9 mo

Growing Up British Pakistani

#GrowingUpBritish are memes I see a lot around the internet so I thought to myself "hey why not write about growing up British Pakistani because I'm British Pakistani?" Now, if you're also British Pakistani reading this do not be all "that's wrong it's not like this" because I'm writing about my personal experiences which may be different to yours. And if it is different then please share in the comments it's always nice to know different experiences and to discuss them. I've never actually been to Pakistan, well, I've never been out of England so before you ask that question - I've already answered (sound a little too cocky here I know). So let's just dive into this thing:

Growing Up British Pakistani

1) Barely Knowing Your "Second Language"

Now me being an ethnic in England, a lot of people expect me to speak another language. Now where I'm from in Pakistan we speak a mixture of Urdu, Punjabi, and Mirpuri, but to shorten it we just say "Punjabi" They're all really similar languages.

Now when I speak a little bit of Punjabi to my English friends, I feel great because I seem really fluent, and to them, I seem like I could be a translator. When I speak Punjabi to my Asain friends most of us are in the same boat, as in we can't really speak the language that well, but we can understand it okay, so it's really relatable. But when I have to speak to a relative, say an elder who's English is limited... Let's just say I try. Or I'll resort to speaking English in an Asain accent because they might understand me then.

When I was 13 the only words I knew how to say in Punjabi were "Gee" and "Nay" Gee means yes, Nay means no. So when I went to the shop with my grandma, who can't speak English very well, she spoke to me in Punjabi, I understand her but all I could reply back was either "Gee" or "Nay" so as you can imagine, we had a fun conversation.

I should really learn Punjabi, I know, and after my exams are over I'll spend the summer trying to learn it. My parents were also born in England, so Punjabi is their second language, and so we speak English at home. But one of my new year's resolutions is to learn more Punjabi so, wish me luck!

2) Some People Automatically Expect My Dad To Have A Long Beard and Be Strict

Now, this isn't everyone, but some of my friends have been really shocked when they've met my dad.

"Oh my goodness! Your dad doesn't have a beard?"

"He doesn't make you clean the house 24/7?"

"He doesn't mind that some of your friends are boys?"

For some reason, some of my friends expect my dad to be this really strict guy who will kill me if I even look at a boy who isn't related to me. It's not their fault though, I guess that's all they've heard about Asain men.

But Asain people like anyone else are human and will have their own personalities. My dad can be strict when it comes to grades and schoolwork. He does shout at me when I do something wrong. But he doesn't completely try and control my life. He lets me wear my hair how I want to wear it, he lets me dress how I want to dress, he doesn't mind me being friends with the opposite gender. Dating is a no go zone, but to be fair I don't want to date anyone at this age anyway. The only place I really meet boys in school, and I'd rather have happy memories with all the people from my school not making things awkward because somebody is my ex. Anyway, schoolwork is way more important to me than looking for a boyfriend. One of my friends said to me: "I was really shocked when I saw your dad I expected him to be one of those guys with a beard" but not all Pakistani men have beards lol.

3) The Parents Wanting You To Become A Doctor Phase

Now, this is one thing most of my friends who are British Asain like me have experienced. At some point, their family has wanted them to be a doctor. I remember looking through one of my baby books which my parents are supposed to write in and then when the baby is older they read through it.

And for the "When my daughter grows up she will be a _____________" No prizes for guessing what my parents put: "doctor". Now when I was younger I did want to be a doctor because that's all I was told, that I was going to be a doctor. But when I got older I started getting an interest in other things, like computer science and writing. My parents are actually way more supportive of me wanting to go into computer science than being a doctor, my dad and I both agreed that being a doctor may earn you a lot of money, but it's just not for me. Writing is more of a hobby for me, and right now I don't think my parents would be really supportive for that, as it's not a reliable career which I understand, not everybody makes it in that trade. I would like to pursue writing as a career, and if I proved to my parents I could become successful in that trade, then they would have no problem me going into that trade. But I understand it's more sensible for me to study something like computer science so I always have a reliable career to fall back on.

4) "Learning" To Cook a Curry

My parents constantly kept on nagging me about how I should learn to cook because it's a good life skill and all, and we eat curry as our dinner time meal so it was natural for my mum (who is a great cook by the way) to teach me how to make a curry.

So a few times I went into the kitchen with her expecting to learn how to make a curry. She showed me the first time and I just watched, I understood that I needed to watch and learn the first few times. But I became sick of watching eventually and wanted to try to learn myself, so I asked her if I could do something so she let me stir the pot the next few times.

But I wanted to do more than just stir a pot, so I asked if I could try and make the curry myself. So my mum just gave me a carrot to chop. I got annoyed and just didn't bother trying to learn considering my mum wouldn't let me actually try and make a curry. I was about 11-years-old then so maybe she just didn't want me to hurt myself. Truth be told, I've been lazy ever since and not even shown any interest in learning to cook. Part of it was the last time I tried to learn but most of it is just my own laziness.

After my exams I'll try and learn to cook as well, I'm getting older now so I should really know how to. Well, after my exams I've got almost 3 whole months free from school, so I'll try and learn to cook then. It's a basic life skill :P

5) Being Able To Handle Spicy Foods But Loving Traditional British Food

My parents have been giving me Roti and curry for as long as I can remember so spicy foods don't really bother me and when I eat a curry which is basically every day, I don't have problems on the toilet.

I can easily handle spice, as can most of my Asain friends but at the same time, the traditional British foods like Yorkshire puddings and Fish and Chips are also great. My mum will make an English dinner as a treat or we'll order fish and chips every once in a while.

It's been awesome having the privilege to have all these different kinds of food.

6) English Clothes vs Asain Clothes

If I'm honest with you, I prefer the standard English clothes i.e. leggings and a jumper to Asain clothes. I just find them easier to take off and put on and more comfortable. My mum is opposite she prefers Asain clothes.

I do have a few salwar kameez which I don't wear often, they are pretty but sometimes they're just itchy and a nightmare to take off. On special occasions I will wear salwar kameez I'm not dead against it or anything, after all, it is what my ancestors would have worn but I just wouldn't want to wear them every day.

To conclude, I'm proud to be British and proud to be Pakistani. It's who I am. And if you're one of those people thinking "well Pakistani men are _______, and Pakistani women are like ________" Don't because there are actually some really good Pakistani people out there starting with my parents. I;m proud of who I am and where I come from. Both England and Pakistan. Remember to celebrate who you are too! Thanks for reading! :) <3

Growing Up British Pakistani
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  • Drifter83UK

    First off, hello @MissPeach35 πŸ‘‹.
    Was a wonderful read (I'll get back to the writing part later lol).

    Since you're 16, Are you parents first Gen British?

    I ask because I was also born in England, my pops from Azaad Kashmir. My father came to England age 6 and my mom came to England aged around the 15 mark...

    My father grew up with English mentality, a bit of a playboy and jack the lad; he spoke immaculate English and many other languages. He completed high school and did not continue further. A creative genius though, but not academically inclined.

    My mother came to the UK not speaking even a word of English.
    She didn't have much education either but was quite remarkable when it came to mathematics discipline, the ability to mingle with educated people with a linguistic barrier.

    There's some backround, that brings me to this day.

    1. Second language - there was a time when English was my second language. Before I went to school I spent a lot of time with my mum. I learnt many languages and could speak fluently. Then I went to school and learnt English which began to take over as first language. I spoke to my father in English and to my mother in many other languages. When we grew up we tried to teach my mother English (by this time she was getting on; the brain absorbs more at a younger age). This day she can converse but has an accent.
    As a child I had mostly white & black friends, so no chance to speak any Asian languages until I left high school.

    I could still however speak, just not as fluent as English. Having English taking over as first language though I started to speak a little "tooti pachji" (remixed dialects lol) so to speak.
    P. s. Gee is not really yes, "Ha gee/gee ha" (ha is yes) ☺️, gee makes it polite.
    Kind of like japanese where they say san/chan/tan etc...

    2. My dad was mostly clean shaved. My dad was strict and he was feared and respected lol. My dad was fine unless someone pissed him off. Apart from that really fun guy and just wanted to enjoy life. When girls would come knocking at my house (the girls would find out from yhe boys where I lived), my dad would laugh and be fine with it... My mum would be pissed off. So other way around for me.

    3. The doctor phase
    Yep, I know that feeling. I still know an alarming amount of things about the body for an engineer lmfao!

    I was my old man's 2nd favourite (he adored the youngest, but couldn't take him out places and relate; youngest was favourite due to being the youngest and many years difference from the oldest to youngest). Reason why after school i would help my old man with his job, when there were school holidays I also helped too. I got to stat out and he took me to pubs with his friends etc... Was cool, I had free reign with him and he spoilt me a lot 😁.

    Getting back to the point... My parents were pissed when I made my choice... They thought of hard intensive labour... No parent that has worked hard labour wishes that for their own. I pursued this on my own...

    Is this still revelant?
    • ... While everyone was accruing heavy debts and student loans, I was bringing the "bacon" home - so to speak lol.

      My mother is very proud of me now, but was afraid when I began my journey.

      Following my passion, I've worked around most continents and lived it up.

      Never let anyone tell you what you can't achieve. You'll be surprised what you can do if you dig deep, then dig deeper. I'm currently not in the UK and spend a lot of time living in hotels at 0 cost.

      If you want to write, follow that passion for free. Hell! Do it in your spare time and send me something to read (costs nothing, just some time) ; I'm pretty much an avid reader.. Done a bit of writing in my spare time that people have read and enjoyed.

    • 4. Learning to cook a curry
      Weird one here.. I never actually tried to learn; wanting to spend time talking to my mum or making her laugh, meant I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with her. I would do the things that caused her pain or stress like stirring pots for long durations of time.

      I accidentally learnt cooking by stirring pots... I used to see what my mum would put in and in what order: I would ask what she's putting in; why she is putting it in etc... I got to taste the foods throughout the process. People back in the day learnt by just watching and doing some. Got to the point where she'd do all the prep and I'd throw everything in.

      Probably same way your mum was taught to do so. Now with all these safety laws, children are molly cuddled a bit much.
      Times have changed... maybe you should just tell her to do the prep and you stand at the pot and you'll throw things in when they're ready (just a suggestion if you truly want to learn)?

      I'm glad I learned to cook; as much as I love room service... all the travelling to different countries meant making my own food at times for that taste of home.

      We didn't just eat traditional foods growing up. My mum did Sunday roast, English deserts, Christmas dinners, jamaican foods (she was a culinary master and quick learner).

      She still does those Christmas dinners that I miss so much, but my siblings send pics to taunt me...

    • 5. Being able to handle spicy food and love English food.
      Yes I can eat extremely spicy and fresh chilli... I love English foods for the fact that you don't feel sleepy... But I love spicy food.. Especially since being in Japan and tasting all the crazy flavours... I do however miss my mum's cooking as I've been away for a majority of my life travelling...

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  • 100lbguy

    Born in Netherland, raised in England and my parents are Somalis.

    Is this still revelant?

Most Helpful Girl

  • Hi, I am from UK was born in Warrington. My mother was born as in England. She has a half Irish. My nanny did rip. My Nanny was Irish. I was quarter Irish. I am lucky. That I have a learning disabilities called 18p. I always like the austic guys.

    Is this still revelant?

What Girls & Guys Said

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  • A-man-22

    I'm fully British and I think everything in here is a great take a part from 1.

    This is why cultural dilution is happening in Britain.

    This is England, you should speak English when in public.

    You should be at least decent in English by 16.

    Maybe it's a failing if the educational system but English people should be able to speak English with confidence.

    A side from 1, it great to see that you enjoy British culture in our food.

    (It's french slander that our food is bad)

    • My Grandma came to England when was way over 60. I know English, it is my first language but there is no harm in learning the language elders in my family speak, my other language, so I don't lose my heritage.

      We're not trying to dilute anybody's culture, how is me learning a second language diluting the culture of Britain just because my heritage leads to somewhere else?

      Though you make think you are "fully British" that is extremely rare if you took an ancestry test there is a possibility your DNA may well lead back to another country.

    • A-man-22

      Fully British means to me that I have been born in Britain and lived in Britain my entire life.

      Why is this? because if we all were super specific we'd all be African because that's where humans came from.

      By all means speak your preferred language to your friends and family but the problem comes from when people speak non English in public.

      I'm not saying that learning a second language is dilution at all. Infact many people in Britain are encouraged to do that.
      What I am saying is that you should be a little more fluent in English than what you said you are and use the correct language where appropriate.

      I have seen plenty of foreigners yelling at British people in other languages, it's not nice.

      You can be sent to jail for saying certain horrible things in English but in other languages it's like a fake censor. British people don't understand what you are saying so you don't get punished for some of the things you should be.

      I don't think people should be able to get away with that.

    • Oh, I see.

      Well, I am fluent in English, considering that is mine and my parents' first language is English. I too am born and raised in England, I've never even been out of the country.

      I can see where you're coming from when foreigners speak a language other than English in public, but the majority of the time, it will be because they are more fluent in the language they are speaking.

      Like my grandma, she didn't use Punjabi because she wanted to say awful things about people, I understand Punjabi and she can speak it, so it just makes the shopping trip faster.

      And the people around us didn't care, like us they were just continuing with their shopping.

    • Show All
  • spunkygiraffe

    Wow! Nice take, this was very interesting to read! :)

  • Ultimate_Gohan

    What is curry

  • Secretgardenblood

    Loll

  • John_Doesnt

    Russians are Asians too.

  • GayHowellMeme

    Interesting myTake

  • killer4212

    Asian*

    • And that's why I need to proofread. I guess fast typing has its disadvantages.

      Thank you.☺

  • Anonymous

    Would you prefer living in the UK or in Pakistan?

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