Fatima Bhutto: ‘Pak-Chini Bhai-Bhai’

Fatima Bhutto, whose new book “New Kings of the World” explores how eastern cultures are being shared through the globalization of K-pop, Bollywood, and Turkish soap operas, discusses the role of China in the changing landscape.

What does she think of China? “As a Pakistani, China has a mythic role in our country’s imagination because of its friendship with Pakistan,” she says. “Also because we are in the neighborhood and so we watch China keenly,” she adds.

“Do you know this: “Pak-Chini Bhai Bhai”? “Have you ever heard that”, she asks host James Chau of The China Current explaining to him that “it’s a famous expression, it means Pakistan and China are brothers…:”

Fatima Bhutto

Bhutto’s “New Kings of the World is a fascinating book about the new arbiters of mass culture. Those who feared that globalization was just another word for Americanization were mistaken. Popular entertainment has actually done just the opposite: it has made globalization a force for the un-Americanization of the world.

The huge popularity of Turkish TV across many parts of the world is part of a wider shift of cultural power from western countries to the global south, Bhutto argues.

Her book is an important dispatch from a new, multipolar order that is taking form before our eyes.

The prolific poet and writer from Pakistan talked to Chau before the pandemic.