The preservation of macau's intangible colonial heritage: The case of patúa

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The heritage literature by and large suggests that heritage, in both its tangible and intangible forms, possesses the power to confer cultural identity to people(s), and the desirability of preserving heritage is often justified along those lines. When it was enlisted into the Macau Intangible Heritage List in 2012, Patúa became one of the special administrative region's 10 official intangible heritages. Patúa is a Luso-Asian Creole spoken by the "sons of the land" since the 16th century when Macau was founded by the Portuguese. It is widely believed to be on its way to extinction. This article suggests that, in this instance, the difficulties of saving intangible heritage can be explained through rational human behavior amid political and demographic changes. It investigates whether Patúa still provides any degree of cultural identity, either to the people of Macau at large or to the minority of its inhabitants for whom it really qualifies, historically speaking, as cultural heritage. It also explores the potential of Patúa as an ingredient of heritage products for tourists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-102
Number of pages12
JournalTourism, Culture and Communication
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Colonial intangible heritage
  • Creole
  • Macau
  • Patúa


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