After realising the creeping in the Norwegian soul, Jiann Chyuan thinks it is wise to start to tell something good about Norwegians.

Now that I have got this love at first sight with the very unique Norwegian brown cheese, and am actually using Norwegian’s invention, the cheese slider, to slice cheese cube, and also doubling words in expression, I start to realise that the Norwegian soul has been slowly crept into my body.

After talking about the peculiarities of Norwegians, and also showed some dazzling naked Norwegian photos, it makes me wonder have I been stern to Norwegians. I pondered for a short instant. Indeed, I’ve been making a little unfair judgement about this tiny population in the world.

I dug into my impressions partition in my old rusty hard disk (my saturated brain), surprisingly, I manage to convince myself that Norwegians have actually more strengths than weaknesses. The foremost strength about this ethnic is their sensitivity to time.

Let’s first assume that you have an appointment with a Norwegian, please remember to present yourself at the agreed venue at the right time. If you are later than five-minute, the Norwegian may start to worry whether something nasty has happened to you. If you are later than ten-minute, tell you, the world is going to end for this Norwegian. He’ll take out his cell phone and calling insanely to every common friend he shares with you.

Why? This is because punctuality is not a bonus to Norwegian, but a habit that every Norwegian cultivates since tender age. Every Norwegian, and I mean every, will always on time to every appointment, lecture, date, meeting, etc, if they are not earlier.

The same theory applies, but with higher degree of certainty is, if a Norwegian you suppose to meet late to the meeting by five-minute, don’t hesitate, start calling until your cell phone bursts. There must be something awful happening at the other side.

And now, for Chinese, we should really feel embarrassed that we are always, which literally means every time, late to appointment. It is definitely highly unimaginable for Norwegian to imagine that a 2-hour delay in a Chinese wedding dinner in a five-class restaurant in Malaysia is undoubtedly common.

Well, it is unfair to just pinpointed Chinese as the only one that doesn’t have any sense in time. At least I found out that among all the international students, Asians are quite famous for being late. Thumbs up! Wait, the other way round. In order to maintain the self esteem of being an Asian, I have tried to present on time for every appointment and had earned some credits. Phew!

So why are Norwegians so punctual? I don’t know the exact reason. But I figured out there might be certain connection to the fact that clocks and clock towers are everywhere in Norway, at least in Trondheim. (Look at pictures)

Is it the constant time reminders provided by all these clocks that make Norwegian punctual? Or are all these clocks are being set up to remind foreigners to be punctual because we are in a land of punctuality? I don’t know. But one thing certain is, the clocks are all working.

Yes, they are all working, and accurately. It is just so hard for me to imagine how it is possible for every clock in every lecture room to be working all the time. Seriously, some maintenance workforce must has been recruited and specially trained in making sure batteries are never ran out for clocks.

The punctuality to time among Norwegians is certainly not only limited to individuals. The transport system in Norway definitely deserves compliments. Never later than the scheduled time is not the policy for buses in Trondheim, but a very crucial implementation. You deserve the right to claim the cab fee from bus company if bus late by 15-minute.

But there is something bad about punctuality. Shops and offices are really closing at the exact time! But wait a minute, isn’t Asians are also very good in this? Ah ha! We are not always late!

It is FREE!

It is FREE!

Living in one of the most expensive countries in the world doesn’t necessarily mean that worrying about money and expenses is always a top mission, discovered Jiann Chyuan.

“Where did you get this dairy book from?” Asked someone.

“I have got my free lunch and stainless steel mug from SiT Bolig,” told someone.

“Do you know that they are distributing this 8-metre long cake?” shouted someone excitedly.

“Oh you got to go to the Sentral Building. There are tonnes of free gift bags waiting for everyone!” someone yielded.

“1GB memory stick given out for free in Career Day!” someone screamed while flashing the memory stick.

So you see, in Norway, one of the most expensive countries to live in the world, is always astoundingly exciting to me because, not for other reason, but the constant doses of free goodies.

I don’t know how much stuff I’ve got for free until now. I don’t have to care about it, do I? Ce

rtainly, the only thing I should really concern about is when and where for the next free gifts session.

But very often, you will not miss it. It is always located at the sentral building, the highly populated area in Gløshaugen. Everday, you will see different student organisation setting up booth to promote something. Of course, this include the my previous infamous naked post, which they didn’t hand out free gift, but performing free body art.

And whenever there is a booth, it is very often, but not always, that they distribute something pleasant that you feel that it is rude to say no to. What is it? It could be a pen, a dairy book, a gift voucher, detergent, food, tiny electronic devices, t-shirt, and even condom (I’ve got three!). In some events which they are big enough, you will very often carry away with a few bags of goodies in just a short instant.

I am not a greedy person. But it is the norm of having free gift that makes you feel like you are one. Sometimes, when I see something pleasant, displaying in bulk quantity, in front of a booth or something, it is just so normal to approach someone and ask, “Can I take one of these?”

Of course, answers are always very affirmative. :D

But there are also occasions when there are just too much (uncountable noun is used here with purpose) until there is no time for question and answer session. The only action required under such circumstance is just to take out your hand waiting for something to drop onto your palm. And then, go!

It is not challenging for someone to cultivate to habit to approach a group of people just to check out whether there is any free gifts. Don’t get me wrong. It is not constantly checking out for gifts. It is just to avoid the hassle to go back to the same place again an hour later after you have heard about a free gift news in the lecture from your friends.

But still, after all the free gifts, the desire of spending money is still very high in me! All because of H&M.


Left: Career Day (like career fair), where I got my 1GB memory stick.
Right: Random gift distribution. Blurry image because everyone is pushing everyone as in order to get free gifts.

Who said they are shy?

Who said they are shy?

Shut up and stop telling me the piece of crap about how shy Norwegians can be! It is plain bullshit! Jiann Chyuan frisked through the entire body of Norwegian and found only this 18SX (or PG) photo.

Who was the one telling me that Norwegians are shy? The international office.
Who was the one telling me that Norwegians are shy? T
he student Union.
Who was the one telling me that Norwegian are shy? My flat mates.
Who were the one objecting that Norwegian are shy? THE NORWEGIANS.

Okay, I honestly have to admit that I’ve talked about Norwegians for like a thousand times. But frankly, you will never feel bored of talking about Norwegians, because they are as unpredictable as the notorious weather of Trondheim.

I mean look at the picture. You got to be kidding me like I’m a three-year-old mischievous child and easily deceived by the statement saying that Norwegians are shy. It was about one in the afternoon, the peak hour for people to pass by the busiest corridor in Gløshaugen, and this bunch of ‘shy’ Norwegians were lying naked on the floor in the central building.

Wait, I forgot there was another bunch of obviously ‘shy’ Norwegians singing in their elementary pyjamas. Did I tell you also another bunch of ‘Tarzans’ in their sexy semi-transparent leopard skin dress climbing on top of each other?

Okay, they were just playing games. But weren’t the games were crossing a little (in my interpretation, too much) of the border lines? But definitely, I salute their bravery. It is definitely not as easy as you think when it comes to destroying the barrier of your shamefulness.

So the question is back to the origin. If they are really that shy, why would they choose to do this? It was totally contradictory to what they labelled themselves with. Are they simply just desperate for attention? I don’t know. But to choose to flash your I-suppose-defined body sculpture to the public, in the most crowded area, during the busiest time, there must be some hidden agendas.

Of course, I think they were very successful in giving a sight of sore eyes to the passers-by. I hope so. Because I noticed there was certainly an awesome amount of public couldn’t take their eyes off the round tight ass exposed in the air, while they were actually complaining about their confusion on Norwegians.

I’m not sure why they want to have these kinds of activities in the very first place. I heard that some student organisations are actually having all sort of outrageous recruitment methods for their new members. Of course, lying naked on the floor might be a common one after all.

Well, at least from the memories that I can recall, I have not really seen any Norwegians whom eagerly and sometimes constantly giving a free show to public was hanging in a pair of loose, worn out briefs. Commonly but not coincidentally, they are always with this cute and tight briefs, printed with colourful patterns. I just couldn’t help myself but wondering how much efforts they have put into selecting the right briefs to show off when they knew they are going to have some tiger show in the public.

It is kind of unfair if I stereotype all Norwegians with this incident. When I showed my Norwegian flat mate eagerly with my proudest snapshot of the day, I felt lucky that I have actually got a very positive answer.

He told me it was plain stupid for people to do this. Okay, at least I can tell that he is sane. Well, I think if he was the one performing this action, he will not loose to anyone of the ‘performers’. Certainly, he has got a cute face and his work outs in the gym have certainly increased his attractiveness by a lot. But that is not the point. The point is not all Norwegians actually possess the same acceptance level.

Outrageous or acceptable? I will leave it to you to decide.



It was the first of its kind that I have experienced. It wasn’t a fruitful day for me physically. But it was certainly mentally fulfilling. What was that? Discover together with Jiann Chyuan.

I have never been to any loppemarked (flea market) in my life before this. But it was definitely a golden opportunity to have a taste of flea market last weekend. It was the largest flea market in Trondheim which was held just 100 metres away from my living quarter.

It was located at a skole (school) nearby my area. At first I thought it would be some sellers displaying all the second hand (or third or maybe even more) products on a carpet and shouting their heart out to attract passers-by. But it turned out to be completely different to what I’ve imagined, in a better way.

Instead of having seller laying used goods on the ground, there was actually tent set up properly to protect the goods sold from the infamous notorious Trondheim weather. And surprisingly, sellers were seen to be well dressed in their uniform as to distinguish themselves from the swamp of crowds that were absolutely hungry for dirt cheap products.

Well, you don’t really have to wear a full warrior suit to enter the battlefield (the market). But to train your thigh muscles for long distance walking, and arm muscles to carry too much of a once-in-lifetime deals are deemed utmost important.

You may have no idea on the size of this so called biggest flea market in Trondheim, so as I did. Only after visited to the market in the first day then I realised it could be very tempting to not going home empty handed when you were spoilt with such an exaggerating array of second hand goods, which were obviously in good condition.

I must say that the layout of the market was well planned. Items like sofas and huge carpets piling in the front of the entrance for smaller items located at the basketball court and canteen of the skole welcomed every visitor to the market. They were of course not my cup of tea. So I tried it very hard to squeeze myself to the huge sardine container – the clothes and kitchen ‘department’.

It was not exaggerating at all to fit literally the whole basketball court with just clothes and bowls and mugs and candles stand. They just existed in bulk quantities. Due to hygienic concern, I simply dropped the idea of getting myself an extra piece of warm clothe for winter although it was really hard to resist the urge of grabbing one, from the hanger, from the box, or just pick one from the floor.

If clothes were not the goal, one simply couldn’t miss the deal for kitchens stuff. I spent nearly no time to stuff myself with a handful of kitchen accessories like bowls and mugs. They were just so new and in such tip top condition. I just couldn’t figure out a single reason for people to just have got rid of them from their kitchen.

The varieties of this loppemarked were certainly impressive. Clothes, kitchen utensils, living room displays, used leather products, carpets, shoes, handbags, toys for children, pots for plants, skiing equipments, bicycles, sofas and furniture, electrical and electronics which also include a typewriter, all kind of lamps, luggage bags, gym training equipments, etc. It is basically every item you can get from a house after you dismantle it. No exaggeration involved in the previous statement. You name it, they got it, unless it was sold out.

And the good thing was, you were spoilt with choices for almost every product. There was always an option for you to choose from when you were considering buying something.

Of course, the best part of loppemarked was the bargain. It is not common for people to bargain anything in normal transaction, especially in Norway. But in loppemarked, you just simply have been granted the right to bargain, excessively. It was actually one of the processes that I enjoyed the most in this flea market.

If you were thinking only Asians are attracted to this loppemarked, you are indeed wrong! Norwegian visitors (and buyers) to this flea market simply outnumbered Asians by significant margin. And one funny thing was how I noticed almost every Norwegian came to this market equipped themselves with huge garbage bags.

It was definitely not an uncommon scene where you have a Norwegian insanely stuffed the garbage bag with basically everything besides the item you are holding in your hands, when you were leisurely taking your own sweet time to search for your ideal winter clothes.

Well, although temptation was hard to resist, I refrained myself from spending on unnecessary items. So in the end, I only spent 35 kroners for some kitchen utensils.

Caption (from left):
This was the situation when products and buyers fighting for room in co-existence.
The outside, equally amazing as in the inside.
Just another department store of the flea market.

Pricy Price Tags

Pricy Price Tags

After the worst summer in record, will I face the worst shopping record in my life in Trondheim? Asked Jiann Chyuan.

Don’t be misled by the title, the expensive term is not referring to the tags.

Okay, let’s rewind to the previous topic a little bit. I’ve been told by my professor that this summer is the worst summer in 15 years for Trondheim. No one has experienced 2 (degree) C for the past 15 years in August. What more can I say?

But of course, as what have been told, bad weather isn’t the only common topic for Norwegian, or Trondheim-ian (?) or at least for international-ian. After a month, it is still hard for me to not convert the price to RM automatically every time I do my shopping. Why? Expensive! Extremely!

Accoding to UN, Norway has the highest living standard in the world. It only needs three alphabets to explain all; O-I-L.

Okay, I know, examples are pretty much appreciated in this post. Let’s not waste time.

First of all, transportation, 22NOK (about RM14) for unlimited rides, within just an hour. It means taking a round trip between Steinan and Gloshaugen (campus). But of course, you won’t travel in this way because you simply will spend more than an hour in campus. So it means 44NOK for the whole journey. It is better to buy a day pass then (55NOK).

But of course, this only happened during my orientation week. Now I’ve my semesterkort I don’t have to worry about bus anymore. Did I mention it costs 1550NOK for 4 months?

Food. Okay, it is not really that expensive to have food produced locally. Thanks god I love salmon. It is just so cheap in this country. Thanks god again for making me love dairy products, for instance, milk, yogurt, cheese, etc. Because they are relatively cheap in this country too.

But don’t eat chicken in this country! The price of one whole chicken here is sufficient for you to buy three whole chicken in Malaysia. And the price for 750g of chicken breast meat is 100NOK (approximately RM60). Apparently, chicken is rare in this country. =.=”’

I suppose sausage is cheap. But you know la, sausage is usually made of bad quality meat. I don’t eat beef, so it is none of my business. Pork? Great! Norwegian loves this. But I’ve yet to notice pork here, the reason is simple, I don’t understand any word on the label. Oh ya, did I tell you nearly all meat items are frozen? And veggie is luxurious here. Perhaps Norwegian just don’t eat veggie, and thus they are specially imported. Fair enough!

Okay, so you may want to ask where I usually do my shopping. Well, there are supermarkets in this country. Wait, they aren’t big enough to be categorised as supermarket. But the according-to-me grocery shops are the according-to-Norwegian supermarket. Some popular stores (you can really see them at every corner of any street , literally) in Trondheim are Bunnpris, Rema1000, and ICA Maxi. They have price war, but you know la, it is Norway. Look for selected low price items is the only advice I can give.

Oh ya, there is something that is really cheap in Norway. Products from Ikea. You probably wouldn’t believe that I actually prefer to shop at Ikea than ordinary shops when it comes to furniture. The price of the same item in Ikea is about one-third the price in town centre.

And surprisingly, products of Ikea are cheaper in Norway than in Malaysia. Thanks god that Sweden is besides Norway. It is no wonder Norwegian prefer to shop at Ikea despite that Norwegian never be friends with Swedish. Do you know that Norway gained independence from Sweden? That might explain why Norwegian always make fun of Swedish.

Okay, in my conclusion, I’ve to admit that I don’t really feel the pressure of shopping in Norway. Not because I like to spend money like water (this is the best phrase to convey the meaning of cheap, because water means literally nothing in Norway). It is because I’ve a stable scholarship more than enough for me to live comfortably in the whole Europe, when I stop converting prices in NOK to RM.

Sometimes, I just can’t help myself to suffer heart attack every time I go shopping. And I don’t have weak heart!

By the way, leaves are turning yellow. It is autumn now!

The Great Norway...?

The Great Norway…?

There is no beautiful picture in Norway, because people are living in the picture. But, you can easily spot scratches in this region, discovered Jiann Chyuan.

I’ve no choice but to admit that scenery in Trondheim is insanely breathtaking and eerily attractive. If you have seen my photos in Friendster and Facebook, you probably would have agreed with me. (For those who haven’t done so, what are you waiting for? GO!)

It is not surprising to me when I heard the statement: There is no great picture in Norway, because the people are living in the picture. The scenery of the whole city is flawless. It is pretty impressive how nature and civilisation blend peacefully with each other.

However, there is always another side of a coin. After living in this town for more than three weeks, I think I’m qualified to give a description.

Okay, I’m initiating a complaint. Lest you think that I’m letting my fumes over something trivia, I’ve to clarify that these two complaints are huge, and serious in Trondheim, at least for foreigner. Wait, I would love to rephrase the ‘foreigner’ word to international student, because I’m now a legal resident of Norway for the coming seven months.

So what are they? Let’s just discover only one in this post. Oh yea, there is really a lot of irritation about any one of them. I’ll tell you why.

So the first annoyance: weather.

It is always good to look at all my lovely and charming photos with bright sunlight showering the impressive landscape of Trondheim. But the truth is, good weather is nothing more than a luxury here. If you are really interested to travel to this harmoniously charming city, google about the city and the chance is you will be well-informed about the excessive rainfall in this city. In this case, 200 days per year.

Not a scary amount to Malaysian, right?

Correct. But what if one day really carries the meaning of one day, one full day? Exactly! There is no exaggeration in this context. Rain is just so often and persistent that you will always wonder whether rain has particular interest to this area.

And please do bear in mind that it is Norway, the top of the world looking everywhere else as down under. It means temperature is relatively low compared to the other parts of the world. What I’ve experienced is, erm, 2 (degree) C in a summer day time? Oh gosh! I just can’t keep my body static and start shivering all the time.

Wear more clothes? Brilliant idea. Wearing four layers of clothes is definitely sufficient to keep you warm, in a deadly cold summer day. But, the question is, if four is the number for summer, what would be the number for winter?

Ah ha! Yes, I did purposely torture myself by wearing as minimum as possible. The reason is to take this opportunity to train and prepare myself for the first winter of my life. I just don’t want to die in this land just because of the weather. I still have a complete travel galore in my mind. I refuse to have something unpleasant happen to me.

About clothing, it is just annoying that I’ve to carry a huge bag wherever I go. Raincoat, umbrella, warm jacket or pullover, you can’t miss any of them. Honestly, it consumes so much time to just dress and undress, or at least to pack all the clothes into the bag nicely so that you will not look like a ninja turtle with its shell on the back.

But clothes are not all. It is really very lucky that I’ve two pairs of shoes. You can just easily have a pair of wet feet in any day. Having to walk quite intensely recently, it is really quite not possible not to get your feet wet. And if you only have one pair of shoes, the chance is you are going to have this ‘ikan masin’ smell in your apartment, literally. More socks are necessary.

It is absolutely crucial to have yourself ready with all kind of weather, at all time. And for this reason, there is another saying in Norway: There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.

Zha dao!

Warm clothes are just so important that you will see nearly every shop in the town centre is selling all kind of jackets and sweaters. They are, indeed, very helpful in getting away from the ‘not-bad’ weather (but I would really prefer to call it bad). But the problem is, there is just no cheap product in Norway.

And with that, it leads you to my next complaint: Price. Check back soon.

Left: Beautiful square, but look at the wet floor.
Right: Sunny day filled with thick dark clouds, a sign to wear raincoat.