Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Today I continued my little networking project. I had a meeting with Magnus Sjödin, the former chairman of the Shanghai branch of the Swedish Trade Council. He's has graduated from my university and it was really encouraging to talk to him. I got his number from the guy I met last week and by coincidence he was on his way through town. This guy is pretty cool. Except living for several years in China, he has also lived for many years in Japan and China and has worked for many large Swedish companies there. He said that my engineering background together with some Chinese could be very useful and valuable. That's the best confirmation I have so far that my career choices are not heading down the career toilet.

Since he had lived in Singapore for four years we chatted a little bit about sitting out in the night and eat great food, the warm nice climate, and that Singapore ain't that bad after all. I also mentioned my little extra reason to visit the place.

I think Magnus really wanted to help me to get started with something and mentioned a bottleneck that I lot of companies have difficulties with around here. They don't have anyone in China to verify the quality of goods that they are buying. He said that a company he knew recently bought a container with shower equipment from a Chinese company. When it all arrived it didn't work according to the specifications. They had asked him what to do now. There was not much to do, since there just wasn't any way to send back the goods or get the money back. His suggestion was that I would try to get in touch with companies and help them with just that. Sounds like a plan.

In the afternoon I called a company that makes metal pipes and suggested a discussion about me helping them. He said they were considering a lot of activities in regards to China and that he just an hour ago had signed a contract with a consultant in China. Their CEO is just 36 years old and was pretty easy going. I will go to introduce myself to him tomorrow morning. It will be my test case before I call the other companies on my list.
Soon people around here will be begging for my help. HUAHUAHUA!!

In reality... I would take any job... I would even work for free... But I won't tell them that.

Adventure in China

Monday, August 30, 2004

Newspapers (Värnamo)

Today my interview was published in the local newspaper, "On the way to new adventures in China". It was half a page and a big colour picture. Not bad, except the rather silly title and the fact that most of what I said is pretty distorted. As a matter of fact, the article gives me a whole different impression then what I wanted to have said. An example. The article states:

"Still Johan Gustafsson wants to go back to China and he foresees two different scenarios for the country: crash or to become a superpower. He believes in the latter.
- Because people there have such strong drive and strong hope for the future."

What I actually said was that there is a lot of speculation going on and many scenarios for the country's development in the future, ranging from a complete crash to becoming a new superpower. I don't think I can speculate in any of this and I can't say that I have a complete picture. One thing that I do believe is that people have a very strong drive and really believe that they have a chance to have a better life. I think that as long as this hope lives the people in China will tolerate a lot of injustices and hardships. Not quite the same.

Since we talked for a whole hour the whole article kind of abruptly sums up some key points without much nuance. Guess it really is a skill to be able to talk to media and get your message through. I think she expected some sort of adventure travel, and had thought of writing it from that angle. But I kind of screwed it up by talking about other things, making the whole article really lacking some sort of direction.

My dad wanted me to go down to the paper's office and ask them for some more copies. I guess so he could give them to relatives or something. He cares a lot more than I do, which I find a little bit odd. I never got down to pick up any more copies though.

Klaus 50 (Stockholm)

On Saturday we went up to Stockholm to celebrate my aunt's husband's 50th birthday. My aunt Gunilla is very friendly and warm. She is also an excellent cook! Her husband Klaus is really funny and pretty cool, except that he can't control his temper and sometimes just explodes in rage. For someone who doesn't know his rage can come as quite a shock. One thing about their family is that they play games together. Klaus and his daughters are playing board games and computer games together for hours and hours. I would want to have that kind of friend-relation with my kids too. My parents and me never had anything like that. His gift was a trip to watch the Sweden-Malta football game on Malta. After all the polite and boring time-spending with relatives that I meet very rarely and people that I don't know, we did just that. Played board games.

On Sunday they served a million different kind of cookies and cakes to colleagues and friends. I mostly hid in the basement. In the afternoon we drove back to Värnamo.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Chicken á la Samantha

The Olympics seems to go on and on. If you turn on the tube there's most likely sports on every channel. My parents receive only three channels (!). I have to get out of here so I won't be tempted to watch TV. Boring, bad, TV. Or surf the web. Only study Chinese.

I slept really well this night and I think I'm on track to be back in normal sleeping patterns. After spending most of the day debating with my sister on what to do, the rain decided for us and we did nothing. In the afternoon we got to play a little bit tennis.

This whole week my parents been dead broke, waiting for their salary so the fridge been almost empty. I actually didn't know they were broke until there was no food. They didn't tell me. We siblings have no idea what they spend money on. I think it's my dad who spend it on small things. I mean, the garage and basement is full of tools and stuff. The last couple of days I've been the one filling the fridge. The problem is that tomorrow we are going to my aunt's husband's 50th birthday and since my parents got money today they have been busy shopping and preparing. Everything in a mad rush. If there was some sense in them they could have borrowed some and then it wouldn't be such a panic. Planning has never been their strength.

In the evening Johanna cooked curry-chicken á la Samantha, but it wasn't as good as the 'real' thing. Again, we were supposed to be picked up at 5pm, but dad arrived late, had forgotten to buy some stuff, and in the end had bought too little of the coco-milk. Johanna went bananas. As usual things worked out pretty alright.

Thursday, August 26, 2004


I tried to sleep yesterday, but that was impossible after staying up so many nights in a row. This morning I got up at eight to pick up my sister after I had slept 3,5 hours. Not a good start of a day that was pretty important to me. Anyway, at eleven I was in town to talk to a journalist. We chatted for an hour about this and that. She didn't ask much so I kept talking. Guessing from the random notes she scribbled down I guess the outcome can be pretty random. She didn't seem to have an angel at all and I'm not sure what they wanted out of it. Afterwards I went out with a photographer and took some photos on the street. One was outside one of the Chinese restaurants. Hope they don't take that one. Think that would be pretty cheesy. I regret agreeing on that one.

In the afternoon I had a chat with Mr Jan Hultegård. That was a good idea to chat with him and I think he gave me some important points. He had an appointment with a consultant next week that has been working for the Swedish Trade Counsel and have helped to established many large Swedish corporations in China. He gave me his number and wanted me check with him to see if he had something for me. Then he gave me a list of phone numbers to companies here that are currently evaluating and searching for partners and opportunities in China. He said that my best chance was probably to do market research. General articles would probably be of no interest, even for newspapers. He thought that if I could get some experience in this field it could be very valuable for me in the future, but it didn't seem like he thought it was much hope for me to get something started this year like this. Think he did his best to point me in a direction where I would have best chances. Useful.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

the Social Development Unit

Samantha said she wanted to marry me today. Well, she said she one day wanted to get married and that she loves me. I hope that means the same thing. Baby, I don't feel like a really have to marry. I don't believe in the church or the tradition as a whole. It won't make me feel confident in a relationship if I have a ring or not. That doesn't mean that I'm not serious about us. But I know you are brought up differently than me so if you really want. Maybe we should think of me coming in September. I would love to hear you sing on your Dinner-And-Dance evening with your company.

If that doesn't work out there is always the SDU. If you don't know what that is, that's the Social Development Unit. It's a government matchmaking service for university graduates. Check out this article in the Straight Times. "Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted in his first National Day Rally speech on Sunday that the nation's singles can afford to be more realistic and accommodating in their expectations." Maybe they should have a campaign together with Carlsberg. I'm thinking of the ad where the woman gets pretties and sexier for each glass of beer.

With regards to the post about Chinese athletes, I have to admit that I really don't know much about it. I can refer to a documentary about Chinese female wrestlers that was pretty heart-breaking. The girls were crying a lot and it didn't look fun at all. The coaches seemed pretty tyrannic. Guess it's not up to me to judge. If these girl's parents and the their governemnt who spend the money think an Olympic gold medal is that important I suppose they can have it. I hope my children never has to go through something like that. Generally I don't know if that's the case. I bet they are not the only place where stuff like that happens. North Korea?

Tomorrow I will have an interview at the local paper and in the afternoon I will talk to mr. Jan Hultegård, the CEO of "Värnamo Näringsliv AB". Suit and tie day.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Calling people

Today I called the local newspaper "Värnamo Nyheter" and asked if they would be interested in me writing some articles. They were very interested, but admitted that they wouldn't be able to pay me more than 700 SEK (about $90) a piece including pictures. That is really sucky. I suggested that I could possible write a series of articles and in that way earn a little bit more and the guy I talked to said that it could be possible. Just as Stefan had said, they were more interested in writing a piece about my life in China. That's cool, and could possible be useful as well. Värnamo is a small town so people will probably notice it. People with interest in China will know that I exist and that could be useful. They don't have any web-edition, but if there will be anything published I could possible scan it and post it here.

I also called the CEO of a company that represents a couple of hundred companies around here, "Värnamo Företagareförening AB", and I have an appointment to have a discussion about this on Thursday. Hope I can make a good impression on him so he gives me a bag of money. Yeah right.

I'm still waiting for papers from my university to prove that I have been studying, so I can apply for the unemployment money. It's a little bit complicated. Since I have started a period of unemployment a couple of years ago (I was actually studying), I can continue this period if I can prove I have been studying in between. That's how it works in Sweden. I do have to pay for this insurance though. I really don't deserve this money, but it would be stupid not to apply for them. I'm bad. No morals to be found here.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

The game

Had a good chat this morning with my baby. It was 4 am and I couldn't sleep again. I really miss her and I really hate that we have to talk a lot about past things. Some things in the past are really hard to get over and I think we are both worried that we could go through it all again. That would be the end of it. Actually, I think we have learned a lesson and actually that we went through it makes pretty confident. I'm really happy that we are together. I feel strong for this little silly girl. We are quite different creatures, but we have fun together. One big threat is that we are both going through turbulent times now. A lot of things are changing and we won't be able to be together to share all that. I hope that won't lead to a gap between us.

Pathetically watched the reality soap "Farmen" again. This time starting 4.30am! The program planners really tried to help me not watch it, but again to no use. Who the hell stays up to watch a rerun of this program at 4.30 pm!? The program must have one viewer! Pathetic me. Funny thing in that show is that they let a whole bunch of people that have been voted out come back. Must feel pretty frustrating for the people competing.

Unfortunately this period of my life when i waste a lot of time watching TV coincides with the Olympics. It's on from morning to the evening. Sweden (9M), being about twice the population of Singapore (4,5M), has won a couple of medals by now. One gold (*Update* 3 golds!). Still it's considered to be a pretty bad round for 'us'. Singapore? Hahahaha!!! Actually. Who cares?

I think the Chinese winners are the saddest. Many participants come from sport institutions where kids are basically picked and brought up in the sport. That just doesn't exist anywhere else but the old communist states. The country's pride comes above the individual. Compare India. There the government is not trying to produce Olympic medals from the population. That sounds a lot saner to me, but India won't score very high in medal statistics. No one will pick some girl from a kindergarten and put her to practise weightlifting in exchange for economic compensation for her parents. In all the reports from Chinese teams you always see slogans written in huge slogans proclaiming stuff like: "Make your country proud, make your country strong". It just doesn't exist here and I don't really know where else you wouldn't find that odd.

Many Chinese I have met think they have to represent the whole country when you meet them and they become very unnatural and irritating. It's first after a while they relax and start talking so you actually want to listen to them. Then you see that they aren't necessary so super nice and polite, but pretty much the same like the rest of us. Don't get me wrong. People ARE friendly. It's just that a first impression from a white guy is that everybody is super-nice. That's not the case. Don't get me started about "mr. evil" for example.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

A slow day

A slow day. Samantha called right after I got up. I was still a little irritated since yesterday. She has been writing saying that she was disappointed because she had been waiting for me and when I got back she didn't understand why I couldn't go online. She was very sad for the whole thing. She later said that she was feeling sick and I think she went to bed early. Poor baby. I will be by your side soon.

Spend most of the day sorting through all the papers and mail from the whole year that I have just left on a big pile. Made a little action-plan for what I will do on Monday.

Staying here at home makes me very, very unproductive. Thinking of how little I have done to day is sad. I watch a lot of TV, listen a lot to radio, read the paper, watch my beard grow. In the morning I usually scan through the TV and radio section to see if there is something I shouldn't miss and then I plan my day after that. Sad. I don't really want to socialize with the people I know in this town right now. I want to finish my business as quick as possible and go to Singapore to eat prata and cook rice with Samantha.

Ma and Pa want me to join for a birthday party in Stockholm next weekend. We'll see about that.

Disappointed (Värnamo)

Today. Woke up at one. Ate. Made a couple of phone calls. Played tennis and ran a bit.
Wanted to chat with Samantha, but there was a thunderstorm outside and I couldn't go online. We have already ruined two modems here. That's how it is to live in the countryside. She said she was disappointed. Later I saw she had written "Even time and tide wait for no man, so why should I wait for you?" Made me hurt at first, then angry.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Saga ready to attack.

Saga (Göteborg)

Yesterday I took the train to Göteborg to see Stefan, Toba, and... Saga! Stefan is a very good friend of mine, Toba his girlfriend, and Saga is my little god daughter! They came to see me in Beijing this last December. Very brave considering that they were bringing a one year old baby and considering their money constraints. Toba is still studying and Stefan hasn't got a permanent job. Anyway, they are the best people. I love them.

The last two days I've been trying to go up in the mornings to get some normal sleeping habits. Problem has been that I have stayed up during the nights too, resulting in that I have basically stayed up two days in a row. When I arrived in Göteborg I fell asleep on the square outside the railwaystation. My baby called me there which was very nice of her. Love you baby! I probably looked like one of all the street bums around me. At 5 pm Stefan got off work and I went with him to Saga's god-mother's place where we had dinner together and I got to play with Saga. Yes, I played with her. She didn't run away scared. She wasn't crying. Despite what some of you out there might think (SAMANTHA!), I don't automatically make children run away crying. :-) I've got pictures to prove it! She was calling my name! It was great. She has made such progress since December and she is soo playful. I'm sure it must make her parents very happy... and very tired. I still don't really look forward to get any kids in the near future. Having kids and not so stable finances seems way to stressful. My living situation has to change a lot before I will consider it. I really hope that they will make it work out.

Toba has 2,5 years more years for her psykology degree. I expressed my unfounded doubts about the effectiveness of theraphy to Stefan and I think I proved myself rather ignorant. He has himself gone through some and I suppose he thinks it was of use. Guess this is a science that has to deal with a lot of sceptisism and I wonder how well founded that sceptisism is. Any comments?

I stayed over at Toba's fathers place and said goodbye in the morning. I went with Stefan back to the train station. He works nearby. I just missed the first train and bought a ticket for the second. I was almost dizzy of sleepiness, but managed to go to a bookshop to read for a while. When I finally looked at the watch I had missed the train with half an hour. The very nice lady at the sales-desk gave me a new ticket for free, reporting it as 'traffic disturbances'. I had lunch and was extremely close to miss the next train too. They had to wait for me when I came running two minutes past departure. Later on that train I fell asleep and woke up one town past where I should have gone off. I was just so damn sleepy I couldn't stay awake. I missed my next connection and but they again offered me a new ticket. I just had to buy the ticket back one stop. Finally, ten hours later after departure from Göteborg I arrived back in Värnamo. It usually takes slightly more than 2 hours. It was fucking torture to try to stay awake. I must have looked pretty weird today, falling asleep all over.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Another sleepless night

I'm sitting up waiting to get sleepy and instead of doing something useful I have picked up a nasty habit of watching one of the numerous reality shows on TV. In Swedish these sad black spots on the face of humanity are called "dokussåpa", from documentary soap opera. This one is called "Farmen", the Farm, and has a bunch of weird people running a farm way out in the countryside. This show is actually from last year and they rerun two episodes every night at 3am. I know, even more pathetic to watch it. Guess I can call it a work related damage. Now I'm eager to find out who is going to be voted out. It's a struggle between Jens, a guy in my age (who I obviously sympathize with), and a middle-aged woman in "the girls-gang". Since they are four girls in a pact they have finished off almost all guys. One character they voted out in a recent episode was "naken-Jan", naked-Jan. He was running around naked all the time and judging from my colleagues at the old peoples' home he very soon became a national celebrity. Oh... now it starts... gtg

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


Today I paid a visit to the Swedish unemployment agency ("Arbetsförmedlingen"). Great fun. It was quite a lot of people there, probably all the people that has had temporary jobs during the summer, like me, and has nothing to do after. First I got to register on a computer. I entered that I was looking for job as a computer programmer and checked some programming languages and programs that I think I know a little bit. I didn't write anything about my university degree. Think that would make me a little bit too employable for now. Who wouldn't want to hire me? I've got a small army of old ladies that would warmly recommend me.

When I think about it, I think I will add some about my Chinese. I have no intention of getting a job now, and actually I really don't want an offer, but it would be interesting if I got one from my Chinese knowledge. I don't think I can actually do anything with it, and I don't see what kind of employer that would hire me for that (maybe Chinese restaurant?).

Then got to talk to a counsellor and he really wanted to push me to register other jobs. First I agreed on teaching. When he said that I could probably get that, I backed off and I said that I really wanted to try something else. I really don't want a job and especially not teaching. So I'm registered as someone looking for programming jobs and... working on an assembly line! So if you know anyone looking for that kind of employee, don't tell them. Now I will hang around a little until I know whether I'm allegeable for unemployment benefits. Or maybe I just go soon since I think it will take some time to process the papers.

I still haven't made any moves concerning my vague idea of my 'China: A Threat or Opportunity'-project as a reporter. I'm actually not that clear about it. The email I have written is not very good, so I will rewrite it.

It's official

When you have announced your love so clearly to your blog I guess you have no coming back. So...I have decided to become this fat-beer-drinking-sex-demanding-blob that I always wanted to be. Oups... That's already 2/3... Guess I only need to become fat. ;)

Midnight chat with mum

It's hard to kick the habit of sitting up late at night. Especially when you have send your sister of in the middle of the night. Afterwards mum, Johanna, and me had a late night chat down at the lunch table. It was nice to sit and have some adult chat with your mum. We talked about when Johanna and I went abroad as exchange-students, I went to the US and Johanna to India. At that time we received two girls from America that lived with us. I have not gotten to know them, but my family still keeps in touch with them. They made my mum and the rest of the family here learn pretty decent English, and I think that was a great influence on my younger sisters. When talking about what mum and dad will do now when almost all of us has moved out, she said one of her dreams is to go and visit Memory's (Yes, her name is Memory) home in Oregon. Cecilia has already been there a couple of times and they are good friends.

Talked to Stefan about calling the local newspaper. He thought it could be a good idea, though saying that I probably can't expect much money from them. Never mind the money. It will be interesting if I can pull it off and an excuse to meet up with business people when being in China. That will be something new.

Also called up my former neighbour to ask about his job buying/selling screws. He gave me a phone number to some PR-person since he was going to India tomorrow morning. Should have called him before... damn... Anyway, they could be the first pilot project for me as a reporter.

Have probably killed like a dozen mosquitoes while typing this text and been bitten equal times. They are little fuckers. Why can't the Chinese start eating mosquitoes instead of terminating all our tigers, sharks, and snakes? All mosquitoes would be gone in a summer. Just have to figure out some bizarre medical use of them. They are good for your? Penis? Nah. They use tiger, sharks and snakes for that. Brain? Sorry, pig brain already has this function. Feet? Same. They already eat pig feet for that reason. Actually they eat X feet for that reason (insert random animal name instead of X). Eyes? They eat fish eyes. Anyone can think of a random medical use of mosquitoes? Give me a good one and I try to sell it when I go there

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Tina goes to the other side of the pond

My sister Tina is flying to New York on Monday to begin training for her year as an au pair in DC. I'm really happy for her and hope she will have an as transforming year as I had when I was an exchange student in Greenville 93/94. That year changed a lot for me and now I'm this smart successful winner ;) I have heard that many girls working as au pair are quite lonely, but I hope her year will be different. The little I've heard from her host seems to be good. Whatever cures her from becoming a teacher, nurse, or priest. Dear sisters... I'm just kidding.

Tonight we had a goodbye-BBQ. Tina said that her host family will come and visit Sweden during the fall and they will take her with them. Seems to be really nice people. Unfortunately I won't be there at the time.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

The last night with the old

See you soon baby...

This is my last night working at this human end station. This morning it will be bye-bye Gröna Lunden. This summer has been a lot less interesting than last summer when I actually learned one or two things. I should try harder next summer when I will come back home completely broke (but fluent in Chinese!) to find something to do that brings me forward.

Then again, it's not that painful to work here. Tonight we had huge sandwiches with a mountain of shrimp on 'em. The other night one of the ladies made mushroom-sandwiches, and the night before that we had blueberry pie. Usually there's something left from the day which we can eat. So.. we mostly eat and watch TV. Recently I've been eating and typing on the computer. I guess I can do that for 138 SEK an hour.

On Monday I will register as unemployed and try to get some benefits for that. It's pretty complicated and I'm not sure if I will be able to get anything from it. As soon as I have emptied all means of getting easy money here I will take first flight to my baby who seems to be eagerly awaiting me. Love you!

Me and the Olympics

Me and the Olympics or Why-Can’t-I-Grab-a-Six-pack-and-Just-Enjoy-It

The Olympics has started. Can’t help becoming Mr. world-conscious and put myself above everybody else to judge the whole thing. So… I put on my usual critical, negative mood and just let go… ;-)

I haven’t completely decided whether I think the spectacle is a good thing or not. It is wonderful that almost all countries of the world has a chance to participate and that there is something we can celebrate together. I wonder if there is anything else that brings together so many people from all over the world. But it also badly tries to hide the incredible inequality and injustice that exists. Officially there is this polished surface that this is a fair, politically neutral, celebration of mankind. But even with all the money spend to polish this mega publicity event you can’t hide the vulgarity of it. The screaming fact that this is an utterly unequal, unfair world. The whole show is all about politics and power where the rich can shine and perpetuate an idea that we are richer because we are better. Rich countries where citizens don’t have to struggle for their daily bread have hundreds of participants. All trained with the best of drugs, the latest technology, and have been able to choose this activity because they wanted to. A county like India comes with a fraction of the participants of Denmark, and will probably score less in medals than for example Monaco. In China I think most athletes have been chosen when they were children and have been made to go through this with minimal actual choice. We celebrate a small privileged elite in each country that are good at… jumping, running, paddle a canoe, or throw a ball in a basket. Nonsense stuff that should be regarded for what it is: recreation and exercise. How can competition in these activities be of importance for anyone but the people that actually compete or themselves are doing or are interested in the sport? How can it become of national importance with a price tag of
10 billion. I’ve got nothing against people who spend their whole life running and jumping or even people who like to watch jumping and running. (Err… I mean, not much more than my prejudices that they are stupid and simpleminded.) But I think this in many ways regarded to be so much more. By many as a competition between countries. Between us and them. That leaves me with a bad taste. And more importantly, I think it’s boring to watch.

Olympics in China will make this even more vulgar. The facilities will be built with people who can’t read or write. Whose children probably won’t be able to attend class. They will be illegal workers with all their already limited rights stripped, since they probably won’t have resident permits in Beijing. It will be a tool for regime to distract its people from all the corruption and abuse of power. It will fuel an already unhealthy nationalism that is deliberately let taking the place of the previous failed ideology. Let’s hope it also makes the Chinese feel like they are part of the same world as the rest of us. I think the Olympics will make it take longer for the people in China to realize that a country is a way to organize a region in the benefit of the people that lives there. Not an entity of itself for which individuals could be sacrificed.

Thinking about it, I think the title of this text could have been: “Me and Life or Why-Can’t-I-Grab-a-Six-pack-and-Just-Enjoy-It”. ;-)

Friday, August 13, 2004

Days in Stefan's life

I received a phone call from Stefan this afternoon just after I had woken up. He told me all these things that to me seemed to be from another world. There must be worlds between how we feel right now and I find it so hard to relate no matter how much I try. His mother-in-law have passed away. The cancer finally took her life. Two days later Saga, my god daughter got a cousin. A little cousin that will never see her grand mother. A grandmother who will never see her granddaughter. As this wasn't enough of an emotional rollercoaster, Stefan also told me that Saga will have a brother or sister. I'm just sitting here and can't feel anything. I do feel a little bit sad that I can't be there or find a way to support him. Support them. I do want to show them that I don't take it lightly that Stefan choose me as Saga's god father. I'm proud, but also oh so incapable of showing it. I will try to go and see them in Göteborg during next week before they head back up north to Umeå.

My cousin's wedding anniversary

The other day was my cousin Sara's wedding anniversary. During the wedding there was a game which assign some of the guests a task for each month during the coming year. Being a guy who never, NEVER, wins in a lottery, was the guy among some hundred guests to make something special for the happy couple on their wedding anniversary. I was not very amused. I don't know them very well actually, and I thought I would be in China. It bothered me so much too that my parent seemed to get so enthusiastic about it too happy to send a message that they want us children to be happily wedded in soon too. In a church. And have babies. And get low paid jobs, like gardening, and try not to achieve anything in particular. Wow.. That was a bitter remark. Forgive me. I'm in some sort of phase. I'll get over it.

Anyway. That day I managed to sleep 16 hours and woke up 3 pm. I had planned to cook something and bake a cake for them (ok, ok, ok... My mum gave me a recipe. Thanks mum). Well.. So I go down thinking it's like 10 or 11 in the morning. But it's 3 pm. Death. Humiliation. I start to imagine all the shit I will get for it. Well.. I call my aunt, get their number and where they live. Yeah, I didn't even know that. Call them and tell them I will be an hour late or so. Make a cake in record time. While it's in the oven I take a shower, shave, and get dressed. Then out with the cake, drive to the store and buy food, and then off to their place. 5 pm I'm there and we have a really nice time. I was the first in the family to see their 5 days old son. It was really good and I got to know them a lot better. Their anniversary was not so important for them at that day. Think they were mostly tired and thrilled of having a child. Probably happy that someone came to give them some food. They are a really nice couple. But stuck now! Muahaha!! Well.. Whatever makes them happy. I'm afraid I won't be there for them to talk about diapers. Not unless I have one myself. (Woo.. Some sort of sign of a desire to have babies now? No.)

The old and me

Me and Emmy.

Another night at the old folks home typing the night away. Really not much going on. While working night we really don't get to know our "costumers" very well. They mostly sleep. I'm getting to know a lot of TV shows that I normally wouldn't see though. Maybe I will be able to relate to the content in our trash press (read Aftonbladet, Expressen, GT, Se och Hör, etc) better now. I think most of 'our' old recognize me, but only a few would be able to remember my name. When they do I'm pretty happy. They rarely remember the names of the female staff or mix them up miserably. It's quite interesting that the old ladies are never angry or mean to me, but quite often to my female colleagues. The old guys are indifferent to whether the person that helps them are male or female. I think this is a sign of the deep rooted gender inequality among the older generation. During their lives these ladies would never openly question or go against a male. I've been trying to teach a few of them some Chinese, but so far with rather limited success. I should face it. The circumstances are not the ideal. The motivation for my students might not be the highest considering the limited prospect of any future use. That future might be particularly limited. The memory is also not always in top shape. When giving them my lessons I wake them up in the middle of the night and they are probably more interested to know where the hell they are and who the hell I am. I have to admit that when I'm woken up in the middle of the night I'm not very receptive for new Chinese words either. Yup. It's a challenge. It's a touch job and only I can do it.

Avi on tour

Me and Avi on the camping ground in Värnamo.

Avinash and his friend Felix called me this morning. They are on a bike tour through Sweden. I meet Avi when he was studying at Chalmers. He's a friendly Indian guy and he is studying for his Ph.D in Germany at the moment. Was very cool to see him. Haven't seen him for tow years though we have chatted on the net. He had a little piece of paper in his wallet where it said that I was from Värnamo and he discovered that when they while camping in town. He managed to send me an email with his phone (first time he did that!) and I got it here at work. I send him an SMS and in the morning he called me. I went to see them at the camping ground and then they had to move on. I felt bad for not being able to host them, but hey, that was REALLY on a short notice.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Plans and hopes for China

Living with my parents is such a drag. I don't know what it is but sooner or later I just become so pissed off. I can't take the tiniest criticism without becoming so pissed off. I know I live off them at the moment and that bothers me a lot. That is a high price for me to pay, but I really don't have any other options at the moment. My choice of going back to China leaves me not much else to do.

It's hard to put a finger on exactly what it is that makes me so pissed off. I know I have this lack of respect of their life, but I think I might be pretty unfair there. I guess I shouldn't have these demands on them. Decisions they made in the past that effected me are still lingering in the back of my head. I basically see my dad as such a looser. Spending so much time with the church and his idealistic dreams. Basically going through the best time this country has ever had without being able to move on to anything. Always moving in the direction of least resistance, least demands. All jobs he has ever had have probably had only one applicant. All has involved a lot of sitting around, drinking coffee, with no pressure or demand to actually achieve something. When we kids started to fall out of the faith, we moved to the Christian belt of Sweden. That is here in Värnamo. Leaving all my friends behind, putting me in a really shitty situation in school. Yeah, right. God had spoken to him. Well, that period of time leaves me pretty bitter. And yeah.. I should grow up and get my own life. Living at home now is pathetic.

Have three more nights to go. Feeling inspired that I will soon be sitting on a plane again. I wish I had gotten started with more while being here. Working night really makes me tired for most of the daytime. I'm not content that I haven't come in touch with anyone yet. I have sent an email to an organization for companies in this area to see if they are interested in me writing a couple of articles for them. Like making a little tour in China and write about people and company with connections to Sweden and this region. Unfortunately that's the only concrete thing so far. I suck. I'm thinking of contacting the local newspaper too. Better check with Stefan first to see what he says. Maybe papers won't accept suggestions from strangers like me. Then again, why wouldn't they. They have nothing to loose. It's not like I will ask for an advance or anything. One idea is to compare two factories. A Swedish one and one in China producing similar products. The one that comes to mind is a company producing screws! An acquaintance is working for such a company and they have their factory here in Värnamo. They have also quite recently started to buy from China and have two employees there. Sounds like a start. Really hope I can get something going out of this.

I better get some sort of feed-back on these ideas soon, or I will just leave for my baby in Singapore. Should better go there as soon as possible. Really hope we will have a good time. We truly deserve it.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


Click to read the text on my dad's hat.

Went fishing in the morning with my dad after have only slept one or two hours. We got one tiny little pathetic baby fish. As usual I was more interested in relaxing than actually catching them poor little creatures. First day out fishing just me and my dad. No big argument or getting pissed off so maybe I should call it a success. That hat is a gift from me. I found it in a car trunk when I was in the States in '94.

Samantha have a new phone today and send me a bunch of cute messages. Really hope we can make it work out this time and I have a good feeling about it. I had a really horrible nightmare when I took a nap during the day. I dreamt she cheated on me. A bunch of British guys were hitting on her and she wouldn’t say no. Breaks my heart. When I woke up I felt really hurt and couldn’t really get over it. Maybe I am an overly jealous guy. I even dream about it. Hope my brain can figure out something more pleasant to dream about. Figured out that I could probably have earned more money by registering as unemployed then working this summer. Sucks since if I did I could have written some exams instead. But then again, someone has to come and light up the existence of my groupies at the retirement home. In my previous work I eared a lot more than I do with this summer job, and I have an insurance to get out money incase I get unemployed. I wasn’t sure how it worked. When I called up to ask about the insurance the girl there recommended that I should try to get some out of it before I go to China. In that way I will keep my benefits for next year. Otherwise I will lose them. Wonder how many people that are abusing this system. Now I wonder how long I can stay away and still get these benefits. Obviously I’m not allowed to go to China and get benefits. With 580 SEK a day you can have a pretty decent life in China! Working dayshift tomorrow with my beloved old ladies and gentlemen. Think it will be quite a change to see them during the day. The 13th I’m finished this summer of ass wiping and will be ready for new adventures. Haven’t really decided who I will let read this thing and what I will write in it. I think I’m trying to avoid lying and try to stand for what I do. Think there’s a high chance no one will read it. So, if anyone actually will, I will appreciate it. In return I will try to keep babbling on with out taking too much consideration. I read the chapter in blogger.com on what to do if your mom discovers your blog. One of the risks with that might be that she will actually get to know me better. ;-)

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

In Värnamo working with the old

Tina and Ella having vulcanic hotpot in Åminne.

Not sure what I will write in this blog. Woke up this morning, brushed my teeth, went down to have breakfast... blah blah blah... Well, I'm home during the summer. Thought it would be nice to see family and friends and maybe it is. But it's pretty damn boring. Hope it will make me more motivated when I go back in Beijing. Gonna need it. Learning Chinese is actually too much, but I'm right in the middle of it and I'm pretty stubborn. Shouldn't complain since I really wouldn't want to do anything else right now.

The main reason to come home was because Samantha was travelling in Europe. After have bought the ticket home we broke up, but we met up anyway. I think and hope that was a good choice. We have gone throught quite a bit now and maybe we will be able to ride this one out too.The picture is from when we made hotpot for the family.
I'm working in a home for old people. Night shift. Did that last summer too. It's pretty easy and quite different from most stuff I've done before. I start at 9pm, then basically make three rounds and give the old medicine, wipe their ass if needed, and move them around a little so they don't sleep on the same side the whole night. It's easy and you get used to the stuff pretty fast. If I would describe some of the stuff we do I think quite a few people would think it would be unimaginable, but if you've done it yourself it becomes natural and feels necessary and even important. One think is that most of them need painkillers and we give them a pill up their behind. Sounds gross? Deal with it. It's probably going to happen to you when you get older too. At least if you will be able to afford some health care.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Worries of becoming a China-bum

I've gotten to know myself a lot better since I've kind of dropped-out of my university program. Life has been a lot less structured and I have been able to float around fairly freely. My life with other hundred or so classmates, years and years of previous students, who all have been measured against the same ruler, the same standard, gave something fixed. Either you cared or not, but you were either a student who passed the exams, or you were not. There was some sort of basic requirement. I think my perception of myself wasn't correct. I believed if I only set my mind of something I would be able to do it. Silly naïve little me. There are so many things I can't control. I need the external influence. Scary. Going to China will push this to the limit. I won't have anything that put pressure on me. If it is up to me I will only go up in the morning to study if I feel like it. And I will of course only feel like it for 3-4 days and then I want to do something else. My plan? Well. I hope I can sign up for a private school. 2 or 4 hours a day to have a minimum of study and a little bit of continuity. Hopefully I can continue to talk to ZhangFan every day. She is a girl I pay to talk Chinese to. Maybe I will attend class with WuZheJian, but I think he will think that is annoying. Think he will be too polite to say it though. Why am I going on like this? Guess I'm worried that I will go into apathy, total lack of motivation. Like I feel right now. Maybe I should try to set up simple achievable goals and then try to forget about the pointlessness. Like all happy people seems to do. Well, I'm pretty happy actually. Maybe there some part of my brain that things learning Chinese actually IS meaningful and that one day I actually will learn the bloody thing.