A Travellerspoint blog

March 2009

Birthday greetings for Jo

Tuesday 17th March – 4 months, 1 day

A friend of mine wished to pen your birthday greetings, Josephine, and she would have clobbered me with her purse if I didn’t let her, so here you go:

  • **

Dwarling! Minx Whatmore here, wishing you a simpleh smashing day. Hope you are feeling fabulous today because it is All About You dwarling. If not – just remember that a feather boa will improve *any* not so fabulous day!

Ciao dwarling, kiss kiss!

  • **

From me: happy birthday doll, I love getting to see you when I am up home twice a year, and I can’t wait to have another five hour chat with you in December.

Side note: Jo is a dear friend of mine from high school – we met early on, when I was in year 7 and she was in year 8. I think our shared penchant for silliness, and lack of patience for bullshit have been what has kept us friends over time – I can’t remember ever having fought with Jo.

I can be away for a year and, when I walk into Jo’s place, the conversation picks up like I left the room five minutes ago. I think that level of comfort with a friend is rare and I feel lucky to have it. Miss you dwarling.

Posted by timortimes 21:14 Comments (0)

Potential thesis topics

So I’m checking out potential thesis topics at the moment. Forget about how much information is available on each at the moment (because there’s pretty much none) – what would YOU choose?

• Barlake (bride price) – the practice of giving money and items (buffalo!) to a bride’s family (from the groom’s family) on marriage – this is often mentioned but no comprehensive studies seem to have been done
• Women in the public service (probably my backup in case all the others, which will require time in the districts, aren’t possible – but I am very interested as the Timorese public service is only 20% women)
• Men’s attitudes towards women (would be v.useful as women are often consulted in gender issues, and men much less so – although men’s input and collaboration is vital if we want things to move forward, I think – also I think cultural attitudes need to be understood for negative ones to be changed)
• Polygamy – same as barlake, it’s a practice which is taboo, it’s not really talked about openly (remember Timor is 90% Catholic!) but the practice has a huge effect on women and it’s entwined with many other aspects of society
• Matrilineal communities – where property is passed down through the maternal line - it seems there are between 2 and 4 matrilineal communities in Timor, but, same as barlake and polygamy, it seems very little concrete study has been conducted.
• Sex workers – perhaps focusing on men’s violence against sex workers.

  • sighs and looks dreamy* There are SO many awesome topics to be researched in Timor-Leste, I could just spend the rest of my life on this stuff, I swear.*

I *could* go straight for the easy topic (women in the public service). The thing is, though, I really want to do a topic that is a bit difficult. Difficult in terms of being a bit taboo and not easily quantified. Something that really affects women. I was inspired two years ago by my friend Maire, who I met when I started this Masters. She wrote an amazing sub-thesis on female genital cutting in Africa, which just blew the lid off a whole lot of common misconceptions about the practice and what communities and NGOs are doing regarding it. She took a taboo topic and found the women’s voices and women’s agency in it.

I don’t think I can hope to do anything as revolutionary as Maire has done (is doing – she’s now doing a PhD on that topic). However, I do think the topics above, because they haven’t been studied much at all, will have something worthwhile saying.

I don’t want to say the same old things about girls in education, women’s voices in elections, or even men’s violence against women. To me, these are issues where the problems are fairly clear and programs and (possible) solutions should be implemented as of right now. There are plenty of international organizations who are happy to put time, money and people into researching those things. I want to try something different if I can.

  • I’m thinking I might try to do one of these topics as an article, too. We’ll see how much time I get for research.

Posted by timortimes 21:11 Comments (1)

Cross your fingers

Monday 16th March – 4 months

Potential housemates now coming over this evening. Cross your fingers for me that the neighbours don’t decide to hold extra championship cockfights this evening.

Posted by timortimes 21:08 Comments (0)

Happy birthday Neri

Sunday 15th March – 3 months, 27 days

Neri, girl with the gorgeous curls, I miss your perspective and talking worries out until we collapse in a heap. Happy birthday!

Posted by timortimes 21:04 Comments (0)

I like the rain…

And the way it sounds on our roof, and the way it cools down the house after a hot morning, but…

…Since the power and water usually seem to go off when it rains, I always feel a bit of trepidation when I hear that pattering sound.

EDIT: Matt just pointed out to me that when it rains, the roosters shut up (because the lucky ones get taken inside and the unlucky ones get drenched in the rain – they’re all tied to stakes in the yard). Yayyyy rain!

Posted by timortimes 21:00 Comments (0)

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