Macau’s Historical Witnesses

Historic landmarks retold to bolster city’s identity

A book of stories about Macau’s historic sites and landmarks has recently launched – a project that is considered to be a pandemic-born venture.

With Macau having over 20 monuments and urban squares woven into the heart of the city and listed as UNESCO sites, millions of visitors flocked to the city per year pre-pandemic.

Although guidebooks with information on the city’s landmarks and their history already exist, authors of the new book have a different purpose: to describe when different views on the city collide, and how those impacts influence the current world.

Authors Christopher Chu and Pui Man Hoi recently launched “Macau’s Historical Witnesses” – a book that consists of “22 Hidden Stories Seen By The City’s Landmarks that Everyone Should Know About.”

Speaking to the Times, Chu affirmed that the city’s famous landmarks must be retold for people to further appreciate what Macau has to offer beyond being the “east meets west” city.

For the foreign author, Macau is much more than that, despite the city’s identity often being lost in hackneyed descriptions.

“This [book] is not trying to retell history. We are hoping that it will help people forge a deeper relationship with Macau and its landmarks. I think people will definitely appreciate [the city] more,” he said.

“I think when people describe Macau, people always describe it as the ‘east meets west’ city […] but this can mean anything. How do you explain ‘east meets west’ when you only have 20 words [of description] for each landmark? You can look at something and not know what it is,” Chu added.

Macau has long been synonymous with gaming, short stays, as well as these UNESCO landmarks.

However, even among local residents, the history of these UNESCO-listed sites remains unknown.

“I think people have always had this connection but they don’t really understand the [history]. That is why we’re putting this together,” the author added.

“Macau’s Historical Witnesses’” chapters begin with a summary of selected landmarks; each chapter is written as a standalone story. The authors have collected historic information about Camões Garden to St. Augustine’s Church, Former Opium House to Taipa Village, among other unique landmarks.

Macau-born Pui, who co-authored the book, believes people living in Macau may have been made immune to an environment where such rich histories exist.

Although “east meets west” will always be a quick and the most common explanation of the city, Pui noted that each site has a different story to tell – stories that deserve to be told and known, especially among locals.

Categories Headlines Macau