Lista tuturor felurilor în care sunt finlandez

Fragmente din „Ghidul xenofobului: finlandezii” de Tarja Moles.

Astea sunt doar părțile la care mă simțeam finlandez. Sunt și lucruri în care mă regăsesc mai puțin, cum ar fi chestia cu punctualitatea sau poate sisu.

The Finns are very self-critical and spend a good deal of time gazing at their navels, both individually and as a nation. […] Their obsession is summed up in this tall story:

A Frenchman, a German and a Finn were in Africa and came across an elephant. The Frenchman looked at the creature and straightaway started thinking about the variety of culinary delights he could cook from it. The German pondered the animal’s potential as a vehicle on the savannah and how its performance compared to that of his Jeep. The Finn’s immediate thought was: ‘I wonder what the elephant thinks of me?’


The Finnish economy with words has also been noted in the foreign media. Former Formula 1 world champion Mika Häkkinen became famous for his monosyllabic answers to lengthy questions posed by international journalists. At least the journalists got an answer from him; not all Finnish drivers are so verbose.


Many nations claim to be melancholy. There is something beautiful about it when it implies soulfulness. But Finnish melancholy is something quite different. It can be so extreme that other nations might classify it as depression, citing Finland’s high ranking in the Western world’s suicide statistics as proof.

Naturally, it is easier to get depressed in winter when the sun hardly rises above the horizon. Long winters with their inevitable ice, snow and darkness have spawned Finnish poems such as:

A winter bridge frost
as if the world
ends at the parapet


Finland does not have as many police officers as most countries since it is the people’s own consciences that do most of the policing. Parents don’t slap their children because the State would prosecute them. Shoppers don’t taste the grapes in the supermarket before buying them because it would be considered theft of the most serious kind. Pedestrians don’t cross an empty street if the red man is showing – not even if it’s 3 am on a winter’s morning, -20 C, and there is no car, let alone another soul, in sight.


Take Pekka as an example. His business is going well and the future looks promising. He owns a lovely house and has a beautiful wife and well-behaved children. You pay an innocent compliment and congratulate him on how well he has done for himself. Pekka quickly starts finding fault: the business is not really doing that well and he is very lucky to have survived the recession; the house is just a kit house and wasn’t actually built by him; his children are bound to stop behaving well once they reach their teens […] The Finns’ instinct is to think that good things cannot come easily and that, if and when they do, they cannot last […] Their strong sense of humility dictates that you must neither brag about your accomplishments neither celebrate them.


Finnish honesty is about meaning every word that comes out of your mouth. This is why you have to give the Finns time to think through what it is exactly they want to say. Honesty is also responsible for their bluntness


Finns have never been slaves to fashion trends – practicality and comfort always outweigh any aesthetic considerations. For instance, in winter the need to wear multiple layers of clothes makes you resemble the Michelin man.


The Finns don’t see the point of small talk. Why say anything if there is nothing worthwhile to say?


Not asking your work colleague ‘How’re you?’ isn’t impolite. It’s being respectful of his or her privacy. After all, no-one likes a busybody. Not offering to help or give unsolicited advice is not rude, but an indication you don’t wish to interfere in other people’s affairs. However, if you ever do ask for help, people will take it seriously and make your problem theirs. They won’t rest until the matter is resolved and you have been helped so much that you wish you hadn’t asked.


The Finns embrace eccentricity whole-heartedly. This may sound like a contradiction in terms considering the importance they place on not standing out in a crowd. However, when the entire nation is eccentric, it’s easy to conform.


Finnish humour is witty, dry, sardonic, cheeky and self-deprecating. They love situational comedy and wordplay. Except for jokes about the Swedes.


Finnish children grow up with the Moomins’ profound wisdom. It encourages them to be aware that you only live once, it advocates going back to nature and it warns that owning things only leads to worries, and suitcases you have to carry around with you. It also gives advice on how to distinguish between good and bad people: ‘people who eat pancakes with jam can’t be altogether too dangerous’.


Perhaps the most notable Finnish film director, Aki Kaurismäki, is particularly skilled in portraying these Finnish qualities. His stories focus on inarticulate, alienated and unglamourous characters in gloomy locations who stare into space for long periods of time.


They share an aversion to whinging with the Aussies, but not their social ease with strangers. They envy the Mediterranean people their climate, but do not care for their flamboyant show of emotion.

Voie bună!


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