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Chui Sai On and officiating guests gather on the stage during the opening of the International Forum in Macao

is a pity that we only received three applications when we are offering 10 – although we understand that Macao has better living conditions than some of these places. We really want to invest in more resources that can push Macao’s society forward and that’s the aim of the Macao Foundation: to provide financial aid to projects we deem are essential to society. Does the Macao Foundation have any projects or cooperation agreements with other organisations in the GBA? We are connected but we aren’t necessarily working with them because we have different objectives and the Macao Foundation is a special case. Most of the others focus on one specific area while we tackle them all. At the moment, we have connections with the government and nongovernmental organisations and focus on areas like education, social sciences, charity and culture.

Is the Cantonese language – one of the characteristics of the Lingnan culture – an element you want to promote? Sure. We use Cantonese as our common language even though we have Hakka and Teochew dialects and people who come from different parts of the country learn Cantonese when they move here. We also have more or less the same lifestyle. Cultures in the GBA are unified and under one ‘cultural circle’. It is not only about accessing different cities within an hour but without a common cultural identity it is meaningless. That’s why I keep stressing that it is not economy but culture coming in the first place. The bond and connection of culture and values is already the most important. We often use Mandarin in Macao but Cantonese is still in common use, so I don’t think language in that sense is of critical importance – although I do think Cantonese has its element of openness.

Do you think young people in Macao should look to the GBA as a place to develop their professional careers? I think the main issue of young people in Macao is that they don’t have to worry about employment. Life is too stable for them to get out of their comfort zone. Working and partnering with the GBA will give them wider perspectives and knowledge so they aren’t limited to such a small city – the GBA at the end of the day is like a family gathering. Young people in Macao should understand that we cannot protect our labour market forever and [that they should] not take everything for granted and blame others for grabbing ‘our’ employment chances. This is not right because competition is good for a society. We have to open our society and city up and that’s what I have been emphasising to the younger generation. You cannot accuse people for coming to your city 35

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Macao Magazine September 2019  

We have found alarming figures on plastic waste over the course of putting together this issue: 160,000 plastic bags are used every second a...

Macao Magazine September 2019  

We have found alarming figures on plastic waste over the course of putting together this issue: 160,000 plastic bags are used every second a...