Thursday, June 14, 2012

HABIBIE REMINDS ME OF GORBACHEV

HABIBIE REMINDS ME OF GORBACHEV The world is pleased with the fact that East Timor, finally, gets rid itself from Indonesia and being ready to prepare itself to walk through the bridge of transitional period, moving towards full independence in two or three years time. As it is known that the ‘integration’ of East Timor into Indonesia had never been recognized by the international community. The overwhelming majority of East Timorese consider the presence of Indonesia in their territory as the colonizer. Undoubtfully, the world history will mark this on its pages forever. According to UN Agenda, the decade of 1990-2000 is the decade of the eradication of the colonialism. It is great that finally UN successfully fulfilled its mandate by trying to solve the East Timor conflict this year. In referring to the solution of East Timor conflict, former Indonesian president, BJ. Habibie, in his accountability speech, did relate it with the first paragraph of the preamble of Indonesian Constitution,UUD 1945, saying “Independence is the right of every nation, therefore colonialism has to be abolished from the face of the earth……”. By stating so, many found that implicitly, Habibie wanted to make it clear that Indonesia actually “did colonize” East Timor for more than two decades. This, of course sparked the disappointment and resentment within the Indonesian society, specially the political elite in power, towards Habibie. As reported in Indonesian daily, Kompas of 19 October 1999, Basilio Araujo, representing the National Front Union, a pro-integration East Timorese organization recently founded, was really disappointed with the statement of Habibie who connected the separation of East Timor from Indonesia with the preamble of 1945 Constitution. According to him, the statement was very wrong and proved that Habibie had fell into the trap of the views of the anti-integration group who, so far, claimed that Indonesia is the colonizer of East Timor. Of course, Habibie is blamed by many from Indonesia as the actor of the disintegration of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia. But he is praised by many overseas and particularly by pro-independence East Timorese as a man of courage,willing to break the deadlock of the East Timor issue. Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, the East Timorese Nobel Laureate praised Habibie by saying, “In the history of Timor, Habibie will be one of its benefactors.” Habibie, with great heart, accepted the decision of MPR to reject his accountability speech through voting. He was ready to step down from the power scene. His political carrier reminds me of that of Mikhael Gorbachev’s. After the perestroika and glasnot, he was blamed for the disintegration of USSR. ---- ABS Macau, October 21,1999

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

ARTICLE ON ABS-2012

Francisco Xavier do Amaral From my reading, which I admit is little, I understand that the first President of Timor Leste had a life that ended well but had some terrible twists. In 1976, after only a few days as the President, he was forced to flee with his people into the hills as the Indonesian’s invaded his beloved country. He was then imprisoned by his own people, and thrown into a hole and fed scraps, before being captured by the Indonesians and employed as a servant in an Indonesian General’s house in Jakarta. In 1999 he returned home and stood as a Presidential candidate, but only, in his words, so that the election was seen to reflect the democratic will of his people. He never stood a chance against the much respected and loved Xanana Gusmão. However, he continued serving his country and was considered one of its elder statesmen until ill health took him to another place in March 2012. So, on the invitation of Abe, a renowned Timorese poet, I went to his memorial concert. I wasn’t sure what to expect and whilst the opening was impressive, the crowd seemingly subdued. I stood next to a white board that soon became the focus of several Timorese artists’ brushes. I watched with interest as they transformed the white artists’ paper into a mass of different colours and images. I was first drawn by their style of dress and impressive hair, but this was replaced by my curiosity for their painting, and I found myself constantly looking to see what they were painting. As the minutes past the whiteness was replaced by a beautiful mountain. However, its beauty was short lived as it soon became apparent that this mountain had come to depict the suffering imposed on Timor. This was particularly demonstrated by the bombing of innocent civilians seeking refuge in its caves. As the night progressed and as the crowd started to acknowledge the quality of the performers and the brilliance of their performances I realised that I was witnessing something unique and special. The music was incredible and each song was both original, but performed with such force. The melodies and falsettos were like none that I had heard before. I opined that the influence of different cultures and experiences had shaped the Timorese culture into a rich and unique tapestry of art, music, poetry and theatre. I know that these performances would stand up well in any Festival in any part of the world, from Edinburgh to Sydney. The songs and poems were particularly powerful, and to me were expressions of a country and its people that should be proud of their beauty, and more importantly the bravery of their bloody heroes. So tonight was a special night that I never wanted to end. I left wishing that the world had been there with me to remember a man who died a hero but had suffered, like his people, much to gain that status. By Martin Dransfield Dili, 21 April 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

ARTICLE ON ABS--2012

A mountain and a poet
January 14, 2012 //



I’ve touched very briefly on the turbulent and subjugated story of Timor Leste. Sometimes the history of a place can really be felt on the day-to-day; it wasn’t so obvious to me going through Dili (except for the massive UN presence) or through the districts on our weekend trip south to Mt. Ramelau, Timor’s tallest peak at 2,963 m (9,721 ft). Motorbiking through the district, Matt focused on driving, and I focused on waving and saying hello to people as we passed by.

Sandwiched in between the flat tire adventure on the way in and the flat tire adventure plus torrential downpour adventure on the way out, we were privileged to a fantastic hike on the last day of the year 2011 made amazing by the mountain and the people we were with. Everyone was supremely friendly and interesting (3 Australian ladies and a large group of UN Military Observers), but one person was able to put the experience in the perspective of Timor Leste.


Abe (pronounced Ah-bay), who was acting as translator for the UN Military Observers, is a Timorese musician, poet and community activist. I am not one to wax romantically, but thankfully Abe was.

Even though we all woke up to leave by 2:30AM to do a two hour hike in the dark that’s pretty much straight up, Abe brought his guitar. At the one-hour mark break, while we were all sitting seeing each other by torch, catching our breath and drinking water, Abe sang a song called, as far as I can tell, “Kolelemai – Foho Ramelau” written by fellow Timorese, Francisco Borja da Costa, sometime in the 1970s.

Francisco Borja da Costa was not only a musician and poet but also a leader of Fretilin, the Timorese Independence fighters, but in this instance he was helping fight for independence from the Portuguese colonizers. According to Wikipedia, “Borja da Costa died at December 7, 1975, the same day of the Indonesian invasion of East Timor.” Quite a polite way to say that he was assassinated by the Indonesian military; almost incidental that the two events happened on the same day.


When we reached the top, we all huddled in the cold and night and listened as Abe said a Hail Mary in Tetum, one of the original languages of Timor Leste, to Timor Leste’s patron saint, the Virgin Mary. There is a statue of her at the top. As the sun broke over the horizon, we could start to see the layers of mountains and then finally the thatched roof huts and potato fields that the Timorese eke out their livelihoods carved on any possible mountain surface (but just to note, Timor Leste is apparently one of the leaders in permaculture implementation in Southeast Asia). This is a country of fractals.

At the top, Abe sang Borja da Costa’s song again in the original Tetum, and read us the English translation after. I wish I was able to find a recording of the song online, because it is rousing and beautiful. Some of the poetry is lost in the translation:

Why does your corn not grow? Why doesn’t your rice sprout? Who causes your empty stomachs? Who causes your never ending sweat? Who is responsible? Who is to blame? Some say it’s because your lazy and stupid. Some say it’s because your lazy and poor. What is the cause of it? Who is responsible?
Hey, Mount Ramelau! What is higher than your peak? What is greater than your majesty? Why, Timor, is your head forever bowed? Why, Timor, are your children enslaved? Why, Timor, do your children doze like chickens? Why, Timor, do your children doze like slaves? Open your eyes, a new sun is over your village. Open your eyes, a new sun is over your land. Awake! The foot of the mountain is wide. Awake! A new sun has risen. Awake! Take the reigns of your own horse, Awake! Take command of your own land!

ARTICLE ON ABS--2002

The Archipelago's Outer Edge


When Grace arrived in East Timor, one of the first people she met up with was Abe Soares, an East Timorese poet with whom she has mutual friends in Jakarta. As soon as they met, they began a discussion on art in Indonesia, in East Timor and the world. Almost immediately they decided to hold an exhibition together and that February would be a good date. The exhibition was to be called Tais and Ulos � Bridge of Hearts. `Tais' and `Ulos' are the names of the respective Timorese and Batak traditional woven textiles. (Grace is Batak: the majority ethnic group in North Sumatra province). Initially they planned to hold the show in the East Timorese Cultural Centre. However the centre directors informed them that it would be closed for complete renovations until May, when it would be possible to hold an exhibition.

Grace was not keen to exhibit there in that month, as 20th May is the date when East Timor gains its independence. She felt it would be inappropriate for an Indonesian artist to be showing there during East Timor's "moment of glory". She didn't want to be involved in any controversy that would distract from the point of the exhibition: the art itself. So, due to the lack of other options, they eventually held it in a part of the Acait Building, right opposite the cultural centre, in the middle of Dili, close to the seafront and the government building. ACAIT used to be the home of the chamber of commerce in the Portuguese days and has spacious, warehouse-like spaces ideal for exhibitions.

The exhibition opened on 2nd February, ran for two weeks and included three Saturday evenings of poetry, dance, song and performance art. Grace showed a selection of small (A4) ink-on-paper pieces she had produced in Ainaro town and in Dili since her arrival in East Timor in October 2001. Due to the high local cost of labour and materials, she decided to have all the pieces laminated instead of using traditional frames. She then hung them with bulldog clips from a fishing line. The effect was rather like a washing line. Behind the `washing line' she hung as a backdrop a huge piece of white cotton cloth she had brought from Jakarta. She also showed two large (2m X 1m) oil-on-plywood paintings she made whilst in Dili. Grace's pieces were hung on the right as you entered the space, while Abe's poems in three languages (the original Indonesian, with Tetum and English translations) with illustrations by his younger brother, were hung on the left.

Grace's ink-on-paper pieces were very simple, some black and white and others using only red, purple, blue and black. Some were self- portraits, many showed figures of various kinds and others where entirely abstract explorations of colour.

On the three evenings, Grace performed acapella Batak traditional songs and the Batak ritual dance, the Tor-Tor. The Tor-tor she danced, (accompanied by a recording of `Gondang', the traditional Batak music form), was one that is used to bless journeys and ceremonies. Each time she sang and danced the audience was completely silent and engrossed in the atmosphere of a culture from the far end of the archipelago. When she sang, some of the audience weeped. Without understanding the lyrics, something in the music touched them: possibly that ancient melancholy that is the flip side of the famous Batak rough-and-readiness. Each evening, Abe read his poems -mainly themed around the Timorese struggle- with passion and dignity.

On the second and third of the three Saturday evening events, she also presented her first ever piece of performance art. Grace was inspired by the Jakarta Performing Arts Festival at Komunitas Utan Kayu in Jakarta, where she saw performance artists from all over the world.


The piece was extremely simple and direct and quite close to theatre in its form. A table and a bed were set up in front of the audience. Grace then gave them a glimpse into her creative process. First she came into the space and changed into her "at home" shorts under a towel. She continued by sitting at the table and working on an ink-on- paper drawing. After the first drawing was screwed up and thrown away in frustration, she turned on her tape player. The haunting sounds of Radiohead's Amnesiac CD blasted from the speakers. As she was drawing it became clear that emotion was overcoming her. Her hand movements got more and more frantic and the page started to shred as it became saturated with ink. A scream of despair leapt from her lungs and she slumped in the chair, sobbing. After a long while, she collected herself and moved over to the bed. After tossing and turning for a while, she fell asleep. The piece had ended.

The whole exhibition was well attended although mainly by foreigners, as well as a BBC Radio reporter. However, the most interesting part was that Grace's paintings and drawings were shown on TV Timor Lorosa'e, while her performance art piece was broadcast in its entirety. Now Grace is recognised (and interrogated!) on the street constantly. Some kids at the beach asked her why she was crying when she made a picture: "We don't cry when we make a picture!" So, eventually many more Timorese than foreigners saw the piece through the magical medium of television and many of them gave (and continue to give) their feedback directly to the artist. TV Timor Lorosa'e is therefore avant-garde in the extreme: not many national broadcasters show performance art on primetime TV!

To view more of Graces Installations visit her website at:
groups.msn.com/gracesiregarsgallery/home.htm

Alexander Tristan Davey

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

INTERVIEW WITH ABS ON--"pebbles and ice cream: Voice of a Timorese poet"

The Jakarta Post
Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Feature

Of pebbles and ice cream: Voice of a Timorese poet
Ati Nurbaiti, The Jakarta Post, Ubud

We all scattered / we all ran in every direction. These two lines are scrawled in the notebook of the man with the guitar, one of two books in his bag that is filled with phrases, mostly in Tetum, but also in Indonesian.

Bernabé (Abé) Barreto Soares does not know and does not care what will happen to those lines, whether they will remain as they are, all jumbled up with other notes to himself, or whether they will one day become verse.

He only knows that something came to the surface, his memory of being scattered and running together with residents of the town of Dili who were caught in a conflict that is hard to understand, not long after they gained their hard-fought independence.

More than once, he said during the annual writers' festival here, he was surrounded by people who were set on attacking him -- once because he was trying to stop them raze the family home.

"Suddenly I had the confidence to calm them down and address them," he said, recalling the moment when he told them that if they killed him, they would be killing themselves -- "for you are my brother, as we are of this same sacred soil".

This experience of the power of words reinforced his view, he said, that giving people dignity overcomes "the deprivation of having no acknowledgement, no recognition". He quotes Mother Theresa, saying that this is the worst form of poverty.

Soares, a former information officer and now translator at the United Nations office in Timor Leste, was enjoying a vacation in Ubud, Bali, listening to fellow poets and writers, and attending the launch of the anthology, Terra, which includes his poem.

Ayu Utami, Dorothea Rosa Herliany of Indonesia, and Miles Merrill of Australia, were among those at the launch and whose works are also in the collection.

Soares accompanied Dorothea on his guitar as she read her poem. He said he felt an immediate bond with his new friends at the festival, Wiratmadinata and Debra Yatim -- both of whom have written poems about Aceh, particularly following the 2004 tsunami and earthquake.

Whenever an Indonesian writer presented their work, Soares -- formerly a long-haired young man living in self-imposed exile in Canada -- expressed his support.

"I was raised on Indonesian literature," he said, citing Sapardi Djoko Damono and Ayip Rosidi as being among his favorite writers.

Tetum, which is widely spoken in Timor Leste, dominates his writing; "listen to its beautiful sound," he told the audience at the Dragonfly cafe here when reading out his poem -- I am a pebble that you throw in the pond. But he also savors Indonesian phrases, those with a rhythm lost in translation: pontang panting, scattered, malam berbulan-bintang, a night of moon (and) stars.

Soares spells out his big dream; of the contribution of the literati to Timor's character building -- again citing words of wisdom from Indonesian figures first president Sukarno and educator Ki Hadjar Dewantara.

A "cautious optimist" when it comes to his often turbulent, fragile nation, he is encouraged by the feedback to his monthly radio program, which features poetry readings and introductions to writers from around the world, interspersed with appropriate music.

Without cultural education, he says, people will end up as couch potatoes hooked on bad TV, university graduates sans sensitivity, people unable to agree to disagree -- not to mention the young men spreading fear, throwing stones and worse now and then, leading to the persistent, yearlong multitude of refugees in the dusty town of Dili.

Apart from his radio program, Soares said he had managed to visit a number of refugee camps across town, entertaining residents at night after work along with a few other artists. "We stopped because of the security condition," he said.

Across the small country, there is actually no shortage of talent, he said. Traveling around Timor Leste, he added, would help reveal talent across the regions. And building the culture, he added, would require working with Indonesians, which would help forge friendships between the two peoples.

"Let politics be ... we can light candles."

Exposure to literature, he said, helped people go beyond perceptions of black and white. Timor's history, and the former president they once shared with Indonesia, Soeharto, is not black and white, Soares said.

Understanding history is a must, he said, citing Sukarno.

It is far from clear how the cultured like Soares will perceive the upcoming report touching on the violent history of 1999, which is expected to be released in January by the Commission for Truth and Friendship set up by Indonesia and Timor Leste. While history is never black and white, critics are warning that the official version of what sent people "scattering, running in every direction" will be too vague, to say the least.

But the poet just smiles, pointing to the candles lighting up the restaurant.

Somehow he figures he will start to build his dream of contributing to Timor's culture and education, continuing where the political crisis in his country stopped him and his band of friends from going around the refugee camps, and airing the radio programs more often.

"Just like in my poem," the new father of a baby boy says, he wants to be like "a pebble dropped to the bottom of a pond", creating, hopefully many, many ripples.

He orders desert -- "I'll have my favorite" -- and gives the waitress a big smile. Soon the poet is digging into his ice cream, a perfect mix with a perfect rhythm.

It's right there in his notebook of treasured thoughts and words: "Strawberry, chocolate and vanilla."

------------------------------------------

Friday, October 7, 2011

INTERVIEW WITH ABS ON--"TIMORESE EVOKE INDEPENDENCE STRUGGLE IN POETRY"

Timorese Evoke Independence Struggle in Poetry

29-8-2009--16:32 Linda LoPresti, Radio Australia

This weekend East Timor marks ten years since Independence.
It was on August 30, 1999 that the people of East Timor decided they wanted to be free of Indonesian rule.

More than 90 percent of the island's voting population braved the threats of violence and intimidation to express their will in the UN administered referendum.

But the breakaway vote sparked violence by Indonesian troops and pro-Jakarta militias. The bloody rampage left up to a thousand people dead.

It's not been an easy road for the world's newest nation but now the people of East Timor are beginning to tell their stories, mainly through poetry, without fear and repression.

Radio Australia’s Linda LoPresti reports.

East Timor's local hani band Hacutobar playing the official song of the referendum, Please Decide.

And the people of East Timor did decide on August 30th 1999.

It was a UN sponsored act of self determination and hailed at the time by the UN's Ambassador to Dili Jamsheed Market.

“Today the eagle of liberty has landed....over the people of East Timor.”

Three years later East Timor became the world's newest nation. With political freedom came freedom of expression.

Abe Soares is one of East Timor's most well known poets.

He's lived in Indonesia, Canada and Portugal but he grew up in East Timor under Indonesian rule where he was inspired to write about what he was witnessing.

“My own voice said that I should write about Timor. I should write about my roots, where I came from."

Q. And Timor at the time was under Indonesia rule, so were you free to write about what you felt?

"No I was not free at all I had to use my pen name and did not have courage to publish my works, only showed my friends who I trusted.”

In 1999 as East Timor was preparing for historic change, Abe Soares was living in Lisbon. He proudly cast his independence vote from there.

A year later he returned to East Timor to find a new generation of young writers eager to tell their stories, especially through poetry.

“I came back to Timor in 2000 and I established a poetic circle, poets in town, and so from that event I got to know who is who and discuss literature and since then that group became my sort of baby (My project).”

During the Indonesian occupation, the common theme in the writings by Timorese intellectuals and leaders like Francisco Borgia da Costa or Xanana Gusmao was independence.

But now the theme has shifted.

Leigh Ashley Lipscomb is a senior researcher at the Berkley War Crimes Studies Centre in California.

“Prior to independence poetry was a hidden art and a political art and the politics of poetry have remained but opened up to become a more diverse form of art meaning multiple languages, multiple themes, multiple perspectives.”

Poetry is still the number one form of literary expression in East Timor.

Leigh Ashley Lipscombe says while resistance poetry has been embraced as a Timorese expression, there's a new generation of writers emerging from the violent shadows of the past with new things to say.

“The new generation embraces a much larger scope of themes, love, the environment, but politics remains the dominant theme and within that I would argue that justice has replaced the theme of independence.”

The last ten years have not been easy ones for East Timor. It's still one of the poorest nations in the Asia Pacific region; literacy rates are low and violence is an ever present threat.

In 2006, a conflict within elements of the East Timor military escalated to violent street battles throughout the country. Scores of people died and thousands were displaced, prompting a military intervention by several countries including Australia.

“I lived through this situation and as a man of letters what response should I have, so I picked up the pen and write.”

The Timorese are writing because they have stories to tell, stories about the past but also hopes about the future.

Ashley Lipscomb believes it will continue to flourish in more experimental ways.

“That is my dream to have literature as one of the elements of the mainstream. What I have been dreaming of is having Timorese literature at national university so university will have its own department of Tetum literature. That is my dream. So I hope that will come true some day.”

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

INTERVIEW WITH ABS-ON "EAST TIMOR ROAD'S TO DISCOVERY"

BBC Website Friday, 12 April, 2002, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK


Eyewitness: East Timor's road to recovery


Abe thinks East Timor's odds for success are good

As East Timor prepares for independence, BBC News Online talked to local UN worker Abe Barreto Soares about how his life has changed since Indonesian rule and about his hopes for the future.

Abe Barreto Soares has not even been able to see for himself much of the violence and suppression that East Timor suffered under years of Indonesian rule.

"We need to be mentally ready to face the challenges "
Abe Barreto Soares

The impoverished island had no universities, so Abe and his contemporaries were forced to study in Indonesia.

Even though he was free to pursue his education, "I felt like my hands and mouth were tied. I couldn't say what I felt about East Timor".

After six years in Indonesia, Abe went to Canada on an exchange programme. While he was there, news reached him of the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre when 200 East Timorese were killed by Indonesian forces during a peaceful protest in a church cemetery.

Abe sought political asylum in Canada, glad to be away from "this big prison called East Timor", staying for seven years until 1998 when he moved to Portugal.

He finally returned to East Timor in 2000 and says he is now "happy to be part of the process" of readying the territory for full independence in just over a month's time.

'Pillar' of the nation

Abe says that the presidential elections are an important step in the transition.

"As long as everyone recognises that everyone has the right to exist then they will have the chance to enjoy independence"
Abe Barreto Soares

Although the president will play a largely ceremonial role, "he is one of the pillars... the guarantor" of the nation.

He is "capable of giving the people the feeling of being secure and being in a peaceful environment to run their lives".

Abe says that he believes East Timor has a bright future, as long as everyone accepts it will take time to accomplish.

"To be an independent nation... is not just to say that we have independence... We need to be mentally ready to face the challenges".

Shaking off the past

The one issue he sometimes worries about, he says, is unity.

He says that conflicts in the past could cause divisions in the future.

But "as long as everyone recognises that everyone has the right to exist then they will have the chance to enjoy independence.

"I believe the spirit of reconciliation, of unity, can tackle these tendencies for conflict."

Since the terrible violence that accompanied the vote for independence in 1999, there have been "small incidents here and there" but nothing very serious, according to Abe.

INTERVIEW WITH ABS- ON "LITERATURE SHOULD HEAL WOUNDS IN TIMOR-LESTE"

INTERVIEW

(THE POWER OF CULTURE—WEBSITE)

"Literature should heal wounds in Timor-Leste"
OCTOBER 2009 -

"Poetry is a serious matter," says Abe Barreto Soares, a writer, poet and translator from Timor-Leste who has been blogging in English, Tetum (next to Portugese the main language in Timor-Leste), Indonesian, and Galole (an indigenous language) since 2007. "I believe that anyone who wants to become a blogger and tries to express themselves will find that blogging actually helps a lot for their artistic career."


This year marks a decade of independence for Timor-Lorosa'e (Sunshine), as Soares affectionately calls it. Since separating from Indonesia, in 1999, and becoming a democratic state in 2002, the Timorese people have been rekindling their sense of national identity. Intimately linked to nationalism is culture. Among the Timorese people, literature and indigenous oral poetry is an intrinsic part of their cultural heritage.

"East Timorese nationalism means that I know where I came from, where I am at this moment, and where I am heading,” explains Soares who sought political asylum in Canada in the 1990s where he campaigned for his country's independence. He refers to nations as trees, and expresses that "their branches and twigs will not flourish properly if they are cut from their own roots".

In Timor-Leste, where literacy levels hover around fifty percent, Soares uses blogging in conjunction with a monthly literary radio shows and organized poetry events to "communicate Timorese identity to the world at large". While he admits, it has not been easy to build a literary movement in a new country in the new millennium, he remains optimistic of its potential to contribute towards national development.

Soares is determined to make Timorese literature and poetry a part of the mainstream. He believes technology can be a helpful and liberating way to achieve this goal both nationally and internationally, but cautions that words can also be powerful and manipulative.

"Words can heal and also can hurt people. The real literary community should be the ones to bring healing to the wounds of society. They should be problem solvers and not problem makers. They should become the soul keepers. In the context of Timor-Leste, they have a big responsibility to keep the soul of the land of Lafaek (crocodile) alive. If they fail to do so, then it will be a total disaster."

Amanda Fortier

INTERVIEW WITH ABS--ON "POETRY FOR NATION BUILDING"

East Timor: Abe Barreto Soares’ Poetry for Nation Building

By Global Voices Online • on August 28, 2009

“The role of a writer is to collect the fossils of reality scattered around, then ornament them on the wall of our history”

In the previous post of this series, while celebrating the 10th anniversary of the referendum in East Timor, we presented the way in which the international community stood up in support of the freedom of the Timorese people. In this piece we interview Timorese writer Abe Barreto Soares in order to disseminate Timorese Nationalism seen through the Eyes of its Poets, the essay that he has recently published [tet, pt].

As a blogger since 2007, Abe (or his cyber-pseudonym, Jenuvem Eurito, as he was called by his friends in his youth) shares his words and thoughts in four languages often analysing literary work relevant for the self determination of his country. Moreover, Abe discusses thoroughly the construction of a national conscience after the fight for independence.

Taking advantage of the benefits of blogs to foster global connections and distance conversations in original ways, he describes his blogs as “sweet words, caring words, in a venue for people to talk to each other, sharing with each other on “what” and “how” life goes in the world”.

But Abe’s words and actions have not always been this free, as he stated during the Indonesian occupation of Timorese territory.
I felt like my hands and mouth were tied. I couldn’t say what I felt about East Timor.

Global Voices Online (GVO): Where were you 10 years ago? Can you tell us a bit about your life?

Abe Barreto Soares (ABS): During the time of the referendum, I was overseas. I happened to be in Portugal at the time. Along with other Timorese compatriots, I cast my vote in Lisbon.
I left Timor-Leste in 1985 to pursue my university studies, taking English as my major at Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Then, I left for Canada to take part in a cultural exchange program in early September 1991. On November 12 1991 the [Santa Cruz] massacre occurred when I was about to finish my program. Being concerned for my personal safety if I was to return to Indonesia, I finally decided to stay in Canada, and seek political asylum. I spent 7 years in Canada, campaigning for a free and independent Timor-Leste through diplomacy and cultural activities (using music as a tool to alert the outside world to what was really going on in the country). I had the chance to spend a year and a half in Portugal from Spring 1998 until the Fall of 1999. Then, I went to Macau for journalistic training with a Portuguese news agency, Lusa, for six months (October 1999 until March 2000). I returned to Timor-Leste in July 2000. Since then, I have been working in UN missions in Timor-Leste both as an information assistant and a translator/ interpreter.


GVO: How did you have access to Timorese literature during the Indonesian times?

ABS: During the Indonesian times, while doing my studies in Yogyakarta, I came across books on Timor-Leste such as “EasTimor: Nationalism and Colonialism” by Jill Jollife, a fellow journalist, from Australia. From this book I discovered the late Timorese poet, Francisco Borja da Costa. One of the lines of his poetry appearing in the book: “smother my revolts/ with the point of your bayonet/ torture my body/in the chains of your empire/ subjugate my soul/ in the faith of your religion…/” really fired the sense of nationalism within me. And through the book “Funu: The Unfinished Saga of East Timor” by José Ramos-Horta (current President of the Republic of Timor-Leste) I discovered Fernando Sylvan.

Pedem-me um minuto de silencio pelos mortos mauberes.
Respondo que nem por um minuto me calarei.

Fernando Sylvan

They ask me one minute of silence for maubere deaths.
I answer that not for one minute shall I shut up.

Fernando Sylvan

GVO: You often quote Timorese poet Fernando Sylvan. In what ways do you take advantage of poetry in order not to shut up, as he recommends in the above poem?

ABS: A poet is a spokesperson of his or her era. He or she should break the silence when it comes to oppression. Living on this planet, we are in a constant battle between the dark and the light. A poet should be at the forefront, carrying the torch. He or she is the “warrior of the light”. (I borrow this concept from Paulo Coelho, the Brazilian writer).

[As an artist I have to be ready any time to engage in the spiritual war. Words are my swords. Hopefully, my words will provoke people so that they can be in tune with themselves all the time in creating harmony in this wonderful planet.]

Notes from a Musafir 48


GVO: Do your blogs in four different languages reflect the way people communicate in Timor?


ABS: Timorese like me have to be creative in taking advantage of the ‘blessing’ of colonialism and globalization. Aside from using my own mother tongue, Tetum and my father’s mother tongue, Galole which I am good at, I also use English and Indonesian in my literary carrier. I am proud of using them to communicate what I think and feel. I would love, someday soon, to create a Portuguese blog as well.


GVO: Why have you created a Korespondensia Literaria (Literary Correspondence, tet) category on one of your blogs?

ABS: I created the “korrespondensia literaria” entry on my Tetum blog in an attempt to convey to the outside readers the correspondence I have had with my fellow literary friends through SMS. Practically speaking, transferring them onto a blog can be considered as a way to save those messages. As a man of letters I need to engage in a constant communication with friends the world over. I want to learn a lot from them. I want to commune the philosophy of Greenpeace, “think globally, and act locally”.

[SMS:] ITA-BOOT NIA BATINA/ha’u moras todan: ha’u klamar terus/fó lisensa mai ha’u-ata atu kaer Ita-Boot nia batina/fakar mós Ita-Boot nia mina oliveira domin nian mai ha’u-ata/ hodi nune’e ha’u bele di’ak filafali ho lalais// [21:51:11//11-2-2009]

Resposta sira:

1.R. D. = “Se mak bulak ida ne’e?” [maisumenus tuku 10 kalan]
2.Suzana TP = “Diak pois há’u haruka ba suli hanesan tasi” [22:08:53//11-2-2009]
3.Atoi R. = “Obrigado maibé ha’u la kompriende” [22:18:00//11-2-2009]
4.Pe. Olá = “Sajak ne’e tau nia titulu, Jesus. Bele atrai liu” [11:55:12//12-2-2009]
5.F.Nascimento = “We matan mos, we liman diak, halo suli mai, fakar mos mai, ami iha lerek susar no terus laran. Tan Ita Boot, ami Nain deit. Laran luak tebes no kmanek wain basuk.”[12:56:05//12-2-2009]

[SMS:] YOUR ROBE/I am really sick: my soul suffers/ permit me to hold Your robe/Shower me with the fragrance of Your olive oil/ So that I will recover again//[21:51:11//11-2-2009]

Answers:

a. R.D. = Who the hell is this? [around 10 PM]
b. Suzana TP= OK, I will then send back to you, flowing like a sea [22:08:53//11-2-2009]
c. Atoi R = Thank you, but I do not understand. [22:18:00//11-2-2009]
d. Father Ola = The title of the poem should be “Jesus”. Then it will be more attractive. [11:55:12//12-2-2009]
e. F. Nascimento = The eyes of the water are opened,/the hands of the water are good./Make them flow, and shower them on us/ We are in pain and suffering/ You are the only Lord of ours/ You are really the One having a good heart and a great joy
[12:56:05//12-2-2009]

Sonhos dos Poetas Loucos

Lia-na’in sira-nia mehi hatutan no lolo liman ba malu
Lia-na’in sira-nia mehi bidu no tebe hadulas mundu rai klaran
ho haksolok
Lia-na’in sira-nia mehi fanun ha’u,
no ema lubun maka sei toba dukur

Fevereiru 2009

The Dreams of Crazy Poets

The dreams of poets are carried on, and they extend their hands to each other
The dreams of poets bidu* and tebe**
circling around the Planet Earth
with joy
The dreams of poets wake me up
As well as the crowd who are still soundly sleeping

Feb 2009

* dance performed by men
** dance performed by both men and women holding hands in circle

Friday, December 24, 2010

POETICAL EXPRESSION-20




XMAS MESSAGE

We are purifying the hearts
We are preparing the minds—
Being as sanctuaries
For welcoming the Prince of Peace

Merry Xmas to all!
--
Dili, 24 December 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

NOTES OF A MUSAFIR

*)Time is the great healer curing our deep wounds in life.

ESSAY:"INFLUENCE OF PORTUGUESE LITERATURE ON MY LITERARY CAREER"

By Abé Barreto Soares


It is a great honor for me to be back to this prestigious university, UNTL to deliver a talk on literature. I am very pleased to be here this morning. This is going to be my third time being in a formal forum like this one in this campus. Good morning to all of you!

First of all I would like to thank the distinguished Rector of UNTL, Dr. Benjamin Corte Real for inviting me to come and deliver this talk. I am also grateful for my dear literary friend, Antonio José Borges a.k.a Tozé who greatly encouraged me to come and share some of my thoughts on literature to his class as this one. Frankly speaking, at first when I received the news from Tozé about his plan to bring me here to deliver this talk, I was so happy, but at the same time I was a little bit confused about which topic I should choose to do so. Last Saturday, while working on the translation of my works (poetry) into Portuguese in the park at the seafront close to Palácio do Governo, I then proposed to Tozé by saying, “Don’t you think if I choose the following topic, ‘Influence of Portuguese literature on my literary career’ will be a good one for my talk in your upcoming class?”. “That is it, Abé! Why not?, Tozé happily answered.

Since poetry has been a literary genre which I have been dealing mostly in my literary career so far, for this morning talk I am going to focus merely on the influence of the works of Portuguese poets in my poetry writing.

I was grateful with the fact that I had acquired the level of education of primary school during the Portuguese period. With that basic knowledge, I, at least, have the command of basic Portuguese language skills. This has been very useful for me all these years when it comes to the literary world.

Three Portuguese contemporary poets whom I consider as somewhat as my literary mentors are: Fernando Pessoa, Sophia de Mello Breyner Andersen and Eugénio Andrade.

I discovered these three great writers in my mid and late twenties after being overseas, particularly in Canada and Portugal. It was a wonderful encounter.

It was in a small public library in Toronto city where I first came across the work of Fernando Pessoa, “Mensagem”. Reading such work reminded me of the “Lusíadas” of the epic Portuguese poet, Luis de Camões. Then, soon afterwards I discovered his prose: correspondences (love and literary letters), and some pieces of autobiographical writings. It is interesting particularly to read his love letters. The style of his letter writing, particularly the love ones began to have an influence on me. It also became as ingredients in my poetic adventure. The persona of Fernando Pessoa also reminded me of the English Romantic poet, John Keats in dealing with his romance life.
Permit me to read some of the passages of his letter to his girlfriend, Ofélia Queiros.

(…………)

Now let me talk about Sophia Mello Breyner Andersen. The same thing happened to this poet. I discovered her in Toronto.
I have written an essay as a tribute to her after her death two years ago, and it was published by Várzea das Letras.

I consider her as a traveler representing the West traveling to the East through her writings.
Her style resembles the works of tanka, haiku of Japan, and cantos as that of Ezra Pound, the American poet.

Her poetic credo which I very much share is as follows:

“ A poesia não me pede propriamente uma especialização pois a sua arte é uma arte de ser. Também não é tempo ou trabalho o que a poesia me pede. Nem me pede uma ciência nem uma estética nem uma teoria. Pede-me antes a inteireza do meu ser, uma consciência mais funda do que a minha inteligência, uma fidelidade mais pura do que aquela que eu posso controlar…………Pede-me que viva atenta como uma antena, pede-me que viva sempre, que nunca me esqueça. Pede-me uma obstinação sem tréguas, densa e compacta.”

(As part of the appreciation of her poetic works, let me share with you some of her poems which I take from her book, “Obra Poética I”.)

(…Reading of her poems)

To vividly illustrate to you all the influence of this great poet on me, the following are some of my works which have been translated into Portuguese, and appeared in “Timor Lorosae: Em Português Vos Amamos”, published by Solidarity Group for Timor-Leste in Bruxell in 1999.

(…Reading of my poems…)

Let me now turn into a little bit about the life and the works of Eugénio de Andrade.
While wandering around in Lisbon, the old capital city in 1998 after attending the Convention of Timorese Resistance, I happened to pop into a bookstore called FNAC. A book of Eugenio Andrade with his photo, in his late years, attracted my attention. And I opened the book, and found his marvelous poetic works. The reading started. A vibration of great poetic sensation overwhelmed me. Reading his works made me feel as if I was the one who spoke through his writings. Later on, I discovered more and more of his works (the essays) published in volumes. I bought the books, and it is too bad that I could not manage to bring any of them with me here today. I have no doubt to admit that the style of essay writing of Eugénio dominates me, and you will find them in the near future when my essays are published.

I like to think this talk to be more as a dialog and not a monolog. With this, I would say that reading the poets, their lives and their works is a spiritual communion. And the great Mexican late poet, Octávio Paz, even went further by saying, “if a society eliminates poetry, then that society commits a spiritual suicide”.

Hotel Timor, 9 May 2007
22:18 hrs

Monday, November 1, 2010

POETICAL EXPRESSION-19



Saints’ and Soul of Dead’s Day--- It is ime for us to bow to them/they are the ones extending our prayers/they are the ones listening to our cry//

Monday, August 2, 2010

ESSAY: NATIONALISM OF TIMOR-LESTE SEEN FROM THE EYES OF ITS POETS



By Abé Barreto Soares
Dili, June-July 2009

“Poetry is existential communication”
Breyten Breytenbach

INTRODUCTION

The issue of nationalism is always an interesting topic to elaborate and talk about, particularly in a country like Timor-Leste, which has gone through periods of colonialism under Portuguese and Indonesian rule.

Like any other writers from Portuguese colonies in African continent, Timorese writers also played a very significant important role in burning the sense of nationalism alive among their fellow compatriots during the struggle for national liberation. A concrete example can be taken from Angola is its writer, Antonio Agostinho Neto who, “was not only Angola's first president but he remains its most prominent poet, with his work published in several languages. Neto's poetry deals with the quest for freedom and several of his poems were converted into liberation anthems.”

This short paper tries to analyze and discuss the literary works (poetry) of three prominent Timorese poets, namely Fernando Sylvan, Francisco Borja da Costa and João Aparicio which, at least, have helped shape the sense of Timorese nationalism in the recent past of Timor-Leste’s contemporary history.

The paper also will discuss a little bit the relevance of these three writers’ literary works in today’s context of a free and independent Timor-Leste, and their vision towards a prosperous and peaceful Timor-Leste in the future.

Fernando Sylvan: “....even in one minute I will not be silent”

This Timorese man was not only known as a poet, but also known as a prose writer and an essayist. His real name was Abílio Leopoldo Motta-Ferreira. He was born in Dili, Timor-Leste on 26 August 1917. He died in Cascais, Portugal on 25 December 1993.

He spent most of his time in Portugal. Wikipedia further describes that “even though there was a geographic distance between Portugal and Timor-Leste, the writer kept writing on his motherland. He elaborated on Timor-Leste’s legends, tradition and folklore in his works. In the end, he was well-known as a great poet of Portuguese language, and he became the president of its Society.”

Through his book, A Voz Fagueira de Oan Timor, we will be almost familiar with most of his poetic works. We will find some of his poems in this book, describing the strong sentiment of Timorese people’s nationalism spirit.

In 1971, three years before the Carnation Revolution took place in Portugal, Sylvan had started alerting his fellow Timorese on the issue of racism. The year 1971 was then declared as the International Year against Racism. As a spokesperson for the colonized people from the Third World, Sylvan expressed his profound sentiment on the matter through his poem, Message from the Third World. From some of the lines of the poem he marked his firm position by chanting:

“Não tenhas medo de confessar que me sugaste o sangue
E esgravataste chagas do meu corpo
E me tiraste o mar do peixe e o sal do mar
E a água pura e a terra boa
E levantaste a cruz contra os meus deuses
E me calaste nas palavras que eu pensava.
.............
Não tenhas medo de confessar o esforço
De silenciar os meus batuques
E de apagar as queimadas e as fogueiras
E desvendar os segredos e os mistérios
E destruir todos os meus jogos
E também os cantares dos meus avós.
.....
E eu sobrevivi
Para construir estradas e cidades a teu lado
E inventar fábricas e Ciência,
Que o mundo não pôde ser feito só por ti.”

In 1981 after six years of the invasion and occupation of Timor-Leste by its neighbor, Indonesia Sylvan appeared again by encouraging his Timorese compatriots to fight against foreign domination, so that in the end peace and freedom would be gained. He lamented Portugal’s weak reaction to such reality. The poem, Timor-Leste which Sylvan wrote displayed his statement and his cry:

“Timor,
teu grito fretilin ecoará
com Portugal quieto
com Portugal calado
sem um acto de força a tua força
sem um gesto de orgulho ao teu orgulho
sem um nada de nada a tua História

Mas tu resistirás a Indonésia
e lutarás
e redesfraldarás a tua bandeira
e recantarás o teu hino
e reproclamarás a tua independência

E na liberdade das tuas liberdades
terás a justiça da tua justiça
e no amor do teu amor
terás a paz da tua paz......”

Sylvan had a vision that sooner or later the war of Timor-Leste against Indonesia for achieving peace and freedom would come to an end. He believed that in the end Timorese people would reap the fruit of independence. Such vision was shared by Timorese leader overseas, José Ramos-Horta (current President of Republic of Timor-Leste) when he waged a diplomatic battle in many years. From Ramos-Horta’s book, “Funu: the Unfinished Saga of East Timor, we can also find an untitled short poem on war, which he cited:

“Funu, guerra. –A guerra
há-de terminar
a sorrir amor.

Semente a partir-se
tem seu fim na flor.”

The spirit of Mauberism which, in many years, was fostered and promoted by Fretilin during the struggle for Timor-Leste’s national liberation inspired a man of letters such as Sylvan. Through the poem, Manifesto Maubere Sylvan wanted to reinforce further the determination of Timorese people, the Maubere people to affirm its own identity. Many Timorese overseas, particularly in Portugal, used to recite the poem in their cultural performance as an act of paying tribute to the poet.

MANIFESTO MAUBERE

A cultura é a memória
de um povo que não morre!

A acção é a história
de um povo que não morre!

Ouviram?
Ouviram bem?

A vida é a liberdade
de um povo que não morre!

A independência é a vontade
de um povo que não morre!

Ouviram?
Ouviram bem?

A justiça é a oferta
de um povo que não morre!

A luta é a descoberta
de um povo que não morre!

Ouviram?
Ouviram bem?

There was no doubt that the death of Nicolau dos Reis Lobato, Timorese leader who was killed during the combat in the jungle in 1978 had really shaken the fighting morale of Timorese people for independence. Sylvan made an effort to revive the fighting spirit by describing the greatness of Nicolau Lobato, which would continue to be alive and exist in the hearts and minds of Timorese people. The poem, Vozes Mauberes revealed such deep sentiment:

VOZES MAUBERES

Uma criança chama:
-Presidente Nicolau Lobato!

Outras crianças chamam:
-Presidente Nicolau Lobato!

Vamos responder-lhes com as vozes dele:
-Presente!
-Presente!

As a tribute to Xanana Gusmão (current Prime Minister of Timor-Leste), who was in the jungle as the prominent resistance leader, Sylvan sang in his following poem. He used the rooster as a metaphor to describe the warrior, and the blade as weapons. However, in his poem he described Xanana (the warrior) as a rooster using no blades to fight. This shows that Xanana used his brain, and diplomacy to defeat his enemies.

Poema a Xanana Gusmão

Depois
(mas só depois)
os galos
lutarão sem lâminas

The poem also served as an effort of its poet to respond and conclude a Timorese popular song who was famous during the war as described as follows:

Manu aman Timor-Leste
Manu futu fatin
Lalika tau tara manu futu fatin

In ceremonies to commemorate national holidays, Timorese people usually remember their heroes and heroines who died during the war—fighting for independence by observing “one minute of silence”. As a poet who had alternative views, Sylvan reacted by expressing the following poetic words as an act of protest:

“Pedem-me um minuto de silêncio pelos mortos mauberes
Respondo que nem por um minuto me calarei!”

Francisco Borja da Costa: “……on the point of my bayonet/ I will mark in history the form of my liberation”

This man of letters was more famous with his last name, Borja da Costa when we talk about “who is who” in Timor-Leste’s literary circle. He was born “in Fatuberlihu, south coast of Timor-Leste on 14 October1946.” He died at the age of 30 when Timor-Leste was invaded by Indonesia on 7 December 1975. Indonesian paratroops were the ones killing him.

Borja da Costa had a keen observation on the issue of racism during Portuguese colonial rule “when he fulfilled his military obligations in Portuguese army and deployed in Laclubar. He noticed that his military service that he undertook served as ‘a good experience” since he had the courage to speak out against racial discrimination. After the military, he joint public service. From his post in the public service, he could manage to observe the censorship process practiced in Portuguese rule. He carried our personal research on discrimination against Timorese people in work places.”

When the Carnation Revolution took place in Lisbon on 25 April 1974, Borja da Costa was already in Portugal “doing an internship with “Diario de Noticias” “ When he was in Lisbon, “he worked and lived with other Timorese in Casa dos Timorenses, a centre for Timorese nationalists overseas. In his own words, he said that he “was educated politically” by Timorese radicals.”

During his stay in Portugal Borja da Costa’s spirit of revolutionary literature was sharpened even more through his readings of works by famous writers. “In his view, writers who had a big influence on him were Bertold Brecht, Pablo Neruda, Maxim Gorky, and the poetry of Mao Tsetung.”

Borja da Costa was a poet who “wrote poetry in the classical form, in the Tetum language. Its images were all of the things of Timor: of the spiraling mountain peaks, of the chickens in the knuas (villages), of the rivers which divide and re-unite endlessly.”

Borja da Costa began trying to wake up Timorese to open their eyes clearly to see the reality that they lived under colonial rule when he returned from Lisbon in 1974. Along with his comrade Abílio Araújo in Fretilin which he was also part of it, they “composed poetry and songs expressing the people of Timor who had long lived under the oppression. They transformed traditional songs. The first work of this cooperation was “Foho Ramelau”, which was later known as the “revolution anthem” of Fretilin.”

Foho Ramelau
…….
Tan sá timur ulun sudur uai-uain?
Tan sá timur oan ata uai-uain?

Hadeer rai-hun mutin ona lá!
Hadeer loron foun sa’e ona lá!

Loke matan loron foun to’o iha knuak
Loke matan loron foun iha ita rain

Hadeer kaer rasik kuda talin eh!
Hadeer ukun rasik ita rain eh!

Through the song, Foho Ramelau Timorese felt that they were strongly firm to have the destiny in their own hands, sooner of later.

Many years during the resistance war, the song continuously burned the spirit of Timorese alive to fight for their rights to self-determination. In towns and cities of Timor-Leste, the song was banned for Timorese to sing by the Indonesian occupying force but in the jungles and overseas where Timorese resided such as Australia and Portugal, the song continued to be heard by people.

Any country in the world always has its own national anthem. Borja da Costa contributed his work “Pátria, Pátria” for the national anthem of Timor-Leste. It was publicly sung for the first time when Timor-Leste’s independence was declared on 28 November 1975.

Hino Nacional

Pátria, pátria!
Timor-Leste, nossa Nação
Glória ao Povo e aos heróis
Da nossa Libertação.

Vencemos o colonialismo
Gritamos, abaixo o Imperialismo
Terra Livre, Povo livre
Não, não a exploração.
Avante unidos
Firmes e decididos
Na luta contra o Imperialismo
O inimigo dos Povos
Até a vitória final
Pelo caminho da Revolução

Pátria, pátria!
Timor-Leste, nossa Nação
Glória ao Povo e aos heróis
Da nossa Libertação.

For hundreds of years Portugal ruled Timor-Leste. Timorese people lived under heavy oppression. After the decolonization process of Timor-Leste which, in the end, did not produce a good result in 1970s, Timor-Leste was forced to face the invasion and the occupation by Indonesia for more than 20 years. Timorese people felt that they were not the owners of their homeland with the fact that it was occupied by others. They lived in darkness, they lived without freedom. The following poem, “O Rasto da Tua Passagem” described Borja da Costa’s strong revolt against colonialism and forms the liberation of colonized people. Timorese activists in Australia managed to record the reciting of the poem in both English and Tetum and tried to circulate it in Timor-Leste and Indonesia clandestinely during the resistance years. The reciting of the poem helped fanning the fire within the hearts of young Timorese who studied at universities in Indonesia.

O Rasto da Tua Passagem

Silenciaste minha razão
Na razão das tuas leis
Sufocaste minha cultura
Na cultura da tua cultura
Abafaste minhas revoltas
Com a ponta da tua baioneta
Torturaste meu corpo
Nos grilhões do teu império
Subjugaste minha alma
Na fé da tua religião

Saqueaste
Assassinaste
Massacraste
Pilhaste

Minha terra, minha gente
Banhada em sangue
Escorragada, exangue

Barbaramente civilizaste na demagogia da tua grei
Brutalmente colonizaste na ambição da tua grandeza

Na ponta da tua baioneta
Assinalaste o rasto da tua passagem
Na ponta da minha baioneta

Marcarei na história a forma da minha
Libertação

João Aparício: “…….Timor, o my Land/You are my name!”

There was no much information to describe this young poet. According to the website of Editora Caminho, it states that “João Aparício is a poet living as a refugee in Portugal.” In 1999 he worked as a radio announcer for Rádio Renanscença, Lisbon in a program called “Timor, Sol Nascente”, which was broadcasted daily. He had published his poetic works in a book called Versos Oprimidos where he used his pen name Kay Shalay Rakmabean in 1995. Then, in 1999, he published his poetry book entitled A Janela de Timor, and in 2000 he published another poetry book called Uma Casa e Duas Vacas.

Poems taken to discuss and analyze in this paper are mostly from the book, A Janela de Timor. The launching of the book took place in Lisbon in April 1999. In some part of his remarks for the launching, Aparício affirmed his poetic vision as follows: “O sofrimento do Povo de Timor foi e continua a ser o alicerce da minha poesia. Não vivi em mim mesmo. Vivi a vida e alma dos meus irmãos
timorenses. Fui obrigado a reflectir mais cedo sobre o mundo e sobre o drama
da minha Pátria. Aquilo que escrevi é o que maioria do Povo de Timor pensa
e sente, desde que a tragédia se abateu sobre nos. É a sumula da
consciência de um Povo que está presente: a consciência do Povo de Timor. É pensar de modo novo o que foi dito e vivido pelos meus antepassados e pelas gerações de actualidade."

Aparicio’s affirmation described above was really in tune with what the Lebanese poet, Kahlil Gibran said about the essence of a poet is that, “The poet is the mediator between the creative power and people” As a poet, Aparício fulfilled the criteria to be the spokesperson for the lives of his people which are full of pain and joy.

Poets everywhere almost have the same character. They have a strong love and passion towards their own roots of life. As a descendent of Timor-Leste, Aparicio values a lot his beloved country’s existence. He really appreciates the landscape of the three montains: Ramelau, Matebian and Kabalaki which Timor-Leste has. On this, he described in the following poem, Meu Nome:

Meu Nome

"Timor,
Imagem viva de Ramelau, Cablaqui e Matebian,
Tres almas gemeas, imortais e sagradas,
Loucas no combate e mansas no amor.

Timor, o Terra minha,
E's o meu nome! "

Aparício sees Timor-Leste as the cradle of life, which he always loves. Timor-Leste is like his soul, the soul of Timorese people. The poem, Timor-Leste depicts this sentiment:

Timor-Leste

És o meu berço natal,
Onde p’ra sempre Te amarei,
E onde sempre Te Espero!

Jamais voltarei a perder-Te..
P’ra que continues a ser
Alma minha, terra úbere.

The flame of Timor-Leste’s struggle was almost gone before Santa Cruz massacre occurred, which woke up the conscience of international community that something went wrong. Two days after the massacre, Aparicio took his pen and tried to express his feelings, and made an effort to encourage the Timorese people who were in national mourning moment. With the poem, Timor-Pedra-de-Toque he encouraged them:

TIMOR—PEDRA-DE-TOQUE

Timor,
Pátria da ha’u-inan e dos aswain,
Está as escrever a Sua História
Com letras de sangue e de lágrimas,
Está a construir o Seu futuro
Com os cadáveres dos Seus filhos.
……
……
Timor,
Pátria de Xanana e dos jovens de Santa Cruz,
Continuará a bater os portões do mundo
Com a Sua mão cansada e ensanguentada;
Continuará a gritar para Portugal
Com a Sua voz de irmãos de séculos.

…………”

Xanana Gusmão and his revolutionary character where lots of Timorese considered as their guide in the struggle for national liberation inspired Aparicio to utter his thoughts in the following poem, Xanana –Mito:

XANANA-MITO

És o oan-mane-kmanek de todas as mães,
O maun Boot X dos nossos jovens,
O áman das crianças de Timor…

És a uma lulik dos velhos,
O lia-na’in dos sábios..
És o mito do povo de Timor-Leste.
…….”

Timorese resistance once again entered a phase of shaking when Xanana Gusmão was captured by Indonesian troops in Dili on 20 November 2002. It was a big blow for the resistance. This, of course, made Timorese down. Aparício stood up again with his pen, challenging his enemies by stating in the following poem, Xanana:

XANANA

Caíste nas mãos do inimigo;
Em angústia e luto está
O coração do teu povo amado…
Quem te traiu, meu irmão?
Que te traiu?
…….
…..
Toda a ilha chora…
Todos os homens de boa vontade choram..
Até os túmulos dos heróis choram por ti…”

Relevance of Poetic Works in the Context of Timor-Leste Today and Tomorrow

Now Timor-Leste lives in the atmosphere of independence. Since 20 May 2002 Timor-Leste has restored its independence. Timor-Leste has been part of international community as a free, independent and sovereign nation. As any other country in the world, Timor-Leste indeed has its own past which it had gone through, its present which is now happening with full intensity, and its future which it dreams of achieving it with a full of hope.

Development activities are now carried out in all aspects throughout the country. The question now is: what is the relevance of the literary works of the poets in the aspect of cultural development at the moment and in the future?

There is no doubt that the poetic works of the three man of letters: Fernando Sylvan, Francisco Borja da Costa and João Aparício play an importante role to constantly revive the social, political and cultural values which they believe in for Timor-Leste as a sovereign nation in the world.

As an individual, Sylvan dreamed of building a new nation. He wanted to love people, ideas, and things. He had his belief for peace in the future. This dream can also be shared by his fellow Timorese which are part as citizens of the world. In a line of an untitled poem, the man chanted:

“…… Quero só ajudar a propor a outra vida/Quero só ser mais um a fazer novo mundo.
Tenho de amar pessoas e coisas e ideias.
Tenho de ter certezas na paz do futuro.”

Children as the future of the nation will continue with a new struggle in today’s modern globalized world against: poverty, hunger, illiteracy, etc. He asked the kids to wake up and get up:

Acorda
Meu filho
Acorda..
Não podes
Dormir sonhar:
Guerrilheiro tens de ser
Que o povo
Tem de lutar!

The values of unity are the classical ones, which are still relevant in the process of nation building. The cliché, “A união faz a força” continues to become as guiding principle which can consolidate the life of a nation. The strong national unity of Timor-Leste will bring Timor-Leste to achieve stability now and in the future. Since 1974 Borja da Costa had appealed to his fellow Timorese to be united. The poem, Kdadalak espressed the poetic vision of this man of letters:

Kdadalak

Kdadalak suli mutuk fila ué inan
Ué inan tan malu sá ben ta’han

Nanu’u timur oan sei hamutuk
Hamutuk atu tahan anin sut taci
………
KDADALAK SULI MUTUK FILA UÉ INAN
TIMUR OAN HAMUTUK TANE ITA RAIN

In today’s world, there should not be forms of oppression of any kind. In a free and independent Timor-Leste, there should be a change of mentality for its people. The poem, Povu Maubere Sei La Sai Atan ba Ema Ida continues to remind Timorese of this concept:

“…..
Ita tenke hamosu
Moris foun ida
Atu haluha tiha
Katak povu ne’e sei sai atan
….
Ita tenke hamosu
Ema foun ida
Husi rai ne’ebé ita hamrik ba ne’e

Ita tenke harahun
Tauk no todan
Opresaun koloniál”

Like Sylvan who sang in his poem, Manifesto Povo Maubere, for determing Timorese’s own cultural identity, Borja da Costa also wanted Timorese not to be slaves for any one at this time, when they enjoy their independence:

ITA TENKE HAKILAR HO LIAN MAKAS TEBES
KATAK POVU TIMOR
POVU MAUBERE
LA SAI ATAN
BA EMA IDA

The fighters’ struggle in the past was not in vain. The result of their struggle is the freedom which is now enjoyed, and where they had waited it for so long.
As a nation, as a people, Timorese should not forget the aswains (the heroes). Borja da Costa reminded his fellow Timorese to be with him in “Um Minuto de Silêncio” for remembering the role which the fallen heroes had played:

“….Hakmatek ba,
Imi-nia hakmatek, ita-nia hakmatek
BA MINUTU IDA
Oras atu hakmatek
Ba hakmatek tempu nian
Ba moris nian
Ba ema hirak be saran na

BA RAIN
BA NASAUN
BA POVU
BA
ITA-NIA LIBERTASAUN
HAKMATE BA-MINUTU IDA ATU HAKMATEK

Since 1976, Aparício had wanted to invite his fellow Timorese, when living in the era of independence, to simply live in tranquility, not wanting war, and having no empty stomach:

MINHA PAZ

Sou rouxinhol do Oriente,
Alma de rosas…

Não querro guerra
Porque me rouba a paz

Quero mais arroz
E uma simples guitarra

EPILOG

As a people and a nation anywhere in the world, for the sake of survival in all aspects of life, Timorese people should, along with their poets, constantly engage in acts of reflections: looking towards the past as big lessons to learn, living in today’s reality in an intensive manner, and hoping to embrace the future with a great joy. To reinforce this commitment, Kahlil Gibran had said that, “But if in your thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all the other seasons, and let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing.”

References:

APARICÍCO, João—A Janela de Timor, Editorial Caminho, Lisbon, 1999

BREYTENBACH, Breyten --End Papers, McGraw-Hill, 1987

CAMÕES--- Revista de Letras e Culturas Lusófonas, July-September, 2001

EVANS, Boddy Alistair-- Internet (About.Com), “Biography: Antonio Agostinho Neto

FERRIS, Anthony—Spiritual Sayings of Kahlil Gibran, New York, 1962

SAHE INSTITUTE FOR LIBERATION--Poezia Borja da Costa iha Luta Hasoru Kolonializmu, Dili, 2005

GIBRAN, Kahlil – The Greatest Works, Jaico Publishing House, Mumbai, 2003

JOLLIFE, Jill—EAST TIMOR Nationalism & Colonialism, Queensland, 1978

SYLVAN, Fernando—A Voz Fagueira de Oan Timor, Colibri, Lisbon, 1993

Saturday, July 31, 2010

POETICAL EXPRESSION-18

Words move me to tears
Words shaken me
Words revolutionize me
Words have wings
Words fly
Words are not tired
Words are merely words
Merely inviting us
Merely inspiring us
Merely saying hello to us
--
2006

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

POETICAL EXPRESSION-17




NOTES OF THE NEW YEAR


i am still blue!
i am still sick!
i am still tired!

oh, Lord, when
am i going to drag again my powerful steps?
--
January 2010

Thursday, December 17, 2009

POETICAL EXPRESSION-16




Out of darkness, there will be light
Out of pain, there will be laughter
And the world is joyful, and claps its hands
--
December 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

POETICAL EXPRESSION-15



I always feel restless, empty, and to a certain extent, meaningless in life. Am I always ready to accept such feeling with all of my heart?

Monday, November 16, 2009

POETICAL EXPRESSION- 14



Am I really in tune with the notion that “The Child is the Father of Man”?

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 78

(Here I am again, wanting to update this blog of mine. Six months have passed without any real effort from my side to do so. I have to admit that I have been so busy doing other matters related to work, etc therefore I lost the desire to play in this forum which I consider my poetic garden..)

*) The reality shows that there are always ups and downs in life. But, I have to confess that sometimes when the moments of downs come; it is not easy for me to accept such reality.

Friday, May 29, 2009

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 77

[Two months have passed without my being active in producing quite a few reflective writings. This has something to do with my being too swamped by the addiction of ‘tagged’. I realize that this is not a good thing to do. I have to learn how to refrain from this ‘temptation’. I have to have a strong sense of self-discipline…….The following are notes which I wrote for the tagged-line. Hopefully, with them being published here, I am back on track...]

o TRUTH CANNOT BE CONCEALED
i may tell lies to others with all kinds of ways, but i cannot tell lie to myself. i cannot conceal the truth..

o DISCIPLINE IS A MUST FOR EVERYONE
Without a strong self-discipline, one cannot be successful in this long journey.

o JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL
in the long run justice will prevail.

o LIFE IS FULL OF PAIN
life is full of pain. through pain, we taste the sweetness of life..

TRIANGLE RELATIONSHIP
me, nature and god..would love to be in tune with this beautifully triangle relationship..

---
BEING A WARRIOR OF THE LIGHT
Apr 24, 2009, 4:07 pm
i would love to engage in a constant struggle to be a warrior of the light. it is not an easy task, for sure..

PROBLEM MAKER OR PROBLEM SOLVER
Apr 23, 2009, 12:14 pm
am i part of the problem maker or problem solver?

WHEN I AM SILENT
Apr 22, 2009, 9:53 am
when i am silent, you call me a stupid person?

LOVE CONQUERS EVIL
Apr 21, 2009, 11:49 pm
no matter how, in the end love will always conquer evil.

REVOLUTION OF CONSCIENCE
Apr 21, 2009, 11:47 pm

Apr 21, 2009, 11:47 pm
we are called to be a revolutionary of conscience. are we ready?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

POETICAL EXPRESSION-13



I am a solitary traveler. I am always ready to say hello to everyone in this long journey. I am always ready to invite anyone to engage in cooperation of doing things for our humanity. But, when such invitation is objected, it does not matter. I will step back slowly and firmly, and continue again my lonely journey.

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 76

*) A poet has to explore and find his or her own words. He or she has to have his or her own typical expression.

Friday, March 13, 2009

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 75

[I am back to the cyberspace after quite a while. Here I am wanting to chant....]

*) If we do not tune our musical instrument properly according to the sound of the ‘garputala’, then we should not dream of involving ourselves in an orchestra in order to play melodious tunes. Life also demands us to prepare and tune ourselves when we want to dive in its deep sea.

*) Everything in life has its own rules of the game where we like them or not, we should follow them. If we violate such rules, we are the ones will suffer.

*) Learning from history is a must for everyone with no exception. Let us hope that we will not repeat the same mistakes we committed in the past, in times to come.

*) I believe in the power of words. I believe words can break the silence.

*) If the trees are not strongly rooted on the soil, how can they challenge the blowing of the strong wind?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

POETICAL EXPRESSION-12



I am too sick; my soul is tortured, o Rabbi! Let me touch your robe! Shower me also with the olive oil of your love, so that I will be quickly healed.

Monday, February 9, 2009

POETICAL EXPRESSION-11



Nature has written a lot of epics. They are spread around everywhere. Nature keeps calling us to spell and read all of their symbols.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

POETICAL EXPRESSION-10



*) MOTHER: A SPRING, FLOWING DAY AND NIGHT

Speaking about mother, it is no doubt that we speak about our own roots, our own origins.

If there had not been the presence of a mother, how could we appear and exist, and dance with joy on the stages of our Planet Earth?

Along with our fathers, our beloved mothers took us with a blanket of love from the palace of God wholeheartedly. She took and brought us to the jungle of the world. She was not tired of seeing us flourish, and also she was not tired of seeing us extend our twigs and perch everywhere.

We cannot measure at all the suffering of a mother. We cannot return the favor of a mother at all until we die, until we become dust again.

As someone who bore us in the world, she does not ask us for many things. As someone who suffered a lot for us, what she only asks is our whole offering of love back to her. As someone who has given all her life when bearing us, she really wants us not to be lazy in drying her tears when she cries.

The love of a mother is an endless one. The love of a mother is a heavenly one. The love of a mother is the love of time immemorial.

Mothers are like springs, flowing day and night. The water of those springs is crystal clear, and very beautiful. The swollen wounds we have can be massaged with the spring water. The swollen wounds we have will be healed by its magic power.

With all the love they offer us, mothers create harmony, with all the love they spread, mothers create peace, and with all the love they foster, mothers create tranquility within every household.

A mother’s presence in our world with all the fragility she has moves her to utter her voice. Hers is a golden one. Hers is a soft one. Hers is a compassionate one, often times singing in the space of sublime truth.
--
2006-2009

*) It was originally written in Tetum, and broadcasted as a reflection piece for a show of RTTL in 2006.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

POETICAL EXPRESSION-9



In moments of solitude we think and make decisive decisions in our journey of life, which is full of darkness and light.

Monday, February 2, 2009

POETICAL EXPRESSION-8



Mother is like a spring, flowing day and night. I wash my wounds with its water. The wounds are healed by its magic power.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 74

*) If there is no humility from the two parties involved in the conflict, it will be difficult to achieve peace, harmony and reconciliation. Whether we like it or not, one of them should be humble, and in doing so, it will create an opportunity for the other party to soften its approach.

*) A prayer without a hard work is the same as telling a lie. And a hard work without a prayer, there seems to be having an incomplete packing of our bags in our journey of life.

*) Making plans for carrying out life is an important thing to do, and most importantly it is the execution of such plans in a proper manner. It is not easy to live a life. There is a need to have a mental discipline to do so.

*) I am the poet, and I am the man of letters. Being a poet is a vocation. When I am still alive, and when I cry out for something, almost no one wants to hear it. Someday I am gone to the other world, and then people begin to search for my words as if they do so in trying to find a lost needle. This is, indeed, the consequence of being a literary man. It is a heavy cross in which I have to be ready to bear on my shoulder.

[Remembering the small conversation on “being a poet” I had with PR Ramos-Horta in Com, Lospalos—29 January 2009]

*) When I am silent, people think I am stupid. When I am silent, people think I am scared. Time will come someday for me to speak out. Don’t be surprised when I tell which the real truth will be.

*) We need to be silent. Silence is golden. Silence is a wise gesture. We need to step back. Sometimes we need to, if possible, let others win the whole game.

*) Our whole life can be described as a bunch of poems having no titles.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

POETICAL EXPRESSION-7



THE DREAM OF XANANA

The dream of Xanana is not big, and also is not a small one
It is a moderate dream
Xanana only wishes to firmly hold the torch,
And illuminate the dark pathways
At night till dawn
--
January 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

POETICAL EXPRESSION-6




I WANT TO CHASE MY DREAM

I want to run, heading towards the horizon
I want to chase, and catch my dream
--
January 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

POETICAL EXPRESSION-5



IN MEMORIAM EL COMANDANTE “CHE”
[in his own words]

Don’t forget to spread my dream
Don’t be lazy to carry on my dream

Adios, I am leaving!
--
January 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

POETICAL EXPRESSION-4

*) TAIS-MANE, TAIS-FETO

Tais that we wear
Tais that we hang on our shoulder
Also fold our souls

Tais-Mane & Tais-Feto are sacred artifacts
Keeping the ancestors’ tradition alive

Don’t throw them away, don’t step on them, and don’t burn them!

---
January 2009

Tais = Timorese traditional dress
Tais-Mane= Timorese traditional dress specially for men
Tais-Feto = Timorese traditional dress specially for women

Friday, January 9, 2009

POETICAL EXPRESSION-3

PALESTINIAN CHILDREN

Fresh blood flooded everywhere
Darkness tightly folded itself

They burst into tears again

Crying, asking for light
Crying, waking up so many people

They have lost their presence
They have lost their future

Who actually heard them cry?
Who actually opened the eyes to see them suffer?
--
January 2009

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

POETICAL EXPRESSION- 2



LEARNING FROM CHILDREN

Children are the living witnesses
Inheriting our tradition
From the beginning until the end

Children are our students
Children are our teachers
---
2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 73

*) Choosing to be a poet means that I have to be ready to take the lonely road.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 72

*) We need time to be alone. It is a must. In solitude we usually make the best decision in this journey of life.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

POETICAL EXPRESSION -1

FLOURISH EVERLASTINGLY

Everything will be crushed
Everything will be broken
Everything will become dusty

New buds will appear, flourishing the flat land

We will pray
We will sing the songs of ancestors
We will tebe*)
We will bidu**)
Circling the stones of the sacred house

A big mat will be spread out
We all will sit down
Our hearts will be soft
Our heads will be cool
Telling the truth
Recounting the wrong doings


The happiness of love will appear
The beauty of peace will be green
Flourish and flourish
Flourish everlastingly
--
June 2006

*) Tebe is a Timorese dance, usually performed by men and women in a circle by holding hands.

**)Bidu is another traditional Timorese dance, usually performed by men.

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 71

*) When we do not have a big heart and an open mind, it will be very difficult for us to forgive our fellow human beings when they fall into sin.

Monday, September 29, 2008

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 70

*) The world we live in is already "full of shits". It is better for us not to maket it become even worse.

*) How can you expect to have a good physical health if you do not have a good mental one as well?

*) Wise leadership is very much needed amidst the chaotic atmosphere of a society.

Friday, September 26, 2008

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 69

*) Truth cannot be concealed, no matter how, by anyone of us. Truth will, sooner or later, will reveal itself. Truth will set us free..

*) Our health, be it physical and mental is a precious thing in our life. If we do not take care of our body, soul and mind properly, we are the ones who will lose everything.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 68

*) If we lose hope in life, we then will feel empty. And our life seems to be meaningless.

*) Balance in all segments of life is a must. It is a natural law. Anyone dares to challenge this law, he or she will be crushed by it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 67

[The wheel of life continues to spin around. And I follow its rhythm with all the strength and desire which I have...]

* Peace will be impossible to reign in the world if each of us does not keep burning its flame in our heart.

*) Mirror yourself always! By doing so, you will know who you really are.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 66

[August is gone. I have to admit that during that month I was really in a gloomy mood. I got no desire to do creative things, etc. I was always haunted by the feelings of restlessness. ......Because of this, this "note of a musafir" was also neglected for quite a while. And I am still in the gloomy mood now. Hopefully, soon I will be free from this kind of condition of emotions..]

*) I can lie to everyone, but I cannot lie to myself and God.

*) Patience is very much needed if we want to be successful in life.

Monday, July 14, 2008

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 65

13 July 2008

9:59 PM

[Somewhere in the land of former Javanese kingdom, Singosari..

Gee, time flies. Now it is already mid July. Soon the year 2008 will come to an end. What have I done?

Dad’s funeral day which I usually celebrate has gone out of my memory. I completely forgot it for this month. Dad, how can I so forgetful? Do forgive me, Dad. ]


*) Our history was full of violence and bloodshed. Have we ever drawn any lesson from it?

*) When I am wrong, is there any space for forgiveness coming from your side?

*) Don’t ever fight back violence with violence if it is not necessary. Once you do so, you automatically enter into the hole of losers.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 64

[Long time, no see. I was absent in cyberspace for so long.. Here I am, back...In Darwin, enjoying my ORB. Back to TL later today..]

* The children are our great Gurus. They teach us without hesitation by crying,etc...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 63

*) The poet is a man/woman whispering his or her inner voice to us while we are in the cave of our chaotic civilization.

*) If you do not get focused on something, how can you expect to be successful?

*) The Golden Rule is the basic foundation of our moral teaching. It gives us a strong sense of how we suppose to behave throughout our life.

*) How can you expect kids to behave properly if you yourself do not perform as a role model?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 62

*) Lord, why me? Why do You always choose me to be the spokesperson of my generation poetically?

***

Thursday, April 3, 2008

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 61

[ Ita has been a month and a half I was out of the blog scene. Too busy with work, and family life,etc...]

*) Peace and harmony will be hard to achieved if the two individuals who are involved in any conflict continue to be stubburn, and not wanting to, what I say in Indonesian, "merendah".

*) History keeps repeating itself. Unfortunately, we never learn from the past. When and how can we free ourselves from this vicious circle?

***

Thursday, February 21, 2008

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 60

*) Truth will set us free. It cannot be concealed no matter how. As a volcano, it will erupt someday. [pondering upon the puzzle of the nation related to the current situation..]

Saturday, February 2, 2008

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 59

*) Are we courageous enough to be brutally honest in revealing who we really are?

*) The task of a poet is "memulung kata-kata" (collecting words).

*) An intellectual is the one who keeps encouraging us to be fully engaged in the beauty of imagination.

***

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 58

*) Words are sharper than swords. They can create deep wounds. Be careful in how and when to utter them.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 57

*) Greal souls (scholars, artists, poets, etc) illuminate our pathways. They help us see things in a clear manner in our life considered as a journey. It is interesting to reflect again on what T.S. Eliot said in the lines of one of his poems that, "We shall not cease from exploration/And the end of all our exploring/will be to arrive where we started/And know the place for the first time//"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 56

*) [ What have I done during the year 2007? As usual I find that the more I do, the more I feel how little I have done. And for sure, there are a lot of things need to be done. ]

*) Reflection is a must for anyone who really wants to get involved in the field of life which is full of challenges. In connection with this, once a friend of mine said in Indonesian, "pengalaman tanpa permenungan terasa tak ada makna".

*) The recycling process in all aspects of life is an interesting phenomen to reflect upon. Please remember that there is nothing new under the sun!

*) Acknowledging that "one knows that he or she does not know" is a wise act.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 55

*) Life has its ups and downs. Are we always ready to face it?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 54

*) How can you expect to do big things successfully if the small ones you fail to do so?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 53

*) Our history is full of bloodshed. It becomes a mirror for us to reflect upon. History will help us be prudent in life.

Monday, October 29, 2007

NOTE OF A "MUSAFIR" 52

*) I have been thrown away by the vulcanic eruption of family conflict many times. I tried to remain silent as much as I could. This will contribute a lot to my literary endeavor.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 51

*) A true intellectual is the one who can provoke us for having debates on things in life.

*) The voice of a poet: a crying voice, echoing inside the cave of our being.

*) In order to have a prosperous society, no doubt, there is a need to strengthen the middle class. Let us use the concept of "katupa", ala Timorese style.

*) Truth always tries to say hello to us. We are the ones who pretend to be deaf often times.

Monday, September 24, 2007

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 50

*) Do you want to be a mediator? Be ready to be the target of criticism from all corners. You are always seen as someone who takes side when you actually try to create harmony.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 49

*) You have been part of my recent past. I cannot deny that you existed. Someday when I write my memoir, no doubt your life related to mine will be described in one or two chapters of it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 48

*) As an artist I have to be ready any time to engage in the spiritual war. Words are my swords. Hopefully, my words will provoke people so that they can be in tune with themselves all the time in creating harmony in this wonderful planet..
[Thinking of the song "Ebony and Ivory" sung by Paul Mcartheney and Stevie Wonder)

Monday, September 17, 2007

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 47

*) An individual alone can make a difference/change--in terms of doing good and bad things. He or she has the freedom to choose between the two.

*) The 'what' in poetry writing is ok. But, I like the 'how' much better.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 46

*) Don't ever try to burn bridges but build walls if you do not want to be lonely in life.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

NOTES OF " A MUSAFIR" 45

*) Chinese are great! They are so deep in concluding the reality in a simple "Tao".

*) Life is full of paradox. Are you keen on observing it constantly?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 44

* Language of love is a silent language. A language which can stronlgy resist the chaotic noise of our civilization.

*) Be simple in appearance, and deep in thinking...

Friday, August 31, 2007

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 43

*) History continously becomes a wise teacher. Unfortunately, we never listen to his/her wise words. We repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

*) A wholistic approach towards everything will help cure our human illness.

*) Mindful walking. Stature of the Guru. The words of Guru will be repeated somewhere and someday.

*) Don't ever try to be against the Guru who has been united with the power of Nature.

*) A: Why are you wasting you time---walking?
B: I do so because I want to enjoy the beauty of our 'rungu-ranga' around.

*) Relax! Don't rush! Take your time, and look around. There are some beauty here and there.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 42

*)Education really plays an important role in helping me become a free and independent thinker. When I am critical of the performance of life, you then label me as an enemy of the State? Jesus, give me a break?

*) Radicalism only creates chaos.

*) I am merely a musafir, wandering around in the desert of life. Along this journey, I met my fellow wanderers. I am pleased to meet them, and share some views on life as a whole. I am grateful for the chance. And then, the journey continued...

*) Jesus was a great Guru. He was keen on describing the Kingdom of Heaven by telling parables. As a disciple, what can I do?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 41

*) Leadership is very much needed in our life which is full of thorns.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 40

*) Great writers are like stars illuminating us in darkness. They show us the way, leading us towards the endlessness.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 39

*) We have to think historically. This will help us anticiapte much better our future.

*) Words have wings. Words refuse to be shuckled. Words want very much to fly around, circling the universe.

*) We need the thesis, and the anti-thesis in order to create the synthesis..

*) We need to constanly and quietly design our strategy of 'war', if we really want to win the battle of life.

*) Smile! And the world will smile back at you..Remember, life is a mirror..

Saturday, August 4, 2007

NOTES OF A "MUSAFIR" 38

*) It is interesting to reflect upon the following words uttered by Abilio (my fellow musafir), " I love people who commit mistakes, but I never love the ones who commit the same mistakes over and over again".

*) Sebastiao alias Bastian came up recently with the following deeply thoughtful words saying, " It is better to be a pretender in any circumstance".

*) Analizing the current ' political panoroma' in the country, Abilio once again appeared on the stage, proclaiming the following, " the effect of post-power syndrome creates 3 S: stress, stroke and stop". I find it interesting!

*) Let time tell its own story. Let time speak by itself, my dear!. No need at all to rush when it comes to the bubbling of confusion which many times drives us nuts.