Helsinki’s Biggest Mall: Stockmann (& My Thoughts about Culture)

I am sure Singaporeans will be interested to know about the malls in Helsinki. Well the biggest one in Finland is Stockmann.

I noticed loads of mums and kids in this and other malls. In Helsinki, there were mums pushing baby buggies everywhere and they received help on the trams as well from their fellow citizens. Even sullen looking teenagers were quick to move away to make room when a mum came on board with her stroller.  They moved in seconds.  It was such an eye opener to me.  That this kind of culture is possible.  Finland’s a very child centered country, like Sweden as well. The tram scene also made me think about how small the pathways in Singapore are and no wonder people get annoyed by strollers banging into the ankles. It’s too crowded and there is just not enough space on the island, but it’s also a cultural thing and I wish we could be a little more gracious. To be fair, it goes both ways though. Singapore parents should be less aggressive and take care not to bump strollers into ankles as well. It’s painful and annoying when there is usually no place to move as you fenced in by the throngs of people.  Reminds me too much of the aggressive way people drive.

To tell you the truth since I’ve returned to Singapore, I feel the anxiety returning. I long for a more tolerant culture that doesn’t value people based on superficial things. A society where there is room for leisure and a more balanced life. Here just to take leave is a big no-no, even if you’re clearing the remaining leave that would otherwise be forfeited. It’s pretty ridiculous. Also most people on holiday still need to check their work mails. The office treats it like they are not away at all and they are expected to reply. Sucks huh? I am quite sure the people in Finland and Scandinavia would not tolerate this and the best part is the push towards a balanced life comes from and is supported by the top.

But I digress. Wanted to talk about the little tots in both Sweden and Finland. Babies bundled up for winter with their little beanies, are just too precious. This was taken inside Stockmann.  I found it pretty confusing as the place is huge and there are two sections – I guess a bit like Ngee Ann City and Takashimaya.  Sometimes home feels like home when you’re familiar with things and don’t get lost as easily.  I say don’t get lost as easily, because I have a very poor sense of direction and could possibly get lost in Singapore. No wonder the mum was checking the directory here at Stockmans.  But the store girls are so nice, and provided me directions when I got lost. I think the Finnish store girls were extremely pretty too.  They could be models.

photo by bookjunkie

There are so many levels at this mall and very pretty things especially in the home decor section. But way too expensive for me. A good quality placemat cost almost S$30 each.

photo by bookjunkie

It was a good place to take a break as the rain was coming down a bit harder. Although still not even close to Singapore’s huge warm raindrops, where you get soaked to the bone. There’s a heating system in all the shops and restaurants so it’s nice and cosy. But it’s good to wear layers, otherwise it’ll get too hot. Thermal underwear is not a good idea.

photo by bookjunkie

Marco Polo is one of the brands I saw there and I thought this man satchel looked nice. Cost a couple of hundred bucks, so a photo will do.

photo by bookjunkie

Very pretty kitchenware.

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

The best part about Stockmann is the food hall in the basement which deserves a whole post of it’s own.

Just wanted to say that more so as I get older, I realize that each trip I take is not so much about the destination, but more about the change of scene and perspective. Looking at the world in a brand new way each time. The travel makes me appreciate things back home more, things I took for granted, but at the same time long for the wonderful things I experienced abroad.  Each country I’ve been to, always has something good to entice me. The weather, the people, the food, the culture. I feel so lucky to have experienced every aspect of it, the good and the bad. And increasingly so these days, countries are not so different and there are so many familiar sights because of globalization.  But if you ask me…I long for different.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore helps me survive the mid-life crisis
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4 Responses to Helsinki’s Biggest Mall: Stockmann (& My Thoughts about Culture)

  1. Village wife says:

    Have been following your blog for a while as think you have such an interesting and unusual take on Singapore compared to the other blogs I have come across. As a Finn about to move to Singapore, loved reading about your visit to Helsinki – thank you for your kind words!

    • bookjunkie says:

      I miss Finland already. Wish I could have stayed longer and experienced the snow. Took tons of photos and have loads more to post 🙂

      I hope you have a wonderful time in Singapore and I hope the blog is useful.

      So happy you dropped by 🙂

  2. Crystal says:

    It’s really ironic, as I would describe Singapore as a very kid-friendly culture. Kids are accepted widely, people are usually happy to see my girls, and it’s not uncommon for families to be out together at all hours. In the US, I can get the stink eye for being at the grocery store with my girls after 7 (a typical bedtime for young children in the US–7 to 7 is sleep time…my girls are night owls and have never gone to bed at 7 unless sick) and there are lots of kid-unfriendly zones, even if it’s just in the attitudes of those around you.

    About the stroller accidents…to be fair, as a mum who’s been pushing a stroller for 3+ years…sometimes the person in front of you changed their pace or stops suddenly and you don’t have enough time. Other times, you’re trying to manuever in a small space and misjudge. I know *I* have never intentionally hit someone with my stroller, and when I do I always apologize (and I’m sure I turn red from embarrassment).

    One of the things I’m most looking forward to about going home is all the wonderful sweaters and fun winter clothes. I generally avoid long underwear unless I’m going to be outside for an extended time…in that part of the world heating is a non-negotiable. In fact, in my part of the US, heat is included in the rental cost! Air conditioning, on the other hand, is a luxury as it’s not necessary to survival, and is only used a few months of the year. One of the things that made our last condo in the US a “luxury” apartment is that it had central air con. Heat is only a few months a year as well, but without it, your pipes would freeze and burst, and you’d be risking your health! Malls are air conditioned in the summer, though…just not all homes.

    • bookjunkie says:

      I never would have thought that Singapore was more kid friendly than the US. Yikes…the stink eye. I was a night owl kid as well.

      Never thought of air-conditioning as a luxury. This explains a lot of what I watch on TV. When during the summer people try to cool down with ice cream, sprinklers and fans, and I don’t see air-conditioning used in their homes.

      So many things I never thought of…like pipes bursting….yup…that would be real bad.

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