How the Swiss fell in love with British cheese Monday, 9 November, 2009It’s cheeky really. Who could even think of importing cheese into a country renown for its emmentaler, gruyère, and raclette? And British cheese at that! Well, it all began with true love. English expat Michael Jones moved to a farm to be with his Swiss sweetheart, Astrid, after falling in love in over fine British cheeses. Now they have a nationwide online cheese delivery service and a stand at the specialty food market in Zurich’s main train station every Wednesday, from which they sell some of the United Kingdom’s most delicious cheeses. While introducing something foreign is not always easy in rural Switzerland, in Zurich, most of their customers are now Swiss. WRS video journalist Amy Wong made a trip to the market to try some of Great Britain’s tastiest cheese.
Wendy MacNeill in session Wednesday, 4 November, 2009Canadian-Swedish folk musician Wendy MacNeill visits Switzerland on Wednesday night for a gig at Onex’s festival Les Créatives. Seizing the opportunity to catch a star on the rise—MacNeill has been nominated in the “breaking boundaries” category of the presigious Canadian Folk Awards—Conor Lennon invited her into the dimly lit environs of the WRS session studio for some exclusive acoustic tracks.
Bern unveils new Bear Park Friday, 23 October, 2009Imagining Bern without its bears is difficult for most Bern residents. The tradition of keeping live bears in the city started in 1513 as a sign of man’s domination over the wild. Half a millennium later Bern is trying to tag a different image to this tradition, by building the bears a species-suitable environment in the form of a modern new bear park. Unfortunately it’s cost them CHF 23.6 million, CHF 9 million more than expected. WRS video journalist Amy Wong spent a morning checking out the bears’ new digs.
Continuing the Circus Knie tradition Friday, 16 October, 2009Circus Knie, or Cirque Knie, is the oldest and most famous circus in Switzerland. It has been around for so long, in fact, that going to see it has become a shared childhood memory for those who grew up in Switzerland. And everything about it—the family who runs it, the performances, and even the audience—is rooted in tradition. WRS video journalist Amy Wong made her way to the big top to watch the elephants dance.
Substation fire plunges Lausanne into darkness Tuesday, 6 October, 2009Residents of Lausanne were left in the dark last night after a substation fire caused a power cut which affected around 2,000 residents. Lucas Chambers sent this report.
Ssshhhh…you’re in a quiet zone! Monday, 5 October, 2009With cellphones, laptops and the fast pace of modern day life, finding a quiet spot to relax is hard these days, unless you’re in the silent carriage of a Swiss train. Official quiet zones were installed six year ago on inter-city trains in response to customer demand. While they may be quiet, they’re not always peaceful. WRS video journalist Amy Wong went for a train ride and spoke quietly to some passengers about shushing and being shushed.
Coiffing the next Miss Switzerland Friday, 25 September, 2009Around 1.2 million viewers watched the crowning of Miss Switzerland 2008 Whitney Toyloy last year, and just as many are expected to tune in again this year. But all that beauty doesn’t come easy. There are teams of people backstage preparing the girls on competition night. Nhut Trinh, a 25-year-old hair stylist, has a knack for choosing winning competitors. He’s done the hair of the last two reigning Miss Switzerlands before they were crowned. WRS video journalist Amy Wong made a trip to the Valentino Styling Club in Zurich to ask Trinh about his selection for 2009.
Your (Tai Chi warrior) escort awaits Friday, 21 August, 2009If you’ve been through Bern’s train station on a Friday night, you may have noticed a group of peculiarly dressed men hanging around. Wearing tent-shaped samurai pants and wielding giant bamboo staffs, these are the local Tai Chi warriors, and they’ve sworn to protect any woman, child, elderly or handicapped person. Grandmaster John Lash runs the Harmonious Dragon Tai Chi School in Bern. After witnessing several attacks on women at the train station, Lash and his warriors have set up a free escort service for women who are afraid to walk alone at night. WRS video journalist Amy Wong ventured out onto the dark streets of Bern with one of the warrior escorts.
Green: Basel's green roof initiative Monday, 17 August, 2009Before there were cities, there was vast greenery. Our need to build homes and buildings has often lead to the destruction of the homes of countless species of plants and animals. However, with green roofs, these habitats can once again thrive while protecting our buildings at the same time. WRS video journalist Amy Wong was in Basel, where one of the highest densities of green roofs in the world exists.
Movie Week: Jacqueline Veuve Wednesday, 24 June, 2009She is one of the oldest and most prolific documentary filmmakers in Switzerland. Her repertoire consists of over 60 films, numerous international awards, and at the age of 79 she hasn’t slowed down. Her films capture Swiss life through its farmers, soldiers, watchmakers, and women. WRS video journalist Amy Wong went out to the commuter town of Lucens, where Veuve was filming her latest documentary.
Living like a student refugee Friday, 19 June, 2009This Saturday, June 20 is World Refugee Day, and to mark the occasion, a group of university students decided to endure the hardships that 42 million people throughout the world face everyday. This three-day refugee camp simulation was organized by Webster University’s Humanitarian Association and the United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees to raise awareness about the plight of these people who are in urgent need of help. WRS video journalist Amy Wong witnessed the entire event.
Staring down the barrel of Swiss gun traditions Friday, 12 June, 2009Switzerland is grappling with a question and it’s a loaded one: should its citizens be allowed to keep military rifles at home? The shooting traditions are deep-rooted in this country where basic military training is mandatory and so is storing weapons at home. It’s estimated that over 500,000 military rifles are kept in Swiss cellars and cupboards. WRS video journalist Amy Wong went to the Tiro Federale in Campagna (also called the Feldschiessen in German or Tir fédéral en campagne in French) the largest shooting festival in the world, to witness this 83-year-old tradition.
Golf for the young and urban Thursday, 28 May, 2009Traditionally reserved for the upperclasses, golf often comes across as an exclusive sport for the elderly rich. Just over a decade ago, to play a round, one had to join a private club which is an extremely expensive affair. However now with more affordable courses opening up in Switzerland, a wider range of people are hitting the greens, including a new generation of younger, hipper golfers who are changing the sport’s stuffy, old image. WRS video journalist Amy Wong put on her plaid trousers and went out to Golfpark Otelfingen to play a round.
Polar in session Wednesday, 20 May, 2009Multi-lingual singer-songwriter Polar came in to studio to talk about the differences in French and English singing and songwriting Conor Lennon. Polar also brought his guitar to the WRS studios and played a couple live songs, which WRS taped for your viewing pleasure.
The art of mobile mapping Monday, 11 May, 2009They’re not as recognized as their sound counterparts, DJs, but VJs, as in video jockeys, are growing in number. Now no longer are they confined to techno-clubs or stuffy galleries, VJs and visual artists alike are building mobile video devices and taking to the street. WRS video journalist met with French mappers, VJ Lupin and VJ Oblivion, and Mexican visual artist, Fernando Llanos, and his video-dog Chamaco. The 5th Annual Mapping Festival takes place in Geneva until Sunday, May 17.