Saturday, December 24, 2005

Goodbye Timor, Hello Bali

We leave Timor today for a ten day rest and recuperation in Bali. We’ve never been to Indonesia before and to be honest, I was reluctant to visit given the atrocities committed by the Indonesian military against the Timorese. Having read some very brutal, horrific and utterly disturbing accounts of human rights abuses, I was totally put off ever visiting Timor’s former colonial masters. However, as the intensity of what I read lessened in my thoughts, I reconsidered my initial reaction and decided it wasn’t the Indonesian people per se who were at fault, but their very very corrupt government and military commanders. Indonesia was once a former colony of the Dutch and they too share some of the blame for what subsequently happened in Timor, given they never democratised Indonesia and left it with a colonial mentality legacy.

Before we caught our flight, we said goodbye to “our family” and presented them with a small Christmas gift of Walkers shortbread (I also shared these with my colleagues at work the day before). At my request, Daniel explained in Tetum that although the shortbread was from Scotland, due to our cultural heritage (both Daniel and I are of Scottish descent), we ate shortbread in Australia at Christmas time. We also placed a small furry toy kangaroo on top of the shortbread, which we had purchased before we left for Timor back in June. They appeared to be touched by the gesture. (It was also the best I could do given the very limited shopping opportunities available in Timor.)

We asked our family about the “baku malu” (fight) from the previous Sunday (see Welcome to the neighbourhood) and they explained that indeed one man from each of the two households had got into an argument which was fuelled by drinking too much alcohol. They assured us that everything was fine now and for us not to worry.

Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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