- Macanese people
Macanese (zh-t|t=澳門人, "people of Macau") can be a general term for the residents or natives of
Macau, a special administrative region of the People's Republic of Chinaand a former Portuguese colony. More specifically, the Macanese (Portuguese: Macaense; zh-c|c=土生葡人, "native-born Portuguese people") are an ethnic groupwhich originated in Macau since the 16th century, comprising mostly people with some Portuguese ancestryTeixeira, Manuel (1965),"Os Macaenses", Macau: Imprensa Nacional; Amaro, Ana Maria (1988), "Filhos da Terra", Macau: Instituto Cultural de Macau, pp. 4-7; and Pina-Cabral, João de and Nelson Lourenço (1993), "Em Terra de Tufões: Dinâmicas da Etnicidade Macaense", Macau: Instituto Cultural de Macau, for three varying, yet converging discussions on the definition of the term Macanese. Also particularly helpful is "Review of Culture" No. 20 July/September (English Edition) 1994, which is devoted to the ethnography of the Macanese.] Marreiros, Carlos (1994), "Alliances for the Future" in "Review of Culture", No. 20 July/September (English Edition), pp. 162-172.]
Historically, many ethnic Macanese spoke the
Macanese language, a Portuguese-based creole, now virtually extinct. Many are fluent in both Portuguese and Cantonese. The Macanese have preserved a distinctive Macanese cuisine.
The Portuguese Period
Portuguese culture dominates the Macanese, but Chinese cultural patterns are also significant. The community acted as the interface between ruling colonial government - Portuguese from Portugal who knew little about Chinese - and the Chinese majority (95% of population) who knew equally little about the Portuguese. Most Macanese had paternal Portuguese heritage since until 1974 there were Portuguese men stationed in Macau as part of their military service. Many stayed in Macau after the expiration of their military service, marrying either Macanese or Chinese women who spoke Portuguese.
Many Macanese migrated to Portuguese-speaking Brazil and Portuguese African provinces and those descendants who grew up in African provinces returned to Macau speak Portuguese and African languages as second languages and only a few can speak Cantonese and Macanese. In 1847, many were sent to
Peruas contract laborers, and their descendants speak Spanish, Quechua, Portuguese, Macanese, and Cantonese. During the late-nineteenth, and increasingly during the Salazarist Estado Novo, the upbringing of most Macanese fell along the lines of the continental Portuguese - attending Portuguese schools, participating in mandatory military service (some fought in Africa) and practising the Catholicfaith. Only until the 1980s, most Macanese had not received formal Chinese schooling, and hence most only spoke but could not read or write Chinese. The Cantonese spoken was largely familiar, some speaking the language with regional accent (鄉下話) - learned largely in part from their mothers or amahs. [Of interest is the role that the amah plays in Macanese society. It is well known that local Cantonese women were often hired by the Catholic Church in Macau to act as wet-nurses for orphans in the Church's charge. These women were also hired by Macanese families to clean their houses, cook meals and care for their children. It is in these early encounters that Macanese children are first introduced to the Cantonese language and culture. Families are known to keep long-standing friendships with their amahs and in the past, young brides would sometimes bring them along with them to their new home. Nowadays Filipinas fill the role. c.f. Soares, José Caetano (1950), "Macau e a Assistência (Panorama médico-social)", Lisbon, Agência Geral das Colónias Divisão de Publicações e Biblioteca, and Jorge, Edith de (1993), "The Wind Amongst the Ruins: A childhood in Macao", New York: Vantage Press.]
Since Portuguese settlement in Macau dated since 1557 included a strong Catholic presence, a number of Chinese converted to Catholicism. A large element of Macanese can trace their roots to these New Christians. Many of these Chinese became assimilated into the Macanese community, dropped their Chinese surnames and adopted Portuguese surnames. In the collective Macanese folk memory, there is a little ditty about the parish, called 進教圍, where these Chinese converts lived: 進教圍, 割辮仔, 唔係姓念珠 (Rosário) 就係姓玫瑰 (Rosa). Hence, it is surmised that many Macanese with surnames of
Rosarioor Rosaprobably were of Chinese ancestry.
The mid-twentieth century, with the outbreak of the Second World War in the Pacific and the retreat of the Republic of China to Taiwan, saw a surging of the Macanese population by the re-integration of two disparate Macanese communities: the Hong Kong Macanese and the Shanghai Macanese. With the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong in 1941, the Macanese population, escaping the occupation, made its way to Macau as refugees. These Macaense, skilled workers and civil servants from outset of British Hong Kong, were fluent in English and Portuguese and brought valuable commercial and technical skills to the colony. Another distinct group within the Macanese community are the 上海葡僑; these were the descendants of Portuguese settlers from Shanghai that acted as middlemen between other foreigners and the Chinese in the "Paris of the Orient". They emigrated from Shanghai to Macau in 1949 with the coming of the Red Guard. Many spoke little Portuguese and were several generations removed from Portugal, speaking primarily English and Shanghainese, and/or Mandarin. The Shanghai Macanese carved a niche by teaching English in Macau. During World War II and before and after its return to China, Macanese also migrated again to African Portuguese colonies and Peru, other Latin American countries,
Canada, United States, and Australia. Those who returned to Macau speak English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Macanese, and African languages.
The Chinese Period
With the return to China, the Macanese community is essentially losing the Portuguese heritage fast - this started in 1974 when all other Portuguese colonies became independent. For that generation, many children, including those of pure Chinese descent, were changed from continuing high school education in Portuguese schools to English-medium schools. Most parents recognised that Portuguese schooling was not worth anything anymore. At the same time, pure-blooded Portuguese are also learning Cantonese and Mandarin to be able to communicate to Chinese who don't speak Portuguese. Today, most Macanese - if they are still young enough - would go back to study to read and write Chinese. Many see the niche for someone with fluency in Portuguese, Cantonese and Mandarin. Many Portuguese, Eurasians and Chinese who were loyal to the Portuguese left after its return to China.
Macanese identity dispute
There is some dispute around the exact meaning of "Macanese". An essay by Marreiros offers a broad spectrum of "Macanse types", ranging from Chinese Christian converts who live among the Portuguese to the descendants of old-established families of Portuguese lineage; all groups are integrated into this historically legitimated group . As a general rule, it is not a point of reference, however for ethnic Chinese living and raised in Macau; they often identify themselves as Chinese or Chinese from Macau; "Macanese" is applied to those persons who have been acculturated through Western education and religion and are recognized by the Macanese community as being Macanese. [There are many pretenders who have claimed to be Macanese. Although one's ethnic identity is a personal project, ultimately, any claim to a Macanese identity is either accepted or refuted by the already existing Macanese community on criteria dependent upon shared cultural heritage and collective notions (these criteria shift with each emerging generation). As Turner and later Bhabka suggest, identity is a layering of experiences unraveled through contact with others and is only decipherable within the social sphere. There are limits to a Macanese identity, and Pina-Cabral and Lourenço (op. cit.), offer a broad-based definition delineated by family and community acceptance as two basic denominators for a tentative definition of the Macanese.]
Traditionally, the basis for Macanese ethnic affiliation has been the use of the Portuguese language at home or some alliances with Portuguese cultural patterns and not solely determined along hereditary lines. Pina-Cabral and Lourenço suggest that this goal is reached "namely through the Portuguese-language school-system". [Pina-Cabral and Lourenço (1993). Tentatively, language is not so much a key determinant to Macanese identity, but rather the alliance with the Portuguese cultural system that knowing Portuguese entails. A great number of Macanese families of Hong Kong only speak English but are still considered Macanese. Along these lines, knowledge of Portuguese is preferably, but not absolutely necessary for a Macanese identity. It should be mentioned, however, that Portuguese language use is only one of several criteria that are used by other Macaense to determine other Macanese, not the sole determinant.] Often, due to the close proximity to the Portuguese, the Macanese closely identify themselves with Portuguese nationals as opposed to Chinese in the bi-cultural and bi-racial equation. In practice, however, being Macanese is left up to how individuals categorize themselves. Since the re-integration of Macau with the People's Republic of China in late 1999, the traditional definitions are in a state of re-formulation. [Shifting, not in the sense of deconstruction of the identity definition, but a re-formulation of the definition as each rising generation dictates. The current generation is looking toward the transition and finding themselves deciding upon their cultural/identity alignments. However, as Pina-Cabral and Lourenço explain, this is the nature of the Macanese community.] Given the shifting political climate of Macau, some Macanese are coming to recognize and identify closer with a Chinese heritage.
Arts & Letters
António Conceição Júnior- artist
Deolinda da Conceição- writer [http://www.arscives.com/Deolinda/introduction.htm]
Henrique de Senna Fernandes- lawyer/writer
José dos Santos Ferreira- poet
* 嘉碧儀 (Cerina Filomena da Graça) -
Miss Hong Kongfinalist/actress
* 鄭碧影 (Cheng Bik-Ying) - Cantonese opera & film actress in the 50s
Joe Junior(actual name: Jose Maria Rodrigues Jr.) - veteran singer & TV actor
* 賈思樂 (
Louis Castro) - actor/singer from late 70s/80s
* Teresa Castro - singer from late 70s/80s, sister of Louis
* 肥媽 (
Maria Cordero) - singer/actress
* 黎芷珊 (Maria Luisa Leitão) - TV personality, niece of Clementina Leitão 黎婉華
* Uncle Ray (
Ray Cordeiro) - radio DJ
* 李嘉欣 (
Michelle Reis) (actual full name: Michele Monique Reis) - Miss Hong Kong1988 and actress
* 梁洛施 (
Isabella Leong) - Hong Kong-based actress, singer, and model
Politics, Military and Business
Pedro José Lobo
* 羅保議員 (Sir Roger Lobo) - former
Hong Kong Legislative Councilmember, from the well known Macau Lobo family.
* 黎婉華 Clementina Leitão - deceased wife of Stanley Ho, casino tycoon. Also a member of one of pre-WWII Macau's wealthiest families
Colonel Vicente Nicolau de Mesquita- a commander of a group of 36 Portuguese soldiers, who won the battle of Passaleão, which was fought near the Portas do Cerco, against 400 Chinese soldiers, on August 25, 1849.
* Amaro, Ana Maria (1989). "O Traje da Mulher Macaense, Da Saraca ao Do das Nhonhonha de Macau". Macau: Instituto Cultural de Macau.
* Amaro, Ana Maria (1993). "Filhos da Terra". Macau: Instituto Cultural de Macau.
* Dicks, Anthony R. (1984). "Macao: Legal Fiction and Gunboat Diplomacy" in "Leadership on the China Coast", Goran Aijmer (editor), London: Curzon Press, pp. 101-102.
* Guedes, João (1991). "As seitas: histôrias do crime e da política em Macau". Macau: Livros do Oriente.
* Marreiros, Carlos (1994). "Alliances for the Future" in "Review of Culture" No. 20 July/September (English Edition), 162-172.
* Pina Cabral, João de (2002). "Between China and Europe: Person, Culture and Emotion in Macao". New York and London: Berg (Continuum Books) - London School Monographs in Social Antrhropology 74.
* Pina Cabral, João de, and Nelson Lourenço (1993). "Em Terra de Tufões: Dinâmicas da Etnicidade Macaense". Macau: Instituto Cultural de Macau.
* Porter, Jonathan (1996). "Macau, the imaginary city: culture and society, 1557 to the present". Boulder: Westview Press.
* Teixeira, Manuel (1965). "Os Macaenses". Macau: Imprensa Nacional.
* Watts, Ian (1997). "Neither Meat nor Fish: Three Macanse Women in the Transition" in "Macau and Its Neighbors toward the 21st Century". Macau: University of Macau.
Eurasian (mixed ancestry)
* [http://www.asiaweek.com/asiaweek/magazine/99/1224/sr.macanese.html An article on Macanese on Asia Week]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/279196.stm Macao: Mediterranean life in the East]
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