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Punjabi Parmesan In , after several years in China, journalist Pallavi Aiyar moved to Brussels, the headquarters of the European Union to discover a Europe plagued by a financial crisis and unsure of its place in a world where new Asian challengers are eroding its old and comfortable certainties With a lively mix of memoir, reportage and analysis, Aiyar takes the reader on a romp across the continent as she meets workaholic Indian diamond merchants in Antwerp, upstart Chinese wine barons in Bordeaux, Sikh farmhands in the Italian countryside and Indian engineers running offshore energy turbines in Belgium In the Europe of today everything is in flux, as she discovers through conversations with Muslim immigrants struggling to define their identities, the austere bosses of Germanys world beating companies and bewildered Eurocrats struggling to save the EU from splitting apart Examining the diverse challenges the continent faces today among them, bloated welfare states, the accommodation of Islam, the European ambitions of Indian and Chinese entrepreneurs and the fissures that threaten to break up this union of diverse nations Punjabi Parmesan takes a panoramic look at Europes first world crisis from a unique India China perspective Europe s declining population, the increase of its resident Muslim population and the impact of China s ascendancy are not news to anyone who has been paying attention to the BBC or reading about terrorism in France However, author Pallavi Aiyar provides a unique and refreshing perspective on these world events because she is Indian In a world dominated by the Euro American news media, it is rarer to hear how these events are being viewed from a distinctly non European point of view.Aiyar fear Europe s declining population, the increase of its resident Muslim population and the impact of China s ascendancy are not news to anyone who has been paying attention to the BBC or reading about terrorism in France However, author Pallavi Aiyar provides a unique and refreshing perspective on these world events because she is Indian In a world dominated by the Euro American news media, it is rarer to hear how these events are being viewed from a distinctly non European point of view.Aiyar fearlessly addresses the unspoken tensions arising between the clash between East and West Having lived in Brussels and China with a white spouse , she continually compares the lifestyles in these two countries without judgment unlike other books that side tacitly with the idea that European civilization is always superior and that its possible eclipse by the developing world is a tragedy, she presents a balanced view and rebukes those who would simplistically indulge in China or India bashing In her book, Made in China is presented as something that, at times, is worthy of praise, despite well publicized abuses and problems.Her book is filled with a number of startling insights that reveal how centuries old European racism, intolerance, self righteousness and hypocrisy percolate beneath universal issues binding all nations capitalism, culture, and relationships She shows how the European Union, losing its cultural and financial authority as the way to be , has jumped on the issue of climate change as a way of preserving its sense of superiority to developing nations She also shows how Europeans, spoiled by socialist welfare programs that could be seen as a reaction to the harshness of WWII living standards, now look upon hard working Chinese and Indian immigrants with disdain a highly ironic situation given how Europeans, in the colonial era, believed that non whites were universally lazy In one memorable scene, Aiyar describes the shocked reaction by a French worker when a Chinese billionaire buys a French chateau and unapologetically disses French food The horror, the horror Whoever thought the French could be out snobbed by the Chinese It s clear that Chinese wealth has not led to a greater respect for China in the European mind onlydisdain and hostility.In addition, she also reveals the culture clashes within individual European nations that led to a crisis between the hardworking, disciplined Germans with the easygoing, insolvent Greeks.Overall, this is a fascinating and important book to read, providing a truly global and multicultural point of view that is often muted by the dominant Western media Another excellent work from the author of Smoke and Mirrors Staying true to her role as an economic correspondent, Punjabi Parmesan deals closely with the economic crisis that hit Europe around 2008 and the ways various countries dealt with it It also explores the effects of globalisation and the challenges faced by the immigrants of Europe who are vital to the growth of European economy, yet are viewed with much mistrust.Although all this might sound a tad too heavy, when peppered with Pallav Another excellent work from the author of Smoke and Mirrors Staying true to her role as an economic correspondent, Punjabi Parmesan deals closely with the economic crisis that hit Europe around 2008 and the ways various countries dealt with it It also explores the effects of globalisation and the challenges faced by the immigrants of Europe who are vital to the growth of European economy, yet are viewed with much mistrust.Although all this might sound a tad too heavy, when peppered with Pallavi Aiyar s engaging writing style and amusing anecdotes, Punjabi Parmesan becomes a delight to read An interesting perspective of various challenges faced by European Union and the parallels it can draw from a diverse country like India or China. Great book very engaging and lucid account of Europe socio economically and politically I have traveled widely in the EU and this book was a great eye opener on the continent beyond the cafes, museums and public transport The fact that it was written from a world view similar to mine was a bonus. The socioeconomic crisis in Europe The new European order and changing identities This is a very engaging and fascinating investigation into of the current socioeconomic crisis in Europe that is struggling to keep its cultural and economic dominance in the midst of its new citizens, the immigrant population from Asia and Africa The author observes that several crises continue to distract Europe s confidence, coherence and competitiveness The book focuses specifically on the period 2009 to 201 The socioeconomic crisis in Europe The new European order and changing identities This is a very engaging and fascinating investigation into of the current socioeconomic crisis in Europe that is struggling to keep its cultural and economic dominance in the midst of its new citizens, the immigrant population from Asia and Africa The author observes that several crises continue to distract Europe s confidence, coherence and competitiveness The book focuses specifically on the period 2009 to 2012 when demographics, diversity, Islamic ideology, and globalization of business and economics are a part of 21st century Europe The emergence of India and China as the economic power players and challengers to European business is new and unanticipated The aging population and low birth rates in many West European countries has also offered some advantages to the newcomers of the continent The divergence of their value system from the mainstream is provoking anxieties about what it means to be European today The fear of Islamic terrorism after 7 7 bomb attack in London, the train station in Madrid and the recent attack on the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo in Paris is causing genuine concerns in Europe Only this week, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced new radicalization crackdown plans to confront Islamist Extremist Ideology head on The economic crisis in the EEC is also a genuine concern for many member nations, notably Greece The 2008 2009 Financial Market Collapse shows how vulnerable nations could be, and the austerity measures caused popular resentment against their governments across the continent The Europe s crisis is not of the same texture as of the so called Third World There is no famine here, no stench and no tanks in the city square, but Europe s crisis is a strange new creature The old world is old news, and most West European governments and the media were unwilling to accept India and China as partners This book tries to weave together strands of these predicaments The author being of Indian origin focusses on some specific issues that others may overlook, such as hardworking Indian and Chinese immigrants at both upper and lower ends of value chain in Chapter Two and the performance of Indian owned businesses across Europe in Chapter Seven The book discusses some cold facts that this once imperious region of the world needs to come to terms with Pallavi Aiyar, a journalist from India, offers a refreshing perspective on the EU and its crises as well as an interesting analysis of how the shifting power balance in the world is impacting Europe I have read many books and articles on Europe, yet these are often written by Europeans or Americans especially in political science Aiyar s book benefits from her position as an outsider looking in at Europe, and I often found myself looking at events in Europe with new eyes and agreeing with s Pallavi Aiyar, a journalist from India, offers a refreshing perspective on the EU and its crises as well as an interesting analysis of how the shifting power balance in the world is impacting Europe I have read many books and articles on Europe, yet these are often written by Europeans or Americans especially in political science Aiyar s book benefits from her position as an outsider looking in at Europe, and I often found myself looking at events in Europe with new eyes and agreeing with some of her observations, which I, as an American, also noted especially regarding Europeans vacation time I found the chapters The Veiled Threat and Tilting at Windmills about immigration in Europe and the EU s climate change initiative, respectively to be particularly interesting A thought provoking and interesting read I did not like this as much as Pallavi Aiyar s Smokes and Mirrors, perhaps because I really liked the travelogue cum political analysis style she had adopted there and this one had less of the travelogue ness Nevertheless, it is definitely worth a read, and I plan to reread some of the chapters again at some point. If you d like your opinions and beliefs about the state of Europe challenged and rearranged, this is the book that will do it Of course, even as a North American, you have your thoughts on immigration policy, the wearing of the hijab, the standoff between Greece and Germany, multilingual education, offshoring, and so on Pallavi Aiyar is a business journalist from India She grew up speaking English as a first language, went to Oxford, spent seven years reporting from China, and has relatives s If you d like your opinions and beliefs about the state of Europe challenged and rearranged, this is the book that will do it Of course, even as a North American, you have your thoughts on immigration policy, the wearing of the hijab, the standoff between Greece and Germany, multilingual education, offshoring, and so on Pallavi Aiyar is a business journalist from India She grew up speaking English as a first language, went to Oxford, spent seven years reporting from China, and has relatives scattered throughout the world, including Europe and the U.S But even her western education and exposure did not prepare her for Europe in the 21st century Aiyar found that many of the jobs in Europe are being done by Indians, Turks, and other third world workers A falling birthrate among Europeans combined with a general disdain for brutally hard work left a big hole in the labor force that is being filled by diligent, dependable, and cheap work from abroad This is not being met with gratitude, rather, many Europeans seem to resent that outsiders are working too hard We see Indian diamond cutters in Antwerp and Indian agricultural laborers in Italy, and they are there to stay Aiyar points out that multicultural cities arethe norm throughout history than are homogenous populations that were a post war aberration On the other end of the economic spectrum are the Chinese with their new wealth, buying up chateaus and wineries in France Aiyar spent a day with a group of 11 year old Chinese kids doing a tour of Europe They were spending money like Americans used to fifty years ago And the kids were not exceptionally rich, their parents were policemen, engineers, housewives.Aiyar s views as a citizen of a country that s multicultural, multilingual, and has a legacy of a long rule by a colonial power are not what you may be used to hearing Her takes on outlawing the wearing of headscarves, on finger wagging by the west to China and India over global warming initiatives, on anti immigrant policies, on forgotten colonialism in Belgium, will make you angry or perhaps will make you reconsider your opinions New Old World left me uncomfortably unsure of my own opinions One thing I am quite certain of though, is that this was a very good book Pallavi Aiyar is a journalist from India Moving to Brussels in 2009, she decided to write a journalistic book about her experience as an Indian in Europe She meets with other immigrants, Indian, Muslim, other ethnic groups and countries and how they all struggle to make ends meet and fulfill their dreams in Europe My favorite passages are about Belgium which I hadn t known was a fairly new country The Flemish and French speaking people struggle to accommodate newer immigrants who are badly n Pallavi Aiyar is a journalist from India Moving to Brussels in 2009, she decided to write a journalistic book about her experience as an Indian in Europe She meets with other immigrants, Indian, Muslim, other ethnic groups and countries and how they all struggle to make ends meet and fulfill their dreams in Europe My favorite passages are about Belgium which I hadn t known was a fairly new country The Flemish and French speaking people struggle to accommodate newer immigrants who are badly needed but also badly treated The idea of Europe as a country is theoretical rather than practical in many ways and the idea keeps falling apart little by little This book wasn t difficult to read and the interactions with residents provided amusements and insight I really admired this book and the author

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