Category: News @ Macau.

Macau’10 review: Heritage law still on hold

In May, the Central Government approved the listing of the Drunken Dragon Dance, Cantonese Nanyin and Taoist ritual music opera as national intangible heritage

The year 2010 did not manage to see the heritage law enacted, while the Government decided to keep construction of the new central library on hold. This closing year Macau celebrated the fifth anniversary of its UNESCO world heritage listing, but it continues to lack a new heritage protection law. It appears that the law was shelved, despite assurances from the secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Cheong U, that the final draft of the law would come out by the end of this year.

The Government completed the initial version of the cultural heritage protection bill and put it out for public consultation on April 30, 2009. There has been no more news on the bill since then.

Meanwhile, in May, the Central Government approved the listing of the Drunken Dragon Dance, Cantonese Nanyin and Taoist ritual music opera as national intangible heritage, as was proposed by the Macau Museum.
Since November and until March next year, the Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) has called for proposals of new entries to be included in the declaration of Macau’s Intangible Cultural Heritage, which may be submitted by all local entities, groups and organisations.

Between July and August, the IC has set up a total of 32 signs identifying local historical sites. It invested around MOP 600,000 to place pillar-shaped signs in 24 buildings and 8 squares. The pillars present information in Chinese, Portuguese, English and Japanese languages.
At this moment, the IC is also probing the historic value and use of the building at Rua de Estalagens, n.80 and Farmácia Chong Sai, reported to have been the medical office of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, founder of the Chinese Republic.

Advice from outside

Government began the Central Library’s whole process all over again

Every year, experts from international bodies visit Macau and reporters ask them the same question: “Is Macau heritage at risk?”. Back in April, two visiting experts shared their own seemingly opposite views on heritage conservation in the SAR.

Firstly, the vice president of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, Guo Zhan, urged the Government to extend the historical centre buffer zones in Macau and work on overall long term urban and conservation planning. According to Guo Zhan, the world heritage historical centre of Macau is facing some difficulties and he pointed out the urgent need for new measures to be submitted at 35th meeting of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, which will take place this year of 2011.

On the other hand, the president of the International Union of Architects, Louise Cox, said she believes Macau is doing well on heritage conservation, even better than other places, and its UNESCO listing is not in danger. After a six-year absence, Cox said she was very happy about what she has seen, but she delivered some recommendations during a meeting with Government officials. In particular, they were told to pay more attention to the old fireworks factory in Taipa and to Coloane’s fishing village.

Moreover, the Macau Heritage Ambassadors Association announced recently to MDTimes that it is holding talks with some secondary schools hoping to launch a promotion program in the 2011/12 academic year aimed at enhancing young students’ basic knowledge and interest in Macau’s world heritage.

Controversy at St. Paul Ruins

The demolition of four buildings near the Ruins to carry out archaeological excavations and also to build a temporary parking lot for tour buses was not well received by residents

In the first half of the year, the Government proposed planning for the Ruins of St. Paul’s area provoked a public uproar. The demolition of four buildings near the Ruins to carry out archaeological excavations and also to build a temporary parking lot for tour buses was not well received by residents.

At the end of the day, following discussions between the Government and residents, the buildings were pulled down. As a result, in May, and after one month of work, archaeologists from Beijing discovered part of an ancient wall and some artifacts dating from the Qing Dynasty to the early years of the Republic of China behind the Ruins of St. Paul’s area.

Still on the controversy scope, two years after the first new Central Library architectural concept design was set, the Government began the whole process all over again. The new president of the IC, Guilherme Ung Vai Meng announced that the winning entries in the previous concept design competition held in 2008 would no longer be used.

The new Central Library will be located at the Praia Grande Old Court premises.

The first round results were to be unveiled by the end of this year and the final results in mid-2011. Up to now nothing has been announced on the matter.

A. Lages

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Category: News @ Macau
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