why is realism never an option?

Posted: June 7, 2012 in not really sure

I recently discovered a newspaper online for foreigners in Norway.

It is called ‘The Foreigner’ and provides a different perspective on the news here as well as being in English, which is helpful for those newly arrived who haven’t gotten their heads around the confusion that they call the Norwegian Language.

A brilliant article recently on an Englishmans perpective and experiences from moving to the Western part of Oslo really made me laugh and I found myself nodding in agreement to many of the points raised.  It even made it into Aftenposten.

Here is the link:


By far the most interesting element were the comments below the article and the general agreement from foreigners and Norwegians living abroad or who had lived abroad for a stretch as well as the utter disbelief and condemnation by Norwegians who completely missed the point of the article.

The complete lack of self irony in Norway, combined with the ‘us vs them’ mentality can be extremely exhausting at times.

My experiences of being excluded from opportunities due to my foreigner status, being underpaid (effectively having my wages stolen from me) by employers and seeing the mechanisms that supposedly exist via the law, the arbeidstilsynet and even the unions being not applicable to foreigners along with the daily observation of the complete lack of interest Norwegians seem to have in attempting to learn and do things better and smarter at work frankly terrifies me.

With all the chaos currently engulfing Europe,  not to mention the U.S, the slowdown in India and China (the major rowth engines in the world economy) I would have thought that Norway would be preparing for an major economic downturn.  But the repeated mantra of ‘we have it so good, we are the best (at everything ever invented, ever!) and the utter disbelief that Norway will ever be anything than rich (yet unable to afford any meaningful infrastructure construction, yet alone maintainence) and that things will always be brilliant leads me to begin to worry about the future here.

The current situation where government employees have been on strike in a country where almost 1/3 of working age Norwegians are either directly or indirectly employed by the government seems to defy logic.  With the collapse of the Greek economy, do they not see or understand that this approach is unsustainable?

No, there are many pieces of a much grander puzzle that appear to indicate that the Norwegian approach to anything that contradicts their ‘positive’ approach is ignored and denied that worries me and I can’t help but feel that the curent trending for foreigners to be hung out as being incompetent, dishonest, a drain on the Norwegian economy (latest study by the SSB) and that we don’t contribute to the society, but are a direct threat to it points to some sort of eventual confrontation and unpleasant times ahead.

The way I see it is that if people want to stick their heads up their arses to hide from uncomfortable truths or indications, well fair enough.  But demanding that I join them is not an option, it is dark up there and smells like shit.



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