Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Articles on Sweden

My apologies for not updating this blog for a while. Of late I've been flat out working as a phone monkey for that medical marketing research firm, interviewing Doctors in three different continents. Hopefully soon I’ll get a chance to start blogging regularly again but in the meantime I thought I might post a few links to some interesting articles that I've come across recently.


This article was published in the Guardian Weekly last week and is basically about concerns that English is overtaking native languages in Scandinavia. Most of it is about Norway but I can conform that it all applies to Sweden too. In fact not only is English the language of business and academia, it also seems to be the language of graffiti, football hooligans, gangs, billboards and advertisements. It's also considered pretty hip and trendy to slip in English phrases and expressions into daily speech.


In this article Guardian colonist (and Swedephile) Polly Toynbee writes about recent Swedish politics while making parallels with developments in British politics. Due to its massive welfare state, gender equality and neutrality (often wrongly equated with pacifism) Sweden has been held up as a utopian model by lefties and liberals the world over and Toynbee seems to be a prime example. It is a view that can often grate with some Swedes who see it as an overly romantic view of their country that ignores many of their problems. The common rebuttal to the Toynbees of the world is that their naive and not fully aware of what Sweden is actually like. While this piece is written by an expat it gives you a general idea of the sort of gripes some Swedes have and the debates that take place. (Note: as this piece is published in a blog you might need to scroll down the page to find it. It's titled 'Polly Toynbee gets her Swedish Facts Wrong'.)
I've engaged in many debates just like it. Admittedly less frequently over time as the longer I stay here the further I move from Toynbee's romanticism, but I still maintain that Sweden's problems are minor compared to those of many of other countries such as Britain or America. I can understand why someone from either would see Sweden as a utopia in comparison.

And Finally...

An interesting article about the Swedish Australian Football team, who will be travelling to Melbourne this August to play in the International Cup. Regular readers of this blog may recognise the writing style...