May Day— A Phone Call with My Dad

Today is May Day

I said to my father via phone call

“What is May Day?” he asked

It’s a day off for workers dad

It’s a day off for you as a worker,

I replied. He laughed.

“What? Really? Oh dear, you must be kidding me

when could a worker have a day off in his life?

Perhaps when he is getting sick or about to die.

Workers meant to work everyday to earn income

and to sustain his life

Just look at me my dear

Since I was a teenager I had learnt to be a worker for a lifetime

learning one skill to another skill and grow with it

from being a farmer in your grandparent’s rice-field

then a young military boy for gun-keeping task during 1970s of our country’s resistance

learning to become an electrician, a builder, a repairman, a servant

then learning to become a tailor.

Today I am a tailor while at the same owning a small clothing business

with the profits only enough to afford your education

and a bag of rice for everyday meal.

But you know what I love tailoring the most my dear

I love how my hands cooperates with the sewing machine

and turns the textile to a school uniforms

isn’t that a magic, my dear?

As I sell that magic for $10 to $20 US Dollars each

people keep coming ordering the magic I create

they said they loved it so much when they wear it

and now I have so many orders stuffed on the table at my tailoring shop dear

how could I take the day off my dear?

I am not a fancy office employee like you my dear,”

I sighed, dad is laughing.

But dad, please, do take a day off

you deserve it you know, I insisted

“Alright darling, but after I finished the orders”,

my dad replied and the phone call ended.

Today is May Day

is it really a day off?

Dili, May 1, 2020.

Dad’s Wrist Watch

Time flies. Time moves forward. Time rotates on its axis inside a wrist watch, my dad’s wrist watch.
Two nights ago, that wrist watch witnessed how I spend time with my dad. As the flow of time is irreversible, what can you do to enjoy each moments of its flow? 
One of my answer is to listen to folktale. Two nights ago, I spent time with my dad and his folktales. He had some folktales he got from the ancestors. 
There are few that I remember most; a tale of Cockatoo princess, a tale of two brothers, a tale of a dead brother and the tale of Matebian mountains. I haven’t been able to record or rewrite them. But I remember how the tales go on.
I love to hear those tales over and over again but dad said folktales are meant to be told at particular occasions only such as during harvesting time or during traditional cultural gathering. So, I have to wait for another occasion to hear another tale. It can be an old tale or a new one. 
My dad left and time flies away but those tales remain in my mind.
#noteoflife

Gentlemen’s Hangout in Maubisse.

Two men on sunbathing chat in Maubisse, Timor-Leste

‘My Brother’

‘Yes’

‘What a beautiful morning, is it not?’

‘Yeah. It is indeed.’

‘The sun rays are nicely warm.

‘Yeah. It is.’

‘Let’s do sunbathing with these lovely babies of ours.’

‘Sure, my brother. They will love it.’

‘My dear brother…’

‘Yes.’

‘Something is bothering me.’

What is it? Do tell me. 

‘I received a news that a relative from my wife’s family has just passed away.’

‘Oh poor you… Sorry to hear that. So why it bothers you?’

‘I do not have enough money to submit for my family clan’s contribution. May I ask you to lend me some? Please do help me’

‘Oh man… No worry. I’ll see what I can do for you later. But now, let us enjoy this beautiful sunbathing first.’

Maubisse (Timor-Leste), September, 2017.