Thursday, July 13, 2006

Romanticising pre-modern societies

The night we arrived in Darwin was half price movie day and I really wanted to go as it is one of the many things I miss about living in Timor (there is no cinema). I spent a mere hour at the farewell dinner at a way too loud bar/pub/restaurant, where again I felt decidedly old, but did manage to win a schooner of beer and a free meal after answering correctly the theme tune to the television series The Muppets (my era the 70s) and promptly gave both prizes away to a fellow traveller as one, I don’t drink beer and two, I had absolutely no intention of returning to the joint for the free meal (the queue to eat would really have tried my patience!)

Bored by the evening, I asked the woman from South Korea and two young Dutch women if they would like to join me at the cinema as I guessed (rightly) that they were a little bored too. We saw Rolf de Heer’s Ten Canoes, the first movie filmed entirely in an Indigenous Australian language and which has a purely Indigenous story without any reference to white fellas; really quite remarkable. I enjoyed the film but it brought up for me many issues which I have encountered in Timor, particularly around polygamy, promised young brides to old men and brothers inheriting their dead brothers wives. As one of the two Dutch women whispered in my ear, “men are all the same wherever you go”, again, I thanked the goddesses that I was a modern western woman. I wouldn’t for a moment want to live in any (Western) romanticised idea of a pre-modern Indigenous or Timorese society.

Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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