A CONCERT OF POP MUSIC AT THE HEART OF THE CITY

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What do you see during the concert of pop music at heart of the city?

 

Is it the setting of the stage where the blinking lights are all around?

 

Is it the unstoppable speech of the host?

 

The native and foreign singers who sing with their beautiful voices?

 

The dancers who shake themselves in an amazing style?

 

Or, the crowds who surface like ants?

 

As for me. I am not only looking at these things.

 

Eyes of mine supposed to only look straightforward, yet they draw me to see a five-year-old boy holding a bunch of five balloons and selling them around.

 

Then, a father holding her little daughter buys a pink balloon from the five-year-old boy who sold the balloon. The father gives the balloon to her daughter. The little girl laughs out excitedly.

 

After that, a woman came along and took the little girl from her father. She kissed her daughter with laughter.

 

The three of them stand right in front of me holding the pink balloon they just bought and watching the concert of pop music at the heart of the city.

 

Now, I am the one who cannot see that concert of pop music at the heart of the city.

 

VZ

Largo Lecidere, Dili, Timor-leste, August 29, 2017

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Timor Runguranga: A Gulliverian Travel of David Palazon as an Alice in Wonderland.

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“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.”
Ansel Adams

If there were a simple and practical way of time travelling around us today, then I would say that photography is one of it.

My first time encounter with David Palazon was back in 2013, at the office of the State Secretariat of Art and Culture (SSAC) in Villa Verde (today has moved to Praia dos Coqueiros Street), Dili,  when I was working with UNESCO Art and Culture Programme as  an administrative and programme assistant. At first sight, as a Timorese, I was a bit curious of David with his presence as a malae (foreigner in Tetum). Why does this malae willing to travel far away from Spain to Timor just to do all these fancy work of photography and all related stuff?

Before joining the UNESCO Art and Culture team, I used to think that art and culture is something fancy and has to be luxurious. But being introduced to David Palazon’s work as photographer and having the opportunity to witness his work with SSAC on the preservation programme of the tangible and intangible art and cultural heritage of Timor-Leste, made me realize the importance of art and culture documentation and preservation for Timor-Leste.

On doing his work of documenting the art and cultural events and objects in Timor-Leste through photography and videographical work, I saw that David’s passion and enthusiasm are painted in each of his work pieces.  In gathering all these artistic and meaningful documentation, David also engaged the Timorese fellows in a collaborative work and together each of them express their messages on each photographical work they have produced on how rich the Timor-Leste art and culture is. From that time, I start to believe that Timor-Leste is indeed a wonderful land of art and culture and I would always admire it and appreciate it as a Timorese.

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David Palazon (Stand in the middle from the first row behind) and his fellow source person friends of Timor Runguranga book.

However, despite being Timorese and one can say being the owner of all this Timorese richness of art and culture heritage, a question rose in mind, how can we continue to value and preserve these heritage of art of culture? How can we share the beauty of this value of Timor-Leste art and culture to our fellow Timorese and to the world around us? As Timorese, we may already carry out the role of valuing and preserving by maintaining the continuous practice of the heritage. On the other hand, in the context of Timor-Leste’s fluctuating development progress, more effort is necessary to encourage the act of valuing and preserving the Timor-Leste art and culture. One of these efforts, as I would concern, is to have the documentation. As without it, we would lose some significant things in life.

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Timor Runguranga is indeed has answered that concern of mine in a very artistic, satirical, mindful and yet heart-touching ways. When I received David’s invitation to attend the launching of the book in Timor Aid last year, I was kind of wondering, what exactly this photographical book would look like? The title word runguranga itself has caught my attention so much as it made think about messiness because runguranga as I understood it in Tetum, is everything related to messy and messiness. I had no idea why I pick up the book home only to keep it as collection and open a glimpse of it sometimes when I have a bit of free time. But once opening it, I start to promise myself that I have to go through the book and I did it at last.

After reading each page one by one, I laugh at myself on how I have underestimated this book. For me, looking at the pictures displayed inside it, has gave that sense of looking at the old family photo in a thick photo album. So nostalgic and emotional until you want to smile, laugh, frown and cry at the same time. Why? Because this book has captured how life has going on in Timor-Leste lately since its independence in 2000s. Within the decades, the runguranga essence that kept decorating the independence progress of Timor-Leste has brought us to learn many things as a new emerging country and that being runguranga has shaped us to grow along with the turmoil of the modern globalized world.

This book, being as a diary and memoir, has also capture the exchange of feelings as well as the exchange of collaboration between the insider and outsider who met in this small world of Timor-Leste and entwined them both in a world of rungurunga that only each of them can perceived when they were here. As some wise man has said; do not judge a book by its cover or do not judge people by its outer appearance then I would say do not judge a country if you have not been there. This book will confirm that saying with the collaborative work it displayed and the emotional sense each source person has shared.

This is why I found this book to be one of the inspiring photographic books I have ever seen. Apart of being a photo album, diary or memoir, this book, is also a fairytale storybook of Timor-Leste that one may share to their friends, family and children who would like to visit Timor-Leste or to see Timor-Leste in the past decades. I would also say that this book would be a collection of inspiration and motivation for me as a Timorese, to help advocate the art and culture preservation in Timor-Leste. As for the visitors who would like to know about Timor-Leste this book is very recommendable as an indirect tour guide.

To conclude, I would like to say that Timor Runguranga is the answer of my first impression quest to David himself which today I have called as maun (brother in Tetum) David, on why he is willing to travel  from far-far- away land of  Spain to Timor-Leste. By reflecting his Gulliverian journey throughout all territory of Timor-Leste in this book, I would call him ‘the male version of Alice in Wonderland’.

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To buy the book, please follow the link below:

http://www.blurb.com/b/7181097-timor-runguranga

Further infromation about David Palazon’s work can be found in this link:

https://davidpalazon.com/timor_runguranga/

ZV/VZ

I live in Dili and I love to read novels, watching movies, listen to beautiful musics and wrote things I found interesting.

Dili, 31 July 2017

An Office Colleague

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#1

When you are here, it is noisy.

When you are not here, it is tranquil and mute.

When you are not here, there is no trouble.

When you are here, there will be trouble.

Yet from the trouble you brought with you, it had made us find the solution together.

You, noisiness, trouble and solution, we never let go of each other.

#2

It is no use for you to continue to tell everyone a fiery story about the ugliness and bad deeds of someone in order to impress your listeners. Probably it does sound amazing telling those stories. However, one day, neither you shall be infallible of mistakes.

O, my friend, the human being is indeed not perfect at all.

 

VZ, Dili, 2016

THE NIGHT OF HOLY THURSDAY

 

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On the night of the Holy Thursday, silent.
The hymns resonated.
Echoing from the cathedral of Baucau city
Sung by people who believe.
I sat alone, silent.
Listening, reading and asking.
After finished the supper with his disciples, what did Jesus do after that?
Whether He will also sit alone in silence like myself and listening to the hymn?

VZ
Baucau, 13.04.2017

Rosary of A Rural Lady

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Photo: A Timorese local woman

You live in a peaceful village

You grow along with the nature, the green mountains

Learn to follow the rules and wisdom of the ancestors.

 

In the morning, the cockcrow of the roosters wake you up

While the sunshine has not risen yet.

You enter the kitchen, lighting up the hearth and it smokes out

Later, a hot pitcher of an aromatic smell of coffee is ready to serve

With some freshly boiled cassava roots

It’s morning already’ So you said to everyone…

 

You live in a hut made of palm leaves and trunk

For your children, it is the most beautiful palace ever

As long as you are always there for them, every day and every night

To shelter your children with love.

 

To the spring fountain, there you go to take the water

Even if it is quite far to walk.

Filling the whole water pot, you carry it on your head

To the farm and rice field you go

To secure the food for your household

With palm leaves, you weave the winnower, mat, and basket

Those items are to contain the goods that belong to your household

 

You live with all your strength to serve

Sometimes you become weak and powerless

Yet still, you rise soon afterward.

 

‘The night is coming…’

So you summon everyone to gather

In a table with an ample of food

You fulfill their hunger, thirst, and fatigue

Then, there you sit still

Listening and seeing them talk

Measuring their mind and soul,

Feeling their burden and relieve.

 

Today has passed away

Yet still you believe that tomorrow is coming

Despite you do know not what it will bring.

You do ask not a lot of things

You do aspire not a high dream

As to you, it is enough

When the future of your children can be bright

Though someday, you might not be there at all to see it….

Dedicated to Timor-Leste rural mothers…
Vitalia Ze, Dili, October 15,  2014

From Dili to Jakarta via Bali (1)

It was the last day of June 2013.

I was full of excitement as a teen.

Waiting for my Sriwijaya flight at the Nicolau Lobato Airport in Dili.

With a mind of a wanderer, I asked,  “Would this trip be a jolly?”.

Later the flight came and I went ahead in a tremble along the departure gate.

I got on the airplane; a beautiful air hostess with red dress greeted me.

She had the most beautiful smile of the day.

I showed her my boarding pass; she guided me to my seat.

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I sat contently yet carefully paying attention instead.

Another air hostess was demonstrating the flight safety guide.

After an hour, the plane left the ground and started to take off. My heart jumped.

‘I am flying high!’ my mind exclaimed.

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It was my first trip from Dili to Jakarta.

There is a short transit at Ngurah Rai airport of Denpasar in Bali.

That was also my first time to see Bali, although just at a glance.

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Down there, I saw Bali’s beautiful blue sea with the white cliffs.

The red-brown houses formed like beads.

They spread over a huge green carpet of its green field.

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A very long bridge shaped a curvy line over the sea.

How I wondered to explore those places one day.

“Oh, how wonderful isn’t it?” myself said.

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I had heard about Bali since I was a child in 1990s.

People said that Bali is an island of gods, a paradise for tourists.

That time, I wish that one day I too could visit Bali, as a tourist.

I wanted to see the gods. I wanted to enjoy being at its paradise.

Finally, my wish did come true. Even though only for an instance.

Vitalia Ze, Dili-Bali-Jakarta, 30 June 2013.

The White House

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The white house, a beautiful house
it is so beautiful, in the eyes that see it.
Built with various precious things
with the sweats of the poor builders
Who gain fewer wages than the work of their hands.

The white house, a beautiful house
It is the symbol of pride for the rich
Though it is beautiful  outside
Some are empty inside.

When a poor man came to its door
the body will seize, the feet tremble at the entrance
It’s because of its great beauty
It’s because of the glitters are everywhere
Makes the dust on the feet also being afraid to stay longer….

VZ, Dili, 10 January 2015

A Taxi Driver’s Grumble

 

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Photo: http://www.dsw-photo.com/Travel/A-trip-To-Bali-Dili

 

Yesterday, in the afternoon, I stood on the roadside of Caicoli Street hailing a yellow taxi, which then stopped right in front of me.
Immediately, I opened the door and sat in the seat behind the driver, and then said, ‘ Please take me to Becora maun*. “The driver nodded as he continued to drive.
From the car window, I looked at the weather of Dili that was having a gray overcast. Perhaps, soon it will be raining. I felt the taxi is running a bit slow.
“Will you hurry up sir? Actually, I’m in a hurry. “I begged.
“Yes, mana**. But on this hour, it is usually jammed. I also want to be quick but there are many cars in front of us. “I sighed impatiently. In front of us, a Land Rover car also drove slowly.
“Yeah. You are right. This hour is usually a jammed hour. Usually, the most stalled roads are the roundabout of Merkadu Lama Street, and the crossings of Audian and Kuluhun Street. ”
“Yeah, those places are the point of congestion in the city center of Dili.” The driver replied.
We arrived at the Audian intersection road and there was a traffic jam because it was going-home time. One and two traffic police officers were on standby guarding in the middle of the road but traffic jams kept trapping the people. We were forced to stop for a few minutes before getting through.
Mana, look at those police officers. They only served there until the high ranked officials passed by. After that, they too will go home.” Said the driver.
“Really?” I asked, surprised. “I did not know about this. Instead, they must be on guard until night, mustn’t they?
“Right mana. They supposed to do so. Until now, the traffic police we have do not stay up until nights. Do you know what mana? The traffic police officers often make us their victims. “He sighed.

“Victims? Victims of what? “I asked curiously.
Each time they do a checkpoint, they often try to find excuses to blame us so that we pay a fine. ”

“Geez. Is that true? Then you would have to complete all the documents from being fined, right?”
“Yes, of course.  We indeed already have the complete document and driving license. Otherwise, how can we drive our cars for public transport? Ah, these police officers also do bully on us. If we complete the document, they will check our lights. If the lamps are complete, they will check if we were wearing the full uniform or not. If we were caught only wearing our pants and not wearing the shirt then still we will be fined. Yet mana, the uniform has a thick fabric and it got us sweltering. Especially on a hot day. ”
“Hmmm … really? Did they give you the bills or ticket to justify their reason to fine?  Usually, this ticket or bill should be paid at the transportation department office and not be paid directly to them.” I said wistfully.
” No mana. Not at all. They did not even give us any bills or ticket when they fine us. They just insisted us to pay the fine right away. We have to give away the money so they can let us go. We cannot be stuck with them all day long. We need to chase our passengers to earn a little amount of money for our family.” He continued to grumble but I look at him in disbelief and felt a little sympathy for him.

 

“And mana. What even worse is that these police officers sometimes also liked to threaten us. Especially those who are from Lorosa’e (Eastern regions of Timor-Leste). If they knew we are coming from Loromonu (Western regions of Timor-Leste), they will continue to hold our small mistakes and not letting us go quickly. While for other drivers, if they are known both come from the  Lorosa’e, they would be allowed to go as soon as possible. ”
“Ah, that’s not fair maun. Maun and your friends should bring this as a complaint to the Department Of Land Transportation office. Do not just let it happen. Later, they may behave worse in their actions. ”
“Yes, we supposed to be so mana. But what can we do? Later if we report to the Transportation Department office, we will be sent home. It is just a waste of time, though. “The driver said in a desperate face.
When we had reached the front of Fuxida shop, a Chinese-owned shop in Kamea road of Becora, I immediately asked him to stop.
“I get off here maun.” I looked for my purse inside the bag and pulled four coins valued 50 cents each to give him.
“Thanks, maun. Do not give up ya. “I said smiling and then got out of the taxi and shut the door. Instantly, I saw a beam of spirit in his eyes.

 

*maun = brother in Tetum language

*mana = sister in Tetum language.
Along the way of Caicoli-Becora, Dili, 3 March 2017