The news that former Executive Director of Lisboa Hotel, Alan Ho, has been found guilty of exploitation of prostitution raises some interesting questions.
There is little doubt that the timing of charges initially being laid is related to the government’s desire to clean up Macau’s image and we applaud their actions in doing so. It’s a positive step in presenting Macau to the world as a tourist and family friendly destination.
However, we would also hate to see Macau sanitized to the point where it is no longer the Macau we all know and love. It also brings us to the wider point of vices. Gambling and prostitution are controversial subjects and much of the pain Macau’s gaming industry has felt over the past 18 months comes down to the government’s reluctance for this to be what Macau is known for.
But the fact remains that gaming is a fundamental part of Macau’s cultural identity. Likewise, while prostitution is very much an underground industry rarely spoken about, it has long played its part in societies around the world and exists because, for right or wrong, there has always been and will always be a market for it.
So while we applaud efforts to clean up the city, let’s be careful not to lose the unique and colorful cultural aspects that make Macau what it is today.