|The Finnish band|
Finns can be described as honest, modest, and reliable people who place great value on words. “Take a bull by its horns and a man by his word” is an old Finnish saying. A Finn’s ‘yes’ is a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’ is never a ‘perhaps’. They also tend to say little and avoid ‘unnecessary’ small talk and they are better at listening than at talking. They don’t get nervous if there are breaks in the conversation; silence is regarded as a part of communication. Finns rarely start a conversation with strangers and they are curiously silent in the metro, the bus or the tram. In lifts, they suffer from the same mute embarrassment as everyone else in the world.This staid, reticent people has birthed a brash punk band that is shattering barriers for people with cognitive disabilities. Not only has the group, Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat (a.k.a. PKN) been performing (or, rather, screaming) for years, but thanks to Finnish viewers' votes they will represent their country at this year's Eurovision song contest.
Extreme modesty is a characteristic that applies to almost all Finns. They don’t boast about their own achievements and you might spend an entire evening socializing with someone – only to find out later that they hold a world championship title in a sport, invented some important gadget, or some such other “minor” achievement.
I can't imagine my own outspoken and loud countrymen taking this step even twenty years hence. And how is this for self-awareness:
"We don't want people to vote for us to feel sorry for us, we are not that different from everybody else - just normal guys with a mental handicap." said one PKN- er to The Guardian. And another of the band's singers told a Finnish broadcaster: "Every person with a disability ought to be braver, adding articulately, "He or she should themselves say what they want and do not want" (where's the handicap??).Here's hoping they take first prize.
Confession: to me their clip sounded more like noise than music, but fortunately, I'm not on the judges' panel so they've got a good chance. In fact they are "5 to 1 to win the contest according to Betfred" (I have no clue what that means. But I do know it's good news.) (BBC)
And here's another Finnish characteristic:
Extreme modesty... applies to almost all Finns. They don’t boast about their own achievements and you might spend an entire evening socializing with someone – only to find out later that they hold a world championship title in a sport, invented some important gadget, or some such other “minor” achievement. (From Finnish Chronicles again)So it's up to the rest of us to spread the word about this Finnish achievement. And let's hope they have set a global precedent.