If you have been living in Macau for long enough, it is really likely you will hear this phrase repeated over and over. What is the rationale behind this phrase? This phrase means that the weirdness we are witnessing in this city from time to time is justified by the fact that the city itself produces this weirdness, this malfunctioning. When you are looking at the level of cultural life, English standard, education, music standards, health and transportation facilitates (see Taxis) you are going to hear this repeated over and over again.
But I have to say that it is not “Macau” that is the problem. The problem is caused by the introverted (copyright Romeo Orlandi) system that governs Chinese society, where the ethnic affirmation is more important than the general well-being. When there is the awareness that things are good not because they are done by “local people” (other tricky phrase that means something different from what it seems at the surface) but because they are done with good standards, you will start to hear this phrase but with a different meaning. At this point “you know, that’s Macau” will be a sign of excellence and outstanding performance.
But I don’t think this will happen anytime soon. Too deep is this cultural aspect of this society to allow them to understand that in this way they are like people trying to run but at the same time find themselves tied to a tree.