Archive for the ‘Norwegian culture’ Category


Been doing a lot of thinking of late, trying to figure out what to do.

Been working like mad to finish my house up so it is ready for sale.  Living up here in Hallingdal, which is akin to living in ‘deliverance’ world is simply not working out.  There are no real job opportunities, the jobs that are available go to the locals, regardless of their experience or competence and it seems that what you do in your spare time, what sport you are interested in, or hobby you pursue, is the only real thing to put on your CV.

So, it isn’t going to work out here.

I begin to consider moving to another town in Norway, somewhere bigger, where there are more job opportunities, a better cultural mix and perhaps a little warmer, or at least somewhere that has a spring…

But the whole dual citizenship thing kicks its head up and makes me stop and take a good, hard look at the bigger picture.

An I do not like what I am looking at.

And a lot of other foreigners seem to share the same distaste for what this country offers and the way it treats us invaders with disdain, mistrust and essentially looks down on us.

Our educations are not recognised, because we all live in caves and do not read or write.  WE are not competent to work in a position, regardless of our experience, often in an International scope and we are not viewed as having ‘potential’, thus see some of the laziest, most stupid and frankly shit poor excuses move past us on what promotional ladder exists within whatever workplace has taken us on.

So I did a bit of a tally, a comparison of sorts to try and take a more critical look at my situation, to remove the emotional aspect, because, I am pretty fucking emotional about all of this.

Tired of being kicked in the teeth, but being told I need to smile as not to upset the Norwegians.

So What have I come up with.

The comparison is between Norway and my home town in Aus, Newcastle.

Norway                                                                           Newcastle

weather                                       cold, wet, some sunshine                                            warm,  bloody hot in summer, lots of sun, heavy rain and storms in winter

job opportunities                     very restricted, poor choices                                     economy is good, network of friends, not an outsider, pretty good

healthcare                                   for the most part free                                                  for the most part free

educational opportunities     not much point as I am a foreigner                        plenty, from university to tafe and mining courses locally

cost of living                                bloody expensive, high taxes                                   not as expensive, but plenty taxes, council fees and city type costs

family aspect                               fresh air, snowsports, hiking, hytte                        beaches, bays, lake, valley (vineyards), hiking, cheap flights to NZ for skiing

environment                               clean water, fresh air (in mountains)                     coastal salt air, clean water, sunshine

that is where I am as yet, so far it is looking like home is the better option.

It would seem I am not alone in giving up on North Korea, I mean Norway.

http://theforeigner.no/pages/news/immigrants-give-up-on-norway/

Get Involved/Contact

Posted: July 29, 2013 in Norwegian culture

Get Involved/Contact.


In Norway, many of us are involved in mixed Nationality relationships, which, one would imagine is a good thing, especially for our children.

That they have cultural connections across borders and belong to a more ‘globalised’ world, perhaps contributing to better understanding of foreign cultures, prevention of wars and othe conflicts in the future.  After all, that is the argument made to justify the existence of the E.U isn’t it?

Well, recently it has flared up that children, born IN NORWAY, of mixed nationality couples, who attain their birthright citizenship from the foreign parents home country lose their Norwegian Citizenship.

It appears that the UDI interpret it as applying for another Citizenship, which is strictly forbidden as then the earth would open up, demons descend from the heavens and Norway would face ragnarok, or armageddon.  Which would be a bad thing.

This is despite the very real fact that many children already have dual citizenship, especially, those born to a Norwegian Parent outside of Norway.

So, a little double standard goes a long way to stave of the destruction of Norway….

Anyway, on Facebook, there is now a group, actually a few, that have taken this issue up and are fighting to get some logic inserted into a clearly dysfunctional, outdated and rather stupid law that appears to have been crafted with the help of some of Oslo’s fines Crack Cocaine and Hjemmebrent.

So , if you have kids, born in Norway, regardless of where you now live, and they have acquired dual Citizenship from your or your spouses homeland, take a peek and join the debate.

We need this to come forward in the media (it has so far in VG – Front page) and get it sorted as some families face being broken up, some are barred from returning to Norway as the kids have been stripped of their Citizenship.

Any anecdotes or tales from your experiences with the UDI would be good,  as they are like a fawlty towers episode and any other relevant info, such as how your home nation defines the right to Citizenship by decent.  Is it Automatic, by recognition or must you seek it?

So here is a link to the sites on Facebook in Norway.  Join the fight!!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/357845504341042/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dobbelt-statsborgerskap-for-Norge-Dual-Citizenship-for-Norway/374355309338353?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/NorwegianChildrensRights?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151755741336212&set=o.493158844107924&type=1&theater

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153069787515092&set=o.493158844107924&type=1&theater

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grensel%C3%B8s-Kj%C3%A6rlighet/226293750723078?fref=ts

Cheers!


I am not sure about all of you, but my blood boils when I hear certain words used in Norwegian that display such a mind numbingly awesome level of ignorance and utter moronity that at times I have wondered why my long intestine has not made a mercy dash and climbed up inside my body and strangled me to relieve me of the desire to educate(usually the idea of stabbing them in the face with a large, blunt object repeatedly)  people who insist on sprinkling their sentences with large words that they think sounds clever but only act to identify them as the hillbilly trailer trash they actually are.

some of these ‘words’ are:

Effective (effektiv) : actually means –  less people running faster

Positive (positiv): meaning- I have my head up my arse thus I cannot see the problem you are mentioning

Budget: usually referring to a ‘wish list’ involving high profits and no costs.

Staff Meeeting (møte): lets get together, drink bitter, burnt dipolator ‘coffee’ and talk shit for an hour, agree an what changes we need to make and then tomorrow, continue doing the stupid shit we have always done.

Innovation (innovasjon): lets take an old, out of date and disfunctional idea/methodology/technique and give it a new name and logo.

Now ther are plenty more, and I would love to hear any further suggestions, but the fact is that I have to hear this crap every bloody day.

Over and over, as an excuse for not getting involved, a response to valid observations, as a way out of having to explain why the dumbest possible way that ever in the history of all life on the planet earth is the chosen way that we will do something.

So, today I tried something.

Everytime I heard one of these words I started humming or whistling the smurfs theme tune.

It helps.

It just seems to make sense of it all.

And if you think about it, just for a second, Norway is a lot like the imaginary world the Smurfs inhabit, simple, kind of like reality but not quite, lots of nature and the laws of physics seem to not apply.

And it helps me laugh off the frustration that leads to irreconcilable rage that engulfs me and to disengage – to be more ‘Norwegian’ as it was.  To just realise that it isn’t worth giving a shit, mediocrity is a valid goal and trying to improve, to make things better, learning from the mistakes of others or the past is pointless.

So, give it a try.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRcR6q4NlSk


Had an interesting experience today, not really sure how I feel about it yet, angry or just resigned…

A job opening came up working for an employer I would love to work for, doing something that I would love to do, something I could sink my teeth into and something that I know I could do well.

Now, I have recently been working via an agency on a 3 month contract, and have been offered full time work directly for the business which  accepted.  The job is fine, the people I work with are nice and the general environment is very pleasant, the only hitch is that it is a job, not a career.

It is overtly physical and I spend a great deal of time outside, regardless of the weather and winter is closing in.  Some of my colleagues have recently commented that it got down to minus 25 in the work area last year.  Quite frankly, this worries me as it is not as if we are issued ski clothing due to the tasks we carry out, so I cannot help but wonder how my body will tolerate this type of temperature in ‘work clothes’.

Anyway, I had my attention drawn to the open position by somebody who works for the company and knows me from when I worked on the ski-lifts in Geilo (we get ski clothes) and reccomended me to apply.

I had just signed my work contract the day before and I thought the timing was typical, but thought, ‘why not?’  So an application was duly sent.

I dared to dream, to reach for my aspirations, to take a shot.

The next thing I know, the job agency, who is also handling this job call me and want to know why I have sent an application for this position when I have been offered a full time job at the place I am at now (they were unaware I had accepted a full time position).  I found this to be a little disconcerting and asked why I shouldn’t apply.

I was then informed that it could make the agency look bad, which I get, but at the same time I think to myself, ‘this is my life, this is what I do with over a 3rd of my time and I know I can do better, can realise more of my potential and hell, this is my dream job’.

After a lot of to and fro-ing, where I went into length about what sort of position I seek for the long term and that I have been open and honest with my new employer about my desires to secure a career position with a more international organisation, thus I am not going behind anyone’s back or deceiving anyone I was urged to not apply for any jobs for at least 6 months so as to not embarrass the agency.

Now, the way I see it is that it is a good thing for me to aspire to be the best I can, to make the best contribution I can in society and that if I do something that I like, that I will be better at it.  I also thought that if I objectively considered my current position, taking into account the fact that it is a position that has limited growth or promotional potential, will not include a great deal of training and being overtly physical, exposed to the Norwegian elements and taking into account that I am not a teenager anymore, that perhaps looking into potential alternatives and pursuing my aspirations was a good thing.

But again, the cold reality of life as a foreigner, an ‘utlending’ slaps my face with the cold fish of the reality that I must now operate within.

The paradigm, the ever present dogma of life in this god-forsaken excuse for a country is that as a foreigner, I am expected to work, to have a ‘job’ and to be eternally grateful for the privilege of living here.  I am not worthy of having dreams, aspirations, goals or expectations above my station.

Now, I have heard many similar stories from other ‘utlending’ in Norway, our previous experience counts for nothing, as all Norwegian business’s are world leaders at everything, so we have no competence, that our education is irrelevant or not good enough (we all know how the Norwegian education system is the best in the world and is reflected in the world school rankings) and that in essence, we just aren’t competent or suitable for any of the good positions.

But the basic stuff, the low paid, laborious, mundane and degrading positions, those that Norwegians deem themselves too good for, those we can do.

So, I am trying now to reach a decision, should I continue to struggle on, to dream and reach for something better?

Or should I just give up and trudge through my existence here, living my life by the rules and desires of others?

Not sure which one involves the less pain and will be easier to reconcile with my soul, if there is any left in this land that seems to suck the life right out of us.

Advice?


Over the last year, I have been one of many former employees who worked for an Asylum Mottak operator called Link AS who are trying to get money owed to us for unpaid loading (tillegg) and the like.

Most of us worked a 7 day roster, odd hours and on public holidays as well.  We were paid a set monthly wage, regardless of if any of these days fell within the pay period.  The union was informed and the process of trying to rectify this began.

Myself, I worked a night guard, 7 days on, 12 hour shifts starting at 10 pm and then 7 days off.  This contravened the employment laws as to the maximum hours allowed in a week.  The bsiness had no dispensation from these laws, thus it was operating illegally.

After one of the Mottaks was burnt down by the asylum seekers (our daily manager and Lier mottak’s was the same person) and media attention was focussed on the operator, we saw that some demands for unpaid overtime and public holiday loading were met, with the excuse that it was the accountants fault.

The ensuing media coverage exposed employees had been orking hundreds of hours overtime without the correct remuneration, for a long time and despite being informed, had ignored the issues and not heeded the warnings from frontline staff in regard to the ‘mood’ within the mottak prior to the events that resulted in its closure.

I even heard of one situation where the mottak leader, when being confronted by the asylum seekers about the lack of food provided threw grass at them and told them to eat that.  Bit of a worry?

At the time I was the union rep (tillitsvalgt) and made enquiries to the UDI and the arbeidstilsynet (industrial relations tribunal) to try and obtain some clarification as to what the actual rights were, due to many different opinions and a lot of misinformation and guesswork by some of the employees.

It is important to understand how this particular employer operates and their attitude towards immigrants in Norway, especially given the important socual responsibility they have been imbued with by the Norwegian government in regards to integration and the fate of Asylum seekers in Norway.

Link As has an operational policy of employing Scandinavians, predominately Norwegians into the management roles within its Asylum Mottaks, the more operational roles, that is the shit jobs are filled mostly by foreigners, many of which are former Asylum seekers.

They have a standard work contract with a set yearly wage, that makes no mention of overtime, public holidays, weekends or the like.  It also does not mention anywhere that the figure is all inclusive of all loading and extras that are incurred in accordance with the industrial relations laws in Norway.

They operate under a tarriff, much the same as most employers in Norway, yet seem to have a very interesting and self serving perspective in their interpretation of how th tariff operates.  They have recently changed to another tariff which will allow them to pay people even less and greatly reduces employees rights in regards to working public holidays, nights and weekends.  This in a country where free time and family time are deemed sacrosanct.

It would appear that it is only Norwegians that are deemed to have the need for free time or family time.

After I made some enquiries, a meeting with 2 of the senior management was called to try and work out what was going on and what could be done to rectify the situation and restore some trust and harmony between employees and management.

During this meeting, an interesting thing happened that confirmed many of my suspicions about immigrants standing in the scheme of things in Norwegian society.

I am white, speak Norwegian and this can sometimes lead Norwegians, in the heat of a discussion to forget I am a foreigner.

I was informed by management, and an overtly aggressive economic manager (who had the appearance of a dishevelled bum) that the reason that the wage levels were so low and the difference between Norwegians pay and foreigners pay for the same job and level of responsibility was that foreigners were incompetent and did not deserve to be paid the same as Norwegians.  A rather apartheid approach I thought.

the next thing that happened suprised and disturbed me even more.  The operational manager went on to ask about private correspondence that I had sent to the UDI in regards to seeking clarification about wage levels.  That the Government department had contacted and given my details to the management of a private operator in what I would rightly consider to be a matter that was confidential was an eye opener and confirmed many of my suspicions in regards to collusion and a ‘cover up’ by a department that has been exposed to be ineffective and riddled with incompetence.

This was the last straw for me and I resigned my position, working for elitist scum like this is not worth it and bugger me if I will boost their bottom line through my efforts.

Anyway, eventually the union gave up and took the matter to the courts where as I understand a judgement was made that the union and the operator, via the NHO would negotiate and make restitution.   Oddly, the operator and NHo have been able to blankly refuse to meet for any negotiations without any fear of repercussions or punitive damages which makes me suspect collusion and perhaps even corruption emenating from a government department.

Remember, in Norway, it is the government that is the biggest offender, via private operators, like Adecco, that have repeatedly been found to be breaking the laws in regard to pay and conditions.

So now, over a year later, we are still waiting to hear if we will get the money that is owed to us for loading.  Some have filed for over 100 000,- NOK in money owed.

As usual, the company is crying foul and playing the poor card, saying they don’t have the financial resources, oddly, they seem to have plenty for management.

So, the point here is that the Norwegian arbeidslov, or industrial relations law, will  not protect you from unscrupulous employers.  The actions of profiteering scumbags will be condoned and thus, encouraged by a system that will not act until media coverage is so damning and frontpage news.  It is only through publicly shaming that these types of employers will then take some steps to rectify the situation, but only temporarily.

As a foreigner in Norway, be aware, be careful, learn your rights and make your decisions wisely.

For what it is worth, I have secured new employment , via manpower, who I have found to be very above board and on the level, helpful and more interested in what I can do, not where I was born.

My new full-time employer is great, the people I work with inclusive and again, they don’t give a shit where I come from, just what I can do and that I do my job.

It is worth the hard work to search, and look for better if you feel you have been treated unfairly or are subject to discrimination.

We only live once…except for reincarnationists…


The last few days has been like something out of the twilight zone.

First a friend died in a base jumping accident, a great guy, loved by all who knew him and a real ray of sunshine in an otherwise often overcast world.

Arne, gonna miss seeing you around, rest in peace mate.

Then the events that unfolded on Friday 22 July in Oslo centre and on Utøya.

I watched this unfold on the tv whilst down at the hytte with the family and a lot of the extended family, so surrounded by laughing kids and people who are dear to my heart.

All of us adults were transfixed in disbelief at what we were seeing on the news and when the reports from Utøya began it was completely indescribable.

So I want to just reach out and say that for all those who are directly affected, my heart bleeds for you.  To the nation of Norway, the people and culture of this land, the way people have reacted, consoling one another, keeping composure and not resorting to the rage and need for revenge that are all too easily dominant, you have my heartfelt condolences and respect.

This madman has committed such an atrocious act, evil to its core and unfathomable in its enormity and scale that it defies understanding. As the details emerge of just how sick this abomination of an excuse for a person thought through and meticulously planned this heinous act I cannot help but feel that our thirst for information may not be in our best interests.

This scum-bag seeks attention, he wants some sort of pedestal from which to publicise his twisted logic and I am grateful that the Norwegian Justice system denied him that today in court.

My own feeling on this matter, what to do with him, the 21 year sentence limit in Norway and the nagging desire to see him come to some horrible end is tempered by my belief in the rule of law and that out of such sorrow, shock and horror, good will emerge.

I  have made it reasonably clear that I am not the greatest fan of many Norwegian cultural traits and that I am not particularly engendered of the Arbeider party, however, I believe that debate, discussion, the environment where it accepted that people will disagree and the political system we use (despite its many flaws) are important in how we grow and learn, how we identify our place and role in a greater society.  We live together, we interact and are all responsible for our own actions and somewhat for the actions of others.  Society is greater than any one of us and only by cooperation and tolerance, openness and compassion can we strive to learn, grow and be greater.  Our strength is often derived from those who stand with us and in those we would seek to protect.  That someone would take noble ideals and aspiration then twist them into some unrecognisable hatred and self justifying act of mass murder is to me just completely without any logic or semblance of understanding.

Resorting to mindless violence has never ever achieved anything good or progressive that is worth defending.  Scare tactics designed to motivate by fear are pointless and will never succeed in a robust culture and that has been made very clear by how people are responding; with outpouring of love and solidarity.  IT is amazing to see that race, colour and creed are forgotten, the desire for status and the separation of classes are discarded as all feel the deep wound and void that such a horrendous act creates.

There are no words that I can imagine will help to ease the pain of a nation, or those who have lost loved ones in such a barbaric manner.

All I can say is that I truly feel for you and I too am left with the question that is booming in my mind…Why?

To all those who lost their life in the events of July 22nd 2011…Rest in peace

 

 


Well, It has been a busy few weeks…

The job hunt has borne fruit and I begin a new position in Kongsberg from the 1st of August.

Now I just have to find accommodation in the area, any tips or leads will really be appreciated…cutting it close, as usual.

My wife managed to hijack me away fro a week for a family vacation to Denmark.  Great to spend time with the kids and share some new experiences with the family.

Made a few observations during the trip I thought I’d share…

I noticed first of all that in Denmark, they can build roads.  dual carriageways and the ashfalt is not falling apart everywhere.  Perhaps the Norwegians can have a quiet chat with them and pick up a few pointers.  Also a lack of speed cameras, which was odd as if we are to believe all the ‘road safety experts’ in Norway, I should have seen multi car fatal car accidents everywhere yet oddly, everything was moving smooth and without problems, in fact it felt much safer than driving the main road from Oslo to Bergen that passes through Geilo.  And we were doing nearly twice the speed in some areas that we travel in Norway..

Yes, yes, I know the geography is different, but that old excuse is too old to have any weight, after so many years, surely all the engineers must have formulated solutions?

Another interesting feature was the lack of large luxury S.U.V’s everywhere, in fact the only ones I saw were Norwegian registered.  Seems that the Danish have less of a need to ‘flash the cash’ and are more secure in the size of their genitalia than the Norwegians..  This is perhaps one oof the contributing factors as to why it felt safer driving there..less arrogant, angry, intolerant cashed up dickheads on the road.

Customer service was pleasant to experience again, walking into a shop and being recognised and asked if I needed help.  Meeting people that smiled and were engaged in their work, taking pride in the job they did was particularly nice and engenders a real desire to return.  We visited different attractions and hotels, all the time met by people who were genuinely friendly and hospitable, ready to assist us in any way.  Many of the staff we encountered were young people, most likely in summer jobs that are not well paid, yet they were brilliant.  Again, Norway, perhaps sit down and have a chat with these people, you could learn a few things…

As we were mainly visiting tourist areas it was a great surprise to see presentation was considered.  Buildings were maintained, roads were good, signage excellent and everything we interacted with was well presented and created a feeling of value for money.  even popping into a supermarket to pick up some food for our day at legoland was pleasant with the parking attendant telling us not to bother paying for parking as we were tourists and at the time didn’t have any Danish currency, he even gave us a free indicator for the windscreen that you set at the time you park – these are common in Denmark.  I cannot imagine getting the same treatment in Norway, have the suspicion that they would have identified every possible way to collect money and the entire trip would have been multiple times the cost.

Things were cheaper, food, drink, hotels, you name it, which seems odd considering that they have very similar tax systems to Norway.  Perhaps it was that they had figured out that by pricing correctly to the market, people bought more, so lower profit per item was overcome by volume of sales?  Who knows, but even my wife, who is a ‘Halling – known for fiscal frugality’ was more liberal in her ability to part with money.

Now recently I have been reading in the papers that the Norwegian tourist industry is going through tough times, visitor numbers are down, spending levels are down per visitor and many areas of the industry are having a hard time breaking even, yet alone make a profit.

After this trip it seems rather smple as to why.  Norway offers a vastly more expensive holiday option and a much lower level of service; the product is inferior and the attitude is take it or leave it.  The tourist authorities and local tourism elite are constantly repackaging the same old outdated ideas and presenting them as new, the available local workforce  is disinterested and views the industry as undesirable due to status and wage level issues and the presentation of their product is frankly, appalling.

Whilst Norway is a beautiful country, with breathtaking nature and sights that are world class, has an exotic feel for visitors and is steeped in legend and myth regarding Vikings and the like, the actual interactive experiences for tourists are just simply, not up to scratch.

If I am paying top dollar for a holiday, my expectations are higher.  Due to the tax system in this land, which is nearly crippling for small business and high cost service industries such as tourism and hospitality,  the prices are markedly higher than in other available options for tourists and yet, the product delivered is dissapointing.

In Geilo, where I currently reside, everything looks tired, it is run down, graffiti covered or paint is falling off, the facilities are outdated, in  2011 there is no free wi fi in the town centre and the tourism operators are utterly unable to cooperate and share costs for development of things that enhance the tourist experience such as an app for the town, development of infrastructure and marketing.  Seems up here it is Everyman for themself, greed is more important than common sense and having unfinished building projects littering the area, piles of rubbish lying around and a general nonchalance to any input from us ‘outsiders’ is the modus operandi of the area.

So, there you go, a few quick observations and now down to the nitty gritty of getting myself sorted for the new job….

hope you all have had a great ‘holiday’ over the summer (or wet green autumn we have gotten) this year.

 


Recently I attempted to engage in a debate online in regard to the use of the term Racist in the Norwegian media.

Boy was this a mistake… I made comment upon how certain words have been hijacked by the media and politicians, thus also becoming popularly misused in the contemporary language within the land.

What I saw was a massive outpouring of hostility and complete ignorance in the verbal assault that ensued online.

My point about the misuse of emotionally ‘loaded’ words was missed completely and the fact that I had dared share an opinion and enter the debate was greeted with hostility and a ‘how dare you’ response.

Quite frankly, this worries me and may explain why the integration debate in regard to immigrants in Norway seems to be going in circles.

Now many of us expats in Norway use our blogs to vent and articulate our frustration.  We poke fun at Norway and the language, make jokes at the expense of the culture and the way we encounter situations that border on the absurd.  Whilst this is merely our opinions and is rather subjective (I have yet to encounter someone who is truly objective), we must also recognise that we live here, within this society and to survive, we must be able to function within the paradigms of the societorial culture.

But an issue that truly bothers me is that in Norway, we are bombarded with conflicting messages and trying to make sense of these is somewhat exhausting. we are told to integrate, yet most of the time I find that when the integration is used, assimilation would be a more accurate word to employ.

If we are to integrate, we must be allowed to participate.  We must be allowed to engage in debate and discussion, have our opinions heard, just as we must allow others to voice theirs.  To be overly judgemental and dismissive on contradictory opinion and become hostile towards differences of methodology and belief, often based in fear is not particularly productive. There are many immigrants in Norway, as there are many immigrants in all lands.

The phenomenon of globalisation and the information technology age we live in is shaking many of our beliefs to their very core.  We seek national identity, yet are happy to shop online from all over the world.  We demand that people conform to ‘our’ concept of society and its rules, yet have no problem purchasing imported goods.  We go on holiday to foreign lands to custom designed to appease what we are used to. We outsource businesses to foreign lands to raise profits and keep costs down.  We watch tv, movies, internet feeds from all over the globe yet still ascribe to some sort of ‘tribal’ mentality of us versus them.

Sorry, but this makes my head spin.

The modern age of freedom of information (or more free than it was in times gone by), the ease of travel and the mass movement of people of all colours and creeds over the globe should be a time of enlightenment and growth for the human race as a whole. It is our differences that make us better, stronger, more equipped to tackle obstacles and design solutions for the challenges that lie ahead of us. Instead we are group ourselves with those ‘of our own kind’, cling to nationalistic concepts that are rarely truly reflective of what our society actually is and become hostile to change and ‘new’ because we are constantly told to perceive it as a threat to our way of life. In the west we ascribe to what we like to call democracy, although recently I read an article on political science that referred to it is a ‘polyocracy’ or something like that, which meant that we vote, then we forget about being engaged in how the country is run until the next election.

Our leaders are more and more often exposed as megalomaniacs, out of touch with the real machinations of the society and culture which they are entrusted to administer and are increasingly out of touch with the electorates they supposedly represent.  We find solace in espousing to all that will listen that we are ‘free’ and our way is best yet often, immigrant populations and those who seek refuge from oppression and violent regimes are sidelined and relegated to a position of ‘second class’ citizens.  We deny them the ability to engage and participate, we do not give respect to their observations which are based upon a different perspective of the same issue.

How is this a good idea?

At what stage do we think that this is for the common good?

Is this how we wish for future generations to remember us?

I live in Norway, my wife is Norwegian as are my children.  Norway is a global player in areas of trade and cooperates with countries all over the world in the areas of business, charity, foreign aid and defence.  I identify myself as Australian, yet it only recently occurred to me that I have lived more of my life overseas now than in Australia, so really, I am a citizen of Earth, not just a nationality.

As I live in Norway though, I am primarily concerned with what happens here, how the nation is administered, the social climate and the political system as these things directly impact upon my and my family’s lives.  But if I cannot engage, in an effort to learn and understand more, as much as contribute then how will I ever be able to integrate. To be integrated means to become a functioning part of something greater, if I am to be denied the opportunity to participate and contribute, allowing my difference of experience, cultural background and  world-view to add to the mix, then I am in effect sidelined and thus it must be expected that I will resent and become hostile to that which I hear, I am supposed to become a part of.

See the conflict?

Anyway, just thought I would share that and I would love to hear from others where I could better understand and read the situation and if there are those who disagree, enlighten me…


Kompetanse (competence) – To be Norwegian.  “you do not have the ‘kompetanse’ for the position meaning that you are not Norwegian, so your experience, education and skills are not recognised here.  You will make the other Norwegian employees look lazy and gormless.

 Kritisk (Critical) – noticing the shortfalls and bullshit in the situation at hand.  ” you are too ‘kritisk’ meaning that you have used your brain, thought about the situation and have noticed the gaps in logic, the lack of cohesion and exposed Norwegian planning for being the optimistic party trick that it is.

Negativ – closely related to ‘kritisk’, usually found together.  This also is a defensive word used to deflect attention from the fact that you are being realistic and not walking around with your head up your arse.  Norwegians are obsessed with being ‘positive’ or optimistic, thus if their house is on fire, only comment about how nice the weather is and what pretty lights are on the fire engine.  Being negative in Norway is surprisingly a trait that pertains only to foreigners as when Norwegians make a ‘negative’ observation, they are given respect and their opinion is valued.  Best tactic is to let a Norwegian present your ideas or concerns and let them also take the credit/promotion/pay rise/bonus for being such a brilliant person.  When Norwegians learn about optimist, pessimist and realist, they drop realist as that implies actually using their brain.

Beste (best) – not to be confused with best as in having been weighed against and compared to other like things and found to be superior.  This just means that Norwegians think it is pretty good, will tolerate no discussion on the matter and it is invoked usually to cover up something that is completely rubbish and sub-standard such as roads, rail , hospitals, schools….the list goes on.  Usually found in close proximity to the Norwegian word ‘verdens’ again easily misunderstood as meaning the worlds, it actually has no real meaning.

 Lutefisk (fish in lye) – wallpaper glue.  Avoid at all costs.

Smållehovet (sheeps head) – actually half a sheeps head.  Again an oddity and usually accompanied with the other good bits such as the arsehole, the intestinal lining and hooves.  An acquired taste bourne out of starvation and Nazi like brainwashing techniques from birth.

Hallingdal (region between Oslo and Bergen) – a place where dreams come to die  Populated largely by the descendants of the kid on the front porch playing banjo in deliverance.   They think everyone else is strange, gonna go with the numbers on this one as they are vastly outnumbered.  Foreigners seen as suitable for washing toilets and other lowly paid positions.

Nå skal du høre (now you shall hear) – Hello in the dialect of Bergen.  Actually translates to listen, but people in Bergen have never got the hang of hello.   Said with a nasal tang, often by those who also have never understood the idea of queing and waiting their turn.

Vær så snill -Please.   A very rare and elusive word not in common usage.  Understood to be practiced by a few smll collections of foreigners residing in Norway.

Kaffe – Not coffee.  This burnt excuse for a beverage is more akin to liquefied asphalt and in no way resembles coffee.  Best to locate a starbucks if you can afford it or buy imported coffee and a real espresso machine.  Exposure to large quantities has been proven by scientists to inhibit higher functions in the brain and can mimic the results of a frontal lobotomy.  Choose tea if given the choice.

Europevei (european highway standard) – goat track.  This is not a high way as we understand it, the ‘high’ means that there are more ‘high’ bits, or original (circa 1960’s) ashphalt than the ‘low’ parts which are the bottoms of the potholes.  Usually populated by automated toll machines and just wide enough for 2 medium sized vehicles to pass.  Considered an adreneline sport to drive on one by rally drivers and other extreme sports fanatics.

Riksvei (national road standard) – unmaintained and frankly dangerous Tibetan standard walking trail.  Extremely expensive to use as your vehicle will most likely vibrate itself to small peices and disintegrate before your arrival at your destination.  Usually not wide enough for 2 trucks to pass, devoid of overtaking lanes, looks something like a patchwork quilt of ashphalt repair jobs and with guardrails only beside the bits that don’t need them.  Usually heavily populated by tractors and other agricultural machinery doing 5 km/h and driven by locals who do not know what the rear view mirror is, also frequented by the killer SUV driver, a special species that treats driving as a blood sport and flagrantly disregards the safety of all others as they are in the biggest car on the ‘road’.

SUV – Socially Unacceptable Vehicle.  Chelsea Tractors such as range rovers, porsche cayennes and BMW x5’s.  Driven by men with severe self image delusions and real estate agents.  If driven by a ‘Bærum’ native, such as the wife or child of the owner, stay well back as they are not accountable for their actions.

Utlending (foreigner) – lower form of life not worthy of respect or equal rights.  Subject to being underpaid in employment if they are lucky enough to get any.  Commonly seen doing functionary positions such as driving taxis, washing floors and toilets in government buildings, cleaning Norwegians houses, just actually working in general as opposed to lazing around getting paid to read the newspaper or surf the net at their place of ’employment’.  Totally responsible and accountable for all actions and regularly hung out for ridicule by the political parties, especially the F.R.P which seems to be mainly composed of paedophiles and fraudsters.

Innvandere (immigrant) – invader.  Viewed as a hostile species by Norwegians.  Believed to have grand designs and hidden agendas about taking over Norway and stealing everything from the Norwegians.  Perceived as a direct threat and often used as a way to avoid saying the word Muslim by politicians and news journalists.   Innvandere are seen as the root of all evil in Norway and must be sent home immediately so they do not drain all the national wealth through unemployment benefits and sickness benefits.

 Muslim (follower of the Islamic faiths) – Terrorist.  The Norwegian government and media have been successful in creating such a frenzy of fear and suspicion that all Muslims are regularly portrayed to be the spawn of Osama Bin Laden and are always wearing a suicide vest.  Heavily influenced by Bush era American politics and (lack of) foreign policy, this is a view often based on such complete ignorance that if Norwegians believe this, it is amazing they can tie their shoelaces.

Rik (rich) – not rich as we understand it.  Having lots of financial wealth is important to Norwegians, in fact, I would go so far as say this is often the most important and highly respected thing to Norwegian culture.  But whereas being rich usually means that you can afford what you need and want, in Norway it is the ‘uncle scrooge’ mentality that is the dominant influence.  Having enormous sums secreted away in a bank account, not to be used to maintain and improve the essential services and infrastructure of the nation regardless of the actual state of disrepair and the definitive urgent need for investment is a particularly Norwegian thing.  So when you hear that Norway is the ‘richest country on earth’, take it with a grain of salt as there are 3rd world nations with better roads, rail and education systems.  It may be ‘rich’, but it lacks wealth.