Christmas and New Year are Never Easy Here

It’s December and it is Cristmas! Yeah, of course. December and Christmas are always understood as one package. At least that is what we have been understood and living with since my childhood.

Starting from November, Christmas songs played everywhere throughout the territory. From the twelve munipalities to Dili, the capital city of Timor-Leste. Various genre of Christmas songs are played at the shops, at the houses, in the Taxis, buses and in the ‘microlet’ (other sort of common public transportation) and also in the radios like a public reminder.

Christmas ornaments are everywhere decorating each houses, each ‘bairros’ (neighbourhood) and each corner of the city with glittering lamps and lights around the artificial Christmas trees. Shops open Christmas sale with discounts, grocery stores offering Christmas package displayed gracefully at the entrance of the shop. Local vendors open temporary street sale with many people crowding around looking for new clothes and stuff to buy in cheap price for Christmas and New Year. All those elements have made Christmas and New year materialsm spirit dominated the whole month and the mind of people to buy things and have fun. But this is not the real meaning of Christmas for me although I love to have new stuff but I am realistic enough on the ratio between the money in my pocket and the prices of things I desired for. The ratio is 1 by 5 and it’s not enough. Forget it! Who cares about me not wearing a new clothes or buy new stuff? 

People say Christmas is the time to reunite with families and friends. And yes, all I want for Christmas is to be with my family. They live faraway from Dili city and it took me eight hours trip to reach the municipality where they live.

However, going there from Dili during Christmas and New-year week is really a struggle. This is the peak of busy week for buses to load passengers and seats are limited as they are mostly reserved to the loyal subscribing passengers. In normal days, buses will try to catch the passenger but in Christmas and New Year week, the passengers have to catch for buses. Who ran faster, will get the seat easier. Who came late, will have to stand along the way. Don’t ask how does it feel to stand in the bus along the long way home for eight hours. The roads are bumpy and curvy and it makes us shaking inside the bus everytime it takes a road turn. Not to mention, the exhausted driver who play loud music like discotic atmosphere to keep his sleepy eyes up, other passengers who smokes freely, or some other passengers who throw out from the window because of the car sick. In some cases, that exhausted driver may get a bit collapseD and causes the whole bus to be in a big trouble. A really ‘big trouble’ that may end your life or left you in bad injury because of road accident.

Christmas and New year are never easy here for those who have to return to their munipalities from Dili. Somehow, no matter how hard the trip is, people keep going  to municipalities to see their family. It’s a worth thing to go through, though. Because today we may still be  together, but tomorrow, who knows?

VZ, Dili, 23 December 2017

 

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Last Year’s Christmas Hut

This year, the Christmas hut in our village is left undo

In fact, last year, it was the most beautiful Christmas hut in our village made by our local youth

There was blinking lamps light the every night

Picture of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus with shepherds and their lambs and the three kings were there

Every night, all the youth of the village would came ro gather and hangout here

Some will brought their mp3 player and play all kind of Christmas songs

The village became live becausebof that Christmas hut

This year, those local youth who used to do the hut are gone 

Some go to Dili, the capital city

Some went abroad, to Korea, england, Ireland, to find job

This year, there is no more Christmas hut in our village.

Obrato, Manatuto Municipality

Dec 23, 2017

Honesty is Very Expensive!

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Honesty is very expensive!
To be honest in a truth is very costly
As you walk according to the counsel of truth
You will get insults, hatred
People say ‘how arrogant you are, how stupid you are, how you do not know anything.
Step aside!’
‘Do not you be so self-righteous! Do not you be so sanctimonious!
Let the lies rule over everything to go smoothly!
Who are you to confront?

Really my brothers and sisters …
Lying is cheap and easy and keeps everything go smooth
We are sweet to each other
We call each other ‘friends’
But who wants to punish his heart to death?
Is it you or me?


My brothers and sisters…
Honesty for the truth is expensive
But it is the one who gives freedom of life!

 

VZ, March 24, 2016

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

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.

My First Lunch in Jakarta

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It was a hot day in Jakarta

I was enjoying my first lunch

A plate of soft white rice

Accompanied with fried tofu, fried tempe* and an appetite-teasing brown fried chicken

The delicious jackfruit Gudeg* in a glossy redness to me

Together they greeted me with their special aromas

That was my first lunch in Jakarta

“Happy Eating…’

VZ, Jakarta, July 2013
*Tempe = A specific Indonesian food made from boiled soybeans and fermented then become a    soybean bars.
** Gudeg = An Indonesian-specific red curry dish made using jackfruit and is typical of popular food from  Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

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

Life Today

 

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Photo: Sunset in Dili, Timor-leste

 

Urgent, urgent, then it shattered.

One by one, they finally ended though they almost got the whole body of mine frozen.

Walking out from the gate, a light smile curved on my lips.

This life, although it is full of various pains, yet it always remains meaningful.

#life #poems #fragment #today #motivation #inspiration #spiritual