The Nanfang / Blog

Mainlanders Perplexed by Polite Traffic Etiquette in Macau

Posted: 12/23/2014 4:02 pm

macau stopping for pedestrians trafficYou wouldn’t think that a story about drivers voluntarily stopping for pedestrians at crosswalks and pedestrians patiently waiting at traffic lights would be news, but in China, it is.

For the uninitiated, traffic in mainland China is not about yielding to others. Instead, the “right of way” is something given to whomever can get there first. Chinese roads are treacherous, as both aggressive driving and jaywalking are common.

That’s why this CCTV report, which was about Macau, has attracted so much attention.

macau stopping for pedestrians trafficChinese people have long said that the aggressiveness on the roads is cultural, and how Chinese people get things done in time. The fact the politeness happened in Macau – a Chinese territory filled with Chinese residents – was perplexing.

Many commentators scoffed at the Macau example, saying it wouldn’t work in the mainland:

If it was like this on the mainland… when going to work in the morning, you’d wait until it turned dark before you were able to pass the pedestrian crossing.

If it was like this on the mainland, drivers would not be able to move…

Actually, it’s like this everywhere outside of China: cars will all stop for people! They’ll willingly brake and let you (pedestrians) go first! However, the problem is that there are few foreigners (in China)!!
Have you ever considered all the cars in line that are held up when the car in front stops for a pedestrian in China? What’s more, are you able to stop for all the pedestrians here?

macau pedestrian crossing

Idiot. How many people are there in Macau versus how many people in mainland China? Complying to these terms would mean heavy traffic congestion.

This works as long as the population is low. To institute this on the mainland would to cause a traffic jam that would be backed up right to the base of the Great Wall of China.

It’s not that they can’t learn. With so many people in China, there’s no way to let them go (ahead).

If you read other comments, you’ll see that the problem isn’t too many people, but the pedestrians themselves:

It’s not that they won’t learn (to follow the Macau custom), it’s that mainland Chinese pedestrians don’t have the ability to see while drivers wait at intersections (for them). Don’t think about trying to trying to take the car out for a drive in the morning. If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself.

So many people… when witnessing the morning and evening rush hour… (a legion that is) simply without end. 

On the other hand, some say that it is the drivers that are causing the problem:

I have personally experienced the pedestrian crosswalks in Macau! Everyday while going to work an electric scooter or two nearly collides with me. You’re taking your life in your own hands when commuting to work or back home.

Others say the discrepancy is because Macau follows laws:

According to traffic rules, Macau drivers have it very different than mainland drivers. Drivers must completely stop for pedestrians at a pedestrian crosswalk, or when pedestrians have the green light. As they must wait until pedestrians are one meter away from their cars before driving off, drivers can not transgress upon the safety of pedestrians. On the other hand, people who cross against red lights will still be dealt with under the law if they are hit.

Harsh penalties will instill good habits. (Bad driving is a sign of the) unresigned determination that typifies all mainlanders located up until the Yellow River.

Before we write off the entire mainland, many pointed out that fellow tourist town Hangzhou has drivers that are similarly courteous to those in Macau:

It’s like this in Hangzhou, too.

Hangzhou is able to do this, though there are pedestrians that cross when the light is red.

I’ve stayed in Hangzhou for an extended time. Hangzhou drivers will stop for pedestrians at crosswalks!

macau pedestrian crossing And a few more:

The normal compliance of traffic rules has become a system of learning by example.]

One country, two systems…

No traffic lights! Either (you’re a pedestrian) that gets run over by a car, or (a driver) that gets swindled! (implying a use of the “broken vase” trick)

Macau is rich, but what does the mainland have? A Macau passport has all types of visa exemptions, but what (benefits) does a mainland visa have?

One more thing Macau has are traffic-awareness programs that promote safety at pedestrian crossings. If mainland China wants to follow Macau’s example, they’ll need to hire these guys, and their costumes.

macau stopping for pedestrians trafficPhotos: aomenshizheng, macaocp, CCTV


Mainland Tourists, Avoiding Hong Kong, Head to Macau Instead

Posted: 10/7/2014 9:16 am

Tourists walk past a luxury store in Hong Kong

The number of mainland tourists to Macau swelled to 1.2 million in the first four days of the week-long national holiday, surpassing the figures recorded last year as people stay away from Hong Kong as streets remain blocked with protesters.

On October 3, more than 300,000 visitors entered Macau, more than double last year’s 115,800 tourists on the second day of the week-long holiday, according to figures released by Zhuhai Exit and Entry Frontier Inspection Station and Macau Government Tourism Bureau.

Meanwhile there were 157,212 Mainlanders heading to Hong Kong on October 1, a 2 percent decline compared with a year ago, Wall Street Journal reported. China has temporarily suspended visas for tour groups heading to the city because of the unrest.

Anti-occupy protesters beat a protester in Mongkok.

According to figures released by the Hong Kong Immigration Department, 165,685 visitors from mainland China arrived in the city on the second day of the national holiday, a 70 percent decline from last year. It’s a “very low percentage during the Golden Week,” wrote Shenzhen Evening News on October 4.

Pro-Beijing Chinese newspaper Ta Kung Pao said the protests have brought instability and financial losses to the city. ANT bank estimated the protests cost the city HK$2.2 billion of losses in retail, the newspaper reported.

Photos: Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty ImagesTyrone Siu/Reuters



Labor Strife in Macau as City Faces Growing Political Unrest

Posted: 08/27/2014 11:05 am

macau casino protestThe latest of a series of protests by casino workers in Macau not only appears to display a greater willingness to demand better working conditions, but also a growing political awareness as the former colony looks for answers on how to improve governance.

On Monday, more than 1,000 casino workers marched through Macau streets stopping at some of the territory’s biggest casinos such as Sands China, Galaxy Entertainment Group and SJM Holdings. They are demanding a 10 percent pay increase for all workers below the manager’s level, a restriction on hiring foreign workers, and an extension of the smoking ban to cover the entire casino.

The demonstration is said to be the largest of the seven protests held by casino workers this year. The largest on record took place last October with some 3,000 angry workers.

The protests are happening against a backdrop of some political unrest in the city. Over the weekend, an unofficial referendum was scheduled to be held on democracy, one similar to the referendum held by Hong Kong earlier this year. However, local police partially shut down the polls, even though participants could still vote online.

The unofficial referendum poses two questions: whether there should be universal suffrage for the 2019 election for chief executive, and if voters have confidence in Fernando Chui, the current chief executive and only candidate on the ballot for this Sunday’s vote.

For their part, the casino workers union says it is strongly behind the unofficial referendum, which has so far received 6,000 votes. In comparison, Hong Kong, which has a much larger population, received 800,000 in its referendum earlier this summer.

Photo: BBC


Six Year-old Panda Xinxin Dies in Macau

Posted: 06/23/2014 4:36 pm

xinxin panda death macau chinaXinxin the great panda has died in Macau, China. She was six years-old.

A gift of the central Chinese government, Xinxin arrived in Macau on December 18, 2010 in a well-publicized campaign that brought her over in a custom-designed Air China passenger jet. There, Xinxin was a regular fixture at the Great Panda Hall in the Shipaiwan Wilderness Park where she delighted many visitors wanting to catch a glimpse of China’s national/endangered animal.

Xinxin is survived by her partner that was also gifted to Macau, Kaikai. With their names spoken together as “Kaikai Xinxin”, the couple’s name becomes the Chinese word for “happiness”.

It was during a routine checkup in May that staff at the panda center discovered Xinxin was suffering from a kidney problem. Then, as if to exacerbate the situation, Xinxin entered the all-important “breeding season” two weeks ago. At this time, Xinxin became tempermental and lost her appetite.

At a press conference held late last night by the the general office of the Special Administration Region of Macau, it was announced that Xinxin had passed away at 8:18pm on June 22 from a kidney failure.

Estimates to the remaining number of pandas in the world range from 3,000 to 1,600.



Mainland Prostitutes Rounded Up in Macau

Posted: 06/20/2014 2:09 pm

macau prostitution bustA late night raid by the Macau vice squad on June 19 has resulted in the capture of 29 mainland women suspected of engaging in prostitution on Jinguang Boulevard in Liudang District, reports Y Net.

Two mainland men were also detained in the raid, and are suspected of profiting from prostitution.

Ever since a crackdown on prostitution in Dongguan began last February resulting in over 3,000 people arrested, there has been an exodus of sex workers traveling to Shenzhen and beyond.

macau prostitution bustmacau prostitution bustmacau prostitution bustmacau prostitution bustmacau prostitution bust


[h/t @missxq]

Photos: Y Net


Macau Tightens Visa Rules For Mainland Visitors

Posted: 06/19/2014 5:01 pm

macau customsIf you’re a Chinese mainlander and want to go gamble in Macau, one surefire way to circumvent existing entry requirements is by entering as a transit visitor on your way to a third country—but actually have no intention of going anywhere else but the craps table.

Sorry, Danny Ocean with Chinese characteristics: the gig is up.

Macau has just announced changes to its entry requirements to deter mainland high-rollers from coming to the territory. Starting on July 1, mainland visitors holding a Chinese passport in transit will only be allowed to stay a maximum of five days, down from an original seven, according to Bloomberg.

READ: Guangdong Residents Can Now Visit
Hong Kong and Macau with Their Fingerprints

However, some critics of the plan point out that the change won’t actually succeed at what it’s supposed to accomplish. Jose Pereira Coutinho, a directly elected legislator in the 33-member Legislative Assembly, said, ”It won’t help resolve the existing problem for some mainland visitors to travel to Macau without traveling to another destination.” In other words, they can still get a lot of gambling done in the new five-day period.

The last time Macau made changes to its entry requirements was in 2008 when it shortened the maximum stay from 14 days to seven. As well, mainland tourists that re-enter Macau within 30 days of their previous stay will only be allowed to stay one day, down from two days.

Additionally, China UnionPay has promised to clamp down on illegal payments made with handheld devices in Macau gambling establishments, an amount analysts say was worth billions last year.


Photo: deltabridges


UFC Fight Night Macau Features Cung Le Vs Michael Bisping

Posted: 05/27/2014 9:40 am

It’s…. time! We could not be more stoked at this announcement: Cung Le is slated to fight Michael Bisping as the headline event at UFC: Macau 3 on August 23 at the Cotai Arena/Venetian Hotel in Macau.

Yesss. We’ve been waiting for Le’s return for too long, and now we’ll get to see more of mixed-martial arts’ best practitioner of kicking techniques, bar none.

Le is a world-famous kickboxer and former Strikeforce champion. He hasn’t fought often in the UFC, but had last appeared at the first UFC event to be aired from China, UFC: Macau, in which Le triumphantly knocked out the Cable Guy-version of Jim Carey known as Rich Franklin back in November, 2012.

We have been starving for good MMA fights in China. Besides the pushing matches broadcast on Chinese television in which any contact with an opponent’s head is simply rude and not allowed, we’ve had our hopes dashed by the lone UFC representative for China, Zhang Tiequan. Though he has the right name for a fighter*, Zhang didn’t do very well in the UFC having been KO’ed in 2012 by—get this—a Japanese fighter.

We’ve all seen the movies, and we’ve been told that all martial arts come from the Shaolin Temple. However, while the monks go on long promotional tours with licensed merchandising, it seems the progress of martial arts has stagnated ever since Bruce Lee dared to challenge the orhtodoxy of an insular disciple-based school of martial arts.

It was Lee that reformed modern martial arts and adopted new ideas like sparring and mixing components of various martial arts. Meanwhile, while developmental programs like Ultimate Fighter: China are starting to make headway, it seems the development of martial arts in China—mixed or otherwise— is limited to advances in wire-fu technology and in the selection of historical characters for idolatry.

Le was born in Vietnam and raised in the USA, but he’s the closest thing China has to a “traditional” martial artist if you’re willing to shuffle over geo-political lines. At the very least, Le appeared in the very best modern Chinese action movie about a safari hat-wearing Sun Yat-sen, Bodyguards and Assassins, starring alongside China’s embodiment of hair gel and wife beaters, Donnie Yen.

With this fight taking place in China, we’re sure that this will be an exciting bout as Le should galvanize the home crowd, something we’re sure will happen once Bisping says his next offensive comment to share the hurt feelings around.

Yeah… okay, we have to admit it: so there’s some tension going on between China and Vietnam right now, something that may make Chinese mainlanders rooting for a Vietnamese-American something of a long shot. But then, just look at who is on his T-shirt:cung le mma ufc

Give him a chance, China. Pump up, pump up.

Tickets for UFC: Macau 3, also known as Fight Night 48, will go on sale June 23.

* Zhang Tiequan is written as 张铁泉, and is an effective a pun in that “Iron Spring” sounds like “Iron Fist”

Photo: MMA Junkie, Cung Le Weibo


Mainland China “leases” land to Macau in historical first

Posted: 08/27/2013 10:30 am

In an interesting recent development that was actually finalized back in July — but one that perhaps only the keenest China-watchers will have read about — Macau is now one square kilometre larger thanks to the University of Macau’s new campus on Hengqin Island, a small area of the Zhuhai Special Economic Zone in south Guangdong.

“[This] is a historical moment and a monumental milestone for the development of both Macau and the Chinese mainland… [and] also bears testimony to the flexibility, innovation and potential of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle. Many people would regard such changes as inconceivable,” China Daily said in an article last week.

As if to signal just the extent to which the Central Government is serious about the area on Hengqin Island becoming a legitimate part of Macau under the “One Country, Two Systems” framework (as with Hong Kong), people there will be able to “practice academic freedom, have unrestricted Internet access, and enjoy social and political rights as they do in Macau [or Hong Kong].”

What is perhaps even more fascinating is the possibilities that this latest cooperation between the mainland and a Special Administrative Region could signal for the future.

“The Hengqin model can also serve as an important reference for the Hong Kong SAR (HKSAR), where development has come to a bottleneck. With the support of the central government, Shenzhen can consider leasing portions of its land to the HKSAR allowing the HKSAR government to exercise jurisdiction over it.”

What we are therefore seeing here may be the beginning of an entirely new and fundamentally different chapter in the story of China’s administration until now. We may begin to see more and more cooperation and “leasing” of highly innovative or developed areas in the mainland to various SAR regions. That is something that could potentially benefit both sides, and could be a step in the right direction in the longer-term goal of uniting the people’s of the “Two Systems.”

“Macau and Hong Kong will be asserting greater influence on the area. In the 1980s, Shenzhen was an economic experiment, and now this is a governance experiment,” Fu Hualing, a constitutional scholar at the University of Hong Kong, told The New York Times in July. For more details and insights into the whole project, I suggest you the a look at the NYT article, which includes research and interviews with experts in the field.

In any case, expect Hong Kong and Macau to have more influence in the Guangdong region as integration between the three areas is further realised — perhaps in unexpected ways. For now, the lease acquired by the Macau government on Hengqin only lasts 40 years, but it’s an interesting experiment and could perhaps be extended indefinitely after that. Tellingly, Macau’s status as a semi-autonomous region also expires in 2049.

Photo credit: University of Macau


See Hong Kong and Guangzhou go dark to mark Earth Hour

Posted: 03/25/2013 3:54 pm

With Cipriana Botez and Josh Allerton in Guangzhou and Danny Lee in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour

Hong Kong may be ‘Asia’s World City’ and a global financial hub, but it also has the dubious title of the world’s worst light polluter – making this Earth Hour even more appropriate.

Darkness fell for 60 minutes on Saturday as cities from around the world joined people in flicking off the lights to raise awareness about climate change.

Tourists gathering on Tsim Sha Tsui’s waterfront were disappointed the city’s had cancelled its nightly light show, but still cheered when the lights went out on many of Hong Kong’s hundreds of skyscrapers precisely at 8pm.

For one hour, the Pearl River Delta was dark.

Guangzhou’s Zhujiang New Town

Guangzhou’s brightly illuminated skyline was missing a few of its symbols. The Canton Tower, along with the neighbouring IFC and Opera House, merged with the dark night sky as they switched off their glittering lights.

Vincent Qiu, who has worked as a Senior Duty Manager at the Canton Tower since its opening in 2010, thinks participating in Earth Hour is part of the Tower’s responsibility to raise environmental awareness.

“I think that as a landmark of the city, the Canton Tower should join such organised events because nowadays the air pollution is very serious,” he said. “We have a very big impact, not just in Guangzhou, but also in the whole China.”

Macau, which also dimmed its lights, fared far better than Hong Kong in adding some weight to its green credentials.

Thirteen major hotels in the gambling enclave joined forces to switch off their lights, and will do so every month in order to conserve energy.

Dining in the dark

Poolside at the China Hotel, a Marriott Hotel, in Guangzhou, a modest yet warm atmosphere engulfed the terrace and indoor restaurant, with candles lit on all the tables and guests dining in the darkness.

“It only began a few years ago so it’s amazing to see how fast it has grown around the world,” said Food & Beverage Guest Service Manager David Nebehay. “The people who created this event were leading by example and that’s what we want to do here, lead by example.”

Ever since Hong Kong joined the ranks of the Earth Hour movement in 2009, it has emitted 35,000 hours of light pollution, while only saving four hours in the process.

A balance is yet to be struck between the environment, and in Hong Kong’s case, tourism. It still doesn’t have laws to deal with external lighting which could alter the skyline’s DNA.

This year’s Earth Hour was set among the backdrop of the worst air quality readings in Beijing, accompanied by thick, hazy, grey skies and more research to suggest pollution in Hong Kong caused several thousand premature deaths.

Check out The Nanfang’s photos in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, at the Canton Tower and the Marriott Hotel, a China Hotel in Guangzhou.


Macau buckles under the weight of mainland tourists, considering limiting visitors

Posted: 03/14/2013 4:39 pm

Macau has been reaping the benefits of an influx of money entering its vast casino resorts in recent years, most of which comes from the deep pockets of wealthy, mainland gambling addicts.

But the millions of mainlanders that pour over the border each year are causing the same problems in Macau that they cause in Hong Kong: namely, they put a severe strain on local infrastructure.

Tourism chiefs have announced a series of measures including looking at a quota on the number of tourists going into the territory and showcasing its less well-known attractions to offset the traffic the most popular attractions get. A review of Macau’s individual visitor scheme is also underway to look at ways of stemming the flow of tourists.

Reducing the number of people who can enter Macau would likely have a positive effect on the border immigration process, which is known for its marathon-long queues. At the moment, 28 million people visit the gambling enclave each year.

Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, the director of Macau Government Tourist Office, told SCMP:

“We will see how we can, through booklets, maps and signage, direct visitors from [the worst crowded] tourist areas to nearby places that are also rich in historical and cultural colour.”

When asked about slapping limits or quotas on the number of tourists, Ms Fernandes refused to comment or rule out the idea, which was initially put forward by the Macau Policy Research Office, a think tank in the territory.

In reaction to the current situation, a new 24-hour border crossing is being proposed to cope with future demand.

The move would alleviate the stress of transiting through Gongbei Port, which has become a key rail hub for high-speed trains to Guangzhou and beyond.

Image: Danny Lee

Keep in Touch

What's happening this week in Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou? Sign up to be notified when we launch the This Week @ Nanfang newsletter.

sign up for our newsletter

Nanfang TV