Yay! I was over the moon when I saw the notification email below yesterday sent by the Prime Minister’s Office in Finland. ^-^


So today, I want to write a candid piece about what this “What is Finnish-ness” initiative is all about. You can find the official version here.

What is ww’s story behind this initiative?

In a gist: It’s because as a graduate student who did her Masters in Corporate Communications/PR at Aalto University, I’d always felt that “the real situation” in Finland, for Finland as a nation, has been really muted.

It’s probably because the main discourse has always been in Finnish, and nobody really found the need to do something in English, which is really the more global language.

So it came to a point when I thought about the definition of terms, and to be precise–Exactly what is Finnish-ness? Who decides? How does globalisation affect it?

For example, Why do we see overtly racist videos like this in Finland? Why do we have Finns celebrating KKK and being so passionately against immigration?

Is it mere “sensationalism” by the media, or are Finns really in “denial”? Why is the current construct on inclusivity shrouded with negativity?

Clearly, this group of “native Finns” feel strongly and differently about “Finnish-ness” vis-a-vis groups of non-white Finns, or tax-paying, law-abiding foreigners who have made Finland their home.

As non-natives, do we really need to say “Can you not be so racist” to every single criticism made to what constitutes as “Finnish-ness”? As Finns, do they really need to say “If you are not happy, you are truly an ungrateful foreigner?”

I personally believe that the discourse on national identity can be made a positive one–For the people, by the people. 

So I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if we interview some of them–people with ties to Finland, who are super positive in spite of the various challenges they have faced in and outside of Finland– and make this a Finland 100 project?

So I decided to do it! HAHA. I sent in an application to the Prime Minister’s Office, and got the approval yesterday! 🙂

Therefore, The Hieno! Suomi 100: What is “Finnish-ness” series is specially curated in a positive and constructive manner to illuminate the challenges, possible solutions, hopes and wishes of people who regard Finland as home.

Via the interviews of 35 special people, we listen to their stories, feel their hearts and appreciate greatly the diversity of Finland. These 35 people are nominated, or have distinguished/ interesting stories by their own rights.

All interviews will be placed online, on this blog The Hieno! Currently, this blog is blessed with quite a lot of readers (it was something like 158,000+ reads in the month of August 2016) from the top five countries Singapore, Finland, UK, America, Australia. In addition, The Hieno! has been featured in Helsingin Sanomat before.

This project runs from now till May 2017, and stops after we have obtained all 35 interviews. All stories will be SEOed and archived for a long, long time to come.

HAHA! So in short, “What is Finnish-ness” is my exciting project for Finland 100.=) I’m really excited to hear from all 35 distinguished people. The page for this series will be updated as new interviews come in.

Enjoy! #thehienosuomi100

The Hieno! is the official partner of the Finland 100 independence programme: What is “Finnish-ness”? endorsed by the Prime Minister’s Office.