The Urban Communication Reader III
8 Chinese Tourists, Themed Casinos, and Consumer Pedagogy in Macao
Macao and the Communicative City
Chinese Tourists, Themed Casinos, and Consumer Pedagogy in Macao
The Ruins of St. Paul’s is Macao’s most notable colonial icon, and probably the site most photographed by tourists who visit the city [ see Figure 8.1]. The ruins are the façade of a 400–year-old baroque cathedral, built in honor of the Virgin Mary by Italian Jesuits who traveled to Macao under sponsorship of the Portuguese monarchy (Nunez, 2009). The structure was destroyed by fire more than a century and a half ago, leaving only the stone façade. The original site also housed St. Paul’s College, the first European university established in Asia, whose purpose was to prepare Catholic missionaries for work in the surrounding region. The Ruins of St. Paul’s stands at the top of a narrow, winding lane in the historic city center of Macao, close by the Leal Senado (“loyal senate”) building and Largo de Senado square, the latter ringed by pastel-colored Portuguese colonial-era buildings that now house Starbucks, Levi’s, Giordano, Bossini, McDonald’s, and several cosmetics shops. The structures were collectively declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 and reflect Macao’s historical importance as the first, and last, European colony in Asia. Portugal returned the colony to the People’s Republic of China in 1999. Today Macao, like neighboring Hong Kong, is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the PRC, conjoined by the logic of former Chinese Premier Deng Xiaoping’s policy of “one country, two systems...
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