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‘We have to move forward.’ The Macanese community ponders its role

Macanese people should be more front and centre in mainstream Macao, members of the community say.

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PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

The Macanese community is examining its place in Macao society, and debating its role in the city’s development, TDM reports. At a recent roundtable discussion hosted by the Rui Cunha Foundation, members of the community put forward their ideas for what the Macanese future might look like.

Local singer Giulio Acconci said that owning their cultural identity was the first step. 

“Macanese have to first consider themselves Macanese because over the years, I think after the handover [to China], a lot of them kind of separated themselves from that idea,” he said.

[See more: Macanese restaurant Cozinha Aida shuts next week, but hopefully not for good]

“Then from there, we have to move forward,” Acconci added. He said he would like to see “a more modern take on things,” as opposed to more traditional expressions of Macanese culture that focus on cuisine. Of the latter, he said “we have enough of that.”

Acconci also called for more Macanese actors on local TV shows and performing on stage for the broader Macao society – “as opposed to just in amongst themselves”. He added that Macao’s push to become a world tourism hub meant there was plenty of scope for more professional singers and actors in the city.

Another speaker at the event, three-time Asian games karate medallist Paula Carion, said Macanese people had a habit of talking about the past but now needed to “see what’s in front of us.”

[See more: Macanese musician Gabriel strives to keep patuá alive with his new EP]

She saw potential for the community to contribute to Macao’s economic diversification and role as a platform between China and the Portuguese-speaking world.

Fernando Lourenço, an academic at the Macao Institute for Tourism Studies (soon to become the Macao University of Tourism), wanted to find the right balance between preserving Macanese culture and implementing innovative business strategies. He said he had some ideas for projects “in the field of commerce and Macanese culture”.

Lourenço reiterated that Macanese culture was unique and precious. He said that without active commitment from the Macanese community, it was at risk of disappearing.

[See more: Chief Executive urges Macanese to promote Macao internationally]

“It’s very important,” he told the audience. “We have to preserve it.”

Earlier this year, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng made a speech encouraging the Macanese community to seize hold of development opportunities arising from the likes of Macao’s economic diversification strategy, the revival of Forum Macao and the development of Hengqin.

He also thanked the community for its “unflinching efforts” and contributions during Macao’s ongoing economic recovery.

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