Beyond Sisyphus

According to Greek Mythology, Sisyphus was condemned by the gods to repeatedly carry a stone to the top of a mountain just see the rock rolling back to the foot.

The myth has become a metaphor for certain human activity fatalism: the feeling of incessant work that results in uselessness. The same analogy may apply to governance, which, in many respects, may resemble a "Sisyphus task." This is what has been going on in Macau to some extent over the past few years, in areas such as economic diversification or social and transportation infrastructure development.

Economic growth over these two decades has brought sound prosperity and stability. However, in face of rising expectations and demands authorities have embraced palliative measures instead of long-term solutions to heal the city"s growing pains.

The diagnosis is not new, but time is running out for answers.

To tackle these matters, one expects vision and action from the sole candidate for Macau Chief Executive, Ho Iat Seng.

In this week"s edition of Plataforma Macau, we take note of the view of experts who point out challenges and ways to solve housing, health, training, transportation or environment issues.

Ho"s five year term in office will be marked by the new public tender for gambling concessions and the regional integration project of the Greater Bay Area. However, another factor looms large in the neighbourhood: the crisis in Hong Kong. Macau must avoid the temptation of being overzealous in further becoming a role model, not only because it is already in the eyes of Beijing, but also because speeding up the historical process towards 2049 will be counterproductive. The focus should therefore be on a future for the youth, to give them hope and confidence with access to housing, to new professional horizons while maintaining Macau"s way of life and a high degree of autonomy, rights, freedoms and guarantees, . These will also enrich and supplement the Greater Bay Area regional project and the overall national development process. A future in which stronger and deeper ties with Portuguese-speaking countries will be even more decisive for Macau"s contribution to China"s foreign policy and the city's external actorness.

One has to roll up the sleeves, listen, think, decide and act. Ho Iat Seng is not condemned to be Sisyphus.

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