Illusions and lies

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It’s not so much the lies that are told in Macau, but the way they’re disguised. For years, we have witnessed a systemic barrage of lies, both from the private sector and the government. These are lies and half-truths, often disguised as public relations exercises.
Yesterday, the Land, Public Works and Transportation Bureau (DSSOPT) published a full page ad in Chinese and Portuguese newspapers, informing the public about how it plans to go about strengthening the interconnection between public green spaces. Despite being often alerted to the need to inform all the public about its campaigns, English media readers were, once again, ignored. Meanwhile, the government insists that the English language is essential in a city that aims to become more international.
Just a few days ago, during the traditional Portuguese and English media luncheon with the Chief Executive, in the presence of all the secretaries – including the one that oversees the DSSOPT – Chui Sai On guaranteed all media his full support, just like he did at the Chinese media luncheon.
These are circumstantial words, which are not reflected in the real world, where the government departments keep showing complete disregard for the English media.
This newspaper has already spoken with secretary Raimundo do Rosário, just as it has spoken with all the other secretaries. They all listen and agree, but the results are here for all to see. Empty dailies, but for a few exceptions. Information is scarce and access to sources is difficult, not to mention the fact that the English media does not enjoy the privileges of the old law – from the Portuguese administration – that guarantees other newspapers exclusive ads, annual subsidies and other benefits.
The current president of the Cultural Affairs Bureau, who has already resigned, is one of the officials who promised much, but did little. Before taking office, he was one of the independent voices, but just a couple of years later, he was doing the same as everyone else. Such is the power of the system.
Quite a few government websites still provide no English versions, which is revealing of how political intentions have no reflection in practical life. It’s not a matter of ignorance, because this government is well aware of the power of the international language, and it’s not for lack of money either. Thus, it can only be negligence or some other obscure reasons.
If this is the way it is, then just admit it once and for all and enough with the hollow words of respect and support for the media and freedom of expression. What’s happening is a filtering effort, as illustrated by the Health Bureau (SSM). Despite all the appeals from the secretary himself, the SSM seem to be immune and its leadership remains inside a selective bubble of silence, talking to some and ignoring the rest – no explanations given. The secretary has been, more than once, placed in a very uncomfortable position by their actions. Powerless.
We wonder what the SSM hopes to gain by this. We’re sure their answer would be quite interesting. If only the silence was broken.