Crowdsourcing

Now we have the internet, it is easier to bring people together. Traditionally, movie goers would fund movies by buying tickets to things that were already made. This meant that funding councils and studios had to predict what people might like to see.

Now that movies cost so much to make, studios are very cautious and make the same movie over and over. But every now and again, studios go with something that they have not tried before and it is a breakaway success… and then that becomes the formula.

Making movies in Denmark is a bit different, funding often comes from the Danish film board and they have made some dodgy decisions in the past. Memorably, they refused to fund a film because they thought people outside of Copenhagen were too racist to deal with non-white protagonists.

Seems to me that crowdsourcing is the way to go. How it works is: you put in some money to have the movie made (like you’re a big shot movie producer or something), and then when the film is made you already know you want to see it.

If you would like to get involved, there is a project that looks to be the first crowdsourced movie in Danish history. It is going to be directed by David Noel Bourke. It’s about a racist murderous man called Jens and the stuff that happens to him while he is being hunted by frustrated but passionate police officer Mia.

Intrigued? Check out the funding pitch webpage.

Is Denmark as bad as everyone makes it seem?

Denmark. Denmark. Denmark.

My country (the UK), is currently having an internet love affair with Denmark. The UK is excited by the very flattering photos Denmark keeps sending, with the camera angle oddly chosen to point down all the time with really quite bright lights. They have also read its dating profile over and over. Some of the lovely things Denmark says it does are really quite lovely! And exciting!

Imaging living there! The journalists who are invited to Copenhagen by the Danish tourist industry which in this analogy is probably a first date, right? Yeah, let’s go with that. The journalists from the UK have only nice things to say! The venue chosen by Denmark for the first date was really nice and Denmark was totally on Denmark’s best behaviour all evening. They totally took the UK back to its place and showed it some hygge. IN ALL THE POSSIBLE WAYS.

Naturally, after such a courtship, one’s thoughts turn to co-habitation. A quick once-over with the old google internet search engine and … Christ… well, if I wanted to doggedly continue with this over stretched analogy… would be a bit like coming across someone’s myspace blog about a breakup with the person you were courting. Or their Tumblr, if we want to be all twenty-teens about it.

A lot of people living in Denmark have written on the internet “OMG WHAT THE FUCK?” whilst in the midst of a culture shock driven breakdown. Others have written “No seriously, what the fuck?” when the culture shock has worn off and they are still not impressed.

There are plenty of foreigners who never write anything because they feel reasonably content (for a given range of contentedness) and there are a few foreigners who only write up the good stuff. These foreigners and their blogs are aggressively pushed to would-be “expats” by the government and that is when my metaphor is no longer of use because I guess it would be like when an internet dating prospect sends you to their wedding photos flickr album to show you their first marriage to prove they are capable of giving and receiving love. And as far as I know, this is not a trend on internet dating sites. Even OKCupid.

But yeah. There is a remarkable amount of shit-listing of Denmark going on.

Is it fair?

I am going to go ahead and say “yes” but with some caveats.

Denmark is probably ok. It is a reasonably well off country with mediocre services, medium-to-high taxes, medium-to-very good standard of living, currently quite cushy terms of employment. No one starves. No one gets cholera. No one is tortured for their beliefs*. But as I have said before. This is setting the bar waaaaaaaay too low.

Compared to similar countries, let’s go ahead and say France, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands (let’s leave the other Scandies to one side for now), it’s not really anything to shout about. Remember, expats can move anywhere. That’s their thing. Compared to similar countries, Denmark does not come out very well.

The schools are a bit in need of an overhaul. Health care is variable. The borough councils are unhinged. Crime is high. The terms of employment are being made progressively more shitty.

But for the expat, the main concern is “will I experience happiness and enjoyment?” and the answer is “Unless you put an extraordinary level of effort into entertaining yourself: no”

The language barrier is a serious impediment to happiness which is not really improved by saying “Well, obvs it’s Denmark. You should speak Danish.” That does not, with the best will in the world, get your pipes fixed when you are fresh of the boat and need a plumber.

Then there is the thorny question of social interactions. If you are coming to Denmark to marry a Dane or for study, you might be ok. It can be a lottery. Even very outgoing, friendly people who have had no problem making friends anywhere else, can find it hard to make friends in the Danish community. This is partly because they often do not speak Danish well enough to develop a friendship but mostly because Danes are just not that into us.

Not that Danes make a lot of new friends of any background after they finish their educations. If you go to a party with two groups of Danes who know the host from two different places (say: badminton club and sailing club), it is unlikely these groups will blend. Everyone at the party is the type you get might back home where the guest is just too shy to go talk to others and must wait for other guests to come to them. If everyone is like that, no one is coming to anyone.

Throw having a guest with a different culture into the mix and you might as well forget about them socialising beyond the old “Immigration Interview” conversation (When did you come? Why did you come? How is your language coming on? When are you leaving? )

And that is only if they even get invited to a party.

If you come to Denmark, your social life is over. All your friends will be foreign or mates of your Danish spouse. (Unless you happen to like doing sport)

If you like having friends, then yes, Denmark IS as bad as everyone is saying.

Meanwhile, even though they are most definitely not “all like that”, the only Danes you are really going to get any interaction with are the ones who are like that. They shove you in the street, they treat you like a twat when you try to speak their language, they push in front of you in shops, they leave their dog shit on your doorstep, they tell you off for talking to your kids. It can get quite fraught because although you do not want to become racist, you are facing a reality where you are effectively having to take it on trust that they are not all like that.

And if you have to interact with the authorities, it’s time to flip a coin. Heads: they will treat you like a human being. Tails: they won’t.

So. Yes. It is as bad as everyone is saying. It’s not paradise and it’s not hell. And you just need to be ready for that if you are serious about moving here.

*Denmark has been implicated in torture a few times since the war on “terror” began. But frankly, who the fuck hasn’t? It’s a shitty state of affairs that my team turned out to be the Storm Troopers when I thought they were the Rebels but I am literally powerless to do anything about it. I’m not a fucking ewok, am I? I’m not even Lando pigging Calrissian. You know the school teacher in the storm trooper clone factory they never made an adventure about? I’m that one.

CphPost article

Yo everybody. Sorry I haven’t been blogging, I had a bunch of distressing, scary medical things happen. I’m fine (I think) or at least I will be fine.

I wrote an article a while back and it has been published on CPHPost. You can see what my name is, what my face looks like when I’m having a photograph taken repeatedly and what I wrote.

Racism in the media BEATDOWN  (of course they gave it a better headline and also the editing made it about 10x clearer without changing any meaning or feel. Double thumbs up)

Danish racism

My country, the UK, has a lot of racists. Some of them are stupid. Some of them are bright. Some of them are violent. Some of them are passive. Some of them are just ignorant. Some of them actively seek ignorance.

Danish racists, it seems, are a lot more homogenous.

All Danish racists are stupid. I don’t mean like “Wow, that guy doesn’t have any book smarts at all!” or “What! He doesn’t even have a degree?!” but like “wow, that argument was stupid.”

One argument they like to make is “I don’t want to feel like I’m a racist, so that wasn’t racist,” another is “Only a few people/No one has complained, so it wasn’t really racist,” and my personal favourite “Oh, you’re calling me out on racism? I bet that means you like *whatever it is I’m saying ALL MUSLIMS EVERYWHERE DO because some people from that group did it*”

I mean, seriously, you have to be either a child or incapable of critical thought for some other reason (“the stupid”), to come up with that shit.

Danish racists are un-self-aware. They will say shit like “Don’t generalise about Danes! They are not all the same.” and “Well, Danish people never commit violent crime” and “Don’t be so sensitive!” and “I’m not racist, so no Danish people are racist and you should stop talking about Danish racism.”

Danish racists are simple. It is all black and white. And when they see a grey on the horizon… Perhaps, they have realised they are talking to a foreigner… they will say

“Oh no no. I don’t mean you. I mean THE OTHER immigrants!”

Which shows a singular lack of deep thought. Yes, yes. The other immigrants. All of whom you have not met.  And if you did meet the thousands of them personally, you’d say the same. Until you met the dozen or so people who you actually mean and then you would say “I do mean you.”

Meanwhile, when you meet Bad Danes (of which there are many many more), you do not say “I guess it’s your culture that made you rob that house/rape that woman/beat your child to death.” You dismiss it as an anomaly. (As you fucking well should!)

Danish racists are trusting. If their rotten media serves up a story about immigrants (for example, immigrants are over represented in prisons. Possible interpretation: “Foreigners are sentenced more harshly/Foreigners commit more serious crimes. Because around 10x more Danes are convicted of any crime than people with a foreign background.” Danish newspaper interpretation “Foreigners are criminals”. Or another example, half of convicted rapists are foreign. Possible interpretation “Danish men are believed in court when they say ‘She was plenty willing!’ and foreign men are not.” Danish newspaper interpretation “Foreign men are rapists.” Another example, a few hundred Somalis cheat on their taxes and a report says “they” keep themselves to themselves. Possible interpretation “Only a couple of hundred, why that’s the same per capita incidence of tax fraud as the Danish population! And that’s still a lot better than companies like Nestlé and Q8! And keeping yourself to yourself is the Danish way. Way to go, Somalians!” Danish newspaper interpretation “Why are they here? I wish they would die in a fire.”) they believe it. They do not check facts. They do not ask around. They do not question “Who benefits?” They do not think “What is their agenda here?” They trust it. And they quote it to you. And they treat it like solid gold fact.

Danish racists are the mainstream. Now, racism is widespread across all cultures and it’s something that is part of being human. There are weird things we all believe that are not true, not just to do with race and culture. But this brand of “Arab/Muslims are just bad to the bone, we should treat them badly because a minority are criminal. But Danish criminals are an anomaly and besides, their crimes are just “nicer”, aren’t they? Asian people are all sluts and say ching-chong. Black people are all stupid and say ooga booga.” racism is the only one you will find. You won’t find the variation in opinion that you might find in other countries. And the Danish racists are the mainstream.

There are Danes who are not racists and they are working overtime to keep that shit afloat, man. Because it’s EVERYWHERE. And it’s normal!

My boss at the kommune suggests schools should select children at least in part based on ethnicity, and everyone says “not racist enough”. Across the parties, there were a bunch of explanations given about how “they” need spreading out. So “their” culture is not dominant. So “they” can learn alongside Danish children, which will improve THEIR results. A cinema in Copenhagen says “Watch out: it’s Eid and “they” get rowdy” and then says “Sorry IF you were offended but “THEY” ARE ROWDY AT EID.” A playpark bans all Somali-looking people and when they are told off say “What? That’s ILLEGAL now?” Or when you go into a shop and the person working there realises and then they treat you like shit because “you are all the same.” It’s mainstream. It’s everywhere.

It’s easy for me to be careful in case I’m being racist because that is mainstream in my culture. I have had a lot of practise.  It’s easy for me to question racist interpretations because I have had training at school.

So, here’s to all the non-racist Danes. Keep up the good work, guys!

Copenhagen

Fresh off the boat, I went to visit Copenhagen. I have an account of that first time on my saved archives of this blog. I swear to God, it is mostly a review of a Star Trek movie.

I wrote:-

“If London is an ex boyfriend I have forgotten why we broke up, the Copenhagen was an awkward first date with someone I already know I could never love.”

What I remember was walking around, taking a lot of photos and then getting bored and footsore and going to see Star Trek. I also commented that people were not dicks about my English there.

I have visited a handful of times since, to see friends.  I have had a couple of actual awkward first dates with people, a few nights out and the only thing I have liked about Copenhagen is that my friends live there and I can spend time with them. When I have to go through there, on my way back from Sweden or the airport, I never leave the station like I would in any other big city if I had time.

I had a bit of business to attend to in Copenhagen so I was in town. I said to the man I was meeting that I was going straight home after and he was shocked. I said I hated Copenhagen, that it was like Solihull and there was nothing to do.

He was so shocked (and said “I really love it here!”), that I gave it another shot. I walked around, went to the shops, had a coffee and cake but in the end the only good thing about it was meeting up with friends and chatting.

Maybe that is what people who physically live in Copenhagen like? That their friends are there and they can hang out with them? As a visitor, I found it drab, dirty and boring.

Okay, so it has a shopping street but it reminds me of Hamburg’s Reeperbahn (and not in a good way). It’s dirty, flashy and there is nothing I want to buy there.

On the actual red light street Istedgade, there were loads of unhappy, unhealthy looking prostitutes. One of which was shouting her head off at people, obviously affected by drugs. This was at 10am. For comparison, in Hamburg, the prostitutes did not come out until later in the day and they looked happier, more confident and healthier. They looked like they were in a union. They did not look like sex slaves.

There are some interesting looking shops and cafes in Copenhagen but the prices are offputting. Compared with what you actually get, it’s a rip off actually. I decided to wait until I was in London to go shopping.

The people are okay. The most people I overheard were not Danish, the majority of people seemed to be tourists. In shops, I spoke Danish and they didn’t switch languages (even though one guy was actually British and we spoke Danish for ages before we both realised), this is the first time that has happened in Copenhagen.

Though there was a market researcher who wanted to ask me some questions in the park about a brand campaign. I spoke to her about not really living in Copenhagen, so probably wouldn’t be much help, told her where I lived and where I was from. She said she was from “Anton Berg” or something and I had a vague idea it was something to do with chocolate but maybe it’s underpants? Not sure. So I said I didn’t know and THEN she switched to English.  Her English was okay, accent was good but it was by no means fluent. About as good as my Danish. I think she did it to show me that she could? We were not having a communication problem, I just do not give a crap about Danish brands.

Sorry. Back to Copenhagen. I do not understand what the fuss is about. It is expensive, there is nothing in the shops, it is dirty and there is nothing to do except hang out with your friends. I wasn’t expecting another London or Paris. Maybe another Berlin or Amsterdam? At the very least another Hamburg. But it’s just… not. It’s not in Cardiff’s league. More like Wolverhampton.

I don’t think I actually “hate” it, there are few cities I truly hate because there is always something to like. The parks are quite nice in Copenhagen, for example. But I really do not see it.

To be clear, I like Aarhus. I think it is attractive and fun and there are things to do. I think Odense is okay, though I don’t know it very well. I think Vejle is very pretty in a small-town way. I even quite like F-town, even as all the services are scaled back so only old people and drug addicts have anything to stay for. At least F-town knows what it is. But Copenhagen? It’s a Conference League town with Premier League pretensions.

Sorry for all the people who love Copenhagen. But I bet it is because all your friends are there.

Seeing the Good and the Shangri La Principle

Seems like I am running a constant battle with people who do not want to engage with my points and instead would like to discuss my character.

A friend of a friend posted to Twitter about a scandalous situation in the UK where people who have jobs are still living in poverty because minimum wage jobs do not keep body and soul together. This is some major fucked up shit, I totally agree. The sticking point for me, was that she said “This would never happen in Denmark!”

Now. I know plenty of working people living in poverty in Denmark but plural of anecdote is not evidence and why would I say “But my friend Inger and her husband Bill are living in poverty!”? The conversation ends with “They are an exception,” (to the rule something “never would happen” but fine)

The main point that the working conditions in Denmark are pretty good does still stand. The Danish workforce has a pretty sweet set of rules: the hours are good, the pay is pretty okay and all that good stuff. But this is only if you are lucky enough to have a job.

Some people do not have a job and after a while the borough council tries to nudge them back into employment. They have counselling, workshops, team building and work placements. This is all pretty good, if there are jobs, right? You get your confidence and skills built up and then you get a job. Hurrah!

Except, like in a lot of countries (the UK included), the work placements are often in real companies. If this was an overlong interview process, I would be fine with it. A week or two, working in a shop and then getting a job at the end of it? Fine. Instead, just like the UK, the work placements are for months and there is no guarantee you will get a job at the end of it.

I quit my gym because they seemed to be entirely staffed by people on placements. I’m sorry, but what the fuck was I paying for? Not cleaning, the place was filthy. Not maintenance, the machines were broken. And not staff, that was coming out of my tax bill.

Instead of being all anecdotal in this woman’s face, I showed her some news translations of how the borough councils force people to have medical treatment, against medical advice just so they have “tried everything”. Sure, you might not have working poverty but the boroughs can force the unemployed into poverty if they don’t want electroconvulsive therapy.  Instead of reading what I sent, she assumed I was saying Danish health care sucks. And when I clarified she tried to break my argument down into two possibilities.

“Are you saying:-

1) The UK is better than Denmark

2) Denmark isn’t perfect?”

No other possibilities given. I gave her my third possibility, what I was trying to tell her.

3) Denmark’s problems do not make up for the good things, for example work/life balance or living wage.

Then, and this was a bit shitty of her, I don’t mind her hearing it from me, she said “I am sorry YOUR EXPERIENCES are so bad. I am sorry Denmark IS TREATING YOU badly” (emphasis mine).

So, when UK employers do x,y and z; then the UK is “bad”. When the Danish state do p,q and r; then it’s just “my experience”? That is pretty shitty.

I understand where she is coming from, I totally do. There is a breed of lefty liberal yoghurt knitting person who NEEDS Scandinavia. Like, totally needs it. If they hear any criticism of the way things are done in any of their favourite Scandinavian countries, they defend it with “Obviously it’s not PERFECT, where is?” or “That’s sad YOU had a bad time.” I know this because I was the exact same lefty liberal yoghurt knitter and I buttressed by idea of Scandy paradises with the exact same shitty arguments. I expect I could have the same argument now about Sweden or Norway because I need them to be better, now I have discovered the truth about Denmark.

My personal experiences in Denmark, by the way, are pretty top notch. I do have some problems at work and occasionally in public, but no one is forcing me to work for free in a gym, no one is insisting I have electroconvulsive therapy, no one is spying on me to check I’m not lying, no one is offering me a vacuum robot instead of household help, no one is kidnapping my infant child, no one is accusing me of being a bad parent, no one is refusing me life saving treatment because they don’t want to admit their hospital can’t do it, no one is attacking me and dragging me away from people I care about because it would be cheaper to put me in a halfway home for alcoholics, no one is stereotyping me as a tax cheat because 1.5% of people from my community are.

I’m alright, Jack.

If you have a friend or some family in Denmark, and they are white European, chances are they are also having top notch experiences here. They won’t tell you about the crushing loneliness. They won’t tell you about the time they weren’t entirely sure if someone was being racist against them or if they were having a bad day. They won’t tell you these niggling things and so their reported experiences will be positive.

The unhappy foreigners are usually being actively treated badly by this country but also are able to read the news. They hear about the scandals and PING they realise that Denmark’s faults do not make up for the good stuff. Which makes them very unhappy because they NEED Denmark.

Meanwhile, I seem to make a lot of people unhappy because I refuse to “see the good” and I go around being “bitter”. These people believe that Denmark’s problems are less than the good things going on here, and if I would only report on the good things, then my blog would be “objective”. They think because I do not discuss the good things, then I am unaware that they exist. How childlike some people are!

There are some good things about Denmark. The work/life balance is good. The rate of pay is okay. The lack of commercialism is refreshing.  The respect for childhood is lovely.

BUT. The work/life balance is being eroded. The cost of living is too high. Commercialism is limited but every Danish household does still have their own “keeping up with the Joneses” battle. Children are emotionally stunted by their institutionalisation and child abusers are left to their own devices.

Do you see? I do realise there are good points. But they are NOT good enough and they are more than cancelled out by what goes on.

Seems to me, the only way to maintain good mental health in Denmark is to bovinely accept that you will never change anything and so ignore the “negative” news stores. Let the State get away with how it treats people and have nothing to do with trying to improve things. Accept the bad things and minimise them in your head, so you can enjoy the good things. If bad things directly happen to you, then rationalise them away with fairy stories about how bad things directly happen to people everywhere. (Instead of fighting for your rights like you would have done “everywhere” else) And then aggressively attack anyone with a desire to make things better. Call them names, insist it is just in their head, tell them to go home, tell them other countries are similar or worse.

This is no way to live and I refuse to do so.

I know a handful of people who can juggle the day-to-day grind of living in Denmark and staying mentally healthy and I have no idea how they do it. Vitamin Wine, is my guess.

am trying to find a way out of this country because it obviously does not want me here. But it takes a lot of compromise and planning. Only complete pricks up and leave a contract with a school mid term. I have to sort out a lot of things before I can go. And it’s not just me, there are other people to consider.

At first I wanted a perfect country and then when I saw Denmark could never be so, then I just wanted a liveable country. Now, I can see I could never survive long term here, I need to find somewhere that will hear me suggest improvements or vent about frustrations without getting all bent out of shape.

What do Jyllands Posten want?

Jyllands Posten have started a campaign against Somalians. They have always been reactionary around the area of immigration and diversity. They sponsored a cartoon competition to see “Who can piss off the most Muslims?” and then went crying to the Prime Minister about free speech when it pissed off Muslims.

Recently, they have been making a big thing about the Somalians. They have published a bunch of articles about how they cheat on their taxes (250 Somalians cheated on their taxes. Number of Danes who cheated on their taxes: unknown), don’t try to fit in with the culture by keeping themselves to themselves (when “expats” only socialise with other “expats” or when Danes only socialise with other Danes, it’s fine) and some send money to warlords in Somalia.

Yes, 250 Somalians cheated on their taxes. Yes, some Somalians keep themselves to themselves and don’t interact much with many Danes. Yes, some Somalians have sent money that has ended up in the hands of terrorists. These things are true. But only for a certain value of true. No attempt is made to say “only a tiny minority of Somalians” or even “not all Somalians”. No attempt to draw unfavourable parallels with the criminal activity of the Danish background people. It’s all out racial stereotyping.

What do they want? Do they want racial tension? Do they want racial violence? Do they want citizens of Denmark with Somalian heritage to feel unwelcome? Do they want people who were born here to “go home to Somalia”?

I recently had a trip to the UK and I felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders. Part of it was I was in my own culture and could speak my own language. But most of it was that people were nice to me even after I opened my mouth. Being in Denmark is making me ill with anxiety attacks. And I’m not being stereotyped in the media as a cheat and a drain. And I can leave any time I want and have somewhere to go.

I cannot imagine what it is like to know that Denmark is my home, to have citizenship but never being welcome here. To be given stink eye in the street for looking different. In the event of poor treatment, never knowing if it was just bad customer service or racism. In every conversation with Danes, having to justify my existence by showing what a good immigrant I am.

This campaign is distasteful and evil. Jyllands Posten are up to shenanigans and the consequences will be violence, mental illness and further discrimination.

Is that what they want?

Racism in the Danish Press

A new report has highlighted racism in Danish society. One of the problems they point out is that the media promotes racism.

With the report stating that “some media have continued to portray minority groups, in particular Muslims and Roma in a negative light,” Jacob Machangama from libertarian think-tank Cepos, argued that the reports findings are biased.

“It’s a deeply biased view that Danish media promotes racial discrimination,” Machangama told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “There is no justification for it. If you spoke to the chairman of [the journalists’ union] Dansk Journalistforbundyou would probably get a different point of view.”

Taken from the Copenhagen Post (by Peter Stanners)

Report finds immigrants suffer discrimination

Let’s take that point slowly, shall we, because it’s a good one. Cepos say if you ASK the chairman of the Danish journalist union “Is some of the Danish media racist”,  you would get the answer ‘no’.

The report compiled by an international group from the Council of Europe found the answer ‘yes’ by taking reports from at least two independent sources. As we all know, the answer between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ is ‘sometimes’, so the “right” “unbiased” answer should be ‘sometimes’.

You have got to be fucking kidding me. What on EARTH aren’t they teaching them at schools these days?

Halfway between a lie and the truth isn’t also the truth. If at least two independent sources are saying that some of the Danish media is racist, polling the Danish media yourself isn’t going to get the bottom of the matter.

Well, just for comparison’s sake, here’s what a Danish newspaper (Jyllands Posten) allowed an extreme-right politician write in their online paper.

What the hell are 16 943 Somalians even doing in Denmark?

by Søren Espersen

It suddenly hit me this morning when I read a story about some systematic tax evasion by a group of Somalians: in Jyllands-Posten: What the Hell are 16 943 Somalians even doing in Denmark…?

It wasn’t so much that a group of them had cheated their taxes, that’s something that even Danes excel in, nah, it was more about what are 16 943 Somalians doing in Denmark instead of being home in Somalia because of the Jyllands Posten’s side story next to the big story on tax.

In the article: “Somalians are the least well integrated in Denmark” it was reported that the Somali community in Denmark is a total parallel society, made up of people who are completely isolated from the surrounding country and where families and clans rule. An expert from Roskilde University Shahamak Rezael said to the paper that it is basically about how migrant families place their loyalty in as much as “it looks like they think more about me-and-mine and in that way live in a parallel existence”.

The paper reveals that Somalians are completely divorced from other immigrant groups by having a large systematic money collection universe from which millions of kroner every year, via Dubai, are sent to clans in Somalia. The expert from Roskilde said in this connection that this trade is to underline that the Somalian’s loyalty is limited to their network back home.

Jyllands-Posten tells us further that the Somalians do extremely poorly in the labour market and they isolate themselves in ghettos, where they can continue their Somalian life, completely without connection to us others.

For me, who has read Aayan Hirsi-Ali’s books and has interviewed the strong and brave women, amongst other things about this peculiar Somalian world, the Jyllands-Posten article with this shocking information makes me wonder.

  • I wonder why we even have Somalian residents in this country, when they don’t have the least interest in Denmark or in the Danish people.
  • I am surprised that Denmark entertains and supports a giant group of people who only have contempt for us and our way of life.
  • I wonder why the Somalians don’t just go home when all their life, journeys, thoughts, language -and work in general – is in Somalia.
  • Yes, I wonder what the hell 16 943 Somalians are even doing in Denmark.
Yours Faithfully

Søren Espersen

News Translation: Controversy!

What strikes me here is

  1. If you’re going to call something “so dire it should be closed”, you need to make sure your thesis is airtight. You cannot fudge the figures because if your survey is exaggerated, no one is going to believe your fieldwork observations and even if you had a point, it’s GAME OVER. So, PhD candidates: raise your game!
  2. You should always go after the figures first! The Bupl chairman was saying stuff like “the study isn’t big enough” two weeks ago, when he could have been saying “there are NOT 40 000 people working in nurseries unless you count the cleaners, so…” and he could have blown this out of the water.

Debate on nurseries built on wrong figures

Taken from information

-Danish nurseries are so dire that a large number them ought to be closed, was the conclusion given by PhD-candidate Ole Hansen from DPU, Aarhus University, which sparked debate two weeks ago.

His PhD thesis documented “shocking relationships in many nurseries” based on video footage, 8000 observations in nine nurseries in the Greater Copenhagen area and questionnaires to 40 000 daycare workers across the country.

But the figures are now turning out to be greatly exaggerated.

According to the daycare worker Union Bupl, they made the questionnaire with the PhD candidate and the questionnaires were given to 5000 daycare workers.

Of those, 1300 answered and of those only came from 400 nurseries. The rest work in integrated institution so in principle may also be kindergarten workers. No matter what, it’s far from the 40 000.

Dion Sommer, a professor of psychology at Aarhus University has seen the questionnaire study and is amazed at how little documentation there is for such a bombastic claims of state neglect.

“This is the thinnest scientific study I have seen. It consists of just 12 questions and that’s not meaty enough,” said Dion Sommer.

Together with 13 other daycare worker experts, he has written an open letter in today’s Information which challenges Ole Henrik Hansen’s conclusions.

“There are not even 40 000 nursery daycare workers in Denmark but only about 11-12000”, estimates Bupl. Therefore the chairman Henning Pedersen also wondered if it really could be their study that was referenced.

“I have wondered about the numbers that have abounded about the 40 000 daycare workers. I couldn’t understand where they came from,” he said.

40 000 is instead the total number of positions in the nurseries and integrated institutions that also have older children. It therefore includes leadership, kitchen and cleaners.

News Translation: Danish Nurseries

Denmark, we’ve got a problem. Daycare in many countries has to compete with stay-at-home parents, nannies and childminders. In Denmark, childminders are the only real competition. With no serious competition, daycare has been allowed to race to the bottom. A researcher has studied what is going on and the Danish media has gone bananas. 

Taken from politiken: Expert “Break with ‘legalise hash and free milkshake’ pedagogy”

Many children in Danish nurseries go around like senseless “penguins” and the loss of adult contact is so pronounced that it damages the development of the children’s brains.

So says the PhD Ole Henrik Hansen from the Institute for Education and Pedagogy (DPU) at Aarhus University. He has video footage and a good 8000 observations spread over 26 children in nine nurseries in the greater Copenhagen area together with questionnaires from 40 000 daycare workers in the country-wide investigation on how it really is in nurseries here.

And it’s not an uplifting picture that Ole Henrik Hansen can give of the conditions.

“It’s only 12.5% of institutions that plan their work. Most daycare workers turn up to work in the morning, sit in a circle and plan their work from there. Imagine if that went on in your child’s school. It would definitely be totally outrageous,” said Ole Henrik Hansen to politiken.

Anything goes in nurseries

The expert certainly doesn’t handle Danish daycare workers with kid gloves.

For many years he has investigated – and criticised – conditions in Danish nurseries. According to Ole Henrik Hansen the problem is that children experience a “legalise-hash-and-free-milkshake-pedagogy” in institutions.

“Anything goes in nurseries. An uneducated colleague can come in and be listened to in the staff meeting- and be taken seriously. At the same time we hold the world record for how early with put our children in nurseries. But we ought to reflect on if institutions are going about it in the right way,” said Ole Henrik Hansen.

He suggests that many Danish nurseries be closed because the level of provision of stimulation and child development is so low.

“We have the attitude about child development in Denmark, that children have to explore things for themselves. It’s fair enough for constructive, strong children. But for the quiet children, and those that are crawling up the walls, it is unfortunate. And it means that years after what happened in nursery, we must use an enormous amount of money on including those children,” said the expert.

Free play or organised activities?

Ole Henrik Hansen’s goal is to do away with unengaged daycare workers who according to him can be found in a large number of institutions country-wide.

But also, that we at the municipal and regional do away with what he calls “hippy-pedagogy”.

“We need to plan daycare worker’s time better and create relationships with smaller groups of children, so that daycare workers have a better opportunity to monitor children. At the same time, there’s a need for leadership that can separate the professional from the personal. It’s a problem when leaders cannot see to it that children  thrive and afterwards pass the buck,” said Ole Henrik Hansen to politiken.

“Child-centred”

The only upside in relation to this problem, according to the expert from Aarhus University is that there is actually is a will to do something. And that people, including politicians have already started looking at whether free play or organised activities are the way forward.

He is currently engaged with yet another study with 20 borough councils that goes under the name “Child-at-the-centre”

Simultaneously he is sitting on a task force group set up by Children and Teaching minister Christine Antorini (S)

“We will soon have some recommendations and I really hope that Christine Antorini understands what has happened in the area. Luckily we can see that many daycare workers are ready to look forward instead of back. Also even though I say many hard things to them about how they work,” said Ole Henrik Hansen.

Taken from politiken: “Expert: Conditions are shocking in Danish nurseries”

Small children are left to themselves to a high degree and met with rejection and indifference by daycare workers.

Daycare workers in the country’s nurseries fail the youngest which results in them shutting down emotionally, shows a new PhD thesis.

Small children all the way down to 10 months are being left to themselves a great deal and met with rejection and indifference from daycare workers, documents video footage and a good 8000 observations spread over 26 children in nine nurseries in the greater Copenhagen area and the questionnaires from 40 000 daycare workers over the entire country, according to Berlingske Tidende.

“Danish nurseries are so miserable that a great deal of them ought to be closed,” said PhD Ole Henrik Hansen who is behind the report.

He says that rejection from the daycare workers gets the children walkring around like senseless “penguins” and the loss of adult contact is so serious that it damages the development of the brain.

Rather have better leadership than more workers

The answer is not more daycare workers, believes Ole Henrik Hansen:

“It’s about organisation and leadership.

“With how things work in many nurseries, we could employ as many daycare workers without the children getting anything out of it,” said Ole Henrik Hansen.

At the Daycare Worker Group Bupl, they are familiar with the recordings.

” Ole Henrik Hansen points out some important things to get the focus onto the children,” said the chair of Bupl Henning Pedersen to Berlingske Tidende.

“But he paints somewhat of a simplistic picture which does not take into account the working conditions of daycare workers in nurseries,” he added.

14 month old boy closed into himself

The chair for the National Parental Association , Fola, Lars Klingenberg, has seen a recording of a small boy of 14 months closing into himself after he was ignored by a daycare worker.

“It really affected me a lot because it is totally clear to see what has happened. It goes straight to the heart of everyone – especially us parents,” said Lars Klingenberg to Berlingske.