Beauty, Hieno, Muse, Random, Relationships, Singapore, Suomi
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The beauty of Finnish culture: Sequence, timing and kindness.


Just now when I was watching the channel 8 drama with Mommy, there was this storyline which intrigued me.

It was about this lady who got raped by stranger X when she was a teenager. Ten years later, she got engaged to a guy. However, before she left with him to Australia, she discovered that this guy was actually X who raped her.😮

This implies that even after raping the girl, X actually still liked her enough to (strategise to?) woo her ten years later. She even did eventually fall in love with him, and agreed to his wedding proposal. Yet, because she later found out that he was the rapist, she broke off the engagement.

What is the moral of the story? The importance of sequence and timing. 

No, seriously, just take a moment to think about it. I’m not in any way trying to trivialise the severity of rape as a crime–rape is obviously wrong and should be condemned at all costs. Anyway the odds of such a scenario happening in real life is 1/100000000, so for the time being, just keep an open-mind and listen to my analysis.

It seems that the above mentioned peculiar relationship could have been a really strong one, since this guy X really seemed to have this obsessive desire towards the lady. The lady even did reciprocate his affections, before discovering what happened ten years ago. We also have to take into consideration that people change A LOT over the period of ten years. If you think further, a marriage can actually also be considered a rite of passage to officiate sex…So–you get my drift.

In addition, it is likely that guy X would be loyal and doting throughout the marriage. If only if he had been more careful with not letting her find out about his “dark secret”, and if only if he knew how to manage, strategise and/or communicate his desires as a teenager.

Recently I’d been researching a lot about relationship stuffs (due to wedding and divorce projects), and I blog a lot here because I have so much angst as a result of what I read.

So today, on hindsight, I want to write about what I learnt in Finland about relationships. I think, sincerely, that the Finnish culture has taught me much about the beauty of sequence, timing and kindness when you have a relationship with someone. Be it a friendship, a romantic relationship, kinship, or a professional relationship.

Can I say that perhaps most Singaporeans don’t value sequence and timing in relationships? Even I used to be one of them. I thought if “A” is “A”, then it’d always be “A” no matter when you announced it, right?

No, not correct.

The above storyline in the drama series–albeit being a bit warped–really highlights to me that quite a few Singaporeans I know don’t have a reasonable sense of sequence and timing. I used to be like that too, until I went to Finland. In my two years there, I learnt much about sequence, timing, non-verbal communication–and really, really kind intentions, for example.

I think the beauty of sequence and timing only became apparent to me recently. I first realized that Finns actually do pay really close attention to sequence and timing, because the pace of life in Finland is really so much slower than that of Tokyo or Singapore. So in a sense, I was forced to observe due to time being magnified by the slower pace, but couldn’t make sense of my observations.

It’s only on hindsight after returning to the fast-paced Singapore that I realised that I’d been missing out on the small, little, kind, silent considerations by people around me in Japan and Finland.

Some examples include–Why I “suddenly” got gifts that made me really happy, even though I didn’t remember mentioning that I liked those stuffs. Why certain people would “randomly” bump me and say “Moi!” at train stations at weird timings, even though I was clearly aware that they left way earlier. Why Finns never seem to be in a rush, in general!!😀

It’s probably a sense of rhythm that comes with the four seasons in Finland/Japan. And it is possible that since we only have one summer season throughout the year in Singapore, we lose this natural sense of rhythm.

The result is a tendency to be completely blind to nuances and the unspoken gentleness/consideration, which I actually do think many Singaporeans are. This is why I think Singaporeans talk so fast and so much. A peaceful sort of silence is like a totally rare commodity here. There is really a weak sense of the ephemerality of life in Singapore, since everything is so rushed and fast-paced. As a young country, we do pride ourselves on being rich and efficient after all.

I wish we could have more accounts/stories of what the “Finnish silence” is. (: This silence is actually a result of something very beautiful, precious, kind, even considerate. But sure, you need to be damn patient to realise that it is all of the above, instead of intepreting silence= “don’t care”. 

I’m actually pretty sure that the Japanese people know intuitively what this “kind/gentle” sort of silence is all about, that the West completely misses out and are unable to capture fully in words. Just that, perhaps, those accounts are in Japanese, and probably there might even be no account, because this sort of silence is so natural that Japanese folks don’t even see a need to point it out.

This kind/gentle sort of silence in Japanese is that which results from 優しさ, which has no equivalent English translation, haha.

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