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Crucible of Languages and Cultures: Writing from Macau

August 2018

Image: Chi-Wai Un, From Eric Chau and Chi-Wai Un's "Work Hard."

Image: Chi-Wai Un, From Eric Chau and Chi-Wai Un’s “Work Hard.”

This month we present writing from Macau. This tiny territory may be known for economic growth powered by its casino industry, but its blend of languages and culture has produced a wealth of remarkable literature. Writing in Chinese and Portuguese, the authors here consider wealth, ambition, development, and the relentless pace of a region on the move. Eric Chau and Chi-Wai Un expose the seamy truth behind the go-go veneer of a cutthroat company. Koh Choon Eiow and Mok Sio Chong eavesdrop on a couple gambling on casino jobs, and poet Agnes Lam reflects on the persistent remnants of colonialism. And we hear from two other poets, as Un Sio San finds a metaphor for Macau’s lost past in an abandoned hotel, and Yao Feng struggles to look for light. Guest editor Jeremy Tiang contributes an illuminating introduction and translations from Chinese. We thank Pen of Macau and the Macao Foundation for their generous support. 

Land of Contradictions: Writing in Macau Today
By Jeremy Tiang
For a small former colony, Macau definitely punches above its weight when it comes to literary production.
A Gambling World
By Koh Choon Eiow & Mok Sio Chong
I tell you, people at these casinos only think of winning.
Translated from Chinese by Jeremy Tiang
This City I Come From
By Agnes Lam
no disputes / chroniclers and chronicled as one / reunification, yes, reunification
Translated from Chinese by Natascha Bruce
Work Hard
By Eric Chau & Chi-Wai Un
Trixie’s colleagues were all frantically busy and unfailingly rude.
Translated from Chinese by Natascha Bruce
Searching for Light
By Yao Feng
The light retires to the lamp / and suddenly all is dark again
Translated from Portuguese by Julia Sanches
Mrs. Robinson at the Hotel Estoril
By Un Sio San
Soaking in time he sees fallen Estoril
Translated from Chinese by Jeremy Tiang