|25,000 - 46,000|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Portuguese · Cantonese Chinese|
|Related ethnic groups|
The Macanese people (Portuguese: Macaense; Chinese: 土生葡人; literally "native-born Portuguese people") are an ethnic group which originated in Macau since the 16th century, consisting mostly of people with some Portuguese ancestry.
Historically, many ethnic Macanese spoke Patuá, which is a Portuguese-based creole and now virtually extinct. Many are fluent in both Portuguese and Cantonese. The Macanese have preserved a distinctive Macanese cuisine.
The Portuguese Period
Portuguese culture dominates the Macanese, but Chinese cultural patterns are also significant. The community acted as the interface between ruling colonial government - Portuguese from Portugal who knew little about Chinese - and the Chinese majority (95% of population) who knew equally little about the Portuguese. Most Macanese had paternal Portuguese heritage until 1974. Some were Portuguese men stationed in Macau as part of their military service. Many stayed in Macau after the expiration of their military service, marrying Macanese women.
Rarely did Chinese women marry Portuguese initially, mostly women from Goa, Ceylon (today's Sri Lanka), Indo China, or Malay, were brides of the Portuguese men in Macau. Many Chinese became Macanese simply by converting to Catholicism, and had no ancestry from the Portuguese, having assimilated into the Macanese people since they were rejected by non Christian Chinese. The majority of marriages between Portuguese and natives was between Portuguese men and women of Tanka origin, who were considered the lowest class of people in China and had relations with Portuguese settlers and sailors, or low class Chinese women. Western men like the Portuguese were refused by high class Chinese women, who did not marry foreigners. Literature in Macau was written about love affairs and marriage between the Tanka women and Portuguese men, like "A-Chan, A Tancareira", by Henrique de Senna Fernandes.
During the late-nineteenth century, and increasingly during Salazar's fascist Estado Novo regime, the upbringing of most Macanese fell along the lines of the continental Portuguese - attending Portuguese schools, participating in mandatory military service (some fought in Africa) and practising the Catholic faith. As recently as the 1980s, most Macanese had not received formal Chinese schooling and, hence, could speak but not read or write Chinese. Spoken Cantonese was largely familiar, and some spoke the language with a regional accent (鄉下話) - acquired largely from their mothers or amahs.
Since Portuguese settlement in Macau - dating from 1557 - included a strong Catholic presence, a number of Chinese converted to Catholicism. A large number of Macanese can trace their roots to these New Christians. Many of these Chinese were assimilated into the Macanese community, dropping their Chinese surnames and adopting Portuguese surnames. In the collective Macanese folk memory, there is a little ditty about the parish of St. Lazarus Parish, called 進教圍, where these Chinese converts lived: 進教圍, 割辮仔, 唔係姓念珠 (Rosário) 就係姓玫瑰 (Rosa). Hence, it is surmised that many Macanese with surnames of Rosario or Rosa probably were of Chinese ancestry. Because of this, there are many Eurasians carrying Portuguese surnames Rosario, Rosa, and others that are not Portuguese-blooded may be mistaken by others as Portuguese-blooded. A visit to the St Michael the Archangel Cemetery (Cemitério São Miguel Arcanjo), the main Catholic cemetery near the St. Lazarus Parish, would reveal gravestones with a whole spectrum of Chinese and Portuguese heritage: Chinese with Portuguese baptised names with or without Portuguese surnames, Portuguese married with Chinese Catholics, and so on.
The mid-twentieth century, with the outbreak of the Second World War in the Pacific and the retreat of the Republic of China to Taiwan, saw the Macanese population surge through the re-integration of two disparate Macanese communities: the Hong Kong Macanese and the Shanghai Macanese. With the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong in 1941, the Macanese population, escaping the occupation, made its way to Macau as refugees. These Macanese, including many skilled workers and civil servants, were fluent in English and Portuguese and brought valuable commercial and technical skills to the colony. Another distinct group within the Macanese community is the 上海葡僑; the descendants of Portuguese settlers from Shanghai that acted as middlemen between other foreigners and the Chinese in the "Paris of the Orient". They emigrated from Shanghai to Macau in 1949 with the coming of the Red Guard. Many spoke little Portuguese and were several generations removed from Portugal, speaking primarily English and Shanghainese, and/or Mandarin. The Shanghai Macanese carved a niche by teaching English in Macau. During World War II, Carnation Revolution, and before and after Macau's return to China, Macanese once again migrated to Portuguese African colonies and Brazil, other Latin American countries, Canada, United States, and Australia. Those who returned to Macau often speak English, Portuguese, Chinese, Macanese, and African languages.
The Chinese Period
Beginning with the post-1974 independence of other Portuguese colonies and hastened by Macau's return to China, the Macanese community began to lose its Portuguese heritage. Many Portuguese, Eurasians and Chinese who were loyal to the Portuguese left after its return to China. Of those that remained, many children - including those of pure Chinese descent - switched from Portuguese- to English-medium high school education, particularly as many of parents recognised the diminishing value of Portuguese schooling. At the same time, Macanese of pure Portuguese descent are also learning Cantonese and Mandarin to be able to communicate to non-Portuguese speaking Chinese. Today, most Macanese - if they are still young enough - would go back to study to read and write Chinese. Many see a niche role for fluent speakers of Portuguese, Cantonese and Mandarin. In the 1980s Macanese or Portuguese women began to marry men who identified themselves as Chinese.
Macanese identity dispute
There is some dispute around the exact meaning of "Macanese". An essay by Marreiros offers a broad spectrum of "Macanese types", ranging from Chinese Christian converts who live among the Portuguese to the descendants of old-established families of Portuguese lineage; all groups are integrated into this historically legitimated group. As a general rule, it is not a point of reference, however for ethnic Chinese living and raised in Macau; they often identify themselves as Chinese or Chinese from Macau; "Macanese" is applied to those persons who have been acculturated through Western education and religion and are recognized by the Macanese community as being Macanese.
Traditionally, the basis for Macanese ethnic affiliation has been the use of the Portuguese language at home or some alliances with Portuguese cultural patterns and not solely determined along hereditary lines. Pina-Cabral and Lourenço suggest that this goal is reached "namely through the Portuguese-language school-system". Often, due to the close proximity to the Portuguese, the Macanese closely identify themselves with Portuguese nationals as opposed to Chinese in the bi-cultural and bi-racial equation. In practice, however, being Macanese is left up to how individuals categorize themselves. Since the re-integration of Macau with the People's Republic of China in late 1999, the traditional definitions are in a state of re-formulation. Given the shifting political climate of Macau, some Macanese are coming to recognize and identify closer with a Chinese heritage.
This ambiguity might be reduced by the further adjective criuolo.
Arts & Letters
- 李嘉欣 Michelle Monique Reis - Miss Hong Kong 1988, socialite and actress
- 肥媽 Maria Cordero - singer/actress
- Alexander Lee Eusebio, U-KISS former member and now a solo artist.
- 嘉碧儀 Cerina Filomena da Graça - Miss Hong Kong finalist, actress
- 祖·尊尼亞 Joe Junior (actual name: Jose Maria Rodrigues Jr.) - veteran singer & TV actor
- Uncle Ray (Ray Cordeiro) - radio DJ
- The Pedruco Sisters - is a family of 4 Macanese sisters who have competed at the Miss Chinese International pageant and Miss World pageant representing Macau.
- 梁洛施 Luisa Isabella Nolasco da Silva - Hong Kong-based actress, singer, and model
- Michelle Thang - Former Australian model, now influential in the banking industry and works with various charity organisations.
Politics, Military and Business
- Colonel Vicente Nicolau de Mesquita, a commander of a group of 36 Portuguese soldiers, who won the battle of Passaleão, which was fought near the Portas do Cerco, against 400 Chinese soldiers, on August 25, 1849.
- 羅保議員 Sir Roger Lobo, a businessman, former Hong Kong Legislative Council member and former Urban Council member, from the well known Macau's Lobo family.
- 沙利士 Arnaldo de Oliveira Sales, former member and chairman of the Urban Council, former president of the Olympic Committee of Hong Kong and former president of the Club Lusitano de Hong Kong.
- José Pedro Braga - manager of the Hong Kong Telegraph between 1902 and 1910, chairman of China Light and Power Company in 1934 and 1938 and the first Portuguese member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, between 1929 and 1937.
- 黎婉華 Clementina Leitão, deceased wife of Stanley Ho. Also a member of one of pre-WWII Macau's wealthiest families
- 陳麗敏 Florinda da Rosa Silva Chan, current Secretary for Administration and Justice
- Teixeira, Manuel (1965),Os Macaenses, Macau: Imprensa Nacional; Amaro, Ana Maria (1988), Filhos da Terra, Macau: Instituto Cultural de Macau, pp. 4-7; and Pina-Cabral, João de and Nelson Lourenço (1993), Em Terra de Tufões: Dinâmicas da Etnicidade Macaense, Macau: Instituto Cultural de Macau, for three varying, yet converging discussions on the definition of the term Macanese. Also particularly helpful is Review of Culture No. 20 July/September (English Edition) 1994, which is devoted to the ethnography of the Macanese.
- Marreiros, Carlos (1994), "Alliances for the Future" in Review of Culture, No. 20 July/September (English Edition), pp. 162-172.
- João de Pina-Cabral (2002). Between China and Europe: person, culture and emotion in Macao. Volume 74 of London School of Economics monographs on social anthropology (illustrated ed.). Berg. p. 39. ISBN 0-8264-5749-5. Retrieved 2012-03-01. "To be a Macanese is fundamentally to be from Macao with Portuguese ancestors, but not necessarily to be of Sino-Portuguese descent. The local community was born from Portuguese men. [...] but in the beginning the woman was Goanese, Siamese, Indo-Chinese, Malay - they came to Macao in our boats. Sporadically it was a Chinese woman."
- João de Pina-Cabral (2002). Between China and Europe: person, culture and emotion in Macao. Volume 74 of London School of Economics monographs on social anthropology (illustrated ed.). Berg. p. 39. ISBN 0-8264-5749-5. Retrieved 2012-03-01. "When we established ourselves here, the Chinese ostracized us. The Portuguese had their wives, then, that came from abroad, but they could have no contact with the Chinese women, except the fishing folk, the tanka women and the female slaves. Only the lowest class of Chinese contacted with the Portuguese in the first centuries. But later the strength of Christianization, of the priests, started to convince the Chinese to become Catholic. [...] But, when they started to be Catholics, they adopted Portuguese baptismal names and were ostracized by the Chinese Buddhists. So they joined the Portuguese community and their sons started having Portuguese education without a single drop of Portuguese blood."
- João de Pina-Cabral (2002). Between China and Europe: person, culture and emotion in Macao. Volume 74 of London School of Economics monographs on social anthropology (illustrated ed.). Berg. p. 164. ISBN 0-8264-5749-5. Retrieved 2012-03-01. "I was personally told of people that, to this day, continue to hide the fact that their mothers had been lower-class Chinese women - often even tanka (fishing folk) women who had relations with Portuguese sailors and soldiers."
- João de Pina-Cabral (2002). Between China and Europe: person, culture and emotion in Macao. Volume 74 of London School of Economics monographs on social anthropology (illustrated ed.). Berg. p. 165. ISBN 0-8264-5749-5. Retrieved 2012-03-01. "In fact, in those days, the matrimonial context of production was usually constituted by Chinese women of low socio-economic status who were married to or concubies of Portuguese or Macanese men. Very rarely did Chinese women of higher status agree to marry a Westerner. As Deolinda argues in one of her short stories,"8 should they have wanted to do so out of romantic infatuation, they would not be allowed to"
- João de Pina-Cabral (2002). Between China and Europe: person, culture and emotion in Macao. Volume 74 of London School of Economics monographs on social anthropology (illustrated ed.). Berg. p. 164. ISBN 0-8264-5749-5. Retrieved 2012-03-01. "Henrique de Senna Fernandes, another Macanese author, wrote a short story about a tanka girl who has an affair with a Portuguese sailor. In the end, the man returns to his native country and takes their little girl with him, leaving the mother abandoned and broken-hearted. As her sailorman picks up the child, A-Chan's words are: 'Cuidadinho . . . cuidadinho' ('Careful . . . careful'). She resigns herself to ther fate, much as she may never have recovered from the blow (1978)."
- Christina Miu Bing Cheng (1999). Macau: a cultural Janus (illustrated ed.). Hong Kong University Press. p. 173. ISBN 962-209-486-4. Retrieved 2012-03-01. "Her slave-like submissiveness is her only attraction to him. A-Chan thus becomes his slave/mistress, an outlet for suppressed sexual urges. The story is an archetypical tragedy of miscegenation. Just as the Tanka community despises A-Chan's cohabitation with a foreign barbarian, Manuel's colleagues mock his 'bad taste' ('gosto degenerado') (Senna Fernandes, 1978: 15) in having a tryst with a boat girl."
- Christina Miu Bing Cheng (1999). Macau: a cultural Janus (illustrated ed.). Hong Kong University Press. p. 173. ISBN 962-209-486-4. Retrieved 2012-03-01. "As such, the Tanka girl is nonchalantly reified and dehumanized as a thing ( coisa). Manuel reduces human relations to mere consumption not even of her physical beauty (which has been denied in the description of A-Chan), but her 'Orientalness' of being slave-like and submissive."
- Christina Miu Bing Cheng (1999). Macau: a cultural Janus (illustrated ed.). Hong Kong University Press. p. 170. ISBN 962-209-486-4. Retrieved 2012-03-01. "We can trace this fleeting and shallow relationship in Henrique de Senna Fernandes' short story, A-Chan, A Tancareira, (Ah Chan, the Tanka Girl) (1978). Senna Fernandes (1923-), a Macanese, had written a series of novels set against the context of Macau and some of which were made into films."
- Of interest is the role that the amah plays in Macanese society. It is well known that local Cantonese women were often hired by the Catholic Church in Macau to act as wet-nurses for orphans in the Church's charge. These women were also hired by Macanese families to clean their houses, cook meals and care for their children. It is in these early encounters that Macanese children are first introduced to the Cantonese language and culture. Families are known to keep long-standing friendships with their amahs and in the past, young brides would sometimes bring them along with them to their new home. Nowadays Filipinas fill the role. c.f. Soares, José Caetano (1950), Macau e a Assistência (Panorama médico-social), Lisbon, Agência Geral das Colónias Divisão de Publicações e Biblioteca, and Jorge, Edith de (1993), The Wind Amongst the Ruins: A childhood in Macao, New York: Vantage Press.
- Gary João de Pina-Cabral (2002). InteBetween China and Europe: person, culture and emotion in Macao. Berg Publishers. p. 165. ISBN 0-8264-5749-5. Retrieved 2010-07-14.
- There are many pretenders who have claimed to be Macanese. Although one's ethnic identity is a personal project, ultimately, any claim to a Macanese identity is either accepted or refuted by the already existing Macanese community on criteria dependent upon shared cultural heritage and collective notions (these criteria shift with each emerging generation). As Turner and later Bhabka suggest, identity is a layering of experiences unraveled through contact with others and is only decipherable within the social sphere. There are limits to a Macanese identity, and Pina-Cabral and Lourenço (op. cit.), offer a broad-based definition delineated by family and community acceptance as two basic denominators for a tentative definition of the Macanese.
- Pina-Cabral and Lourenço (1993). Tentatively, language is not so much a key determinant to Macanese identity, but rather the alliance with the Portuguese cultural system that knowing Portuguese entails. A great number of Macanese families of Hong Kong only speak English but are still considered Macanese. Along these lines, knowledge of Portuguese is preferably - but not absolutely necessary - for a Macanese identity. It should be mentioned, however, that Portuguese language use is only one of several criteria that are used by other Macaense to determine other Macanese, not the sole determinant.
- Shifting, not in the sense of deconstruction of the identity definition, but a re-formulation of the definition as each rising generation dictates. The current generation is looking toward the transition and finding themselves deciding upon their cultural/identity alignments. However, as Pina-Cabral and Lourenço explain, this is the nature of the Macanese community.
- Amaro, Ana Maria (1989). O Traje da Mulher Macaense, Da Saraca ao Do das Nhonhonha de Macau. Macau: Instituto Cultural de Macau.
- Amaro, Ana Maria (1993). Filhos da Terra. Macau: Instituto Cultural de Macau.
- Dicks, Anthony R. (1984). "Macao: Legal Fiction and Gunboat Diplomacy" in Leadership on the China Coast, Goran Aijmer (editor), London: Curzon Press, pp. 101–102.
- Guedes, João (1991). As seitas: histôrias do crime e da política em Macau. Macau: Livros do Oriente.
- Marreiros, Carlos (1994). "Alliances for the Future" in Review of Culture No. 20 July/September (English Edition), 162-172.
- Pina Cabral, João de (2002). Between China and Europe: Person, Culture and Emotion in Macao. New York and London: Berg (Continuum Books) - London School Monographs in Social Antrhropology 74.
- Pina Cabral, João de, and Nelson Lourenço (1993). Em Terra de Tufões: Dinâmicas da Etnicidade Macaense. Macau: Instituto Cultural de Macau.
- Porter, Jonathan (1996). Macau, the imaginary city: culture and society, 1557 to the present. Boulder: Westview Press.
- Teixeira, Manuel (1965). Os Macaenses. Macau: Imprensa Nacional.
- Watts, Ian (1997). "Neither Meat nor Fish: Three Macanse Women in the Transition" in Macau and Its Neighbors toward the 21st Century. Macau: University of Macau.