When in Switzerland, beware of Paradeplatz KungFu

After the past months have barely left me enough time to breathe, I have finally found myself finding some time in my new home: Zürich, Switzerland. I’m sure many of you will have several preconceptions about Switzerland, and one of them is probably related to extremely good public services, including transportation.

Those are certainly not all wrong. Indeed, public transportation here is very good, and not expensive compared to other European countries in general and the Swiss prices, in particular. Also, the trains are generally outrageously punctual. More than once we’ve found ourselves sprinting to the train by now, because the train was a few seconds early. Personally I get the impression that for Swiss train conductors, being 1 minute late is a matter of grave shame that can only be addressed by committing ritual suicide.

Courtesy of VBZ Züri Line: How to lose your stress
Courtesy of VBZ Züri Line: How to lose your stress

However, the public transportation companies also have other ways to relieve stress and frustration, and encourage physical violence at the workplace for relief. Above is a picture I took in central Zürich, at the Parade-Platz where you can find many of the largest banks, and a hub for trams. And since it is not so easily readable like this, here is a close up of the most interesting part:

Courtesy of VBZ Züri Line: Paradeplatz-KungFu (close-up)
Courtesy of VBZ Züri Line: Paradeplatz-KungFu (close-up)

And since some of you may not be able to read German, here is a translation:

    For back and arms -- 30 seconds
    1: Stand with feet parallel to your shoulders, and slightly bend your knees.
     Bend the arms by the side of the body, and make your hands into fists. The back of your hands pointing downwards.
    2: With the left fist, push forward like lightning, and turn the hand inward (back of your hand is now pointing upwards). Pull arm back.
     Change to other side, repeat 9 times each.
    Effect: Will strengthen back and arms.


As far as the strengthening goes, I am quite sure it has that effect. I myself have done this very movement many thousands of times, for this is precisely how our Tae-Kwon Do teachers taught us to hit effectively and they had us repeat this at every training many times. Indeed, the image of the apparently asian man demonstrating the movement looks remarkably like Kung-Fu, don’t you think? So far so good, but what really amused me was the text at the bottom, here is the translation:

    Recommendation: Also do this exercise when your computer crashes and when you have conflicts with colleagues at work, or customers. 

Although I cannot condone violence against computers, I guess it also has that effect, especially when annoying colleagues or customers are at arms-length! Thanks, VBZ Züri Line for this really effective tip how to relax worked-up Swiss employees who need vent some stress and frustration.

So when you come to Switzerland, beware: If you plan to annoy someone, make sure they did not study this anti-stress technique at the Parade-Platz in Zürich.

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About Georg Greve

Georg Greve is CEO and President of the Board at Kolab Systems AG, a Swiss Open Source ISV for collaboration and communication, also available as Swiss hosted service Kolab Now. During his 20+ year career in Free and Open Source Software he has been author of the Brave GNU World, one of the most widely spread columns on the subject, founding president of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and provided input to various governmental and inter-governmental organisations. In 2009 Georg was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon by the Federal Republic of Germany for his contributions to Open Source and Open Standards.
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One Response to When in Switzerland, beware of Paradeplatz KungFu

  1. mk says:


    And imagine 20 people standing side by side doing the Paradeplatz-KungFu-Kata.

    Perhaps the new graphical reportbug from Debian will include something like this, so you can calm down before you sent the bug report ;)

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