A Travellerspoint blog

Elfrina Arcango de Jesus de Gracu Li da Cruz

Monday 29th June – 7 months, 13 days (3 months, 21 days)

Timorese people often have really long names (and are often known by another unrelated nickname), and I reckon my friend Elfrina (a.k.a. Karen) has one of the longer ones. Previously the standard for me was Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, but Karen beats good old Dumbledore by three whole syllables.

Elfrina says:
Arcando is from Saint Michael
Jesus is from the man himself
Gracu is blessing from God
Li da Cruz is her family name.

All of the names besides first and family name are to give her blessing, protection etc. I found the naming after Jesus and Saint Michael a bit odd until she explained this point.

Posted by timortimes 22:31 Comments (0)

I think I require a lot of energy

Weekend: Saturday 27th June - Sunday 28th June - 7 months, 11-12 days

Since I have moved in:

My gas bottle mysteriously ran out of gas (it worked fine before we brought it over)

All three fluorescent lights have started to blink and die (they worked fine when I moved in)

The long-life light in the kitchen stopped working after one day (it was fine the first day it was connected for me)

The electricity goes off every night at dinner time (I’m told blackouts had been weekly before I arrived)

I’ve had people to fix my aircon twice – it still doesn’t work without setting off a burning smell – and now the surge box is making a strange whirring noise that it never did before

As I typed that last sentence, the electricity went off again.

Is it the house, or is it me?

Posted by timortimes 17:33 Comments (0)

Why doesn’t China

Just ban the internet and be done with it? Seriously, it must take a lot of effort, making that anti-porn software that bans pictures of babies and pigs (showing too much pink skin), restricting sites day by day. Just Say No, China!

Posted by timortimes 17:32 Comments (0)

News round-up

Friday 26th June – 7 months, 10 days

The fucking Ozcar idiocy (a.k.a. ‘Utegate’, argh) has been knocked off the news. I’m quite sorry that Michael Jackson’s gone to the great recording studio in the sky, particularly for his kids; however I would like to thank him for at least timing his untimely death to knock the bloody OzCar ‘scandal’ (more like ‘Turnbull obviously doesn’t know when to shut the hell up’ fiasco) out of the news cycle. Likewise Farrach Fawcett (God rest her blondie locks).

And let’s not forget our own Xanana, who did his bit by apparently – oopsie – giving a big rice-importing contract to a company which his daughter is a major stakeholder in. (In Timorese government, apparently there is a rule about not giving contracts to family members to the second degree.) Something I’ve enjoyed about the reporting of this particular scandal*is the apparent unconcern which other Government members are treating this with. Quotes (as close as I can get) from Radio Australia:

Jose Ramos-Horta, Timorese President: In our political system the president does not have executive authority. I cannot everyday interfere in the government; if that is what I do, might as well run for Prime Minister.

Emilia Pires, Minister for Finance: I’m not familiar with all the names… People have rights to be wherever they are…Why should I bother about that? Like, I’m a minister. ... [That’s the Prime Minister], By the time it gets to the minister, it should be cleared of all the processes.

Of course, we have to allow for the fact that English isn’t the first language of either of these people; and I think it’s more the case that they’re trying to distance themselves (like any good President or Finance Minister), rather than that they don’t care. It’s just interesting to compare to the kind of carefully-crafted, polished denials, blustering lines or flat-out refusal to comment you’d probably hear from Aussie politicians. Xanana hasn’t said anything so far, though – to which I say, smart move, mate. Maybe you can give Malcolm a few tips?

  • And I think this does actually qualify for the title ‘scandal’, as well as a few other exciting nouns which have been used by the opposition, such as ‘corruption’, ‘nepotism’ and ‘favouritism’, although I kind of fear for the future of Timor if Our Xanana were made to resign. In any case, a few members of the Australian Government and quite a lot of the Australian meeja would do well to note key differences between this scandal and the Ozcar ‘scandal’. See also recent resignations of, oh, loads of British ministers.

Posted by timortimes 17:30 Comments (0)

Sam, Tarzan and Max

Thursday 25th June – 7 months, 9 days

So if you like dogs, read on; if it’s not your thing, well, this is your warning: gushing ahead.

Sam, Tarzan and Max are the three dogs that hang out around Malae Town (where the Uma Kiik is located) and our neighlords’ place. Sheila (one neighbour) looks after Tarzan, Sammo gets nominal care from Marg, Anne (other neighbours) and now me as well I guess, and Maxie is a puppy who is looked after by Senyora Eva’s family (so I don’t know him very well). Tarzan looks German Shepherd-ish, Sam looks Labrador-ish in the body, and Maxie looks poodle-and-Labrador-ish. Of course, they are all mutt-ish as well.

I love Tarzan and Sam because they act exactly accordingly to the reasons I adore dogs generally. They are super friendly and affectionate – Sam has a particularly endearing habit of coming up and rubbing his head against my leg. Tarzan’s also picked up this habit in the last couple of days, though; I guess he wants to share the love. They also act as guard dogs, and actually bark at people or things they don’t like to see in the yard, without barking incessantly the rest of the time (this is SUCH a rare thing in Dili).

As dogs go, they are also very polite and good company. They don’t seem to come into the apartments. They don’t fight much. They sleep on the verandah of whoever is home and I’m just chuffed that they now do this on my verandah too. I first caught them at it the other morning, after it had rained – there were little muddy pawprints all over my verandah. As I type right now, they are both companionably stationed at my doorway, curled up, snoozing (in the same manner as our old family dog Belle used to enjoy sleeping at our front door, right in everyone’s way when they tried to go through the door).

I’m a bit surprised they haven’t knocked the boxes off the lounge on the verandah so they can snooze on that, too, as they are smart dogs – Tarzan also likes to kip on a Timorese table in the yard, with his legs hanging off the edge, it looks quite hilarious. I can only put the avoidance of the lounge down to their good manners, i.e. that they are patiently waiting for me to remove the boxes (which would thereby subtly signal the invitation in their minds, I suspect).

They are both also very enamoured of my doormat, which is actually a handtowel. I am completely accepting of the fact that it is going to remain absolutely filthy from their taking turns napping on it each day. Having two dogs come up and lay their head against my leg after another hard day is so nice, it makes me smile when I see their guilty little muddy paw prints all over the place! Never mind the doormat, lovelies :)

Posted by timortimes 17:26 Comments (0)

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