Screaming in Sweden

Pizza, wind and KL
January 31, 2007, 8:50 pm
Filed under: General, Malaysia | Tags: , , , ,

It’s almost 2100. And I’ve just gulped down a huge salami pizza. Yeah, feeling a little guilty now, just a little, since I was supposed to work out after work today. I blame the weather. So windy I was almost blown away into the traffic while waiting to cross the streets!


To everyone who was at work today and noticed my subtle gesture fiddling with my hair… Yup, was self-conscious all day long. My hair was kinda raw today. Blown and tortured by the coastal gusts of wind on my way to work.

There you have it. Though I’m pretty sure that no one noticed. Just like when I had my haircut about 6 weeks ago and someone asked me today, “Did you have a haircut?”

Um yeah. Thanks, I guess.

(N2S: My eyelids turn reddish too when the wind blows… tummy growls…)

So anyway, He’s going out tonight with his newfound politics-interested friends. To a freaking quiz night. Organized by the PSSAL, or to those who are new to this, the Political Science Students Association in Lund. Enough said.

*rolls eyes*

That aside, I realise that I do not have much to do at work. Before Mom and Dad start freaking out, my boss already knew. In fact, I think everyone knew with me constantly bugging for more work. Or the second I hit Enter after typing, mister Copywriter and/or mister AD get up for a cup of coffee and ‘accidentally’ catch a glimpse of my screen!

They know. So bug off! *oops*

An eager beaver, He calls me. Well not really, just bored. I cannot just sit there and pretend to work, can I? Hmm… *light bulb*

The funny thing is imagination conquers one’s mind when one is bored. Better imagination than hunger. I imagine shopping and bustling about KL – after all those reveling stories from a workmate who had just been there for honeymoon. I imagine the motorcyclists squeezing their way through the heavy traffic, little Kancils and Kelisas, shocking pink minibuses, grey concrete walls and highways, cobblers (er… shoe polishers to be exact) sitting along the streets, waiting for someone who’s willing to pay RM5 (10 kronor) for a pair of bright shiny shoes…

Homesick was never the word I knew. I know now. *sighs*

OK so I made up the PSSAL thingy. Though I must say it was a good name indeed.


Nanny State
January 30, 2007, 7:04 am
Filed under: General, Sweden | Tags:

My dentist had been trying to reach me several times since January without any success. I had been calling a few times too, but only found myself standing in the long telephone queue. Today, finally, I got through and found out that they had been calling only because they wanted to get my bank account number so that they could bank in a sum of money which I had paid in access by mistake.

Now, how cool is that!

I know that Folktandvården (the State dental services) are not profit hungry, but coming from Malaysia, this really opens up my eyes. The luxury of being able to trust the authorities or the State.

Maybe I’m just naive – my ex-lecturer once told me, “You’ll be the easiest employee to be pleased in Sweden”…

Ignorance is a bliss. *s*

Just a different way of life
January 24, 2007, 8:02 pm
Filed under: Life, Sweden | Tags: ,

Did you know that when I rang the dentist the other day to book an appointment, I was told to ring another one, who’s most likely a competitor, because they already have an adequate number of patients (so they couldn’t take in any new patient at all)? And that if you’re under 21 years old, you’ll receive contraceptive pills for free in Sweden?

A couple of things which I’ve observed these few days is enough for me to realise that I’m living on a foreign land. Not in a bad way, of course. Just different. It strikes me that money isn’t really a thing that people have in their mind all the time, money is just something you need to be able to live, comfortably. Most people have enough to live comfortably, i.e. owning a house, a car, a family with 2 or 3 kids, and perhaps some money to travel maybe once a year, or if you’re a patriot, a summer cabin or a camper so you can be close to the wonderful Swedish nature all year long. :)

There are of course homeless people, too. Many of them are drug or alcohol abusers or both, or once committed a crime and imprisoned, so they are literally locked out from what goes on in the society, and so that they become malfunctioned in this nanny state. One good example is that you have to queue up in the system in order to be offered a place to rent. Most of the time you’ll have to pay a small fee per year to do that. People are queing up for years. And every city has its own system so everytime you move or are inactive or don’t pay your fee, you will lose your queue-years. That is to say that it is important to keep in touch with what actually goes on in this society. You must know who to turn to when you need help from the State or in trouble.

So anyway, back to my first point. Money ain’t a big thing here (free time is). Because everyone is happy with what they have. And because they have no worries, really. While my family has been struggling and saving a fortune for all their lives for just in case someone in the family becomes sick or for university tuition fees, the tax-paying happy campers get free education and healthcare. Well, I do not mean literally free. Indirectly free. Top that with children and school allowances, and near zero interest loan if you decide to study overseas where education costs money.

Extra money means more consumption. But with almost everything for free, where do you spend your money on? Books, traveling, clothes, new kitchen, furniture, gadgets, tvs, computers, etc. The recent deduction in tax here means people with jobs are getting an extra thousand kronor or so a month. When asked what they would spend the extra money on, most people said – consume, consume, consume. A new carpet from IKEA, a trip to Bangkok, or a new tv.

But we’re not alone. It doesn’t mean that we don’t splurge in KL. In fact, it’s a paradise for consumers. New shopping centers are built every time I go back for holidays. While I can understand why the Swedes consume, I sometimes wonder, where do we get the money to splurge on shopping (or food) ;) from? At the same time, we’re saving money for our kids and hospitals and repaying car or house loan. Superconsumer.

Back to where it’s all begun
January 21, 2007, 7:55 pm
Filed under: Life, Sweden | Tags: ,

And finally, the computer has returned to its rightful owner! I haven’t been blogging at all these few weeks, and I’ve realised that I haven’t actually missed it. It’s just not as fun anymore. The enthusiasm I had when I was trying to get it all started is now gone…

But perhaps, with my new job and everything, I have now gotten into a quite boring but healthy routine:

0605 – me alarm rings
0625 – get out of da bed, switch on svt1 (good morning sweden)
0630 – with da tv on, eat breaky (vanilla yogurt 2% fat with mueslis), flippin thru papers
0650 – shower, dry me hair, fix it with lots of hair products, do all da girly routine
0720 – get dressed
0745 – make coffee (Zoega coffee is made in Helsingborg heh) to lure Him out of bed and so He’d be happy or obliged to drive me to work ;)
0800 – go to work
1715 – go home from work
1730 – cook, eat, TV, gym (if any), clean up
2250 – get ready to go to bed, read
2330 – zzzzz…

and it goes on and on. And that’s why I appreciate weekends more than ever now. I love my job though, but quite frustrating sometimes that it’s kinda hard to explain when someone asks me “What do you work with really?”….

Well, I do lots of stuff that are hard to ‘quantify’ really. Lots of stuff that need to be done, and no one else but me find time to do it. It’s also tough that just when you think you know it all, you dont. People do have different work culture here, I think. Lots of nice words and pampering and encouragement, close and caring relationship with workmates and bosses, real flat management style, play hard work hard… you get the point. It can get a little too diplomatic sometimes but I believe it does motivate the employees better. In subtle way, you feel loyalty to the company straightaway… and you ask me why.

*raises one eyebrow*

Sometimes small things make all the differences. Like small gestures that some of my workmates trying to make me feel welcome… like a smile from a stranger when your eyes meet… like when my mom rang on my work phone on my birthday and told me that I’ve gotten a single ticket back home… *sighs blissfully*