The Middle-Eastern Teen Scene | Teen Ink

The Middle-Eastern Teen Scene MAG

May 24, 2009
By Mahnoor Saad BRONZE, Islamabad, Other
Mahnoor Saad BRONZE, Islamabad, Other
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I live in Pakistan. That's right, sound it out: Pa-ki-stan. You might have heard of it on the news – the place where the whos-its are throwing bombs on the watcha-ma-call-'ems. And no, it's not Iraq or Afghanistan, but we're getting there.

What is it like, really, to be a teenager in a third-world country? Well, for one, we know all about life across the seven seas, thanks to the friendly neighborhood cinepax (yes, that's what we call our movie theaters), Hollywood, and Hillary Duff. But since our films haven't yet evolved very far, and Bollywood doesn't really give our side of the story, let me fill you in. Consider this the East's version of the Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.

Everyone loathes getting up in the morning. However, I am not as fussy about it as my brother, who, despite being in medical school, still refuses to set his alarm and depends on the entire household to wake him. It is considered a family success to get him out of bed and into the shower in less than 30 minutes with minimal shouting and zero water throwing. And blessed is the day when we get to our respective workplaces and schools on time because said brother got ready with a few minutes to spare.

And that's just the start of my day.

I share the school bus with a bunch of kids whose brains have progressed from peanut-size to walnut-size during their 12 years of education. On a good day, they may discuss the merits of constipation over diarrhea. On a bad day … well, I won't go into that. You'll just have to take my word for it when I say that it's a relief (no pun intended) to arrive at school.

School is a whole different ballgame here. For one, our teachers do not give detentions. Also, there is no designated lunch time. Hence there are no “cool” or “dorky” lunch tables. You just grab a bite to eat whenever you can. Third, we have no mascots or (gasp) cheerleaders. There are some groups of people who hate other groups of people, but the worst that happens is generally a cold war.

On the downside, our yearly grade isn't based on a series of exams throughout the year. To be sure, we have tests and midterms, but they don't count toward our final grade. That hinges on one big exam at the end of the year that's created by Cambridge University in England.

After school I'm faced with the age-old question: How do I spend my time not being bored today? Starting my homework, until absolutely necessary, is simply not an option. But neither, it seems, is hanging out with friends at a place that isn't home.

You see, teenagers worldwide have the same basic problems: pimples, chemistry assignments, measly allowances, and a shortage of clothes. But there are some problems that we face in Pakistan that you couldn't even imagine. Our parents don't let us go out with friends, not because they think we might drink or do drugs, but because they fear a bomb may blow up at any minute. That's hard to argue with.

And so I, along with my friends, find solace in ­television, our cell phones, and the Internet. You'd be surprised how enthusiastically we follow American Idol. I shed actual tears when Adam Lambert lost! Not to mention how miserable my whole school was when Michael Scofield died on Prison Break. And Rufus and Lily from Gossip Girl, and Brennan and Booth from Bones, had better make something of it, because everyone on this side of the globe is rooting for them. And House … well, all he has to do is go on being brilliant.

Life is busy and full. Here, everywhere. It's funny how we forget the problems of our country. Most of us in Pakistan don't want to worry about ­Talibanization, the government, and the ­economy. And that's one more thing we have in common with most of the civilized world.

The author's comments:
The grass is just as green on the other side...

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This article has 100 comments.

sweetxluv said...
on Oct. 25 2011 at 10:48 pm
An eye-opener!!!

Imerald said...
on Sep. 2 2011 at 3:18 pm
Imerald, Caruthersville, Missouri
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
man i kinda know how you feel only in a different country

on Aug. 29 2011 at 12:13 am
JojoMimi BRONZE, Portland, Oregon
4 articles 0 photos 52 comments
Great article. It was very interesting. Plus, you write very well. I really enjoyed it.

on Aug. 24 2011 at 9:33 pm
introducingshelby GOLD, San Diego, California
15 articles 1 photo 139 comments

Favorite Quote:
"People change so you can learn to let go, things go wrong so you can appreciate them when they go right, and things fall apart so better things can fall together."
-Marilyn Monroe

 Your humor, gosh, it's so dry. I love it. Keep writing, chica[:

on Jul. 27 2011 at 5:44 pm
hollyjayne12 BRONZE, Sewickley, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"I have learned how to live... How to be In the world and Of the world, and not just to stand aside and watch. And I will never, never again run away from life. "

Thanks for sharing! :)

on May. 19 2011 at 7:13 am
BeiberChick1419 BRONZE, Lilburn, Georgia
1 article 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
Don't tell me the sky's the limit when I know there are footprints on the moon.

i loved your article!! it was so interesting to read about life in pakistan. i loved the humor behind you writing, please write more!! (:

on May. 9 2011 at 10:25 am
Wow! That is deep Mahnoor. It REALLy makes me appreciate life more here in America, thanks for sharing and I sincerely hope things get better in Pakistan

cieramist GOLD said...
on Mar. 24 2011 at 7:33 pm
cieramist GOLD, Orlando, Florida
17 articles 2 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right." ~ Henry Ford

Wow!  Thank you for sharing this! It offered such great insight into another culture! :)

on Mar. 23 2011 at 11:28 pm
misswindsor BRONZE, Collingdale, Pennsylvania
2 articles 0 photos 34 comments

Favorite Quote:
"What Fresh Hell is this?"

WOW, this is beautiful! Maybe our worlds are not totally different as I thought it was. And yes, lets hope that Brennan and Booth from bones make something of it! :)

on Feb. 25 2011 at 8:40 pm
loulou16 BRONZE, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania
3 articles 0 photos 8 comments
so good. love the descriptions and this is amazing!!!!

Laura said...
on Feb. 25 2011 at 1:20 pm
Based on what I was always told by my family and teachers, I thought that Pakistan was a war-torn and violence full country. I had no idea that they had anything in common with us or the rest of the world. I was surprised when I read that, like us, the teens there watch popular american tv shows and have cell phones. While we have many things not in common, there are some things that we do.

on Feb. 25 2011 at 9:18 am
I never really thought about what middle eastern teenagers had in common with America. The news and history classes only talk about bombs and weapons and awful things that it's hard not to ally those thoughts with opinions about the people, even when I know most have the same interests and common goals as us. I really like the last sentence. I think it really accomplished the article's purpose-that we're not really that different at all.

on Jan. 27 2011 at 7:06 pm
jward24895 SILVER, Montour Falls, New York
5 articles 0 photos 25 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.” -Stephen Hawking

As a self-absorbed American I never really paid much attention to how people in other countries live. I hear that stuff on the news about bombs and things but don't think that it's happening to someone who is my age and enjoys doing the exact same things I enjoy doing. Thanks for opening my eyes. :)

BeccaLynn GOLD said...
on Jan. 27 2011 at 3:11 pm
BeccaLynn GOLD, Milwaukie, Oregon
17 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
Time is a river... and books are boats. Some boats are lost at sea. while others float forever filling peoples head with their knowledge

I enjoyed reading this and it was very clear. I live in the U.S and it is always fun for me to hear what it is like in other countries. :)

on Dec. 22 2010 at 7:58 am
LaDyElFuNkOe SILVER, Male&#39, Other
5 articles 1 photo 12 comments


this is awsum

lovd it

im thankful for my country O.O

on Dec. 5 2010 at 9:58 am
SkyDeer PLATINUM, Mebane, North Carolina
20 articles 19 photos 49 comments

Favorite Quote:
Respect the nerds, they will be your boss someday- The Computer Guy.
The best is yet to come and baby won't it be fine- A band.
Defiant is the best word in the dictionary!

Awesome article!

on Nov. 29 2010 at 6:16 am
xAllegria BRONZE, Singapore, Other
1 article 2 photos 112 comments

Favorite Quote:
Ça fait tellement du bien d’aimer les gens qu’on aime, que ça finit par faire mal. Je sais pas comment on survit a ça. Non franchement, je sais pas. LOL (laughing out loud) ®, Lola.

Nice piece on an almost completely american website :) Good job

on Nov. 7 2010 at 7:23 am
elizabethjoy GOLD, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
17 articles 1 photo 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

I really enjoyed reading this. It gave me a whole other perspective and you are a very talented writer! Thank you for painting a picture of a part of the world that I wouldn't be able to imagine on my own.

on Nov. 4 2010 at 7:45 pm
Jakethesnake SILVER, Hernando, Mississippi
6 articles 0 photos 96 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Read, Read... Read everything, then write."-William Faulkner

Some day, I will leave America and go to all the countries that I want to go to. (I really don't care about their opinions. As long as a someone doesn't attack America, I'm cool.)


Hapigrl BRONZE said...
on Nov. 4 2010 at 10:40 am
Hapigrl BRONZE, Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania
3 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Awesome, i totally enjoyed it.