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Macau


Ian_Lee
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Macau is a very tiny enclave off the South China coast. But there are many interesting facts revolving it:

(1) Great deviations in English and Chinese names:

Macau is the only place in ethnic Han area in China where English and Chinese names are way different (Hong Kong and Xianggang sound similar). In fact, Macau and Aomen are different in pronunciation and meaning.

(2) No treaty regarding the ceding of Macau:

Was there a treaty (like the Treaty of Nanking of 1842) that formally ceded Macau to Portugal? NO. In fact, Macau was never ceded to Portugal during the 500+ years Portuguese rule period.

(3) China refused to take back Macau in 1974:

After the Socialist revolution of Portugal in 1974, the Lisbon government liquidated all overseas colonies and tried to return Macau to Beijing. But China said “No. Thank you.”

(4) First foreign naval war off China’s coast:

In 1622, the Dutch navy and Portuguese navy conducted a sea battle off Macau’s coast. This predated the Opium War which British Navy bombarded China’s coast by 220 years.

(5) Macau had been the “only” Portugal:

During the 1580-1640 Spanish occupation of Portugal, Macau remained the only Portuguese land on earth where Portuguese flag was still hoisted.

(6) The Soul of Portuguese Literature:

Luis de Camoes, the Shakespeare of Portuguese literature, resided in Macau and wrote the great Portuguese national epic poem – Lusiadas – there.

(7) East Timor connection:

During the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, a lot of East Timorese revolutionary leaders, like Nobel laureate Gusmao, sought refuge in Macau to conduct their national movement.

(8 ) First place in Asia to abolish death sentence:

Macau is the first place to abolish death sentence in Asia. The stiffest sentence for capital offense had been exile to East Timor.

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Interesting post. Thanks, Ian_Lee.

I would like to add an interesting fact about the spelling of the Portuguese name. It used to be spelt "Macao" until one of the numerous spelling reforms of the Portuguese language (I think this one was at the beginning of the 20th century, or thereabouts) changed it into "Macau".

That is why the spelling Macao is still often encountered in English.

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Xuan Yuan:

FYI:

Hong Kong is not the romanization according to Cantonese. In Cantonese, the two characters are pronounced like "Heung Kwong".

Hong Kong should be the pidgin Cantonese pronunciation of the Britons when they arrived on the island in the early 19th Century.

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Another interesting point about Macau is that during WWII, it was the Casablanca in Asia.

Macau was the only neutral place in the whole Asia during that period. Like Casablance, there should be a lot of espionage activities from Japan, KMT, CCP and Britain in that tiny enclave.

Too bad there has not been any fiction written about them.

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Another interesting point about Macau is that probably it is the only city in China that has Brazilian connection.

Last time when I strolled in Macau (Macau is a very walking friendly town), I found a Brazilian Restaurant owned by a Brazilian whom has settled down in Macau probably owing to the shared common language background.

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Actually - regarding the spelling of Hong Kong - it's often postulized that the first Chinese people the British met in HK were the danjia - egg people (a fishing village on HK island) - and in their dialect, Xianggang/Hueng gong sounds like Hong Kong

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In the current issue of Time magazine (US edition), there is an interesting article about the casinos in Macau.

It says that Macau's casinos raked in US$3.6 billion last year -- three quarters of all the casinos in Vegas' strip combined.

But the casinos on the Strip are all $multi-billion investment with dozens of casinos controlled by different conglomerates (and mafia).

But the casinos in Macau were mostly junk and single-handly controlled by "Brother Sun" (nickname for Stanley Ho).

And in average, each gambling table in Vegas can haul in US$2,200 per day. But the gambling table in Macau hauls in US$22,000 per day.

No wonder financial analysts add five times more value to MGM Mirage's proposed casino in Macau than its mega-merger with Mandalay Bay!

And don't forget that 120 million Chinese from Mainland can now travel solo to Macau!

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