Thursday, September 07, 2006

Odd Finnish thingies: soldiers fundraising

Can any Finnish readers tell me why presumably conscripts, in their uniforms, are sent out on to the streets to collect money for the veterans? Do you have to do this - i.e. are they ordered to spend the day on the Helsinki street corners rattling collecting tins? Or is it something you volunteer to do on a day off?

I really need to start carrying a camera around so I can take photos of such things.

Update: Lauri in the comments confirms that it is indeed compulsory but even if it wasn't the conscripts would volunteer as it's probably more interesting than the alternative options! Thanks Lauri.

4 comments:

Lauri Oittinen said...

Yes, you are ordered to do this. But believe me, if it was voluntary, everybody would still be doing it. And I'm not even talking about the whole patriotic angle or whatnot, but collecting money while walking around (or standing still for that matter) in a city is just a pleasant change to the regular daily service.

Alex said...

Beats marching in full kit...

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

Thanks chaps!

PetriB said...

Oh the fond memories...I remember when I was in the military and me and this other guy were collecting money for the vets in Hamina. We came across this Vietnamese refugee living by himself, all dressed up in a military uniform inside his flat. He didn't speak much Finnish, but was seemingly happy to meet what he called "other soldiers". He invited us into his flat, but sadly we had to decline the kind offer. As I remember it, the guy had some US Marine tattoos on his chest and shoulders.

But yes, it was a lot of fun doing the collection thing. Older people in particular treated you with much respect, and some wanted to share their war-time stories. And yes, it beat marching with the ful kit on.

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