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  • Nerdy FOBs, we need you!


    by Rohin
    15th February, 2006 at 10:14 pm    

    This is one of my best mates. I thought instead of some generic google image, I’d give you a bona fide example of what I’m talking about: the Indian student. As you can see, with no hair gel or designer labels, it’s patently obvious this is no British Asian. I’m talking about the Indian overseas student.

    Long have they been the brunt of American jokes (we treat them far better here) and the stars of awful films like Where’s the Party Yaar, American Desi and Van Wilder. But now the FOB (fresh off the boat) is in demand. Countries around the world are falling over themselves to attract more students from India, as they enjoy the dubious reputation of being more serious, harder-working types. Oh, nerds.

    Tony Blair and Condy Rice have spent time with Indian teens, patiently fielding questions in order to persuade them to leave home. The Chancellor of Oxford University, Lord Chris Patten, recently announced a trip to India with the sole purpose of attracting more Indian students, as the UK has fallen behind the US when it comes to attracting the brightest brains of the subcontinent. He said:

    “I don’t think a serious university can do without a properly thought-through strategy for China and India.”

    Those two countries again. Is no area of life free from their looming presence?! Indeed, Cambridge has also recently announced a greater focus on India - they have concentrated efforts on China up to now. Patten’s trip will take him to Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai. He will be drawing attention to statistics like the fact Chinese students now outnumber Indians 2:1 at Oxford. Last year 17,000 Indians came to study in the UK, compared with about 80,000 who chose America.

    He thinks that the UK and especially some of the older establishments have a “conservative, stuffy image.” Surely that suits Indians to a T? Of course not, kiddies from conservative and stuffy countries want to party hearty. Leaving an often sheltered home for the first time represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many young Indians.

    They are increasingly opting for America as the destination of choice as US colleges and the Greek system promise what many frustrated Indian boys crave, frat parties. It would be interesting to compare the sex-breakdown. Most overseas Indian students are male - but I wonder if an equal proportion of guys head to the States as girls. I would assume so, as to pretend that Indian girls are less horny than Indian guys is naive at best ;)

    OK it’s not just sex and parties. The Indian press portrays America as a more glamorous destination for a budding scientist or engineer, with success stories around every corner, many of whom are Indian. The Grauniad claims the net worth of emigrants to the US from IIT alone is $30 BILLION. Lord Patten stated that Europe as a whole is facing a crisis in research and higher education; in 2005 the US spent twice as much as Europe on its unis and R&D:

    “Last year, 25 per cent of European students went to America to do PhDs. None of us should want to be part of creating an ignorance-based economy.”

    London’s universities have traditionally fared well when attracting overseas students. Perhaps most successful of all is the London School of Economics, which has a student body who are overwhelmingly foreign. Overseas students bring in the bucks as they pay around £10,000 a year for a normal degree (almost £20,000p.a. for medicine), although with the coming year’s top-up fee introduction, the disparity between home and foreign students’ fees will be reduced.

    The drive for the brown pound is not limited to the English-speaking world, China (which currently has only 800 Indian students) has upped efforts to bring in more desis. My girlfriend recently went to check out INSEAD, a business school near Paris. In the prospectus Hindi was listed as the second most common mother tongue amongst students and the pages were peppered with carefully-selected Indians.

    This has only occurred due to the introduction of English-language courses in Europe. Indians are looking outside the US and UK for higher education, but they still want to speak the language left by the British. Hence Australia has seen a dramatic rise in Indian applications (and we’re back to the party line of thought, see: Salaam Namaste).

    But there is hope for British fans of FOBs, as last year foreign applications to US colleges fell by almost a third. In numerical terms, Indian students make up 5% of all overseas in the world and are now officially hot property.

    UPDATE: Abi from nanopolitan points out this great link.


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    Filed in: Economics,India,The World






    56 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs


    1. El Cid — on 15th February, 2006 at 10:21 pm  

      The clothes are a def giveaway.

    2. Jay Singh — on 15th February, 2006 at 10:41 pm  

      Rohin

      Your mate looks a bit like a serial killer about to truss up somebody with the masking tape!

    3. Jay Singh — on 15th February, 2006 at 10:41 pm  

      It’s that slightly manic smile!

    4. Jay Singh — on 15th February, 2006 at 10:42 pm  

      That figure about the net worth of IIT graduates in America is amazing.

    5. Siddharth — on 15th February, 2006 at 10:44 pm  

      Hair Gel and Designer labels? How very 80s. The guy is cool in a geekchic kind of way, IMHO. And looks like he’s getting ready to indulge in some auto-erotic activity as well.

    6. Rohin — on 15th February, 2006 at 10:58 pm  

      Hair gel and labels may be 80s, but it’s still de rigeur amongst BBCD lads.

      Geekchic - he’ll be very pleased to hear you say that. We pride ourselves on our intense geekiness. I could’ve put up a pic of his computer - 3 screens, 3 CPUs, 2 cases and 4 fans. Just like mine actually, although I have more hard drives. Geek power!

    7. Sunny — on 15th February, 2006 at 11:03 pm  

      but I wonder if an equal proportion of guys head to the States as girls.
      Huh?? I see you’re giving your FOB credentials away mate.

      By the way, Los Angeles was full of male Indian students. Like…. full of them. From an economics perspective, great idea… but I worry if there’s not sociological time-bomb somewhere. Though Cali is full of immigrants anyway, the worry is that their expectations (of marriage, sex etc) are so diff that they get nowhere on that front.

    8. Sunny — on 15th February, 2006 at 11:03 pm  

      And another point, Where is the PArty Yaar was an ace movie I thought! totally loved it…. ju bhastid!

    9. FOB — on 16th February, 2006 at 4:16 am  

      Finally a post about ma people…

      Rohin dude…your friend is definitely at one extreme of the FOB spectrum…haha…
      FOBs are da bomb man..
      make fun of us now..you’ll be working for us in 10 years..

      and yeah..we be bangin the goris too..u know that indian guys are crazy for the blondes..

      dont worry bout us Sunny bhai..we will probably outbreed the lot of you BBCDs…

    10. Vikrant — on 16th February, 2006 at 8:21 am  

      we will probably outbreed the lot of you BBCDs…

      But wont your children count as BBCD’s or ABCD’s?

    11. Rohin — on 16th February, 2006 at 8:47 am  

      FOB, neither Sunny nor me are British born! But Vik’s right, your kiddies (half blonde, of course) will be second genners like the other British Asians.

      Actually, I’ve often wondered, why do Indian guys LOVE blondes so much? Is it purely a grass-is-greener/completely different to what they see everyday thing or is it more sinister? Interesting phenomenon. Desis brought up in the UK don’t seem to be so fixated on blondes - I would say cos they grow up with them, but many don’t, they grow up in their Asian enclave. So who knows?

    12. StrangelyPsychedelique — on 16th February, 2006 at 10:29 am  

      Im an FOB (came by plane tho) student….

      …and its much fun :) As for the selection process between the US and the UK its a often a case of which the parents prefer. Many see UK universities as comfortable for students schooled under the British education system (i speak for sri lanka rather than the indial examples) whereas those parents with exposure to US unis tend to front them. There are many who consider Australia and Singapore as alternatives (the latter country being the nicest in terms of its treatment of immigrants).

      >>Actually, I’ve often wondered, why do Indian guys LOVE blondes so much?

      White women be easy innit :O Have your fun, get ure degree, come back and marry! (that issue is actually more weighted than it sounds but I wont go into it).

      The only thing that gets my goat is immigration. We pay shiteloads and are fingerprinted, boondocked and overall treated like potential asylum seekers/illegal wannabes despite the fact that a large majority of students return home cos the Motherland r0x0r!

    13. Fe'reeha — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:13 am  

      No comment! I just think this is a very interesting article……and a very intriguing (not to mention original) picture!

    14. contrarymary — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:24 am  

      I joined bobby friction and nihal on a tour of small indian cities… Baroda, Nagpur… in 2004, organised by the British Council and an associated body Education UK.

      it was funded by the British Council, with the sole purpose of promoting higher education in the UK. so they handed out questionairres for tickets… quite bizarre. but its motivation was the number of indian students going to study in the US compared to the UK.

      so there was Bobby & Nihal leaping around on stage in bright yellow t-shirts emblazoned with Education UK. that’s virtually the FOB look :-)

    15. Rohin — on 16th February, 2006 at 12:20 pm  

      ContraryMary, who are you? Will I have heard of you? (I’ve heard of most of B&N’s friends).

      Are you sure Singapore is the most friendly to brown students SP? I’m not so sure, I’ve heard so many stories of hazing rituals for the desi students, which seem to be worse than how ethnic Chinese students are treated. Well I don’t know for definite - but I do know that at my medschool the largest overseas contingent is from Singapore (I’d say 75% Indian Singaporean and 25% Chinese Singaporean) and they fall into two categories - hated Singapore and happy to have left or not that bothered about leaving, but just want to work in America. They ALL want to work in America come to think of it.

    16. Vikrant — on 16th February, 2006 at 12:25 pm  

      I’ve often wondered, why do Indian guys LOVE blondes so much?

      Well my gf’s a natural blonde, but sick of my dumb blonde jokes, she coloured he hair auburn!

    17. contrarymary — on 16th February, 2006 at 1:13 pm  

      Rohin - I’m Rahul Verma - a freelance print journo working for Metro, The Independent, The Guardian and some underground music mags.
      I keep a low profile though, so you probably haven’t come across me.
      I think Sunny, quoted me on the original press release on the launch of PP…

    18. Pocahontas — on 16th February, 2006 at 2:24 pm  

      Thank heavens I am in fashion at last!

      I am indebted to you, Rohin.

      I agree with the Oxbridge stats, In Cam you cant turn around without being whacked in the face by some Indian/Asian specimen.

    19. Sunny — on 16th February, 2006 at 2:27 pm  

      FOB, neither Sunny nor me are British born
      Speak for yourself mister! I was born in this country, though I lived for quite a few years in India after. So I’m half an FOB…. kinda.

    20. Rohin — on 16th February, 2006 at 2:33 pm  

      Oh, apologies Hundal sahib! OK then, I’M not British born, I’m a bona fide 1½ gen FOBCD (halfway between).

      By the way, you guys are saying “an FOB” as though you’re pronouncing it ‘eff oh bee’.

      In the words of Gene Wilder: Wraaahng!

      It’s FOB, like KNOB!

    21. StrangelyPsychedelique — on 16th February, 2006 at 2:35 pm  

      >>Are you sure Singapore is the most friendly to brown students SP?

      Government policywise yes. I have a few friends there who quite like it but yeah the US is quite in favour with most of them.
      Its the hassle in terms of immigration that puts one off.

    22. mirax — on 16th February, 2006 at 2:58 pm  

      Hate the stereotyping on this thread (it matters fuckall to me whether desi students/mittal/ashwariya etc are ‘official’ hot property, really am not so needy for recog) but since S’pore was mentioned…

      Singapore started courting the best brains from SE Asia(mostly chinese/indian kids from malaysia) under the ASEAN scholarship about 40 years ago . It began poaching bright kids from China and India about 15-20 years ago. It’s all about expanding the talent pool. The kids from asean and china come in- on all expenses paid scholarships- when they are 13 and stay on until they complete uni and get their first jobs here. Thus they become naturalised Singaporeans almost. The desi kids come in at either pre-university or undergrad level. All the scholarship receipients are bonded to work in Spore for a certain number of years( 5-8) in return, btw.
      This is in addition to the fee paying students from the region and south and east asia. It is no hassle at all to get a student visa, permanent resident status or even citizenship as long as you have some kind of qualification and can get a job here.

      S’pore may have been mentioned as most immigrant-friendly for this reason. But rohin’s point about desis being on the receiving point of hazing (officially illegal) more than others just doesn’t ring true in my experience. Locals find the desi accent hilarious (our sense of humour is still unevolved) but i know plenty of desi kids who make fun of singlish and all things singaporean, the minute they step off the plane, so we are quits, I reckon.
      Singapore is still asian, so there may not be ugly street level paki-bashing/ racist abuse that you can get in places like the UK, australia, so that may contribute to a sense of being less viscerally ‘under attack’. Note that I am not saying that racism does not exist in Singapore. But the desi middle-class students/expats are not those who face the worst of it. We have entire armies of bangla cleaners and tamil labourers (as well as chinese construction workers) who face the real brunt of prejudice cos they are both poor and black.

    23. Rohin — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:06 pm  

      Mirax, up to now you’ve not irritated me on here - which makes me a minority. But for God’s sake, phrases like “hot property” are not serious journo-economic commentaries, they’re GAGS. I’m not trying to suggest FOBs are suddenly en vogue, it’s tongue in cheek. There is no stereotyping here, bar except a comment about blondes.

      Well done for not being needy for attention. Good job. Splendid-lah.

    24. FOB — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:08 pm  

      Actually, I’ve often wondered, why do Indian guys LOVE blondes so much?

      Hmm…this is a huge phenomena among FOBs and not so much among the 2nd gen..

      Its a combination of fetishizing the “exotic”(blonde is exotic for us) and yes years of blonde dominated porn in our fromative years..

      Some guy said white women are easy..thats bullshit..they are not easy…in fact in my experience the ABCD girls are easier…the easy scale reads Latino

    25. FOB — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:10 pm  

      latino - ABCD - white - fob

    26. StrangelyPsychedelique — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:12 pm  

      >>Some guy said white women are easy..thats bullshit..they are not easy

      I was being mildly sarcastic…

      >>in fact in my experience the ABCD girls are easier

      wow…

    27. FOB — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:25 pm  

      But wont your children count as BBCD’s or ABCD’s?

      Good point..will have to do something bout that..will ship the lot of them to the motherland for school..let them learn advanced calculus in 3rd grade like us..none of that namby pamby “do whatever you like beta” like the 2nd gen..its either doctor or engineer, ..heck i’ll even throw inlawyer …

    28. Vikrant — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:25 pm  

      Well… Rohinda since i’m still a few months before i become applicable for citizenship, i dunno which category i stand.

    29. mirax — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:25 pm  

      Touchy eh? Why take this so personally, Rohin? So I irritate you? So bloody what meh?

      I based my impresssion on two threads in recent days- one about Mittal putting injuns ‘on the map’ and now this about the ‘FOBS’ and another about capucinnos/oreos whatever. Then there’s the casual sexist talk about the scale of easy women, white or otherwise. Progressive asians? Where????

    30. Don — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:26 pm  

      ABCD?

      Come on guys, I’ve only just worked out FOB.

    31. Vikrant — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:28 pm  

      let them learn advanced calculus in 3rd grade like us

      did you mean: rote calculus in 3rd grade?

      Anyways, i’ll try a shot at IIT-JEE but still its US where i’d be finally headed to.

    32. Vikrant — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:29 pm  

      Donnie boy:

      ABCD == American Born Confused Desi
      BBCD == British Born Confused Desi

    33. mirax — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:31 pm  

      why confused?

    34. Vikrant — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:34 pm  

      It probably refers to second gen being confused about their roots or ethnicity.

    35. Vikrant — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:37 pm  

      actually ABCD stretches onto Z its summit like “American born confused desi emigrated from gujarat housed in jersey…….

    36. Rohin — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:37 pm  

      What are you on about mirax?

      The Mittal post itself contained no mention of putting anyone on the map. Given it was me who said it in the comments, but what I ACTUALLY said was “I would rather Mittal put Indians on the map than Aishwariya Rai and co.”

      I fail to see your objection to me writing about FOBs. They are a universally lampooned group amongst non-resident Indians and I thought I would write something positive. I’m sorry, by your reckoning that’s very unprogressive of me.

      Penultimately, the post about cappucinos was, again, a lighthearted post about labels that are thrown around. You seem to be having a problem understanding the humour, and more intent on haranguing those who don’t think the same way you do. And, although not particularly relevant as I didn’t object to the post, it was by a guest blogger.

      And lastly, casual talk about the easiness of women is not being done by anyone who has claimed to be progressive, so your criticism has no basis. Had I or another PP writer engaged in it, I would’ve paid you more attention.

      I have no problem with you disagreeing with me and I have enjoyed reading lots you’ve written. But just chill out a bit, don’t get so hot and bothered about humorous posts.

      Don, ABCD = American-born confused desi. BBCD = British (etc).

    37. Sunny — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:43 pm  

      Actually, I’ve often wondered, why do Indian guys LOVE blondes so much?

      Erm, speak for yourself again boys. The guys in India do lust after white women with the wildly hilarious perception that white women are easy for sex, so I guess its the forbidden fruit syndrome. I myself have a preference for dark haired women, usually Asian. I think all this is very subjective.

    38. Sunny — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:45 pm  

      I don’t think Mirax is annoying, she just makes assumptions way too easily. But on one level, she acts as a check.. points out when we stray into dangerous territory :)

    39. Rohin — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:49 pm  

      I had a blonde girlfriend once. Just once.

      Well she wasn’t my girlfriend, she just lived opposite me and never closed the curtains.

      I kid! Actually I was Vik’s age! If you’re copying my model Vik, you’ll dump her in the Thames and she won’t speak to you again. Don’t worry, it was a warm day.

      Anyway, I’m with Sunny, I’ve always found brunettes way hotter. Sorry, am I stereotyping?!

    40. Jay Singh — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:53 pm  

      You seem to be having a problem understanding the humour, and more intent on haranguing those who don’t think the same way you do.

      Ouch! The sting of truth.

    41. FOB — on 16th February, 2006 at 3:55 pm  

      Well I did say that FOBs are into blondes, 2nd gen seem to dig desis …

    42. mirax — on 16th February, 2006 at 4:01 pm  

      Hate the stereotyping on this thread (it matters fuckall to me whether desi students/mittal/ashwariya etc are ‘official’ hot property, really am not so needy for recog) but since S’pore was mentioned…

      That was all I wrote, guys. That’s the way I see things on this thread and a couple of others. This is a public blog and my comment is fair comment. It should just slide off you if it is not something you feel to be true.Not nec to be so defensive about all this.
      Your are 100% right that I do not share your sense of humour. Please tell me when I should laugh.

    43. Jay Singh — on 16th February, 2006 at 4:05 pm  

      Shall we insert symbols in our posts to indicate at which points mirax should laugh?

    44. mirax — on 16th February, 2006 at 4:07 pm  

      That would be ever so helpful, Jayjay. Or a laughtrack perhaps? As in sitcoms?

    45. Jay Singh — on 16th February, 2006 at 4:10 pm  

      But then you could get more confused - people could play tricks on you and tell you to laugh at things that are not funny and then you would sulk.

    46. mirax — on 16th February, 2006 at 4:16 pm  

      Ha! Now this is getting funny. Getaway now J you comedian ! I am splitting up. Really.

    47. Jay Singh — on 16th February, 2006 at 4:30 pm  

      Jolly good! Keep smiling ;-)

    48. Vikrant — on 16th February, 2006 at 4:45 pm  

      I kid! Actually I was Vik’s age! If you’re copying my model Vik, you’ll dump her in the Thames and she won’t speak to you again. Don’t worry, it was a warm day.

      LOL, i’ll remember that next time i go to Runnymede with her!

    49. El Cid — on 16th February, 2006 at 4:52 pm  

      Being a Latin, I of course looovvve all the ladies. And I don’t care what colour their hair is.
      (*hear’s noise at door*). Oh, hello, is that you darling? Oh, nothing, just checking out the Net, you know, the usual. Cup of tea?

    50. Don — on 16th February, 2006 at 6:12 pm  

      Vikrant,

      ‘Donnie boy’?

      Respect my grey hairs. Whippersnapper.

    51. Siddharth — on 16th February, 2006 at 8:12 pm  

      Kurt Vonnegut’s calls himself A Man With No Country.

      Thats a state not quite the same as being an FOB. But if you’ve been an FOB as long as I have, it comes close.

    52. Siddharth — on 16th February, 2006 at 8:12 pm  

      my typos get worse after a bong hit.

    53. Quiffman — on 16th February, 2006 at 10:42 pm  

      I know the guy in the picture. He is like that 24 hours a day.

    54. Quiffman — on 16th February, 2006 at 10:45 pm  

      Even in his sleep.

    55. Quiffman — on 16th February, 2006 at 10:46 pm  

      (He sleeps during the special 25th hour - The Mousie Hour)

    56. Rohin — on 16th February, 2006 at 11:46 pm  

      Ah, green leader. Don’t you find it odd that a post that began with the DS has ended in a comment about hits from the bong, just before you arrived?

      Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.

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