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CULTURE

35

THE GREAT CHALLENGE OF VILLAGE LIFE Lei acknowledges that the major challenge of being an artist or working in art is making projects profitable. “How do you make money?” is a commonly asked question. Before the Village Mall project, Lei had not received any public financial support. Enthused by a recent visit from Vice­ ‑President of the Cultural Institute Chan Peng Fai, Lei believes that more government assistance may be on the way. “I’ve always done this because I wanted to. I did everything without any support. I’d roll up my sleeves and try to keep things balanced. When something is profitable, I try to compensate for something else that’s less profitable. That’s how I’ve been doing things,” explains the creative director. Keeping the project alive and flourishing poses yet another challenge. Until now, all the spaces Lei created and supervised were promoted via word­‑of­‑mouth and social networks, especially Facebook. But there are no perfect formulas, just willingness and intuition. Because the Village Mall project is more ambitious, Lei realises he must delegate tasks for it to be successful. Before, the business model was centred around him, but he cannot be the sole person responsible for managing three floors. “I like the freedom I have to manage my projects, though I know I have to delegate. I think that the job of a person who works in an office must be harder than mine: the amount of commitment to having a day that’s always the same is much more than my freedom.”

LEI’S TEN­‑YEAR PLAN, LOOKING AFTER THOSE IN NEED

In three years, Lei will reach the end of yet another 10­‑year cycle by which he has divided his life, and he will have to decide what to do next. “Sometimes you have to stop and think about what you want. However, if I want to keep doing what I’m doing now, I’ll do it regardless of the support I have.” In the near future, he plans to combine the best of his two worlds: bringing groups of social workers together to promote culture among the needy. “The job of a social assistant is usually more focused on charity work, and here they’ll have an

C E D

B A

VILLAGES CREATED BY WINDOW LEI A Rua do Campo, Broadway Centre n. 258, 1­‑3 Floor B Calçada do Poço, n. 1, 1­‑3 Floor C Rua Seis do Bairro da Areia Preta,

Edifício Industrial I Hap Si, n. 20, 3B

D Estrada de Dona Maria II,

Edifício Industrial Cheong Long, n. 3, 4A

E Travessa de Ma Kau Seak,

Edifício Industrial Kin Va, n.13, 1A

opportunity to promote cultural activities. What’s most important is for young people not to focus on drugs, for example, but rather on more enjoyable things.” When he looks at the Village Mall and what he has built driven by sheer, inexhaustible willpower, Window Lei has a smile on his lips and a positive outlook regarding the project’s contribution to culture and creativity in Macao. NOVEMBER 2016


Macao Magazine November 2016