Cem from Malm?
According to tourist brochures, Malm? is a very international city with more than 170 nationalities represented within its borders. Reality is barely different from that. A big share of the people walking around in the centre today does not have a particular Swedish look. I feel invited to do the opposite from what I usually do: instead of looking for a typically local person to interview, I try my luck aiming for a non-local. I partly succeed, but the story is nonetheless an interesting one:
Who are you?
`I wouldn`t work if I didn`t have to`
`My name is Cem, I`m 26 years old and have both the Swedish and the Turkish nationality. My grandparents moved here as guest workers in the 1960s, and my family stayed around ever since. I was born in Sweden and I have lived here for all my life. My grandfather is now retired and he lives half the year in Sweden, half the year in Turkey. I also often go to Turkey ? about once a year to visit family and travel around in the country.
How would others describe you?
`My friends would call me friendly, funny. I tend to have lots of ideas, including some stupid ones every now and then. I am also quite impatient. I don`t want to wait for the right moment once I decide that I want something. I want to ride a motorbike and so I bought one, even before passing my driver`s license. I have also driven it well before having the right papers. People whom I do not count among my friends may think that I take myself for quite something. I would invite me to get to know me a bit better, because I am not like that.`
What kind of work or studies do you do?
`I finished highschool and then wanted to start working to earn my own money. My subjects related to business and economy, but I now work as a security agent. I am hired by a company, posted at one site and then relocated to another one whenever necessary. In the past, I worked at a centre for newly arrived immigrants. I once had to jump inbetween 24 people there: 12 Somalis and 12 Russians who did not get along with each other too well. I am now posted at the entrance of a metro tunnel, surveying the entrance itself and a technical post nearby. It`s an alright job for me. As long as nothing bad happens, I can easily not see my boss for a year, so I feel quite free in what I do.`
How do you spend your leisure time?
`I don`t do sports. I like parties, dancing, music and girls, which means that I go out a lot. My favourite music is New Jack Swing, some kind of mixture between R&B, Jazz and Soul. Few clubs play this music, so I spend most of my nights out in R&B clubs. R&B does the trick with the ladies. I also like travelling: just jumping into the car and driving somewhere with one or two friends. I`ve done quite a bit of that. The coolest destination so far was Prague. I can`t tell exactly why I liked that place so much, but it has something to do with parties and ladies. I would be nice if I had a bit more time for that.`
What would be your ideal job?
`Making money by dating women. Or if I could get a paycheck without working, I`d be fine with that, too. I`m not like the stereotype blue-eyed Swede who thinks that he will also work when there is no need to. I was once employed by a company that went bankrupt at one point. In Sweden - as long as you have paid your ?kassa during the time you are employed - the state will continue to provide you with 80% of your previous salary for quite some time. I was unemployed for a while, helped my uncle whenever I needed extra money, but otherwise had an easy life at the time.`
Where do you feel at home?
`Although I grew up in Sweden, I still feel mostly Turkish. Second would be `European`, while Sweden comes 3rd. I might feel 5% Swedish. I feel more connected with the country Sweden than with the Swedish people. Sweden is my home, more so than Turkey is. I have my friends in Sweden, my family lives in Sweden and I work in Sweden. I have probably taken in a lot of the Swedish lifestyle, but I am more impulsive and more outgoing than the Swedes are. Also during football, I will cheer for Turkey before supporting the Swedish team. I speak Swedish with most of my friends, but I generally think and dream in Turkish.`
Do you think Turkey should become a member of the European Union?
`I think that Turkey would benefit in financial ways. Culturally speaking, I am not sure it would make things better. See: houses and roads look nicer in Sweden and all across Western Europe. There are lots of rules to protect everybody from all the bad stuff they could meet on their path. But I am not sure they are happier than we are. They lost the ability to be happy without needing to own a plasma TV. Turks are more warm-hearted and I think a lot of that would be exchanged for materialism if the country joined the EU. From the European side, I think that Turkey`s membership will be very expensive to the other states in the beginning. In the long term, I do think that Turkey could also contribute a fair share.`
Are you religious?
`Difficult question, but yes I am. I would count myself a Muslim. It`s a pity how much negative information is spread about Islam. First of all, I don`t think it is really that different from Christianity or the Jewish faith. Secondly, I don`t think I have ever heard it be mentioned in a positive way in Sweden since two towers came down in the United States. A lot of bad attributions are made to religion. But probably no more Probably just as much as religion is used as an excuse for people and entire countries to control oil reserves, make money and gain power.`
What is there to say about Malm??
Swedes in general are quite reserved. They will not say their opinion out loud, which in some cases is better because it also keeps them from expressing potentially racist viewpoints. I think Malm? is different from the rest of Sweden in the way people here look at non-native Swedes. In my view, Malm? is the most international and open-minded city in the entire country. It has more immigrants than Stockholm and, contrary to some other parts of the country, the mixture between Swedes and non-Swedes works quite well here. Some countries in Europe are starting to see immigration as a threat to local culture and traditions. That`s not happening here. Malm? is proud of its diversity and it takes its fruits rather than eternally focusing at the potentially negative side-effects of a multicultural society.`
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