Macau used to be a sleepy backwater where Hong Kong people went for weekend getaways. Journalists in the English media used to describe Macau as an enclave. But the tiny city has changed beyond recognition in recent years. Today’s Macau is no longer a sleepy backwater or an enclave. It has changed into a global casino hub (center) with more gambling revenue than Las Vegas. Most of the people who go there for getaways now are mainlanders, not Hong Kong people. I went to Macau last week for an overnight getaway. It is no longer the Macau I knew even five or six years ago.
The adjective “sleepy” used this way means quiet, peaceful, or slow-moving. The noun “backwater” is used to describe small and quiet towns with not much activity. A getaway is a short holiday. An enclave is a small place with people who are different from the people living in the surrounding area. Macau, which is much smaller than Hong Kong, was an enclave with a Portuguese culture because it was a Portuguese colony. If something has changed beyond recognition, it means it has changed so much that you can no longer recognize it. There are so many casinos with bright lights, especially on the Cotai Strip, I felt dizzy. I chose to stay at an old but very relaxing resort hotel without a casino on Coloane because I don’t like to gamble.
I love Portuguese white wines but most shops and restaurants now mostly have red wines because mainland tourists prefer them. Luckily, the hotel I stayed in had one type of Portuguese white wine. I spent my overnight getaway at my hotel drinking white wine and looking at the beautiful sea view. A taxi driver told me there are still pockets of the old Macau with Portuguese restaurants that locals go to. The word “pocket” used this way means a small area. I will try to find these pockets of the old Macau when I go there next time.
澳門曾經是個寧靜而落後之地（sleepy backwater），就是香港人會去過個周末短假（getaways）的地方。英語媒體的記者曾將澳門形容為「飛地」（enclave）。然而，這個細小的城市近年已起了翻天覆地的變化（changed beyond recognition），今日的澳門已不再是寧靜的窮鄉僻壤（sleepy backwater）又或是飛地（enclave）了，它已轉變為一個國際賭場中心（hub），博彩收入比拉斯維加斯還要多。現在，大部份前往度短假（getaways）的多是內地人，而非香港人。我上星期去了澳門度短假（getaway），在那裏住了一晚。那不再是我五或六年前所認識的澳門了。
形容詞sleepy在這裏是指寧靜或緩慢的。名詞backwater是用來指細小、安靜、沒有甚麼活動的小鎮。A getaway就是短假。An enclave就是飛地，意指住該地的人跟四周包圍着他們的人是不同的。比香港細小得多的澳門，曾經是個擁有葡萄牙文化的飛地（enclave），因為它曾是葡萄牙的殖民地。若某事已changed beyond recognition，即是指它已變得面目全非，你再也認不出它來。那兒有許多燈光璀璨的賭場，尤其是路氹金光大道那邊，令我頭暈目眩。我選擇下榻路環一家沒有設置賭場、老舊但閒適的度假酒店，因為我不喜歡賭錢。
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧