When you hear “oder” you might think of the famous German river (see the Wikipedia’s photo above).
But, if you live in Switzerland, “oder” is definitely the most common refrain of every Swiss German spoken sentence! It has a kind of (useless) meaning like the English rhetorical questions “isn’t”, “don’t you”, etc. at the end of a sentence.
Some days ago a colleague (I calculated them!) used multiple infamous “oder”s with an average of one every 30 seconds during a two hours’ meeting! Unbelievable! The small “o” word really became like an unbearable noise to my ears!
By the way… the most international Swiss, to stay consistent to their proud “oder”, even when speaking a foreign language, have absolutely no problem to declaim in English sentences like:
It is quite hot today, or? (Aka: It is quite hot today, isn’t it?)
It was very nice, or? (Aka: It was very nice, wasn’t it?)
Next time it will be better to attend the meeting with ear protection, so that the colleagues will understand my sensitivity to the “oder” word, … OR?
In the small village where I live, in Canton Argovia, two pupils in the same primary school class (the 6th) were tested positive to COVID-19 some days ago. In the relevant communication, the director of the school (which is attended also by my two daughters) quickly declared that everything was decided by the competent Cantonal authority, as if he himself, as school director, were just an observer.
And this was the brilliant decision of the relevant authority: The school continued as normal, as if nothing happened without additional protective measures. Absurd!
This example shows the hideous and alarming Swiss situation on the pandemic…
Switzerland is often seen as a paradise, where everything is supposed to be working well. However, in this period, the situation is dramatic or even desperate in some cases, even if here they are quite good in “hiding the dust or uncomfortable matters under the carpet…”.
In particular, the government and the cantons made and are still guiltily making a lot of mistakes, getting a lot of critics from all over the world. Just to try to save economics (Even if a lot of people have been already “silently” and quickly fired from many Companies), health is considered as a second priority, with preventive measures against COVID-19 which are too weak and, considering the infection numbers, clearly ineffective.
The “Tages Anzeiger”, the daily newspaper from Zurich and one of the most important in Switzerland, analysed what foreign press thinks of the Swiss way to fight the COVID-19 emergency. Here the most significant quotes.
“Switzerland is still thinking of being a particular case…” (Foreign Policy, USA)
“It has been returned too quickly to the politics of the small cantons…” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, DE, regarding the continuous passing the buck regarding the responsibilities to define what to do between the central federal State and the 26 cantons)
“Switzerland is the second Sweden…” (Welt, DE)
“Why the government continues to be reluctant to take severe decisions?…” (Süddeutsche Zeitung, DE)
“A risky strategy…” (Financial Time, UK).
“A perfect example of what Germany should not do…” (Karl Lauterbach, German socialist politician and professor of health economics and epidemiology at the University of Cologne)
“…more testimonials tell about a Swiss weak approach, for a long time, with superficial preventive measures in the Companies, protocols which were not complied with, basically about a situation which created COVID carriers” (Corriere della Sera IT, regarding the dramatic increase of infections and quarantines in a small city, Arcisate, near the border with Switzerland).
It is crazy to see the passivity and lack of vision of the Swiss government which, in front of a continuous increase of infections, hospitalisations and deaths, almost every day holds monotonous and boring press conferences, only to acknowledge the situation with no gut and no flexibility to change the route inside this terribly disruptive storm!
Some days ago I was waiting for my usual bus to go to work and suddenly I saw an unusual poster at the bus stop.
Among the various ads for concerts, discos, local markets and missing cats, I saw the unmistakable… green leaf symbol!
The International Hemp Fair!
And, as they proudly say on cannatrade.ch, the oldest hemp fair in Europe!
And all this just in the well known, top modern, economic centre of Zurich!
As a conservative man, I find this fair quite provocative.
OK, you can dispute on the possible medical properties of these substances…
In a world where drugs or soft drugs are still debated and often forbidden, Switzerland is (strangely) very permissive and open.
Think about: Zurich is the third city in Europe for cocaine consumption (as reported by “Ticino online” already in December 2016).
In Switzerland are the top priorities and worries perhaps focused on showing a clean city, rather than really fighting the drug consumption and addiction?
Smoke weed, take drugs… but please, hide yourself and do not show it to us!
Last week I had the yearly meeting with the kindergarten teacher of my elder daughter.
Every year, near the end of the year, the teacher gives feedback and scores to the behaviour, activities, progress of the kids.
I was pleased for the nice feedback, but my energies were already all directed towards the… mysterious topic!
And so finally I came to the million dollars’ question: Why (the hell, but this I did not speak out loud) the kids cannot eat bananas during their break in the kindergarten?
The teacher seemed a little surprised for this “nutritional” question, but she immediately understood!
OK, to make it short, a dental specialist sometimes visits the kindergarten to teach the kids how to clean their teeth properly and inform them on other matters somehow related to orthodontics, including “healthy” and tooth-friendly food.
Apparently, as the teacher reported, banana tends to stuck and melt in between the teeth, due to its soft texture. This might increase the risk for caries.
I don’t know whether it was because of the heat of the day or the astonishment for such piece of information, but I remained still, like stunned, for some seconds.
I never heard someone condamn bananas in such a way, being banana still a recognised very healthy fruit!
But this is it!
The mystery is solved by now.
But it probably needs a follow-up!
As far as I know, there are many other fruits which can stick, stuck, glue themselves between small teeth, but they have not been softly “banned” by the kindergarten dental consultant!
Is this just racism against bananas or maybe the dental consultant absolutely hates… minions??
A big question mark has stuck in my head since yesterday.
I’m gonna tell you a real mystery, something which is fully out of any common human comprehension.
Every day my 5 years’ old daughter, when she goes to the Kindergarten, shall bring a small snack for the mid-morning break.
This normally means fruit and something crunchy like bread, crackers, etc.
Quite easy, right?
Yesterday I was in charge of preparing her small box and I gave her some slices of banana…
When she was back home, we found the same untouched banana slices. Strange! My daughter normally likes bananas. Which kid wouldn’t like this fruit?
With curiosity I asked for details and I found out that the teacher does not allow the kids to eat bananas!!!
I could not get the real reason though…
I was quite astonished and even a little upset. Bananas are apparently forbidden, but other kinds of well-known unhealthy food, like sausages, are welcome in the kindergarten or even in the nursery and are often the delicacy of the day!!
I’m still not sure about the background of this “banana ban”.
But I shall go on investigating, because I’m actually going bananas with this banana matter!
… How not to in such case?????
When you go to a doctor for a visit, it is likely that he prescribes you some further exams, like blood tests, lab exams and so on. Until now, nothing weird. But here the procedure starts going towards a weird direction for the…impatient patient waiting for the test results. Doctor: “I will let you know IF THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG (otherwise I will not come back to you). Good bye and take care”.
Are the results of my exams, important or even decisive for my health, like the outcome of a job application or the decision about a possible further interview?”.
I have to desperately wait for my (bloody) blood test results, waiting for a phone call by the doctor? I shall hope he doesn’t call back, meaning the exams are negative? What about if he dialed the wrong phone number, or he forgot to call me back, or I couldn’t answer the call?
That’s why, in these cases, I always organise another appointment with the doctor (paying, of course), maybe just for listening “Everything was fine…you shouldn’t even need to come”…
But although in the Confederation everything is supposed to run smoothly and in an organised way, better not to rely too match on some too soft “procedures” if your health is involved.
In Switzerland instead of saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, they seem to apply the “No phone call for the day keeps the doctor away”!