Jason Wordie’s mammoth Macao—Peoples and Places, Past and Present is a superb book, beautifully illustrated with photographs courtesy of Professor Anthony Headley Colin Day and maps by Wee Kek Koon. A review sums it up succintly “Macao the book does this for Macao the place; each building or site described stimulating its author to ruminate upon the history, culture and above all the people connected with it. Each thread Wordie teases from Macao’s fabric leads to another, as you follow him through the labyrinth of Macao’s meandering streets and back ways.”
Obviously, Chinese and Portuguese history, culture, peoples and architecture are the dominant themes in this book, captured in the sublime photographs in just about every page. Think of this book as a highly enjoyable guided tour, conducted especially for you by a noted historian and a witty, erudite writer. He is, as another reviewer noted, persuasive as well as entertaining.
More than a guidebook, Macao is first and foremost a scholarly work, bookended with an exhaustive bibliography and an alphabetical index and relevant footnotes. Portuguese and Chinese names and words are accompanied with English translations.
The author Jason Wordie is an established Hong Kong historian and writer. A history graduate at Hong Kong University, and blessed with a phenomenal memory, he swiftly established a reputation for popular historical walks, which he conducted in various parts of Hong Kong, Macao and Canton. Jason also contributes weekly to the South China Morning Post. A keen gardener and recreational hiker, he has made his home in the New Territories for over 25 years. His other works include Ruins of War, and the two volumes of Streets, describing Hong Kong and Kowloon.
Reading it has proved to be an absolute delight. When it thumped onto my table, I thought to myself “Ah, good, a guide book, I can just dip into this and don’t have to read it all,” only to start reading it from its beginning at the Macao Barrier Gate. Five days later, I amazed myself by finding that I had emerged from its closing pages at Coloane and had been absolutely enthralled every time I had buried my head in its text.—Nigel Collett, The Asian Review of Books
Macao People and Places, Past and Present é sobretudo uma visão de quem um dia chegou, viu e apaixonou-se pelas múltiplas camadas que esta cidade oferece para explorar.—Claudia Aranda, www.revistamacau.com/
In 1996, Jason Wordie received a number of manuscripts relating to Portuguese stones and statuary in Macau. It was a work begun and developed by Lindsay and May Ride, which Wordie went on to finish and entitled “The Voices of Macao Stones”. The book came out in 1999, but the author quickly realized that it would not be easy to stop writing about the territory. ‘Macao – People and Places, Past and Present’ – the result of over six years of work – has now been published, and was recently presented at Portuguese Bookshop. The extensive book aims to be an overview of the social history of the area, from the sixteenth century to present time, looking at the architecture, different communities, writers and other artists, gastronomy and everything that people passing through have brought to the city. —www.macaucloser.com/