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Things I didn’t know last week

May 13, 2015

So what did I learn last week?

I have to thank the Little Miss for the first part of this entry. She asked me how do blind people read. I told her what I know of Braille and then realized that we have stuff at home that have Braille printed on it: medicines and prescription drugs. I somehow knew this already, but it escaped me. We also have medicines that we acquired in Canada – and they do not have Braille printed on the boxes. According to an administrative regulation under the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea (3/2013) “The name of a medicinal product (if necessary the strength) shall be indicated on the outer packaging in Braille of an approved standard. This requirement does not concern human medicinal products intended solely for hospital use or for dispensing by health care personnel or veterinary medicinal products.” Thanks to Karin K. Senior Researcher at Fimea for answering my question.

On the left, a box with Braille, on the right, none

On the left, a box with Braille, on the right, none

And the more I thought about it I realized that there are lots of accessibility aids for visually-impaired people when they are out in public. Elevator buttons, the stop buttons in buses, different kinds of stones at bus stops and train stations, raised knobs on floors, sound cues (beeping) at traffic lights and so on.

The World Hockey Championships are on in the Czech Republic at the moment, so that means our household is glued to the TV every day, no matter who is playing. Three things I didn’t know about players from the Finnish team, until I looked: This is the first team in a long time that has no players born in the 1970s (i.e. no Selänne, no Koivu, etc.). Aleksander Barkov was born in Tampere, plays in the NHL and is only 19 years old! Number one goaltender Pekka Rinne is not a small guy, he’s a giant – 196cm (6’5″) tall! They finished second in the pool with a mind-boggling shootout win over Russia yesterday – what a game!

There has been plenty of angry reaction to the clear-cutting of an old growth forest around the popular tourist attractions at Hvitträsk in Kirkkonummi. Last week YLE ran a video of the site after all of the trees had been cut. It’s sad, because this place will never look the same again. I fear its value as an attraction has declined markedly.

This seems to be happening a lot in the capital area lately and clear cutting in this manner clearly makes people angry. Just yesterday the City of Helsinki agreed to develop the island of Vartiosaari into a residential district. Thousands of people are opposed to the idea that a forested oasis in the city that boasts plenty of wildlife and offers a chance to rejuvenate with nature therapy, will become a concrete jungle. A friend assures me it is not too late, something can still be done… I can only hope.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Urmas permalink
    May 13, 2015 1:55 pm

    And… did you know that the equipment manager of the Finnish Team has played over 600 NHL games?


    • May 15, 2015 11:54 am

      I didn’t! Good to see that he is still involved on the hockey front!

  2. anonymous permalink
    May 13, 2015 7:04 pm

    Well, clear-cutting is that at least it is honest and up-front even if it is just plain wrong. Around my home in Helsinki there is a green area, mostly forested but also with natural clearings that only have some trees and also some actually tended areas, with gravel roads for bicycles, etc. going through it. Every couple of years the city goes in and chops down trees supposedly in bad shape but also all saplings under certain thickness, presumably in order to prevent a thicket. Unfortunately, they do it way too often for their chosen criteria and, in reality, no saplings seem to survive. So, what they are slowly creating is a park-like environment, which I think is plain wrong. A place with naturally fairly lush new tree growth should not have forests that people can see through. That defeats the purpose. People who want park-like well-tended environments should go to the actual parks (e.g. Sinebrychoff park) or move to England to experience them.

    As far as the building of new residential districts, AFAIK there are plans by some, official or not, for some 300 000 new residents in the city by 2050 (in addition to those for Espoo and Vantaa). I hate what that would do to the current residential neighbourhoods or to current green patches in and around them. I think there’s some room in the east and some in the north, but not that much. There would be a lot less breathing room in the suburbs – including the ones with the apartment blocks. Most of the growing should happen near the center to create more of the actual city and, considering some of the apartment complexes there, you could simultaneously improve the area. You could grab at least some of the land needed to do it from cars. There’s essentially no need for cars in the center (and not that much elsewhere either).
    Also, what bears thinking is that AFAIK currently the population growth in Helsinki is close to zero except for the people coming in from abroad. You may not like me saying this, but I don’t want that amount of immigrants in Helsinki. I don’t want anywhere near that. I especially don’t want that as long as the official stance for integration is multiculturalism – I would prefer the other end of the axis i.e. assimilation, at least linguistically and culturally. Finland is a small nation state for the people who have lived here for thousands of years. The point of them is a people wanting to control their own destiny and have their own culture and ways and patch of land to live on, not being a melting pot built primarily on immigration.

  3. Sonia permalink
    May 16, 2015 1:32 am

    The Braille print on medicines is part of the 2004/27/EC EU-directive and was introduced in 2006. EU is not always to blame for silly directives.

    You got a point, I miss here thousand years old trees, a variety of noble trees species and the respect to those, too. And to historical architecture.

    As for the inacceptable immigration towards the Helsinki area (which is still tiny), I agree that mastering the language is of utmost importance when living in a foreign country, so is the sensitivity to a local culture. But assimilation? Why should anyone (want to) assimilate? Finns don’t do it abroad either, when you consider that each act of Finnishness is considered heroic, e.g. attending a Finnish school or Marissa Mayer’s marimekko oven-glove.

    Why is being different perceived as an assault towards Finnish values? I know that there are reasons in the history, but now we have the present and the future. I learnt to prepare flamed salmon in a fire place, like to go to sauna and feel comfortable with flat hierarchies and collective effort at work, but I refuse to smash doors against people noses instead of courtesy and wear sandals with socks. I will still watch soccer rather than hockey.

    My choice to pick things which make life richer.

    • viceversa permalink
      May 23, 2015 11:54 am

      “Why is being different perceived as an assault towards Finnish values?”

      Being a Finn seems the pose a threat to your values so I guess the attitude’s got the same roots.

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