Modern Asia

On my travels through Asia I often had BBC World as my only English speaking companion to keep in touch with what’s happening around me. August this year marks the 60th anniversary of India and Pakistan becoming independent countries and laying down British rule.

To honor that, BBC is running a very interesting series of reports on modern India and Pakistan, often filmed through the eyes of returning expats who come to see how their home country has developed. Particularly interesting was a report by a Pakistani actor sporting the broadest of Scottish accents, Glaswegian no less, on the entertainment industry in modern Pakistan. He openly admitted that he had come to reconfirm his preconceived notions that he was far too modern for his brethren back home only to find himself being told that it is him who has antiquated views on his country.

It’s hard to summarize all the reports in brief but between what I saw on these reports and what I observed myself on my travels it seems that we in the West have a very distorted view of how the rest of the world develops. And I think it is this distorted view that makes us miss the beauty and richness of many places outside of the realm of what’s familiar to us. Sure, places like Pakistan and India and certainly China still face their challenges and enormous inequality. But they’ve come a whole lot further than many of us care to acknowledge and if we don’t pay attention, they may eventually pass us by before we know what hit us.

Only just now on the news there’s a report of an Indian company exporting jobs to the United States because their local currency, the rupee, has strengthened so much against the US dollar and they can’t find local talent for the prices they need …

Keep your eyes open. It’s a big world out there.

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