Na­dia Rehman, 26

Herworld (Singapore) - - HW -

“I’m hav­ing din­ner with my fam­ily at a Pak­istani restau­rant in the city of Karachi – about a two-hour flight from the cap­i­tal, Is­lam­abad. In Pak­istan, din­ner is usu­ally eaten quite late – around 9pm, and can stretch to two and a half hours. Most lo­cals, like me, hang out with friends or fam­ily for meals on a Satur­day night. That’s be­cause Karachi has strict laws that dis­al­low events like beach raves and dance par­ties, while bars and clubs do not ex­ist. There are some un­der-the-radar par­ties, but these are highly ex­clu­sive, so eat­ing out is one of the few main­stream en­ter­tain­ments.

Karachi is ex­pand­ing rapidly in all direc­tions, but it’s in the south­ern part

– close to the sea, where there has been land recla­ma­tion – that new restau­rants, cafes and eater­ies have mush­roomed. It’s al­most 13km away from where I live, but it’s still a spot I fre­quent. We just avoid no-go ar­eas in the city, like those where gang war­fare may oc­cur.

Work­ing at a lo­cal phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany means long hours, so I re­serve Satur­days for fam­ily time. My im­me­di­ate fam­ily usu­ally eats with my un­cle’s fam­ily. It’s a great time for us to catch up. We like try­ing dif­fer­ent eat­ing places, in­clud­ing burger joints and Chi­nese restau­rants. Usu­ally, my dad and un­cle pick up the tab.

Liv­ing at home with my par­ents, I do not need to pay rent or util­i­ties, so I’m for­tu­nate in the sense that sav­ings aside, most of my in­come of about US$1,000 (S$1,363) is used for so­cial­is­ing, shop­ping, a gym mem­ber­ship, and trav­el­ling about twice a year. My job pro­vides me with health in­surance and a car too. Some of my col­leagues have stayed in the job for the last decade and seem happy, which makes me feel I can do the same – con­trary to the be­lief that mil­len­ni­als can’t hold down a job for long.

Still, one of my big­gest con­cerns is job pro­gres­sion and se­cu­rity. Prices of medicines have been drop­ping, and this, cou­pled with fewer phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts be­ing reg­is­tered, has led to many com­pa­nies down­siz­ing or shut­ting down their op­er­a­tions.

Be­ing a sin­gle woman in a coun­try where most peo­ple are mar­ried by 25 of­ten leads to in­sen­si­tive re­marks by older mem­bers of so­ci­ety. Ar­ranged mar­riages are still very com­mon – you might even meet your fu­ture spouse for the first time at your en­gage­ment cer­e­mony! But it’s re­ally not for me.”

Din­ner with fam­ily and friends is usual on a Satur­day night in Pak­istan, says Na­dia (far left).

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