Shah was invited to "international migration day" at UN university on 20th Dec 2013 to make a small speech. Here's the summary.
店長が12月20日に国連大学＠渋谷で催された、国際移民デーに呼ばれてちょっとしたスピーチをしてまいりました。 前半、バナナ売りの女性のくだりで観衆の心をつかんだそうです＾＾ 30年前にシドニーに移住し、3年前には日本に移住した店長のお話、よろしければ読んでみてください！
The human face of globalisation; a rallying point for today, where Bangladeshi and Nepalese and other Migrants from around the world could freely spread information on human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, we share experiences, indeed an opportunity to recognize the contributions made by millions of migrants to the economies of their host and home countries.
As for me my moving to overseas started with medical necessity; I was born in a village, name Comilla of Bangladesh. I was very sick when I was child; that is why I migrated to Sydney, Australia in 1984. Bangladeshi medical facility was not good enough that time. Australia was far different from what it is now... and very much different from what it was in Bangladesh. Dominated by Anglo Saxon people, it took 3 years until I first met an Indian woman who was selling Banana on the road between Sydney and Brisbane. From my commonsense as a Bangladeshi, I thought she is a poor woman, so I offered to buy all of her Bananas. Later, I realised that she had migrated few decades ago for banana plantation, owning the whole area of banana field.
The influence of Migrants surely has changed Australian dining scene in huge scale. Australian cuisine has thrived by various background migrants; mainly Italian, Greek, Chinese, Indian, and now even Korean. I remember I used to bring back curry spices from Bangladesh to escape from boring food in Australia. They used to offer only simple food like BBQ, potatoes, bread and butter; like its mother country, England. Migrants came with needs, ideas and know how; when the desire of Migrants' tongue met Australia's vast field and facilities, Australia became a major exporting source of "local" foods, like Banana, Mango, Lintel, and spices selling back to all over the world.
One big challenge for me as a young migrant was to explain and establish my identity as Bangladeshi. I would have said whatever sounds good and exotic from my culture whether it is literally correct or not. Eventually, I realised that for most of the foreigners, me myself is the Bangladesh. What I do explain more than what I explain. I started to bring the best of me as much as possible in my daily life.
Intention was always to return to Bangladesh, find a job and make myself useful in happy cause; but my destiny had other plan for me. Met my better half while studying in Sydney, and she was an international student, happened to be Japanese. Distance between Tokyo-Dhaka-Australia and dissimilarity of culture insignificant to us, we embrace common ideas and work on the difference
My life changed, I migrated to Japan now started “IIMON project, which promises me to return in Bangladesh in search for feeling good about myself. This undertaking is fully non-government and non-charity base; we want our Business strategy to be effective and nurture along with our socially conscious business goal in Bangladesh.
llMON is a small, home-grown, social, entrepreneurial aspiration which aims to make a social contribution through business, while encouraging social consciousness. "llMONO", "llMON" for short, is identifying itself as a brand that represents handmade fashion accessories from Bangladesh. Our products portray the Bangladeshi way of life, reflecting the folklore of our ancestors in the artwork. Examples are the lovingly hand stitched and hand loomed "Nokshi Khatha" and "Gumsa", which have their equivalents in the Japanese culture of "Sashiko" and "Tenugui", both still part of our daily life.
The story of "llMON" began in 2008, on a three months journey from Sydney to Dhaka, by land and sea, during a summer vacation from University. We were searching for ideas to be used in one of our assignments for MIB programme. It was a 27,400km journey through thirteen countries, later we crossed the Bangladesh border where we came across the "Nokshi Khatha" (blanket) which took me back to my childhood. I witnessed so many changes in Bangladesh and yet nothing had changed with the "Nokshi Khatha" and I felt a sense of purpose to do something to preserve it for future generations. This is where the seeds of our venture were sewn and I later travelled extensively throughout Bangladesh searching for ideas. My travels took me to villages where, in a typical house, three generations of women were stitching at the same time. They are expert in this field and I started to formulate the idea of utilizing these skills to create, for the international fashion scene.
An entrepreneurship story from Bangladesh has its share of hard knocks even in the local market let alone internationally. I suppose I was lucky to have a university business education, to have had start-up capital and to have been born in Bangladesh. We overcame the initial difficulties and, after much searching, began to employ female staff, learning the system. The money was going to the people who produces our fashion products rather than to a host of middlemen. We built a system with online ordering which allowed the end user to specify 'Nokshi stitching'. In the Dhaka factory we work to match world quality products and to process the delivery to end users in Japan.
I am a happy Migrant wherever I go; as my uncle said; “when you are in Rome, do what the Roman’s do”. Now that I am in Japan, learning the best what Japan has to offer first and also share what the best of me as Bangladeshi has to share with them. I am an ambassador to my country, wherever I Migrate and it is an exciting role.