Brief in English


HYY Headquarters Move To Domus

Over 33 000 students attend the University of Helsinki, almost all of whom are members of HYY. HYY is short for the Helsingin yliopiston ylioppilaskunta, the body representing the university students. In addition to governing, informational and representative duties, HYY also distributes money and provides space for hundreds of student interest groups to function. HYY is one of the most wealthy student organizations in Europe, due largely to its substantial real estate in downtown Helsinki. Most buildings between the Sokos and Stockmann department stores on Mannerheimintie are HYY property and provide the organization with sizable revenues from the retail space it rents out.
For years the HYY property that is actively used by the organization here has been divided into two halves. The old building ’Vanha’ at Mannerheimintie 3, is now a concert hall and restaurant, important to Helsinki as a treasured historical site. The newer building beside it, built in 1910, is known as ’Uusi’. Uusi holds the HYY administrative staff and government and provides the rest of the building space to student groups for extracurricular activities.
     Floors are connected by lovely winding staircases, which unfortunately mean that it is not handicapped accessible. The growing number of students mean that larger gatherings of student groups fill the house to such an extent that fire regulations are often violated. Domus Academica is a group of buildings in Leppäsuo, near the central bus terminal. Domus housed the University’s undergraduate library until a few years ago, when the library was moved to Kaisaniemi.
     Space is currently under renovation at Domus, after a HYY decision to move several of its student activities to Leppäsuo. There are currently several student housing locations near Domus and more are planned, meaning that Leppäsuo could become a central location for student activities. Not all student groups want to leave the milieu of the downtown building and HYY does not plan to force anyone out. Most groups, however, are eager to have more space and the final decision, scheduled for March, is expected to have little contention.

What Are Young Parliamentary Candidates Made Of?

Just over twenty years old, some socially pertinent opinions, comfortable clothes and values that represent his or her age groupèthere you have it: the perfect young candidate for political office. Each voting season the parties scout them out, seeing as how it is essential to have a few young faces on the roster. The Swedish-speaking People’s Party recruits young candidates most aggressively. Tiina Johansson from the party office explains why, ”They bring new blood, new perspectives. They are Finland’s future!” The problem is that they are an endangered species nowadays. Maija Pihlajamäki from the Finnish Center Party laments, ”young people are regrettably so passive in relation to this.”
Perhaps the reason no young people are running for office is because there are no young people to vote for them. A Turku University study has shown that 90% of young Finns prefer to vote for some older than themselves, if they vote at all. Tuomas Rantanen, 33 of the Greens is a candidate and an environmental activist. ”Young candidates just ruin it for themselves when they run for office. No one takes them seriously”, he says. Young men lose out before young women in Finland. Many voters feel that it is somehow trendy and progressive to vote for a young woman and several have started popular political careers in the last decade.

The Return of the Mystic Master Director

Terrence Malick made two excellent films in the 70s and then disappeared. Stanley Kubrick has made several fine films in his career and people call him a recluse, so what should we call Malick? The mystery around Malick is thick. Biographers speculate that he was born in 1943 in Ottawa, Illinois. His father was an oil company manager and Malick grew up on the oil fields of Oklahoma and Texas. In high school he was a talented football player, but rather than pursue a professional career, upon graduation he set his sights on Harvard. He majored in philosophy, winning a scholarship to Oxford, where he met and worked with Martin Heidegger.
In 1969, he published the English translation of his text Von Wesem des Grundes. He worked in the London office of Newsweek and contributed to the New Yorker. In 1967, he spent four months with Che Guevara in Bolivia, but never wrote a word about his experience there. He taught philosophy for a year at MIT and then applied to the American Film Institute. He later commented, ”I wouldn’t be accepted there today, but back then they took anyone.”
    He was a sensation at AFI. His first film, Badlands, with Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek, became an instant classic with its gorgeous cinematography and Spacek’s distracted, cool narrative. It took two years for Malick to edit his next film, the epic Days of Heaven. He was awarded at Cannes for best director, but the film never became a commercial success, starting out 800,000 dollars over budget. He left Hollywood and spent his next years moving between Texas and Paris. Rumor has it that after he left the movie-making business, Paramount paid Malick millions just to review scripts once in a while.
    After a twenty year break, Malick announced in 1995 that he was creating a screenplay from James Jones’ war novel The Thin Red Line. Everyone who was anyone in Hollywood was eager to be a part of Malick’s comeback and the film features stars like Sean Penn, John Travolta, Nick Nolte, John Cusack, Woody Harrelson and George Clooney. The Thin Red Line premiers in Finland on March 19. It is a war movie nothing like Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. War is just a point of departure for Malick through which he can analyze man and nature, the chaotic relationship between good and bad. The film has beautiful scenes from the Pacific islands where the film is set, with glimpses of the indigenous peoples of the island, living in harmony with their surroundings. The three-hour movie is challenging to its audience, there is no fluid story line and Malick makes no effort to make difficult concepts and feelings more understandable. The depth of The Thin Red Line is perhaps best reflected in the foreword of Malick’s Heidegger translation. ”Our ignorance is not anarchaic, for it has its own internal order.”

Power and Influence in 21st Century Finland: Part Four

Many believe that the media has considerable influence over our understanding of the events that take place around us. Pauli Aalto-Setälä is the 33 year old news director for the fledgling commercial television channel Channel Four, Nelonen, in Finland.
”Does a phone have power?” he asks. Aalto-Setälä is miffed by discussion about the power and influence of media today, because he feels that the media is a simple mediator of information in the same way a telephone is. ”It would be offensive if the media would be proud of the power that it holds, it would make more sense to ask how that power should be used.” Aalto-Setälä reminds us that he recently read that 80% of the world cannot watch television, and so the effect of media is still very limited. ”It is a small, elite group that has anything to do with it.”
    In any case, Aalto-Setälä makes sure that the staff at Nelonen is aware of the increasing influence of newsmaking today. Aalto-Setälä and his associate Eero Hyvönen have asked everyone in the office to sign a document outlining the ethical direction of the Nelonen news team. ”The older news editors kind of laughed about it. There is an element of naivete, I admit. But, we just felt that it was important to keep these things in mind when we go out to report the news every day.” Central to the ethical mandate is the principle that no reporter is an instrument of power or influence or is in any capacity to act as a judge. ”It means that you should always listen to the other side – that your first reaction may not always be correct. If some big director is asked to leave a company, for example, it does not necessarily mean that that person is guilty of some wrongdoing,” he explains. Aalto-Setälä is lured by the idea of a perfect work culture. He greatly enjoyed creating Channel Four News from the ground up, because ”all of it is carefully thought out and we all think it through together.”

by Pamela Kaskinen