Anybody see the wake-up call for the New Millenium in Asia? It was the Macau
handover to China broadcast live around the planet. Quite a telling
A simple ceremony, short and to the point. After 442 years of
Portuguese colonial rule the boys from Lisbon dropped in for a quick good-bye, a
goodluck to you too, and "Yeah, yeah, democracy's important, we've been pushing
it for centuries."
The Chinese color guard had practiced the flag-raising
routine 2,000 times. Looking like a proud, well-oiled machine, they marched in
without missing a beat. So, so crisp. Should one dare to use the adjective
The Portugese youngster cadets, for their part, reminded one
of an Abbot and Costello slapstick comedy: Who's on first, and...um... we're
sort of used to being What's on second. Out of step, indifferent, the kids
elicited shades of "We goose-stepped neutrally during the Big War and made money
both coming and going. But what the heck, we've been ordered to do it. Where is
It was over in a flash, no drama, and most of the Macanese
are eager for the Bejing cops to come in and clear up the gangster mess.
Nothing wrong with that.
To celebrate this momentous occasion,
the first person who can spell the Portugese president's name correctly and call
011-855-007 with the response will be rewarded with a special Welcome to the
Millenium prize. The gift should be a Mandarin dictionary but budgetary
constraints prohibit such an outlay.
One small, perhaps relevant footnote
to this historic event: Can anyone guess-once the Chinese lay down the law on
bad guys in Macau-where criminals quite comfortable in an environment with
gambling, drugs, corrupt cops, and guns might think of fleeing to in order to
avoid a new rule of law which will shortly include fast-track capital
punishment? Here's a subtle hint for concerned readers: it starts with a
** People are ready and willing to work. The newly
refurbished Monorom Hotel advertised last month looking to fill 60 positions.
More than 900 eager beavers showed up at their doorstep.
Bargain hunters with a healthy appetite be advised: One of the best culinary
deals in town is the 20-choice Antipasto trolley at the Papparazzi Italian Cafe.
At lunchtime, it's all you can eat for only $3.50.
** Fears of a
Y2K meltdown in Phnom Penh seem predictably muted. There has been no panic
buying of candles or batteries at local markets.