November 29, 2004

Desaru - where my heart belongs..



Some people say that meat-eaters diet is more nutritious, I don't necessarily agree, just that the food is of a better color sometimes.. :) After arguing whether killing cats as an art performance is acceptable sometime in May (no, I don't think it is acceptable), I didn't eat meat (unless unknowingly) until now. Don't feel that I miss out on something. Leijonakaupunki is an easy place for non-meat-eater - lots of options for Indian, Chinese (many of them are Buddhist) food. Such a gluton I became.. :)

My EP (Employment Pass) has been approved (visgi jie galvoja, kad as tinkama destyti sioje visuomeneje, o, jeigu jie tik zinotu apie sita bloga, niekada neleistu daryti klastingos itakos ju jaunimui... siis ne luule etta ma on sopiva opettaja niiden nuorisolle, ah, jos ne vain lueskelisi eneman tata blogia, ei antaisi korumpoida niiden tulevaisuutta.. :)!!! So I will start working from this Wednesday 1st December. Can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that! Enough of staring at computer screen among 4 walls (I guess, I'll get to stare at the same screen in a much more disturbed environment from now on.. :) But I'm happy happy and excited! Juu! (I wonder how we'll arrange our daily chores.. So far Kaj has been "feeding us", I was shopping :)


The highlight of last week was the visit to Desaru on Sunday. Because of monsoon it rains every day, at night, in the morning or in the afternoon, so it was a great luck that the weather was good during the first half a day.

Some people asked me "what is the whole point of going to Leijonakaupunki if its so bad" (yeah, that's my critical sister again.. :), I guess you may get this picture (mind me, I'm seriously over-emphasizing some parts to make it more dramatic) from my blog. But in reality, although there are quite a few things that I'd like to improve in this society (zodzhio laisve, pvz.. esimerkiksi sanan vapaus..), it is very very tolerable. I mean, Malaysia is just 45min away.. :) As long as we can get to Desaru once in a while on Sundays, that beats Finnish November big time, not even talking about Lithuanian November (cold like in Finland, heating like in Central Europe, brrr...) Kaj's colleagues know almost all the surfers on the beach, so we're also treated with genuine interest, people are relaxed and chat to each other a lot.


Vienas veikejas, kuri sutikom praeita sekmadieni Desaru dirba destytoju Liutamiescio policijoje ir labai noriai dalinosi ziniomis apie Liutamiescio kalejimus ar fizines bausmes, kaip pvz plakimas rykstemis. Uz visokius pazeidimus (pvz uz grafiti, uz nelegalu sienos perzengima, etc) cionais galima gauti pvz 4 ar 21 rykstes. Skamba gal nelabai baisiai, bet tu ryksciu smugiai tokie stiprus, kad paprastai oda plysta iki mesu ir randai lieka visam gyvenimui. Tas veikejas pvz aiskino, kaip plakejai treniruojasi, kad ryksciu smugiai butu dailiai vienas po kito lygiagreciai suguldyti. Jei nusikaltelis nualpsta pvz po 3ju smugiu, o yra nubaustas 4iems, tas vienas likes smugis bus atidetas iki rytojaus. 20 smugiu gali testis kokias 5ias dienas. Jei esi nubaustas priedo keleta metu kalejimo, gali rinktis, kada nori gauti rykstes, kalejimo pradzioj ar vidury. Kaliniai taip pat negali sportuoti, jei priziuretojai pastebes, kad pvz darai atsilenkimus, kalejimo laikas bus pratestas 1 savaite.. Policininkai, kurie nusizengia, gauna dvigubai visko, kalejimo laiko, ryksciu ir piniginiu baudu.. Ir taip toliau ir panasiai.. Kaip jums tai patinka?



Eilen biitsilla tavattiin yhden kaverin joka on toissa poliisi koulussa. Han tosi ystavalisesti kerroi paljon juttuja Leijonakaupungin vankiloista ja piiskamisesta. Leijonakaupungissa jos teet jotain lain vastaan (esimerkiksi piirtat grafitin tai laitomasti menet rajan yli, etc), voit saada piiskamista, esimerkiksi 4 tai 20 iskua. Ehka ei kuulosta liian pelottavalta, mutta iskut ovat tosi vahvat - iho ja lihat aukee. Toi kaveri kerroi paljon, kuinka piiskajat harjoittelevat etta iskujen merkit olisi kaunisti yksi toisen jalken paralelisesti tehdyt. Jos sa pyoryt esimerkiksi 3 iskujen jalken ja pitaisi saada 4, ne odottavat toista paivaa ja teke tuon yhden iskun erikseen (siis pitaisi olla hereilla ja omassa mielessa). Jos saat 20 iskua, se voi kesta 5 paivaa. Kun allat vankilassa istumisen, voit valita haluatko saada piskamista heti tai termin keskella ja niin pois pain.. Vankilassa ei saa harjoitella urheilua, jos ne huomaa etta teet sit-ups, esimerkiksi, sun vankila aika on pidenetty viikoksi. Jos oot toissa poliisissa, kaikkia saa tuplaa - vankila aikaa, piiskamisesta ja rahalisia "penalty".. Voi voi, mika maa, mikat tavat.. Miten kuulosta?


At the end of the day everybody was so tired in the stupid giggling way. It started with Gary looking like a monster on a gothic cathedral and continued to complete weirdness.. Fity said that according to Chinese superstition, you can't take a picture of 3 people, its has to be a pair. 1 is also ok, but not 3. Because the friends would break up and fall apart. Ah, so many things to keep in mind being superstitious.. :) I slept really well last night... But today I'm aching after all this paddling on body-board for hours...

Posted by gkligyte at 03:59 PM | Comments (2)

November 22, 2004

Cultural & Natural & Commercial



The empire hasn't stroke back... Just a cool apocalyptic image. You can see that kind of swarming clouds almost every day now, during the rainy season here. On Sunday we went for a walk on Marine Promenade, its a great place, because its free. There's lots of people taking pictures, e.g. the notorious "foreign workers" take happy pictures of their girlfriends ("foreign worker" Kaj took those :), didn't see many local people here (ha, how do you tell a local apart? :) Well, no shopping, no food... No reason to go, lah..


This was the second time I visited the location during the weekend (the Esplanade theater is right there). On Saturday we (me and Monica) went to a Leijonakaupunki Symphony Orchestra concert - Jancek's Glagolitic Mas. It was really good and it has been such a long time since I've been to that kind of concert that I was completely amazed! There were 3 choirs singing together, so all in all there were maybe over 200 people on the stage! I asked Monica's and Roland's family to adopt me (at least when they're going to the classical concerts.. :) We, of course, managed to be late for the concert, but they let us in after 10min in between the pieces. There were quite a few people being late, so I'm sure that they make the program so that people can sneak in and not loose too much of the concert... The Esplanade theater is really nice from inside, although you cannot see (or even feel) the rounded durian shape at all...


Once again we were admiring the architecture here, this time in Toa Payoh MRT station. As soon as you get out of the most touristy places, everything becomes much less grandiose. Still it is grandiose, but in Soviet Union style.. You get this feeling that there's a lot of people on this little island and space somehow is an issue. Also the overwhelming amount of people in all the shopping malls on weekends can be maddening..


turtle_soup.jpg However, as long as you can get away from crowded shops to some nature (there's plenty of great spots here!), you're spared of the trouble. We went to MacRitchie reservoir (that is an artificial lake, by the way.. talking about nature..) that is surrounded by rain forest and some say that crocodiles can be spotted there. We didn't see those, but there were plenty of turtles in the water. Aparently people feed them, because as soon as they heard us coming, the started swimming towards us having quite demanding looks.


Christmas is seriously approaching. Or at least there's more and more stuff appearing and the demands to buy are getting more intense.



As red is aparently the color of Chinese New Year, the color of Christmas is PINK here. Goes well with the Disney and Barbie stuff..


As a "coincidence" there's more and more articles about Creative Zen Micro appearing in the papers (yeah, mp3 player makes a perfect gift!). Most of the articles are about the brave small Leijonakaupunkilainen company called Creative and their aggressive campaign against Apple iPod. They openly declared war and the way they fight it, is by shamelesly copying iPod features, but doing it in a "better" way. iPod is available in 5 colors, well, we offer 10! iPod mini has 4Gb memory, well, we have 5Gb! And apart from all you can download music for your Zen Micro from the sites that use Microsoft technology, which is, of course, oh so much better! And more! So many more features! What they fail to realize is that not the "more", but the "cool" counts when it come to iPod. The amazing thing is that all these feature comparisons are published as unbiased articles in the independant Leijonakaupunkilainen media! For example, about the great advertising campaign that they're planning - iBetter (using Apple font) - exchange your iPod for a new Zen Micro! (who in their own minds would do that?). Then 3 more articles next week - 20 people traded in their iPods. Wah! Great number! Sad, so sad. Watch out for their global campaign.. Should start any time.

Posted by gkligyte at 04:24 PM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2004

Deepavali - Hari Raya Puaso


Last Monday we came back from a long Deepavali - Hari Raya Puaso weekend in Thailand. Ah, it was so beautiful! Thailand is definitely one of my most favorite places. Just stepping out from the airplane you can feel yourself unwinding, there's something in the air that immediately sets your mind on HOLIDAY.


Well, no photoshoping here, seriously, the colors are like that, there's no cheating, no color enhancement. I don't know why, but water in Thailand is of this greenish azure crystal clear color that makes such a beautiful combination with white sand. Not only that, we once again were amazed with the friendliness of Thai people. Such a contrast with Leijonakaupungilainen always "busy busy", "run run", "me first, you after" pushy attitude! Don't know if people in Thailand only have much more time to acknowledge a fellow human being, but it was great to pick up this kind of relaxed attitude and smile in return. You don't even get much of a colonialist feeling in Thailand, people have their dignity and their pleasant nature is not (only) because they want to lure more money out of you. Even the way you pronounce Thai words "kop kun kaaa", "sawatee kaaa" makes you smile...


Some people aparently weren't affected by the kindness surrounding them..:) We flew in Phuket and took a boat to Koh Raya. There is a Finnish owned dive shop there and the island is full of Finns, Swedes and Germans. We experienced a reverse cultural shock - how clumsy and strange these people were! As Kaj put it "oh, they're DOING Asia".. So you can see these super tanned, messy blond hair youngsters with important and "experienced" looks. Made me think that where do I really belong? Is there any place on Earth that I would feel home? I mean, Asia is weird, Europeans are strange.. Who am I? :) Fortunately the island was inhabited more by families and a bit older tourists, so no real backpackers, Italian bimbos, video and reggie beach bars (no, not true, there was a "rasta hippy bar", but aparently its fame has faded quite some time ago).

tourism.jpg Koh Raya is not really an "undiscovered" "pristine" destination. There's tens of fishing, dive and just speed boats arriving every day and parking in every single beach in the island. Phuket people make day trips there and there's major resort developments under way. It was sad to see the scale of constructions - one day there appeared a huge platform (maybe 10mx20m) full of construction gravel in one of the beaches, the constructions never look beautiful, but this looked really worrying - how much this little island can take.. It must have been so beautiful some 10 years ago!!!

Diving was disorganized, but very beautiful in Koh Raya! The landscape underwater is really magnificent around the island - lots of huge boulders and rocks, beautiful! The Finnish dive shop was the most disorganized that I've ever seen, our first dive was delayed because there wasn't enough of equipment, so we had to wait for other people to come out from the water. Later we got some use of our "me first, you after" skills learned in Leijonakaupunki and everything went fine - don't ask questions, if you see a BCD of your size, just grab and drag it..

krabi.jpg Going away to Krabi (a town in the mainland) felt really good - like a reality check for us. It is a very touristy place too, but feels much more "real". Locals have their ordinary lives there apart from serving the tourists, also the prices are 3-4 times lower than in Koh Raya. This sometimse not so beautiful architecture and messy streets full of stray dogs (ah, they're so ugly!) felt nice. You know, like "real" Asia is suppossed to be.. :) It was a pity that we had only one day in there, but we rented a motorbike and went to the xxx (what is the name?) national park.


There was a beautiful waterfall (its right after the rainy season in Thailand - very nice and green!) We climbed and swam in the stream with some local family (they took a picture of us in bikinis (at least I was in bikini, Kaj had swimming pants :) - they themselves were swimming in full clothes)


Reaching the swimming place included some climbing on the rocks (fortunately that left crowds of so called "geriatric" tourists far far down there) and opened some magnificent views through the forest over the land.


This was not the first time I almost died (or at least almost threw up or fainted) while trecking in tropics. I should seriously do something about my physical fitness.. And remember to eat and drink... At the end I felt so knocked down that couldn't care less about the amazing limestone rocks in this Budhist temple that we visited on the way back.. Looks good on the picture though..

And now we're back to Leijonakaupunki and everything looks very clean, tidy and civilized here.. So normal again...

Posted by gkligyte at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2004



Have a look at a fresh LECTURER in Temasek poly. I have been using this picture in my resume, sending it to maybe over 100 different places.. jeez, a common person in the street should recognize me by now... Kaitsu said that I look like a secretary or flight attendant, so friendly and encouraging person I am. I myself think that there's also something scary in this picture. The more I look, the scarier it becomes. Isn't there something crazy about this person? In the eyes especially? If you look longer, don't you start thinking that she's after no good? That's the friendliest look that I could squeeze out of myself.. Still no good.. Maybe that's why my job search lasted for 2 long months?


This is botanical garden again. It is quite close to our home and its really nice walking in there. Can you see turtles (one red) in the water and some climbing out to dry?.. Nice and peaceful! I feel so relieved after I signed the contract yesterday. Finally a steady job! Finally a salary every month coming to my bank account! I can afford to buy books! Such a luxury I couldn't think of for couple of years!!! Feels so GOOD, ah!

Up till Sunday night I wasn't sure which of the 2 jobs I'm going to take and afterall, I think both, the rational and unrational reasons were for the Temasek poly - the trip to work is shorter, the holiday is longer, I can start as soon as my papers are ready, the colleagues are very very nice, I'll get teaching experience and right now it is a much more graspable thing to do. Seriously, it is a JOB! I'm so excited about building my new routines and relationships with people, really, I can't wait to start..! I did the health check (they send unhealthy people out of the country) and I just need to wait for my employment pass to go through.. It should be December and then I can start! The rest of November is going to be easy and nice.. On Thursday we go to Thailand.


I have been stalking our neighbours - at 8am when you open the curtains, you see workers coming to the contruction site, children leaving to schools (can you see these huge backpacks, bigger than the kids themselves?!?), maids that are seeing the children going, parents taking taxis to their work. It is a very "expatriate area" that we live in. Our housing agent told that he rented an apartment in a house that is on the other side of the street for 6000SGD a month! It is 3000 euros! You hear these stories quite often, but I'm not sure how believable they are.. People getting amazing salaries, paying 10 000-20 000 SGD a year for a membership in a country club.. The concept of country club I find really hard to understand.. Its not even a home, nothing that you own, what, you go there to meet other rich people, play cards (hmm.. maybe that's not even allowed in Leijonakaupunki..) and have a drink after work? Excuse me... Can't you think of a better way to waste money?

Posted by gkligyte at 02:23 PM | Comments (3)

November 05, 2004

Jingle bells in Leijonakaupunki


Yes yes, Jingle bells have started already last week. Hohoho, Xmas carols when shopping, what could be better, provokes warm feelings and opens my wallet wider.. Orchard Road is the main shopping street, this year they promised to light up the whole street (oh my, oh my, I hope not by terrorist bombs). There has been recently some terrorist scare, Leijonakaupungin elite troops marched out to the streets carrying machine guns. I saw only pictures in the papers, fortunately, not live.. I would have felt over... Funny, why people think that more guns and people in uniforms create a sense of security. One of my scarier moments in life was when a bunch of Indonesian policemen (with guns) came to have lunch to the same restaurant as we. Guns are dangerous, doesn't matter in who's hands they are! Another news story from the papers - Buddhist Thai teachers in the South of Thailand will get guns and training to protect themselves and their pupils from muslim rebels. And this all is happening in the place where there's already too many weapons in the hands of civilians.. See Teemu's note about friendly security from the Finnish perspective. I think he pretty much sums up the points there...

naama.jpgI have been contemplating my 2 job proposals - one lecturer, another research associate. Both have their pros and cons and I'm afraid that at the end much more mundane reasons like, do I want to travel 1:30h to work (that makes 3h in public transportation alltogether every day!) or, do I get 42 or 21 days of holiday, or, could I start from December already, will be very weighty.
Minua ottaa vahan pannuun toi tilanne mista ma on kirjoittannut viimeisessa blogipostissa, siis en tuntu pajon lojalisuuta taman yhteiskuntan. Yksi lehtorin tehtavista on "tarkista etta opiskelijat olevat sopivasti pukeuttuneet" hmm.. Kuulosta vahan kun pioneerikamppi neuvostoliito aikoina.. As truputi nervinuosi del tos zodzio laisves situacijos, kuri aprashyta praeita karta, taigi nesijauchiu pernelyg lojali shitai visuomenei ir valstybei. Viena is destytojo pareigu - "uzhtikrinti, kad studentai padoriai rengiasi" Skamba kaip pionieriu stovykla senais gerais laikais..
I still have time till Monday to decide, so I'll see. Tomorrow I go to one strange private design school that I have been in contact for quite some time to see and participate in the student's final work evaluation. I guess (I hope) it will help me to decide whether this teaching is my cup of tea at all.


One more amusing thing from Leijonakaupunki realities - right now there's a campaign promoting public transportation for the people. They keep track of how much you use your electronic bus-card and have some kind of "lucky draws" once in a while. The main prize is A CAR! Not kidding you! Isn't it a bit paradoxical, some smartass could ask? Yes, but the object of most desire by Leijonakaupunki people is a car. So, ride MRT, win a car! ah.. I still have a lot to learn about this society..

Posted by gkligyte at 08:20 PM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2004

Slepiuosi nuo Google / Piilomassa Googlesta


Siandien nusprendziau, kad savo bloge nebeminesiu sito miesto, kuriam dabar gyvenu pavadinimo. Nuo siol jis vadinsis Leijonakaupunki (Liutamiestis). Taip taip, vel del cenzuros priezasciu. Kaip tik siandien perskaiciau laikrasty straipsni apie anoniminius politinius blogus, kurie skelbia visokius neigiamus dalykus apie Liutamiescio valdzia, demokratijos situacija, religija ir pan. Tai va visi tie blogai turi uzsiregistruoti kazkokiam departamente. Jei tavo websaitas turi nors ka nors bendra su politika (ypach jei tu kritikuoji valdzhia arba priklausai opozicinei partijai), turi apie tai pranesti tam komitetui. Turbut as dar nespejau nieko baisaus parasyt, bet pvz bent jau pacioj pradzioj stebejausi, kodel visi televizijos kanalai rodo ta pacia premjero kalba, kuri trunka 3 valandas, kazka parasiau apie vienisas motinas, etc. Be to, Kaitsu skundesi, kad linkas i sita bloga atsiranda, jei ieskai Google jo vardu. Taigi nuo siol turiu buti atsargesne. Siandien man paskambino is Temasek politechnikumo, kad jie man siulo darba, o darbo leidimo paraishkoj parashyta, kad ash pasizhadu neisitraukti i jokia politine veikla ir neveikti priesh Liutamieschio valdzia. Nezhinau ar ash pernelyg paranojishka, bet geriau, kad Google nerastu sito websaito (jei darba pasiule, vadinasi dar nesu juoduosiuose sarasuose). Na, ka padarysi, blogiausiu atveju, mane deportuos.. Taip kad noredama atitolinti ta momenta, daugiau to miesto pavadinimo neminesiu. Bet to, ka rasau, necenzuruosiu...

Tannan ma paatin etta ma en kayta enaa taman kaupungin oikea nimea. Taman paivan jalken me asutaan Leijonakaupungissa. Siksi etta ma en halua etta Google loytaisi taman saitin. Tannan luin lehdessa artikelin anoniimiseista poliitiseista oposiitio blogeista. Tietenkin, se oli tosi kriitinen artikeli. Siela myos luki etta jos sulla on joku poliitinen saiti (varsinkin jos kuulut oposiition tai kritisoit Leijonakaupungin valtion tai parlamentin), sita tayty rekisteroida jossa valtion toimistossa. En ma ehka ehtinyt viela kirjoita mitaan poliitista, mutta vahan kriitista, esimerkiksi kolme tunnista paaministerin puhesta, tai yksinhuoltajista.. Tannan sain tieta etta Temasek antaisi mun toita, mutta mun tylluvan lomakessa lukee etta ma en saa tehda mitaan poliitista, en saa kritisoida valtioa ja en saa autaa opositioa. Siis jos sain tyo-ehdotuksen, varmasti en oo viela mustalla listalla. Ehka olen liian paranoinen, mutta taman paivan jalken ma asun Leijonakaupungissa... Kaikien huonoin juttu mita voi tapahtua, ne deportoi minut.. :)


We visited Kampong Glam and Sultan mosque with Monica. It is an old Arab-Muslim district and currently it is very popular with tourists. The side streets are full of carpet shops (you can get a huge silk handwoven Beautiful (!) carpet for 8000sgd (makes 4000euros). If you wouldn't know that they are made by children that are deprived of education (and childhood) and weave these amazing patterns with their little fingers... We also went inside the mosque, but had to put this kind of robes to look more decent (hmm..)


So yes, today they called from Temasek and offered me a job, nothing from the National Insitute of Education yet. I go to Temasek tomorrow and see what they have to offer. But it would be great to do something meaningful very soon. When Kaj heard these news, he went and bought another loudspeaker (you know, he expects the money to start flowing very soon.. :) Hopefully the financial burden will be lifted from his fragile shoulders and I can invite him for dinner..


Posted by gkligyte at 04:08 PM | Comments (4)

November 01, 2004

Töistä taas / Vel apie darba

Toi Kaitsun tyo tilanne ei naytta yhtaan hyvalta, kahden ja puolen kuukauden aikana hanella on ollut yksi tai kaksi vapa lauantai.. Vaikka hanen sopimuksessa lukee etta joka toinen lauantai on vapa, kaytannossa jos on toita (vaikka kuinka pienta), han joutuu menemaan sinne ja hengailemaan. Esimerkiksi viime viikonloppuna hanella oli koulutus, siis lauantaina ja suununtaina han oli toissa kuuden asti (ja siita ei laskee toina, koska se on koulutus..). Ja maanantaina tietenkin taas toihiin, vaikka ei ole mitaa tekemista. Kaikkien tuon paalle, jos han halua otta vapan viikonloppun (etta varmasti pasee menemaan jonnekin), han joudu ottamaan puolen paivan hanen vuosilomasta. Siis on ihan ok olla toissa 16 tuntia 3 paivaa perassa, mutta jos haluat yhden vapan lauantain, se on paha paha juttu.. Kun flunsa iski ja han pyyti menemaan kotiin 15:00 iltapaivalla (ja ei ollut mitaan toita), ne sanoi etta ok, voit kayta puolen paivan sun lomasta.. Mika orjuus!

Kaitsu darbas, vel regis tikra vergyste - per pastaruosius pustrechio menesio, jis turejo viena ar du laisvus sheshtadienius, nors kontrakte aishkiai irashyta, kad kas antras sheshtadienis laisvas. Jei prodiuseriams pasirodo, kad yra bet koks, niekingiausias darbiukshtis, tenka eiti i darba.. Pvz padaryti ka nors per 15min, o po to sedeti ir maltis, kol tos valandos praeis.. Pavyzdzhiui praeita savaitgali jie turejo apmokymus, kaip naudoti nauja sistema. Taigi abi dienas Kaitsu buvo darbe iki 6iu vakaro. Sheshtadieni ir sekmadieni. Bet shito neskaichiuoja, kaip darbo, todel jokiu laisvadieniu uzh tai niekas negavo.. O pirmadieni vel i darba, nors nera ka veikti.. Puse savaites Kaitsu suka nykshchius, po to visi puola kazhka daryti per naktis.. Blogiausia, kad mes negalim planuoti savo atostogu ir savaitgaliu. Pvz jei Kaitsu nori tikrai kur nors vazhiuoti sheshtadieni (kad neatsirastu koks darbiukshtis), jam tenka naudot puse dienos ish savo atostogu. Taigi, ju nuomone visai priimtina dirbti 3 dienas ish eiles po 16 valandu, bet jei nori pasiimti sheshtadieni laisva, tai jau labai blogai... Pvz, kai Kaitsu susirgo gripu ir norejo isheiti 15:00 ish darbo, jie nurezhe jam puse dienos ish atostogu... Kokia vergyste!

atthecomputer.jpgMeanwhile I've been somehow successfull with my job hunt and interviews last week. I don't have anything in my pocket or on paper, but there were couple of places: Temasek polytechnic and National Institute of Education that seemed to be quite interested in me. One teaching, another research associate positions. I haven't heard from both of them since last Wednesday, so I wonder if I should wait and count my chickens when I have something more certain.. Anyhow, jobs in educational field, although also much tighter than in Finland, seem to be the only reasonable possibility for me. I've been to some new media companies, also to e-learning companies and it is a living hell, I can tell you. First you enter a room packed with some 20 youngsters looking very tired and red-eyed, staring at their computers.. I heard that the turn-over of employees is very high in Leijonakaupunki, people get really poor salaries (the going rate for an ordinary graphic designer is about 1500SGD=750euros), they squeeze the last juice out of them and then, I guess they just leave to some other company where they're treated in a very similar way. They get 14 days holiday a year (compared to 40 in education sector!), work on Saturdays (the work week has been recently shortened to 5 days for civil and educational servants) and stay very long hours. Anyway, I might be spoiled, but that kind of work morale doesn't fit my view of the world. Apart from that, it is quite difficult to get the job interviews at all, because the employers also know that most of the westerners standards are different (and of course, I wouldn't go to that kind of a saltmine for such a petty salary). So, lets keep the fingers crossed that something comes out of those 2 places for me..


One more feeding picture. At least some joy in life.. Otherwise, we were trying to organize some trip on the upcoming Deepavali-Hari Raya festival and it was quite a headache for me. Seems like the whole peninsula, no, maybe the whole continent is traveling, such a massive exodus it is. Anyway, all the flights are booked and all the hotels overcrowded and overpriced. Our humble idea about a cheap trip to Thailand escalated into massive search for a getaway to anywhere for any price on those particular days - 11-15 of November. We ended up paying only twice more for the flights to Thailand, but were so happy that we actually got those, because the prospect of staying in Leijonakaupunki for 5 free days doesn't sound too good (since these free days are so difficult to get). So we're flying to Phuket, trying to get away to Koh Phi Phi , then to Koh Lanta and fly back to Leijonakaupunki from Krabi (if you've been to Thailand, I guess you know what I mean). Yeah!

Another upcoming trouble is getting out to somewhere on Christmas. The initial idea of living in Leijonakaupunki and enjoying cheap flights to all the nice exotic locations around seems to be quite difficult to implement - you can get away only on public holidays and then everybody else is also flying somewhere..


The preparations for Deepavali have been gearing up, in the Mariamman temple the devotees perform fire walking ceremonies to purify their bodies before the actual celebrations. The ceremony itself took place yesterday night at 3am, I didn't go, because there was noone to keep me company, and I don't know really how to get there at that hour. However, on Saturday before that, I went to the temple and happened to see some other purification ceremony.


The Gods in that temple sit behind this kind of curtains that the priests then open during the ceremony, everybody gasps and put their arms up.


I chatted to some guy in there, asking what is the best way to learn about Hindu religion and customs, he said that "mingling with the people".. hmm.. I'm sure that's the best way.. Just that everybody thinks that I'm a tourist.. :) He also said that walking on fire is not scary at all, Mariamman protects them and burning charcoal looks like flowers to them.


However multicultural the place is, I think there's still a lot of mis-perceptions and prejudices here. Our taxi driver told us the other night that, "don't come here on Sunday, it will be full of "foreigh workers" (meaning Balngladeshi or Indian) and they stand on the road, don't let the cars pass, "just chatting, you know, not doing anything, chatting chatting". "Foreign workers" cause some kind of perceived danger, because they stand or squat in crowds and they're only male. Female "foreign workers" are usually maids that may be also dangerous - the papers are full of stories of women putting rat poison in their employers milk "to teach them a lesson" or setting the house on fire..


To get some balance I also went to visit one Chinese temple (I guess, it is Taoist).


Definitely it is not disabled friendly. The thing in the door, on the ground, how do you call it (slenkstis lietuviskai) was up to my knees, so any kind of wheel chairs aparently are not welcome. In fact I read that in many Budhist or Hindi countries the disabled are not treated well, because people believe that they did something horrible in their previous lives, so now they have to pay for the suffering they caused other people. So people may be suspicious and not very helpful and compassionate. Avoiding to spoil their own karma..


Ancient chinese aesthetics is very beautiful, I'm not so sure about the modern version of it. People don't seem to have a problem with cheap stuff and flashy colors, it seems to be cool. The wonders of human taste.. How did the old things manage to appeal to people and survive throughout years, although they were in not so flashy colors.. Who was actually the aesthetics standard keeper? How come that the old stuff is so "real" and the modern so "fake"? And doesn't anybody see the difference?


Posted by gkligyte at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)