MRI Forum 12
"Macau's contribution to China's modernisation along history"
by Dr. Gary NGAI Mei Cheong, The Macau Sino-Latin Foundation
Macau has a long history of interaction between East and West, and contributed a lot to the modernisation of China, both economically and culturally—one immediately thinks of the maritime Silk Route, the presence of the Jesuits, the activities of Chinese reformers and revolutionaries, the hybrid community of the Macanese, and even the post-Mao era of opening-up the country. These contributions have unfortunately not been fully recognised by many people in and outside China. Macau can continue to further China's progress by enhancing its bridging role for better mutual understanding and contacts between East and West, especially with Latin speaking communities of the world.
Profile of the Speaker
Born in Indonesia, in 1932, Gary NGAI Mei Cheong received a Dutch education in primary school and, after finishing high school in Jakarta, went to Beijing in 1950 to continue higher education. He graduated from the People's University in 1956, majoring in Chinese modern history, philosophy, economics and international relations. Later on, in 1983, he also received a diploma in international management from INSEAD (France). Until 1978, he was doing translation and research in Beijing, interpreting for Chinese top leaders. After emigrating to Macau for family reunion, he was engaged as assistant director of Radio Macau and participated in the creation of Macau TV. He became advisor to the Macau Government on China affairs, Vice-President of the Macau Institute of Culture, and, after retirement in July 1997, advisor to the Cultural Centre. He currently is Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Macau Sino-Latin Foundation, a private foundation which he helped to establish in 1996. Its objectives are to preserve Macau's cultural identity, especially its Latinity, in order to build Macau into a strong link between China and the Latin speaking world. In June 1999, Gary NGAI was awarded a medal for cultural merits by the Macau Government. Inside and outside of Macau and China, in numerous seminars he has been working hard in promoting a better understanding of Macau's cultural identity. He has published many articles on the subject in Chinese, Portuguese and English, and was nominated member of the World Latin Council based in Brazil, as well as member of the board of the Brazil-China Chamber of Commerce. He is also an adviser of the Macau Overseas Chinese Association, and of the South East Asian Study Centre of the Jinan University in Guangzhou, China. He is Secretary General of the Association to promote Trade, Tourism and Culture between Macau and Taiwan; Vice-President of the Yan Huang Traditional Chinese Culture Association of Guangdong Province; President of the Macau Euro-China Entrepreneurs Club and past president of the Rotary Club of Macau. He has recently been granted the "21st Century Award for Outstanding Achievement" in the International Biographical Centre of Cambridge, UK, and the American Biographical Institute, North Carolina, USA.