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Half full, half empty

Paulo Rego*

More nationalist, less progressive… yet Macau remains an open city, including American casinos and special relations with Portuguese-speaking countries. There are always unrecognized merits and criticisms to be made in these moments. Could be better. But there is much worse out there.

Respect for the Mother Country does not imply contempt for autonomy or the right to difference. For those who have forgotten, it was Beijing that set the exception for the rest of the country. As in any other part of the planet, the China of today is probably not the China of tomorrow. And Macau, door to other worlds, should really embrace avant-gardeism. Because it serves you – and it serves China. But there is no such energy. Not even the awareness of this responsibility – and opportunity.

The fact is that this void of political – and civilizational – excitement is much wider. Europe is at war and can no longer think without weapons. In England, a leader of Indian origin heads a power that, in the name of nationalism, jumped off the European bandwagon into a desert of ideas. In Brazil, Lula da Silva says one thing, immediately contradicts himself, and has an army of rulers explaining the inexplicable. In France, Macron no longer has any flag other than the one he holds against Le Pen. And who can, in their right mind, see Joe Biden in the light of the future? Even worse: if Trump is an icon of liberal democracy… I accept inventing someone else.

Macau has problems, doubts and anxieties… the degree of autonomy and freedoms that Beijing wants – opening the window overlooking the world. It could be better, if there were art and ingenuity. But it is also true that there is much worse – both East and West – and where much more should be demanded.

In Macau there is a glass that is half full and half empty. It is important to recognize the water that flows here. But it is also necessary to understand whether there is – or not – a source to fill your purse, mind and soul.

*General Director of PLATAFORMA

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Generalist media, focusing on the relationship between Portuguese-speaking countries and China.


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