The author lived in the Portuguese colony of Macau when she was little. Through her childhood memories, it is possible to get a glimpse of the social and cultural facets of Macau in the 50s and 60s.
The Macau of today has evolved from a plain, quiet and peaceful small town to an internationally renowned destination for entertainment, shopping and gourmet food. Luxury casinos and hotel resorts abound, with numerous popular tourist sites, recreational attractions and fine dining opportunities, welcoming tourists from all parts of the world.
While witnessing the prosperous, bustling, shining “Las Vegas of the Orient” today, you may be more interested to follow in the author’s footsteps and stroll along the bygone pebble paths. As you hear the author’s stories and experience life in Macau from over half a century ago, you will come to appreciate its small-town charm and distinctive local culture.
“As a long-time foreign resident in Macau, I found Amy's book both enjoyable and interesting (even educational) to read. The pictures are great too. The translation from the original Chinese text and editing are top notch. I have been recommending it to my friends and colleagues, and our newspaper - The Macau Post Daily - has promoted it as a "must-read".
I was surprised that the Portuguese street and other Portuguese names in the book are all correct. Usually, this is not the case in English- and other foreign-language books about Macau.
I paid my first visit to Macau in 1980, and I have lived and worked here since 1985. Many of the things that Amy describes so well in her book were still present-day reality in Macau in the 1980s. Macau only began to develop dramatically after its return from Portuguese to Chinese rule in 1999. However, Macau's civil society has been quite resilient to change. What has changed more than anything else is its architecture and its economy - and, consequently, Macau people are no longer as poor as they used to be just a few decades ago - such as when Amy grew up here.
I am a journalist (both correspondent and editor) and translator by profession, and that's one more reason that I recommend the English-language version of her book - not only for those who live or lived (like Amy) in Macau, but also all those who have visited our beloved city or are planning to do so, or just want to read a great story about one of our planet's great cities. No doubt, Macau is one of the world's most thrilling cities (after all, James Bond author Ian Fleming dedicated a whole chapter to Macau in his "Thrilling Cities" - another book that do recommend to anyone interested in Macau). “
The Macau Post Daily
Memories of Old Macau: The Story of My Childhood
– An English Version book written by Amy Lau about the story of her early childhood in Macau.
“A charming story of early childhood experiences in Macau at the time of Portugal Administration.
Well illustrated with vivid sketches of the neighbourhoods surrounding the entire story, which also includes a well-developed street map.
In these memoirs Amy clearly portrays the guilelessness (trustiness) of a happy and contented childhood. Through childhood eyes perception of life was non-judgemental; it was a natural experience. Family values throughout the story were obvious; this was her “security blanket”.
A story easy to read and experiences well described, and makes the reader feel part of the story. A book highly recommended for young adults, and for grownups it is a powerful remembrance of by-gone days in Macau”.
Lost in the Battle for Hong Kong, December 1941
Second Edition 2021
READING IN TRANSLATION
Translations Reviewed by Translators
LIFE WRITING IS HISTORY MAKING: AMY LAU’S “MEMORIES OF OLD MACAU: THE STORY OF MY CHILDHOOD,” TRANSLATED FROM CHINESE BY GIGI LAM AND DR. WAI MAN CHAN
By Leilei Chen / 莫譯
To view the article, please click on the LINK below:
If you have ever wondered how Macau was like in the 1950s and 60s, Memories of Old Macau: The Story of My Childhood provides you with a very sentimental and genuine perspective from a child’s point of view. I love how Ms. Lau describes her living environment as a small family. It was a common accommodation arrangement in those years where a few families shared a flat. That means the kitchen and bathroom were also shared among the residents on the same floor. It would be difficult to imagine nowadays how individuals of that time period learned to be patient, kind and accommodating of each other. That was a strong sense of harmony which everyone tried to strive for.
Ms. Lau described how her parents worked hard and kept the family together. The love and care in the family portrays a happy environment for a young girl to grow up in. She was given a lot of independence in her daily life. She made friends and enjoyed school. Her amazing memory of details and her talent in writing gives the reader a clear picture of how creative children were in making up, modifying and adapting games to accommodate children of different ages. The sense of community among the children helped them in developing problem solving skills that could benefit them in their adulthood.
I grew up in a similar era on one of Hong Kong’s outlying islands. I have similar experiences as Ms. Lau in carrying out household chores. Reading her vivid narratives of Macau, the schools, the shops, the restaurants, the theatres, the bookstores, the jewelry shops and play spaces makes me feel like I was travelling back in time to my own childhood. Despite the economic hardship, we had such innocent and carefree environments to learn about the world with the care and love of our families.
Memories of Old Macau: The Story of My Childhood is a very pleasurable read. The arrangement of short chapters makes it easy to continue reading from where you left off. The descriptions and the development of characters enable the readers to build an amiable relationship with the story. The illustrator, Mr. Iu-Pui Chan used watercolour technique to present street views of Macau. The application of colours and strokes to the details of the buildings and the streets presents a peaceful and beautiful city. So, if you are looking for a nostalgic story and maybe experiences close to your own or you are curious about how Macau was like in the 1950 and 1960s, this could be a story that you will enjoy.
Written by Wai-Ling Lennon,
Retired Elementary School Teacher and former Resource
Manager at Alberta Education
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
The book's nuanced descriptions of Macau's bygone way of life and its cityscape as a Portuguese colony in southern China in the 1950s-1960s makes the reading both entertaining and educational. The stories cover the author's eight years of living in Macau following her parents who owned a stall business in the streets. The bittersweet of a hard life stays side by side with the joy and hope of the child. The book's detailed documentation of life reminds readers the importance of recording our own lives. Macau's dazzling diversity proves eye-opening as it unsettles familiar views about China and loosens the tie between race and place. The warmth and affection for the lost past also invites us to think critically about global capitalism and the harm it has done to the environmental and social wellbeing of today's world.
The book represents marginalized voices. The geographical focus of Macau on the periphery of European colonialism, the author's identity as a Chinese Canadian woman of colour, the translation of creative nonfiction make the book a worthy read.
Dr. Leilei Chen 莫譯
Thank you for writing such a beautiful book: “Memories of Old Macau” and I also congratulate your successful release of the English edition.
Coincidentally, when I was your age, my family also moved to Macau in 1958 and we lived there for 12 years. In Macau, our house was just a short walk from your school. I’m quite sure that you have walked past our house on your way to school. So, we should have very similar memories of the old Macau.
My first trip back to Macau for a short visit was 40 years after our family moved away. That trip was a bittersweet experience. As you mentioned in the book, over the years, Macau has changed from a small fishing village like community to a world class Las Vegas style of touristy town.
The area around the bronze horse statue we used to call South Bay was also my favorite spot. During the annual mid-autumn festival, we used to go there to watch the rising moon above the water and enjoy the gentle cooling breeze. I treasure my memory of the salty air, flickering lights on the water and the occasional treat of a cold drink. I was saddened to see that area has been replaced by all those casino hotels.
Your book has brought my memories of old Macau back to life and it gives the opportunity for my children to learn about my childhood. For your hard work, I can’t express enough of my gratitude.
- Portuguese-Chinese Place Names 葡中地名對照表
- Neighbourhood Where the Author Spent Her Childhood 作者小時候生活圈示意圖
- Foreword 前言
- Preface 序
- Acknowledgements 鳴謝
- 1. Dad’s Departure from Canton 父親離開廣州
- 2. Farewell to Canton 別了廣州
- 3. The Ferry Arrived 輪船泊岸了
- 4. On a Pedicab 三輪車上
- 5. Rua de S. Domingos 板樟堂街
- 6. Senado Square 議事亭前地
- 7. Nam Van Seashore 南灣海濱
- 8. Rua das Estalagens and Beco da Pinga 草堆街和草堆橫街
- 9. Rua dos Mercadores and the Local Market 營地大街和街市
- 10. Octagonal Pavilion and Santa Rosa de Lima Secondary School 八角亭與聖羅撒女子中學
- 11. Travessa do Auto Novo 清平直街
- 12. Haircut 理髮記
- 13. Chopping Wood and Carrying Water 破柴和擔水
- 14. The Russian Landlord 俄羅斯房東
- 15. Yellow Dog and Blissful Quilt 黃狗和百福被
- 16. Obtaining a License 領牌
- 17. We Started Our Stall Business 我們開檔了
- 18. Playmates on Rua de Camilo Pessanha 爐石塘上的玩伴
- 19. Ming Sang Paper Store 明生紙號
- 20. Pacapio Store 白鴿票舖
- 21. Travessa dos Mercadores and Travessa dos Alfaiates 十八間和小新巷
- 22. Time to Go to School 我上學了
- 23. The First Day of Kindergarten 幼稚園的第一天
- 24. On the Way to School 上學的路上
- 25. Rua de S. Paulo and Long Row of Tenements 大三巴街和長樓
- 26. Ms. Wu, My Most Respected and Beloved Teacher 我最敬愛的胡老師
- 27. Miss Kwong and Miss Yu 鄺老師和余老師
- 28. A Classmate from Peru 秘魯來的同學
- 29. Former Campus of Pui Ching and Sister Carmen Lau Ying-Tak 培貞舊校舍和劉英德修女
- 30. Pui Ching’s New Campus 培貞新校舍
- 31. Memories of Primary School Subjects 小學科目雜憶
- 32. Ink Box and Silkworm Box 墨盒與蠶盒
- 33. Candy and Tobacco 糖果與香煙
- 34. Red Market and Child Abductor 紅街市與拐子佬
- 35. Camões Garden 白鴿巢公園
- 36. Letters 信
- 37. Bronze Horse Statue and Café 銅馬．茶座
- 38. Tea House 茶樓
- 39. Rua de Cinco de Outubro and Hong Kung Temple 十月初五街與康公廟
- 40. Rua de Camilo Pessanha and Tak Ming Tea Restaurant 爐石塘和德銘茶餐廳
- 41. Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro and Mid-Autumn Festival 新馬路與中秋節
- 42. Rua dos Ervanários 關前正街
- 43. Santo António Square and St. Anthony’s Church 花王堂前地和聖安多尼堂
- 44. Oriental Theatre 東方戲院
- 45. Cheng Peng Theatre 清平戲院
- 46. Apollo Theatre and Victoria Theatre 平安戲院和域多利戲院
- 47. Teatro Capitol and Shaw Brothers Films 國華戲院與邵氏電影
- 48. Radio Vilaverde 澳門綠邨廣播電台
- 49. Good Morning to You 祝君早安
- 50. Chinese New Year 過年
- 51. Toys 玩具
- 52. Rain and Laundry 落雨收衫
- 53. Soap and Laundry Powder 肥皂和洗衣粉
- 54. Braids and Hair Buns 辮子和丫角髻
- 55. Children’s Games and Toys 兒戲和童玩
- 56. Tears and Repairs 補破爛
- 57. The Banquet 夜宴
- 58. Movie Stars and Calendar Posters 明星和月份牌
- 59. Vox Amica Pictorial and The Children’s Paradise 《良友之聲》和《兒童樂園》
- 60. Children’s Songs and Nursery Rhymes 兒歌．童謠
- 61. Making Paper Bags 糊紙袋的故事
- 62. Little Bookshop and Ho Tai Stationery Store 小小書店與可大文具店
- 63. Pawnbroking and Tak Seng Pawnshop 典當業與德成按
- 64. A-Ma Temple and Worship 媽閣廟與拜拜
- 65. Swimming Shed and Macau Grand Prix 泳棚和大賽車
- 66. Takshing, Fat Shan, and Tai Loy Ferries 德星、佛山與大來
- 67. Ah Mui 阿梅
- 68. My Grandmother 我的外祖母
- 69. My Maternal Education 我的母教
- 70. Farewell to Macau 別了澳門
- Afterword 後記
- Index 索引
- Ponto Final 句號報 「Amy Lau publica ‘best seller’ das suas memórias de infância em língua inglesa」 [2022-03-23]
- Jornal Tribuna de Macau 澳門論壇日報 「TRADUZIDO PARA INGLÊS LIVRO SOBRE AS MEMÓRIAS DE MACAU」 [2022-03-23]
- The Macau Post Daily 澳門郵報 「Exploring the past through Amy Lau’s ‘Memories of Old Macau: The Story of My Childhood’」 [2022-03-29]
- 澳門日報 Macao Daily News 「彩筆繪舊城：文與畫的情緣」 [2022-05-03]
- 澳門日報 Macao Daily News 「一個孩童記憶中難忘的樸素小城」 [2022-06-12]
- The Macau Post Daily 澳門郵報 「Amy Lau presents 'Memories of Old Macau: The Story of My Childhood'」 [2023-05-08]
新書推介及主題演講：〈舊澳門的小城風光〉 Book Presentation and Theme Talk on: "Scenery of a City: Memories of Old Macau"
- The event was highlighted by a display of the original artworks of the book illustrations by the famous local artist, Mr. Chan Iu-Pui.
- 劉全艷 Amy Lau
- 2023年5月6日(六) 14:00 - 15:00
- 澳門國際研究所 Instituto Internacional De Macau (IIM) Magnificent Court (Venus Court), 240 R. de Berlim