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讓世界看到彩色的香港 讓香港看到彩色的世界

Opinion | Macau, the most promising SAR, selected as 'Culture City of East Asia 2025'

Augustus K. Yeung

Since its return to China, the motherland in 1999, Macau has been undergoing surgical operation, more precisely economic transformation, a result of close cooperation, collaboration and integration with Beijing, the central government.

China's miraculous economic transformation needs no introduction; its meteoric rise to become the world's second largest economic power after the United States is now widely recognized and respected, attracting admirers coming to the Chinese capital to learn the secrets of its success story, making China a center of political and economic activity with Xi Jinping a busy president – hosting the world's leaders.

Macau, its citizens and leaders, also stands to benefit from China's success. And it is fast becoming a great metropolitan tourist attraction to be reckoned with. Macau is special as it escaped being raped by the Imperial Japanese Army in WWII; its new and young citizens are now having a cosmopolitan outlook. Take John Chan Ka Po, for example, who is helping MGM to put Macau on the world map –by critically examining the propitious way tourists and customers are – and should be royally accommodated.

In his early thirties, John has already penned and published an eye-catching article, titled "Service with a Smile: Enhancement on Customer Satisfaction." As a Macau observer, I agree that the art of social interaction is what a rising Macau needs to be aware of, to develop and  to go together with its new species of international hotels, which have already won slavish praises from Russian tourists, escaping the war in Ukraine.

Note: John is a great talent from Hong Kong, trained at the Institute for Tourism Studies, Macao. And he is not the only talent that has caught my attention. There are more great talents to be hunted down, or nurtured and then recommended to Macau, a promising city in Asia.

The leader of the Macau, SAR, too, represents a new breed of local politicians – with an international outlook, who puts people's livelihood, economic development and regional economic and cultural integration into his agenda, bringing in a gush of refreshing wind that is lively and encouraging to Macau, once a sleepy town.

Given all these, Macau's citizens are oozing with happiness. These are but a poor few of the political and cultural factors behind this success story, though not all attributed to Beijing.

The Portuguese must take part of the credit: Unlike the British, the Portuguese voluntarily requested Beijing to take back Macau, its colony – long before the due date. China honored the unequal treaty.

The other factor is that Macau citizens have always taken pride in being Chinese, with high school students routinely going to mainland China and Taiwan to further their university education, enabling them to acculturate Chinese language and culture – long before the handover in 1999.

In the final analysis, the CPC has made a difference. The Macau that I first set foot on in 1957 was utterly backward. People were poor, and remained poor for many years, forcing the young citizens to flee to overseas countries via Hong Kong. From there they went to study in Taiwan or abroad, and only a few of them returned to Macau to serve – until in recent years.

Below is a piece of wonderful news that was reported recently, promulgating Macau's role in helping China to integrate with key East Asian countries.

"Macau has been selected as the 'Culture City of East Asia 2025,'the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) announced on Monday, June 3." Reported a local English-language newspaper.

The Macau government announced that it "had actively prepared and promoted its candidacy for the designation." An inter-secretariat working group was responsible for the city's application and preparations. Six finalist cities underwent evaluations, and Macau sent a delegation led by Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Ao IIeong U to make its final presentation in May.

Macau was chosen over the other five candidates to take the top honor of "Culture City of East Asia 2025." This adds to Macau's international reputation as a metropolis – where Eastern and Western cultures converge.

As the winner, Macau will use the designation – to enhance its role in China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative. It will develop activity plans under the theme "Encounter of the East with the West – and Asian harmony." Plans include cultural exhibitions and conferences showcasing intangible cultural heritage.

Macau also aims to leverage the selection to improve cultural infrastructure and promote multicultural exchange, reminiscent of Canada's push for multiculturalism, hailed as a tremendous success in cultural integration and exchange.

Note: The Culture City of East Asia program is an art and culture event launched by China, Japan and South Korea. Each year, the three nations will name one or two cities from each country as the Culture Cities of East Asia to promote cultural exchange and cooperation.

Titles will be awarded at 15th Conference of Ministers of Culture of China, Japan and South Korea in September in Japan. (Source: MDT)

Why am I so bewitched upon learning this news?! Why am I mad with joy?! This has great implications: For one thing, China, Japan and South Korea are now determined to cooperate, starting with cultural exchanges, then businesses, and later …Well, sky is the limit!

Xi Jinping has been encouraging people-to-people contact, because it works magic! Theoretically, the more frequent the inter-cultural contacts the higher the quality of social contact or cultural exchanges. This is far better than leaving Japan and South Korea, our key Asian neighbors to the influence of just the United States, which is set to counter and contain China's rise – a path to confrontation and conflict.

Therefore, more contacts, more Asian countries will come to better understand China's ambition and intention.

The peace and prosperity of East Asia depends on China, Japan and South Korea working and affiliating closely; together, they can maintain long-term stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

But, Macau, a SAR must nurture and identify talents.


The views do not necessarily reflect those of DotDotNews.

To contact the writer, please direct email:AugustusKYeung@ymail.com

Read more articles by Augustus K. Yeung:

Opinion | Which country ever dares to leave U.S. president waiting by the phone

Opinion | UN report: Education, social safety vital for Asia to grow rich

Opinion | Putin's visit highlights ties amid Ukraine war, Israel-Palestinian conflict

Opinion | Trump: Chinese migrants are 'here to build an army' – What do authorities think?


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