Friday 9 March 2007


I recently found a funny article about the concept of 'Sisu' published in the Washington Post. Of course it's not completely true and has it's hilarious exaggerations, but it does have a ring of truth in it.

I found this article through Wikipedia's article on Sisu, which is a lot less funny but catches the concept well.

Anyone wanting to understand us Finns should check them out because it also helps explain some of our quirks. We do have problems communicating with foreigner cultures, especially ones that require smooth small talking. Small talk is not something that comes naturally to us. There is a joke about a Finn and a Norwegian (two nationalities that share a common dislike for all things Swedish) drinking.

They sit on a table drinking shot after shot of raw vodka. This goes on for several hours. After they have downed a bottle each the Norwegian says:

"Coud you fetch me another bottle?"

The Finn does as asked. Couple of hours later both have downed another bottle. Suddenly the Finn asks:

"Are we here to drink or to do small talk?"

Maybe not completely true, but the small talk that angloamericans in particular are so fluent in we find difficult even in our native language, never mind in a foreign.

So on behalf of all of my fellow countrymen: I'm sorry we sometimes appear rude when talking with you. We don't do it on purpose.

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