Happy Finland and the moths

Never underestimate moths. You may or may not remember the tiny twirler moth with the yellowish-white scales on its head and the small genitals; the one that was named ‘Neopalpa donaldtrumpi’ after Donald Trump.

Seldom has a new species been so aptly named. Forget the hair and the genitalia for  a moment, as difficult as it can be. Especially after Donald Trump Jr.’s ten year old Playboy mansion interview resurfaced; the one in which he claimed to have a bigger ‘package’ than his dad.

Let us instead focus on the twirling. Twirler moths are called twirler moths because they tend to spin in circles.

Out of Syria, back in Syria with a vengeance, type of circles. Friends with Putin, not friends with Putin, meeting up with Putin, type of circles. You’ll all be hit by tariffs – except you, you and you. Twirl, we’re out of trade agreements, twirl, maybe we’re in again. Twirl, twirl. We will show China, except that it’s too late, so maybe we will and maybe we won’t. Twirl, twirl.

Twirl, you’re in, twirl, you’re out.

Bigotry, outright lying, adultery, self-serving legislation, crazy political twirling. Anything goes for ‘neopalpa donaldtrumpi’.

My American friend reacted badly when I commented that his president was at it again: taking crazy to a whole new level.” “He’s not my president!” was the immediate answer.

Which is true, he isn’t – and then again he is. Because Americans seem to be stuck with him until the end of his term, barring a miracle. Even worse, too many of them see nothing wrong with Trump’s actions.

No wonder my friend has been contemplating emigration to Finland, the country with the happiest people in the world, if recent research is to be believed.

Not that Finns believe it, which may be one of the reasons we are happy. We don’t expect too much. We definitely don’t expect to be the happiest people in the world.

To make sure that we won’t be, we throw ourselves headlong into risky ventures. A small country needs to think big, but not too big. We have too many semi-retired government officials and politicians in need of a project. Any project will do for them.

And then there are the moths. In addition to donaldtrumpi, we are dealing with ‘Acherontia vladimirputini’, a moth species of the death’s-head hawkmoth variety (yet to be discovered). Scheming, spreading fake news, pitting friend and foe against each other, power grabbing at any cost – anything goes for ‘Acherontia vladimirputini’ too.

When you wake up in the morning, you never know where the moths will be flying that day; which borders will be crossed with or without invitation. Our eyes are on Syria today, but it’s only one of the many places the moths are circling. Nothing good ever comes of their arrival.

While the circling goes on, Finland is looking to build a nuclear power plant with Rosatom, the Russian state-owned exporter of nuclear power plants. Some question whether Rosatom is selling nuclear power or debt and dependency to its overseas customers. The Finns are sure they can handle it. Happiness makes you confident.

The first two Indian nuclear power plants that Rosatom built were delayed somewhere between 6-9 years. They are now up and running, although on an ‘on and off’ basis. The performance is said to be extremely poor. Which is actually more than can be said about the Finnish Olkiluoto 3 project that French Areva was to have finished by 2009. The plant is nine years late, and we are still counting. The when and how it will perform is a mystery.

The only certain thing about nuclear power plant projects seems to be that there will be significant delays and the cost will double or triple compared to original estimates. As to safety issues – you can only hope that they are in order. No outside controller can check every detail.

We are truly working hard at becoming less happy. With two nuclear power plant disasters in the making, we only need a few more oversized projects – in addition to our planned social welfare and healthcare reform – to ‘normalise’ our excessive happiness.

Which is why we are in discussions with China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology about building an approximately 10,500 km long fiber-optic undersea data connection across the Arctic Circle. The aim is to create the fastest data connection between Europe and China together with Russia, Japan and Norway.

The moths keep on multiplying with ‘Acherontia xijinpingi’ thrown into the mix. Xijinpingi is a more subtle version of ‘Acherontia vladimirputini’, one not to be underestimated.

As you know moths are related to butterflies. Both can stir chaos. The Acherontia are also known to raid the hives of Western honey bees.

China has shown a growing interest in investing in Finland lately. I can’t figure out who has what designs on my hive, but I am sure that there are too many for comfort.

It’s clear that the world’s appetite for another undersea data connection is not based purely on economic considerations. Many countries might favour a less US centric cable route and additional backup lines. Instead of US surveillance and disruptions, they may opt for Chinese and Russian surveillance and disruptions.

But somehow the role of the Finns escapes me. The role of the usable tool (fool) comes to mind, with an option to play scapegoat and sacrificial lamb.

To my American friend, who in desperation contemplates emigration to Finland to avoid donaldtrumpi, I can only say – bring your own moth repellant and be ready to travel on. Especially if the populist Finns party manages to gain more power with a little help from vladimirputini.

But our lakes and long summer nights alone are worth a visit. Generally the air, the water and the landscape in Finland is beautiful – and clean too, unless our state-owned railway company leaves a few railway cars full of more or less toxic liquid to derail and spill their content in your neighbourhood. If your wondering, yes they did.

Even our president is nice. No moths come to mind.

So why worry, why not be happy while it lasts. Visit happy Finland while you can. Time will tell whether we are a shipwreck waiting to happen. In the meantime enjoy my featured image.

patsas-1 - k

It’s the statue called The Shipwreck from 1898 by sculptor Robert Stigell. The statue was at the time of its unveiling interpreted by many to be a symbolic portrayal of Finland reaching out towards the West in fear of Russian oppression.

Whether this interpretation was intended by the sculptor or not, at least the statue symbolises the need for prudence both on land and on sea.