“It won’t be easy to find a golf course in Bangladesh — if there is one, they’ll probably have wooden clubs — but if I can find a bit of grass somewhere, I’ll clear my mind by chipping balls into a net or putting along the hotel corridor.”
I’ll give Collingwood that touring the subcontinent — as a cricketer or a tourist — is not the easiest thing to do. The best, most honest account I’ve read from a Westerner came from Seth Stevenson in Slate.com (“Trying Really Hard To Like India,” Parts 1 and 2). Otherwise, most approach the place with an Orientalist perspective (the people, so spiritual! So exotic! So “friendly”), or with absolute contempt (Filthy! Smelly! Not enough baked beans and toast!)
Still, I’m always disturbed that this seems to be a one-way train, where Westerners offer their opinions about touring the developing world, but the Asians and West Indians don’t get the same privilege. When the English went on and on about the dangers of touring Pakistan — justified as it turned out — I was annoyed that they assumed touring England was that much safer:
Even England, which has been on relatively high alert since the 2005 attacks, is not immune to dangers. In 2006, the MI5 chief spoke of the range of threats his country faced:
Since , the combined efforts of my Service, the police, SIS and GCHQ have thwarted a further five major conspiracies in the UK, saving many hundreds (possibly even thousands) of lives. Last month the Lord Chancellor said that there were a total of 99 defendants awaiting trial in 34 cases.
Recall the famous case of Srinavasa Ramanujan, the Indian village genius mathematician who was taken to Cambridge, but soon fell sick there, lost without his usual diet and habitat. I know the West has great roads, an occasionally balmy climate and excellent golf courses — but that doesn’t mean it’s always a walk in the park for us either, Paul.