"Ni modo" is a Spanish expression that I believe is unique to Mexico. There really isn't a direct translation to English, the best attempt would be "whatever" with a shrug of the shoulders. "You can't do anything about it so ni modo". I almost always hear this expression when someone has been screwed over but doesn't see a way to change the situation. "Eh, she cut in front of everyone in line, ni modo" or "I work fourteen hours a day for 100 pesos, ni modo". "The governor is stealing money and setting pedophiles free, ni modo".
In some ways I think this is an excellent approach to life, it would save millions of people from ulcers and heart attacks if they could say "ni modo" to all of life's daily problems. I have embraced this philosophy in order to face the daily hassles, or at least I try to and it has made me a much more relaxed and patient person. If Americans and Canadians could take a little "ni modo" lesson, there might not be such a huge pile of ridiculous lawsuits in the courts, they might see fewer incidents of road rage and crimes of passion and overall the world would just be a much nicer place. There is something to be said for the Mexicans relaxed attitude towards life's little glitches.
On the other hand, there is a reason that Mexico is still considered to be a developing country. With a long history of corruption in the government, it's difficult for any Mexican person to have trust that their vote and voice has any significance. This is a democratic country, but in talking to many Mexican people, they don't seem to fully understand what that should mean to them. With a population of 108,700,891, one would think that they citizens of Mexico would band together to make some changes. But, in a culture of "ni modo", they just go about their days, working their butts off and taking care of their families on extremely limited funds, with few rights as employees or homeowners or tenants or tax payers. This should be a very wealthy country, there is a plethora of natural resources and industries that in theory could make Mexico a powerful economic force. "In theory" being the key words. I am not saying that there are no politically minded Mexican people, there are, just not enough and just not enough money and support for their causes. One hundred million people should be able to get this country on track, but "ni modo". I am just an outsider looking in with a love for this country and its people. I often joke with my students that I will become the next Pancho Villa as I start the New Revolution, but I really don't think the mustache suits me. I'll just sit back and let The Beatles tell me everything is going to be alright. Ni modo.
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