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Tea Leaves

Same, same but different: curse of the stereotype

Generalizing about Asia's national complexities is fraught with danger

People light incense sticks at a Buddhist temple in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, on Jan. 1, 2021. The country's image as "nonreligious" does not always match the reality.    © Reuters

As an Indian foreign correspondent, I have spent the last two decades explaining other countries to Indians and India to foreigners. It is a foolhardy endeavor. Reducing a nation to a few generalized brushstrokes is to come up against that "frenemy" of all who grapple with describing complex subjects: the stereotype.

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