An advert in July that talked about a quest of the best egg tart in Macao has drawn strong local reactions online. Many viewers, who became angry after watching it, left comments such as “that’s not Macao”, “Macao people aren’t like that” and “it doesn’t respect local culture”. Nativist awareness and a sense of identification with the city are again heightened in the wave of criticism. Meanwhile, some noted that “Macao people are not the target audience”.
In fact, the advert has also called to attention an issue that is plaguing Macao－overreliance on the development of its tourism and gaming industries. Since the liberalisation of its gaming industry, this originally small and tranquil city has been receiving tens of millions of tourists and reaping tremendous economic benefits every year. It has led Macao to transform in, 10 odd years, into “a glorious international metropolis”, with the reputation as a city of “wealth”. But behind the glory are plenty of social and livelihood problems－the ever increasing inflation rate and housing prices, visitor overload, worsening traffic conditions due to the endless road digging and the Light Rail Transit project that had gone on for over a decade with no guaranteed completion date－all severely impacted the quality of life of the locals. Typhoon Hato further exposed problems with the urban infrastructure last year, yet at the same time, it brought to mind the spirit of mutual help in time of adversity, something that seems to have been long forgotten among locals, and prompted the younger generations living in comfort to assume key roles in the disaster relief efforts.
So how is Macao now? Is it better or worse? Does it still belong to the locals, and how do those living in Macao respond to all that is said above?
Taking to the theme of the exhibition, “The City in My Heart”, a group of young creators will present the Macao that their eyes and hearts see, reflecting on issues resulting from the enclave’s rapid transformation in recent years, which can trigger complex emotions! Are they fascinated by the buzzing and glamourous Cotai Strip or those gambling games dubbed as wonderful entertainment? Or are they stuck in endless excavation works, congested traffic, and ever rising commodity and house prices? Do they indulge in nostalgia for the bygone simple people and world? Are they discontent? Do they feel helpless? Or just numb? Through this exhibition, visitors can have a glimpse of the new generation’s unique vision of their city, a place where they live, work, or study.
Curator: Bianca Lei, 2018
2 UP Studio (Energy LIO & Laurie PUN) | Lin Ge | Ella LEI
| Natalie PUN | Ai SIO Pui Ian | Sour Graphik | YANG Illustration
Kay CHEONG | Benny TANG | Tonny DENG | Esther HE | Cherry HUANG
| Doria LIN | Tina LOI | Shirley SOU | Mori XU