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Culture & Tradition

 

10th Anniversary Celebration of Museu de Macau

A Diaspora Macaense na America is pleased to reproduce hereunder, at the request of  Museu de Macau, the Portuguese and English text of their letter to Casa de Macau soliciting memorabilia for Museu de Macau’s 10th Anniversary celebration in 2008.  

To:  Casa de Macau

Subject:  Os Macaenses em Macau

 Exmos. Senhores,

 O Museu de Macau tem por missão a preservação da história e tradições das comunidades que aqui nasceram e viveram. Cabe ao Museu promover e incrementar o interesse pelo património cultural e histórico através de exposições, publicações e projectos de investigação, igualmente reunindo e explorando colecções de peças relacionadas com a história local, natural e etnográfica.

 Para este efeito, o Museu deseja enriquecer esta valiosa herança macaense nas suas colecções de peças através de doações, depósitos e empréstimos.

 Em 2008 o Museu de Macau irá celebrar o seu 10° Aniversário, estando previstas organizações de várias exposições sobre a história e cultura de Macau, e uma delas será os Macaenses em Macau expondo artigos, fotografias, etc.

 Apesar da comunidade macaense estar espalhada por todo o mundo, as suas memórias continuarão na sua terra natal Macau, deste modo, vimos por este meio, solicitar a Casa de Macau, seus associados, amigos e familiares que durante a sua vinda a Macau para o Encontro das Comunidades Macaenses em Novembro e Dezembro tragam consigo artigos domésticos, vestuários, fotografias, livros, receitas, etc. que acham necessário divulgar e preservar no Museu de Macau.

 O Museu de Macau está em fase de coleccionar informações e artigos domésticos que pertencem à Casa do Mandarim, residência de Zheng Guan Ying (oposto à Fonte do Lilao) e se V. Exa. tiver algumas informações ou objectos relativos a Casa do Mandarim, solicitamos os bons ofícios de nos fornecer quanto possível.

 Para mais informações, é favor contactar as Sras:

Joana Nogueira através de tel.: (853) 3941205

e-mail: JoanaNogueira.mm@icm.gov.mo ou

Ana Maria da Costa tel.: (853) 3941204

e-mail: info.mm@icm.gov.mo

 Agradecemos antecipadamente pela vossa atenção, apresentamos os nossos melhores cumprimentos.

 Director Subst° do Museu de Macau

 Chan Ieng Hin

 

English Text:

 

Dear Sirs,

 The Macao Museum has the duty to preserve the history and traditions of the communities that were born and lived in Macau. The Museum creates and develops collections related to Macao’s cultural heritage and local history through exhibition, publication and project of investigation at the same time collecting and exploring collections related to local and natural history and ethnography.

 Therefore, the Macao Museum wishes to enrich the valuable Macanese heritage collection by donation, request deposit or on loan.

 In 2008 the Macao Museum will celebrate its 10th Anniversary. We are planning to organize various exhibitions with topics about Macao’s history and culture, and one of them will be about the Macanese in Macao by displaying objects and photographs.

 Although the Macanese community is scattered throughout the world, their memories will remain in their native land Macao, therefore we hope members, friends and families of the Casa de Macau during their return to Macau for the Encontro das Comunidades Macaenses could bring with them some domestic objects, clothes, photographs, books or months recipes that they wish to preserve or divulge.

 The Macao Museum is collecting information and some domestic objects which  belongs to the Mandarim House, Zheng Guan Ying’s residence (opposite to Fonte do Lilau) and if you have any informations about the Mandarim House we would be grateful if you could provide us.

 For more information please contact:

Joana Nogueira telephone nr. (853) 3941205, e-mail: JoanaNogueira.mm@icm.gov.mo or

Ana Maria da Costa tel.: (853) 3941204, e-mail: info.mm@icm.gov.mo

 Thanks for your attention

 The Acting Director of Macao Museum

 Chan Ieng Hin

 ---o0o---

 

Two Firsts for the California Macanese Diaspora

In the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, June 24 is the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.  For the Portuguese June 24 is known as Dia de São João Batista.  As can be seen elsewhere in this website it is also an important day historically, especially for the Macanese.  It was the day in 1622 when the Macau garrison, with the prodigious efforts of its determined citizenry, decisively repulsed an invasion by Dutch military forces, saving Macau for posterity.

This year, for the first time, Dia de São João was commemorated by the California Macanese diaspora.  It was also the first time that the membership of the clubs Casa de Macau USA, Lusitano Club of California, and UMA, under the auspices of the Macau Cultural Center, joined together in an event of common interest.  This first time was to collaborate in honoring the 1622 heroic defense of Macau by its gallant citizens and to thank St. John for his believed help in the glorious victory over the upstart Dutch.

The celebration took place in a recreation park alongside serene Lake Elizabeth in Fremont, California.  Due to unforeseen refurbishing work, it could not be held in the nearby premises of the Macau Cultural Center which was the original venue.  A total of 180 people marked the occasion, which started with a Mass said by Father Alexander Lewis, a Filomacau despite his last name, assisted by Deacon Brian Nunes.

While eating fruit of all kinds is the traditional fare on Dia de São João, it did not deter the clubs from serving a splendid variety of Macanese favorite foods, prepared by the members themselves, including vaca estufada, costoleta po de bolacha, feijoada, salada de espinafre, lahng mein, mai fun, and lo pak kou.  Dessert, as might be expected, consisted of bebinga, batatada, and appropriately on Dia de São João, a fruit salad of watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, and pineapple.

To ensure that the celebrants knew what exactly happened in Macau on June 24, 1622, and that they be historically correct, member Armando “Pinky” da Silva was commissioned to give a short presentation of what had transpired that day.  Holding a wristwatch in his hand, for he had been timed (college professors do tend to be longwinded!), Pinky, with animated body language, lively gestures and a colorful smattering of the Macanese patuá, graphically described, at times hilariously, the heroism of the Macanese defenders as they defeated the Dutch with an assortment of rifles, spears, blunderbusses, parangs, and well aimed cannon fire that made up their defense, putting the invaders to flight in the end.  Our illustrious raconteur concluded his presentation by handing out fresh lychees to his appreciative audience.

It was a very enjoyable day under great sunny weather, and a good beginning for the Macau Cultural Center.

---o0o---

Attracting the Younger Generation

By Horatio Ozorio, May 11, 2007

In commenting on this Website’s May 6 editorial on the seeming disinterest of the younger Macaense generation in their culture, tradition, heritage, and roots, Tiago Azevedo of the Jornal Tribuna de Macau attempts to shed light on the global aspects of that problem.

Miquel Senna Fernandes, President of the Associação dos Macaenses, points out that the complicating factor in trying to get the participation of the younger generation in Macaense affairs is the attention they give to other activities, Azevedo said.  Moreover, Senna Fernandes added, they consider the activities of the associations more appropriate to those of the older age group which activities they say are not very “cool.”

Recognizing that it is one of the associations that is most important to the identity of Macaenses, Senna Fernandes said the Associação Promotora da Instrução dos Macaenses (APIM) was in a position to do better because the absence of the young people was one of the principle discussion themes at the last Encontro das Comunidades Macaenses.  The President of APIM, José Manuel Rodrigues, confirmed this saying programs designed for youths was a priority item on the agenda of his organization.

He added that it is an issue that needs to be reflected upon by the entire community, and it is appropriate for them to do so.  The forthcoming Encontro das Comunidades Macaenses which takes place Nov 26 through December 2 will be a good opportunity to resume debating how to bring the youngsters into the associations, casas and communities.  And at that venue will also be defined the format of Dia de Juventude Macaense, a project that has as yet not recognized any progress, said José Manuel Rodrigues.

Concluding, Miguel Senna Fernandes identified sports and theatrical performances in Patuá as likely means of successfully enticing the participation of the young members of the Macaense community.

 ---o0o---

 

Dia de São João – Feast Day of St. John

Dia de São João is celebrated every year by Casa de Macau (USA) Inc.  Says its President, Henrique J. Manhão, Jr., “It’s a proud day for the Macaenses.”  Fittingly, with the establishment of the Macau Cultural Center for the Macanese diaspora in California, it will henceforth be celebrated annually jointly with Lusitano Club of California and UMA.

For those unfamiliar with Dia de São João, it was at dawn on June 24, 1622, that a large Dutch expeditionary force consisting of 13 warships and 1300 men launched an invasion of Macau.  Its objective was to take over the lucrative trade that the Portuguese enjoyed with China and Japan through Macau.  A landing force of 800 Dutch troops came ashore and were opposed by a hundred Portuguese regular soldiers and a rag-tag and bobtail group of volunteers consisting of Macanese citizens, their African slaves and Jesuit priest-soldiers, in all numbering 300.  Accurate cannon fire by the Jesuits and the furious onslaught of counterattacks by the courageous defenders soon repelled and put to sea the demoralized invaders.

The glorious victory of the Portuguese was attributed to São João whose Feast Day it was.  So pleased was Portuguese King Rei D. João IV that he bestowed upon Macau the title, “A Cidade do Santo Nome de Deus, Não Há Outra Mais Leal” (City of the Holy Name of God, None More Loyal).

In California, celebration this year of Dia de São João will take place on Sunday, June 24, 2007, from 11 to 5 at the Fremont Central Park – Lake Elizabeth, hosted by Macau Cultural Center.  Contact Marie Guterres at (650) 359-3858 or the respective Macanese clubs for further details.

 ---o0o---

 

Dia de Juventude Macaense

By Horatio Ozorio, May 6, 2007

When he was last in Macau, Henrique J.Manhão, President of Casa de Macau USA Inc., proposed to the Conselho Geral das Comunidades Macaenses that a day in the year be designated " DIA DE JUVENTUDE MACAENSE" and it was unanimously approved.  Dia de Juventude Macaense translated into English is Macanese Youths Day, to be celebrated annually.  The day of the year for it has not yet been decided nor the manner in which it will be observed.  What is certain is it is very much needed.

There is no doubt in anybody’s mind that the Macanese diaspora in the USA, and probably elsewhere in the world, is an endangered species as things stand at this time.  The older generation is dying off while the younger generation has shown little inclination or interest in keeping it alive as such.  Its constituents are in danger of being assimilated into the population of the respective host countries.  If nothing is done about it, gone will be any memories of their culture, tradition, history, and their unique identity.  This is the tragedy Henrique Manhão, for one, will go to great lengths to avoid.

Except at the occasional wedding or wake, young Macaenses have no occasion  or venue in which to meet each other.  The fact of the matter is they are mostly strangers to one another.  A Dia de Juventude will be a step in the right direction to remedy that.  Perhaps these young members of the community would be the best people to design how that day will be celebrated.

Let the word, therefore, go forth to all, young and old, that together we must and we will fight off the possibility of our community ending up in the trash can of history or as a footnote in the back pages of somebody’s anthropological or sociological study.  Let’s have some ideas and suggestions how Dia de Juventude shall be celebrated, and the volunteers to make it happen.  Let us hear from you, young people of the Diaspora.

Contacts for this worthwhile project: the Presidents of UMA, Lusitano Club of California, or Casa de Macau USA.

---o0o---

 

Praying the Rosary in Portuguese

Sinal da Cruz – The Sign of the Cross

Pelo sinal da Santa Cruz, livre-nos Deus Nosso Senhor, dos nossos inimigos.  Em nome do Pai e do Filho e do Espírito Santo.  Amen.

Credo – The Apostles’ Creed

Creio em Deus Pai todo-poderoso, Criador do céu e da terra;  E em Jesus Cristo, seu único Filho, Nosso Senhor;  O Qual foi concebido pelo poder do Espírito Santo, nasceu da Virgem Maria;  Padeceu sob Pôncio Pilatos;  foi crucificado, morto e sepultado;  Desceu aos infernos;  ao terceiro dia resuscitou dos mortos;  Subiu ao Céu;  está sentado à direita de Deus Pai todo-poderoso;  Donde há-de vir a julgar os vivos e os mortos;  Creio no Espírito Santo;  Na Santa Igreja Católica, Na Comunicação dos Santos;  Na remissão dos pecados;  Na ressureição da carne;  Na vida eterna.  Amen.

Pai Nosso – The Our Father

Pai Nosso, que estais no Céu, Santificado  seja o Vosso nome, Venha a nós o Vosso reino, Seja feita a Vossa vontade, assim na terra como no Céu.  O pão nosso de cada dia nos dai hoje, Perdoai-nos as nossas ofensas, assim como nós perdoamos a quem nos tem ofendido, E não nos deixeis cair em tentação, Mas livrai-nos do mal.  Amen.

Glória ao Pai – The Glory be to the Father

Glória ao Pai e ao Filho e ao Espírito Santo:  como era no princípio, agora e sempre.  Amen.

Ave-Maria – The Hail Mary

Ave-Maria, cheia de graça, o Senhor é con Vosco, bendita sois Vós entre as mulheres, e bendito é o fruto do Vosso ventre, Jesus.  Santa Maria, Mãe de Deus, rogai por nós, pecadores, agora e na hora da nossa morte. Amen. 

Salve- Rainha – The Hail, Holy Queen

Salve-Rainha, Mãe de misericórdia, vida, doçura e esperança nossa, salve.  A vós bradamos os degredados filhos de Eva;  por Vós suspiramos, gemendo e chorando neste vale de lágrimas.  Eia, pois, Advogada nossa, esses Vossos olhos misericordiosos a nós volvei.  E depois deste desterro nos mostrai Jesus, bendito fruto do Vosso Ventre, ó Clemente, ó piedosa, ó doce Virgem Maria.  Rogai por nós, santa Mãe de Deus, para que sejamos dignos das promessas de Cristo.  Amen.

 

---o0o---

Seeking Recognition by UNESCO of Macanese Patua

Following the unanimous approval in Macau by the Conselho Geral das Comunidades Macaenses of the motion by Henrique Manhão to create the Instituto de Investigação e Divulgação do Dialecto “Patuá,” also to be known as “Instituto Adé,” [see preceding article] he hosted a dinner on December 7, 2006, at the Far Eastern Seafood Restaurant in San Francisco to solicit volunteers to serve on a commission to secure recognition by UNESCO of Patua as a “Património Intangivel Universal” (Universal Intangible Asset).  The commission will also conduct interviews and research as well as plan seminars locally and abroad.  Invitees to the dinner included:

L-R standing:  Luiza da Rosa, Albertino da Rosa, Alex Xavier, Maria Roliz, Deolinda Adão, Henrique Manhão, Jessica Xavier, José Xavier, Maria Lourdes Xavier.

L-R seated:  Horácio Ozório, Frederick “Jim” Silva, Lionel Sequeira, Armando “Pinky” da Silva, Raquel Remedios, Jorge Remedios, António Jorge da Silva.

A  special guest at the dinner was Deolinda Adão, Program Coordinator of the Portuguese Studies Program at the University of California in Berkeley.  She was able to provide valuable information and recommendations on the best approach to UNESCO in seeking recognition for Patua to be granted the status of  Património Intangivel Universal.  Henrique Manhão invited all present to give their input on the project.

 ---o0o---

 

Creation of Instituto Adé Proposed in Macau

 M O T I O N

WHEREAS the signing of the Protocol between APIM and the local Macaense Club in a solemn ceremony this evening is a historical landmark of coexistence in the Macaense community;

WHEREAS the spontaneous, voluntary and enthusiastic willingness to join manifested by the Macanese associations authoring the Protocol is an encouragement to and an example to follow by all the existing Macanese communities in the world;

WHEREAS during the lifetime of the Macanese community in Macau the dialect “Patuá” was the communication vehicle of excellence and the expression of their identity in common of its people; and

WHEREAS considering the need to publicize and support its preservation within the communities of the Macanese diaspora,

I, Henrique J. Manhão, hereby propose to the Conselho das Comunidades Macaenses the creation of a task force such as to meet the conditions necessary to the creation of Instituto de Investigação e Divulgação do Dialeto Macaense “Patuá,” which shall have its headquarters in Macau.  Subsequent to such creation, there shall come into being in all existing Casas de Macau in the world delegations thereto and, as such, members of the Conselho das Comunidades Macaenses.

The Instituto shall also have the name of “Adé” in recognition of the efforts and works relative to the dialect “Patuá” left behind by the late illustrious Macaense, José dos Santos Ferreira, as homage owed by the Macanese community to this son of Macau.  Thus shall be designated the Instituto de Investigação e Divulgação do dialecto “Patuá” – “Instituto Adé.”

Proposed by:

Henrique J. Manhão, Jr., President, Casa de Macau (USA) Inc., California.

Macau, October 13, 2006

The motion was approved by all the members of Conselho Geral das Comunidades Macaenses.

(The foregoing is a free translation of the motion proposed in Portuguese by Mr. Manhão. – Ed.)

---o0o---

 

Patuá - Pa tudu Genti-Genti de Macau

San Francisco Bay Area Macaenses who attended the seminar organized by Casa de Macau USA at the University of California in Berkeley two years ago will remember Macau’s popular Miguel de Senna Fernandes for his most entertaining presentation on “patuá”.  Jornal Tribuna de Macau reports that he is planning to hold a workshop on patuá in Macau soon. A foremost authority on patuá, teaching it for Senna Fernandes is both a dream and a challenge.  He says, “Very often I hear commentaries:  How does one learn patuá?  People who do not feel that that dialect can be taught, or who consider it a language, a dialect, dead, or who find that it has no utility whatever, or, worse still, who doubt that there are people, teachers, with the ability or appetite to teach it.”

Senna Fernandes estimates that in Macau and in the diaspora there are no more than a thousand speakers of the patuá.  Unfortunately, he said, patuá has ceased to be of use as a vehicle of day-to-day communication.  He clarified that he was speaking of a dialect in its oldest form, noting that patuá has evolved into macaísta, which these days is closer to the Portuguese language.  Many expressions of Macau origin have fallen into disuse or are much closer to Cantonese.  This is noticeable in its phraseological construction.

In recent months Miguel de Senna Fernandes has been sounded out and encouraged to go forward with putting together a workshop on patuá.  And in fact the project may have “passed the point of no return,” he has said.  It will most probably take place next April or May, and initially it will be for adults.  He nurses secret hopes that the workshop will demystify what he calls this “bicho de sete cabeças” that the patuá winds up being for a great majority of people.  What will be required is a minimum knowledge of phonetics, more commonplace expressions, how to communicate in patuá, as well as more attention paid to the subject.  Patuá is essentially an oral language, has its natural incongruencies, and has a certain lack of logic, absolutely necessary in other languages.  “I am certain that beyond classes becoming useful, didactic, and potentially very interesting, it will be a very entertaining course,” concluded Senna Fernandes to Jornal Tribuna de Macau.

(The foregoing is a partial distillation of an article in Jornal Tribuna de Macau dated March 1, 2006,. – Ed)

---o0o---

 

Uma tradição para “perpetuar”

The Associação Promotora da Instrução dos Macaenses (APIM)  organized yesterday a dinner which gathered together the usual participants to recite the Rosary, an activity which already is a part of the association’s tradition, and which always takes place on the second day of every month, when the participants meet before the Patron Saint of the Macaense Communities, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.

This month, and to celebrate it in a different format, the APIM sponsored a gathering that brought together 60 members and had as a guest of honor D. José Lai, Bishop of the Diocese of Macau.  Among many topics of conversation, gastronomic variety, and the presence of the Consul General of Portugal in Macau, Pedro Moitinho de Almeida, who was there to greet the members, there was time too for the President of APIM, José Manuel Rodrigues, to take the stage and present all those in the gathering with two songs dedicated to the proprietress of the restaurant Riquexó, Aida de Jesus.

“This was an exceptional case, but it served for all to get together and to strengthen friendship ties,” said José Manuel Rodrigues to Jornal Tribuna de Macau, adding that “it was very pleasant, principally because everybody enjoyed themselves and it is a way to perpetuate tradition.”

 (The foregoing is a free translation of an article appearing in Jornal Tribuna de Macau dated March 7, 2006 – Ed.)

---o0o---

 

Macaense Poetess Keeps Alive the Traditions of Macau

Rita Lopes, a Macaense, resident in California for many years, uses poetry to keep alive the tradition of the Portuguese language and to remember Macau.

With the Macaense diaspora putting down roots in the four corners of the world, it becomes important to maintain the customs and the traditions which characterize the modus vivendi of Macaenses.  And that is exactly what the poetess Rita Lopes does to nurture the Portuguese language in the hearts of the Macaense community in California.

Considering herself a tireless reader, who takes every opportunity to augment her knowledge, Rita Lopes explained to Jornal Tribuna de Macau that the inspiration to write arose at the moment she learned that Macau was to cease coming under Portuguese administration and to revert to sovereignty under the People’s Republic of China.

For the poetess, it was a “moment of sadness,” because she had to face the “harsh reality of losing something which had certainty for her, as well as a bit of her own identity.”  Revealing her fascination for learning new words, Rita Lopes confessed to being a lover of the “simple things” of life.

Rita Lopes was born in Macau in 1955 and presently works for the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco.  She received her primary education at Escola Primária Central de Macau and completed her secondary education at Liceu Nacional Infante D. Henrique.  She later studied nursing at Hospital de Conde de S. Januário in Macau after having studied, in English, for two years at Colégio do Sagrado Coração de Maria das Irmãs Canossianas.  Later, in 1973, Rita Lopes continued her studies at Hospital Geral de West Suffolk, in England, and completed her bachelor’s degree in General Education at City College in San Francisco.

Beyond being a part of Casa de Macau of California, the poetess also has connections with the remaining Macaense associations in California, just as they maintain contacts with Portuguese clubs in the region. 

It is with pleasure that Jornal Tribuna de Macau publishes three of the poems* of Rita Lopes that have awakened her fellow countrymen with more success; perhaps in them are evident the sentiments that she continues to express for her native land.

* The three poems published by JTM are not clearly legible, nor can they be read electronically since they were not digitized.  However, two of them,“O Mar” and “Macau Terra Minha,” already appear in this website and may be read by scrolling further down on this page.

 (The foregoing is a free translation of an article appearing in Jornal Tribuna de Macau dated November 30, 2005 – Ed.)

---o0o---

Comizaina!

Kind courtesy of Rogério P. da Luz, Casa de Macau, São Paulo, Brasil, and his website Projecto Memória Macaense, here is a video that will make your mouth water while splitting your sides.  Give it a listen!

http://www.memoriamacaense.org/id137.html (Sorry!  Cannot access this URL from this webpage.  Copy and paste it to your web browser.  Click on audio start button to hear the song)

The composer is Armando Santos of Toronto, Canada, who kindly authorized its reproduction in the above URL. This song and eleven others, in Patua and Portuguese, were recorded in Brazil and are in the final stage of production.  Please note that all songs and lyrics are protected under copyright.  The lyrics:

COMIZAINA

Armando Santos

 QUIM JÂ FALÂ, NÔS MAQUISTA SABE GOZÂ

DIVERA SA GOSTÂ, COMÊ ATÉ BARIGA INCHÂ

NÔS NON TÊM CULPA, TUDO HORA SÃ TEM PASSÂ

TANTO COMIZAINA, QUE NÔS SENTI TÂ REBENTÂ

 

            NÔS TEM, BAFÁSSÁ, CHAU CHAU PELE E ÁDE CABIDELA

            NÔS TEM, MARGOSO-LORCHA, PEIXE CUCÚS E CAPELA

            NÕS TÊM, DIABO, PORCO SALMORADO OU COM ‘CHAMPIGNON’

            TÊM CASQUINHA, MINCHI, LAPA, TÊM PANADO DE CAMARÃO

 

QUELORA ARANJÂ, FESTA FESTA PÂ DANÇÃ

TANTO COMIZAINA, NÔS SÃ NADI LÔGO FALTÃ

NOSOTRO SÃ MAQUISTA, NÔS SÃ CAPAZ COZINHÃ

QUELORA FALÂ COMÊ, NOSOTRO TUDO SÃ GOSTÃ

 

            NÔS TEM, COSCURÃO, CHILICOTE, COM LACASSÃ

            NÔS TEM, BICHO-BICHO, CABELO DI NOIVA E SAMOSA

            NÕS TÊM, BOLO MENINO, PÃO RECHEADO, ‘CHEESE TOAST’ OLÂ

            BOLO MÁRMORE, ‘HÁ TÓ SI’, FARTI NÔS TAMBEM GOSTÂ

 

CHINA CORRÊ RUA, TUDO HORA TÂ CARTÂ

TANTO BUBURIÇA, PÂ COMÊ QUI NÔS REBENTÂ

VOSÔTRO TÊM NA CASA, COMIZAINA TÂ PASSÂ

CUSA ASI SABROSO, FAZÊ NOSÔTRO TÂ BABÂ

 

            NÔS TEM, ‘CHU CHEONG FAN’, ‘CHU HONG CHOK’ OU ‘KÁP TÂI’

            NÔS TEM, ‘LÓ PÁK KÔU’, APABICO COM ‘KÓK CHÂI’

            NÕS TÊM, ‘HÁM CHI PEÁN’, NGÂU LEI SOU’ E ‘IAU CHAU KUAI’

            ‘SÔN KOU’, ‘LANG KOU’, LÓ PÁK KOU’, PÂ COMÊ ATÉ BARIGA CÂI

 

VÔS NUNCASSA, MEDO FOME NÃO TÊM COMÊ

SE NUNCA PASSÂ PORTA, CHOMA LOJA LÔGO TRAZÊ

SÃ DIA OU SÃ NÔTE, COMIZAINA NADI FALTÂ

TEMPO QUENTE, TEMPO FRIO, SÂI SOL OU CÂI CHUVA

 

            ‘MIN PAU’ QUENTE-QUENTE, CHINA NA RUA TÂ GRITÂ

            ‘CHÁ SIU’, ‘SIU ÁP’, SIU IÔK, QUI SABROSO PÂ TAFULÂ

            ‘CHI MA VU’ COM ‘HONG TAU CHÔK’, SÃ QUI BOM PÂ LAMBUSÂ

            ‘TAU FU FÁ’ COM ‘TONG IUN’, NÔS TÂ DALE QUE NADI PARÂ

 

VOSÔTRO TÂ OLÂ NÔS QUI TANTO COISA COMÊ

TUDO QUI SABROSO, QUE NÔS NÃO PODI ESQUECÊ

NÔS UIDE GOSTÂ, FERÂ NOSOTRO SÃ BALICHÃO

SÃ ASI QUI NÔS FALÂ, NÔS SÃ MAQUISTA DE CORAÇÃO

 

(Música e Letras por/Music and Lyrics by: Armando Santos 22-Mar-95)

 

---o0o---

 

Um Poema por Rita Lopes

O Mar

É Magnifico! É Sereno! É Brilhante!

Sob a luz do sol deslumbrante

As águas batem lentamente nos rochedos

Como os jovens enamorados quando se beijam

 

Casais jovens, casais velhos

E crianças de mãos dadas

Passeiam vagarosamente nas praias

Desfrutando a brisa do Verão

 

Entra a tempestade

E transforma-se num monstro

As águas estremecem violentamente

Trovoadas e Relâmpagos Ecoam no Ar

 Marinheiros e Pescadores lutam velozmente

Nas garras do assombro

 

Como o despertar de um pesadelo

A tranquilidade regressa

 As cores do arco-íris iluminam no horizonte

As gaivotas salpicam nas águas

As aves cantam a sua melodia

A vida retorna

 Mais uma vez nos faz lembrar o esplêndido trabalho

Do nosso Criador!

I would like to dedicate this poem on the sea to the unfortunate victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. 

Friends who would like to maintain our Portuguese language or exchange cultural ideas are welcome to write to me at ritabonita37@yahoo.com.

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Two Popular Macau Traditions

By Henrique J. Manhão

When Macau was still under Portuguese administration, two traditions were observed annually on June 24, Dia de São João Baptista (St. John The Baptist Day).  In fulfillment of a solemn vote, the Leal Senado da Câmara de Macau (Loyal Senate of the City Hall of Macau) decided that the 24th of June would be Dia de Macau (Macau Day) in honor of St. John The Baptist, Patron of the Cidade do Santo Nome de Deus (City of the Holy Name of God)

One tradition was the handing over of a monetary gift to Saint Anthony’s Church in honor of its patron saint.  In 1953, it was the President of the Leal Senado, Magalhães Coutinho, Secretary Veríssimo do Rosário, and Treasurer Mário Pereira who delivered the donation to Saint Anthony’s Church.

At the church, they were received by a platoon of soldiers from the Macau garrison, commanded by a sergeant, and accompanied by the parish priest and acolytes in gala dress, a choral group, and many of the faithful.  The church’s bells rang out festively.  The parish priest pro tem was Father Videira Pires, S.J.

The second tradition was a procession on the eve, June 23, presided over by the diocesan prelate, and accompanied by official entities of the Government of Macau, by the clergy of the diocese, by members of religious orders, by students of Catholic schools, by many of the faithful, and, sometimes, by the band of Colégio D. Bosco (Don Bosco College) or by the Immaculate Conception orphanage.

It was the Secretary of the City Hall who carried the standard of the Leal Senado.  The immense cortege started at the Sé Cathedral, and made its way via Travessa Roquete, Largo do Senado, Santa Casa de Misericórdia and Largo de São Domingos, then back to the point of departure.

A city holiday, the day of the 24th was passed by the more affluent families at their swimming matsheds in the Porto Exterior.  St. John’s Day was also a festival of fruits, the most popular of all fruits being the watermelon.

At mid-day, says the tradition, an egg would be broken and if there appeared an image of St. John, it was a good omen for the rest of the year.

These were two of the beloved traditions of the Macaenses.

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Rush in the Far East to Learn Portuguese

According to Freda Wan of the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong, in an article dated August 3, 2005, learning Portuguese has become the latest “fashion” in Macau. Nearly six years after Macau was returned to Chinese sovereignty, unprecedented numbers of teenagers and adults are signing up for Portuguese language classes.  There never has been such a long waiting list says António Vasconcelos de Saldanha, President of Instituto Português do Oriente (IPOR).

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From all over Asia students are going to Macau to take advantage of the Lusophone environment. With the volume of Chinese-Brazilian trade as large as it is, the more pragmatic students say knowledge of the Portuguese language will enable them to land jobs at trading companies or the Chinese Foreign Ministry. "Every Chinese who can speak Portuguese is 100 per cent guaranteed to have a job," claims Qian Mingfeng, a student at the Shanghai University of Foreign Language Studies. Instead of using his Chinese name, he insists that his friends call him Fabiano.

At the University of Macau, the bachelor's degree in Portuguese as a second language is oversubscribed. More than 400 applicants have competed for 30 vacancies for the school year starting in September. Three years ago, only 17 applied. Translators apparently are in short supply in Macau.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, Portuguese, an official language with Chinese in Macau, shows little sign of fading away.  Instead, it is poised to become the common second or third language among the next generation.

(In California, there seems to be stirring interest of late among some of the Macanese Diaspora patriotically to learn the Portuguese language but logistic difficulties have hampered any progress in this – Ed.)

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Creole identity                                                                                              An Editorial by Harald Bruning                                                                       The Macau Post Daily – March 18, 2005

Once again, the ‘sweet language” amateur drama group is doing Macau’s unique Creole identity a great service by performing a stage comedy in the highly endangered Patua tongue this weekend.

Our newspaper today publishes on page 15 an interesting feature by Reuters about the predicament of Suriname’s “exotic” Anglo-Dutch-West African Creole known as Sranan Tongo. Unlike our Patua, the Creole of the former Dutch colony in South America continues to be a lingua franca among the country’s many different ethnic groups.

Patua is a Portuguese-Asian Creole that includes Malay, Cantonese, English, Spanish, Indian, Japanese and a host of other Asian and European languages. The language came into being in the mid-16th century, when Portuguese seafarers settled on the Macau peninsula. Contrary to some published reports, Patua is, of course, not a “medieval” mixture of tongues, considering that the Middle Ages ended with the fall of Constantinople in 1453, about a century before the Portuguese landed in Macau.

Macau’s Patua has been nearly moribund since the 1970s. What matters now is to ensure that it will become immortal. The theatre group originally launched by Julie de Senna Fernandes, public relations manager of casino mogul Stanley Ho Hung Sun over a decade ago, and now headed by lawyer and ex-legislator Miguel de Senna Fernandes, has become Patua’s “refugium.” While just a handful of octogenarians in Macau, such as the Riquexo Restaurant’s bright and lovable matron, Dona Aida de Jesus, still speak the “sweet language” (doci papiacam di Macau), it is still spoken by several dozen – or even hundreds – of Macanese living abroad, particularly in California.

Our newspaper fully supports efforts by Macanese Diaspora leaders to research Patua scientifically before it is – let’s be a bit dramatic – simply too late.

Decades ago, legendary late Macanese writer Jose dos Santos Ferreira wrote a Patua poem that hit the nail on the head:

Lingu di gente antigo di Macau                                                                         Lo disparece tamen. Qui saiam!                                                                     Nga dia, mas quanto ano,                                                                          Quianca lo prigunta co pai-mai                                                                       Qui cuza sa afinal                                                                                        Doci papiacam di Macau?

In English:

The language of the old people of Macau                                                        Will disappear also. What a pity!                                                                    One day, in a few years                                                                                    A child will ask his or her parents                                                                 What is it, after all,                                                                                        The Sweet language of Macau.”

Well, let’s hope that the rather melancholic poem turns out to be a self-destroying prophecy …and that Patua will be declared intangible world heritage before long.

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An Angel from the Sea, a Flower from Heaven                                              By Harald Bruning                                                                                         The Macau Post Daily, March 18, 2005

An Angel from the Sea, a Flower from Heaven (Anjo di Mar Fuli di Ceo) is the title in Patua of the latest stage comedy in Macau’s unique Portuguese-Asian Creole. The English name of the play is A Mermaid from Heaven.

The Macau Post Daily went backstage last night (March 17) to watch the play’s final rehearsal before its premiere at the Small Auditorium of the Macau Cultural Centre today at 8 p.m.

The performance is part of the 16th Macau Arts Festival. Sonia Palmer, one of the core members “Sweet Language” amateur theatre group said a total of 65 Patua enthusiasts were involved in preparing the play.

Ms. Palmer, whose mother, Dona Aida de Jesus, is one of Macau’s remaining few Patua speakers, said the play was set in the mid-1970s, revolving around the often hilarious goings-on at the legendary “Mermaid” nightclub of the Lisboa Casino-Hotel, which closed – much to the chagrin of many locals – in the late 1980s. The play’s  Patua dialogue is interspersed with contemporary disco music.

The comedy’s protagonist, Lia, is keen to liberate herself from her stubborn father. As a way out of her unbearable predicament, she decides to find him a wife. This is, of course, no easy task, considering the women’s lib movement of the time … and all the action and chatter happens at the Le Club Mermaid of all places.

We don’t want to give too much away about the plot, but we can promise anyone a fun-filled performance tonight, tomorrow afternoon and on Sunday night.

The show, including a 15-minute interval and a 10-minute introductory video presentation, lasts two hours. For those not familiar with Patua, sub-titles in  English, Portuguese and Chinese are provided on top of the stage of the 400-seat theatre.

Ms. Palmer explained that “angel from the sea” was the Patua expression for a “mermaid” – a mythical half-human sea creature with the head and trunk of a woman and the tail of a fish, customarily depicted as extremely beautiful and charming.

The amateur actors started rehearsing the play, penned by Miguel de Senna Fernandes, in January. “It’s hard work, we met up to three times a week,” said Ms. Palmer, who this time “acts” behind the stage as a helper.

This time most of the dialogue is in Patua, with just a little bit Chinese and Portuguese,” Ms. Palmer pointed out. A previous play had been criticized by some for containing too much dialogue in English and Portuguese.

The Patua theatre group was set up by a group of local Macanese in the early 1990s, when it became increasingly clear that Patua needed to be given a “life-saving injection” to survive. Since then, the theatre stage has become Patua’s “survival kit.” On average, the group performs one play a year in Macau and elsewhere, such as in Lisbon and California.

Patua has been described as the Macanese community’s “linguistic soul.” The Asian-Portuguese Creole, which is closely related to the Malay-Portuguese Kristang language in Malacca, is also in integral part of Macau’s unique Euro-Asian identity. Unlike Macau, Hong Kong never developed its “own” language.

Patua is not only a Euro-Asian mixture in terms of vocabulary, but also in terms of grammar.

The Ethnologue website (http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=China) lists “Macanese” (Patua) as one of China’s 202 languages.

The free on-line Wikipedia encyclopaedia maintains a website dedicated exclusively to Patua (http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=China).

 Another website, Wikimedia, dedicated to Patua is under construction (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Test-WP/cpp-mzs).

Although Patua is one of the world’s most highly endangered Creole languages, just about a dozen linguists and journalists are known to research its perilous survival and long history. Some Patua enthusiasts have started a low-key campaign to convince the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to protect the language as intangible world heritage. A number of Macanese emigrants in California have told The Macau Post Daily they are planning to launch a research project involving oral recordings of Patua speakers. The Portuguese Studies Department of the University of Macau also does some Patua research.

However, for the time being at least, the theatre stage seems to be the most effective way of keeping Patua alive.

A Mermaid from Heaven – Theatre in Patua

Doci Papiacam di Macau Drama Group

Playwright and Direction: Miguel de Senna Fernandes

Audio and Video Production: Filipe de Senna Fernandes

Sets: Andre Ritchie, Raquel Campos

Wardrobe: Arlete Xavier

Main Cast: Luis Machado, Alfredo Ritchie, Isabela Pedruco, Nina Lichtenstein, Judith Antunes

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Speaking up for Heritage

By Harald Bruning - February 2, 2005

Efforts by the last few speakers and committed supporters of Macau's unique Portuguese-Asian creole, Patua, to ensure the endangered tongue's protection by Unesco as intangible world heritage are gaining momentum.

Miguel de Senna Fernandes, a lawyer by profession and Patua speaker by passion, told the Portuguese-language daily, Ponto Final, last week that attempts to grant the hybrid language Unesco protection "makes complete sense", adding that he had "no doubts about Patua's heritage value".

Patua is a linguistic mix of Portuguese, Malay, Cantonese, and a host of other European and Asian languages, that was born in Macau in the late 16th century, following the arrival of Portuguese seafarers via India and Malacca. While it was once the mother tongue of Macau's Eurasian residents, nowadays it is spoken by just a handful of people in Macau and several hundred among the Macanese diaspora, namely in California.

Mr Fernandes is part of an amateur theatre group that, since the early 1990s, has tried hard to keep Patua alive through stage comedy. The theatrical approach has proved a big success. The group, known as Sweet Chatter of Macau, has become an integral part of the local culture scene. It has consciously restricted stage performances to comedies. Mr Fernandes insists that it is unthinkable to stage a drama in Patua for the simple reason that the language was traditionally "used in exhilarating situations", such as poking fun at powerful people.

Unesco's 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage recognises the importance of linguistic diversity for protecting the world's cultural variety. Quite rightly, China Radio International pointed out in a broadcast last year that intangible heritage is "untouchable but substantial". China's kunqu opera and the guqin (a seven-stringed zither) have already been included in the world body's intangible heritage.

I am confident that researchers and cultural affairs officials in Beijing will not hesitate to recognise the intangible heritage status - and value - of Patua as one of the aspects which makes Macau so special within China. Besides, up to 12 of Macau's historical monuments, including the St Paul's Ruins and the Na Cha Temple, are expected to be awarded (tangible) world-heritage status by Unesco in the summer.

As a Patua saying goes, "time has flown by so fast" (tempo ja agua assi azinha) that urgent action is needed not only to stop the tongue joining the world's list of dead languages, but also to "cultivate" its continued existence through academic research, publications, theatre performances and - perhaps even language lessons.

(Harald Bruning is a columnist in Macau writing for Hong Kong's South China Morning Post – Ed.)

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Coming Home

By Harald Bruning

December 1, 2004

Macau's minute Eurasian minority, customarily known as the Macanese, is holding an emotional reunion of its diaspora here this week, complete with a contest of the world's reputedly first fusion cuisine and theatre performances in one of the world's most endangered languages, Patua.

The homecoming meeting, held in Macau every three years, is known by its Portuguese name, Encontro - a social get-together. About 1,000 Macanese from California, Brazil, Canada, Portugal and Australia have travelled to Macau to participate in the meeting, whose highlight was Monday's setting up of a global Macanese Communities Council.

 

Macau without the Macanese, who make up only about 2 per cent of the local population, would be unthinkable. The Macanese cross-ethnic ancestry includes Portuguese, Japanese, Malay, Indian, Timorese, African and Chinese origins. They are the human manifestation of Macau's position as what Hong Kong scholar Christina Cheng Miu-bing described as a "cultural Janus" - a blend of western and eastern civilisations, heritage and legacies. Not surprisingly, Macanese cuisine comprises Portuguese, African, Indian, Malay and Chinese ingredients and recipes.

Many Macanese acknowledge that their community, which some have proposed should be officially declared one of China's ethnic minority groups, is beyond clear definition. "Being Macanese is a matter of feeling," said Julie de Senna Fernandes, a Shanghai-born Macanese who handles casino mogul Stanley Ho Hung-sun's public relations in Macau.

In an article published by the Portuguese-language daily Jornal Tribuna de Macau last week, Luis Machado, one of the amateur members of the Patua theatre group, Doci Papiaçam di Macau (Macau's sweet language), described, tongue in cheek, a typical Macanese. He or she is someone who is very homesick after spending more than 15 days outside Macau; both Catholic and a strong believer in Chinese superstition; plays mahjong every weekend; has a good heart; cannot live without Chinese, Portuguese and Macanese cuisine; knows how to drink red wine and whisky without falling over; and has friends of all races, colours and creeds.

The Macanese community's Patua language, a Portuguese-Asian Creole, has almost vanished. Nowadays, it is spoken by only a few dozen elderly people in Macau and Hong Kong, as well as several hundred Macanese overseas. I think that it is high time for both Patua and its "relation" in Malacca's Portuguese settlement, Kristang (Christian), to be declared intangible world heritage by Unesco - before it is too late.

(Harald Bruning is a columnist in Macau writing for Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post – Ed.)

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Viva Bacalhau!

Portuguese ignore threat to Christmas cod, tuck in

By Ian Simpson, December 20, 2004

Christmas is coming, time for Portugal's traditional homage to God and cod. God, of course, is eternal. But the same can't be said of Portugal's Christmas dinner staple.

The cod supply that the Portuguese rely on is not threatened for now, but scientists fear overfishing worldwide might mean the white-fleshed sea fish will be wiped out. But shrinking stocks are not enough to make the Portuguese, the world's biggest cod eaters and even fans of cod ice cream, put down their forks, especially as Christmas approaches.

Getting a start on her cod buying, Maxima Vilaverde picked through stacks of dried faces and tongues at a Lisbon waterfront grocery store alongside bins of board-stiff split and salted cod. A bagful of the strong-smelling delicacy on her arm, she said she planned Christmas dinner built around the Portuguese classic of cod stew made with cabbage and potatoes. "Starting this month, that's traditionally the time to eat cod," said Vilaverde, a 55-year-old clinical analyst. "Eating cod, any way you like it, that's built right into our routine."  

Portugal, the saying goes, has a codfish recipe for every day of the year. Eighty percent protein and ideal for curing and storing for long voyages, Atlantic cod, or Gadus morhua, fed the explorers who spread the Portuguese language to three more continents.

Cod is grilled, boiled, baked or fried. It is eaten in salads, mashed with eggs and fried potatoes, baked with mayonnaise and topped with mashed potatoes, or doused in garlic and butter sauce. There is one souffle-like dish considered so perfect it is called "Spiritual".

"Cod is an icon, an emblem, almost a national symbol," said Joao da Costa e Silva, an owner of the upscale Codfish House restaurant, which has 40 cod dishes on its menu. But there has been a price for the feast in Portugal and other cod-eating countries, like Brazil, the world's biggest single market. The fish are disappearing. "For the customer, when he comes here, it doesn't exist," Costa e Silva said. "Feeding is a basic act of existence."

(Courtesy of Reuters Lisbon, the above are excerpts from a dispatch dated December 20, 2004)

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Preserving the Portuguese Language in Macau

Five years ago, when Portugal surrendered this 10-square-mile enclave to China, most people predicted that its language would disappear here in a blink of an eye. The Portuguese had done little to promote their language here since their merchants first stepped ashore around 1553. By the time they left, only about 2 percent of Macao's 450,000 people spoke the language of Lisbon, with the other 98 percent speaking Cantonese and other languages.

But in a surprising turnaround, enrollments for private Portuguese classes have tripled, to 1,000, since 2002. That prompted public schools here to offer Portuguese this fall, drawing more than 5,000 students.

"The number of Portuguese speakers has exploded in the last year," said Manuel F. Moreira de Almeida, a longtime Portuguese resident who runs Livraria Portuguesa, a bookstore on a narrow colonial street here. "In a few years, there will be more Portuguese speakers here than during the Portuguese time."  Portuguese, is, officially at least, on equal footing with Chinese.

The University of Macao now teaches law in Portuguese to Angolans and Mozambicans. Training seminars in tourism, nursing, translation and business administration draw students from the five Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa and from East Timor.

The Macao Post Daily is the city's first English-language newspaper, opened in August. "They have gone from heritage preservation to heritage cultivation," said Harald Bruning, director of The Macao Post Daily.

But as Mr. Almeida, who sees a new generation of Portuguese speakers walking into his bookstore, said, "Portuguese has gone from a colonial hangover to a business opportunity."

(The foregoing has been culled from an article by James Brooke courtesy of The New York Times of October 21, 2004.- Ed.)

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Mariza Hits Every Hue of the Portuguese Blues

Fado singer shades music with power, subtlety

By TOM STRINI, Journal Sentinel music critic

Oct. 17, 2004

High artifice and earthy feeling meet in Mariza, the celebrated Portuguese fado singer who made a sensational Milwaukee debut at Alverno College Saturday night.

Her voice is a virtuoso instrument driven by an acute ear. She can hit pitch dead center or just off, to deepen the ache in the harmony and the text. (Fado lyrics are mostly about heartache.) Mariza colors melodies with everything from breathy pastels to siren reds. Now and then, she flings coloratura ornaments as easily as tossing confetti.

With her golden, shingled hair and sharp chin, Mariza is a striking woman and a commanding presence. She moves simply but beautifully, in gliding steps barely visible beneath a long, structured skirt that sways like a tolling bell.

As regal as she is, Mariza is also warm and friendly. She sang her 16 songs in Portuguese, but spoke often in English, addressing the audience in the sweetest terms and tone. You'd have to be awfully grumpy not to be won over.

All of the above is the artifice. It is entirely in the service of the earthy reality of her music.

Fado ("fate," in Portuguese) is the soul music of Lisbon, comparable in some ways to tango and flamenco. She grew up with it - her parents ran a fado tavern - and it shows. Saturday, every note pulsed with authenticity; Mariza's superb vocal technique and first-rate showmanship amplified and clarified the passion of fado.

Sometimes, she was so hushed and intimate that listening seemed almost invasive. The contained energy would then burst into to an outcry of pain directed at an unjust universe or a defiant declaration to the audience.

These songs are like little operas, with episodes of free recitative, dance and high lyricism. She controlled their momentum with an unerring sense of drama and musical structure.

Mariza might be the world's greatest wielder of the dramatic pause, used to build suspense and anticipation or to let a prior phrase really sink in. No one in the Pitman Theater crowd of 513 dropped any pins during those pauses.

Mariza's excellent trio (Luis Guerreiro, Portuguese guitar; Antonio Neto, classical guitar; and Fernando de Sousa, acoustic bass guitar) followed her sympathetically through every expressive twist of tempo and mood. The four of them had an especially heart-wrenching way of adding weight to dance rhythms until it seemed that they could just barely get that millstone of emotion over the climactic cadence.

Of course, that was an illusion borne on skill and artifice. The great paradox of fado - and, really, all serious music - is that illusion can pierce the honest-to-God truth.

(The foregoing is a relay courtesy of Angela’s List of October 18, 2004)

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Fundação Oriente Finances Portuguese Language Teachers in Goa

Though the Portuguese language in Goa has been on the decline over the last 40 years, a fresh interest in the language is being seen among Goan students who want to access the vast treasure trove of Portuguese literature in Goa, or to give themselves an edge in securing good employment or for other reasons. Sadly, it is felt that good facilities for teaching Portuguese are lacking in Goa.

The Fundação Oriente has been financing the Portuguese teachers at nearly 26 high schools and higher secondaries over the last few years in Goa. The Fundação Oriente director, Mr Sergio Mascarenhas de Almeida, says demand for graduates with knowledge of Portuguese is there. ''India has diplomatic and economic ties with Angola, Mozambique, Portugal, Brazil, all Portuguese-speaking countries. There is a demand for Portuguese speakers from companies that want to invest in these countries. The demand will grow,'' he says.

Mr Almeida feels Portuguese has declined in Goa during the last 40 years. Around 600 students learn Portuguese in the schools and higher secondaries where the Fundação Oriente finances Portuguese teachers. He feels the number is low but stable.

True enough, the GU has no programme in Portuguese just now. But says the dean, faculty of languages, Professor A V Afonso, "Last three-four years, the demise of the courses began. The students were not coming, the earlier results were not completed and there were problems in the department. Last two years, there were no admissions to the masters programme. The last of the teachers retired in June this year." Yet Prof Afonso is hopeful. He says the GU is likely to get teachers from Portugal under the exchange programme. The first teacher is likely to arrive as early as October and then GU will at least start a certificate course.

According to Mr Vasco Pinho, professor of economics (visiting faculty) at the Salgaocar College of Law, Miramar, who also teaches Portuguese, one reason for students learning Portuguese is the perception that it will give them an edge in getting a job. Mr Pinho cites the case of his own daughter, who has an MBA in marketing and whom the World Bank called for an interview primarily because she knew Portuguese. She got the job and is now based in Chennai.

Mr Pinho says that many students of law desire to learn Portuguese in order to be able to translate the huge treasure trove of Portuguese documentation in Goa. When he introduced a Portuguese language course in a local college, 40 students enrolled. There is an impression, however, that teachers of Portuguese are few and that the textbooks in schools are of the poorest quality, he says.

Dr Jorge Renato Fernandes, Comendador Fundação Cidade de Lisboa has been holding the Portuguese language courses specially for foreigners (non-Portuguese persons) every year for the last seven years. The professor and the books for the courses come all the way from Portugal. Besides college students, the course students include lawyers, judges and some businessmen, he says.

(The foregoing are excerpts from an article in Angela’s List dated September 22, 2004. – Ed.)

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Portuguese Culinary Tradition Discussed

Briony Stephenson introduces the hidden delights of Portuguese cuisine.

Despite the lasting influence it has had on food in such far-away places as Macau and Goa, Portuguese cuisine is hugely underrepresented outside Portugal. Often confused with Spanish cooking, it is, in fact, quite distinct. At its best, Portuguese food is simple ingredients impeccably prepared. Based on regional produce, emphasising fish, meat, olive oil, tomato, and spices, it features hearty soups, homemade bread and cheeses, as well as unexpected combinations of meat and shellfish.

For a relatively small nation, Portugal has surprising gastronomic variety. The Estremadura region, which includes Lisbon, is famous for its seafood - the fish market at Cascais, just outside the capital, is one of the largest in the country - while the production of sausages and cheese elsewhere adds another dimension to the national cuisine. The Algarve, the last region of Portugal to achieve independence from the Moors, and situated on North Africa's doorstep, contributes a centuries-old tradition of almond and fig sweets.

Indeed, the Portuguese have a long history of absorbing culinary traditions from other peoples. The age of discovery was propelled by the desire for exotic spices and ever since Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to India at the turn of the sixteenth century, they have proved enormously popular. Peri-peri, a Brazilian spice transplanted to the former African colonies is used to flavour chicken and shrimp. Curry spices from Goa are common seasonings. These spices are typically used very sparingly, adding subtle flavour and depth to dishes. It is these influences that have helped make Portuguese food so markedly different from that of other Mediterranean countries and in Lisbon today there are scores of restaurants specialising in the cuisines of the old empire as well as Brazilian-style juice bars, offering drinks and ice-cream made from exotic fruits.

If there is one thing that typifies traditional Portuguese food, however, it is fish. From the common anchovy to swordfish, sole, sea bream, bass and salmon, markets and menus reveal the full extent of Portugal's love affair with seafood. In Portugal, even a street-bought fish burger is filled with flavour. Bacalhau, salted cod, is the Portuguese fish and said to be the basis for some 365 recipes, one for each day of the year. Two dishes are particularly notable. Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá, essentially a casserole of cod, potatoes and onion, is an Oporto speciality and considered perhaps Portugal's greatest bacalhau recipe. From Estremadura comes bacalhau á bràs, scrambled eggs with salted cod, potatoes and onions.

Shellfish, including clams (amêijoas) and mussels (mexilhões) are also of a high quality. Crab and squid are often stuffed, and lulas recheadas à lisbonense (stuffed squid Lisbon-style) is a great example of Portuguese seafood. Visitors to Lisbon can find traditional shops by the docks selling snails (caracóis).

There are plenty of options for the meat-lover too. Espetada, grilled skewers of beef with garlic, is popular, as is suckling pig (leitão). Cozido à portuguesa, a one-dish meal of beef, pork, sausage and vegetables, reflects the resourcefulness of traditional cooking. A rather more unusual combination is the pork and clams of porco à alentejana (pork Alentejo-style). Pork is also cooked with mussels na cataplana, with the wok-like cataplana sealing in the flavours. Meanwhile, the city of Oporto boasts tripa à moda do Porto (Oporto-style tripe), supposedly a legacy from the days of Prince Henry the Navigator, when the city was left with nothing but tripe after providing the Infante's ships with food. To this day Oporto natives are known as tripeiros, or tripe-eaters.

Broiled chicken (frango grelhado), seasoned with peri-peri, garlic, and/or olive oil, is one of the few things that has made its mark outside Portugal, where it can be found in cities with a large Portuguese population. The highly aromatic peri-peri chicken is often served in specialist restaurants.

Soups constitute an integral part of traditional cooking, with all manner of vegetables, fish and meat used to create a variety of soups, stews and chowders. Caldo verde (literally green broth), made from a soup of kale-like cabbage thickened with potato and containing a slice of salpicão or chouriço sausage, originated from the northern province of Minho but is now considered a national dish. Along with canja de galinha (chicken broth), caldo verde is a filling, comforting and ubiquitous favourite. For the more adventurous, caldeirada de lulas à madeirense (squid stew Madeira-style) features a characteristically Portuguese combination of seafood, curry and ginger. Another typical dish is the açorda where vegetables or shellfish are added to thick rustic bread to create a 'dry' soup.

Those with a sweet tooth may be interested to learn that one of Portugal's best-kept culinary secrets is its vast and distinctive range of desserts, cakes and pastries. A staple of restaurant menus is chocolate mousse - richer, denser and smoother than foreign versions, while other favourites include arroz doce, a lemon and cinnamon-flavoured rice pudding. The most famous sweets, however, are the rich egg-yolk and sugar-based cakes, influenced by Moorish cooking and perfected by Guimerães nuns in the sixteenth century. For a uniquely Portuguese experience, the visitor should head for a pasteleria (or confeitaria), where the many varieties of cakes and other confections, as well as savoury delicacies like bolinhas de bacalhau, cod balls, are served. The Antiga Confeitaria de Belém, where the legendary pastéis de nata, delicious custard-filled tarts, are baked, is a Lisbon highlight. Nearby Sintra has its own traditional pastry, queijadas de Sintra (a type of cheese tart), which street vendors sell in packs of six.

The Portuguese attitude to food is simple and imaginative, traditional and inventive. Above all, enjoying good food and the social aspects of eating out is an esteemed part of everyday life. From informal cafes to world-class restaurants, all budgets and occasions are catered for. Tiny cafes and tascas, often no more than holes in the wall, abound. The opportunity to sample this largely unknown cuisine in all its variety is one of the real rewards of visiting Portugal.

(Downloaded with permission from Ângela’s List, an Açoreano Newsletter, the above is an excerpt from http://www.soccerphile.com  – Ed.)

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The Tradition of Classical Old Filho Macau Names

(By Horatio Ozorio)

In his famous anthology, “Things I Remember,” my good friend Frederick “Jim” Silva lamented, in an article headed “Names I Used to Know,” as follows:

“Sad to say another old Filho Macau” art form is dying slowly.  The particular talent I wish to mourn in this treatise is the old time art of choosing and bestowing classical old Filho Macau names on the unsuspecting and innocent new born.”

Art form!  As it pertained to me, that talent didn’t die soon enough.  It was in vogue even at the time I was born, a couple of decades later than when Jim Silva thought the art form had died.  I was named Horácio.  My Dad, as avid a Filomacau as anyone in his time, was infatuated with the name Horácio.  So much so, he kept calling his firstborn, a daughter, Horácio until I came along next.  Was that one of the classical old Filho Macau names favored by the Macanese at the time?  If it wasn’t old or Filho Macau it certainly was too classical - for me.

I could, I suppose, have done worse.  I could have been called Fausto, a name which heads the list of examples Jim gave, which names he said entitled the holder to claim “roots.”  I wasn’t named Fausto because that was my Dad’s name!  I guess he wasn’t into the “Junior” routine.  Was he taking it out on me?  Of course not, but as I said, I could have done worse.  Jim’s list included Agrapito, Epiphanio, Ajimiro. 

It was left to me to make the best of it.  The best of it includes:

In written communications, I am often addressed as Horation. Well, understandable, I suppose, with so many English words ending in "tion" and fingers so accustomed to typing "tion."

It’s a mild dilemna I’ll admit, but I always have to decide if I should spell my name the English way, Horatio, or the Portuguese way, Horácio, when dealing with passports, identity documents, driver’s licenses, voting in national elections, bank accounts, loan applications, etc.  If there is something Portuguese about what I am doing I spell my name with a “c” and I put in the accents, i.e. Horácio Ozório.  Otherwise, it’s Horatio. 

With such a tongue-twisting name, it pained me to introduce myself to business associates when I was still working as a banker.  Proper form is to mention one’s first name and surname.  I know what it does to strangers to throw an seven syllable name at them.  There is a “Huh?” look  in their eyes.  Two syllable names are great, like Bob Dole, Al Gore, or George Bush.  But a seven syllable name?  Classical old Filho Macau name indeed!

Family and really close friends know me as Horace, an English abbreviation.  In a formal setting, however, it's Horatio.  In informal situations, like in a golf game, Horatio is just too classical an introduction.  I try to get away with my Horace name.  Didn’t work out too well when I introduced myself in a round of golf to Latino baseballer Manny Sanguillen of the Oakland A’s who was one of the foursome.  He came back with “Caballo?”  And when my wife Yvonne calls me Horace I know I am in trouble.

Nor do I like my classical old name to be called out loud for all to hear.  When it’s nobody’s business I like to keep it to myself.  That is why I was severely embarrassed when an office associate saw me waiting one evening on a crowded train platform and hollered out “HORATIO!” That is why when I make a table reservation at a restaurant or when I give my name to the counter clerk at a fastfood outlet, it is Ray, the second syllable of my first name.

Thank goodness calls from telemarketers are now outlawed.  Most of them have no idea how to pronounce my name and they come up with Horito, Horato, HoRahT-i-o, Horatito and other desecrations of this classical Hamlet appelation.  It brings out the worst telephone manners in me.

Then there are those who, like me, don’t think much of my classical old Filho Macau name, and go the famous Filomacau route of using nicknames, like Aitch, Heronimus, Horatius, and still others who can't remember names too well and call me Howard, Harold, or Hector.

See what Macanese tradition did to my life?  Why couldn’t this “unsuspecting and innocent new born,” to quote Jim again, have been named Joe?

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Macau Terra Minha

Um Poema por Rita Lopes
 
Oh Minha Terra querida
Como te abandonei
Na minha juventude
A procura de conhecimentos e sonhos
Sonhos que nao te inclui
 
Oh! Minha Terra amada
Como te desleixei
Sem te ver
Sem te apreciar
Nas igrejas onde rezamos
Nas procissões onde caminhamos
A tua serenidade
Que nos rodeava
 
Oh! Minha Terra venerada
Como te causei
Os sofrimentos e as angútias
Saberás um dia perdoar-me?
Quando me ias abandonar
É que me despertei!
 
Oh! Minha doce e eterna Amante
Como te amei
O amor que sinto por ti
Não se vai extinguir
Voltarei um dia
A ver-te
A abraçar-te
A beijar-te
Embora já pertences a outra! (A China)
 
(Rita Lopes states “Os amigos que queiram corresponder em português ou trocar impressões para manter a nossa língua são bem vindos.” Her email address for this purpose is ritabonita37@yahoo.com – Ed.)

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Music of Macau

Email dated April 9, 2004, from José Moças, Vila Verde, Portugal to Nuno Prata da Cruz, co-sponsor of A Diaspora Macaense na America:

Caro amigo Nuno,

Já dei uma vista de olhos na página da diáspora macaense nos USA e acho um trabalho magnífico.

Não consegui foi encontrar qualquer referência à música macaense.

Se estiver nalgum lado diga-me onde pois gostava de ver.

Seria interessante acrescentar um link para a página da Tradisom para as pessoas que queiram conhecer melhor a música da Macau.

Um abraço e Boa Páscoa.

Do amigo Zé Moças

Nuno Prata da Cruz advises:

Dr. José Moças is the publisher of Tradisom music, a record company based in Portugal.

Among its many records, the one most related to the Macanese people is the CD “Tuna Macaense” featuring songs such as “Adeus Macau,” “Aqui Bobo,” “Macau,” “Casa Macaísta,” and “Macau Sã Assi.”

They have also published a couple of CDs featuring patuá music by Jose (Adé) Santos Ferreira.

Email Dr. Moças at info@tradisom.com or visit his website at http://www.tradisom.com/portugues/index.html

(Note:  A Diaspora Macaense na America has received no remuneration for this “plug” and publishes it only in the interests of promoting the traditional music of the Macaenses. – Ed.)

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Names I Used to Know

Or Can Hermenegildo Still Make It in the 1990s?

By Frederick A. (Jim) Silva

Sad to say another old Filho Macau art form is dying slowly.  The particular talent I wish to mourn in this treatise is the old time art of choosing and bestowing classical old Filho Macau names on the unsuspecting and innocent new born.

This art died early, probably somewhere in the 1910s and 1920s, because even by then the good old names were few and far between and the art degenerated into platoons of Josés, Henriques, Eduardos and Franciscos.  Good ethnic and Christian names, mind you, but somewhat lacking in the imagination and enterprise of old.

Worse still is the nomenclature of the current crop.  By now we probably have Filho Macaus called Don, Scott, Sharon and Neil sprinkled around the globe.  May our ancestors forgive us.

Below are assembled some classic names of old.  It is a modest list but nevertheless some true classics are represented.  They belong to a much earlier age and unfortunately have not weathered the test of time.  These names were sometimes bestowed and used boldly and openly, but more often than not they were used out of respect for an ancestor with a similar name and cowardly kept hidden as a middle name and worse still disguised with an initial.

The Good Book obviously was the origin of many of these names, but mythology and imagination too seemed to have played a part.  Whilst the biblical origin of many of these names is easily apparent, it obviously took courage or else a particularly strong devotion to some saint to saddle a new born with a “classic.”      I confess to having been ever on the lookout for some such a classic on tombstones, especially during funerals at the Roman Catholic Happy Valley Cemetery in Hong Kong.  Sometimes grief at the passing of an acquaintance can be solaced by the chance discovery of a real gem.  Without further ado here is the list.  The last three were reserved for the ladies.  If you can trace ancestors bearing one or two of these names, then you too can honestly claim “roots.”  If you can trace half a dozen, then your “roots” can claim roots.

Fausto  -  Calixto  -  Agrapito  -  Teodolo  -  Jovita  -  Leocadio  -  Ponciano   Eusebio  -  Felizberto  -  Gumelcindo  -  Policarpio  -  Bellarmino  -  Procorpio   Wenceslau  -  Epiphanio  Sergismundo  -  Evaristo  -  Ajimiro  -  Rigoberto   Ulpiano  -  Bonifacio  -  Prospero  -  Juanario  Barnabe  -  Apolinario  -  Ambrosio  -  Macario  -  Honorato  -  Maximianio  -  Secundino  -  Domatilda    Agar  -  Apollonia

 (The foregoing is an article culled with his permission from Jim Silva’s booklet “Things I Remember.”- Ed..)

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Maquista Chapado

(By Jorge Rangel, President, Instituto Internacional de Macau)

Miguel Senna Fernandes, an illustrious Macaense who has done much to affirm our traditions and cultural manifestations, and Alan Baxter, distinguished professor and researcher, with meritorious work in the study of Portuguese creole of the Orient, labored intensively for months in the compilation of a valuable vocabulary dictionary, much sought after since the day it was launched during the Encontro das Comunidades Macaenses do Novo Milénio – Macau 2001.

Maquista Chapado” was the title chosen for this book, which the Instituto Inter-nacional de Macau has published, it being a very important contribution towards better understanding and dissemination of the Portuguese creole of Macau.  The elaboration of the latter was a daunting challenge which the authors, aware of the difficulties that confronted them, patiently and with great perseverence knew what to do to deal with it.

Having no pretensions about being the last word on the Macaense dialect, nor desiring to be a substitute for other important works previously published, this vocabular work is a new approach to the Maquista idiom.  In assuming the role of a practical reference instrument, it includes words and expressions, some of them more modern, which, not being in older patuá texts, have been accepted as an integral part of our dialect, in its more “chapada,” more authentic form.

Beyond being a vocabulary from A to Z, occupying more than 150 pages, the book contains a fitting introduction, with indispensable explanatory notes on the criteria adopted in its organization, the structure of the entries, the orthography followed, the phonetic transcription, the vowels, the consonants, the accents, the phonetic representation of compounds and vernacular expressions, the grammatical repre-sentation, and the etymology, and even bibliographic references and an interesting appendix, along with a long listing of Macaense names and nicknames.

As the authors tell it, the Macau Portuguese creole went by various designations, among which are “lingu nhonha,” “papiâ cristâm di Macau,” “papiaçam,” “patuá,” and “maquista.”  Without wishing to discuss the merits of each of these designa-tions, they find, however, that the term “maquista” (or “macaísta”) is the more inclusive, seeing that while patuá refers to the older form of the dialect, the desig-nation “maquista” goes beyond it and confers on us a greater flexibility in its linguistic treatment, embracing a full array of forms of spoken Macaense, from the oldest to the most modern, and beyond this, “Maquísta” precisely describes that which is proper Macaense.

In the bibliographic references are mentioned, among others, the works of Danilo Barreiros (“O dialecto português de Macau,” 1943-44), Graciette Nogueira Batalha (“Glossário do Dialecto Macaense – Notas liguísticas, etnográficas e folclóricos,” 1977), Alan Baxter (Portuguese and Creole Portuguese in the Pacific and Western Pacific Rim,” 1966), Jean-Michel Charpentier (“La survivance du créole portugais “Macaísta” en Extrême-Orient,” 1992), Sebastião Rodolfo Dalgado (“Glossário Luso-Asiático,” 1982), José dos Santos Ferreira (“Papiaçam di Macau,” 1996), José Feliciano Marques Pereira (“Subsídios para o estudo dos dialectos crioulos do Extremo Oriente,” 1984 – reedição), Frederic A. Silva (“Things I Remember,” 1999), Maria Isabel Tomás (“Os Crioulos Portugueses do Oriente.  Uma bibliografia,” 1992), and Robert Wallace Thomson (“O dialecto português de Hong Kong,” 1950).

“Maquista Chapado” is found today on the bookshelves of many Macaense homes, in libraries, and in the Casas de Macau and other similar associations all over the world, and copies of the 1st Edition may still be acquired in Livraria Portuguesa [Macau] and in the Secretariat of the Instituto Internacional de Macau.

(The foregoing is a free translation of an article appearing in Jornal Tribuna de Macau – Ed.)

 

Macau: O Ano Lunar do Macaco – Dias de Tradição

Here is a paragraph from an article by José Costa Santos in LUSA dated January 20, 2004, published in Hoje Macau.  It has been minimally translated to enable you to practice your Portuguese while enjoying some nostalgia!  Have fun.

Com as ruas da Região Administrativa Especial engalanadas (decorated) com motivos ligados (linked) às tradições do Ano Lunar Chinês, os habitantes de Macau vasculham (rummage through) as lojas à procura do último elemento necessário para cumprir todos os rituais de entrada no novo ano.
O último dia, quarta-feira, coincide com a reunião familiar à volta da mesa recheada de iguarias (filled with delicacies) próprias da época como o "Nin Kou" (bolo do ano novo chinês), "Chim Tui" (bolo de farinha frito coberto de sésamo), "Kwa Chi" (pevides (melon seeds)), "Tong Kam Kat" (tangerina cristalizada) e o "iao Kok" (fritura em forma triangular).
Cada iguaria contém, porém, a manifestação de um desejo para o ano novo - o "Nin Kou" significa promoção gradual, porque em chinês as palavras bolo e alto têm a mesma pronúncia, "Chim Tui" simboliza que ouro e prata (gold and silver) se vão acumular em casa, e "Kwa Chi" está aliado ao desejo de ter um filho varão (male) e de se ganhar mais dinheiro. "Tong Kam Kat" simboliza o ouro (Kam Chi) e "Ião Kok", devido ao formato idêntico ao de um lingote (trapezoidal rod) de prata, está associado à entrada constante de riqueza em casa.

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Our Macanese Catholic Tradition - Processions

Vatican II describes Tradition in the following wo rds:  “Now what was handed on by the apostles includes everything which contributes to the holiness of life, and the increase in faith of the People of God;  and so the Church, in her teaching, life and worship perpetuates and hands on to all generations all that she herself is, all that she believes.”

Tradition literally means to hand on.  The Macanese of Hong Kong and Macau have a multifaceted Catholic tradition, and one of them was participating annually in religious processions held along public streets.  On Televisão Portuguesa here in California, which I often watched on Saturday mornings in hopes of learning more of the language, I was reminded of this devotional practice.  The Açoreano community on one Saturday’s programming was being televised commemorating the Feast of Nossa Senhora de Ajudas with a street procession, narrated by Sr. Carlos Goularte.  There were all the usual trappings:  a statue borne on the shoulders of the more strapping menfolk, a brass band, symbols appropriate to the feast being celebrated, flags and banners, and people from the very young to the perambulatory elderly all accompanying the procession very respectfully.

In St. Theresa’s Church, my parish when I lived in Hong Kong, which I remember best though not completely, there was no brass band.  There was the chorus of sweet voices of the members of many sodalities and associations singing hymns of praise to the Lord and the Virgin Mother.  Leading the procession were altarboys dressed in red cassocks and white surplices carrying a crucifix borne on high.  There were very young girls, four, five years old at most, dressed in white satin gowns, sporting gossamer angel’s wings, their tiny heads crowned with silver tiaras.  They preceded slightly older lasses clad in white lacy dresses, called flower girls, who paved the way dropping rose petals from decorated wicker trays hanging at their waist.  Priests, of course, looked resplendent in their colorful garb, while nuns wore their customary habits, the latter in itself a disappearing tradition. Bringing up the rear, many dressed in starched whites, were members of the parish congregation made up mostly of Macanese and Chinese Catholics.  Together they walked along Waterloo Road, Essex Crescent, and Cumberland Road, returning to the church via Belfran Road.

This tradition, sadly, has not been carried on by the Macanese diaspora in California, perhaps for good and sufficient reasons.  For one thing, they are spread out all over a large part of the state.  For another, the larger cities, where there are more of the Macanese, are not conducive to such devotional activities.  Our Açoreano brethren are more concentrated in pockets in the Bay Area and this enables them continue traditions handed on to them by their forebears.

                                                                                               

Oakland Diocese Has a New Bishop

Bishop Allen H. Vigneron took over as pastoral leader of the Oakland Diocese on October 1, 2003, following the retirement of Bishop John Cummins.  Prior to his new assignment Bishop Vigneron was auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit and rector of Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.

Bishop Cummins will remain in the diocese and serve as Episcopal Vicar for the proposed new Cathedral.  He will also maintain offices on the St. Mary's College campus in Moraga where he will hold the Nathaniel and Marian Seefurth Chair in the John S. Cummins Catholic Institute for Thought, Culture and Action,

A Diaspora Macaense na America extends its warm welcome and hearty congratulations to Bishop Vigneron, and its best wishes to Bishop Cummins in his new career.

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On the Map with Bishop Allen Vigneron

December 22, 2003, newly appointed Bishop Allen Vigneron of the Diocese of Oakland, California, honored St. Anne’s Church of Walnut Creek with an Eucharistic celebration for its parishioners.  Following Mass, a reception was held in the church’s parish center at which Bishop Vigneron personally visited with each parishioner.  A small group of Filomacaus was in attendance, and after individual hellos had been made they banded together to formally introduce themselves again, this time as a low-profile Catholic minority group of Portuguese ancestry, another of the many ethnic groups in the diocese.

Bishop Vigneron exhibited a lot of interest and asked a number of questions, which were answered with enthusiasm.  The opportunity was taken to provide the cyberaddress of A Diaspora Macaense na America to Bishop Vigneron with the invitation to “read all about us.”

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Macaenses share this tradition?

In China, at home or in restaurants, the Chinese maintain the centuries old habit of helping themselves from the same platter using chopsticks – a custom that has the propensity to propagate illnesses such as atypical pneumonia (Acute Respiratory Syndrome), but one that is too deeply rooted to change.  Eating habits are an important part of the Chinese culture and are not easily changed, says Li Qiang, sociologist with Tsinghua University, in Beijing, in his remarks to the journal China Daily.

During the most critical phase of the outbreak of Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SAR) this past Spring, many restaurants adopted new habits, to avoid the possibility of contagion from eating from the same platter, in accordance with the recommendation of the Associação de Hotelaria da China.

Some started to adopt the Western custom of placing cutlery or chopsticks on each platter.  Others adopted the more elaborate practice of serving customers with the food on separate plates before bringing them to the table.  Once the scare was over, however, the new practice was rapidly substituted with the old habits.

Sharing each platter that came to the table is seen as a symbol of solidarity and friendship, of the intimacy of those gathered together for a meal, a custom that has endured since imperial times - according to Li Qiang, since the Tang Dynasty (618-907).  For the Chinese, the Western style of eating – each with his own plate – is regarded as a “cold” way of eating with friends and family.

In most Chinese restaurants, unless requested by customers, separate cutlery for platters of food is not laid on tables.  At a time when the country fears a resurgence of illness, after the discovery of a case of SRA followed by two suspected cases in Canton in South China since the end of December, the Chinese have returned to questioning certain traditional habits.

(Free translation of excerpts from an article in Hoje Macau dated Jan 13 2004 - Ed.)