Saturday, November 18, 2006

Finnish TV: Mogadishu Avenue

Finland is a very homogeneous country, but there are foreigners there as well (this poster was one of them for quite a while, and is open to becoming one again). Mostly they are people from Russian, Estonian, Somali, Vietnamese, Chinese, Swedish or American extraction. They tend to stick to certain specific cities and areas of the country, and there are certain stereotypes to each. MTV3, one of the local TV channels (not related to MTV, Music Television) started airing a drama/comic series about an area of Helsinki with many immigrants, and how the different inhabitants adapt to each other.

Even though I only share with the foreigner characters in the series the fact that I was also a foreigner living in Hesa, I have to admit that reading about one of them who according to the plot is an African man that tries to become more Finnish than the Finns, taking a local surname from his wife, hanging pictures of Mannerheim in his house and making his son try to win the tango king contest to become the first black tango king, well, brought a smile to my face and a little bit of moisture to my eyes. =) And I haven't even seen the series yet. Is it any good?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I watched one episode ( or... was it half of it). The idea of the series is really good, and it has some good Jari Tervo humour. But, something in the production or directing makes it so boring, that... it is just too boring to watch.

The series is also about a relevant topic, as Finland is currently digesting the effects of immigration. Meaning: how to change from a homogeneous country to an "international" one. It is a new thing, as around 20 years back, I guess, most of the Finns had never seen a black man.

The description of "a Finn" is changing. We, as a nation, do not look the same as we used to be. We start to have new manners, Finns are not shy and silent anymore, and you cannot distinguish "a Finn" that easily from the looks.

I think the language is still a thing that unites us. It is something, where all the other cultural aspects and some values derive from. Nowadays we speak English everywhere. But, I think that every person that considers him/herself "a Finn", should speak Finnish well, or at least try their best. Speaking Finnish badly should be encouraged too, so that it could be learned.

But actually, although the situation might seem critical, I feel that persons 15 years and younger do not see anything weird in 'multicultural Finland', as they have friends and classmates well adapted to the country.

I heard you were planning to write a book about your experiences in Finland. So, better to write it now, because might be that in 30 years it's not anything interesting anymore! ;-)