A Finland Swede in Bavaria

Friday, 20 March 2020

Helan går and Salmiakki downloadables

Helsinki / Munich 20 March 2020: Good news from Finland: MariaDB Foundation is immediately releasing the salmiakki icon for free download, as a symbol to be used to uphold the civilised custom of saying "Skål!" (Swedish for "Cheers!") in an era of social distancing. 

The release comes in source code format (salmiakki.svg) for those who want full freedom when integrating it into their own applications. Binary formats, such as PNG and JPG, are also supplied for convenience. For a complete list of downloadables, see the bottom (of the post, not the glass).

Common use cases include sending as an emoji from WhatsApp, illustrating blog entries, as well as icons for saying "Cheers!" in virtual work environments, such as Slack and Zulip

"The President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, has introduced the concept of Emotional Closeness to complement Social Distancing", notes Kaj Arnö, CEO of MariaDB Foundation and Finnish citizen. "Our immediate release of these icons, in source and binary format, is supportive of both these goals." He adds: "Manners are important, also in these times."

This somewhat unexpected addition to the set of downloadable files from mariadb.org is due to the well-established tradition of drinking Black vodka to show emotional closeness during the rare encounters when physically meeting virtual colleagues and community members. The custom started at company meetings during MySQL AB times. MySQL AB co-founder Michael "Monty" Widenius has since forked it, together with other developers of MariaDB Server, and given it a particular focus as a way to show respect to the user community

The act of drinking black vodka currently has a further topical application, beyond social distancing and emotional closeness. The accompanying song, "Helan går", can be used as a metronome for timing the duration of washing one's hands. Experienced singers need to sing it twice to achieve a 20 second duration of hand washing. Once is enough for beginner to intermediate singers, especially when not fully remembering the words (included below for training purposes).

  • Helan går, sjung hoppfaderallan lallan lej
  • Helan går, sjung hoppfaderallan lej.
  • Och den som inte helan tar
  • han ej heller halvan får.
  • He-e-la-a-n gå-åår! 
  • Sjung hoppfaderallan lej!
Phonetic version in English: 
  • Hell and gore
  • Chung Hop father Allan Allan ley.
  • Hell and gore
  • Chung Hop father Allan ley.
  • Oh handsome in the hell and tar
  • hand hell are in the half and four.
  • Hell and gore
  • Chung Hop father Allan ley.
Besides the Salmiakki icon and Black Vodka, there is further good news from Finland. The country is the largest producer of toilet paper, and production is continuing at full speed.

"Living in Munich usually is full of perks, but currently has some disadvantages", notes Kaj Arnö, German citizen and resident of Bavaria. "The last five times I went grocery shopping, they were out of toilet paper. And I had just gifted our last bottle of Salmiakki a few weeks ago.", Kaj concludes, washing his hands while singing Helan går twice, having posed for the main picture of this blog entry with soy sauce in his vodka glass.


Pointers to downloadable files:
  1. https://mariadb.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Salmiakki-double.jpg - https://mariadb.org/salmiakki-double/
  2. https://mariadb.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Salmiakki-double.png - https://mariadb.org/salmiakki-double-2/
  3. https://mariadb.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Salmiakki-double.svg - https://mariadb.org/salmiakki-double-3/
  4. https://mariadb.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Salmiakki.jpg - https://mariadb.org/salmiakki/
  5. https://mariadb.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Salmiakki.png - https://mariadb.org/salmiakki-2/
  6. https://mariadb.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Salmiakki.svg - https://mariadb.org/salmiakki-3/
  7. https://mariadb.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/salmiakki-left-25x25-1.png - https://mariadb.org/salmiakkileft-25x25/
  8. https://mariadb.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/salmiakki-right-25x25-1.png - https://mariadb.org/salmiakki-right-25x25/
Caveat: Fake press release on Friday 20 March 2020. I live in Bavaria, which will be closed off starting midnight due to Covid-19, much like Italy has been for weeks. The blog entry is written in the hope to cheer someone up.