Busto de Luís de Camões, Macau


AN interesting approach to the Tangier beat scene, by Joe Ambrose



TENNESEE Williams, F Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Cheever, Carver, Berryman… Six giants of American literature – and all addicted to alcohol. In an edited extract from her new book, The Trip to Echo Spring, Olivia Laing looks at the link between writers and the bottle





HONG Kong Yesterday: The Pearl of the Orient in the 1950s (grandes fotos)



"ONCE you've heard Beefheart, it's hard to wash him out of your clothes." - Tom Waits


THE passing of time (and all of its crimes?)


Filme sobre jardim botânico de Coimbra, premiado na Croácia


FOTOS excelentes na New Yorker (especialmente as do Cartier Bresson e do Martin Parr): Italian Beach Life, Past and Present



A escola primária em Portugal ao longo dos tempos.



巨变 Huge Changes

THE newly published book “Novas Coisas da China” [literally “New Things From China”] gives valuable insight to the country, including Macau. Its author is journalist António Caeiro, who has been the Portuguese news agency Lusa’s correspondent in Beijing for many years (he lived there between 1991 and 2002, and returned in 2008).
It is not by chance that two large Chinese characters meaning “huge changes” (巨变) dominate the yellow book cover.
Caeiro casts a discerning eye over the formidable changes that are shaping China in the XXI century. The journalist gives countless examples of how the lives of Chinese born and raised during times of Communist orthodoxy have taken a U-turn. He also talks with the younger urban Chinese who are part of the growing middle class and have the income to buy houses, cars and even luxury goods (we see them shopping here in Macau)...Something that, for their parents, was unthinkable.
Many amazing figures are listed to demonstrate the size of the changes. For example: “In 2017, China will have more skyscrapers than the United States, according to a Taiwanese study.”
“The number of Chinese that spend holidays abroad has risen by 11% during 2011 (69 million) and reached 80 million in 2012. The World Tourism Organization estimates that the figure will go up to 100 million in 2020.”
“During the last 12 years, the trade between China and Africa rose about 20 times, amounting to almost USD200b. China is Africa’s largest trade partner, surpassing the European Union and the United States.”
In the chapter dedicated to Macau, the experienced journalist mentions the well known gambling revenue figures, which largely surpassed Las Vegas. But the other issue that caught Caeiro’s attention is not so obvious: the freedom of speech that is protected by the MSAR laws. Visiting the Tap Seac Central Library, he notes that two large biographies of Mao Zedong and Soong Mei-ling (Chiang Kai-shek’s wife) are exhibited side by side. This is something that would be impossible in mainland China, where both books are forbidden. The first, written by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, mentions that PRC’s founder Mao (whose portrait is still used on Renminbi banknotes) was “responsible for over 70 million deaths during a time of peace, more than any other leader in the twentieth century.” The other biography, according to the author, has “a title that speaks for itself”: “The Last Empress, Madame Chiang Kai-shek and the Birth of Modern China.”
Many sensitive issues for Beijing are also addressed, such as corruption (illustrated through Bo Xilai’s case and others) and growing nationalism. Chinese companies are gaining an international profile not only because of their massive presence in Africa but also through strategic acquisitions in the “old continent.” Does China intend to rule the world? As with many other issues that concern the nation, the answer is veiled in mystery. Nevertheless, Caeiro notes that “the new Chinese nationalism was not made up in the West,” mentioning the editorials of the official newspaper Global Times, “where one of the most reported ideas is to reduce the West to a geographical and cultural reference.”
Joshua Cooper Ramo, head of consulting firm Kissinger Associates (a firm founded in 1982 by the former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who recently wrote the informative essay “On China”) is quoted as saying: “What is China? A friendly country? Enemy? China is changing so rapidly that we, in fact, still do not know.”
The book is available at the Portuguese Bookstore. It has no English or Chinese translations.

(published in MDT)



MUITO bem contada que está aqui a história da Associação Académica de Coimbra


Feira cabisbaixa

FERNANDO Assis Pacheco - Eu diria, socorrendo-me aliás de leitores mais atentos do que eu, que você tem um tema dominante, Portugal (a Feira cabisbaixa aparece em italiano, na versão de Joyce Lussu, como Portogallo, mio rimorso, e muito bem), e um fantasma omnipresente, o tempo (cá vai uma de O’Neill entre aspas «Quandonde foi? / quandonde será? / / eu queria um jàzinho que fosse / aquijá / tuoje aquijá»). Concorda?

Alexandre O'Neill É verdade. Sem pieguice, digo-lhe que sempre sofri Portugal, tanto no sentido de não o suportar (como todos nós, aliás), como no sentido de o amar-sem-esperança (como disse um parnasiano qualquer: amar sem esperança é o verdadeiro amor…). Eu tive a grande alegria de ver poemas meus completamente desactualizados depois do 25 de Abril. Mas afinal não estavam nada desactualizados, não. Como se pode ver. Quer dizer – o que é um péssimo sinal relativamente à minha capacidade para vaticinar – que a realidade fez de mim, novamente, um poeta actual. Até no fantasma do tempo a que você se refere. Espero que isto um dia acabe e eu fique bem desactualizado e para todo o sempre.

Excerto da entrevista de Fernando Assis Pacheco a Alexandre O'Neill publicada no Jornal de Letras em 1982 (nº 36, 06-07-1982). Ver aqui na íntegra. 

Etiquetas: ,


OLIVER Sacks on aging


DESCONHECIA este grande momento da história do rock:

"And somebody told me you people are crazy. But I’m not so sure about that; you seem to be all right to me!"


"During a 1978 tour, psychobilly punk band The Cramps created one of the strangest moments in the history of both rock n’ roll and psychiatry when they played a gig inside Napa State Mental Hospital.
It’s hard to believe it actually happened. The story sounds more like an exaggerated rock legend than an account of a real concert, but no suspension of disbelief is needed. Someone filmed the gig.
We can only guess how the band got permission to play inside one of California’s biggest mental institutions, but play they did, to a few supporters and a fired-up crowd of psychiatric inpatients.
The footage is grainy, black and white, and chaotic, and we immediately see the band launch into a high-energy version of Mystery Plane.
The onlookers look bemused at first, a few start dancing, a few just wander.
As the first song fades, the lead singer, Lux Interior, addresses the crowd: “We’re The Cramps, and we’re from New York City and we drove 3,000 miles to play for you people.”
“Fuck you!” a patient yells back.
He cracks a smile. “And somebody told me you people are crazy! But I’m not so sure about that; you seem to be all right to me.”
The gig ascends into pure punk rock chaos.
Patients jump on stage and pogo like they were Saturday night regulars. Lux suddenly duets with a member of the crowd who grabs the mike and adds her own improvised lyrics to the mix.
One song finishes with the lead singer sprawled on the floor with two female members of the audience. One of them shouts “I got the Cramps!” Lux replies “That’s your problem, honey. I got ‘em myself, and I can’t do anything with ‘em, either.”
As with Johnny Cash’s landmark concert, played a decade earlier in Folsom Prison, it would be easy to assume that the onlookers are intended to be part of an ironic publicity stunt.
But one thing is striking from both of these shows: the audience wouldn’t have looked out of place at any other date on the tour.
Cash and The Cramps are unlikely bedfellows, but both took their music to the marginalised and hinted that we’re not so different from those we lock away.
OK, so The Cramps didn’t hint. Punk isn’t like that. But then again, the fans have hardly been known for their conformity either."




(Corpo de Polícia de Segurança Pública)2013-07-08 
"Nestes últimos dois dias, estava a divulgar na internete, plataforma de telemóveis, e jornais, uma fotografia de um grupo de agentes policiais em curso do exercício de extensão de braços. Por compreensão não profunda do público sobre a fotografia, resultou numa interpretação errada, pelo que se faz o seguinte esclarecimento.
No passado dia 4 de Julho, pelas 23H50, depois de um banquete, um 2.º Comandante da Corporação (por ter ingerido bebida alcoólica, tinha uma cara rosa, que pôde facilmente enganar as pessoas a pensar que ele estava bêbado), dirigiu-se ao Comissariado Policial n.º 3, a efectuar uma ronda de fiscalização. Na altura, por coincidência, estava lá um grupo de agentes que estavam a fazer uma formatura prévia à entrada de serviço programado para depois da meia-noite. Depois de uma revista rotineira ao grupo em formatura, o 2.º Comandante deparou que o aprumo e os fardamentos de cerca de dez agentes, não preencheram as condições previstas no regulamento da Corporação, pelo que deu advertências a todos presentes. Posteriormente, detectou ainda, que o estado de espírito de alguns dos agentes se encontrava relaxado, pelo que exigiu que esses agentes fizessem o exercício de extensão de braços (20 repetições para masculinos, e 10 para femininos), por forma a exaltar o ânimo. Os agentes concluíram o exercício em curto espaço do tempo, e entraram em serviço logo a seguir. Esta forma de dinamizar o estado de espírito é muito popular na UTIP, mas que é relativamente menos adoptada em restantes subunidades.
Depois de ver a situação através do sistema de vigilância, um agente com pouca antiguidade, de serviço na sala do graduado de dia, pensou que era uma novidade, e tirou, portanto, por meio do seu telemóvel, uma fotografia da imagem mostrada no écran do sistema, e transmitiu-a através da função “App” do seu telemóvel aos seus amigos, para efeitos de compartilha. No entanto, como não houve nenhuma legenda aderida à imagem, pode haver pessoas que juntassem triviais e deduzissem uma interpretação incorrecta da fotografia. Na verdade, depois de ter deparado que o aprumo e os fardamento de cerca de dez agentes não satisfizeram as condições preceituadas, o referido 2.º Comandante só lhes deu advertências, e nunca indicou que lhes aplicaria qualquer punição, muito menos para dizer o castigo físico.
A Corporação já instaurou um processo instrutor em relação ao assunto, para investigar se houve ou não alguém envolvido na infracção disciplinar. A fim de corrigir aquele que está mal divulgado, emito o presente comunicado."





Laicism vs the fanatics

IT’s hard to understand how a government in the XXI century is not based in laicism (a strict separation between matters of State and religion) and wants to impose morals to the masses.
But this is happening, to a bigger or lesser degree, in countries like Turkey, Egypt or Indonesia. Not by coincidence, in all the mentioned countries the prevalent religion is Islam.
It was Aldous Huxley who postulated that “defined in psychological terms, a fanatic is a man who consciously over-compensates a secret doubt.” In many case, the zealots couldn’t be the least bit concerned about religious righteousness. They use religion as a pretext to keep obsolete power structures that rule the governance of the country and especially of the family. In their retrograde perspective, to downgrade women’s condition (sometimes by enslaving them) is very convenient. Consequently they teach misogyny, xenophobia and ignorance (Can you teach ignorance? Yes you can) to their sons, with destructive – here I could use ‘bombastic’ - effects.
What’s happening in Turkey illustrates the process mentioned above. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government is trying to rework the constitution in order to strengthen the powers of the presidency, allowing him to shift into that role after elections in August 2014. His Islamic-rooted party’s government passed new restrictions on alcohol and tried to limit women’s access to abortion. He uses an authoritarian and meddlesome style and is wiling to leave a mark similar to that of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. Many would say that he has delusions of grandeur.
What started the protests three weeks ago was the public’s opposition to plans to develop Istanbul’s Gezi Park. The brutal crackdown on peaceful environmental activists opened the way to a wider protest. Istanbul is a cosmopolitan city and many educated Turks simply claim the right to maintain the freedoms they currently enjoy. “I don’t want to be told what time I should go to bed,” one of the protesters told an international TV channel. These claims were met with water cannons and the police turned to force to disperse thousands gathered in Taksim Square. Four people were killed during the anti-government protests and Erdogan dubbed demonstrators as “terrorists and bums.”

After weeks of confrontation with police, Turkish protesters showed immense dignity (comparable to Beijing’s ‘Tank Man’) by using a new form of resistance: they are standing silently in passive defiance against Erdogan’s authority.
It is yet to be seen where this standoff will lead, but the fact is that politicians like the Turkish Prime Minister could destabilize huge countries.
In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is gaining ground and may be fueling an explosive situation. Closer to us, the immense Indonesian archipelago, where all the major religions in the world coexisted peacefully - despite the fact that 86.1 percent of the 251 million Indonesians are Muslim - is now showing signs of turning to Muslim orthodoxy. In Burma, the Buddhist majority is slaughtering Muslims and both the government and Aung San Suu Kyi turn a blind eye.
And who better than Salman Rushdie, sentenced to death by the Ayatollah Khomeini for his thoughts, to explain what is underlying and breeding in all these countries? “Throughout human history, the apostles of purity, those who have claimed to possess a total explanation, have wrought havoc among mere mixed-up human beings,” he wrote.
(By PB, in MDT)


Em Macau: Em Lisboa:
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