Cultural Disconnects and the Macanese Diaspora

April 11th, 2014 2 Comments

I’m currently writing an article on the experiences of Macanese in Hong Kong and Macau during World War II, a period that has been called a “defining moment” by some observers of Macanese history. (The article will appear in a collection to be published by Hong Kong University Press called “War-time Macau”.) In the process, I have been reading the real-life experiences of many who were not only displaced by the war, but were forced to live as refugees in


Historic Macanese Cuisine

April 1st, 2014 3 Comments

Dra. Beatriz da Silva’s study of Macanese cuisine motivated me to share a few family dishes of my own. But first, let me provide a little background. I was able to create this list because of a recent visit by two experienced cooks (actually my mother and aunt), who were generous enough to reveal their favorite Macanese cusine. Together these ladies have roots in Portugal, Spain, Goa, Macau, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Canton, which explains the wide variety of dishes


ICM wants Macanese Culinary Recipes

March 24th, 2014 1 Comment

Dra. Beatriz Basto da Silva, a renowned historian of Macau, is now developing a study for Macau’s Cultural Affairs Bureau about Macanese Culinary Recipes. She requests information about traditional Macanese recipes, including if possible copies of old manuscript recipes that can be sent as digital images. The gathering of this information is particularly important for preserving the memory of the Macanese Culture, within a context that is directly linked to relevant research of food and gastronomy as a central part of


Guido Sequeira

March 13th, 2014 3 Comments

In April 2012, Guido and Gloria Sequeira allowed me to videotape an interview with them in their home in Downey California. A short segment from that interview was published on this site a few weeks later, in which Guido describes his harrowing escape from Kowloon during the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong in December 1941. A few days ago I recalled how honored I felt to record these vivid memories, and to contribute them to the personal stories that are


Interview with “Guida” Marques Savant

March 6th, 2014 No Comments

This is an interview with “Guida” Marques Savant, a Macanese immigrant who describes her life in Hong Kong in the 1930s, and her experiences during World War II.      


Family Networks in Hong Kong

February 22nd, 2014 No Comments

Author’s Note: This is the third and final installment of the article on Macanese family networks. All roman numerals indicate notes and citations to be used in the published version. — As the next destination of Macanese emigration, Hong Kong presented a different set of challenges. Early residency and work restrictions imposed by the colonial government confined the Macanese and other non-British citizens to outlying areas and into lower positions in government agencies and trading houses. Soon divisions within


Family Networks in Goa and Macau

February 6th, 2014 2 Comments

Revised 2/22/2014 – (Author’s Note: This is the (revised) second part of an article on Macanese family networks. It begins with a transitional summary, then focuses on the early history of families in each community. The roman numerals indicate where footnotes will be inserted later.) —- The Church thus helped to solidify Luso-Asian customs and practice. By legitimizing racially-mixed unions through baptism in Goa, it also condoned bonds to other ethnic groups that were necessary for the survival of Portuguese


What Far East Currents Is and Is Not

January 17th, 2014 2 Comments

After two years of existence, it is time to clarify the present purpose of this site. First, Far East Currents is a blog (see definition below), not an academic journal, or any other “permanent record”. The posts included here are summaries of my research and theories on Macanese culture and communities. I am always updating these pages based on new information, ideas, or thoughts. I also have attempted to provide the sources for the information I provide. In other words, the posts


Family Ties & the Macanese Community

January 15th, 2014 4 Comments

(Revised 1/25/2014) One of the articles that I’m currently working on is a study of the Macanese family. My research on Macanese culture has uncovered sources referencing the situation of families in Macau, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and other Portuguese-Macanese settlements since the 16th century.* In the process, I began to wonder about the relationship of Macanese families to the development of the larger community. Sociologists and historians often refer to the family as the fundamental unit of society, a place where,


Video – Recovering Macanese History

January 2nd, 2014 2 Comments

Origins of the “Macanese Diaspora”

November 15th, 2013 No Comments

The following was written as part of an introduction to a longer article on the origins of the Macanese Diaspora that will be published shortly in an academic journal. I’m posting it here to clarify what I believe to be the origins of the Macanese as an ethnic group, and as an introduction to the idea that the Macanese evolved over time through a series of migrations beginning in the sixteenth century. “Macanese” is the traditional name given to the


Macau Legislator Jose Coutinho in Calif.

November 10th, 2013 1 Comment

In late October, at the invitation of Far East Currents and the Lusitano Club of California, Macau Legislative Assembly member Jose’ Pereira Coutinho spoke to faculty, students, and Casa de Macau members at Cal State Northridge and U.C. Berkeley. Dr. Coutinho, who leads a 13,000 member union and has been elected by popular vote to the Legislature three times since 2005, began with wide ranging presentations on Macau 14 years after the handover to China. After noting the influence of


How Many Macanese ? 2013 Results

October 26th, 2013 No Comments

Below are the final results of the 2013 Portuguese-Macanese Population Survey, which was conducted on-line from Aug. 15 to Oct. 25, 2013. The survey was designed to provide an estimate of the size and cultural composition of the Macanese community around the world. This year we had participants from twelve (12) different countries, located In North and South America, Europe, Australia/New Zealand, and Asia. For more information on methods and limitations, please see the notes that follow.   Macanese Population


Trade and the Lessons of History

October 23rd, 2013 No Comments

The Macanese have always had a tradition of entrepreneurship. As the descendants of Portuguese explorers, they have always searched for new opportunities. On the eve of the China-Portuguese Forum , it is wise to revisit that history to understand the possibilities for the future. The Macanese were successful businessmen in Goa for decades before turning their attention to Macau. In 1797 Luis Barretto da Sousa, a Goan trader, partnered with his younger brother Joseph to found Macau’s first insurance company,


Yr2: A Fitting and Noble Endeavor

October 8th, 2013 No Comments

Sometimes we find ourselves doing work that seems to serve very personal ambitions: like building a career, gaining a reputation, earning a living, making a fresh start, or writing a personal blog. When you begin it doesn’t feel selfish or promotional, just interesting and something you feel you must do. You do it because you like the work and find that you’re good at it. It also fits standards that you decided long ago were “professional” and credible in the


Macanese: Inquiring Minds Want to Know

September 24th, 2013 2 Comments

In the last few months there has been growing interest among academic and general readers in print, on the web, and on social media about the Macanese. This interest has led me to place several of my articles in journals, anthologies, and bulletins, and a few interviews by journalists. As a result, I am preparing a book length monograph for publication in 2014 on my collected research. Regular visitors to will recognize some of the titles that will be


2013 Macanese Survey – Early Results

September 13th, 2013 2 Comments

On August 15th 2013 the second annual “Portuguese and Macanese Population Survey” went live and began gathering responses from Casa de Macau members from all over the world. (Now open through October 25 at This year’s survey was designed to estimate the size and assess the profile of the Macanese community by using the responses as a representative sample of the total number of registered Casa de Macau members, which club presidents reported to be approximately 5,000.[1] Here’s some early


Chapado and the Survey

August 23rd, 2013 1 Comment

Here’s Part II of Professor Armando da Silva discussing (in the patua) the different aspects of Macanese, the language of Macau. A text summary in English of his remarks follows the video. Also, please take our 10 question survey (Open until Oct. 15, 2013) . It will help us estimate the size and location of Macanese communities around the world. Here’s the link: .     Summary Macanese prisoners held by the Japanese during World War II used the patua to communicate


The 2013 Macanese Survey is LIVE !

August 16th, 2013 2 Comments

The 2013 Portuguese-Macanese Population Survey is now live. Please use the following link to help us document the Macanese community world-wide. . The first thing you’ll notice about the new survey is the definition of “Macanese”. “We define “Macanese” broadly as: Anyone who is a descendant of mixed-race Portuguese from Asia with roots in China and India, and specifically in Goa, Macau, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Canton, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Timor. Your ancestors need not be from Macau,


The Macanese “Chapado” – Video

July 26th, 2013 8 Comments

The lost language of the Macanese. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, the Macanese “Chapado” or patua played an important role in Macau’s social and commercial development. It was the main language of communication among Macau’s residents, used in business and in the home. Through the 19th and early 20th centuries, Macanese continued to be spoken as the mother tongue of several thousand of people in Macau, Hong Kong and other countries in Southeast Asia. Some writers even suggest that “Macanese speakers


The Second Macanese Migration in Asia: The Settlement of Macao

July 23rd, 2013 1 Comment

Following the conquest of Malacca in 1511, Afonso Albuquerque sent ships to identify other ports of call on the southern coast of China. He was particularly interested in establishing good relations with the masters of Chinese junks and Japanese Ryuku vessels who sailed up the Pearl River Delta. These incursions allowed explorations of the region by Jorge Alvares in 1513 and the establishment of initial trade at Canton in 1517 by Fernao Peres de Andrade. But during a second trade


Jim Silva, A. Noronha, E.C. Santos

July 22nd, 2013 4 Comments

Here are more comments from readers on Macanese identity. Jim Silva, a frequent contributor, provides his perspective on name changes over the generations. Alberto Noronha and Eduardo Santos offer additional comments from their own experiences. In other news, please look for our newsletter coming out in the next few days. If you have not signed up, please go to the “Newsletter” tab on the home page. I’ve also been working on a long article for publication on the Origins of


The Portuguese Diasporas in Asia

June 20th, 2013 5 Comments

Growing up I often heard the term “Macanese Diaspora” used to describe the migration of the Portuguese from Macau, Shanghai, and Hong Kong to the United States and other countries following the end of the World War II. It was during this same period that “diaspora” was used to explain other ethnic migrations. Most often the term illustrated the movement across national borders of groups that retain cultural ties to their homeland. In some cases, the diaspora group sought to



June 6th, 2013 10 Comments

Note: Here’s a short comment from Jim Silva, a noted Macanese writer, on our estimate of the Macanese population (see the Diaspora page on this web site). The article is printed in its entirety without editing, except for a sentence near the end that has been italicized. The italics were placed because of Jim’s point that if we were to count ALL progeny of Macanese, the estimate may be accurate. But, as Jim points out, the definition of who is “Macanese”


Over the Bamboo Ceiling

May 31st, 2013 1 Comment

The social ordering of Hong Kong society had lasting effects on the first generation of Macanese settlers. Into a European population of less than 1,000 in the 1850s, young men were recruited from parochial schools in Macau to fill jobs in Hong Kong’s government, trading houses, and banks.[1] Colonial directories in 1849 and 1850 listed 406 Macanese workers, the majority working in private enterprise. Virtually all occupied mid-level positions below English supervisors and above Chinese shrofts, compradores, and laborers.[2] Macanese

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