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Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm supposed to be studying...

I'm supposed to be studying, but something touched my heart just now and I just feel like writing it out.

I was at Rusholme ordering my burger again (none too worse for getting mugged in broad daylight). It's kinda odd how England in spring has sun shining at 8PM at night and a sun rising at 4AM in the morning, but this is England after all.

The old man's friend, the other old man who sells the burger, talked to me and asked me where I was from. He never talks to me, but today he did.

I am from Pakistan, he said. I know about Singapore, he said. It's a beautiful and rich country, he said. I have been here 24 years, he said.

Then, here's the sad part: he started talking about home, his home.

You know we got independence in 1947? he said.

When we started we were richer and more developed than we are today! This is due to geopolitical situations and due to poor government. You guys have Lee Kuan (I know it's Lee Kuan Yew, but he is after all an old uneducated man and this is already very impressive general knowledge), I've read a bit on him, and so have good leadership. Singapore, very rich. Pakistan is beautiful, with resources, with oil, with lots of rice! Now very poor. Due to bad leadership. Due to the United States and what they do to our people! There is widespread poverty everywhere.

Then I asked him more questions and the sad reply was:

If we have health care and wealth like Singapore, we'll go back. No education, no law and order, no proper judiciary, no stability, how to go back home?

Then he drew a map on his napkin and said to me:

In 1990, Singapore 30 billion pounds trade surplus... and Pakistan, 160 billion pounds deficit! I failed my Economics A levels here but even I know that we are poor. And Singapore is so small and so developed. I cannot go home.

I have three children here... my country is very backward and many people die there. High levels of corruption, no law and order. I cannot go home to my beautiful Pakistan. Our people are hardworking and intelligent, but we are a backward country. I don't think I will ever see my home again - many of them want to come here to Britain.

Honestly, I nearly cried there in front of that old man, because it was so tragic and I was so touched. Human stupidity and politics. Shaking his hand, I left the store and went back to blog.

Should have studied, which I will do soon, but my mind was constantly on that poor man... and all his other comrades there at the burger shop, in a dangerous street in England that was nothing compared to the sad tale of his home country.

Anything that interests me!