Tag Archives: Jante Law

Finally, a bit of respect

I’m getting excited about going to Denmark next Sunday. Copenhagen has had great weather lately, just like London, in the early to mid-twenties and it sounds like a great place to just walk around and get lost in. I was reading a few things about the country and came across this thing called Jante Law. Apparently, the average Dane lives according to this law, it is their belief system. Really? So how different is this from a Japanese belief system? It depends on your perspective, but I have the tendency to view it from the side that sees it as the suppression of individuality, of personality, of creativity, of independent thought. Smells like uniformity and a noble way of controlling the population. I always respect the culture of any country I’m visiting though and they usually fear respect me.

One of the things I like about traveling is comparing other places to London, which, I believe is way ahead in… security, CCTV surveillance and visible police presence; at least ahead in European terms. I wonder what it’ll be like in Copenhagen, and will there be Tesco’s, like in Prague and Budapest? I must visit Christiania, but other than that, anything goes. Just walk around and enjoy the city and the conference, which will be an arty, music and computers one. I also want to get the waterbus. I remember loving the river transport in Hamburg. I might pop across to Malmo, Sweden for a few hours as well, just to tick that country off my list. I was looking at online maps and came across a town named Dorotea in Sweden. That’s my cousin’s name, almost, and so I did a search for my own name and … there’s a town called Spiro, OK.

I’ve shaved my head again. Because of the heat and because my clippers were having some difficulty cutting at number 3. They’re shite, but, they’ve served me well for at least 5 years, so, can’t complain. I went to the sandwich shop, next to the college, and there were some young white rude boys there. One was on the phone and the other was being rather impolite to the eastern European lady working there, ordering, and at some point he sort of shouted at her (“I SAID, not toasted”). Then he turned around and looked at me and after that started using the word “please” a lot. He called his mate over, who was still on the phone, to get his order and mumbled to me and the lady: “he’s a donut”. He said to him: “there’s a queue here, what do you want to eat?”. I think that if I hadn’t shaved my head, they wouldn’t have been so “respectful” to the lady and to me… I remembered what a friend of mine said about her husband, who also shaves his head and how, when he goes into a shop, they are very polite to him, like respectful, but as she put it in her inimitable way, “it’s a fear thing”.

So, maybe I’m not friendly looking anymore, and maybe people looking for Tower Bridge won’t be asking me the directions to London Bridge anymore, but who cares? What good were they anyway? Bloody tourists.

After leaving the college I decided to enjoy the weather by going for a cycle ride, without a plan and without looking at the map. I ended up on what is the longest, fairly straight and continuous cycle path I’ve ever been on in London. I got on it at around Tower Bridge/Aldgate and ended up somewhere near Canary Wharf. But, going east from Tower Bridge, there aren’t many bridges left to cross to get me back down south, so I asked some other cyclists, who were extremely friendly to me, almost… fearful and they mentioned a ferry that could take me across to the Hilton. So I put my bike on it and went across. And after 17 years in London, I used water transport for the first time. It was fun and it feels good to have finally earned a bit of respect.