New York is often called a “melting pot” because of the many nationalities found in the city. Amsterdam, Toronto and Sydney are very cosmopolitan too, with around 200 languages spoken in Sydney! Have you ever been to a very cosmopolitan city?
A bus driver's son
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Crédits : Steve Punter/Wikimedia
Sadiq Khan, 2009.
Sadiq Khan, a bus driver's son
In June 2016, Sadiq Khan was elected Mayor of London. He is the first ever Muslim mayor of a major European city, reflecting London's image as one of the world's most multicultural places. His father was a bus driver from Pakistan and he grew up on a council estate. In his election speech, he said “back then, I never dreamt that someone like me could be elected as Mayor of London”. His election reflects the melting pot culture of the city, which becomes more obvious when you take a walk around East London. Spitalfields and Brick Lane are well known for their Asian markets and restaurants, and London has had Afro-Caribbean communities since the 18th century. For example, Brixton Market is the centre of the black British community, dating back to the arrival of SS Empire Windrush in 1948 and its passengers from Jamaica and the West Indies.
Gilbert, a Jamaican, fought for Britain in the Second World War and now lives in London. He watches some other Jamaican men arrive on the Empire Windrush, a large boat which brought hundreds of Caribbeans to Britain after the war.
You see, most of the boys were looking upwards. Their feet were stepping on London soil for the first time [...] but it was wonder that lifted their eyes. They finally arrive in London Town. And, let me tell you, the Mother Country was bewildering these Jamaican boys. See them pointing at the train that rumbles across a bridge. They looked shocked when billowing black smoke puffed its way round the white washing hung on drying lines. Come, they had never seen houses so tall, all the same. And what is that? A chimney? They have fire in their house in England? No! And why everything look so dowdy? Even the sunshine can find no colour but grey. Man, the women look so glum.
Small Island, 2004.
1. Look at the picture and guess when the story is set.
2. Which “small island” does the title refer to?
3. Describe the feelings of the Jamaican boys.
4. List and classify the sights and sounds that surprise the new arrivals.
5. What are your favourite sounds? The sounds of nature or the noises of the city? Make a