Jim Silva, A. Noronha, E.C. Santos

July 22nd, 2013 3 Comments

Here are more comments from readers on Macanese identity. Jim Silva, a frequent contributor, provides his perspective on name changes over the generations. Alberto Noronha and Eduardo Santos offer additional comments from their own experiences.

In other news, please look for our newsletter coming out in the next few days. If you have not signed up, please go to the “Newsletter” tab on the home page. I’ve also been working on a long article for publication on the Origins of the Macanese Diaspora. A section on the settlement of Macau from the early 16th century will be posted shortly on this web site. Finally, the 2013 Macanese survey will be distributed in early August. This is our annual population count of Macanese people from all over the world. Please look for the survey link on this site, in the newsletter, on Facebook, and via direct e-mail.

Thanks for reading and following our progress!

R.E. Xavier

Frederic Jim SilvaFrederic “Jim” Silva
San Francisco, California

“Where have all the Joses’ gone?” (Sing this softly to the tune of “Onde ja vai todo fula fula”, sung by Pedro, Paulo, and Maria)  (“Where have all the flowers gone?”, by Peter, Paul, and Mary)

Where and when I grew up in the 1930s … all of us Macanese had easily recognizable names. For instance, the names had to be Portuguese and mostly they had to be the names of our Holy Saints.

Jose’, Pedro, Henrique, Paulo, Francisco, Joao, Manuel, Filomeno, Artur. These were the names of my days and times! All acceptable and standard-no nonsense then.

Even then seldom could be found the really old fashioned names of previous generations. Out would be Hermenegildo, Agrapito, Policarpio, Sinibaldo, Calixto, Hypolito, Eurico, Gumelcindo, and Viriato. At that time too some ladies were called Serefina, Felicitas, Herminia, Etetvira and Teodora.

But times have changed. … Take a look at today’s crop. Not a saint amongst this lot. Where do they think they would go in the afterlife.  I shudder for an eternity with a Hunter, Chad, Brad, Clint or Scott.

Alberto Noronha
Maitland, New South Wales, Australia

Identity Intact.

Attached below is a poem from an aboriginal poet Deidre Currie  …  about what it is to be an aboriginal, which has always been in some dispute depending from which perspective you come from.

However i feel that it is a relevant option for the definition of a Filho or filha de macau,

“No matter how much you dilute
Mix, match and try to pollute
Our identity remains intact
Something you can’t change, that’s a fact
Our spirit is not measured by the shade of our skin
But by something stronger found within
A place you can not touch or take away
It will remain shining out till our dying day
We all connect with it again
No matter how far we’ve been.”

In Aboriginal identity it is the cultural identity not the racial composition which makes one an Aboriginal, so as Jim says if one identifies with Minchee and tachoo and diablo etc, with our language (see Jim’s book for nicknames), even if one does not speak it, it is the cultural identity which makes us an FM.

White society has regarded any form of miscegenation as coloured, our respective phenotypes range the whole gamut from European to South Asian to Malay, Japanese, and Chinese. But that was never in issue, it was whether we identified with our culture and nossa gente. (our people)

Genetically there were many Eurasian families who had little actual Portuguese blood so to speak, but were accepted as one of us, others who were Chinese or Japanese converts who on baptism accepted their baptismal names and were accepted as one of us.

Even those of the diaspora generation of an American, Canadian or other birth right, but who have been brought up to identify with our culture and our people, are as Jim asserts, our people.

Eduardo C. Santos

I claim to be Macanese. Immigrated from Hong Kong in ’69. However my children were always taught to be American. In your survey i counted my kids as Macanese. Perhaps as Jim Silva says the numbers are inflated, but then that’s what happens when people move around the world because of governments.

Alberto Noronha
New South Wales, Australia

Dear Dr. Xavier,

With our respective names, and that of my distant cousin Stuart Braga, our respective families are an often mentioned topics in your many interesting articles you have collated and edited of our early history.

May I take this opportunity to thank you for your efforts as our communities and history are at risk, we are grateful to Stuart Braga here in Australia … and who is now Dr. as so approved by the ANU,

Jim Silva and others have also contributed their insights to our mutual history. May I commend you for all your efforts.

I took the opportunity to make a small contribution to Jim’s article on what is a Macanese.

It has been said of our community that we are full of chiefs and not enough indians, but a blog like yours can only succeed if people contribute and it doesn’t have to be doctrinal theses, but oral historical memories before it all dies with our forbears. Thank you.

Alberto, I could not agree more. To all readers: Please go to the “Submit Memories” tab on the home page to tell us about your family.

P.S. I made the correction on your home town. Sorry for the error.




  1. Frank Correa says:

    Hello you all,

    Enjoyed your comments.


    Frank Correa,

    Melboune, Australia

  2. Al Noronha says:

    My dear Jim,

    My dad gave me the name Alberto after one of his brothers that passed away.

    I named my sons Guilherme Eduardo, Gabriel Ricardo and Emile Rui, respectively as i felt that with a surname like Noronha,it just didn’t ring right to have an Anglo name like Chad, Clint etc.But also for my Uncle Ermie in Guilherme’s case.

    However if you ask my sons whether i did them any favours in an Anglo culture like Australia, they may have a different point of view!

    Now my daugther in law Kymberley, have named her children Sophia Aida, and Amelia, which are older type names like what I would have called many an elder aunt in my days.I laugh out loud everytime I re-read your chapter on macanese nick names.

    So we parents have a great responsiblity for what we do to and for our children.


    Al Boy

  3. Al Noronha says:

    thank you for printing my ccorrespondence, the only minor error is that I live in Maitland NSW, which is a country town in the Hunter Valley of NSW where we have the wine makers and vineyards fighting the coal mines for its future. Maitland is 36 klms west from Newcastle. and 180 Klms north from Sydney. A population of 80,000.

    In fact I am ashamed to say that Western Australia is the one state I have not been to as yet

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