Subject: Culture of Timor-Leste through music and film

Bega District News

Culture of Timor-Leste through music and film Friday, 17 December 2004

THE history and culture of Timor-Leste (East Timor) was the subject of a fascinating presentation from Ms Ros Dunlop at the Bega High School hall last week.

She told the attentive audience that there were over 40 languages spoken in Timor-Leste and songs sung in all of them and she and her group, the Tekee Tokee Music Recovery Program, were working to keep the local culture alive.

She said the people of Timor-Leste were desperate for education and she would like to see the schools in the Bega Valley Shire sponsor schools in Timor-Leste.

She showed films made by Max Stahl who was one of the few Europeans to be at the Dili massacre and who was able to document what had happened by hiding his films in the graveyard at night - a place where Indonesians would not venture.

Ms Dunlop said the people of Timor-Leste had a dreamtime, much like the Australian Aborigines and the people of Papua-New Guinea.

She said although they were Catholics they were proud of their mythical past.

Ms Dunlop said that so much had to be done in Timor-Leste that it would be a very slow process and could be frustrating.

A very accomplished clarinetist, she concluded her talk with a very evocative piece written by Martin Wesley-Smith called Tekee Tokee Tomak, which means "Let's get together".

She played clarinet as audio visuals were shown on the screen in what was the highlight of her presentation.

After a recess the Bega Valley delegates who went to Timor-Leste, Jim Collins, Bernard Taylor, Sharon Champagne, Cr David Hede, Don McPhee and Penny Davies showed their film and spoke of their most memorable experiences.

The Bega Valley Advocates for Timor-Leste is encouraging shire residents to buy mosquito nets for the students at the agricultural college at Natarbora, the place with which the shire has established a relationship.

You can buy the nets for $5 at any council office, not literally of course, as all you geet is a receipt.

There are also gift cards should you wish to give a net donation as a gift.

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