Euan Seow, DP1B
At the end of the first semester, the DP1 cohort went on an investigative learning trip to Macau. We went to Macau to explore, investigate and research on the topic ‘How has Macau’s culture and economy changed and continued since its handover to China?’. From there we were told to plan a trip and appropriate activities to see what we could find about such a topic.
As somebody who has never been to Macau before, I was quite surprised by what I saw. The Macau we saw and explored was quite different from our previous ideas of what it would be like. We stayed at the Coloane side of Macau, and spent one day on said side and the other in the more developed side of Macau. On the first 2 days we were there, we conducted our investigation, conducted interviews, purchased cooking supplies and everything in between. We visited hotels such as the Grand Lisboa and The Emperor Hotel, landmarks such as the Street of Happiness and the Ancient Temple of Tin Hau and a variety of local shops. We learnt as much about the Macanese culture as we could in the given timeframe, and it certainly changed my perception of Macau. I always had an idea that Macau would just be glitz and glamor, and while there were certainly some areas that were incredibly opulent, such as the Emperor Hotel which had 24 carat gold bars on display, buried in the walkway into the hotel, as a whole Macau was a lot more normal than I expected.
On the Coloane and Cotai, side, we saw more continuity then change. There were rows of street shops selling dried fish and other seafood products, simple cafes with a large amount of local regulars and areas untouched by tourist influence. From what we can tell, the handover had changed Macau, but Portuguese influence can still to be found throughout. There were still a number of Portuguese restaurants, and many of the ‘Chinese’ eateries also used ingredients that are found more commonly in Portuguese cuisine.
The time spent interacting with the merchants working at these local shops, or the receptionists at the hotels helped me understand more about how Macau was like and by the end, I believe I could see a more holistic picture of Macau.
If I was to write about my biggest takeaway from the Macau excursion, it would be not to come up with preconceived notions on how anything is, the likelihood is that they are either overly simplistic or completely incorrect. The Macau camp trip was certainly a learning experience for me, the lessons I learnt will be hard to forget.