Saturday, January 21, 2006

“Baku malu” number 2

One of Daniel’s “malae” colleagues left Timor today after living here for nearly two years. His new destination is Yemen (I thought it was rather apt given that Timor’s Prime Minister is of Yemeni descent)! Daniel therefore becomes the second longest current serving “malae” at his NGO and he’s only been there for seven months! No wonder the Timorese are often reluctant to get to know “malae”; they come and go so often that it isn’t worth their time or effort.

A farewell party was held last night for this departing colleague. After eating white rice, tempe, tofu and vegetables and drinking a can of soft drink while talking to some of Daniel’s “malae” female colleagues we left around 9:30pm in a packed car (Daniel, me, one Timorese male driver, two Timorese women and one other “malae” woman). But first, we followed home a Timorese female colleague on her motorbike. I thought this very strange but I was told by another of Daniel’s Timorese female colleagues that after dark, solo women on motorbikes are sometimes rammed from behind by males in cars in order to knock them off their bikes so that they can assault the woman! My goddess I thought, how dreadful!

We subsequently heard that the party went until the wee hours of 4am until a “baku malu” (fight) ended it! Apparently, the NGOs security guard let in a group of local young men who were prowling the streets looking for a party (error number one). These men soon discovered that one of the few Timorese men present at the party (the partner of one of Daniel’s female “malae” colleagues) lived in an area of Dili that is engaged in a turf war with the area the group was from and threatened to beat him up after the party. The “malae” in whose honour the party was being held, heard this and told the group that they would do no such thing and fuelled by too much alcohol initiated a “baku malu” (error number two). People were hurt including the soon to depart “malae” and the Timorese man from the “wrong” area of Dili. Eventually the problem group of Timorese men were removed from the premises because there were so many more very big “malae” men who outnumbered the Timorese men. The police were also called. However, the Timorese men threatened to do more damage to both the Timorese man from the “wrong” area and the premises of Daniel’s NGO! Now the Director of the NGO has to go and see the “xefe suku” (village chief) and sort things out before the building is fire bombed by residents of the neighbourhood! You’d never guess that this NGO is a leading Human Rights organisation by the behaviour of some of its staff!

Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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