Wednesday, December 26, 2007

BOXING DAY TSUNAMI 2004 AND PANIC SYNDROME

I got David Eberhard's book, In the Land of the Security Junkies ("I trygghetsnarkomanernas land" in Swedish) as a Xmas gift from my brother. The author argues that the lack of action by the government during the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake is the final evidence of a general inability to take action in Sweden and that a national panic syndrome is built into the society. Here is an excerpt from Ivar Ekman's article, Swedes as 'safety junkies': An accident in the making?

"Sweden is suffering from a national panic syndrome," said David Eberhard, a Stockholm psychiatrist who is writing a book about what safety has come to mean to the Swedish national psyche. "And the consequence of this is that we've become safety junkies."

The first sign of backlash against an ever-safer Sweden came in 2004, when the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet set off a furor with a profile of the Danish psychologist Bent Hougaard, who had coined the term the "curling parent." The reference is to the sport of curling, played on ice, in which players frenetically sweep the ice to remove any obstacles in the way of a heavy stone gliding toward a target. Modern parents, the article suggested, similarly remove all obstacles for their children, depriving them of the important insight that difficulties and dangers are natural parts of life. (International Herald Tribune, 01/24/06)


[Editor's comment: What is the term for "curling parents" in other countries?]

Related: My post, ANNIVERSARY OF THE TSUNAMI DISASTER.