A Sitku Puts It Off Indefinitely
Sitkus are young people in Finland that are always saying sitten kun (only after) when it comes to future plans and settling down. ”Only after I’ve finished my degree, seen the pyramids and the Amazon river, tried all kinds of sex from sadomasochism to family fathers, could I consider getting married and having kids.” A sitku craves a stunning life, led at an amphetamine pace. The thought of being tied down before their time is mortifying.
” With five million people in this world, I’ll be damned if I’ll say `you’re the only one for me’ to anyone!” says Hanna, a 22 year old student of sociology. ”Marriage, kids and bliss aren’t romantic prospects for me. Give me sperm and fire – passionate love!” In the academic arena, the worst sitkus are women. For men, finding a wife is just as much of an accomplishment as graduating and finding a job. Kati, 25, soon to graduate as a teacher, notices the difference between herself and friends that stayed in her hometown and settled down. ”There’s nothing to talk about. I don’t have a dog or a baby or an extra room for the washing and ironing.”
Sanna, 24, was married last summer, just bought a second dog and has moved to the suburbs. ”I used to be a super-cynical mega-partier. Men were all losers to me – if they weren’t rotten in bed, they were too stupid.” But then Sanna noticed one thing. She wasn’t happy. ”People mourned for me getting married in my `teens’ (under thirty). My friends pitied me – my life was over.” Today she’s puzzled by friends that can’t even buy houseplants because they are afraid of the commitment. ”They assure me that this is the best time of their lives and at the same time, they’re seeing psychiatrists.”
Soviet Nostalgia in Tampere
In December 1905, on the third floor of the Työväentalo in Tampere, a secret meeting of the Russian social democrats put two future Soviet leaders, Vladimir Iljitsh Lenin and Josif Stalin, face to face. The meetings continued yearly until Mother Russia fell and Finland gained its independence. For years afterwards, the Työväentalo served as a pool hall. After the second world war, however, the site became home to the Lenin Museum. At the time, the museum was just one of many.
Today, the Tampere museum is now the only museum in the world left with an extensive collection covering Lenin’s entire life. Rosa Liksom, a writer and artist in Finland, has recently contributed various everyday artifacts from the former Soviet Union that she has collected through the years. The `Sovjet design’ exhibit has been very popular and has brought crowds back to Tampere’s Työväentalo after slow years. With everything from Soviet ashtrays to `Red Moscow’ perfume, the exhibit will run until May 5th. For more information, contact the Lenin Museum at 931-2127312.
The Message of the Screen Saver
What does your screen saver say about you? Screen savers are a picture or message that automatically moves across a computer display when it is not in use to prevent a static image from burning into the screen. Satu Turunen, secretary for the Math and Natural Sciences faculty, created her own screen saver message which read Satu is off somewhere being lazy. She comments, ”The best thing about it (or the worst thing, depending on how you look at it) is that the message was easily copied to all of the other computers in our department.”
Researcher Sirkku Hellsten changes her screen saver text as her moods change. ”Now that I’m sweating over the final details of my dissertation, I remind myself of the immortal words of Descartes, I think therefore I am.” At other times, her screen has read Yes Sir, I can boogie and So What?. An anonymous person has fixed the computers in the Geography department library to read The library girls are hot, isn’t that right? Hilkka Ailio, a student of biology who works in the library says, ”At first we were flattered, but we’ve gotten used to it already.” Social science student Anu Perälä’s screen saver is a quote from Shakespeare’s Richard III, No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity but I know none and therefore I am no beast. ”It reminds me of the realities of life. It also gives me energy for the big `G’ (gradu=thesis),” explains Anu.
Koff Brewery Tour Adventures
Each year, over 20,000 people tour the Koff brewery in Kerava. About half of the annual visitors are university students. Sign-up lists for Koff excursions arranged by student groups fill up in minutes. Why are students so interested? Koff’s bulletin reads, ”After the tour, approximately one half hour is reserved for personal tasting of the beers.” According to Koff, the point is ”not to maximize the amount of beer consumed, but to create new taste experiences and spread information.” Tell that to the students! Simppa, a three time visitor to the brewery, explains, ”It is fanatical drinking. We saturate our bodies until we are totally shitfaced. An exotic afternoon high: you get a hangover you just can’t regret.”
Seppo, on his nth trip to Koff, ran up the stairs of the brewery with his winter jacket on in order to build up his thirst. Samuli has already taken the tour four times and has a hard time suffering through the official part, ”I can just make it through, but each time it seems to take longer and longer.” On his first trip to Koff, Sami reminded a classmate that was asking questions during the tour that ”precious playing time is being lost, bozo!” Veterans remember having more than an half hour to imbibe after the tour. Ilari, with four tours to his name, recalls spending four hours in the bar with his working collegues and Elina, with two visits, admits she lost track of time after a few `tastes’. Afternoon tours are most popular with students, as Simppa explains, ”It would seem silly to be smashed before noon.”
Indian Elite in Bombay
Three years ago, Trishla Patel spent a year in Finland with ICYE. Working on a farm and in a Indian restaurant, she recalls, ”I loved Finnish nature – so clean and pure. Winter was also nice, but January was depressing and we exchange students drank a lot.” Upon her return to India, she noticed some changes, ”Bombay is becoming more and more western and young people are starting to drink more and smoke cigarettes, instead of the traditional India speedy. It’s also becoming more polluted and crime is spreading.”
Trishla lives in a two-floor stone home with a view to the Arabian Sea in the posh neighborhood of Bombay. Her grandfather pioneered the aviation metals industry in India and now her family has six full-time servants. As a young girl Trishla prayed in the temples, played cricket on the beach and learned to play the sitar. Today she frequents bars with her friends from the Mithibai College, wears Levi’s and listens to western music. ”Along with westernization, India is becoming more open-minded. Not all parents decide their children’s marriages any more, I’ve been able to choose my boyfriends myself.”
Equality is one of Trishla’s greatest worries in India. ”There are many girls in my class at college whose parents have arranged marriages for them. After school they’ll have children, make food and be hidden away at home. Of course, they could run away – the lucky ones will perhaps never be caught.” Trishla is studying economics and is considering continuing her studies in New York. She is certain she will return to India, however. ”Over 80 percent of our 900 million person population lives in poverty and the richer just get richer and the poor just get poorer. The most serious problem is that there are too many children being born.”
Dating Game Sexism
Sanna Ojajärvi has written her thesis on television shows in Finland which focus on heterosexual relationships. In the weekly show Napakymppi, an eligible bachelor or young woman chooses a companion for a romantic vacation from a blind panel of three after asking a series of questions. In Tuttu Juttu, couples are asked the same question while their partner is out of the room to see how well they know each other.
Ojajärvi examined in her thesis how the genders are constructed in these shows and came to the conclusion that men and women were treated in a very traditional manner. Men were the sporting, tough suitors-to-be, while women were expected to be sweet girls that laughed at all the men’s jokes. Both of these shows are watched by over one million Finns weekly, affecting many people’s perception of what gender roles should be. Ojajärvi comments, ”I don’t believe that television only reflects certain attitudes, it also creates reality. These kind of shows should be brightened up so that their composition isn’t so set in stereotypes and the show’s hosts would dare to take on alternatives suggested by the competitors.”
Capoeira is Noncompetitive Fun
Capoeira is as near to Brazilian hearts as soccer and the carnival dances. It is a way of life, a combative sport and a dance. In 1972, capoeira became the official national sport of Brazil. Its origin is unclear, perhaps originating in Africa and traveling to Brazil with slaves in the 1500s. It was prohibited in 1707 and by the 1920s, it was virtually extinct on Brazilian streets. A capoeira revival took place in between the world wars. Mestre Bimba founded Brazil’s first capoeira school in 1937 and it eventually overtook the northeastern corner of Brazil and soon made its way to Europe. Capoeira first appeared in Finland seven years ago. Jonne Savolainen, a student of English philology, began his capoeira training last fall. ”I did judo for a while when I was small, but I didn’t know anything about capoeira. It is much more free. After my first class one of the rhythms rang in my head for days afterwards. The best thing about capoeira are certain things I wouldn’t do otherwise – like acrobatics, playing and singing.”
Capoeira can be compared to Eastern martial arts, but is unique in that it is always played in union with rhythm and song. The object is to combine one’s movements – somersaults, vaults, handstands, etc. fluidly together into a `dance’ . There is no upper body contact with other players. Two players stand within a roda and compete with their movements until tone quits or someone replaces them. Sirpa Rovaniemi, a student of social-anthropology, started capoeira when the competitive mentality of karate turned her off to that sport, ”In capoeira, communication between two people is made concrete. When you play with someone, you have to be alert so you can understand your competitor and the logic of your movements.”
Translation Pamela Kaskinen