desi, fun

Stuff Pakistanis like

I thought I’d do what I thought might be a “witty” take on Stuff White People Like and adapt it to what Pakistani Americans like. With the many caveats that are necessary – these are stereotypes, they are not universally applicable, they have a class bias (I don’t fit them either – well, okay, not ALL of them). They’re listed in a very Pakistani, very organic fashion – as in, in illogical sequence. Feel free to add more!

1. Cars – Hondas. Pakistanis have a deep loyalty to Japanese cars, and among those, to the Honda. We believe (it’s somewhere in the Pakistani creed) that Hondas never die, and that all other cars are mere cheap imitations of Japanese models.

2. Shopping – Retail. We dislike used goods. It’s low-class. Who would buy second-hand items to use? What are we, beggars? However, wealthy Pakistanis love to shop at Walmart too.
3. Clothing – Short-sleeved silk shalwar kameez outfits flapping in sub-zero temperature, combined with strappy high-heeled sandals and no stockings.

4. Careers – Medicine. Nothing else. All other careers are second to medicine. Service-oriented careers such as teaching are “admired” in other people’s kids. The humanities and arts are not careers: they are hobbies. For White people.

5. Homes – sprawling brand new detached house with attached bathrooms, in the suburbs. (Who would want to live in an apartment in the city? Pakistanis do not need street cred.) Townhouses and duplexes are technically not homes.

6. Number of children – 3-6 (and up).

7. Beverage – milky tea that’s been cooking for a half hour.

8. Dessert – the more ghee, sugar, cream and whole milk the better.

9. University of choice – Harvard. (Actually, the only currently existent university).

10. Hair dye color – dark brown streaked with dirty blond.

11. Make-up – more is more.

12. Jewelry – a) Diamonds b) gold. (Once these two ‘basics’ have been established, others such as emeralds, rubies, etc. may be added. Silver does not count).
13. Food – Meat. A lot. Vegetarian dishes are for poor folks.

14. Animal protein -(in order of preference) a) goat b) chicken c) mutton. (Beef is for poor folks too).

15. Choice of children’s school – private.

16. Choice of neighbors – White.

17. Choice of sons/daughters-in-law – tall, fair, educated Pakistanis. Intellectually bland is okay. Lower middle class is not.

18. Religiosity – just enough, not too much, not too little.

19. Home decoration – crystal ornaments and shiny majestic furniture.

20. TV – Geo and Zee.

21. Exercise – treadmill at home. Outdoors? Hiking? Who does that?

22. Politics – apathetically conservative.

23. Radio – What?

24. Pets – children.

25. Book preferences – gilt-bound religious volumes in living room. (Don’t worry, it’s not like we READ them).

26. Best friends – wealthy and influential. Gifted, religious, smart, intellectuals etc. are okay for big parties or to show off to others.

27. Time zone – Time does not exist. Space does. But time doesn’t. Come to my son’s wedding and you’ll find out.
28. Common environmentally friendly practices – Enviro-what?

29. Favorite health food – Food is healthy. “Health food” is redundant. (And greens are for rabbits).

30. Cultural pursuits – Didn’t we just mention Zeetv? What do you mean “the arts?”

31. Top topics of conversation – a) children’s career highlights b) bodily ailments.

40 thoughts on “Stuff Pakistanis like”

  1. I laughed so hard reading this and EVERYTHING IS SO TRUE! Thanks for laying it down! I’m sending this to my cousins!


    Lush Phabie

  2. bwahahaha!
    my favorite parts:

    Pakistanis do not need street cred.)
    Intellectually bland is okay.


    other stuff pakistanis also like:
    -putting eyeliner on boys. i guess this goes under your “makeup: more is more” category.

    i’m going to brainstorm some more.

  3. Oh man I thought when you said Pakistani Americans you meant like you know Pakistani (born/1st gen/ABCD) Americans. This is a list about Pakistani fobs in America. Sorry is fob a bad word. My husband’s a fob. I love fobs! 🙂

    p.s. Are you kidding, any other car other than a Honda (or Toyota) *is* a cheap imitation. (Guess some things get passed down to us ABCD’s too.)

  4. lol!
    i am soooooo not pakistani…. although i currently own my second honda. and the chai thing. i’m languishing without it… and i might have a couple of others i’m too ashamed to admit…

  5. 32. Any team beating India in cricket.

    33. Ruining perfectly good fruit/juice…with salt, pepper, and other spices. (Seriously, salted OJ is GROSS!)

    34. Jinn. No Pakistani has not had–either themselves or a close relative–a run-in with a Jinn. I swear, it’s like the entire unseen world is tethered to Punjab.


  6. Tehehehehehe. NO.3 I think applies to all south asians. And add a sweater on that outfit. 😀
    I do the chai thing too, hehehehe and am not south asian. I thought the hair colour was this maroonish/reddish/brownish, pple in my community back home are also doing it, they copy the *trends* from all the soaps they watch. 🙂

  7. 35. white people

    36. using plastic bags for trash bags (i thought EVERYONE did that…)

    37. putting masala in pasta 😦 my mom makes keema-masala-macaroni and NO cheese!!!!!

    38. pakistanified “chinese” food… i love it!!!

    yay thanks for starting this list! love it!

  8. This is turning out to be an excellent collaborative project! thanks for the additions.

    what do you mean, momo — not everyone uses plastic bags for trash??

    as for pakistani-chinese, there aint no other chinese food in my universe 🙂

    sf – errr – *I* had that burgundy hair color some time ago, thanks very much!

    basil – In my experience, Malaysians can out-jinn (out-witch and out-ghost) Pakistanis any day, but yes, we do a pretty good job of having a constant connection with the jinn world.

    passerby – fob, i guess, in the sense of people who’ve been here for – what, 30 years and are still FOBS? yep.

    keep the list going!

  9. 39. Nuclear power – We kinda like that Pakistan has nuclear power. It’s like the homeless guy with a Rottweiler. You won’t mess with this homeless guy. Though to be honest, the fat cat with the Rottie is just as dangerous as the other guy. Go figure.

  10. top item for discussion amongst pakistanis – how to get a green card and whether to move to Dubai.

    the important things in life: the increases in your take-home pay and your savings are the only milestones worth a damn.

    first sign of ambition: flashy sunglasses &/or watch (though that might count in jewellery) & large metallic handbags (preferably with magnified designer logo in high visibility spot).

    first sign of ‘modernity’: cleavage & legs. it doesn’t matter if you can actually think the thoughts or walk the walk…if you dress for it, the rest is sure to follow.

    Basil’s comment about jinns is so hilarious and tika kay! 🙂

  11. # 40 – Health insurance – Oh no ! we have a doctor friend /cousin / uncle

    # 41 – We can return this within 3 months so keep all receipts in a draw.

  12. How about fruit salad tainted with fennel seeds and hot peppers? I puked that one off of the gazebo ledge at our masjid my first Ramadan (and was, coincidentally, four months pregnant).

    I’m just kidding–I ADORE spiced up fruit. 🙂

    I miss my Pakistani friends in the US.

    Oh now that I’ve made the fruit comment I see Basil did as well. Sorry for the redundancy. Thanks for a great laugh.

  13. How about fruit salad tainted with fennel seeds and hot peppers? I puked that one off of the gazebo ledge at our masjid my first Ramadan (and was, coincidentally, four months pregnant).

    I’m just kidding–I ADORE spiced up fruit. 🙂

    I miss my Pakistani friends in the US.

    Oh now that I’ve made the fruit comment I see Basil did as well. Sorry for the redundancy. Thanks for a great laugh.

  14. #42. Someone in the family knows how to do henna/sew/cut/style/ hair and threading/waxing(so it just gets done by a family member)
    LOL! I had this dirty brownish with copperish/goldish highlits *cough* I have been there too! 😉

  15. Huzzah! I loved this.

    # 43 Spending all day cooking

    # 44 Matchmaking

    # 45 Weddings, especially if a consequence of #44

    # 46 Spending all day in dressing gown/pyjamas/lunghi on the weekend

    # 47 Having the most sophisticated and nuanced racial categorisation framework on the planet. Simple racism is not enough

    # 48 Discussing politics of Pakistan amongst a group of men.

  16. OMG!! Its true not only to Pakistanis but to South Asians in many instances. Replace the Honda with Marutis and Nepalese and Bangladeshis would agree to much of the above!!
    And most loved bodily decoration?? Henna!!! not Tatoos I guess. hehe

    Missed your blog dear Koonj!

  17. Assalam alaikum.

    This is a short entry to notify you that this entry has been selected for Ijtema , an initiative to highlight the best of the Muslim blogosphere. Jazakallah.

  18. haha i love it! Totally agree w/ maximus mercury… all I hear around my house when my dad’s friends are over is about what a good investment moving to Dubai would be…

    aaand #40 & #41 … on the dot!

  19. soooooooo true it’s scary..
    though the last point (topics) is always
    (1) fashion (clothes)
    (2) jewelry
    (3) indian movies and dramas

    one question
    howcome their heels NEVER EVER come off at others homes???
    why do they all like to act muuuuuuch younger than their age???

  20. Pakistanis whether ABCDs and FOBs are basically insecure people, pretty much about everything education, money, national identity etc. Further, they are obsessed with the West; therefore try to acquire their traits to ingrain respect. One would expect that ABCDs being born and raised here would be unafraid and blunt, but you find the only change they show different from their parents is just the accent. They are clad in the same anxiety that their parents wear. No matter how much they shun inherent Pakistaniat, they are indoctrinate about the hard learned conclusions of their parents about life, apparent defying of Western social influence, religion and family values. The dilemma of ABCD parents is little different, they try to blend a mix picture of Americana and Pakistanism, doing a poor job on it and self-wrestling with both concepts. As they turn old they tend to blame themselves for coming to America/Canada, go through a catharsis of purging the movement that lead them to land here, what they lost, thinking about their own parents and whoever else they left behind who did not not enjoy the amenity of a good life. In fact both are but a “khitchri.” Sad but true. Ain’t nothing either can do anything about it. I guess we just have to live with what we’ve got.

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