By Sofia Jesus

While the controversial demolition of part of the Lai Chi Vun shipyards is reportedly expected to take place this month, one villager is committed to showcase the village. David Marques is building “a little free library” there to “promote literacy,” and at the same time “raise awareness” about the place.

Mr Marques, who is an English teacher, decided to develop this project after noticing some of the villagers did not know how to read. He is building the wooden little free library with his own hands and carpentry skills, and hopes the construction work may be finished within two weeks.

The design of his little free library is inspired in architectural elements and techniques from the shipyards’ wooden structure and the village’s traditional houses. It is “a fusion between the shipyard frame and the villager house’s accents” that also conveys a “subtle message,” paying tribute to Lai Chi Vun.

The little free library will be “open to the public,” he explains. The idea is that anyone can go there and leave a book, or take one to read.

Mr Marques is also the President of the Lai Chi Vun Villagers Association. His mother was born in Lai Chi Vun. His father used to sell fresh water to the boat people there. “A kind of a floating grocery,” he tells mART.

Mr Marques believes there is lack of knowledge in Macau about his village and other places in Coloane. He has been active trying to showcase Lai Chi Vun. For instance, he is developing a Facebook community page aimed at acting as a “platform to share your events and information about the lovely village,” as it is described there. Other initiatives may follow.

The Government has decided to demolish part of the old shipyards in Lai Chi Vun due to safety reasons. But it is still not clear for some villagers and shipyard owners what exactly will be demolished, as newspaper Hoje Macau reported yesterday. Mr Marques tells mART many villagers agree “safety is important,” but there is still much uncertainty over the whole process.

According to today’s edition of newspaper Jornal Tribuna de Macau and Ponto Final, representatives of the Group for the Safeguard of Lai Chi Vun and the Macau-Coloane-Taipa Boat Builders Association met yesterday with villagers and owners of the shipyards at risk, and expressed they are against the demolition — and some are willing to try to stop it.