10 things I hate about being a British Pakistani

The wiry beards on the chins of teenage boys from Bradford to Bristol are already looking a bit passé, fellas.


Anealla Safdar September 11, 2011

1.   The fundamentalist fashion. The wiry beards on the chins of teenage boys from Bradford to Bristol are already looking a bit passé, fellas. Props for predicting the ankle-swinger trend before it became universally fashionable, though.

 

2.    The lack of progression. I’ve only been to Pakistan three times, but it’s clear our native Pakistani brethren are years ahead of us in terms of ideas, fashion and entertainment. Your women wear sleeveless kurtis with jeans, we’re still in patiala shalwars. Let’s use our politicians as a crude metaphor: you have Hina Rabbani Khar, we’ve got Sayeeda Warsi.

 

3.    The pitiful selection of spouses. Is it just me or are we facing a bit of a crisis here girls? It seems we have a few options. 1. The Cousin 2. The Rudeboy 3. The Mummy’s Boy who won’t leave his postcode 4. The Imam wannabe 5. The Party Animal or 6. A mixture of 4 and 5, depending on which day of the week it is.

 

4.    The need for role models. Apart from the boxer Amir Khan — and he really doesn’t have universal appeal — we have none. I’m not talking about ‘successful people’ here, I mean genuinely famous ones. On the Wikipedia page for ‘List of British Pakistanis’ our famous ones include a fictional television character, a Michael Jackson impersonator and someone called Nigel Le Vaillant.

 

5.    The outrage at mixed marriages. We arrived in Britain a very long time ago. Aunties, Uncles, larkis and larkas, it’s natural that a few of us will marry white (or even black) people.

 

6.    The feeling of inadequacy. Although British Pakistanis have formed a strong community of our own, the facts remain unchanged. We will always just be a bunch of BBCDs to ‘real’ Pakistanis or a load of ‘Pakis’ to the (far rightish) British people.

 

7.    The invasion of privacy. My father has nicknamed one of my Aunties ‘Radio Pakistan’. You might have thought Twitter was the quickest way to spread information/gossip. That is, of course, until you meet this Aunty and many others like her.

 

8.    The expectation that we can all speak Urdu. Jinnah didn’t speak it well and desi films have subtitles now, so there are enough excuses not to be fluent. Don’t be surprised that to some, Urdu might as well be Swahili.

 

9.    The “Are you X?” question. Fill X in with any other brown race you can think of. “No, I’m Pakistani!” should be tattooed on my forehead.

 

10.    The assumption that all Britpaks know each other. There are more than a million of us here. Although most of us come from the same region (i.e. somewhere in the Punjab), no I really don’t know your doctor, taxi driver or the lady who taught you how to make a curry last year.

Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, September 11th,  2011.

COMMENTS (48)

BritPak | 7 months ago | Reply

Finding this in 2021 and wow this is some cringy self-flagellating un-funny stuff. Congrats

Qureshipk | 10 years ago | Reply

Great!

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