A Letter To Father Áureo Castro

Epistolarium

Aurelio Porfiri

Dear Father,
I guess that where are you now, you can see everything clearer than from our “earthly observatory.” So I don’t need to tell you a lot about me and what I am doing here, in “our” Macau. But one thing I would like to confess to you: I admire your music skills. Everyone who talks with me will hear me praising your compositions, and I really think you deserve this. You were the most skilled liturgical composer in 20th century Macau. But unfortunately Macau was also your condemnation. Very little people know about you outside this little city, and it is a pity. But that was the problem in living in a city like this before the internet started. When I started to know your compositions I said to myself: “This is a real composer!” If you were living somewhere else a completely different destiny may have awaited you and your artistic career. But you were a priest, a missionary and you decided that your gift should be shared with people that maybe, in most cases, cannot appreciate it in full.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that there were no people at all who have realized how much you were talented. Indeed, now I can see everyone here is competing to show how much they loved you, cared for you, saying how good was your heart. Having myself my own share of difficulties in this city, I wondered why the same people that oppose me “a priori”, seem to love you so much. Then I have understood why. It has nothing to do with music composition or with anything related with (so-called) art. They love you so much because you passed away already, cannot threaten anymore the social status of anyone, the position of this or that in the local music scene, the social importance of this person or the other one. As you know better than me, Macau is a quite divided society that is united by a four-letter word: fear. And fear of the “foreigner” is probably the most powerful one. Here there is an order in society, a close system that does not value talent and creativity as much, but just that things “do not go out of order.” I am sure you know this better than I. We are “chaos”. But order is born from chaos and there will not be a new and better order if you don’t allow ‘chaos” and disorder to happen. Here the motto is “we have always done it like that.” Even if “like that” is awful, just keep repeating and please, keep “gweilo” out of the way.

You are loved because you are out of the game, kaput, fora. Am I waiting to die to be loved too? No father, because I passed away already few years ago. What I was, I am no more and now I just live in the little hearts of my students that are my only living hope that one day, maybe not too close, also in this city everyone will have a chance to conquer a true greatness, instead of being forced into the cold refuges of leveling mediocrity.

Aurelius scripsit

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