Just curious whether you have same experience on this cultural difference - I’m Czech, and I’m not smiling. We Czechs are also sometimes humiliating you expats and also each other among ourselves. Each one of us has been told of by a shop assistant because of not having the right change, being ironically laughed at in the office because of not knowing something, or humiliated by a random stranger for whatever reason.
Why? Because past regimes has taught us to do so and we are not even aware anymore of doing it. Our previous leaders needed people with certain mindset. They needed us to be fearful, anonymous, unified, inferior, without self confidence because such people are easy to control. Opposite of unique happy self-confident individuals not afraid to be themselves and smile. One way how to create fearful, inferior individual is to humiliate him whenever there is a sign of individualism, own opinion or self-confidence. Humiliation stops the unwanted behavior. Teachers, parents, waiters, government employees, gate keepers were given ultimate power and had done it to us to keep us fearful and in-line and later we did it to each other too considering it normal.
I know it has been long time since gatekeepers had ultimate power in Czech but the mindset stays for generations. And we can’t see it, nobody is pointing it out for us. Expats are overwhelmed by dealing with the feelings it is causing and hardly know what is going on. So how we can address it?