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Thread: stratford e15-most cosmopolitan place in the history of humankind

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    Default stratford e15-most cosmopolitan place in the history of humankind

    says so in the guardian. not rome, not new york, not constantinople, no stratford, e15. centre of the universe, capital of the world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by luka
    says so in the guardian. not rome, not new york, not constantinople, no stratford, e15. centre of the universe, capital of the world.
    Shame it's such a gruesome dump.

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    hmmm guardian say so
    interesting but irritating too
    a lot of generalisation, oversimplification & reductionism

    e.g "Chinese community "The reason for their thin spread all over London is because of the idea that you want to set up a Chinese restaurant that's a little way away from the next one."
    ignores the fact that "chinese" is a description of a whole host of different communities, mainland, diaspora etc. and that while chinese restaurants are the feature that non-chinese see it's probly not the most significant ...

    london ain't new york - you can't just say this is a jamaican area to the exclusion of other nationalities, e.g around here there are plenty of other communities that ain't mentioned - they also manifest in different ways
    - there's a lot of eritrean restaurants and community groups in lambeth (less so ethiopians)
    - there's plenty of algerians in brixton, who are less visible as they don't have their own labelled cafes or shops, they do run a mosque in the recreation centre tho
    - streatham hill seems to be the focus of somali community in south london, there are caffs and money transfer shops
    - there's also a significant community of yupyups who are responsible for house prices rising and a change in the local economy towards higher end services like yuppy bars & that, a process of gentrification leading to a generation of immigrants leaving the area = 'black flight' & de-diversification
    but this 'diversity' is unrepresented in the grunter which jus reduces brixton to a big ol jamaican blob...

    fair enough, you can't really expect to get to that level of detail in a report that covers all of london - but focussing on georgaphy and maps means that you're not really looking at a very representative picture of lunun's diversity

    & obv i'm not trying saying that brikky is more or less diverse than e15 - jus that the guardian as usual is over simplifying to the point of divisiveness. The census is still too blunt an instrument for this type of analysis, altho it's prolly the best available - iirc it only asks for place of birth & i don't think it asks about languages - so it would not reflect the complexities arising from different communities different lengths of time in UK & levels of 'integration' or 'assimilation', members of 'communities' who are born here and whose identities are not as simple as just saying o i'm a member of this or that feckin tribe

    grrr - po-faced response to light-hearted post!

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    it didn't actually say that in the guardian to be honest. it didn't even mention newham as far as i could see. it's just a claim i've been making for the last few years. it's also true. stratford is not a dump. your mum lives in a dump. she gnaws discarded chicken bones and sleeps in an abandoned fiesta.

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    yep it was an interesting piece but Soof is right, the 'Chinese community....restaurants' line in particular was pretty shocking - even i know there is, e.g., a sizeable Eritrean community in Lundun, and that wasn't mentioned. lot of holes in the story.
    some rum phrasing etc.
    still i posted a link to it on my blog, the Somalian interview in particular gripped me - i had no idea about the situation re. Wembley and forcing closure etc ripping things apart.

    that cafe photo looked like a little hot dog stand i passed on the bus the other night, except outside the hot dog stand was a lot of snow and four guys whose pints i wouldn't spill (judging from their colours they might have been gang members, btw).

    there is a very interesting treatment in Nick Danziger's Danziger's Britain (1994, and recommended if you haven't already), incidentally, of some of the issues the Somali community in one area of Liverpool were grappling with at that time (Cardiff and Lpool and Mcr are the only towns outside London in the UK w' significant Somalian communities, population-wise, and i know we've discussed the importance of engaging and grappling w' and not necessarily belittling populist narratives on asylum seekers and economic migrants etc but FWIW i can tell you in my limited experience the average Manc factory worker 'has no problem' with large numbers of asylum seekers but some do with specifically people from Somalia, people of Somalian heritage, and i don't know why this particular prejudice is there, well i mean i've got guesses but i'll not bore anyone with any more ill-thought rants)...

    Luka means stuff like below, i think
    http://www.cre.gov.uk/duty/reia/stat...istribution_eg

    on a light-hearted and playful note, i can only think of one specifically Burmese restaurant in London, and i don't think more than one Sudanese (Mandola?).
    there are about maybe half a dozen to a dozen Ethiopian restaurants in Chicago incidentally, but i can't think of any Eritrean eateries at all, nothing like that.

    sorry to sound like a missing the point guardian writer...

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottdisco
    yep it was an interesting piece but Soof is right, the 'Chinese community....restaurants' line in particular was pretty shocking
    Is it? Obviously there's variation in the Chinese community blah blah blah but the restaurant/takeaway business is still an important economic activity. For instance, the last book I read was about Western perceptions of Chinese food, and one of the things he talked about in regards to the Chinese community in the UK was exactly that, that part of the reason for the dispersal of the Chinese community was the need to site takeaways and restaurants at a reasonable distance from competition.

    there is a very interesting treatment in Nick Danziger's Danziger's Britain (1994, and recommended if you haven't already), incidentally, of some of the issues the Somali community in one area of Liverpool were grappling with at that time (Cardiff and Lpool and Mcr are the only towns outside London in the UK w' significant Somalian communities, population-wise,
    Afaik Leicester has a reasonable size Somali community as well. There was an article in The Economist that I remember last year that was looking at the problems of the Somali community there and how many of the economic niches that they could occupy (halal butchers, international phoning centers, money transfer shops, minicabs) had already been take up by earlier immigrants.

    on a light-hearted and playful note, i can only think of one specifically Burmese restaurant in London,
    Mandalay on Edgware Road? Have you ever been there? It's really good.

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    Pearsall:
    >Is it? Obviously there's variation in the Chinese community blah blah blah but the restaurant/takeaway business is still an important >economic activity

    yeah, my bad

    apologies for lazily tossed-off writing.

    your implicit recognition of variation blah blah blah is i guess what Soof and i were getting at.
    Rob Lewis is quoted in the article as only offering one reason for dispersal and one reason alone. i appreciate you can't go through things with a fine tooth-comb but on a subject this fascinating and all-enveloping i guess we were expecting a little more. but yeah, point taken

    yeah i know Brum as well as i'm sure Leicester has a sizeable enough Somali community but i meant those cities had the largest populations in the provinces, of Somalians, folk of Somali heritage etc. certainly Liverpool is the only town in the UK with a Somalian councillor (although Theo van Gogh associate Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia and is a Dutch MP!).

    and yeah The Economist always writes pretty good on issues of race and class in the UK, i think. my mam's best mate's daughter's best mate (phew! mouthful) interned for them and even as a trainee she had a card instead of a wage. fill your boots!

    >Mandalay on Edgware Road? Have you ever been there? It's really good.

    yeah, had a great fishy curry. very knowledgeable Arsenal fans who knew a pleasant amount about the 'great' (sic) Man City sides of yesteryear.

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    Yeah, the guys who run Mandalay are very nice. My parents live close by so I've gotten takeaways from there many times.

    How's the weather in Chicago? We're getting an absolute boatload of snow here in New York.

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    Mandalay mmm! fish samosas

    re the chinese takeaway thing - the guardian was quoting an expert, but it sounded like they took his remarks so far out of context that they become meaningless (as per usual) - i mean look at southall (apparently london's least white british neighbourhood) where there are restaurants all the way down the high st - look at chinatown in soho ffs

    somalis in leicester - interesting case in point - while liverpool and cardiff have long-established somali (and yemeni) communities as sailors settled there long before the refugee movements late 20thC, leicester is also atypical - the somali community there is less longstanding than even the somali refugee communities in Londo - e.g in wembley, streatham, bethnal green... A sizable proportion of the Somali community in Leicester are actually 'secondary migrants' who originally got refugee status in other European countries (particularly Norway iirc) then came over to UK as EU residents - again, the picture is complex and doesn't lend itself to superficial soundbites or extrapolation from random stats.
    Leicester's role in pioneering refugee reception when the ugandan asians arrived is also ... interesting...

    as fer the weather - well i'm in bristol & it just snowed a few little flakes over here, nice!

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    A few flakes are nice, a foot plus isn't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sufi
    re the chinese takeaway thing - the guardian was quoting an expert, but it sounded like they took his remarks so far out of context that they become meaningless (as per usual) - i mean look at southall (apparently london's least white british neighbourhood) where there are restaurants all the way down the high st - look at chinatown in soho ffs
    Well, I think what the expert probably talked about (but the Guardian didn't bother to explain properly) is that places like Southall Broadway and Gerrard Street are 'destinations'; they can support large numbers of restaurants because they cater not only to the local population but also to further-flung ethnic kin and interested outsiders who are willing to travel for 'authenticity', whereas in other parts of the city Chinese takeaways and curry houses tend to be at a certain distance from each other because there are only so many of such establishments that can be supported in neighborhoods without a significant Chinese or South Asian presence.

    The effect of this dispersal pattern is more obvious among the Chinese population than the South Asian one because it is a much smaller community in London, and also because the Chinese do not tend to run small neighborhood grocery stores/off-licences/newsagents in the same way that South Asians do.

    edit: And yeah, I know that British-Born Chinese (BBC's) have been quite successful at moving into the professions, but you know what I'm driving at.
    Last edited by Pearsall; 23-01-2005 at 12:02 AM.

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    It's interesting for me to contrast London with Singapore.

    Singapore is about 70% chinese, 10% south indian and 10% malay, with the other 10% being a mix of arabs, thais, vietnamese, filipinos and caucasians. Plus a bunch of migrant tamil workers who stay a few months and then go back. It's been that way for years. Massively diverse because of it's role as a central Asian hub for transport and trade.

    But the character of the place is totally different from London. London is one 'british' city with minority pockets. Whereas singapore is genuinely a 'mixed city'. There is a bit called 'Little India' but's its more a place for the migrant workers than the singaporean indians - you never see any women there!

    And I wonder if one of the reasons for this is that it is mandated that the population make-up of any block of government housing must represent the greater population of the city i.e. it's illegal for monocultural ghettos to form (in government housing anyhow, and most people live in governmen housing).

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    A mate of mine is a scouser of pakistani heritage. He lived in London for a while and then went to live in New York. In 2000, I went to visit him and I asked him why he stayed there.

    In the UK, he told me, he - as a member of a racial minority - was merely tolerated. In NYC, it was the other way round. Minorities were the norm and could celebrate who they were.

    I found this observation interesting.

    Let's say Stratford is "the most cosmopolitan place in the history of humankind". What does that actually mean? That there are plenty of restaurants with enticingly ethnic cuisine? That people of colours and creeds respect (not merely tolerate) each other? That all is peace and brotherly love?

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    it means, i grew up there so it's special.

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    Pearsall's careful considerations of the restaurant angle and other things are exactly what was missing from the guardian's coverage above, to be fair (hence my earlier seeming eruption of fury at 'em, but i did mean shocking in the colloquial sense of lazy or poor or whatevs; anyway, i'll stop defending myself... ).

    re. what MBM was saying, a good mate of mine of Pakistani heritage who is a Manc would probably say something fairly similar, AFAIK. well, not that he's ever been to New York but...
    but there again, a second-generation Pakistani-heritage pal of mine who lives in the town next door to Burnley (with its BNP support and whatnot) would not, i think.
    those sorts of issues/questions raised are for the thinkers of this board to consider i think.

    yes i know New York is not the rest of the USA but there we go.

    i know - and yes, this is only half-arsed anecdotally - apparently you'll see couples from different ethnic/racial backgrounds together on the streets of London, i mean more commonly than in New York (well i've read this in print etc by people familiar with both cities).

    OK, it's a half-arsed observation only really fit for the pub, but anyone care to comment?

    people might find the below pdf interesting
    http://pooh.undp.org/maindiv/hdr_dvp..._5.pdf#page=15

    it's fascinating reading about the Singaporean govt (a mate is in Singapore for a bit at the moment, and their emails mention some interesting society/ethnicity/language etc observations) on the monocultural ghetto tip.

    Sufi:
    >Leicester's role in pioneering refugee reception when the ugandan asians arrived is also ... interesting...

    care to expand?

    does anyone else remember a Mail on Sunday article from a couple of years ago or so, regarding the 'news' that Leicester would one day soonish become the first city in the UK to have a majority minority population (i.e., its White British population would number less than its minority ethnic population)?

    iirc they took a two page spread in one of the prestigious bits of the paper (yunno, near the editorials, over about pp.8-9 or whatever) and their piece was, essentially, a thinly disguided racist lament...

    oh as for weather i was in small-town Indiana over the weekend.
    minus 7 fahrenheit, a couple of feet of powder dumped on you, and drifts in the fields about 18 feet deep is not what i signed up for

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