asia@barcelona

It looks like the city’s Asian Festival is turning into an annual event. Last year’s was frighteningly embarrassing: marvel at the the profundity of the Japanese! and how spiritual the Tibetans are! (and the Indians too!). Chinese and Pakistani culture was in fairly short supply, which is strange given that the festival is located in a building just round the corner from the so-called Chinese district, an area which is stuffed with Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Chinese and all manner of other newcomers but which is distinctly short of devotees of the Dalai Lama.

Life remains grim for the illegals here. On Wednesday, three months after being told about it, the regional police broke up a 24*7 Chinese-run textile sweatshop in Badalona where the workers – only two of them with ID – lived, ate and slept in return for a pitiful wage. In the same paper, Outraged of Barcelona writes to let off steam about a telly programme exposing the plight of the Pakistanis who survive on the meagre tips they receive for carting butane canisters up to top-floor flats.

I don’t know if going out for a curry and some whisky this weekend at what are probably completely unlicensed premises is helping or hindering the equal rights cause, but it’s probably going to be more entertaining and educational than attending the festival. If only a local firm could be found to sponsor a cricket league here, then Barcelona would slowly begin to acquire the reputation for glamour enjoyed by Bradford.

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