- By Kate Springer
Interestingly, the casinos that give Macau such a sinful reputation are also one of the prime drivers of the territory’s longer life expectancy. Not only is Macau is the fourth-wealthiest territory in the world, but it also has the fastest-growing economy, reports the CIA World Fact Book. From gaming revenues alone, the territory raked in 351.5b patacas in 2014 and has consistently maintained a low unemployment rate, presently at 1.9%. Though currently on a volatile downturn, gaming has buoyed the economy over the years, with revenues accounting for 80% of the total GDP last year and gambling taxes contributing to the lion’s share of the government’s fiscal revenue. “Every tourist that visits Macau goes to those casinos. Of course that’s a good thing,” said Chan. “That’s how the government can afford to take care of us.”
It’s impossible to measure, but Chinese culture is another contributing factor to longevity in Macau. Among these intangible traditions, family and community relationships are considered the most important. Multi-generational families live together for the majority of their lives and rarely do elderly parents move into nursing homes.
Fat Suk’s wife, Mrs Chan, is still in her 80s. “We live a simple life, and I eat simple food, too. Usually blanched vegetables, some rice, fish and very little meat,” she said. A typical breakfast is toast and coffee or tea, and she looks forward to the weekends when her children take her to dim sum and spend the day together catching up on family matters. She wears a thin jade bracelet every day, a gift from her daughter, which she says brings her a sense of calm.