torsdag, december 23, 2010

Thoughts of a Snowman

-25º this evening! Guess I'd better go under Hibernation Mode during the holidays. Zzzzzzzz

When I first read H. C. Andersen's The Little Match Girl story at 7, I remember I couldn't understand why it's important for the girl to strike one match after another to keep the vision of her grandmother alive, and how it's possible for someone to die staying outdoors without a shelter for just one night. But now it's the opposite: I think it's only sensible that children's books contain more truth than what adults would 'seriously' read everyday. At some certain point of my life I felt I stopped growing any more. Or in the words of Thomas Hardy, "every spirit upon earth seemed fervorless as I", he wrote in his New Years Day poem The Darkling Thrush, originally titled By the Century's Deathbed. That's why I appreciate Andersen's fairy tales more and more even as I'm no longer a child - the stories are not just wise, they really read like a blessing if your heart is receptive enough for the messages.

All of a sudden, I thought about the night before Christmas Day when I departed for the Holy Land ten years ago. Life was then like an uncharted sea voyage, full of nervousness but also fun and longings. Only the sweet dreams and didn't wish to wake up again too soon. So, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :-)

onsdag, december 22, 2010

Christmas market

Traditional Swedish Christmas market (Gammeldags julmarknad) in the historical city of Sigtuna last Sunday.

söndag, december 12, 2010


I have never adequately understood the shopping obsession in Sweden. What amazes me is how relentless this has thrust into the common social life, yet without awareness: to stay in tune with the ever-changing whims of the superfluously correct apparently gets the best of the locals here. When Christmas holiday season is drawing near, you could safely bet the formidable marketing force is now in high gear everywhere in the capital city.

Guess how stunned I was when I saw this clothes brand in Åhléns. Or what better name to summarize the kind of the consumer society we are living in? Merde!

Did you get it? "We are the superlative conspiracy".

fredag, december 03, 2010

Let there be light ...

This year the winter has started with unusual coldness in Europe. Just this week, the temperature in Stockholm fell to -20 degrees. Outside of my humble abode a string of snowstorms almost shrouded everything visible. If only I could undergo a special type of metamorphosis and become some other animal - while under the hibernation mode, I'm able to withdraw myself in a long long slumber. And when I finally wake up, it's spring time already. Hmm, I grew weary of winter over the years, it appears.

Well, I guess at this juncture my mind might be stuck in something that has to do with the Nordic light - I can sense it has been waning by strength day by day, seemingly all gone by December. Only after a long winter it returns again. How I'm going to miss it in the coming dark months!

In late March of 2007, hoping to rediscover Sweden in a different light than before, I traveled to southern part of the country, first to Varberg, then to Malmö, and finally Karlskrona. Back then, spring's first hint was palpable in the air, as evidenced by the very profusion of the light almost all of a sudden in the open air. My eyes could see it, and my soul was singing the tune: "jag tackar dig, du vårens ljus, för glädjen som du gav." It gave me a kind of joy I could feel from within. I really felt reborn during that period. Let there be light again, soon. I so wish, now.