tiistai 21. lokakuuta 2008

Pumpkin Curry and Politics

Yesterday, when I was dropping my leaflets into letter slits in my neighbourhood, a man came out from his flat. There was a “no junk mail” sign on his door, so I said hello to him and asked if I could give him my election leaflet. Excuse me–I didn’t say the name on the door looked like a Tamil name (some -singham, if I still remember). Anyway, as he looked a bit hesitating, I added (in Finnish) that there is also a good Sri Lankan curry recipe on the reverse side of the leaflet. Oh, Sri Lanka, he said, and yes, I have worked there, I answered. Please, he said, and so he asked for another leaflet and went back inside.

I hope he is able to vote for me…

Why I actually began writing this is that I remember almost half of the names in that building telling about an origin different from Finnish. And still, all my leaflets were only written in Finnish. Even my wife, whose mother tongue is Swedish, has only printed bilingual material. Has any Green candidate published anything in English?

The number of residents of an immigrant background is increasing in Helsinki. The Greens are undoubtedly the most immigrant-friendly Finnish political party that has already kept immigrant-focused themes in its agenda. How many of our residents of a Somali, Russian, Kurdish or Albanian origin, however, know about all our initiatives?

The next municipal election will be after four years. During those years, we have to ensure that our existence and our political line will be made known to the growing ethnic minorities. On of the easy ways of doing this would be enhancing the use of English in our publications. It is, however, already one of the three official languages of the Green League.

P.S. You will find the pumpkin curry recipe in my website, unfortunately only in Finnish. It is slightly localised on the basis of an original recipe in a book “Jaffna Cookery” by Sathanithi Somasekaram (Arjuna Consulting Company Ltd, 1995). Try searching for Sri Lankan recipes in the Internet.

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