Sheridan Prasso – USA

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Sheridan Prasso is a writer, editor, and Asia specialist with more than 15 years of experience in the region. She focuses on global issues from cultural, economic, and business perspectives – with topics ranging from the glamour of chief executives and exotic travel destinations to the grit of red light districts and garment factories. Her reportage has taken her across the breadth of Asia, from Dhaka to Hanoi, Beijing to Jakarta; her expertise in the region has led to guest lectures at the world’s top universities, appearances on television networks such as CNN and ABC of Australia, and interviews with notable figures including Nobel Peace Prize winners Aung San Suu Kyi and Muhammad Yunus. Sheridan’s articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, The Los Angeles Times, and The World Policy Journal, among other publications. The South China Morning Post has called her “the new face of the old Asia hand” … (full text).

She says: “(We need) … more stories about the realities of Asia, and fewer about the exotic nature of travel and adventure and the “Wild, Wild East.” There is a real craving for knowledge about what’s going on in Asia today, and the media –of which I am a part— is not satisfying it, but instead offering stories that continue to play into our preconceived expectations. The desire is there; now if only editors would realize the need to fulfill it. (full interview text).

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Sheridan Prasso – USA

A stock crash is just what China needs, by Sheridan Prasso, Dec 15, 2007.

She says also: “As I explain in the chapter of my book called Matters of Men and Country, The Unbearable Lightness of Being Portrayed, in Hollywood movies, over and over again, action heroes such as Jet Li and Chow Yun-Fat save the girl but don’t even get a romantic kiss at the end. I have read that in the finale of ‘Romeo Must Die’, the kiss scene between Jet Li and Aaliyah was cut after it fared badly in front of test audiences, and the director decided that American audiences weren’t ready yet to see an Asian man acting the same way that a white hero would. There is no such prohibition between white men and Asian women on screen (witness “Sideways” as the most recent example). These images from Hollywood need to change before male sex symbols from Asia can be fully regarded as masculine heroes in the eyes of Hollywood and in Western culture in general. I argue that such images – of Asian males as asexual and/or emasculated in Hollywood movies – have an impact on interpersonal relations, such as the low prevalence of Asian male/Caucasian female couples in the West” … (full interview text).

Her comment on GI Korea’s Rok Drop Blog (scroll down).

And she says: “As long as the U.S. remains the most powerful and richest nation in the world the current state of affairs and the paternalistic attitudes of U.S. foreign policy will continue. When we begin to feel enough of a challenge by Asian countries – or enough of an opportunity with them – it is only then that we will begin to level the playing field”. (full text).

Escape From Japan, October 15, 2006.

On a crowded Sunday morning inside the Forbidden City, one of China’s best-known TV anchors is warily eyeing a squat, slope-roofed building that for five centuries housed the office of the emperor’s physicians. Its thick red pillars are in need of paint. Its windows are grimy with soot from Beijing’s notoriously bad air. Only the crowd at the door gives a hint of what’s inside: a Starbucks … // … There’s no clearer example of adapting to Chineseness than Yum Brands, the owner of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. Sam Su, president of Yum’s China division, came up with the idea of fast-food Chinese restaurants and now has seven in Shanghai. “The sense we want to give people is that finally we have our own fast food,” Su says. The name, East Dawning, comes from a Song dynasty poem that most Chinese recognize, and the décor incorporates Chinese design elements such as a round moon window. Dishes include pork, rice and tea-boiled egg ($2.25). Su says the rollout has been slow because Chinese food is difficult to standardize, with its steaming, frying, baking, braising, boiling and various sauces. But once the process is down pat, he expects a nationwide – and possibly global – expansion. “Ultimately it should be an even bigger brand than KFC,” says Su. “We have the biggest market in the world”. Su insists that Yum has no plans to slow the growth of KFC outlets in China, seeing a potential market for 15,000, compared with more than 1,800 now. In the 1990s, he says, “there was a tremendous interest in everything foreign. Chinese welcomed all these brands with open arms. That’s not to say that people reject that now. They just want other things, other choices”. The challenge for Western companies, then, is to figure out how to stay in this game, offering products that appeal to China’s growing sense of Chineseness – to its nationalist pride and strength of tradition. Brand consultant Roll agrees that the future for Western brands in China won’t mean a rejection of things Western, but companies will have to be quicker to keep up with the accelerating pace of Chinese innovation. “It’s getting more sophisticated,” he says, “and people will be mixing and matching.” And waiting for companies – both Western and Chinese – to catch up. (full text, May 17 2007).

Sheridan Prasso Takes on an Elephant, The Asian Mystique, October 09, 2005.

Publications, Reviews & quotations: on Google Scholar-search; on The NY Times; on Sheridan Prasso.com/books; on Google Blog-search; on Shreridan Prasso.com/articles; on Google Book-search; on amazon; on The NV Times; on CNN/Money; on find articles; on UN jobs.

Saving the world with a cup of yogurt.

She holds an M.Phil. in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University, and a B.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University. She is active in the Council on Foreign Relations, the Asia Society, the Japan Society, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and the Overseas Press Club. She is the recipient of a Human Rights Press Award for coverage of Cambodian land mine victims, and shared in six awards for team coverage of the Asian financial crisis and its aftermath. (full text).

On the Campaign Trail in the Philippines, August 08, 2005.

links:

The Asian Mystique, Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls and Our Fantasies of the Orient;

The Asian review of books.

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