09 julho 2009

Outros portugueses

Católicos birmaneses (c.1890)
"I had only to go fifty yards from my gate to find myself among houses inhabited by the Castros and da Silvas. In the middle of the quarter was a Catholic church, not the original church, wich with its baroque façde would have been striking to see in such place, but a later barn of a building without architectural features. (...) The Portuguese, through intermarriage with the local residents, were hardly to be distinguished from them physically, nor retained their own language, but they were still Catholics. (...) A few were educated, spoke english, wore European clothes, and held minor government posts, but the majority were fishermen, not owners of the great fish traps wich were a feature of the locality (...). If I asked why they chose that profession, they would say "the sea called us", as if some memory of the intrepid navigators, who were their ancestors, still lingering with them. Sometimes they would sing sea shanties in a language which they did not understand, nor anyone could understand, but which seemed to be a Portuguese so corrupted that it had become a ringmarole.
(...) For church on Sundays they had a European jacket and trousers; and the woman did their hair in a fashion different from any used by local people (...)"

COLLINS, Maurice. Into Hidden Burma: an autobiography. London: Faber&Faber,1936

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