Rua de Macau 澳門街 – Heterotopic Urbanity in the Celebration of Place, Memory and Identity

by

Philippe Forêt

Keywords

  • Macau (1999-today)
  • place memory
  • heterotopia
  • Patúa creole language
  • postcolonial studies
  • urban geography

This paper would contribute to a definition of urbanity as a negotiated construction of heterotopia — an in-between space where place, community and language meet. In comparing narratives on spatial memory through the perspective of a language on the verge of extinction, my purpose is to highlight the link that native speakers may create between cityscape and community. I examine the media representations of urbanity and spatial alterity at the street level, in a multilingual setting, and in a physical environment that is severely constrained. I have gathered a coherent corpus of information on trans-linguistic urbanity, and selected a number of scenes on Macau’s heterotopia from Hollywood movies, public ads from colonial Hong Kong, Cantopop songs, and video clips in or on Patuá. Within this limited corpus, I have focused on instances of transition, and the mechanisms of parallelism and parody. This has led me to conclude that urbanity is a key element to understanding the significance of place in the relationship between dominant and subaltern languages and cultures.