From Start to Finnish
Here is an excerpt from the prologue to this Finland chapter.
“I am not looking to provide a rigorous or critical evaluation of Finland’s education system. I am in no position to. Many of my posts will instead be centred on people, stories, narratives: first-hand opinions that I have read about and heard of. I want to challenge my personal biases and preconceptions. For instance, we speak a lot about egalitarianism – one of the socio-economic notions that the Nordic model is premised upon – but what would it be like to stay in such a country? Besides the education system, the media structure is fascinating too. How is it that Finland, with a population size similar to Singapore’s, can house so many newspapers in circulation? Differences in geography? Political sensitivities and media policies? More importantly, how is it perceived on the ground, by the people?
I still have my newspaper subscriptions, so I will blog about developments in Singapore on Mondays and Wednesdays (the original plan was to write more for the Breakfast Network, but we know how the cookie has crumbled, for the time being). Because I am not a good photographer, and my exploits are typically monotonous or excessively frivolous, I will do a Friday round-up of the week – Finnish Friday – from start to finish.”
Week 0 (Friday): Hello Helsinki!
Week 1 (Friday): Routines, Routines, Routines
Week 2 (Saturday): When the Cold Wind Blows
Week 3 (Saturday): Hei! Mitä Kuuluu?
Week 4 (Sunday): Feels Like Home – Almost
Week 5 (Friday): Rolling the Dice in Helsinki (of Gambling and Problem Gambling in Helsinki and Singapore)
Week 6 (Wednesday): PISA is But One Education Indicator (of the 2013 PISA Results, in Finland and Singapore)
Week 6 (Friday): Visit Tampere and Turku
Week 7 (Wednesday): Hefty Fines for Wealthy Speedsters (of Day-Fines and Speeding Tickets in Finland)
Week 7 (Friday): A Baby and a Box (of the Finnish Maternity Package)
Week 8 (Friday): All of the Lights
Week 9 (Wednesday): Changing How We Test (of Examinations at the Aalto School of Business)
Week 9 (Friday): Visit Porvoo
Week 10 (Monday): A Fear to Venture (of Entrepreneurship and Failure in Finland)
Week 10 (Friday): Visit Warsaw and Krakow
Week 11 (Wednesday): Visit Helsinki
Week 12 (Monday): An Independent Union (of Student Unions in the Universities of Finland)
Week 12 (Friday): Visit Saint Petersburg
Week 13 (Wednesday): Two Days in a Finnish Elementary School
Week 13 (Friday): Finnish Art (A Presentation)
Week 14 (Friday): Universal Universities of Business (of the Aalto University School of Business)
Week 15 (Monday): The Reform of Finland’s Universities (of the 2010 Universities Act Reform)
Week 15 (Wednesday): Finnish Lessons (an Interview with Mr. Juha Romppanen)
Week 15 (Friday): The Finnish Model United Nations
Week 16 (Wednesday): Along the Streets of Helsinki (of Eastern European beggars in Helsinki)
Week 16 (Friday): The Finnish Line
Week 19 (Wednesday): Visit Leiden and The Hague
Week 19 (Friday): Visit Utrecht and Amsterdam
Week 20 (Friday): Visit Stockholm and Uppsala
Week 22 (Friday): Visit Oslo and Bergen
Week 23 (Friday): Visit Copenhagen
Instagram Shot of the Week
Week 0 to 2: At Changi Airport, flying off on New Year’s Eve; Some sights from my neighbourhood at Kannelmäki (the train station, and the quaint apartments nearby); Shot of the famous Old Town in Tallinn, Estonia.
Week 3 to 5: Weekend cottage trip at the countryside; Culinary exploits over the weekend; Helsinki Cathedral and the Senate Square.
Weeks 6 to 8: A day-trip to the city of Tampere, Finland; Trip to Inari and Ivalo with Clement and Wei Leong, Finland; Sights of the lights.
Weeks 9 to 11: A day-trip to the city of Porvoo, Finland; Shot from the Helsingin Sanomat; The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
Weeks 12 to 14: A selfie at Kiasma, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, Finland; The Cathedral on Spilled Blood in Saint Petersburg, erected on the site where Alexander II was mortally wounded; The Finnish Model United Nations, 2014.
Weeks 15 to 17: Best tomato bagel – with ham and sundried tomato cream cheese – I’ve ever had, at Utrecht, the Netherlands; Obligatory shot of a windmill at Leiden, the Netherlands; Tulip fields at Alkmaar, the Netherlands.
Weeks 18 to 20: At Uppsala, Stockholm; At Aurland, Norway, during the Norway in a Nutshell tour; At Bergen, Norway.
Weeks 21 to 22: Fantastic burger meal at Copenhagen, Denmark; Home.