Seems like things are about to get tougher for the ordinary working class folk in the UK, especially now the Conservatives have won the elections again. According to national statistics young people have the highest unemployment rate. “Young people in Britain have borne the brunt of the financial crisis, with a larger proportion of 16- to 24-year-olds now out of work than any other age group. The unemployment rate among 16- to 17-year-olds is 35.9%, and 18% among 18- to 24-year-olds, according to the Office for National Statistics in its latest economic review.” (The Guardian). It seems like Britain is going back in time when there was a huge divide in the working, middle and upper classes.
However, this scare is still not enough to make some Pakistani nationals to re-evaluate their fantasy of England being some rich fancy place. Whenever, a relative from back home rings the talk is always based around how they can get to England and how our life must be so easy compared to theirs. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand Pakistan has a huge class divide too, your either dirt poor or filthy rich, therefore its understandable why so many fantasise about leaving. But one thing that ticks me off is not bothering to actually educate themselves about the living conditions of Britain. Most relatives and people in general from Pakistan whenever I visit expect loads of expensive gifts and for me to wearing designer brands and to look lavish. My last visit where I allowed myself to be so much more aware of the norms and ideologies I learned being British people expected big things from me. A really extravagant well paid job, the latest model car, designer watch on my wrist and a suitcase full of expensive gifts. They got the suitcase but the other expectations I didn’t quite reach. What’s more amusing the tone of skin was a bit of a shock too. Apparently they associate fair skin to Westerners.
I asked a few of my relatives why they wanted their children to live oversees so bad. Many expressed it was due to better living conditions and job opportunities. This was completely understandable as these people live in small villages whose children are beyond intelligent but are indeed being held back. I too also asked people from the city areas when I visited, for instance the city Lahore. I was surprised and impressed to see how progressive this city was and the people. I asked a male who was a web designer, had his own apartment, car and a well-paid job why he still wishes to move overseas. The reply was, the weathers cooler, better jobs and more life opportunities. The man was young in his 20’s I presumed, I explained to him job opportunities weren’t much in Britain especially for young people. He looked at me as I was speaking another language and remained optimistic. There were many other young people from Lahore who felt the same way but all had a brilliant education and very well paid jobs.
I started thinking about this deeper and reached to the conclusion that there is no doubt Pakistan has many talented citizens. However, those who did have a good education mostly wanted to work overseas as this met their standards. So there is a problem in this, all the talent of Pakistan wants to relocate and offer their talent to another country. The implication of this would be that Pakistan will never progress then. The talent is leaving and the uneducated who may have infinite potential want to leave too. How will Pakistan ever progress then? People cherish the idea of relocating, some are so optimistic they see living in Pakistan as only temporary. It’s almost like as soon a child is born the parents make it their intention to not let their child live in the country forever. I understand living standards are poor and it’s not easy, but how can things improve if many do not cherish their homeland? If many put their children in good schools only to take them out and move them to stranger’s land, where the stranger will then benefit from the imported talent. All in all, I found no matter how much I talk about national statistics and how bad Britain was doing, the citizens had made their minds up. Poor or rich, one factor that keeps the two classes in common is the desire to relocate and live overseas. I personally understand this perception, however my question is how can Pakistan progress if the talent is being sold overseas? And what can be done to stop this “I want to go to England or America” obsession?