On Macau Diversification (And Other Fairy Tales)

The recent economic and financial problems in Macau were related to the fact that there is less money coming from gambling. So what’s the problem? The problem is that the entire economy is based on gambling, so it is like removing the water and the palaces and historic churches of Venice. What remains? Now, some voices have been raised asking to diversify revenue, so that Macau is not only dependent on gambling. But diversify with what? The other richness of Macau is its historical legacy, the legacy of centuries of Portuguese administration − a cultural heritage that does not belong to the vast majority of local people. How can we appreciate something that is so far away from us? One can respect it, but if it is outside our culture it will be difficult to make others love what we do not fully understand. But the project is very clear; it doesn’t matter how things are done, it is important who is doing those things. As I have said many times, you cannot have a multicultural project when power wants to impose a definite ethnic project. And this at the expense of the bad functioning of social and cultural institutions of any kind. But is Macau a multicultural city? It never was. Before the Europeans tried to impose their culture, but now the Chinese are trying to use this culture for their own purposes, even if that culture, for obvious reasons, does not belong to them. Macau has always lived under this irreconcilable difference. So, diversify with what? It would be nice to read a convincing answer to this looming question.