With this article, I don’t want to put down the entire Iranian community of Toronto. But I would like to present some trends that I have noticed in the past 3-4 years and that I find to be more and more common among Iranians. I just want to draw the attention of readers on how materialistic and selfish some Iranians have become, and how these attitudes have been strengthened in the past few years in Iran where class consciousness and corrupt economy are so prevalent, and then been brought here in Canada.
A big part of the Iranian community of Toronto lives in we can refer to as “Tehranto”, where there is also a heavy concentration of Iranian stores, restaurants and businesses. This area is along Yonge Street, from Highway 401 to the south all the way to Major Mackenzie to the north, and includes the area of Willowdale in North York, then Thornhill and Richmond Hill.
The heart of this area is between Finch and Steeles Avenues. That’s where you find the famous Shomal and Zaffron restaurants, the Gole Sorkh bakery, the Super Khorak, the “Plaza ye Iranian” with 10-15 stores stuck next to each other, from dentists to kabobfoorooshi to lawyer’s offices to butchery to pestefoorooshi to jewellery to bookstore...
Most Iranians in this area are new immigrants, having come to Canada in the past 5 years. The previous waves that came in the 80’s and 90’s are more integrated and live in farther suburbs, such as Richmond Hill, Aurora or Newmarket.
I find these new immigrants to be so different from the previous waves.
First of all, in terms of looks, the younger ones seem to come from a different planet. The guys have long hair with 5 kg of gel on it and 10-cm high spikes and these pointy shoes that could easily be used to kill someone, not mentioning the plucked eyebrows that look so obvious with a three-day beard. Then the girls, where should I start? At least 10 kg of makeup, all kinds of highlights and bleaches for the hair, the eternal nose jobs, which are the trademark that quickly tells me they are newcomers from Tehran and nowhere else!
Then, the attitudes! This is what really disappointed me! In stores, people have no shame and no care! They just want to get their stuff and go home. No consideration for others whatsoever! No sorry, no excuse me, no please, nothing! People don’t even know how to line up! And the store owners are not better! I have seen how some are arrogant and obviously do not seem to like what they are doing. No smile, no friendliness, just give the money and go!
And the worst is the parking and driving. In their luxury cars and SUV’s, they just do as they please. The Plaza’s parking lot looks so much like a section of Vali-Asr Avenue in the middle of peak hour! Cars come from everywhere; there is no respect for anyone, no patience for those pulling out of their spot, nothing!
Go to a video store: the movies are all copied from the internet with incredibly low quality. The DVD’s stall in the middle of the movie, and the quality and the sound are just appalling!
In restaurants, the service can be really irritating: most waiters are not properly trained to serve customers. If they make a mistake and bring you the wrong dish, they don’t always recognize it nor apologize and even sometimes, they tell you that this was your actual order, but that they will bring you what you have now just ordered instead! The restaurants are usually packed but lack the proper organization to have a fast and proper service.
Now about the social life in general: most Iranians who have recently come are either rich investors or spoiled children of millionaires from Northern Tehran! These people come here and buy their condos and luxury cars with cash money! Once the parents get their Canadian citizenship and the all-so coveted Canadian passport, they pack up and go back to Iran to return to their occupations, never to pay any tax to the Canadian government. The children come here to study and do not care a bit about what is going in this city or country. After all, why would they? They are only after their “mehmoonis”, concerts and “equips”. They go back to Iran 2 or 3 times a year thanks to the “moafi” that their daddies bought for them and that’s it. And there are so many of those who find school too boring and go for a quick certificate and become real estate agents or mortgage brokers. Not that I have anything against these jobs, but it just shows me that their main objective is to make quick money and drive nice cars, and not really to get an education.
At house parties, discussions hardly go beyond makeup, clothes and of course backstabbing others for girls; and about retard stuff for guys. The goal is to drink, to smoke and most of all, to show off.
At Persian “mehmoonis” and concerts, there are always fights. There is nothing about Persian culture that is celebrated in these events. They are called “Persian parties” but ask anyone attending about our culture and they will look at you with big eyes as if you come from another planet. It’s all about showing off the sluttiest dresses for girls, and how rich you are for guys. The music is always the latest crap that comes out of Los Angeles and Tehran, with male singers having voices that would make you throw up. Line ups are a disaster, and the worst is during the coat checkout. It’s just a mess altogether!
I hear of extravagant weddings where the rich daddy pays hundreds of thousands of dollars for the ceremony, or of young guys who waste thousands of dollars per night at Niagara Falls casino. Where does all this money come from? How come a 20-year kid is driving a BMW M6, and how come some of them go 3 or 4 times to Iran within the same year, only to party and see their friends?
I remember a few years ago, the general atmosphere within the community was friendlier and more pleasant. Iranians were more trustable and people had things to talk about and discuss. I feel that this is over. People who have recently come from Iran have turned this community into a money-loving and materialistic one, only preoccupied by looks, luxury cars and quick money. Just open any Iranian community paper and you’ll see for yourself: the ads are only about real estate agents and mortgage brokers with phony looks and names and whose reputations are extremely questionable.
These attitudes did not exist 10-15 years ago within the Iranian community of Toronto. These attitudes come directly from Iran, and actually the Iran that has emerged in the past few years where oil prices have gone up like crazy and where the economy is corrupt, where there is no social equality and where no one cares about the others, be it in driving, shopping, or doing any sort of business, and most of all, where there is no decent way to have fun, and the only fun is to do drugs, sleep around and get wasted in the rich villas of Shomal.
This only shows me how the general level of culture and social life in Iran has become low, and how people are careless about making any change in their lives there. Coming to Canada is not a way of improving their lives, but just a way of showing off to the others in Iran that they are something. It’s a class phenomenon once again: it is cool to move out of Iran, have a Western passport and come back to Tehran every year and brag about it.
Now, I would like to ask the readers what they think and if they have noticed similar trends where they live.
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