Helsinki on my Mind

Hi everyone,  like every Wednesday I have a new post with a collaboration!

The post of today it’s about a trip to Finland by the view of a Singapore Girl!

I really hope you enjoy it as much as she did! and don’t forget to comment below what did you think about!


 

Helsinki on my Mind…

Yup – that should be a title of a Ray Charles song, except that I’m
thinking about the vibrant seadise city of Helsinki.
It was my first time in Finland and I’ve planned to go North to Lapland after my Helsinki trip. I missed the Northern Lights as local friends I made during the trip warned me it will be a wasted trip since they may not be visible around November when I was there.

My bad – I didn’t read enough blogs to know that! But the good thing is that I got to go on a cruise ship (or ferry, depending on who you ask) to Sweden and enjoy the beautiful city of Stockholm!

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Now back to Helsinki: I was there to attend the international finals of the Karaoke World Championships. Yes, guys, Karaoke World Championships is a thing! I was with the South East Asia delegation including Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia.

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It’s a 12-hour flight from my home base in Singapore to Helsinki. We flew via Finnair which has a non-stop flight. You can imagine the anxiety our flight from SIN to HEL has brought to some flyers! We did arrive safely and at Helsinki airport, first thing on the agenda was to grab a cuppa at Starbucks! And I knew from that first sip of coffee
that it’s gonna be a great stay.
Weather in Helsinki (0 – 4 degrees at that time) is significantly different from where I come from (32 is normal!) so I truly am thankful for the heat packs that I bought. The Finns I spoke to do not know what these are coz they have no use for them. But I must say that heat packs are a must-have for tropical people like me when we go to cold countries!

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I had a chance to walk the streets of Helsinki which, like Singapore is clean and safe. Karaoke spots abound in Helsinki. It’s possible many Finns love karaoke even more than the Japanese who started karaoke. It seems it’s part of the Finnish lifestyle to enjoy karaoke with friends and family during weekends and many have their own karaoke systems at home.
Like the Japanese, Finns are generally shy and reserved. But karaoke becomes an outlet to express sentiments and showcase talents and interests in music. It is no wonder then that Finland is the birthplace of the Karaoke World Championships and on the country’s 100 th year anniversary, it hosts the 2017 world championships of the world’s biggest and longest-running amateur singing competition.
The first day of the competition was for the juniors aged 17 years old below. Since all entries from Asia are for the main categories (Male, Female and Duet), we supported the young hopefuls before heading off for another night out in cold Helsinki.
We had Mexican dinner at Kamppi Center after our Singapore champion and I met with Finnish singer Olavi Uursivirta who was introduced to me through the Embassy of Finland in Singapore.

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On Wednesday of the Finals week will be the first round and so after rehearsal, makeup and preparations, we head to the venue which was at the Tapahtumakeskus Telakka. This is where The Voice of Finland was also held.

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There were singing champions from different parts of the world like South Africa, Japan, USA, Brasil, Canada, India, Ukraine. Every country has a reserved table for the singers, partners and guests.
Members of the public were also able to watch the show, as well as it was also livestreamed on the website . Members of the media were also present including those from Paris, UK, Japan and Finland.
All contestants prepared 4 songs. Everyone will be singing their first 2 songs for rounds one and two, after which will be announced the top 10 semi finalists who will sing their third song.
The first 2 nights were fun. We got to meet representatives from different countries, share stories, take pictures and receive little souvenirs. We also get to wave our flags during the songs. It was a great feeling of the world coming together through music! There’s an after party every night where everyone can go out to party, drink and
karaoke some more.

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It was only when we go back to the hotel that I’m reminded that I’m in a cold city in Europe! No warm fuzzy feeling from the ‘world coming together’ can hide that!
The finals night of the competition was when tension starts to rise and anxiety take over the excitement. After the 10 semifinalists belt out their 3 rd songs… it would be time to announce the top 5 finalists.
Everyone supported the finalists and in the end, Chyee Howell of USA won the Female world champion title, while Pedro Matias of Angola won Male world champion title. Duet category was bagged by Japan.
But it was a jouyous time for everyone!
After the finals night, the team had a celebratory dinner at Caverna. It was a buffet Finnish dinner where we enjoyed some Finnish food and also the familiar Asian dishes like dimsum and Teppanyaki.

We also finally got the enjoy the streets of Helsinki without any pressure to prepare for the competition. There were lots of souvenir pictures taken with our winter wear. We also did some souvenir shopping and got ready to go back to warm Singapore.

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It was a great trip with good people where we made lots of new friends, enjoyed karaoke, the cold weather and tried different food.
I’ll surely be back to Finland as I haven’t ticked The Northern lights off my bucket list yet. Til then, I’ll be humming to the tune of Helsinki on my Mind.

 


Here are some  #Facts about Elle that you’d like to know!

  • enjoys the sun 365 days a year in sunny Singapore.
  •  loves music and travel
  • found in KWC this balance where she gets to meet singing enthusiasts from different parts of the world.
  • Is passionate about helping people like you pursue the dream of performing on the world stage.
  • To be updated on the upcoming  World Karaoke Academy.

Thank you so much to Elle for sharing her experience in Finland and this Karaoke Competition!

x, Melisa 

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