Joined: 17 Jul 2006
|Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 6:27 pm Post subject: Casinos in Macau
|Casinos in Macau.
When I visited Macau, our tour guide led us to the casinos there. According to my estimation, people tend to lose more money there than in Las Vegas.
Casinos in Macau is one of the main industries supporting Macau's economy.
My still have vivid memory about the ladies who solicited for their services in the casinos.
The seven-year itch
Jul 27th 2006 | MACAU
From The Economist print edition
Since reverting from Portugal to China in 1999, Macau has boomed. Too much, for the taste of some
THE army of workers operating along what used to be Macau's waterfront is conducting “land reclamation”: dumping sand into the water to create more land on which to build ever more casinos, resorts and hotels in the formerly Portuguese playground. Cranes and bulldozers beaver away throughout the territory, building new high-rises. Like most of China's booming conurbations, Macau is paying an environmental price; the air is thick with smog and dust, and the Pearl River has transferred some of its pollution to Macau's seas. But the damage pales when set against the promise of growth, and billboards proudly herald the coming of “the Las Vegas of Asia”.
Amid all the buzz, the music from a boat docked at the inner harbour sounds a strange note. The red-robed musicians and their audience are Taoists engaged in a religious ceremony. As the musicians play their instruments, the believers on board burn incense and empty scraps of food into the water as an offering to the gods. The contrast of ancient ritual with feverish modernisation is the story of modern Macau: the story of development transforming a once-sheltered nook.
Macau's stunning economic boom—2004 saw its GDP grow by 28%—has been powered by gambling, tourism and the construction necessary to support such endeavours. Since Stanley Ho, Macau's most famous casino mogul, found his monopoly on the gambling industry broken in 2001, American firms such as Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands Corporation have stepped in to build impressive new facilities. Visitors include rich and powerful Chinese, wishing to indulge in games of chance illegal on the mainland, as well as tourists from nearby countries like South Korea and Singapore.
There has been a price. Construction firms are eager to hire immigrants from Fujian, Guangdong and even Shanghai who are willing to work for lower wages than the local Macanese. The ill-will thus created was evident last May 1st, when locals (quite a few of whom were also illegal immigrants when they first arrived) rioted. They protest that outsiders are finding jobs in the new economy while many middle-aged Macanese remain jobless.
Ethnic tension is growing too. Macau is thoroughly cosmopolitan, with Nepalis, Brazilians and Filipinos working beside Portuguese and Chinese. But the relationship between them and the newly arrived mainlanders is problematic. “The mainland Chinese are rude and look down on us,” says a Nepali security guard, a sentiment echoed by many locals. And though the authorities have failed to keep mainlanders out, foreigners who have worked there since long before the handover are finding it hard to bring their families over. “My daughter won't be joining me because it's hard to get a work permit now,” says one Filipino, who has worked in Macau for 24 years.
It is not only racial harmony that is under threat. Under Portugal Macau escaped many of the depredations of the Cultural Revolution, and it remains one of the last repositories of traditional Chinese culture. Figurines depicting the god of wealth sit outside most doors, attended by burning sticks of incense. The temples of Tin Hau, Kum Iam and Pak Tai continue to draw the faithful, who take pride in pointing out that their religion has survived both the rule of Portuguese Christians and the handover to atheist China. Such piety, however, sits uncomfortably with the gambling, the neon lights and prostitution that are forever gaining ground.
The old order, at least, is not particularly pleased by the prospect. “It used to be just a sleepy fishing village when I was a child,” recalls a middle-aged resident. “We used to pump water up from hand-wells.” He sighs. “I have no idea what it's going to look like a year from now.”