The eve of Article 50 – Post-Referendum thoughts.

So I haven’t written a blog post for over a year and I thought what better time to bore you all than the night before a historical day.  Historical for good or bad reasons is debatable.

I quite openly said at the time how I voted Remain by a whisker.  There have been a few polls in the last few days asking people that if they could vote again, would they vote differently.  Quite a number of Leave said they would switch to Remain given a chance.  I think I am in a minority (so what else is new!) of people who would switch from Remain to Leave.

The whole thing was always going to be emotive issue for all age groups concerned.  Most of you, including me, were born into being a member of the EU and we do not know any different.  The elder generation, were taken into it (without a referendum) and told it was something else, so for them it is escaping a lie.

You know what one of the main things that nearly caused me to vote Leave?  Immigration.  How original you think and what a traitor you may think because I myself am of immigrant stock.  For that reason, how could I ever be against immigration and why would I ever be against it.  There is a case for lowering the number of immigrants, but anyone who voted to get the numbers down, I knew at the time, were probably getting hoodwinked.  However, there is a case for control, and there is a case for fairness.  It is no accident that many ethnic voters voted for Leave and for people to assume they wouldn’t, is a form of bigotry in itself.  Now, I may be biased being Asian, but my parents’ generation had to endure decades of grief before being somewhat accepted.  They had to put in the years from being told “oi pakis go home” to where they are now.  Are they much further forward? Debatable.  However, in the last decade, they have seen a new wave of immigrants just ease into the country, with access to the jobs and benefits they had to work hard for.  Of course that is not the fault of the immigrants and immigrants from both inside and outside the EU have always been beneficial to our country.  But the system has always been loaded in favour of people inside the EU than from outside the EU.  One might say, well on the whole, immigration has always been higher from outside the EU than inside the EU but I wouldn’t really expect anything less seeing as there are more countries outside the EU.  But how is it fair that Imran from Pakistan, Emmanuel from Nigeria or Bert from New Zealand have to go through so many hoops, show a certain amount of income, have to speak the lingo, before they can have a crack at coming here whereas people in their droves from the EU, from France to Bulgaria, Greece to Malta, don’t need the lingo or a job and can just come here easy as pie?  That isn’t fair and yes it is a rule because we are in the EU but that is why I would want to leave so we don’t have to adhere to that rule.  Don’t get me wrong, a significant segment of the Leave voters are racist and want all immigration stopped and have conflated any foreign people hence the spike in xenophobic attacks since the vote.  But, all I see from a lot of Remainers, is selective outrage.  Outrage that EU nationals rights are up in the air, outrage that they have to fill in an 85 page form for citizenship when non-EU have had to fill in the same form for years.  I was watching a debate on BBC last night, and Suzanne Evans, formerly of UKIP was the only one who mentioned she wanted a fair immigration system.  Yes, we all know it is probably lip service, but she was the only one who said it.  What is so wrong with a fair immigration system that treats all foreign nationals the same?

There is also the case for social cohesion being upset when there is too much immigration.  Immigration from the EU has been manageable for many years until 2004 where we were the only country for four years in the EU to allow people from the new members including Poland and Bulgaria.  This meant we had a significant wave of new people in a short space of time.  It takes other immigrants some time to integrate and sometimes we live in our own bubble in London where immigration has always been part of our fabric, that we do not appreciate how sudden change in demographics can change the fabric quite sharply elsewhere.  Segregation works for no-one.  There is a reason why segregated Asian areas in the north, lag behind on so many factors and lack of integration.  Add the Class of 2004 to the mix and of course many places up north have become a total melting pot with the earlier wave of immigrants angry at those who have arrived in the last ten years.

The economy could go either way.  The referendum was fought with hyperbole versus hyperbole and it still is.  The forecasts by Remain were always a bit ridiculous and I was hooked in by them.  There is no way one can accurately predict the economy for the next fifteen years, Brexit or not.  People talk about the lies.  The lies were on both sides, the rules of the referendum were the same for both sides.  People say all successful economies are part of trading bloc.  Maybe so, but they don’t have to adhere to an ever increasing amount of political union. But our economy is too big and we import and export too much for countries not to want to trade with us.  Maybe I will be completely wrong about that but it transpires to me, that the only people who are positive about things are the Leavers.  The whole thing could turn out to be a mess, but at the same time, it might not.  I just do not understand the mindset where people genuinely want their country to fail, just to prove a point.  What is done, is done, why can one not be optimistic about things?  Yes jobs and families etc may be on the edge for a bit but is a country that got through two world wars, just going to give up now?  I don’t pretend to know what Brexit will be like, but then we don’t know what remaining in the EU will look like in ten years either.  Remainers turn their nose up at trade deals with India and suchlike and suggest that Leavers would not like that.  Again, showing some kind of bigotry that they accuse the other side of.  Either way, Brexit or not, the world will not end.  I suspect very little will change apart from details of trade.  As I understand it, we are seeking access to the Single Market.  That IS different from being a member of the Single Market, shame people are not getting that.  No, we do not get to influence the rules through not being a member, but is that not why people voted to Leave in the first place?  To get away from the rules?  So all this Soft Brexit and Hard Brexit is pretty pointless to be honest.

Throw how the EU has handled the migrant crisis into the mix, passing people from pillar to post, not adhering to the Dublin Convention that they all signed up to.  In addition, leaders of EU countries saying how Islam has no place in Europe and how they would only let in Christian migrants, and people think this country is so so so xenophobic.  Try going to established countries in the EU, so called developed countries and look at the plight of people of colour there, be you a resident or a tourist.  I am immensely grateful that the UK is light years ahead of the rest of the EU in terms of race relations and other social indicators.

These are just a starter for ten.  Maybe there will be a Part 2.  I mean I have not even got onto the future of the British Union or democracy or a bunch of other things.     Would I do that to you?


Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right..

I have been fuming most of this week due to a fellow British Bangladeshi, Nadiya Hussain who this week won the current series of The Great British Bake off, being used unfairly for political capital both by the left and the right for their respective agendas.  Whilst comments from the far right were pretty predictable, the usage of her by the left just illustrates how a lot of the left on their “social crusades” actually do more harm than their intended good.

Let’s not get it twisted, she was a deserved winner.  Born in Luton and currenly residing in Leeds, she is BRITISH and not an immigrant.  She is the daughter of immigrants just like I am but feck it aren’t we all kin to immigrants somewhere along the line?  From what I observed within my own friends, she was loved for her personality, hilarious facial expressions, being a great mother, a great wife and all that jazz.  No-one gave a crap about her race, her hijab, or anything and just like the majority of public loved her for her and her baking skills.  She won a national baking competition, simple as that, nothing more, nothing less.


Just one comments from the right, most are highly predictable highly disgusting so I don’t really want to post many of them but to be honest the far right and any parties representing them are quite far away from gaining any power with possibly the exception of UKIP who are internally combusting, so largely we can laugh at them.



Now a day before Nadiya’s win was confirmed(the series was filmed several months before screening), Theresa May, the Conservative Home Secretary gave quite a harsh speech on immigration and all that.  Although she made some pertinent points, she did use some worrying rhetoric.  Anyway I was browsing Twitter that night and I came across this:


Now who is in the wrong here? No it is not George Osborne or Theresa May.  It is Paul Richards.  Why? Firstly, because well if that was true, then the Home Office would have to send her home to…Leeds.  Secondly, Paul said this comment because it was HE who looked at Nadiya, weighed up her colour and her hijab and then made the “send her home” comment.  So it was Paul who was guilty of whatever he was insinuating Theresa May or George Osborne of.  The next day there was an article, one of many  that gleefully reported how many people happily ‘trolled’ Theresa May over her speech on immigration citing Nadiya.  Why?  Why did they cite her?   all those trying to call her out with comments and tweets like in this article are ironically more complicit than May in the insinuations about her that they are making. It is THEY who are turning a show about baking into something political based on her appearance. It is THEY who are suggesting she is an immigrant when in fact she was born in erm.. LUTON. Did Theresa May say she was going to chuck out anyone born in Luton with a brown face? No. Did she say she was going to chuck out anyone with a headscarf? No.  

The meme that tipped me over the edge was this one.  It was posted by Hope Not Hate, an organisation to counter racism and the suchlike:


Again, why? What is the point and relevance of this?  What has her winning a baking competition got anything to do with immigration or a cohesive society?  She is not an immigrant.  Why is her heritage been pointed out? Why can we just not congratulate her for what she is , a damn funny woman with a great personality and evidently a great baker.  Using her as political capital for either side of the immigration debate is f**king patronising to her and trivialises the whole debate.  She did not ask for nay of this and it is so unfair to drag her into the whole mire.  She is just a British woman getting on with her life like the rest of us so why is she and her achivements being brought into this?

More pointlessness:

Nadiya3 nadiya4

This is how it should be:

nadiya5 nadiya6

But like I said before, it all highlights the hypocrisy of the left who also use someones race/religion for their own gain without thinking of the consequences.  Usually the people who may say these things or make certain rules and decisions on behalf of certain parts of the population will have never or will never walk the shoes of someone who it will affect.  Racism will never go away if race is constantly brought into the equation.  Yes there is still some institutional racism out there but we do not need this victory to say it will improve race relations and whatnot.  It is not fair to put that burden on her and it also insults the vast majority of the British population of all walks of life who generally all get on.

Let’s just take a few examples

Christmas will offend Muslims/minorities – Non muslim council/government workers/schools decide to tone it down.  Did Muslims and minorities in their droves ask for it to be toned down? No.  Who will get it in the neck? Muslims.

Move that RAF soldier from the ward because it might offend – Hospital workers make  this decision.  Did anyone else pipe up? No.  Who will get it in the neck?  Muslims.

Halal being increasingly used in schools and hospitals and fast food outlets – This will nearly always be a business decision to either save money or cater for the local demographic.  Fast food outlets as a business/franchise have every right to decide what they serve.  If there is a natural demographic for this, does it mean Muslims have actively demanded it or else? No.  Who will get it in the neck?  Muslims

And so the list goes on.  And therein lies the problem.  You cannot combat marginalisation in society with..marginalisation.  Everyone should be treated equally.  Ffs, Muslims have been around in the UK for decades and we just want to be treated the same as everyone else but with decisions like the above, all it does is creative a narrative that Muslims have asked for x,y and z and that becomes the populist view.  I mean don’t get me wrong.  Some of the aggro we get is brought on by ourselves.  The whole terrorist stuff,  thats a whole different melting pot altogether but our daily lives for all concerned is not helped by unnecessary tension caused by the likes of the above.  I am just trying to make the point that however good peoples intentions are, by using a persons race\religion, picking it out to make a point is kinda racist itself.

We have legislation here to protect discrimination on the grounds of race,  religion etc and rightly so and this should be applauded and as a nation I think we are miles ahead on this front compared to America or a lot of Europe but sometimes the strive to be overly PC just causes grief to the very people you are trying to help.

The media?  Let’s not even go there.  And you know what is offensive?  That other people and institutons that more often than not aren’t Muslim or whatnot will decide on MY behalf what will offend me and what my sensitivities are.  Do feck off.

Anyway I am done for now. I just feel as the whole Nadiya thing has not only been insulting and patronising to her but to the majority of British public at large who saw past everything and appreciated good cakes like the good Brits we are 😀


Regards, a British Bangladeshi x

From the UK with love..

Well rather than clog up my timeline on Facebook with stuff for a bit (well 24 hours or so), I thought I would get some of my thoughts down in one place..


The events of the last few weeks have shown me both sides of humanity.  I have seen some truly disgusting things written and some wonderful inspiring things written and actions undertook.  There have been some daft comments, pictures and memes I have seen such as “look at these migrants fleeing with their iphones”.  Erm, who says that the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Syria are fleeing poverty?  They are fleeing for their lives.  Literally.  They probably had better homes and a better standard of living than you and I before the shit hit the fan.  And that could happen to anyone.  Before WW1 and WW2 took place, it was not as if Britain was poor but overnight, millions of British lives were turned upside down as the country became flattened.  So why shouldn’t they have the latest phones and whatnot. Jeez, even the remotest tribes in Africa have a smartphone or two.  I read somewhere how they kept on reproducing even after war broke out and how sex should be the last thing on their mind.  Sex is one of the human race’s most natural actions.  That has and never will change.  Why should war and all, change that?

I have read how they are all scroungers.  Look, let us not be naïve enough to think there is not some economic migrants amongst the millions fleeing.  Of course there will be a sizeable proportion.  Do you know what I have to do to scrounge?  I have to hop on the 154 bus and travel all of 20 minutes or so to sign on at the job centre.  I do NOT have to walk across about 15 countries, putting my life at risk or put myself and my kids knowing full well that boat may sink and kill us all.


Again, not naïve enough to think ISIS and their ilk will not use this crisis to their advantage but come on.  If someone is strong willed enough to carry out acts of atrocity, they will do so regardless of this situation.  Lest us forget that any attack on British soil by ‘Islamists’ have been home grown.  That means statistically, you have more chance of myself blowing shit up in the UK than any of these people.  About half the people fleeing from Syria and IS are Christians but hey let us ignore that fact eh.  We can just conveniently use this all as a smokescreen to hide our own pre-existing anti-Islamic views behind.


It is a valid point.  Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman to name but a few are doing bugger all and it stinks.  They are the ones who preach about a “unified ummah” but are doing precious little to illustrate that and they are loaded.  Countries like Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan who immediately surround Syria are doing and have done their best.  Indeed Turkey has taken in about 2 million Syrians in the last couple of years.


Again, it is a fairly valid point but put  yourself in their shoes.  You would naturally want to go somewhere where you are confident you would feel most comfortable.  In the UK, the fact we speak English would be a magnet rather than end up in France where they would not be able to speak it and converse.  This could be seen as weak excuse but it is probably one that we would utilise ourselves nonetheless.  And what is a “safe” country anyway?  The whole situation over the last couple of weeks has shown how ineffective the EU is in responding effectively in a joint manner.  Many countries are citing the Dublin Convention.  This was drawn up years ago and stated that asylum seekers must be processed in the first country they touch upon in the EU.  When this convention was drawn up, no one had any idea we would be talking about the number of refugees like we are seeing now.  It is clearly not practical to use now as it is totally unfair for the likes of Italy and Greece on the coast to bear the brunt, yet this and other ancient rules are being used by each EU country to pass the buck to the next.  You have Hungary where they would not even put trains on for the refugees, leaving them to literally walk across a country on their bare feet.  Slovakia, who stated they would only help Christian refugees.  Yes, well safe countries and conditions there.  Of course, other countries such as Austria and Germany have been fantastic.


Yes there are many things wrong in our own country.  There are ex-soldiers living in dire straits and whatnot but why is it a competition?  Why are we pitting multiple issues against each other.  Both causes can be helped, they are not mutually exclusive.  As individuals, it is up to us how we donate our time and money.  On other things, you have the ability to lobby your local MP’s to do more for marginalised sections of society.  But that does not mean demonising other sections of society.  It is not their fault.  They are not running your country.  At the end of the day, we have an infrastructure, we have a welfare system, we have a school system, we have a health system that will nearly always be there for us and is not in danger of being smashed to smithereens any time soon.  There has been quite a lot of debate on the facebook pages of my town Wallington.  A pretty well off town in one of the more prosperous boroughs of London and some of the comments just make me want to cry.


All this talk of “letting them in”, “we are full” “close the borders”.  Did Britain ask before they took over half the world?  No, they invaded, raped and pillaged their way through territory after territory.  They may have brought positive things to some of these regions but at what expense?  Especially the human cost.  Indeed our generation had little to do with this, but that does not mean we should not forget this.  We have evolved as a compassionate nation since on the whole, and I see no reason why we should suddenly abandon our tradition of being a helpful country now.  We helped create some of the conditions that have led to this sorry state of affairs in the Middle East region.  We are partially culpable, we must help.


Exactly what it says on the tin.  Who is to say you would not make the choices they have/are in the same shoes?  All that separates you from them is chance and luck.

I could go on and on and I probably will at some point.  Delete me if it bores you.  Give a f**k.

A (love) story.

Nadia and Mark met ten years ago.  They started talking electronically at first and in a short space of time, got to know and like each other swiftly.  Not long after, they met and the atmosphere was pierced with immense tension and anticipation.  And so, after that initial meeting, a relationship ensued.

‘It will never work’, ‘It won’t last’ bleated the commentator who knew both parties.  Many reasons were cited; the age difference, distance and the more visually prominent differences.  In light of this, and through all these challenges, the relationship continued and flourished.  Each had their own battles with themselves also.  Mark was in a bad place where he was buckling under the weight of expectations of him, whilst Nadia had problems accepting the image of herself.  Being with Nadia helped Mark’s confidence grow and climbed out of his bad place and turned himself around in other aspects of life.  He did everything he possible could to reassure Nadia about herself in an emotional and difficult battle.  The differences that people cited did come into play but the couple managed to get through every obstacle that lay in their way.  There were trust issues, mainly with Nadia even though it was her who broke that trust at one point.

As the months passed, the love grew.  Arguments borne out of love and frustration became more frequent as the distance became more difficult to cope with.  Meetings began with a hug and a kiss but ended with tears of sadness all the more often.

After a couple of years, things reached to a head.  As well as all the other difficulties, Nadia had become increasingly upset that Mark had not told his parents about their relationship and felt as if she was some dirty secret.  This was upsetting for Mark who was caught between a rock and a hard place.  He was so very immensely proud he was with Nadia and he told the world apart from his family.  Stuck between two cultures for most of his life, his heart told him one thing, his head another.  He tried to get across the point that her ethnicity had nothing to do with it and he did not really want to make that private part of his life unprivate to his family unless he really had to.  It was a big boat to rock.

Unbeknown to each other at the time , as they entered the final weeks of their relationship, they reinstated their love for each other.  Nadia was struggling badly and told Mark it would be best for him if they broke up.  Seemingly unable to stop her, Mark asked her best friend to look after her as the end was nigh.  Her friend reassured Mark that Nadia had nothing but immense love for him.  As frustrations grew over not being able to see each other due to academic commitments on both sides, it was decided to call time on the relationship, temporarily at least.  This was marked with an angry and emotionally charged conversation.  Nadia once again challenged Mark to tell his family but, much like most of his life, he put them first and said he couldn’t, not at that stage.  Three days into the break, Nadia called Mark up and croaked that she could not cope with the situation.  Mark assured her that this was best for both of them for now.

One week later, and the situation was irreversible.  Nadia out of nowhere had changed her stance and there was no going back.  Mark tried in vain to win her back, citing everything he would do to make it all better but to no avail.  Much was said from both Nadia and Mark out of anger, love and a mix of other emotions.  And so Mark left Nadia to it.  The next several months and years that followed, were punctuated with Nadia, who was by this time with someone else, seeking Mark out to give a torrent of abuse.  She said how it was all a mistake , a regret, how thoughts of him made her cringe, how she would never have married into ‘that’ type of family.  So much anger emanated from her tinged with hypocrisy.  Mark struggled to separate fact from fiction from their relationship.  He was so confused.  How could the same thing be one person’s biggest mistake and the other person’s biggest achievement.

The years passed and eventually Nadia and Mark met at a gathering of mutual friends.   Three years had passed since they had broke up and it was an awkward atmosphere dotted with small talk.  A few days later, Nadia got in contact with Mark and goaded him on to tell her how he still felt about her and what he might have said if no-one else was about.  It would be the last time  that Mark would give a reaction to her questioning.  More years have passed, and Mark has no idea what Nadia is up to.  The last conversation that they had which was three years hence, was again full of anger with Nadia insinuating that Mark had taken advantage of her at the time.  It would be the last time that they would speak.

And so the legacy lives with Mark as his confidence has continued to ebb away.  Social confidence that he had prior to their relationship, has all but disappeared.  He allowed himself to let himself get utilised by others as they seeked to massage their own egos.  Mark himself craved attention, any kind of attention, even if it was not the most savoury kind just for the sake of feeling wanted.  More often than not, words never really turned into action and Mark began to recoil into himself.  Once a quite emotionally open person, he became numb on the outside and could not get close to anyone, mainly because actions and words of others did not really give him the confidence to do so.

In the decade that has passed since he first embarked on that relationship, he still has many unanswered questions.  He will never know if the one thing that he actually thought he got right, was real.  He will never know if the one thing he called love, remains unrequited.  He often wonders what would have happened if he put heart before head back when he was with Nadia and if it would have played out any differently, or even if the principle of making that choice would have changed how his life continued.

Today Mark is left with little confidence, and after deciding not to get used by anyone else, not many people to talk to, lest he open up to.  He is of the mindset where he would just stay mute rather than appease others who only spoke to him at his beck and call.  As well as all the other unanswered questions, he still wonders if there is any answer to the ‘Two Cultures’ problem and whether there is any hope left for him to fall in love again in a conventional way.

This is just a mere synopsis of Mark’s (love) story and but a chapter of his complicated life.

Seeds of doubt

This is going to be a pretty personal post.  I guess I will leave it here because I cannot see many people clicking on it to read it and that is fine.  The whole thing will probably sound like a whole load of self-pity and me pointing the finger at everyone else and if such an accusation was put at me, it probably would be justified.

Anyone who knows me well and that is probably very few people, know I am my harshest critic and forever analysing things including my own life.  All the experiences we go through, good and bad, make us the person we are today.  I often wonder why I am the person I am today, and for a long time I thought I could pinpoint it to two separate instances in the last decade.

However, I have come to realise what probably most shaped things to come was one day when I was 10 and what has probably been a ripple effect since then.  See, that was the day I passed the entrance test to grammar school.  Well, actually I passed two.  From that day any my subsequent acceptance of the place, the expectations of me, even at such an early age, shot up to sky-high levels.  Yes, I had always been slightly advanced for my age but that kind of sealed it.  Pitting that against the backdrop of my sister’s background, there could seemingly be no obstacle in my way.  See, she had an extremely difficult childhood, one she very nearly did not survive.  She was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 5 when my mother was pregnant with me.  Through large bouts of chemo, she missed a lot of school and she was given no hope of passing her GCSE’s.  Not only did she pass them at an awful school, but she went on to attend university and just a couple of weeks ago, we was at her third graduation ceremony.  I, on the other hand had no obstacles and was the more academic sibling.  The expectations stayed with me through high school. If I so much as got a C, there was great disappointment in my parent’s minds.  I have often spoke about the huge sacrifices they made for my sister and I to get a good education and I still stand by that but those expectations weighed me down so much.  Eventually, I got a really good set of GCSE’s but they could in hindsight with more application, done even better.  Now no-one put a gun to my head or anything, but I felt compelled to choose a path that would be to their pleasing and that was to be one of my furst major mistakes.  I took the wrong A-level subjects and did not do very well at all.  I managed to get into a good university but again I made a major mistake and chose the wrong degree.  Five years later, I finally managed to graduate in a reputable degree but I should have followed my path and did what I wanted.  I didn’t and I paid for it, and still paying for it.

My parents never hit me or anything but my dad had a sharp tongue when I was younger and I grew up with very little confidence in myself.  Maybe I am pointing the finger again, or maybe he did have a part to play in that, I guess it is open to opinion.  But whilst I was close to a breakdown at uni, I was saved from myself in what to date, was my only serious relationship.  I was so happy and worshipped the ground she walked on.  But again, I continued to let what people expected of me take over and I could not do the one thing that she wanted and that was to tell my parents about us.  As a result of that and a few other things, we split and I was heartbroken.  By all means, we most probably may have broken up somewhere else along the line but I should have let my heart do the talking but I didn’t.  As a result, my confidence ever since, has shrunk and shrunk and for the last eight years I have let myself be used by people, especially of the opposite gender and yes I know that is down to me.  I let myself be used but I dunno, I am not saying it is the same as an abusive cycle or something but it is a cycle nonetheless and when you let yourself get into the cycle of being used, it is very hard to snap out of, but not impossible, granted.  I still have a number of those people still lingering about on my Facebook.  Once upon a time, I would delete them but now I leave them on there as an act of defiance, to show that it doesn’t bother me anymore but who am I kidding?

So in conclusion, it wasn’t the last ten years really that have made me into who I am but from when I was ten years old onwards and I have let the waves take me from bad decision through bad decision but all for the best intentions, and when all is said and done, the biggest loser out of it all, is me.  I know this isn’t an isolated story and I am not trying to make out the world revolves around me but I just wanted  to tell my story, that’s all.  If someone reads it fine, if they do not, also fine.  I guess it is just a way of me opening up which i seldom do.  Maybe it is just a load of finger-pointing and I am aware that end of the day, no one forced me to do anything but hey.

I know I have more unique circumstances than some of you who may be reading, the constant mindfuc*ing of being between two cultures but I guess my message to mothers out there who’s children are still young is let them follow their heart.  I am sure most of you will anyway and I don’t mean to come across as preachy.  I have been defeated by expectations from a young age and as a result, nowhere near my potential in anything.  I have no confidence to do anything and I will probably carry on with the next few major decisions, appeasing others.  I cannot break free of this cycle.

I am sorry if this has been some mother of an essay or a gigantic diary entry but there you go.  Thank you for reading one chapter of what could easily be a biography lol.  Peace.

Family – Get on with them, don’t get on with them, you only get one.

Anyone who knows me well, knows I have never been particularly close to my father. Despite that, I have told many friends how hard both my parents have worked to come to the UK in the 60s in order to give my sister and I, a better life and opportunities that they never had.  I barely have a brief conversation with my dad, but yesterday while my mother was out, he sat me down.  At the age of 31, he started to tell me his life story.  I knew bits and bobs but here he was telling me many things I didn’t have a clue about.  As he recounted his younger years, tears fell down my cheeks as I heard tales of much hardship as he flitted from job to job, dwelling to dwelling, being shafted out of precious money along the way, all in order to give me a good life in the future.  And so it was he finally brought property in Tottenham not long after my sister was born where we was robbed several times and my mum mugged a few times.  My mum’s uncle eventually persuaded him to move to Wallington which was well out of my dad’s financial reach.  Nonetheless, my mums uncle told him look you pay the mortgage, I will sort out everything else.  He died the following year and the help went with him.  Regardless, for many years my dad soldiered through and we carried on living here and I was able to go on to one of the many grammar schools in the area and receive a good education.  He told me he never had these opportunities as he came to the UK before realising any of them.  As I opened up and told him that I always tell my friends that if he did finish his education, he could have become anything he wanted, he cried and stroked my head as you would to a  young toddler.

The thing is, this story and similar stories are repeated countlessly throughout my generation of ethnic minorities living in the UK.  Which is why I feel it all the more upsetting, that young girls and boys are falling into this trap of being radicalized\groomed, whatever you want to call it.  Even if you feel a little lost sometimes,  your parents made the ultimate sacrifices and this is how you are repaying them.  It upsets me to see families being tarred with the same brush when their kids go off to Syria or blow themselves up, when I am pretty confident that they probably had no clue whatsoever.

Another thing that came to my attention today, is the dangerous world out there.  A friend living in Islington, celebrates her 27th birthday today.  She has a little girl of 3.  She expresses her sadness as she recalls how earlier this week, yet another innocent teenager was slain in Islington in a knife attack at the age of 15 and it made her wonder what kind of environment awaited her kid as she grew up.  Thing is I used to be very snobby, hell I am still am in some respects.  I often used to wonder what my life would have been like if we never moved and I grew up in Tottenham.  The thing is, you could be living in Tottenham, you could be living in Wallington.  You could bring your children up the best you can, you can teach them to be streetwise but how do you account for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, anywhere in the country?  Some of us know first hand, including myself, how quickly life can be cut short in the most tragic of circumstances.  All the more reason to cherish your family.  You have your ups and downs, but please sort them because whoever leaves this mortal realm first, any unfinished heartache will eat away at the other for the rest of their days.

Make your parents feel proud that you are their child, make your children feel proud that you are their parent.

An open letter to confused British Muslims.

Now not for one minute am I representative of the 1.6million British Muslims. I am just an ordinary guy writing on this here blog.

Stop playing the victim! You are NOT opressed in the UK. Your parents and grandparents came to this country to give you opportunities that they could only dream of, many coming here with only the clothes on their back and a few pennies to their name. Why are some of you chucking that back in their faces. They had to go through barriers that were REAL social barriers, not the ones some of you are putting up yourselves. If they learned to integrate and still stay true to their religion, why the hell can’t you?

Yes the media has fuelled a lot in recent years, yes there is a lot of Western hypocrisy out there, but friggin’ rise above it. Islam taught you love, peace and forgiveness. Turn the other cheek. You are living your life for you and only you. YOU will be judged on judgement day for YOUR actions. So why are you not taking the opportunities given to you to both lead the life of a good Muslim and make a good person out of yourself.

Rise above the hate, become successful and stamp your authority that way. Yes, some of us feel caught between two worlds sometimes, including me, but surely the best answer is to make a good life for yourself in whatever way possible. Your religion is a framework for you to have good morals and a good moral compass and you can lead a moral life whatever country you are in. IF you perceive this country to be so immoral, IF that is true, and you STILL manage to live a good life, well is that not a victory for yourself you can be proud of?

Ignore the haters, pray that they will educate themselves instead of blindly believing everything they are told. Pray that you will edcuate yourselves too. Allah gave you a brain. Use it and think for yourselves instead of letting yourself getting swayed by other people. Imams and other Islamic scholars voice their opinion which they are entitled to. They have no god-given power to dictate how you should live your life. That is in YOUR hands so do it.

Most of all, do not feel isolated. You are not. Believe it or not, you are priviliged to be living in one of the most tolerant countries in the world. Be angry at foreign policy if that is your desire but do not let that ruin your own life and give ammo to the haters. Be open to debate. Let others ask questions of you instead of them coming to their own misguided conclusions.

Stop with this ‘them and us’

Bangas N Mash

So for my first blog, I thought I would bore you all and delve into my roots.  I will be providing a one-stop history lesson of the specimen that is the Bangladeshi in Britain.  My peoples set their roots here a lot earlier than you might imagine.  Find out how I ended up here, some of the hardships that Bangladeshis have faced since coming to the UK and my own opinion piece.

I also want to blow away any misconceptions that we all arrived on one of  these:


Brrrrr its so cold and everyone is so pale!

In the Beginning

As has been well documented in history, the Indian subcontinent was an integral part of the British Empire and its authority over the world.  British influence in the region took off in the late 17th Century and by this time, young Bengali children had already arrived in London as servants.  Over time, the cultivating of tea boomed in the Sylhet region of what is now Bangladesh(where I am originally from).  This came about as the British Empire lost its tea monopoly in China.  The Sylhetis residing in the region became tea-pickers as this beverage as we all know is quintissentially British, became one of the Empire’s strongest currencies when trading with the rest of the world.

Despite modern-day Bangladesh being one of the lowest lying countries in the world, the tea was grown in the hilly tracts os Sylhet in the Assam region.  Once cultivated, the tonnes of plant still had to be transported down to the docks of Calcutta and Chittagong where in turn they would be shipped across the world in steam ships, especially to Britain.  This of course required manpower and so it evolved that the Sylheti women would be tea-pickers and the men would help transport the tea downriver to the ports.  Eventually, they started manning the steam ships bound for London and became lascars which is the word for sailors from the Indian subcontinent.  As well as being sailors, many became naval cooks,  the predecessor for the many Bangladeshi cooks that are behing the ‘Indian’ cuisine industry that continues to boom in Britain today.  As a result, there was an established Bengali community in the East End of London as early as the 1950’s.  Very few women came along and so the men took on White British wives.  As a result, a generation of Bengali-British children were born (might use this as precedent when I next bring a white girl home to my parents LOL).

lascar1 lascar2 lascar3

As well as lascars, many Bengalis came over as nurses, students and even political radicals.  However, most remained very poor, working-class and most of the time, destitute.  Many joined the British Merchant Navy and were an integral part in both World Wars.  It was after the Second World War that due to a combination of reasons, things began to get spicey.

The influx begins

The ecomonic cost of WW2 had left Britain’s coffers in dire straits in more ways than one.  As well as being broke, the country experienced staggering labour shortages.  The Indian subcontinent itself was literally sliced up along religious lines.  These became India, West Pakistan (today Pakistan) and East Pakistan (today Bangladesh).  The Sylhet\Assam region, so important during the boom of the tea-growth was one of the most affected areas following the partition.  There was a Muslim majority in the area but the new Indian government, a country predominantly Hindu, feared that the whole north-east of British India, would become a Muslim state.  Thus the Sylhet region itself was carved into Sylhet and Assam, the latter becoming absorbed in to India.  This left a lot of workers living around this border fearful and insecure for their futures.  The region itself was specifically targeted by British officials to address the labour shortages and further still in the 1950s and 1960s as the country underwent a labour boom.  Bangladeshis arrived in their thousands and this time bringing their partners in order to forge a better standard of living for themselves and their future offspring.  Although most flocked to the East End of London, many also went to larger cities such as Birmingham, Luton and Oldham, all of whom today have large Bengali communities.  Like their naval cook predecssors, many opened curry houses which were marketed as ‘Indian’ despite over 90% being owned by Bangladeshis.

Amongst the many Bangladeshis that arrived over the ’60s and ’70s, were these two people

mum dad

whom produced these two delights:

sis mebaby

My father came on a special visa that allowed Bangladeshis to reside in the UK working in the Indian restaurant industry that was going from strength to strength.  Over the next decade or so, thousands more Bangladeshis came over to the UK.  Like my father, the male would usually come first, with their wives\children joining them a few years later.  Indeed my father came over in 1964, whilst my mother came four years later in 1968.  My father started working in a restuarant and my mother, like many other Bangladeshi women, went into factory work.  The relaxation of Immigration laws further eased the process for many to come here to increase their economic prosperity.


Further turbulent events lead to more numbers arriving in the UK and ensured that existing Bangladeshi settlers in the UK played their part in the process that lead to the liberation of Bangladesh.

Briefly put, Bangladesh (then East Pakistan), went to war  with West Pakistan in what was known as the Bangladesh Liberation War.  The causes behind this are too complex to go to in this post but in a nutshell, in 1971, the nation of Bangladesh was born.  During the war, West Pakistani forces targeted like many other provinces, the area of Sylhet.  This directly struck a chord with the many. many immigrants in the UK who originated from that region.  Whilst they set up demonstrations and fronts in the UK, many more immigrants came to these shores to escape the atrocities in their motherland.  Although the war lasted less than a year, to illustrate the toll that the war took, as many as 300,000 lost their lives with unofficial estimates puting the number as high as 3,000,000

Mujibur Rahman, the father of Bangladesh.

Mujibur Rahman, the father of Bangladesh.

Mujibur Rahman declaring Bangladesh as a new independant nation.

Mujibur Rahman declaring Bangladesh as a new independant nation.


Brick Lane and Bad Times


Anyone familar with London, will have heard of Brick Lane.  Today, it is better known as the thriving curry mile of London in the area unofficially but affectionately known as ‘Banglatown’.  It is here where the majority of Bangladeshi settlers in the ’60s onwards, put down their roots.  The area itself had undergone many waves of immigration.  From Irish and French escaping persecution in the 1800’s, to the Jewish in the late 19th Century.  By 1970,  Jewish bakeries had been turned into curry houses, jewellery shops into sari stores, synagogues into dress factories; in 1976 the synagogue on the corner of Fournier Street and Brick Lane (formerly a Huguenot church, then a Methodist chapel) became the Jamme Masjid Mosque.

However, the Bangladeshi population in these parts also became an easy target for Nationalist groups such as the National Front and British National Party, movements were in their element back then.  Racial tensions had been simmering for decades from the time the Jews populated the area.  White skinhead gangs spat at Bangladeshi children, daubed  graffiti everywhere and generally partook in provocative racist behaviour.  The council instilled fireproof letterboxes in households, allowed Bangladeshi children to leave school earlier and encouraged women to travel around in groups.  Physical attacks on Bangladeshis became the norm.  People were being attacked in their own homes.  The hardships the community went through were horrific.  A lot of attacks, I myself did not know about until researching them for this post.  Although they tried to defend themselves the best they could, one event finally tipped them over the edge and they began to fight back in numbers.

Altab Ali, a Bangladeshi factory worker in his mid 20s, [from Sylhet] in the East End of London, was murdered on 4 May 1978 in a racist attack against him as he walked home after work.  The very future of the Bangladeshi community in the UK was at stake when widespread fear gripped people following Altab Ali’s murder. Within a few weeks, another Bangladeshi in the East End of London was also murdered.  The name Altab Ali became synonymous with political struggles against racism.  Thousands of Bangladeshis marched behind his coffin to Downing Street.  This mobilisation woke up the authorities and institutional changes took place to ensure such racism could not take hold again.  The community image and Bengali personification of the area that still attracts many people from all walks of life, is testimony to the spirited fight the community put up.  Brick Lane and its surrounding areas are warm, colourful and vibrant where the local community and visitors live, work and enjoy themselves in a mostly warm illustration of social cohesion.

altab ali

Closing Opinion:  The good, the bad, the ugly

Whatever I may say in this blog, let it be known that I am hugely proud of my roots.  Whilst I will always identify myself as British first, the Bangladeshi part comes tumbling out of my mouth a millisecond later.  I cannot identify with the Bangladeshis’ in predominantly Bangladeshi areas and if truth be told, I am snobbish when it comes to this and find myself looking down on such areas.  For this I am ashamed as we all originate from the same part of Bangladesh and our parents all came here to give us a better standard of living.  Maybe this is why I am such a confused individual, a lack or confusion of identity.  Both my parents worked hard and moved into a good, predominantly white area so that my sister and I could enjoy a strong education and give us the best chance of climbing up the socio-economic ladder.  This was at the expense of their own development.  My father is a very clever individual and he could have really been something if he never came to the UK.

This climb up the ladder is slow and non-existent for the majority of Bangladeshis’ in the UK.  Although Brick Lane is indeed a very vibrant area, the ward of Tower Hamlets in which it falls, is still one of Britain’s most deprived areas.  The ward is known as the heroin capital of London and some of the highest levels of unemployment today are still found within Bangladeshi males.  Their parents came here to the UK poorly educated and understandably, stuck to living amongst their Bangladeshis peers and stick to what they knew.  Today, the majority of Bangladeshi young lads especially in the East London areas are ‘scallywags’.  They take drugs and drink heavily and there are many gangs roaming the streets.  Knife crime is also prevalent amongst such gangs and just this week, three Bangladeshi males were convicted of the murder of a young, promising 16 year old Bangladeshi lad, Ajmol Alom who aspired to be a doctor. Such aspirations are extremely rare amongst the East London Bangladeshi community and his life was shortened in an uprovoked attack by these gangs.  Such social cliquiness can probably be traced back to having to defend themselves agaisnt the racist attacks in the early decades.  Frustration also probably arises from the fact their parents were mainly passive against such aggression and also having to see the rise of other ethnic minorities such as Hindus and Sikhs who were beginning to be seen increasingly as success stories.  Sukhdev Sandhu, who whilst reviewing the book by Monica Ali, also titled Brick Lane gives a depressing yet accurate view on the young Bangladeshis of the East end:

These Bangladeshi teenagers aren’t afraid to show out. Pencil-thin, their hair whippet-cropped or drenched in product – facial hair immaculately coiffeured too – they cut a swathe through the area, chatting into mobiles, sporting the loudest, proudest labels (Moschino, Ted Baker, Versace) and munching fries from the Halal chip shop. The tightness of their tapered trousers and their designer rollnecks make them look like 1960s mods, and distinguish them not only from the flapping flares their fathers wore twenty years earlier, but from the baggy slackness of those Asian media professionals who are gradually moving into the area with their white partners. They pimp-roll down Brick Lane, past the stencilled graffiti, the guerrilla ads for big-label rock groups, the torn political posters (‘Is Rap Music Calling Violence?’ ‘Is Another World Possible?’). They jeer at strangers (‘I cut you with my samurai, fuckin’ muthafucka’), cry ‘woah’ at the sight of girls in short skirts, and snigger as they pass more pious youngsters going in to pray at the mosque. Meanwhile, local store-owners and stick-wielding elders mutter lyrical about the good old days when they could leave the doors of their council houses open; now, the area is awash with petty gangsters robbing their own people for a few quid.

These kid-warriors may not have much, but they have always had their estates. Nowadays, as they roam around, treating Brick Lane and its surrounding streets as military zones to be occupied and fortified, territories worth annexing, anxiety and resentment are in the air. Nobody is exactly trying to winch them out of these estates. But denied the resources that might allow them to work their way out, watching the area become a playground for a leisure-rich salariat, and seeing their own status as the newest immigrants supplanted by Somalis and the new wave of white settlers from Russia, Kosovo and Lithuania, these Bangladeshis are finding themselves slowly, subtly estranged from the ghetto they called home. Walk around and you will notice that the sari stores have become designer furniture shops, the dress factories art galleries. Bangladeshis may be wilting into history.

The good news is that there are more Bangladeshi success stories now than at any other time before.  Prominent Members of Parliament are Bangladeshi. Rushanara Ali was the first person of Bangladeshi origin to be elected to the House of Commons and one of first three Muslim women to be elected as an Member of Parliament.  Tommy Miah is a well celebrated celebrity chef.  Konnie Huq went on to become one of children television’s Blue Peter’s longest presenters.  There are plenty of other  household Bangladeshi names in all walks of life including the worlds of Business, Media, Sport etc.  This is excellent for the community as a whole who for too long have lagged behind their ethnic counterparts.

The trend does seem to be though, that to be an aspiring British Bangladeshi, you need to aspire to live away from the British Bangladeshi.  I find attitudes in predominantly Bangladeshi areas to be low in ambition, religiously hypocritical and socially inept outside their own communities.  I may not be practising my religion, I may struggle to find my identity but what you see is what you get with me.  I do not pray five times a day and read the Qu’ran while I am in the house, then drink myself silly and shoot heroin outside the house.  My sister does not wear a hijab and then caked up with make up, gallavant with males flaunting it about.  Unfortunately, both instances are prevalent within the densest Bangladeshi communities.  Until all of this changes which I do not see any time soon, many young Bangladeshis will find themsleves stuck amongst the bottom rungs of the ladder.  I for one am thankful that my parents had higher ambitions for me.