domingo, 5 de octubre de 2008

What do Chileans think about gringos?

Nota: A pesar de que me parece lo más siútico del mundo escribir en inglés -especialmente en mi blog- esta entrada se justifica con un tema llevado a cabo por un grupo de bloggeros de habla inglesa (estadounidenses en su mayoría) en el cual el tema es la opinión de los chilenos respecto de los gringos y obviamente el idioma hablado por la mayoría de los bloggeros es el inglés. Dada la aclaración, abro el paso a la columna en cuestión.

Estos son los enlaces a los otros comentarios de los otros bloggeros, denles un vistazo

What do Chileans think about gringos? It'a damn funny question. The answer could actually span a really long comment, but let's try to keep it as short and readable as possible.

In my extremely personal point of view I could say that we perceive them as stupid. And naive. Both adjectives have really different meanings, the first meaning not educated or not cultured and the second being related to trustness. Now, before I get criticized I want to explain myself better. What do I exactly mean by stupid? Working as a customer care executive for Vonage I was able to talk to a lot of gringo customers that had issues with their phone service. And after trying to do my job the best I could I got to the point in which the traditionally professional chatting with the customers got a little bit "warmer", being constantly asked if I was British -mind you? British... hell no, proudly born and raised Chilean-. After my negative reply, they proceeded to inquire my location to which I repplied South America. After that I got lots of wacky answers, being the funniest the next one: "I'm in the south of America too, in Texas" which I repplied with a "no sir, I'm from South America, the southern part of the American continent". After that came the question "Which country is that" to which I followed with "Chile, my country's name is Chile" and ending in the surreal repply "like the pepper?"... "Yes sir, like the pepper" I answered while trying not to laugh. To me, that is STUPIDITY. Of course I know that is just a case in between millions of people, but conversations like that were usual in my past job. So I can say that there could be a point on what it's about the average gringo.

However, the gringo that travels is a whole different story. First of all, if they dared to travel outside the states is a big difference that in my opinion makes them culturally different. They are open to know different cultures and accept the challenge to go to a strange place. However, we can still see that they have these traits that I have decided to call "cultural flaws": not knowing anything about the countries they go to (in this case Chile), not trying to learn a little bit of the language spoken in the country (in this case Spanish), generally taking things for granted and pretending that they are the most important people in the streets. That is what I have heard to be referred as "the tourist gringo thing". To illustrate this point, I will comment some situations that constantly happened and I witnessed while I was a bellboy at a 5 stars hotel in Santiago. Generally we had this gringo guy with the flashy outfit (the funny shirt with palm trees, weird trousers and the even weirdiest mix of wearing sandals while wearing colorful socks that made you think if the guy was some kind of rainbow or if he was trying to make an entrance or whether he intendedly wanted to horrify the theory behind the mix of colors, just like chilean pokemones) and the expensive camera going out early in the morning to take a tour. Since we are supposed to care for our customers, the guys that were in the shifts with me tried to warn them about the sensitive topic of being careful with the cameras and other belongings. At this point we got 2 kinds of answers: thanks a lot or what the hell you just said. By some odd reason some of them felt offended and didn't care of what we told them, even though we didn't addressed the funny outfit (which we all wanted to do, but we couldn't since we're not supposed to put our noses in the style matter referred to customers). Sadly, too many times we experienced the comeback of a sad passenger 'cause he was just robbed. That sucks, specially when you think that lots of memories of a trip are stored in those electronic devices called cameras. Now, what I think is odd is that even though you warned them, half of them didn't care about it or felt offended, so we came to the conclusion that they felt like superheroes that couldn't be robbed or whatsoever. Now, I understand that is not their business if we in Santiago (not Chile) have the bad custom of robbing every single thing that we can, but what's weird is that if you're given an advice you should take it, specially if it comes from a person that is supposed to try to make your staying the best he can.
Anyways, mixed guilty parties on this one.

The other type of tourist is the guy that actually thanks your advice and tries the best to be friendly and learn about the country. That's my favorite tourist personally. They come back to the hotel and start small chatting about what they just saw in the tour, about what they learned and what caught their attention. They inquire about lots of topics, they want to know and show it. And they have another trait: if they don't know spanish, they learn a single phrase everyday. That makes them lovely. Of course sometimes some weird situations can be generated out of this, but is part of the game. I remember now some USA marines that were in Santiago due to an International Meeting regarding aeronautics called FIDAE. Those guys rocked and were funny. I really hate wars, military and stuff like that, but those guys were the funniest and warmest "tourists" I've ever known. There was one of them who learned -and practiced- a greeting every single day during his time here. You could see him in the morning saying "Buenos días" and also at 10pm when he was returning to the hotel greeting you with a "Buenos días". It didn't matter, he was the nicest guy on earth and learned a greeting to make you feel better as a bellboy. At the end of his staying he knew lots of bad words -which we let him know about- and greetings, as well to know exactly when to apply them. Besides, they had this really hot MILF that was a Lt... but that's another topic.

Conclusion of these type of gringos: nice at all, sometimes culturally flawed but extrmely good tippers (and that's something you thank after seeing all of us Chileans being so bad tippers or Argentineans that also are extremely cheap guys).

And now comes the third type of gringo I know. Before you continue reading, I want to make a disclaimer: if you're a gringo and hate me by now, I understand it. I'd actually hate myself, but keep reading, this is just getting better. The third type is the one in which most of the gringo people that I've befriended fit in. These are the guys that are not the crazy monkeys out in the streets of USA supporting Bush or any other mass-murderer president of the States (with the last one not being a murderer... the 16th president of the States, Mr. Lincoln). These are the guys (guys=boys and girls here) that come whether as a part of exchange programs or to work in Chile for some weird reason that I still don't fully understand. These are usually from the most diverse places around: from the fancy but frivolous and banal Big Apple to the "townish" small neighborhoods of Portland. These guys are usually out in search of new horizons, in search of cultural exchange and in search of some serious fun plus some seriuous and profound conversations. These people are actually the ones that have completely changed my mind about the typical fast food eating, funny clothes wearing and paranoid gringo stereotype that I always had before meeting them. They usually have taken classes of spanish while in the states in order to try to communicate with Chileans just to arrive and start feeling frustrated because of the twisted way (and sometimes evil ways, to use a Santana song) we speak spanish down here. They are usually the guys that you can see holding "Canto General" from Neruda, asking you questions about who were Violeta Parra, Gabriela Mistral, Vicente Huidobro or Víctor Jara, the ones that giggle warmly while seeing one of the many urban tribes in the center of Santiago and don't mind when being pointed out by the urban tribes for looking "different", the ones that will tell me that my look needs some serious improving or I'll end up looking like some kind of lumberjack or plainly like "Earl" from "My name is Earl" or the ones that stand amazed in front of my tv while I show them the "Alturas the Macchu-Picchu" DVD by "Los Jaivas". These guys are the ones that argue with me when it comes to politics, showing their insights that I don't know since I haven't grown up in the states. Also the girls are the ones that keep constantly teasing me about my musical likes and making fun of my "Al Bundy" tummy while I make fun of their insane diets that they go through in order to "look better" while they already look ok, the ones that have taught me the good things about slimfast, cheap kraft dinner and sour cream and the ones that end up loving the fact that I'll hold the door for them or will carry the bags even though at the beginning they felt offended. They are also the girls that have helped me with "Cosmo" tips to make my canadian gfriend happier and also have drank lots of good booze with me while holding an extremely interesting conversation.

The only thing that I dislike about gringos no matter which type of the described ones they are is the fact that they seem to me to be so paranoid in two aspects: thieves (which I can’t blame them so much ‘cause we’re good at robbing even though I’ve never been robbed in my whole life) and when it comes to the heritage: for me it’s annoying hearing the typical 21% Irish, 17% Dutch, 40% British and so on. To me it’s more like: I’m Gustavo and was born in Santiago, that’s all. It’s not that you don’t have to care about who your ancestors were but the fact of trying to know the percentages and make it look like something so important is disturbing –if not racist- to me.

So... what I could say is that stereotypes are everywhere: we have the stinky Frenchies, the Cold germans, the fat and ignorant gringos, the Chilean thieves, the horny garotas from Brazil and so on... but talking about stereotypes could be found anywhere so I thought it'd be better if I just let you all know a little bit more of my personal experiences with the gringos that so far have been very rewarding.
P.S.: The most astonishing to date was meeting a Texan kid that studied classical music and was an expert in playing the violin.

Thanks for reading.


18 comentarios:

Mamacita Chilena dijo...

Nice post, Gus! Thanks for participating, better late than never :) Y para la proxima si te da paja escribir en ingles...escribe en castallano no mas. Casi todas las blogueras (o por lo menos las que conozco en "la vida real," hablan sin problemas). Pero, tu ingles es excelente asi que participa en el proximo group blog como sea!

Con respeto a tus ultimas dos cosas que no te gustan de los gringos...

"The only thing that I dislike about gringos no matter which type of the described ones they are is the fact that they seem to me to be so paranoid in two aspects: thieves (which I can’t blame them so much ‘cause we’re good at robbing even though I’ve never been robbed in my whole life) and when it comes to the heritage: for me it’s annoying hearing the typical 21% Irish, 17% Dutch, 40% British and so on. To me it’s more like: I’m Gustavo and was born in Santiago, that’s all. It’s not that you don’t have to care about who your ancestors were but the fact of trying to know the percentages and make it look like something so important is disturbing –if not racist- to me."

The first part, about being paranoid, is because, like you said as a bellboy, you warned all the gringos you saw with a camera...well just think that after you warned them, their tour guide probably warned, then the bus driver probably warned them again, then their waiter probably warned them, and so on and so on. Yo encuentro que los chilenos son super paranoicos porque no pasa un dia en que alguien no me diga, "Ten cuidado con tus cosas!" I know they mean well, but I will say that it's definitely frustrating to have people repeating this to me every day, after I've lived here for 3 years now...I KNOW already! But, that being said, so many people telling me constantly that I'm going to get robbed, has made me more paranoid. I didn't use to be that way until I got to Chile.

As for the thing about saying your ancestory, everyone here does that too. You ask someone where they're from and they'll say, oh I'm French, when that person clearly doesn't speak a word of French, has never been to France in their life, but has a French passport and somehow identifies themselves as French because they're fourth generation or something. I feel like Chileans often use their European heritage to set themselves apart from so called "regular" Chileans because the classism here says that Europeans are somehow better than someone with sangre Mapuche....which is sad when the Mapuche culture is such a rich one.

lydia dijo...

very interesting. your ignorant gringo stories at the beginning cracked me up. its important to remember that every country has a handful of people that cause even embarrassment to the rest of the country even, not just outsiders.

i find your situations interesting in how you've dealt with different gringos. i agree with kyle in the paranoid thing, and what frustrated you in the hotel. if you figure that most every gringo at your hotel has probably made a few international trips before (not always true, but i would think its a fair guess that many south american travelers from the US have perviously explored europe or mexico for instance)... meaning they've been warned a zillion times about theives and by this point it can be annoying (i KNOW) and maybe the stubborn tradeoff of getting robbed is worth the risk rather than not taking pictures.

i like what you said about tipping but cant quite phrase it. it brings the thought that i like when tourists give tips more to the standards they would've back home because thats what they feel the service is worth, and arent content about taking advantage of the lower standards in the country they're traveling in. ...or maybe they don't know.
i always feel uncomfortable here when we go out to a bar and someone claims that we leave less tip because its optional, especially if we did have good service. ... cant express exactly.

anyway , great post. many of us had email notifications for further responses on the group blog. i hope they get to this.

Emily dijo...

Great post. You said you understand if we hate you - I definitely don't because you differentiated among the different groups of gringos. I live here, speak Spanish, take care of my things, don't wear sock with sandals, etc, and the stupid tourists that you described at the beginning annoy me just as much as they annoy Chileans! Maybe even more so because their actions cause people to treat me like one of them and think that everyone from my country is that way (even though often Brits, Germans and others are guilty of doing the same things and dressing the same way!).

I think it's important to remember that the US is a huge country, with people from all over the world. It's impossible to generalize about all of us at once, but I think you got the three main types.

nicole dijo...

I dated a Salvadoran who used to accuse gringos of the ancestry thing as well, but he used to boast all the time about how his grandfather was from Spain. I found it very hypocritical and annoying. Somehow he didn't see that he was doing exactly what he was accusing others of, maybe because the "others" were gringos in that case.

I do admit though, when people try to narrow down their heritage to specific percentages (21% french, 45% irish, etc) that does tend to be a little ridiculous. But I find nothing wrong with wanting to know about how your family came to be, who came from where, how they got there and what they had to go through to create your family that exists today. In no way is that racist. Racist people could definitely use this as a way to justify their twisted beliefs about themselves and others, but just because someone knows their family history, it does not make them racist.

Amanda dijo...

Thanks for your post, Gus. You know, the funny thing is when people ask me where I'm from, I say, without pause, "I'm from Pennsylvania." When that confused Chileans, (or when I got sick of people making vampire jokes - they do that, a lot) I would just say, "I'm from New York, because I was actually living in New York at the time.

But it's usually the Chileans, (especially my suegro) who push to know what my exact genetic heritage is. I never really talked about it before, except maybe when other gringos ask me, "Where is your last name from?" because it's a completely uncommon one without a distinctive origin.'

My husband's family also loves to say, "We're half Italian" or plain old "We are Italian." On paper, they are, passports in all. Although, when you actually look at the numbers, they are really like 1/4 to 1/8 Italian" depending on the generation.

I might talk about my (own) Italian side of the family, or the Ukranian one, because there are still really pertinent aspects of those cultures that I see in concrete ways. We're a little more "fresh off the boat" in a sense. For example: My grandfather didn't speak English and lived isolated on a farm with his Ukranian parents until he was 8 years old and someone made him start school. This sort of thing is really common for people in the U.S. There are strong Ukranian traditions that still exist in my family. People might tell you, "Well I'm half Irish and half Brooklyn" because they ACTUALLY are, like their father was actually born and bred in Ireland.

I feel like a lot of the Chileans have simply been there longer and in a way dropped their older cultures, they have adopted the "same" culture almost, the Chilean one. And a lot of people here in the States have different cultures within our "American" culture, that might not be as easy to see or understand unless you actually go to family events or celebrate different holiday traditions.

For example, my husband's Italian side of the family in no way cooks "Italian food," they cook Chilean food or whatever JUMBO labels Italian food. It's still good, nonetheless. My mom's side of the family though, actually does cook pretty authentic Sicilian food. It tastes different than "Americanized" Italian, too.

So I don't know, I think it's a pretty complex subject. Not exactly about racism. I think our cultural backgrounds are a lot more expanded and complex than you'd expect.

Gus dijo...

Gracias por sus comentarios

Kyle: even though I agree that a big part on the paranoid feeling towards security in our society is given by the fact that we as a Santiaguino society are overly worried (in my opinion) about security because of the work done by the media (and also being ironic that Santiago is one of the safest capital cities in Latin America if not the safest of all of them) it also comes from the society structure of the States (or from the big cities of the States in order to be a little bit more accurate). Images come to my mind about this issue: the paranoid news reports broadcasted by FOX, CNN and similars. Also, I'd like to agree a factor from popular -junk- culture like the one derived from movies: Have you noticed that in almost every single movie from Hollywood that is related to drug dealers, weapon traffic or anything like that the archetypical thug or bad guy is always a latino or a middle eastern guy? Sick fact, if you ask my opinion.

About the ancestry thing, I've always thought that it's a really important thing knowing where you come from. But knowing where you come from for real: in Chile the mapuche influence is over 90%. And we have the funny situation in which we hear families saying "we're half -put here any european country- and half -put another european country-. Ridiculous. I mean, "watch our cheekbones" or "realize how our hair grows" or "look at our skin tone". We have the traits of them, we are the product of 500 of years of mixing races in between spanish conquistadores and mapuche people that is nearly impossible in lots of cases tracing down the specific roots. And even though lots of people keep thinking of themselves as pure europeans. Of course there have been lots of immigration movements over the recent years, but anyone can still trace their roots to mapuches. I can't agree more with you on that, we should be proud of our ancestry.
However, I think that the common hostility towards thinking of mapuche ancestry is product of ignorance on the very roots and origins of our spanish conquistadores: when they arrived they were well known for being rude, ignorant people with little respect for the land, culture and humankind. There were exceptions too like Alonso de Ercilla. But the vast majority arrived here escaping from crimes comitted in Spain, escaping from poverty and just in search of gold, nothing else. La "crème de la crème" from Spain.

Gracias por tu comentario y si alguna vez te llega a interesar más este tema te recomiendo un interesante libro: "Las venas abiertas de América Latina" de Eduardo Galeano. Sin duda un libro que ahonda en estos temas.

Lyidia: the people from the States are well known to be good tippers, so don't worry on that. You can have them behaving like the worst customers when it comes to manners (which isn't that common either) but they always leave good tips. Is a thing of culture I think: gringos are more used (my opinion) to think of themselves more than customers than citizens so everything that is related to products, services and more are always addressed as a really important part of their lives hence you have them having the best manners when it comes to be a customer and therefore tipping.

And the camera thing: I understand how painful it could get being reminded that you could get robbed but belive me: if it were for me, I wouldn't be so "pushy" in terms of security. I'd rather warn them in a funny way (which I used to do back when I worked at the hotel: the best way to communicate something -specially when that something is a harsh fact- is using humour.

Muchas gracias por tu comentario.

Emily: people from the world are guilty of behaving stupidly or annoyingly (Germans, Frenchies, you name them). It's just that since the post was about gringos, I addressed them. But I can't agree more with you on that.

Nicole: we all (as human race) criticize the rest and accuse them of our own "sins". It's a thing that separates us as humankind from the rest of the beings in the world.

Regarding the heritage thing, I find annoying trying to know every percentage. Maybe it's because I don't really know or care of mine. However I do know that there's a little bit of British from my mother side: they arrived in the early 20th century to work in the mines in the North of Chile. As far as I know some of them were hardworking people and the rest of them were drunk rats that used to rape the locals. Nothing to feel to proud of. Anyways, that was the lesser amount, 'cause the rest of my mother's family come from the South of Chile where all of them were "mestizos" (mixed race), product of centuries of mixing between spanish and Mapuches. So all I can do is trying to honour them everyday, specially the Mapuches since I fell more connected to their beliefs: respect the land, respect your surroundings, fight for your right to work and protect the land. But sometimes it gets difficult to do that being born and raised in the city, but I try.

Muchas gracias por tu comentario.

Amanda: ignorance is everywhere. The usual Pennsylvania jokes are usually mentioned by people who have little respect of themselves: trying to look funny without ever reading a geography book in their whole life. My apologies in their name.

Also, as you mention your suegro is the one that pushes to know: I don't know him and in any way I want to be offensive with them, but to me it looks that he is a perfect example of "arribismo" from Santiaguinos. My society is well known in the rest parts of Chile for being pretenders, trying to look something that we are not. Trying to address how foreigner, well educated, well mannered we are and I just remembered something that my father in law use to tell my gfriend: don't lip talk, but ACT. How you act and how you behave is what ultimately will demonstrate who you are. Besides, I find no use in asking someone where you come from if it's just to tell your buddies "My little champ son is married with a girl from the States that has roots in whatever European country". Senseless. Believe me that if your ancestry is traced back to Philippines or India nobody would bother in asking.

The jumbo italian food cracked me up. There's not a more accurate way to picture that. If I'm gonna say somebody "my family come from the UK" I'd better be prepared to show what do I keep from there or better not talk about it.

And I also agree with you in the fact that we have been here since the middle 1500. That's why ours is a mixed race. Ages of mixing have given the result of a more homogeneous population: the chileno. However, as a product of all these years living in this land has droven us to the point in which we end up having no idea who the fuck we are or where do we come from, hence having no identity at all. Specially in big cities. People here don't know anything about their past, about the traditions and about the country. I just remeber that I almost was punched at a party when I started asking with one of my cousins what were we celebrating september the 18th. Of course we could have run like a pair of disgustings smartasses, but the lack of knowledge about the country is something sad for me. And the lack of knowledge of people who helped us develop until today. And that's what you have as a foreigner: watching all of us wandering in a land in which nobody wants to acknowledge the obvious roots we have but prefer to be part of something that isn't that real.

Muchas gracias por tu comentario.

A todas: muchas gracias por sus comentarios y es interesante poder compartir puntos de vista sobre lo que ustedes ven desde su punto de vista acerca de mi sociedad y lo que yo he podido presenciar de la vuestra.

Anónimo dijo...

To Gus:

The one thing I always find funny is how someone from Chile, France, England etc... always want to point out how gringos are "stupid"
Having traveled and lived in Chile let me point out my observations. In Chile there is no individulaism. If one Chilean buys a North FAce jacket, then every Chilean will have one. You have the same core 30 people on Tv for the last 30 years regardless of their talent or popularity. You only demonstrate the fact that you are en el fondo jealous of americans. Chileans criticize gringos but copy everything aboout them. Chileans follow american culture like a dog follows there master on a leash. As for the american girls that i have met that marry Chileans it is always the case that they are the type of girls that could never function in a normal relationship with a gringo so they have to go south of the border to fine a mate. As to my previous point if an american tourist got off the plane in Santiago wearing only his underwear. Chileans would be walking around in there underwear aa year later. Chileans love to hate americans but when the big earthquake hits we will be the first they scream to for help. You are so sinico Gus to have a Canadian girlfriend. You are the type of Chilean that Pinochet so faithfully rid this earth of. Drink your nescafe and shove a piece of pan in your mouth.

fed up gringo

Gus dijo...

Sorry to have hurt your feelings.

I will try to be a better person, just like your beloved dictator was.

The only thing you just did was contributing to the stereotype of the ignorant gringo: you don't know how to write in Spanish (¿qué mierda es un sinico?) and not even in your own language. Thank God you're just a stereotype and not all the gringos are the same.

No me tomaré el nescafé, ya que no me gusta el café. Sin embargo creo que sí comeré un pan, pues nunca está de más. Pero tú... tú mejor deja las donas de lado e intenta leer un libro. No quemará tus ojos, tampoco te hará pensar como un "commie" ni te hará comer guaguas. Y si de paso apagas la TV, te ayudará mucho.

I have some tunes for you, my friend:

This is you

This is what's funny about you

And this is what you might consider

Best regards anonimo

Sincerely, Gus

Anónimo dijo...

I never said that my castellano was good. I can tell by your response that I touched a nerve in you and as we say in North America I hit the nail on the head. I know you understood what I meant and that there is so much truth in what i have written. You are from a middle to lower class background and have the esperanza that your canadian girlfriend will take you to a better life. Anyone who hates Bush or USA as much as you do cannot be from the upper class. You sit back and blame the USA for your life when all the US does is dish out loan after loan to countries like yours to teach you guys how to wipe your ass. You are the typical example that Pinochet did such a great job of ridding the country of during the 70's. If it were up to a general vote in the USA of should we export to South America, erase past debts and share our technology; the majority of the population would vote NO. You would be blogging on a stone tablet and eating grapes. Please tell me one thing that Chileans have invented or discovered in there short history. The USA is a younger democracy than Chile and look what we have accomplished compared to your thieving dumbass. We went to the moon and back and you beg for a handout>>

Anónimo dijo...

I will make sure to look out for you Gus when I am in Chile. You always do a good job taking my bags to my room and shining my shoes. Keep blogging and reading your socialist newspapers. You might make it to head bell boy. That is the one good thing about Chilean society that I like. If you are born poor you will always be poor. I think it keeps ignorant mapuches like you from pulling a Chavez or like your buddy in Bolivia. You can't have a campesino running the country. Don't forget to warn us gringos about theft since we are so stupid. While us stupid gringos are touring your country having a good time; you smart chileans can stay back at the hotel lobby and talk politics and shine those shoes. I want to see my reflection in those shoes. If you do a good job I might give you a 100 pesos to buy some more books to look educated while your on the metro. Like the Argentine soccer coach once said- Chileans are the trabajadores....

Anónimo dijo...

estoy esperando- I can give you the answer. The answer is nothing.
Chileans have not contributed anything to the world other than the annual fruit they export. Very stupid and closed minded. Look at the whole catastrophy in Haiti. I watch the Chilean news channels waiting for a fund raiser or even a mention of the happening in Haiti-- Nothing. If it isn't happening in Chile the typical Chilean is selfish. You guys are overdue for a big one and when it happens make sure you do not take any hand outs from the americans when they fly in to help. Ask your partido socialista or Allende's spirit for help. If I could hate one thing about Pinochet it would be that he didn't finish the Job!!! Anda la Mierda!!! Comunista de Mierda!!!

lydia dijo...

anonimo you are spamming my inbox with just the ignorance this post chose to reflect upon to start out with.

its like you took my comment above and chose to personally illustrate it
"its important to remember that every country has a handful of people that cause even embarrassment to the rest of the country even, not just outsiders."

you have points which hold some truth but whatever youre so bitter about is spinning them out of proportion to the point you sound ridiculously xenophobic. (lack of individualism- right on, centered on own country-sure, pinochet, contributions to the world,'re not hitting the mark and only going downhill)

I'm not saying shut up but give a second, logical, thought to your statements

Just because you (watching chilean news from afar?) haven't seen it doesn't mean its nonexistent. The numbers may not match up to those of other countries that have more to give or even more of a giving atmosphere, but Chile has not been nonexistent in the issue of Haiti. I have Chilean friends that were serving with the UN in Haiti since before the earthquake hit, and have heard of many successful fundraisers since. Having lived here I'm surprised you didn't pick up on the fact that putting together a large scale successful impromptu fundraiser to be picked up by the news isn't an easy task. Its more likely those that can may even have been contributing through measures started by the international community.

Though, I wouldn't expect you to take in anything I say, I'm just another nonfunctional gringa refuging here in search of a mate

Anónimo dijo...

I appreciate your non-attacking advice. I understand what you mean by my comments. Mine were aimed at Gus. I know it is normal for a Gringa or Gringo when living in another country to be a guata de foca. You will criticize your country more than usual to gain some kind of acceptance from the locals. I am sure you are younger than me. I lived in Chile back in 1990 and have visited many times since and the things i have discussed have never changed. There are more fast food choices, starbucks etc... but the Chilean manerisms are the same. I met many people like Gus during my travels who hate Bush or Reagan or whoever but can never give a credible reason why they hate them. The chilean national channel is supposed to be run by the government but employs mostly expatriats from Canada, Spain, etc.. The majority hold socialist views and hence fill the locals heads with negative images of the USA. The people of south america do not realize the generosity and compassion of the American people. My point was that Chileans only help themselves and the rich in Chile only help the fellow rich. Very self centered society. The Gustavos of Chile are taught by leftist anti-american teachers who develop a scapegoat for all the social woes of the country. My point before is that the USA is a younger country than Chile. Who did they blame before the USA existed for their problems, Spain? Conquistadors? Why do you think they gave some of the best land away back in the 1800s to any Europeans who would immigrate to the south and open hospitals etc...
They didn't have the know how to do it themselves. It isn't xenophobic. I am just stating the facts. Show me different. I won't bother your blog anymore as to not hurt your chances of finding your little Fidel. Just head this warning. The federal government monitors sites such as this for anti american retoric from so called US citizens. Don't be surprised to find yourself on a watch list if your not careful.

Gus dijo...


Since you decided to write in a more mature way (maybe I did hit your nerve hard given the "teen-brat" tone of your first 3 comments), I'll try to do my best and will assume that at the other side of the screen there is an adult capable of understanding facts and not just a hot minded little kid.

Al hablar de las costumbres de mi país, tienes algo de razón. Siendo un chileno nacido y criado en Santiago me doy cuenta y experimento de primera fuente las siutiquerías propias de los habitantes de mi ciudad. Veo día a día gente individualista, centrada en sí misma y que muchas veces les importa mantener las apariencias más que cualquier otra cosa. Asimismo, leo y escucho día a día en los más diferentes ámbitos a personas que intentan "agringarse", usando modismos propios de E.E.U.U. entremedio de sus frases (como una carta reciente del columnista Patricio Navia al entonces candidato y recientemente presidente electo Sebastián Piñera: "Creo que serás un mejor Presidente que Frei, y al final it comes down to that. Desconfío de mucha gente en la Alianza, especialmente en la UDI. Pero al final, los capitanes son más importantes que la tripulación, y tú eres mejor capitán que Frei".PATRICIO NAVIA), símbolo inequívoco de una siutiquería tremenda a mi juicio. Sin embargo, cabe recordar que esto pasa mayoritariamente en el entorno de los santiaguinos y que Santiago NO ES CHILE. Habiendo viajado por mi país, me doy cuenta que tu punto es cierto, pero aplicable mayoritariamente a Santiago y a las ciudades "grandes" de mi país, léase Viña del Mar, Concepción, Temuco y Santiago. Pero eso no constituye la realidad de un país completo, especialmente cuando se puede acotar tal comportamiento al de una clase media-alta pujante, deseosa de tapar sus propios ripios e inseguridades en una imagen de plástico que proyectar en aras de intentar lograr una mayor aceptación y roce a nivel social y económico.

Por otra parte, creo que considerar la legítima crítica al propio país como una maniobra de "guata de foca" es, por decir lo menos, peyorativizar al interlocutor. Si a mí me preguntan ¿Cómo es tu sociedad? lo mínimo (y más racional) que puedo hacer es sacarme la bandera del culo y despojarme de chovinismos baratos para hablar con la mayor objetividad posible (algo que un limítrofe como Toby Keith no puede hacer por ejemplo), ergo, si el objetivo es proveer una opinión medianamente racional y objetiva, claro está.

Gus dijo...

Dices que conociste muchos "Gustavos" que odian a Bush o a Reagan sin una razón debidamente fundamentada y que eso se debe a que tales "Gustavos" son personas manipuladas por prensa y educación que ocuparían a los E.E.U.U. y sus imprudentes presidentes como chivos expiatorios para distraer la atención de los propios problemas dentro del país. Nuevamente estás en un error. Primero, porque no creo que hayas conocido siquiera una persona como yo (no veo de qué manera podrías haber frecuentado los espacios que yo frecuento, tanto física como académicamente). Segundo, porque sí tengo razones -no para odiar, pero sí para criticar y reírme- de las decisiones políticas asociadas a tales personajes. Lo que criticas de mi país (manejo de la prensa) no existe precisamente en el sentido que tú crees, sino en el inverso. El manejo se hace desde la prensa dominada por el duopolio emol-copesa, manejado por capitales pertenecientes al sector conservador-derechista en los que se pregona el aprecio por la ¿cultura? estadounidense, capitalismo y demases chifladuras neoconservadoras. Lo que me achacas es precisamente lo que te hace tener una visión tremendamente equivocada de la realidad. Por algo te recomendé apagar la TV y abrir un libro, porque tu pensamiento ejemplifica el típico pensamiento del gringo promedio, el cual tiene su mente envenenada por la propaganda proveniente de las cadenas de ¿noticias? propiedad del magante Rupert Murdoch. El canal nacional (TVN), está compuesto en su directorio por miembros elegidos por parte del presidente de turno (en este caso, Michelle Bachellet y después del 11 de marzo por Sebastián Piñera) que luego deben ser ratificados por el Senado. En el resto de la planilla se encuentran empleados que entran por concurso o como "operadores políticos" del gobierno de turno, pero siempre son chilenos, no extranjeros como tú lo mencionas. Y la visión editorial (lo digo porque lo veo día a día) dista mucho de ser antigringa, siendo más cercana a una de respeto y hasta veneración por la nación de la comida rápida.

Al respecto del desprecio a gente como Bush, la lista de razones por las cuales hacerlo es inacabable. Pero a fines de no extenderme tanto, puedo mencionar: tortura en Abu Grahib, encarcelamientos sin juicio en Guantánamo los cuales no se rigen por las Convenciones de Ginebra. Quizás (y anticipándome a una respuesta tuya) puedas argumentar que la situación en tales contextos no permite el respeto por tales normas. Sin embargo, un conflicto reciente como el de las Islas Malvinas que enfrentó a Argentina y el Reino Unido sí respeto tales convenciones. En la medida de lo posible nuevamente, pero se respetaron.
Otra razón es la vergüenza ajena de ver a un presidente emitiendo comentarios tan estúpidos, el poco manejo en cuanto a habilidades sociales y su deficiente conocimiento del mundo y capacidad de enfrentar conflictos de manera racional hacen de Bush el presidente más ridículo de los últimos tiempos (y peleando codo a codo con el dictador Pinochet que tanto te gusta sacar a colación). De Reagan sólo puedo decir que no me genera confianza alguien que haya trabajado codo a codo con alguien tan nefasto como Milton Friedman y que su invasión a Centroamérica sólamente sigue el borreguismo y políticas de intervencionismo de otros presidentes de E.E.U.U.

Gus dijo...

Con respecto al punto de no darse cuenta de la "compasión de los gringos"... creo que no resiste análisis. Es casi un llanto de niño pequeño de tu parte buscando que te digan "tan buenito que eres, te felicito". Si no tienes comprensión lectora no es mi problema, pero claramente dije que una cosa es el estereotipo y otro son las realidades con las que a uno le toca enfrentarse. En este caso particular, una cosa es criticar el manejo a nivel de gobierno y la otra es odiar a toda una nación. Aunque cabe notar que los que eligieron a Bush en las urnas fueron ustedes, no otras personas en el mundo.

Tampoco he tenido profesores "izquierdistas anti gringos". Por el hecho de haber tenido una educación particular, ese tipo de visiones no son populares en tales establecimientos.

Y para ir redondeando, la democracia yanqui no es más joven que la chilena. Chile consiguió la independencia completa del reino de España en 1826, y ustedes en 1776. Nos aventajan en 50 años. Y sí, Chile sigue siendo un país en el que en general los ricos ayudan a los ricos y los pobres están cada día más pobres. Y eso es una gran herencia del nefasto Milton Friedman y sus teorías nacidas en la escuela de economía de Chicago, algo que hasta el día de hoy nos sigue hundiendo como sociedad desigual. No se trata de culpar a E.E.U.U. de los problemas locales, eso lo puedes esperar de cualquier persona menos de mí, sino que se trata de darse cuenta de las cosas que pasan mediante hechos probados y comprobables por cualquiera.

Y no te preocupes que no ando buscando a Fidel, ya que es otro dictador (con más pros que contras, pero dictador al fin y al cabo). Sin embargo te emplazo a que leas. Que te informes. Que dejes de ser el típico gringo come mcdonald's y que tanto dolor produjo en tu pequeño mundo interno al leer la crítica fundamentada que aquí escribí. Si no quieres mejorar y prefieres seguir siendo igual de limitado que Landon Donovan, está bien, hay espacio en el mundo para todos, incluso para ignorantes como tú. Pero no me vengas a llenar de estupideces el blog, que a final de cuentas el que sigue quedando como un pobre ignorante eres tú y no yo.

P.S.: Sorry Lidia for the spam this might cause in your inbox. Will try to not make it happen again

Anónimo dijo...

Hi Gus.

I'm sure you're aware that this topic is a minefield. No wonder that some fed up dudes, took offense and came up shooting back. I can actually relate to them as I've been also abroad, at a time when my spoken Eng. was about kindergarten level :)

Being an engineer and a fan of psychology and social sciences, I've been lucky to visit the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, as well as GA, TN and NY in the States, invited by US and european companies.
Always enjoyed comparing the oddities of the Anglo way of thinking, to those from my (Chilean) family, my country, or my GF's Argentinian/Italian family.

IMO, one of the worst things of being a newcomer, is the sense of losing your sense of humor and irony, which makes all the difference between looking smart or just the average foreigner struggling with the language -whatever it was.

Americans and Chileans share some sharp irony and pun jokes, though gringos are more subtle with sarcasm, with the ability of dropping the message without offending you. Chileans have a more blatant, acid humor, sometimes a bit blunt.
The end result of this culture shock, are gringos totally lost with Chile's hell of a slang, or shocked at chileans teasing each other with racial terms like "negrito", "chino", "cholo" etc.

At the other end, Chileans might look dumb or naive in front of gringos teasing them, until the gringo switches to "in-your-face" mode -assuming the consequences, of course.
Think that humble rescued miner at the David Letterman Show: Even though I enjoyed the interview as much as anyone, I'm sure that Edison Peña would behave way more formal in a spanish-spoken show.

Bottomline: the best smartphone of the world is useless, if you can't join the network, and the smartest ass can be misjudged when the language is a factor.

I'm specially understanding with those funny gringos, because I was also the odd one when I was abroad.

Excelente blog, saludos!

Anónimo dijo...
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