This is the Bahasa for ‘Same Market’, and it’s a big burnt out building in the centre of Same. On one side, two small wings have been done up, for a library and a small district office. Out the back, a tree grows through the roof and enormous snails scare the life out of you; on the inside, a still-impressive stage graces what would have been a beautiful hall. One bloke nipped inside for a pee while I was in there marvelling over the stage (didn’t see me at first).
It’s so sad. The Indonesian army would’ve been the ones to torch it, most likely, when they left in 1999; however the locals could’ve done it too, I guess. I said to Kris and Rose, the English teachers, that if I had the doing up of it (a game I like to play with empty buildings), I’d make it a big open air theatre. They pointed out, with sad smiles, that the Timorese probably wouldn’t ever want to use it – if anything happened with the site, they’d knock this building down and build another.
I don’t know. There were quite a few renovated buildings around Manufahi and Same, for a small town, and there are around Dili, although Dili’s size means that the number of buildings that are still burnt out is gobsmacking. It’s hard to tell why doing buildings up isn’t higher on the priority list for this government: certainly when they want it to happen, it happens quicksmart. The State Secretariat for Youth and Sport has got a brand new building on the beach road in Dili which went from roofless, blackened shell to shining yellow and white monstrosity in 5 months, complete with lairy gold sign.
I mean, I guess the priority is health and food, jobs, justice, etc. Just seems a simple thing that *would* lead to health, more jobs, etc. (Less rubbish around and more places to live and operate businesses out of.) Not to mention it’d kick the tourism up a notch, having some extra (I mean cheaper) accommodation and more pretty things to see. You could hang on to a couple of significant ruined buildings in decent locations and make a memorial to the struggle. Yep that’s right: as of 10 years independence, there is STILL no monument to the Timorese people’s struggle for their own bloody country. There are little plaques and things all over this country, including a self-congratulatory one from the Indonesians on the beachfront, not to mention all the signs with Portuguese names and Indonesian titles which serve as a constant reminder of Those Who Came Before.
I don’t know. Guess I’m a crazy malae. Maybe Timorese people think having their country back is enough of a job for now.