Reality Shock

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Malaysian students raised on BBC

Fables of eternal stately homes

Tidy village greens, leather on willow

Regency costumes and croquet


Were astonished to find no one

Riding horses, twanging lutes or

Reading the Book of Common Prayer

In their malodorous Bradford slum


And even more surprised to find

Grey lunar rows of satellite dishes

Track-suited, feral drug dealers

And painted slatterns in micro skirts


Selling blow jobs for heroin money

On jagged street corners. Or finding

Spent needles littering their garden

And fresh dogshit on their doorstep.



◄ Washed Out to Sea


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Kevin T.S. Tan

Mon 21st Sep 2020 15:26

I had the same experience when we took the bus from Dover to London in 2018. I unabashedly cried out: look how pauperized this area looks! It was a sharp contrast with the New Year's Eve celebration on a bridge near the London Eye. Such warmth radiating from everyone! It's really true that there's good and bad in everyone and everything.

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John F Keane

Mon 21st Sep 2020 14:04

The main thing my Malaysians did not like about northern Britain was the insular unfriendliness of most people, not the squalor. They were used to that.

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M.C. Newberry

Sun 20th Sep 2020 21:59

A friend from pub-going days back in the 70s was the "pub pianist of the year" around that time - a virtuoso of the keyboard from Ipoh, Malaysia who knew another England perhaps but seemed happy
enough with his lot here in London, not always the easiest place to
adapt to from far flung places. But then adaptability is said to be the secret of success, wherever you go.

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Brian Maryon

Sun 20th Sep 2020 20:06

Like Dick Whittington not finding the streets of London paved with gold.

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