Friday, November 29, 2002
nessun dorma
3:30am, but no one in my flat is sleeping now. dunno why everyone stays up so late tonight. i'm really really tired. didnt sleep at all last night, hadn't no time to get rest since i was up. ufff.

recently i feel more and more unbearable that my flat is too small and noisy. from time to time i don't wanna go home too early coz i feel uneasy there. i'm even thinking about moving out... but i don't want to leave my flatmates. they're really nice and i like them quite well. (at least, they never put a note on my door "yvonne, wash your dishes")

and i dont want to escape, another kind of self-indulgence. as even Muhammad must go to the mountain, if i cannot change the circumstances, i have to adjust myself to compromise, thus can i survive...

Thursday, November 28, 2002
sunny day
wow finally after weeks of gloomy weather, today when i srolled up the curtain, i was so surprised to see the blue sky with sunshine outside. it's really an indescridible cheerful feeling, and that seems to tell you, "everything will be alright. the darkness will pass by and the brightness will come back again."

watched "scream 2" tonight. well, those who have watched horror movies with me will agree that i, who is screaming all the time, is more scaring than the film itself...

but it's really a violence movie. i didnt pay much attention till the last half hour. i was making tang-yuan (sweet dumplings made of glutinous rice flour with peanut filling) with another girl and talking with her. so i had no idea why the killer had to kill people, who the hell is the killer, and what affairs has the girl been involved in, anyway.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Monday, November 25, 2002

this afternoon tried to transform a chinese article about Jin Yong into romanisation to lokman. typing is a piece of cake to me, the problem was pinyin, the dominant spelling system used in China and international society, except for taiwan. we have another system called "phonetic symbol" using another unique symbols but not romanised alphabets. anyway it's a good practice for me. recently i read about Turkey also had some language reform:

"In 1928, Atat�rk did away with the Arabic alphabet and adopted a Latin-based alphabet much better suited to easy learning and correct pronunciation. He also instituted a language reform to purge Turkish of abstruse Arabic and Persian borrowings, in order to rationalise and simplify it. The result is a logical, systematic and expressive language..."

in the early 20th century, chinese language has undergone a series reform, both in speech and writing. for writing reform, there were two approaches: alphabetic writing and character simplification. at first "the reform of character was just supposed to serve as a transition stage that would prepare people for the eventual changeover to an alphabetic system."

i'm happy that after all chinese characters were not eradicated. "The Chinese script is so wonderfully well adapted to the linuistic condition of China that it is indispensable; the day the Chinese discard it they will surrender the very foundation of their culture." and i still think the character simplification is a disaster to chinese language. there's no evidence that it contributed to literacy in China. fewer strokes that make up the characters make "writing faster but not always easier to learn," because "the simplification in the shapes of words does not necessarily increase legibility."

anyway i think myself do need some reform. being too lazy lethargic recently. the most horrible thing is not that dream cannot come true, but that one has no dream...

Saturday, November 23, 2002
between the sublime and the obscene?
went to see two exhibitions about japanese art:
Tokyo Still Life, photography works by Araki Nobuyoshi, and Forbidden Images, erotic art from Japan's Edo period. after seeing a documentary about Araki's travelling around europe and asia, watching him taking picture whenever and wherever, which motivates me with a desire to use camera to document life in Helsinki day and night, from winter to summer. actually i seldom take pic in Helsinki. and somehow i'm hestitated to shoot what i want to catch. but i feel there's something different inside me, which activates my mind too see the outside world with the curiosity and passion that i've lost for a long time.

but i feel so mad with my dull digital camera. i can't walk fast as Araki on the street, stop one second to shoot what appeals to me for the moment, then keep on walking toward next unknown discovery. :(

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Cafe Engel
had a nice evening at this cosy cafe, although i didnt see any jazz performance there... before young-eun and michiko came, i was reading about the architecture of amsterdam. really interesting... to learn about those architecture terms :P such as facade, gable, attic, volute, cornice, pediment, balustrade, pilaster, column, obelisk... (well don't laugh my poor vocabulary!!)

the food there is good. well, i do think i can make better cappuccino than many finnish cafe (so u can understand how bad they do), the one i had tonight was not bad though. :-) we also ordered coconut chicken salad (very big plate, perfect for three girls. i liked the sauce, even made the finnish national beloved rye bread while i hate most acceptable...), warm pie of meat and rice (tasty), apple pie (a bit too soft, but with my favourite cinnamon) and cheese cake (also too soft, but with strong taste. delicious). we must have been too hungry that we should order so many food, huh? ;-)

i always like to talk with them. in addition to our culture background and age. (heey remember our joking that there is a generation gap btw 21 and 22? it's somewhat true, actually...) we're quite similar in personality and interest. we're introvert. we can enjoy being alone but not feel bored. but when talking to some issues, i had some conflict of opinions with young. i've to admit that compared to japan, i know too few about korea and even my taiwan... (it's incredible, but it's true...) and that i have no much passion or motivation or goal. i don't care many things. i'm indifferent to many issues. i'm selfish. i'm too naive. i'm lost...

(ps. young, you're right. patriotism is the word for the feelings and quilities of a person who shows great love for his country...)

Wednesday, November 20, 2002
the days are all empty...
snowing again. looks quite windy outside. and cold as well. so what to do for such a nice day? erh just know i'm going to a jazz performance at Café Engel tonight. before that maybe going out with my italian friends, who are going to have tattoo on the wrist and piercing on the tongue! well not for me... and michiko said people with tattoo are not allowed to get into hot spring. i definitely won't want to miss hot spring when i visit japan!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2002
7pm: you and a friend(F) agreed to go clubbing tonight. you'll meet at 11pm at central station. then F is off to another party.

10pm: you feel tired. you change your mind. you don't want to go out. or you would like to just find a bar for drinking and talking but not dancing. but you know F seems really expected and eager to the disco pub. besides, before leaving, F told you not to change your mind again.

what will you do?

i feel guilty and confused. i don't mean to break promise. but my mind do change, i can't do anything with it. i don't understand why i can't change my mind and why i feel guilty to change my mind or why i'm hestitated to tell people that i change my mind!! feel suffocated and sick with such constraint and quandary.

Monday, November 18, 2002
between formal and normal
the dorm network broken last weekend. i admit i'm quite addicted to the internet, somehow i felt happier during these days without internet. spared myself more time for reading or talking with friends. seems that i'm not so hopelessly obsessed by this virtual reality, ehh? :-)

tomorrow there's a rector's reception. "As for dressing up in the rector's reception. You don't need to be too formal, but neither not too normal. I mean that worn out jeans are not the best outfit for an occasion like this... but you don't need to panic and go to buy an evening dress neither. Something between is fine." actually i have a formal evening dress. purchased for the party of taiwan's national day in october, coz i heard many people would wear very formal dress... but i didn't wear it. i was late at that time, due to some stupid accident... and thanks god i didn't wear it. i didn't see any people wear that kind of evening dress. the dress i bought is very beautiful, i couldn't forget it since i saw it. it's the only one and it's just my size. but the question is that it's too gorgeous. i wonder when the hell would i have to the chance to wear it... but it's truly embarrassing and more unbearable when wearing the "wrong" dress!

Friday, November 15, 2002
Les Miserables...
there is the performance of concert version in Helsinki now. my friend Karen also attends in the chorus part, so she can help us to buy tickets with half price, but it's still a bit expensive to me. so i told stacy to ask michiko...

but after reading Karen's latest entries on her bbs board, i began to feel a bit regret for this decision now... "Les Miserables" was a very important part to my high school life. it's the main theme of our marching band outdoor performance. whenever listening to "On My Own" or "I Dreamed a Dream," i'm still always moved to tears...

how can i reject to watch the live performance so easily?? "everything is broken to little bits..." miserable.

Jazz concert
this evening i went to a free jazz concert at Sibelius Academy. music of Keith Jarrett. really nice. especially impressed by the facial expression of the drumer. looked totally enchanted and delighted in the world of music.

Thursday, November 14, 2002
Saeng il chuk ha hae
happy birthday to
Young Eun. yesterday we had a very nice party at her flat. awesome korean BBQ and seaweed soup!! also met some of her finnish friends who are students of east-asian studies. really enjoyed talking with them. sometimes i feel europeans' world is very small. i can't agree more with Chiu's lastest entry "culture" [chinese] however, i also think it's one's own freedom of choice. no reason to impugn others for that. and my friends would also sneer us taipeier that we have no idea about other places of taiwan, or we can't tell Chia-yi or Yun-lin which one is north to the other... anyway it's always a nice thing to meet people who are interested in or familiar with your own culture background, isn't it?

Wednesday, November 13, 2002
today's breakfast
thanks to
Yin's link, found this recipe of scrambled egg with tomato [japanese] it's really easy. great website for me! (i can also practice my japanese) :P

Finnish movie night
went to see two finnish movies: "
Ambush" and "Lover and Leavers." it's said "Ambush is the absolute must if you want to see how Finland looks like in summertime. Lovers and leavers is filmed mostly in Helsinki, offers nice sights of the city." it's interesting to see a city you are living in a movie...

Tuesday, November 12, 2002
i like for you to be still
this morning i thought of this poem when i woke up. i was still sleepy and couldn't open my eyes. suddenly the verses flashed on me, and the images emerged vividly in my head. i seemed to understand a bit more what Neruda was saying...
listening to the soundtrack of "the Postman" the whole day, dreaming of the mediterranean sunshine...

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
and you hear me from far away and my voice does not touch you.
It seems as though your eyes had flown away
and it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouth.

As all things are filled with my soul
you emerge from the things, filled with my soul.
You are like my soul, a butterfly of dream,
and you are like the word Melancholy.

I like for you to be still, and you seem far away.
It sounds as though you were lamenting, a butterfly cooing like a dove.
And you hear me from far away, and my voice does not reach you:
Let me come to be still in your silence.

And let me talk to you with your silence
that is bright as a lamp, simple as a ring.
You are like the night, with its stillness and constellations.
Your silence is that of a star, as remote and candid.

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
distant and full of sorrow as though you had died.
One word then, one smile, is enough.
And I am happy, happy that it's not true.

(Pablo Neruda, Poema XV, Veinte poemas de amor/La canci鏮 desesperada)

Monday, November 11, 2002
revival of the sink
i washed the pipe of the bathroom sink. damn disgusting. it's full of sludge. no wonder the water always flew down so slowly as backwater!! i disjointed all parts of the pipe, cleaned out the sludge (with sacrificing my toothbrush and imagining myself as Chihiro in the japanese film "Spirited Away" washing for the river god and then gave him rebirth...) i washed it carefully and thoroughly, coz i don't want to do the same thing again!! nightmare (i hope i wont dream of those stinky pipes... having had dream about date-expired food after coming back from russia!!), but i'm quite satisfied with the result. perfect. now there's no problem with the waterflow. my parents would be surprised to hear that their lazy daughter would have the nerve to do these housework. i wonder it's out of my love towards my flat (which means i paid too less concern to my home before...), or just merely due to my selfishness that i can't stand the stagnant sink anymore? anyway i proved that i can do it by myself but not waiting for boys' help, and that i'm not so incapable...

Sunday, November 10, 2002
a hard day's night
bought MOJO magazine yesterday, which features the beatles and their 1964 movie "a hard day's night" this month. and there is a big poster inside!! but i just found there are two versions of the poster, i want the other one as well... but well, thanks god, i'm not that kind of rabid fan with obsessive collecting impulse. :P

"Upon its release in June 1964, the film A Hard Day's Night established The Beatles as the Fab Four: cynical John, loveable Paul, quiet George and noisy Ringo." yet i questioned myself: what does the beatles mean to me? do i also have these stereotypes upon them without being aware? these days trying to learn that everyone has many different sides and faces. wondering whether i'm too simple-minded (=stupid) or what?

seize the day
my day yesterday started from 5pm, while the night came. it's dark yet bright, by the lights and snow. raining and cold. i like to walk on the streets, thinking of Eyes Wide Shot, felt as proceeding some unknown ventures...

anyway we some taiwanese students were invited to have dinner at our representitive (=ambassador)'s home. wonderful food and nice people. after that we went to David's new flat and watched "Dead Poet Society." i've seen it in high school, still very impressed and moved this time. indeed a splendid and brilliant movie. how wonderful if i could understand and follow all the lines and verses.

btw also borrowed some CDs which david's friend, the former tenant of the new flat, left. i'm so happy to listen to the cranberries' "to the faithful departed." it's the first ever CD i've bought, in 1995 or 96, just after i went to high school. around that time i got my own amplifier, and more pocket money. my high school is very close to the downtown (taipei railway station) so u can imagine there's lots of record shops, a very fascinating place to a 15-year-old girl, who was actually grown up in the suburb of taipei city and seldom been to the centre. i took the train to school, so i went to the record shops after class every day. i dunno why i'd like to pick this album. i had no idea about the western pop music. anyway it's still one of my favourite album since then. (then how could i forget to bring it here??!! faint/)

david's friend also left him Bella, a white giant (fat) persian cat. i can't help having some fantastic queer thought about the cat, and even imagined myself as the cat, wondering where has my quiet finnish owner gone, and who the hell are these noisy funny strangers...

Click to take the quiz!
click here to find out which asian action superstar you are!

You are Michelle Yeo. you are a responsible, nurturing and caring person. you like the romantic side of life. whether it's by a british secret agent or a master swordsman. you like it all. you try and take care of the people you care about. but sometimes they dont take ur help too kindly. but that's okay. cause you got it all.

seen from lokman's site. kind of true :P

Saturday, November 09, 2002
the day and the night
the day is going to its end now. one hour later, it will turn totally dark and the night will fall down (ps. it's only 4pm now)

some updates
put some photos online:
Porvoo, St. Petersburg and my "graduation" this June (actually, i haven't graduated...) i'm lazy to put description this time... besides, also made a new page about myself. (thanks to David for the pic. i love it!! :P)

today the weather is awful wonderful: snow with rain and mist!! hopefully it's not windy. listening to Candy Lo's miao. fits perfectly to the weather. dunno why.

got an email from Raisa, the teacher of
language and politics of China. i was thinking to quit the course, coz i still failed to write the first assignment, thus made me hysterical, and i didnt go to the class this tuesday... i'm so happy that she still wants me to finish and return the assignment by next tuesday. thanks to her kindness, i hope i can work hard this weekend...

today's dinner: scrambled egg with onion, potato salad, toast with butter and strawberry jam. seems a weird combination, but i just felt like eating these things. btw, the cucumber here is confusing. maybe when a finn goes to taiwan, he would feel confused that why there's only mini or giant cucumber but no the medium size cucumber he used to have in finland!!

Thursday, November 07, 2002
taiwanese egg crepe
this morning michiko told me she can't forget the taiwanese crepe she had in Tampere. a friend Jia-lin made it for us with the crepe and sauce she brought from taiwan. this afternoon my mind was full of all kinds of egg crepes i ever had, it's my favourite food for breakfast. i began to think of all those yammy taiwanese breakfast too. i always told michiko that if she comes to taiwan, i'll show her this show her that. (mostly are food. errr...) frankly speaking i've never thought that taiwanese food is so delicious or what. but now i miss them...

Wednesday, November 06, 2002
the blue lake and white snow...
changed the layout a bit, followed the symbolic colours of the Finnish flag, "the blue of our lakes and the white snow of our winters", described by a finnish poet.

when searching for a finnish flag to put here, i found
this page about the finnish flag. "Every Finnish citizen enjoys the right to fly the national flag. With certain exceptions, the national flag is flown by Finnish vessels as their national ensign." a german girl once told me she's surprised that finnish can fly their flag, coz in germany, they cannot do so. Besides on finnish calendar, there's often a flag picture on some special days, which reminds people to fly their flag on that day.

i put the Lapland photos online. i think i won't visit there again in winter. too cold, and i want to see some more other places...

Tuesday, November 05, 2002
the darkest month of the year...
November is said to be the darkest month of the year in finland, as the day becomes shorter (almost suddenly) and shorter, and there is not so much snow yet to lighten the night. anyway got the following from foreign student mailing list. quite interesting and a good source to know more about finland.


Now we have the darkest month of the year, but don愒 worry, there is something Finnish to enlighten your day and make it a bit special. All Saints Day was already, hope you got something out of it...

Pyh鄜np鄜v� (All Saints Day) 2.11. I hope that some of you found your way to the graveyards on Saturday (well that might not be the target of the evening stroll...). All Saints Day is always celebrated on the first Saturday of November, and the idea is to remember all the dead people, martyrs and saints. It is done here mainly by bringing candles to the graves of the dead relatives. It is very beautiful out there in the graveyards, when it gets dark, and there is a whole sea of candles in the darkness.

Svenska dagen, ruotsalaisuuden p鄜v� (The Day of Swedishness)6.11. This is especially a festive day for the Swedish speaking Finns - people in Sweden don愒 know it. Sveska dagen was created in 1918. After Finland had become independent, the Swedish speaking people also wanted a day of their own. 6.11. was chosen, because on that day Kustaa II Aadolf, a king of Sweden, died in the 30 years war. That happened in 1632, when Sweden was a super power in Europe.

Sveska dagen is celebrated in big parties in different towns or in families. At least when I was small there used to be speeches, a good dinner, dancing, music, program for children, lottery etc. The Student Union goes also Swedish - there is a party called Svenska Natten at Vanha on 5.11. at 20-03. This year the party should be extra good, since it愀 the 20th anniversary of Svenska Natten. There will be a lot of good live music and fun, of course. Tickets cost 7 Euros (if bought beforehand at Students Union office in Mannerheimintie 5 A, 3rd floor) and 8 Euros at door. (

Is鄜np鄜v� (Fathers� Day) 10.11. If mothers have their day, then should fathers also have a day of their own. On the second Sunday of November all fathers are remembered. They get coffee, cake, a card and a present to the bed. There is also flagging all over. Unfortunately this day is getting as commercial as Mothers� Day in May - I think there has been lots of ads about slippers, morning rocks and books in the newspapers in the past two weeks.

Pikkujoulut (pre Christmas parties, literally Little Christmases). The first pre Christmas parties start already in the middle of November and if you are lucky, you have a party every second day until real Christmas. No wonder, since every smallest club or organisation or group of friends want to have their pre Christmas party. Mostly the following happens in these parties: you eat so much Christmas food that you don愒 want to eat it anymore in Christmas; you drink even more; you do things you would not do in daylight - and with the most strangest people (this happens especially in companies� parties); you see Santa Claus and the Star boys at least 20 times - and you have really, really good time! I think that the main reason for pre Christmas parties is the darkness we try to forget...

Joulukadun avajaiset (Opening of the Christmas Street), 24.11. at 12.15. This is a must for kids as well as some adu1ts, who feel young enough. Always around the end of November/beginning of December, the opening of the Christmas Street draws thousands of people to Aleksanterinkatu. This main shoppping street is full of fairies, elves, cartoon characters and other creatures - not to forget the main person, the Santa Claus himself in his sledge. Come and see Aleksanterinkatu in full light and the happy faces of the kids. Let愀 hope that the renovation of Aleksanterinkatu does no harm for the happening this year, since Christmas hasn愒 really come to the town without this tradition.

Enjoy November!

this evening (monday) i had dinner with michiko again. she taught me how to cook
hanbagu [japanese] (hamburger steak) and omu-raisu (omelette+rice), the most-beloved dishes by the japanese kids, she said. when shopping around in supermarket, i told her i still had some garlic, so we didnt need to buy it. but later when got home, i couldnt find it, and even couldn't remember whether i've used or thrown it. michiko said i'm like oba-jan (old woman or granny) who often forgets things... (ohh no...) >_<

but i'm really forgetful. when i was in tampere, a friend Wei-yo kindly lent me his gloves. but i lost them and even couldn't rememeber where i lost them. i feel really really sorry for that...

Monday, November 04, 2002
Critical Reading and Writing
According to the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (2000), critical means: Making careful judgements, involving making fair, careful judgements about the good and bad qualities of sb/sth: Students are encouraged to develop critical thinking instead of accepting everything they are told without questioning it.
Thinking i was too lazy, i went to this class which just started from last wednesday. only 6 sessions and 4 hours each time. not bad. the most interesting part of the class last week was a short survey. we had to interview other students and asked their opinions about some controversial issues, including one question offered by ourselves. it's interesting to know what the finnish students are concerning about, such as the EU, Finnish NATO membership, etc. i was also surprised to hear that in Finland the state and church are still together but not seperated.

and i'm thinking about taking courses of the methodologies of social science and political sciecne, so that i would not have to postpone my graduation for another one more year...

had a very nice weekend in Tampere, Finland's third largest city. we have some taiwanese friends there. after looking around the city centre, we went to their places and had a wonderful dinner: chao mi fen (scrambled rice noodles), chao fan (scrambled rice, with eggs, vegetables and salmon), and chinese fondue of goat!!! later we went to another guy's flat and had a karaoke party!!! we sang lots of chinese songs. sounds unreal. sometimes i really don't know where i am.

btw, we also visited some churches and museums yesterday. before i was not so interested in Moomin, the most famous finnish cartoon character, but after visiting the
Moominvally museum, i found myself attracted to the characters deeply and want to know more about the stories. i was impressed by the story of "Snufkin and the orphans" especially. Snufkin is a quiet character and likes to wander alone. but he is very kind. he lets those homeless orphans stay at his home and tells them stories.

there is an exhibition called "company and solitude in moominvalley." an excerpt from the introduction:
Solitude, the second main theme of the exhibition, is contemplated in relation to freedom. Some of the Moominvalley characters, like Snufkin and Too-ticky, are free because they have no attachments. Other loners, like Muskrat and Grandpa Grumpy, prefer to live in seclusion. Some of the lonely people, like the Groke, cause fear; some loners, like the hemulens, the others just prefer to avoid. The hemulens lack discretion, and often they unwittingly trample on other people's feelings.
i think it's the reason why i like the moomin.

Saturday, November 02, 2002
on the train to tampere
now i am on the train to tampere, using david (another mr. gadget)'s nokia 9210i communicator.

All Saints' Day
tomorrow is all saints' day. there is said to be some changes in "normal life order." shops & stores (including everything; alcohol shops and post offices as well) are closed, the smaller shops are open again on Sunday (between 12-21). Public transportation (busses & trains & metro) use Sunday timetable also on Saturday, the night busses run normally. i heard before christmas, (exactly the 23th and 24th of december) every shops will close and transportation will stop too. helsinki will be like a deserted silent city... (so to my friends in taiwan: it's not so fun to spend christmas here...)

and tomorrow i'm going to
Tempere with stacy, michiko and david. there is a jazz festival. i may not go to the concert, but heard there will be some performance at the pub at night.

so this evening i went to supermarket with michiko and bought a lot of food for this weekend. and we prepared triangular rice-balls and potato salad. she also taught me shoga yaki, pork with ginger, one of my favourite japanese dishes. i promised her to make sao-mai (flowery steamed dumpling) and hsiao-long-bao (small steamed pun) hmmm, Yin, do you have the recipe???

Friday, November 01, 2002
being boring
fooling around the whole day with michiko today. went to shoes shops looking for some boots. finally found some nice ones, but told ourselves to wait till the mid of november or till we cannot stand the coldness. felt bored, nothing fun to do: browsed some books at a bookshop, had a cup of hot cocoa in cafe, taught her chinese, went to a free jazz concert in sibelius academy, cooked tortellini (kind of italian dumpling) at her flat. someone said we asians don't have much sense of humour as they europeans. we're nice, quiet and polite, but lacks of charms. i wonder that's coz living in asia is much fun enough, we don't have to make fun by ourselves or by fooling others...

conclusion: we missed taiwan or japan's karaoke...

wordsworth's garden
for oft when on my couch I lie
in vacant or in pensive mood,
they flash upon that inward eye
which is the bliss of solitude;
and then my heart with pleasure fills,
and dances with the daffodils.

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