Stories about expat

Life in Hong Kong: Run or get out of the way!

It’s got a buzz, no doubt; In Hong Kong, there’s always activity everywhere. Hong Kong is basically a confusion of trends between China and the Western world. Life here is extremely fast paced and people are often rude because they are hurrying off to another direction, are on the phone and hopping off of one train to jump on another bus to take another ferry where they will walk 20 minutes to reach their homes. I’m not kidding. My own husband takes two trains and a bus to reach home every day. It’s just what life is like here. People are increasing in numbers ...

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Are overseas Pakistanis any less greener?

The dilemma of resident Pakistanis being more loyal to their country than non-resident Pakistanis seems to be going on forever. Enough has already been said and written on the issue, but we just don’t seem to come out of this rhetoric. My first argument to anybody who doubts my patriotism is whether being a non-resident makes me any less Pakistani than them? For me it’s a pretty simple equation, it’s not a requisite that you can only love someone or something when you’re available in person. It can be a bonus but definitely not necessary. I acknowledge that people in Pakistan are facing abysmal ...

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11 things I love about Dubai

I am not much of a blogger, but ever since I read a hate piece about Dubai, I wanted to revive its charm. Dubai, can be assessed from several angles; a tourist, a family, a labourer, a tycoon or an individual. I fall in the last. So here is my list of why I absolutely adore Dubai.  1. Array of cuisines When it comes to food, Dubai is a mixed platter of delicacies from all around the world. Being a foodie in Dubai and its variety of dining options, is like an unleashed child in a candy-store. From Brazilian Churrasscaria to Vietnamese Bun Bo hue, Dubai offers it ...

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Ten things I hate about Dubai

Now, I know that the title makes me look like a snob who gets to go places but is just so ungrateful. However, my trips to Dubai are really never out of willingness to visit, but mandatory – mum’s orders. I cannot stand Dubai. I was born in Dubai and spent my early years there. Now I have to visit twice a year to see my dad and brother, them being one of the few good things about the place. Here are ten things that I don’t like about Dubai: 1. Malls: I know malls are fun, but what if they were all you ...

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The expat

Hammad Khan, a young aspiring Information Technology (IT) professional from Karachi, moved abroad leaving behind his family and friends in the search for a better future. The young man acquired a bachelor’s degree in IT and joined a US-based software company; his arrival in the USA was like a dream that had come true. Hammad planned on staying in the US for about ten years, so he could make enough money to settle down comfortably in Pakistan. As the son of a civil servant – who could only manage to earn himself a one-bedroom apartment after his retirement – Hammad aimed to ...

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I found a little bit of Pakistan in Hong Kong!

I have been an expat for three years now and I still can’t get over it. My husband assimilates much better than I do. He is able to adjust to change in a way that is silent and not at all messy. He talks about the new place, adjusts to his new time zone and continues to talk about surroundings in a happy-go-lucky sort of a way. His wife writes angry blogs and rants to fellow neighbours about the lack of dhaniya (coriander) and goes off in search of curry leaves to a place where no woman has gone before. Okay, that ...

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The problem with the expat vote

The Election Commission of Pakistan recently announced that in principal, it had agreed to franchise overseas Pakistanis by allowing them to participate in the electoral process. However, going through the minutes of the meeting conducted by Secretary ECP Mr Ishtiak Ahmad Khan, it’s quite clear that things are not as done and dusted as news reports have made out to seem. Quite rightly, the ECP is still considering the most efficient and transparent way in which to conduct elections for overseas Pakistanis. Setting up voting booths in high commissions, embassies and consulates across the globe is quite an expensive option as many Pakistanis may not live ...

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As Pakistani as you

This past summer I met with a prominent lawyer, one who supposedly fights for human rights and women’s activism in Pakistan. Before I met her, I believed her to be a symbol of the fact that women can bring change in Pakistan. However, when I confessed to her my desire to live in Pakistan and engage actively in civil society, I was snapped at and told crudely that my “misplaced sense of patriotism” was unwelcome. Unfortunately, her crass “holier than thou” attitude is not unique to her. There are hordes of Lahoris, Karachiites and more, itching to tell me that ...

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My blue passport doesn’t make me American

There was an incredible comment I read on one of my previous posts about how it’s impossible to live on in the oblivion of being both Pakistani and American. I don’t remember who wrote that to me, but if you’re reading this, thank you. You are a small part of the motivation that inspired this topic you are reading today. I was born in Karachi and lived the first nine years of my life moving back and forth between Karachi and Lahore before moving to the US. Though I can’t recall what the people, culture and society were like ...

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The freedom to be

A friend from Lahore recently asked me: “What would you miss most about New York if you were to move back to Pakistan right now?” I thought about it for a few minutes. Unlike many Pakistanis living in the US I knew, I wasn’t particularly attached to this country, or to New York. To me,  it was just another city – a hard city, a cacophonous city, where bright lights and gleaming skyscrapers belied the darkness, the sadness, the grime and the poverty in the corners; where glamour, spectacle, a veneer of ethnic diversity thinly concealed the underlying greed and racism. I ...

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