First off, we’re going to discuss what IS a Finn. What are the identifying characteristics of a Finn, and are there people that fit the description?
A stereotypical Finn is a broad term - whereas the term “perisuomalainen” could give an image of a person from Pohjanmaa, carrying a knife - we need to identify what are the prospects to look out for; A Finn is hardworking, honest, quiet, shy, bold and realistic – wouldn’t you agree?
Most Finns fit the European category on willingness to work; they wouldn’t want to. But the other half can be work-a-holic, and just grind a hundred-hour work week. I see these characteristics in people, and it seems the younger you are - and the less essential the work is to you - the less likely you are to do a whole lot. But the people in higher positions, like teachers, entrepreneurs, businessmen and other demanding occupations, seem to do more work than necessary. The answer: ambition. Of course we all have it, but working in a lower-end – better yet, a DEAD-end job - could be quite discouraging.Honesty is big and I’ve been taught it since a kid, so over the years my morality and integrity have grown. I don’t like lying, I don’t accept lying, in a way, it is alien to me. I don’t lie myself. I try my best to remain honest. Again, these values have faded in the younger generations, but I cannot say that for sure. You see, mine ‘evolved’ over time, and hopefully the generation Y will see the importance.
When it comes to being quiet and shy, Finns are most likely in the top five of the world in the chosen path of obliviousness. We pass things by with the mindset “Well, I could help, but that’s none of my business”. This golden mindset got us where we are today. Also the apparent neutrality - that we practiced over the cold war – really shapes a Finn. In daily lives, it culminates in not smiling to strangers, not talking to strangers unless necessary, not LOOK at the strangers – no useless interaction. “Bah, others, what are they in for ME?”
Boldness – what can be said about it? We fought the Soviets during the second World War, our tiny nation against theirs. We didn’t give in like the Baltic countries did; we stood up for ourselves. That MUST be a brave thing to do, isn’t it? And we are proud of it! On a smaller scale: Finns do some crazy stuff, and care less. We all must have a perception that Finns are tough. But, there’s the Generation Y again.. They don’t seem that tough with their technology and their options of non-military service. Again, we might be wrong, but Godspeed to those young crooks!
Realistic, the last term on the list. I haven’t met any too optimistic people, but neither are there too many pessimists either. I think Finns are quite realistic (Even with the whole Cold War dilemma, not so much on NATO).
Let’s see here, work-a-holic Finn, who seldom lies, who avoids unnecessary conversations, who is tough as nails and brave, but accesses the situation with a realistic view… Sound VERY Finnish to me. I bet this description fits many of us. So summa summarum: I believe a typical Finn does exist – in all of us.
(Funny, pun intended)