Tuesday, October 18, 2005
A Letter to New York Times
I wrote the following letter to New York Times as a protest, this past Sunday:
I have some concern over a quoted name of Shanghai the writer of the article "Shanghai , a Far East Feast" (Sunday, Oct 9) used, in the second paragraph.
"...the chic boutiques and throbbing dance halls that gave Shanghai its reputation as "the whore of the Orient".
Maybe so. But this never came to my knowledge when I search back to my historical knowledge of the city.
Shanghai used to be called the "Paris of the Orient", for its vibrant night life, lights along the Huangu river, and large number of emigrants before World War II. Although still very colonial and west-centered, it is a more appropriate and accurate description for the city then.
I trust the writer has his or her own resources and perspective. But I am first of all surprised that he or she has not encountered the other name during his or her trip and research for write up.
Secondly, whether it is appropriate to use such a slang name (Whore of the Orient) in an article very well written to encourage tourists to visit this fun and explosive city does not seem to be seriously considered. Such a name will naturally link some readers with the sex industry image of some Asian countries or cities.
I feel that is a regrettable overlook on an otherwise very enjoyable article.
Am I over reacting?