MACAO: Awaiting the unpredictable.

MACAO: Awaiting the unpredictable. - Overshadowed by what is happening in Hong Kong, the older colony of Macau awaits 1999 and the Chinese with apprehension, writes Helen Kay.

Overshadowed by what is happening in Hong Kong, the older colony of Macau awaits 1999 and the Chinese with apprehension, writes Helen Kay.

In the square by the marketplace an old Chinese man sits at a rickety little table with a palmist's sign by his side; he is busy reading the hand of a client. The Chinese have long been interested in the art of prediction, but no one would be rash enough to predict what will happen when China takes over Macau, the gamblers' haven to which the Chinese come from Hong Kong when they want more than a flutter on the horses.

Hong Kong's transition from British colony to Chinese territory in 1997, has received large coverage but few recall that only two years later the Portuguese outpost of Macau will undergo a similar change.

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