THE FACES OF BRAZIL                                                How Brazil is seen abroad and how it is in fact - Brazilian News
By Ângela Trevisol and Guilherme Ramires
November 29th, 2012             

If anyone has never been to Brazil, they can have preconceived ideas about the country. These ideas come from daily news about the nation and from movies, made by filmmakers who try to illustrate our reality. Sometimes, media just demonstrates the negative points of Brazil as in news, showing tragedies, poverty, corruption, banditry, et cetera. In addition to that, foreign movies made lately have just demonstrated the negative points about our country; by the word ‘lately’, we mean since 1970, in which we can see in the films “Blame it on Rio,” “L’homme du Bresil,” “Anaconda,” and, more recently, “Turista,” productions that show, beyond a negative point, a false view of Brazil. But how can this view be corrected? How can we show a true image, or the nearest of a true image of a country? Showing the truth is our purpose; and we did that through a survey, in which foreigners from Asia answered some questions.
According to an interview that we did to Asian foreigners at UFRGS about their view of Brazil, we got some points of view about our culture: one point that was known by them before coming to Brazil, and another point that they got after coming. During this survey, which we carried out about the view of our country in the eyes of the others, we noticed a curious division about our nation that is made abroad that was in the Asians’ answers: Brazil is divided into jungle and beach (Rio de Janeiro). Obviously that this is not a truth, but what it really means is that people abroad just know one single story about our country, a story told usually by those who do not know Brazil utterly, in its complexity. We refer to media, which has the power of inputting a lot of true and false information about anything, anywhere, any people and any nation. Brazil, for example, is known abroad as the land of carnival, a popular party which occurs in our single mentioned city, Rio. The rest is the jungle. But once here, our interviewees told us they got another point of view; they reported to us that our country has also a northern and a southern culture, which they did not know. So they concluded that Brazil was much more than they had seen before; much more than just samba and carnival.

Another view commonly noticed is that Brazil is known abroad for soccer. Not extending our arguments, we have to say just that, fortunately or unfortunately, it is not the country of the soccer, because our soccer has been, lately, a failure in both the Olympics and the World Cup. If we could choose a sport to represent Brazil in the next years, it would be fair to choose volleyball whose team has done their best around the world in championships. Getting back to our focus, we have indeed a lot of characteristics that can represent our country, but not just one. Our country must be known for all the culture it has: the southern people, the gaúchos, the chimarrão (gaúchos’ most popular drink), the Kaigang people (the Brazilian Indians), the Olinda dolls, the Bahian food, our telenovelas. At last, our country prescinds from culture; it is rich and its richness must be respected as much as any other country’s.
On the other hand, there is something the interviewees said that is in agreement with the native Brazilian Portuguese speakers’ opinion: the difficulty in learning the Portuguese grammar (by the traditional method). The worst part for them to learn is the grammar class of the verbs, which has lots of possible conjugations (like the verb “amar”, which means “to love” and that has eighty-nine possible ways to conjugate).

Asians, who came from China and Korea, answered to some questions. The first impression they had of Brazilians, especially after knowing Brazil, was the joy of the Brazilian people. They said Brazilians are very friendly and hospitable, are always smiling and have a lot of passion. We could notice that they spoke very sincerely, because now their view is no longer that of someone who has never met a Brazilian person; now they live with us, they are like us.

Despite many qualities attributed to Brazil, we must not forget that we also have defects, and, in opposition to what we think, foreigners spoke open-minded about it. They said, for example, the streets here in Brazil are very dirty; there is trash everywhere, which gives an impression of a city without organization. Moreover, according to the foreigners in Brazil, things take a long time to happen; you have to wait in long queues for having a lunch, making copies, going to the bathroom and so on. They do not stand it.

By the way, the fact that UFRGS was on strike was a cultural shock to them, because the Asian people use their time for just studying hard, not for “wasting” time – Because what they think about the strikes is that they are a waste of time. “In country, China, there is no strike, and there it is forbidden”, they said. “But here in Brazil you just want to strike,” concluded the interviewee. In this case, the foreigners did not form a view based on stereotypes or on media propagandas; the impressions were taken by the coexistence of these people here in Brazil.

We got also another aspect about what they used to think of Brazil, when they were in their country: they soon imagined handsome boys and beautiful girls. And this can be true: we have one of the most beautiful and most well paid top models, Gisele Büdchen. Our girls are just as gorgeous: they have a “tanned body”, because our great sun all over the year.

Of course we are not just known for our girls’ beauty, but we have talented people too. For example, our music is known all over the world, especially for Bossa Nova (Elis Regina and Tom Jobim). We also have great divas as Maria Bêthania, who can make you fall in love; and Ivete Sangalo, who can make you get happy and get off the floor. The foreigners even know us for our other singers like Michel Teló and Roberto Carlos.

It’s not only in the music that we are well known, but our writers are as just amazing. We have one of the most translated writers ever, and even if we Brazilian do not like him, the foreigners do: he is Paulo Coelho. There is also Veríssimo, and what about him? He is one of the funniest writers all over the world that makes us to be known for our happiness.

The foreigner also commented about another aspect of our culture: our food. They said that our candies are sweeter and our food, in general, is saltier. Of course that it is like this, how could it be different? We are strong even in the food. And more, it’s delicious despite of the fact that is just “meat, meat, meat and meat” – sentence said by an interviewee about his preferred food.
6/29/2013 14:25:22

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