, , , , , , ,

For more about Christopher Youmans: christopheryoumans.wordpress.com

My first visit to Macau occurred less than a year ago, but I have visited dozens of times since. Each of the pictures are my own, and were taken without totally realizing the theme of colonialism that ran threw them.

The music selected is intentionally somber. Often it is easy to visit these former colonies and see only the positives that have come from the interaction of cultures that took place here. However it should be noted that this did not take place without a price. The Chinese people were humiliated through a series of conflicts and treaties that left what had once been a mighty economic empire crippled. This piece beautifully expresses the tragic nature of colonialism and is meant to remind the viewer of the dark past that many of these pictures mask too well.

This short video clip begins with the statue of Jorge Álvares, who is credited with being the first European to discover to Macau in 1513. His statue has remained standing despite the fact that this former colony has been under the control of the Chinese government for over a decade. It is literally a standing monument to the influences of European colonialism on the city, and indeed on the country it is now a part of once again.

The year 1887, visible in one of these pictures is significant as the year in which Macau became an official colony of Portugal though the city had already been heavily influenced politically and economically by European powers for centuries. This influence is visible in so many places but I have focused on the casinos which are currently of such importance to Macau’s economy. Gambling had spread rapidly after the Portuguese government’s move to legalize gambling which came on the heals of the foundation of the British colony of Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s emergence greatly decreased the traffic and trade coming into Macau, while simultaneously increasing crime, gambling and prostitution.