I Came Here an Immigrant – I’m an Expat Now! (Or, Why Foreigners Are Better Placed to Live the British Dream Than You)

(This article was originally published in the Huffington Post)

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There’s no such thing as the British Dream, of course. Once you’ve ruled the world only to lose the lot, there’s not really anywhere to go from there, is there? The humiliation has left liberal Brits politely mumbling apologies and the not so liberal to wail over how the country has gone to the dogs, neither ever really expecting to win anything.

Which means the British Dream belongs to the immigrant. The immigrant doesn’t moan about the weather, or worry that foreigners are ruining job prospects. Unlike the Grumpy Old Brit, the immigrant thinks Britain is really rather great as it goes.

I certainly did when I landed here as a bud-budding teenager in the 80s. I loved everything about this country. Continue reading “I Came Here an Immigrant – I’m an Expat Now! (Or, Why Foreigners Are Better Placed to Live the British Dream Than You)”

Muslamic Reagans: Why the Boom in Bangladesh is About Money Not Bombs

(This article  was originally published in Huffington Post)

The gunmetal silver Lotus Roadster thunders into the car park of the 12th largest shopping centre in the world, the Bashundhara City Mall. The boys and girls smoking and flirting in the more commonplace GT-Rs and Toyotas nod in respect, in time to the new Prodigy album that comes screeching in its wake. It’s just the kind of thing to get everyone in the mood for Mad Max: Fury Roadshowing upstairs at the giant StarCineplex.

The young girl behind the wheel raises her Maui Jim shades and tuts impatiently. He’s not here. The boy with the Jonny Bravo Redux haircut beside her swipes his Droid Razr and is in the process of leaving a curt message when a longhaired biker rocks up next to them, flashing them his 24-carat gold studded smile.

The yaba he has for them is fresh from Myanmar, even if the scent of chicken bhuna in the tiffin box they’re concealed in makes the girl scrunch up her nose. The wild-eyed dealer and the beautiful young things in the Lotus may come from wholly different backgrounds, but they agree on a few fundamental issues. Money is good, the way Crystal Meth is portrayed in Breaking Bad isn’t quite like how they experience it, and that the long bearded man in the Islamic galabiyya dress in the corner creeps the hell out of them.  Continue reading “Muslamic Reagans: Why the Boom in Bangladesh is About Money Not Bombs”