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It is time to realise that, besides the gaming operators, there are just a handful of Chinese companies – and even fewer companies owned by Macau residents – supporting events aimed at improving the welfare of those in need


walk for much more than just MOP1 million, there have been few advances. The prevail- ing mentality is that social responsibility is something inherent to outside investors.


A Portuguese illness During a casual conversation over coffee and


under sunny Lisbon skies, an architect friend that has lived for many years in Macau told me he thought it was amazing how there is not a single mention of Macau in Portugal’s media. It is an old complaint that has been going


on for decades or, dare I say, centuries. In Macau, we know what we are talking about when we mention the distance that separates us from Lisbon. During the Portuguese administration,


Lisbon took little notice of its territory. So, why should it act differently now? The more incredulous argue that every-


one but Portugal is exploring the mainland market. Despite the small size of the country and the mentality of many of its of cials, Portugal is one of the few nations that enjoy a natural safe haven in China. It is the ace up its sleeve. Indeed, Macau


could act on behalf of Portuguese interests, the way it has been doing for so many others. Unfortunately, all it takes is to go to Por-


tugal to realise that the Portuguese are loathe to help themselves.


The country is in recession, with a


strong likelihood it will follow the bad example set by Greece. The most frequent questions on the streets there are: what will they do to my salary, will I be able to continue paying my loans, are my savings at risk and will Portugal be forced to leave the euro? The Portuguese continue to calmly enjoy


a countless number of public holidays and  ght to keep their social rights intact, when they should be thinking about renewing their obligations. Unlike the northern European countries,


well prepared in advance to bear the costs of a social state, their southern counterparts demand the perks without thinking how they might afford them. With no middle ground between what


you owe and what you are entitled to, and with a natural inclination for abuses by bad governance, there can only be one result: to face years of debt and be lectured by a troika composed of the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank. Through all of this, Macau should keep


the best of its Portuguese inheritance: its healthy balance between creeds and races. It should also lose the worst part of it: a trend for of cials to be unaccountable and for some in business to use ‘guanxi’ as a technique to thrive.


JULY 2011


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