Narrating the People of Macau: An Investigation on how the Chinese, the Portuguese and the Macanese express their Identities in Relationship with Macau in their Songs.
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Since the coming of the Portuguese in the mid-sixteenth century, Macau has been a hub of western and eastern cultural exchange. Different types of indigenous hybrid cultural heritage, like music, language and poetry, has been created. Yet, as reflected by sociologist Li Zhanpeng and musicologist da Veiga Jardim, little has been done in documenting the aforementioned cultural products and in investigating the identity of the people living in Macau. By studying songs depicting Macau written by different people groups, this paper explores how they articulate their identities and their ideologies about Macau through music. Specifically, in my project, I will look into the Chinese songs “Song of Seven Sons” and “Song of Macau”, the Portuguese songs “Macau, My Land” and “Good-Bye, Macau”, and the Macanese songs “This is Macau” and “A Macanese House”, using the discourses of music and identity, as well as theories of hybridity and post-colonialism as discussed by Simon Frith, Stuart Hall and the others. I will analyze these selected works regarding their languages, musicality, appearance, and the politics behind them. I argue that although one group might have contradictory thoughts and ideas with another in terms of identity, power and believes, their understanding about themselves and Macau constructs a collective memory and recognition to this place. Over time it can also be seen that there is an evolution in terms of their narratives of identity and the audience’ perception, resulting in a mobile identification of the people. In the end, this investigation, by examining the musical aspects of Macau’s culture, sheds light on delineating the rarely acknowledged yet complicated identity of the people from Macau.