Trump in Swedish

Today I was reminded of a fun Swedish word. A very contemporary one.

The Swedish word I’m referring to is ‘trumpen’. Contemporary for obvious reasons, the word is an adjective and translates as the following:

  • Glum
  • Moody
  • Morose
  • Stuffy
  • Surly

Appropriate, isn’t it? Shame it doesn’t also mean misguided, arrogant and narcissistic.

Cash free Sweden

I read in the paper yesterday that Sweden has taken over from the USA in terms of cash free payments. Plastic prevails in this country as does the mobile payment technology called ‘Swish’. With a simple transfer, Swedes can send money to each other via their phones. All that’s needed is a bank account, a bank ID and, of course, a mobile.

Shop after shop is putting up signs saying ‘we do not accept cash – only card and Swish’. I have to wonder if this is legal, as coins and notes are still actually legal means of payment. Do they have the right to refuse?

Sweden’s cash free society really hit home with me this morning. Sitting on the tube on the way into work, a beggar got into my carriage.

He stood in the middle of the aisle and presented a plea for the money he needed to buy food. Nobody looked at him, everybody looked at their cell phones.

In response to this, the beggar said, ‘if you prefer not to give me cash, I take Swish!’

Odd Swedish names

Ok, I know that English has quite a lot of funny names such as Dick and Willy, but Sweden also has its fair share.

Here come the top 10 hysterical and odd names that people in Sweden actually have.

  • 1. Gun. A popular name of over 18000 women in Sweden. Not bad for a pacifist country
  • 2. Jerker. Seriously. A man’s name, and also the name of a piece of furniture at IKEA.
  • 3. Saga. Ugly when pronounced in English, this name for a woman actually means ‘fairy tale’.
  • 4. Odd. An odd one this. A name owned currently by 735 men in Sweden.
  • 5. Even. Interestingly, the name Even also exists. Odd and Even would make a well-balanced coupled wouldn’t they?
  • 6. Love. It’s true. You could fall in love with a Swedish boy called Love.
  • 7. Ninni. A name of a Swedish woman. Although it means ‘an idiot’ in English, I assume all Ninnis in Sweden are not stupid.
  • 8. Knut. An unfortunate name that, at best, gets pronounced as nut, and at worst gets the letters mixed up to mean something altogether more rude
  • 9. Tintin. Yeah, it’s true. There are many people in Sweden, both male and female, who have this name. Over 500 to be more precise.
  • 10. Titti. This has to be the queen of all unfortunate Swedish names. 1024 women in Sweden currently bear this name with pride.
  • Swedish expressions – ‘more stupid than the train’

     

    prins albert

    The Swedish train system is notorious for its lack of reliability and continuous delays. Anybody who travels by train in Sweden has probably called it stupid, or worse, in anger or frustration. However, this is not where the Swedish expression (you are) ‘more stupid than the train’ comes from.

    To understand the origin of this expression, we have to travel to my home country of England and to the end of the Industrial Revolution. In the 1800’s the rail industry was booming and in 1856 Sweden imported a train from the UK, pictured above.

    A Swedish tradition is to give names to trains, and this particular train was christened ‘Prince August’ after King Oskar I’s youngest son. Prince August was well-known across the country for not being the brightest light in the Christmas tree. His weak intellect was well referred to in stories of the time. This was a period in history, however, when open criticism of the Royal family borded upon treason. So, the people created an expression – more stupid than the train – to describe somebody’s idiocy while at the same time referring ‘discretely’ to the royal fool by referencing the train of the same name.

    This tradition of naming trains, and train carriages, still exists in Sweden today. Only this morning I travelled in a carriage called Pippi, but I’m afraid it wasn’t much of an adventure. Here is a list of all the carriage names on the Stockholm underground – see if your is there!

    How SD is seducing you

    sd affisch

    Standing on the train platform this morning I was confronted by a huge poster from nationalistic party the Sweden Democrats, asking me to vote for them in the approaching election. The poster consisted of men and women, all white, smiling down at me in a welcoming unthreatening manner. ‘SD 2018’ – the simple slogan emblazoned across the poster – intended to show me that those who support SD today are not nazis, criminals, sexists or homophobes (as proven time and time again in the press). On the contrary they are presented as ordinary, happy people who just want a change of government.

    As I stood there, I understood how clever SD’s PR and Marketing people are. They have a strong understanding of influencing techniques – and they’re not afraid to use them to seduce the unsuspecting general public.

    Psychologist Robert Cialdini is considered the guru of influencing skills. In his ground-breaking book, ‘Influence’, he introduced six key principles on which influence is based. Based on his extensive research, he found that if we apply these principles, we are able to persuade others more easily. Used positively, they can help move us towards agreement with each other, used negatively they can be applied to manipulate and even coerce people into making decisions that might be bad for them.

    As I stood on the platform and absorbed SD’s poster, I realised how artfully they are using two of Cialdini’s principles. The principle called ‘Social Proof’ and the principle called ‘Liking’.

    Social Proof
    This principle relies on people’s sense of “safety in numbers.” If we see that others are doing something, we are more likely to do the same. It somehow feels validated. For example, we’re more likely to work late if others in our team are doing the same, put a tip in a jar if it already contains money, or eat in a restaurant if it’s full of guests. We assume that if lots of other people are doing something, then it must be OK. We’re particularly susceptible to this principle when we’re feeling uncertain, and we’re even more likely to be influenced if the people we see seem to be similar to us. That’s why commercials often use parents to advertise household products and why SD uses smiling, happy Nordic people.

    Liking
    Cialdini says that we’re more likely to be influenced by people we like. Likability comes in many forms – people might be familiar to us, we might just simply trust them or they might physically look like us. We have an inherent feeling of liking when we see them. Companies that use sales agents from within the community employ this principle with huge success. People are more likely to buy from people like themselves, from friends, and from people they know and respect. Facebook, for example, builds its business model on ‘liking’. SD uses this principle to manipulate us into thinking they are just like us. They think like us. They would never do anything to harm us. We can trust them.

    As in previous posts, I am trying to shine a light on how SD is manipulating us, society and the election. They are masters of manipulation – spreading fear and uncertainty in the minds of the susceptible electorate, when in fact Sweden is currently booming and economically very stable. There are problems in society, no doubt, but these are not best solved by giving power to a party that we know is manipulative and devious. Judging by the level of scheming we see when they are trying to gain favour, just imagine how this will escalate if they have power.

    A vote for SD is not a vote for a better Sweden.

    Do not be duped into falling for the deceit.

    You are being manipulated.

    Do not be seduced.

     

    Why is Sweden….according to Google

    A quick Google search punching in the words ‘why is Sweden..’ led to a very telling autocorrect.

    why is sweden

    • Why is Sweden so hot?
    • Why is Sweden so rich?
    • Why is Sweden so good at hockey?
    • Why is Sweden so good at sports?
    • Why is Sweden so cold?
    • Why is Sweden so innovative?
    • Why is Sweden so good at CS?
    • Why is Sweden so good?
    • Why is Sweden called Sweden?

    So, if this represents the most common searches for Sweden, it certainly seems positive! Sweden is hot, rich, good at all sorts of things and innovative! I only wish I knew what CS is –  Christmas shopping? Classic socialism? Counting suicides? Consuming spirits? Well, whatever it is, they are apparently very good at it!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Sweden you are being manipulated

    In the Second World War, one fear that the German soldiers had was being sent to the frontline in Russia which meant certain death. They feared this so much that they would be willing to do anything to avoid it. This fear has become the name of an influencing tactic known as the ‘Russian Front.’ It is a highly manipulative negative tactic that we see being used in Swedish politics today.

    To apply the Russian Front tactic, we offer a person something that they will never choose but we dress it up so that it seems more real. We paint a picture of pain, then

    offer them the alternative that we really want them to choose.

    Example:

    There is a job available in Sewage Maintenance, the last guy died. I do hear they’re looking for people in reception though. Should I recommend you?

    The Russian Front is the application of a principle called ‘Hurt and Rescue’.

    ‘Hurting’ means making somebody feel pain of some kind, pointing out what is wrong, making them want to get away from something. ‘Rescuing’ means removing their hurt, saving them from their pains. It creates relief.

    With this in mind, think now about what is currently going on in Swedish politics. The extreme right wing nazi party – the NMR – have been very vocal recently. They have been involved in homophobic, racist and sexist attacks. They have received a lot of media attention and harassed, threatened and film documented people from minority groups. The NMR are the Russian Front. They are here to ‘hurt’ us. In contrast to them, the other right wing party, the SD, look more acceptable, although they also have a racist and sexist agenda of hate. But compared to the hurt of the NMR, the SD can appear as the ‘rescue’.

    This is very, very dangerous. It is extremely manipulative. It is a well orchestrated trap. It is very strategic, and well planned. Its intention is to force fearful voters into the hands of SD in September’s general election.

    The key to not falling into this trap is to see it. To see it for what it is. The fear we are experiencing is not real. It is choreographed. The solution is not SD. Do not allow yourself to be manipulated. Do not vote out of the illusion of fear. This is a high stakes game, and we are pawns. But we do have the power, if we see through the manipulation tactics.

    The Russian Front is not real.

    SD is not the solution.

    Please spread and share this message.