Monday, 27 April 2009

In search of Finnishness

It's the same news where ever you are...

On 23th April Hufvudstadsbladet in Helsinki wrote about a social worker, who'd been charged with murder. She was still listed on the Finnish social services register while in court defending the charge. It seems bureaucrats are equally incompetent here too.

There was also a story about large pension payments agreed to former directors of partly state-owned companies. These firms had made large losses, yet the directors left with massive pay-outs. Sounds familiar?

In other news, a social services chief in Helsinki spent just under 72,000 Euro refurbishing his office...a basket of food costs 38 Euros less in Sweden that it does in Finland...Susan Boyle You Tube video clip is watched by 100 million people.

News is international, I get that. But then I see X Factor, Finland Has Talent, Dragon's Den, as well as several imported British, American and Spanish soaps on TV. Just as I was beginning to despair, my friend turned her car radio on and out blared Finnish music. Tango, humppa and modern hits, all sang in the consonant laden language that to me never should be used in song. But it was at least truly Finnish, truly original. Long live the Finnish lyricists.

During the visit I was asked what the differences between life in the UK and Finland were. I was stunned I couldn't name one. As my host continued to gaze at me, waiting for my response, I said, 'People. There are so many people in the UK.' I considered the question for a moment longer while my host waited patiently. 'And...no-one ever says what they truly mean.'

'Hmm,' he said and picked up a newly barbecued piece of pork.

'To be impolite is considered the biggest crime in Britain.'

He lifted his eyes towards me, 'I guess we Finns can be viewed as a little abrupt sometimes?'

'But there are bigger crimes than being impolite. Such as being dishonest,' I said.

He nodded. We'd got to the crunch of the matter. This is how Finns and Englishmen differ.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Full of insight

Helena Halme said...

Thank you, I've had some time to observe both species.