Our Desk | New Year, old resolutions

Renato Marques

It would be pointless to say we have entered a new (calendar) year as everyone has noticed it already.

Tradition says that every year around this time we should do a reflective evaluation of the year that has ended and make prospective changes for the one that now starts.

It is also common to see people saying “bad things” about the year that has ended and sing praises about the 300 opportunities that the New Year offers.

But that’s not exactly where I want to go; in fact, the “New Year Spirit” does not find me an easy character to seduce, as I prefer a more pragmatic approach to the topic.

To start with I would probably say that I do not think that the year ended well in terms of Macau’s Tourism attractions.

A little resemblance to what has happened to many (major) events of the year, the Macao Light Festival 2016 was undoubtedly poorer when compared to last year’s edition (the first).

Named “Treasure of Light,” this year’s edition had in fact very little (to treasure about), presenting less “light,” less creativity and, consequently, less people.

The (almost) obvious downscaling of this event is an example of what was also noticed in others across the year (and in comparison with previous years) from both the government and the privates.

Only one word comes to my mind as I browse in my memories of what the Christmas and the New Year season offer used to be in the territory, and that is that it is getting “cheaper,” and I am not referring to the budgets alone but the feeling of the events itself.

Not long ago we had “Holidays Season” activities and events that included amazing decorations, light and music displays, not to mention ice-skating rings and other games.

Apart from a few exceptions, decorations have now gone “taobao” style, the ice (not a natural item of the climate of the region) was restrained to the freezer and the Christmas Carols were left under the charge of an uninteresting robotic “Santa” loudly “singing” and dancing at the door of a retail shop.

And even if you want to forget all that and you head up straight to the awaited New Year’s kick-off you realize things did not go so well there too, where for the first time, Macau was included on that restricted list of Chinese cities celebrating the entry of the year without fireworks.

All this in a year where the flag of the “recession” was put down and the “economy was finally giving signs of recovery,” the government and all finance and economy related institutions said, while the Macau International Airport registered a record breaking number of passengers in 21 years of existence.

Where were these people, all these 6.6 million that crossed Macau via our airport and all the others that arrived by land and sea?

Retailers say they were not in their shops; restaurant owners say they haven’t stopped there much either and even the hotels and casinos were also not that happy.

So where were they? And more importantly, what memories did they take from Macau in 2016? Will they return in 2017?

Many questions, few answers!

Seems like instead of new resolutions and jumping to brand-new lessons, it is better to back up a little and revisit some of the old lessons that were supposed to be learned which now seems like they were somehow forgotten with the “greed” for new resolutions.

Because sometimes, to really take true steps forward into the future, it is just a matter of looking back and seeing where you went right in the past.

Categories Opinion