Taiwan’s first research center on Macau is an attempt to broaden the nation’s perspective on the former Portuguese colony, the center’s director, Shaw Chong-hai (邵宗海) said in Taipei on Monday.
Shaw, the dean of Chinese Culture University’s College of Social Sciences, said that because Macau has been overshadowed by Hong Kong, many people in Taiwan do not know that the territory has changed after years of development.
Shaw, who was a visiting scholar at Macao Polytechnic Institute for a year, pushed for the establishment of the center to improve the understanding between Taiwan and Macau.
Opened more than four months ago at the university, the center became the Macao Foundation’s first research partner in Taiwan after the two organizations signed an agreement in early February. The center is currently working on a study commissioned by the foundation to compare social structures and ethnic consciousness in Taiwan and Macau.
Shaw said the two societies both have populations composed of several ethnic groups, but unlike Taiwan, there is rarely conflict between Macau residents of different descents.
Meanwhile, Shaw said Taiwan could look to Macau for the development of gaming industries.
Macau’s gaming sector, which has surpassed Las Vegas in revenues, has boosted the local economy and coexisted peacefully with the Macanese thanks to benefits, such as discounted utility prices, funded by the sector, he said.
Although the sector is Macau’s main attraction and draws 28 million visitors a year, 75 percent of Macanese have never set foot in a casino, and reports of gambling having a negative impact on their lives are rare, Shaw said.
Besides seeking funding for research projects from the foundation and the Mainland Affairs Council, Shaw said the center would encourage both Taiwanese and Macanese students in Taiwan to focus on Macau-related issues, to enhance the university’s strength in the area.