Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Re: Colonialism, Culture and Gender in Timor-Leste

-----Original Message-----
From: Miguel de Lemos
Sent: Monday, October 01, 2012 11:19 PM
Cc: ; ETAN
Subject: Re: Colonialism, Culture and Gender in Timor-Leste

Dear Josh, Dear all,

Thank you very much for your text.

Could you please identify the sources of these ideas? What are the
academic studies that support, namely, the third paragraph?

Looking forward to discuss your contribution,

Kind regards,

Miguel Lemos

Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2012 7:45 PM
To: Miguel de Lemos ; ; ETAN
Subject: Re: Colonialism, Culture and Gender in Timor-Leste

Hi Miguel,

I will not be able to give you at the moment because: 1) I am still
researching the the issue. 2) Are you referring to the sources from a well
qualified western scholars from a well credited University? How I suppose to
find that in a place like TL where local ideas been subjugated by foreign
invaders as colonial? If you know some, do let me know. 3) if you think the
information is incorrect or misleading, you can make it better by analyzing
it and put it in the right perspectives. 4) I am not academically qualified
by formal standard, I only reached high-school. 5) But one source (evidence)
I can give you from my Ritual Language (Naueti). But again, this is only an
oral-reference which is inferior to academic written knowledge.

The following is how the colonial events interpreted in our ritual language.
I have to ask permission to share this.

1) "Wono Malae ne lo ---- It is foreign war
2) Le'a Malae ne lo ---- It is foreign conflict
3) Uka la watu o ---- Run on the rocks
4) Uka la kai o ---- Run on the trees
5) Horo la baha o ---- Hide on the mountains
6) Horo la ba'a lale ---- hide in the valleys
7) Buikia toto'o, Anakia toto'o ---- [we are] like the little
chickens without their mother, [we are] orphans without parents
8) [...]"

From the above, we clearly see that, line 1 and 2 refer to the colonial. All
the sufferings they went through, until the day they use this ritual
language blamed it on the colonial (wono malae, le'a malae). From line 3-6,
it described the whole sufferings during colonial periods. As an example,
they have to hide on the mountain, Mount Matebian which is just close by
(line 5). Line 7 specifically described the cost of that "wono malae, le'a
malae". It left behind many children without parents. Many elderly who can't
survive, left us behind, took with them the wisdom we need in our existence.

Interestingly, there is no blame on the Timorese who worked for the
colonial. You can interpret this in anyway you want, but I think there are
explanation to it. 1) My language group understood the root cause of the
problems, which is the Malae (in this context, Indonesian too are Malaes) as
colonial. This interpretation automatically put the 'colonial collaborators'
as victims too. 3) The war is over, it is better to reconcile with the
colonial collaborators, they are still brothers and sisters anyway. 4) If we
exclude them in this recent ritual language by blaming them, it may cause future conflicts
among our future generations. But that doesn't mean we forgot already what
the colonial collaborators did in the past. 5) In fact, when the ritual
language continue, it call for a unity as appear in the following:

9) Otarae-wailita gamama'a lebati --- girl-boy are all here today
10) Uma'ana-Oasae gamama'a lebati --- wife giver - wife taker are all here today
11) Ware-Kaka gamama'a lebati --- Younger - older brothers are all here today
12) Ana ulu - Ana Iku gamama'a lebati --- Younger - older sisters are all here today
13) inatua-amadae gamama'a lebati --- aunties - uncles are all here today
14) [...]

In line 9, the boy-girl dualistic represents the idea of fertility, that we
ready to flourish, to create and maintain life and our society, through our
girls and boys. From line 10-13, it explains the complex relationship that
we have. The colonial collaborators in our village, may one of the brother,
the uncles, the unties, the nephews, etc. But they must fall into one of the
category in line 10-13; therefor, it is possible to reconcile. That's the demand of our ancestors and Lulik.

The above ritual language, used during Uma Lulik (Sacred House) inauguration
and many other rituals after '99. I am guessing in other language group,
they have similar interpretation of the event.

Again, this is only an oral interpretation. It doesn't have the same weight
as a written academic analysis.


Josh Trindade