakened,” said Nieminen. “Workers on low salaries cannot accept the proposed conditions.”

When I read it I was like “??????????”

What has corporate profits got to do with “weakening employees´conditions”? It seems like the framing is slightly “off”, because isn`t the replacement of employees to streamline the work process and make the entire process more efficient??!

Anyway, this might be to do with the notion of “equality” in Finland too–companies might well be evil, and profits should be evenly distributed to employees.

In Singapore, this is not the case. If your company makes a lot of profit and you still pay your employees the market rate, or slightly above, then your profits are justified and people will respect you.

Hmm such weird cultural differences.

Anyway, on hindsight, what I have learnt is that foreigners who have long-term ties with Finns should bring Finnish innovation outwards, rather than try to fight with the rich Finnish incumbents within Finland.

Why? The logic is simple. Because big Finnish companies are proven in the Finland. They have a long reputation and are rich. If you stay to fight, you are up against giants.

I am inclined to think that the ideal business model for any foreigner with a spouse/Finnish bf or gf here should do a business model consisting of both Finland + his/her native country.

Ideally, this business model should allow you to bring Finnish innovation OUTWARDS, and the value proposition should be to help Finnish companies globalise. You should identify a business gap in your home country, and sell the home country what Finns do well–innovation + great planning.

This would make sense and be win-win situations for both Finland and the home country. You can then shuttle between Finland + the home country and be mentally balanced since you can have both the Finnish Boyfriend and your friends and relatives in the home country.

Obviously if in spite of all the business facts and analysis, you still want to stay in Finland to “fight” (I have no idea for WHAT) then I wish you all the best! =)

How not to be racist.

Commentary, Finnish People, Foreigners in Finland

Hello! Today I am going to do a post on how not to be racist.

I am doing this post because I am so sick of people saying things like “I don`t mean to sound racist, but (insert racist comment)”.

Perhaps, people who use this expression are truly hypocritical, because they try to act nice when they actually are not so nice. In that regard, I have slightly more respect towards the Finnish politician Olli Immonen, who declared publicly that he is ” dreaming of a strong, brave nation that will defeat this nightmare called multiculturalism” than these gutless people.

Because Mr. Immonen actually has the guts to say what he feels, even though it is not a kind statement.

Before we proceed, let us define some terms:

    • “Racist”: A person who believes that a particular race is superior to another.
    • “Nationalist”: A person who believes that it is important to be loyal to and proud of his/her country often with the belief that it is better and more important than other countries.
    • “Discrimination”: the practice of unfairly treating a person or group of people differently from other people or groups of people.

Note that out of these three definitions, “discrimination” is the only neutral one. This means that there could be positive discrimination as well. Positive discrimination can occur in the form of affirmative action (a form of protection towards minorities), or in general any form of preferential treatment of a particular group a person because it is in line with your goals or visions.

It is also possible for instituitionalised discrimination to be neutral because an institution “didn´t know”–for example, Aalto University did make all students who previously studied in ALL Asian/African universities take English tests for admission to their masters programme, when all EU/EEA folks do not have to. This is irrespective of whether these Asians/ African Universities have their bachelor degree conducted in English or not. The assumption here is that the universities in these Asian/ African regions (1) Do not conduct their classes in English, (2) conduct their classes in suspiciously bad English. In this case therefore, there is discrimination because this so called “English test” is nothing based on merit at all–if this is indeed so, why not make everyone take the English test?

Personally, I had to take the English test for masters admission in spite of having graduated with an honours degree from the National University of Singapore, ranked top 12 in the entire world according to the 2015 QS survey, and having spoke English my entire life. I already told the school four times this is so, but they didn`t give any official reply. Oh wait–perhaps my English is really sucky simply because I am a Singaporean, opps! Let`s see when Aalto University finally changes the rule then, if it ever changes–I am really curious! =)

This “English test” incident did however, make me realise that the “Singapore” national brand is worth NOTHING in Finland.This is in spite of Singapore ranking #No.1 on BrandFinance latest global research.

So it humbled me a lot. This incident reminds me that all Singaporeans should not rest on our laurels when it comes to Singapore`s overseas and global country branding. For Singaporeans, the best is yet to be, always.

So let me now talk about the term “nationalist”. The nuance of the term “Nationalist” is a bit more ambiguous, and depends really on the country´s historical and cultural context. Some might alternatively refer to a “nationalist” as a “patriot”. For example, I tend to see myself as rather patriotic to multicultural Singapore. In my past roles as Singaporean youth ambassadors to ASEAN, Korea and Japan, I have become rather sensitive and mindful of how the public image of Singapore is projected overseas. Naturally I am protective of my country`s image too.

The very respected sociologist Benedict Anderson, for example, defined a nation as “an imagined political community”. As Anderson articulates, a nation “is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion“.

Therefore, the issue is this: in a nation like Finland with a relatively homogenous population, all three terms get mixed up quite often. So a person might call a Finn “racist” when he actually means “nationalist”. The difference between both terms is that “racist” has much less logical and humanistic justification than “nationalist”, and is hence more frowned upon.

Now let us ask ourselves one question–

“Why, pray tell, should a person not be racist?”

My personal answer is that a person should not be racist because it is the basic thing to do. It is as simple as that! Why would you judge a person simply by skin colour?! Skin colour has no practical function at all, apart from aesthetic purposes.

In Finland, the main reason given for not being racist is because most of the Finnish public uphold the noble ideals of equality. Also, racists comments are very, very hurtful.

Next question–

“Should a person be nationalist?”

I believe this answer is more ambiguous. Personally, I definitely do not think Singapore is perfect, but I think we Singaporeans collectively as a nation did very well for the past 50 years of Singapore`s independence. Therefore I am patriotic.

I think in general, most Finns are patriots and they express it publicly. There is even a Finns party democratically elected into the current ruling coalition, and you more about the sometimes racist view of this party here, here and here.

“Democratically elected” means that it is the Finnish public of voting age who voted The Finns Party into power, presumably for their political views, and this party won the second highest number of votes for this year´s election. Interestingly, the Finns Party candidate Olli Sademies also suggested publicly that Africans in Finland be sterilized because they are having too many children.

Therefore, let us now ask ourselves–

“Is there evidence of racism in Finland?”

The answer unfortunately, is yes. But we do not know if racism is the “norm” or the “exception” here. Watch this video of a Finnish lady calling a Kenyan nurse working in Finland “a Fucking African”. In addition, the Finnish lady said–and I quote– that Finland is “in trouble because of all the black people”.

The relationship between the terms “racism” and “nationalism” therefore, is that people who make racist remarks tend to do so on economic grounds. This is to say, that if a black person is rich, he will probably get way less racist comments than people of other colours.

People who are racist tend to be nationalist too, and they mistake their racism as a genuine concern about Finland`s economic viabity as a nation. This anxiety is often fuelled by the Finnish/Western media, portraying Africans in Finland as “outsiders” who are not-contributing to the economy, and even commiting crimes. Now this is a serious negative stereotype obviously, because racist folks who make such comments do not actually condemn Finns who are not working, preferring instead to conveniently put all the macroeconomic problems on the foreigners here.

Well watch this video that went viral, wont you! I am sure that there are videos of native (white) Finns stealing stuffs too, but those videos somehow do not go viral.

So…let us now think about how to stop being f*cking racist.

It is simply to integrate foreigners into your economy AND society.

If the country doesnt like foreigners, then it should not claim to be “international” or “global”, because this is hugely misleading. If Finland truly wants to be “global”, then it should step up on its integration process.

Is this so difficult to comprehend? Haha.

I said integration of foreigners into economy, because it does not make sense for the Finnish government to give free education to all students, and subsequently blame them when they fail to get jobs in Finland, despite wanting to stay.

Also, exactly why are you so sure that if you are a foreigner fluent in Finnish, you would be able to get a good job in Finland? I am asking because I am unsure where a person`s confidence comes from. Again, do these examples exist, and if they do, are they norms or exceptions?

Again, this is a question of integration.

Aside from jobs, more can be done on cultural integration too. This includes for instance, not judging a person`s English accent, or for them having bad English. I believe patience is key here when interacting with people from all over the world.

Also, it is might also be a good idea for the foreigner to do his/her best to learn Finnish, if there is an intention to stay in Finland for the long-term. This is more cultural than economical really, because the way to a native person`s heart is through language. =) I am not saying I do this well, since I can only read but not speak Finnish!

All in all, equality is a noble ideal in Finland, but is equality really practised–especially when immigrants in Finland are framed largely by the media as “leeches”? If we are not careful to take note of our thinking, it would be easy to seriously associate certain groups of people with certain stereoteypes.

The next question therefore is that–must you wait for the (really slow) Finnish government to do anything before you start practising treating people with respect in your daily lives?

My answer is a passionate no. WE can make a difference– just as we are–today.

Immigrants in Finland– no matter how rich or poor their home country is– can contribute greatly to the cultural diversity and richness in Finland. Regular readers of my blog would know how much I like looking at pretty girls, and I love multicultural events where there are pretty traditional costumes and good food (HEHE FOOD FOOD). Well, this is just one part of the advantages of multiculturalism. =) =) =)

So, why not be random, and invite neighbours of a different culture and race into your house for dinner? Ask them to cook some nice ethnic food and have a potluck party at your house!

My Somali neighbour for instance cooks really well. I sometimes play with her adorable kid.

So yes, my dear friends, the answer to how not to be f*cking racist is to:

  1. Promote economic integration for both Finns and immigrants on individual, community and nation-wide levels ;
  2. Enhance cultural integration for both Finns and immigrants; and
  3. Have pretty girls and great food from all over the world in one place–Finland!

OKAY!!! Hope you have enjoyed this post I am going to work now! =)