Friday, 19 December 2008

Fantastic ET

Media Release: 19.12.08
Timor a Global Hotspot for Whales and Dolphins
A recent major scientific field survey has revealed the deep oceans off the fledgling nation of Timor-Leste are proving to be a global hotspot and major migratory corridor for whales and dolphins.
The project is a joint partnership involving the Government of Timor-Leste Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), the Department of Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts and Sport (NRETAS) and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), and was the first ocean-going scientific research trip undertaken by researchers from the Northern Territory and Timor-Leste.
AIMS Project Leader Dr Mark Meekan said the survey was the first major boat-based survey of cetaceans (whales and dolphins) in Timor-Leste and follows six months of intensive aerial surveys of marine wildlife including whales, dolphins, rays, sharks, turtles and crocodiles along Timor coasts by NRETAS, AIMS and Timorese researchers.
NRETAS marine biodiversity Principal Scientist Professor Karen Edyvane said the survey recorded more than 1,000 individuals in eight separate pods over a mere 50km stretch of coast in a single day of observations.
"This is among the highest level of cetacean abundance ever recorded," Professor Edyvane said.
"Not only has the trip revealed the amazing cetacean abundance and diversity of Timor-Leste, but it also demonstrates Timor-Leste’s interest in marine science and its strong commitment to protecting and managing its unique marine biodiversity."
Territory and Timorese observers, including NRETAS marine wildlife experts Ray Chatto and Dr Kiki Dethmers, and Timorese researcher Jose Monteiro identified approximately 10 species of cetaceans, including Blue whales, Beaked whales, Short-finned Pilot whales, Melon Headed whales and six species of dolphins including Risso’s dolphin, Fraser’s dolphin, Spotted dolphin, Rough-toothed dolphin, Spinner dolphin and the Bottlenose dolphin.
"The dolphins and small whales were literally jumping out of the water all around us – it was hard to know which animal to photograph," Mr Monteiro said.
"It is vital that Timor-Leste continues this important scientific research to gain a better understanding of these magnificent but sensitive creatures and ensure that these cetacean populations are properly protected."
Professor Edyvane said one day in particular, with glass-like sea conditions, pods of over 300-400 individuals were recorded by observers.
"We were all amazed to see such an abundance, diversity and density of cetaceans," she said.
"The seasonal east-west migration of the large whales confirms what several cetologists have long suspected – that the deep oceanic waters off Timor, along the Wetar and Ombai Strait, is a major migratory route between the Pacific and Indian Ocean for marine wildlife."
Unlike many ocean scientific voyages in Australia, the survey in Timor was conducted aboard a traditional 20 metre wooden Indonesian vessel, the Timor Tiger – the first vessel in Timor to be registered for scientific marine research. Café e Floressta Agricultura Pescas Loro Matan Department of Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts and Sport Anne Marshall Ph. 8999 4730
"The Timor Tiger was a great research vessel for cetacean observations – multi-level, viewing platforms and local Timorese crew and observers that could spot animals at great distances," Professor Edyvane said.
Mr Celestino Barreto de Cunha, Director of Fisheries Management with Timor’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries said that the discovery was indeed very exciting for Timor-Leste but it also presented many challenges.
"The Government of Timor-Leste recognises the enormous potential for marine ecotourism along its coast and will proceed very carefully in the development of this industry," Mr Barreto de Cunha said.
"We are committed to ensuring that this marine biodiversity is protected and we will continue to look to Australia to provide good scientific advice on developing a sustainable marine ecotourism industry and in particular, through our unique collaboration with marine researchers from the Northern Territory."
The survey was funded by the Government of Timor-Leste Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) and are part of an ongoing program of coastal and marine conservation, research, monitoring and training projects being undertaken by Northern Territory and Timor-Leste researchers including NRETAS, AIMS, Charles Darwin University and Timor-Leste MAF scientists, with a view to developing sustainable marine industries and much needed regional employment and economic development.
To view the images of the recent cetacean survey in Timor-Leste go to and select East Timor Whale and Dolphin Survey.
For more information on the Government of Timor-Leste Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries go to

For some great pictures go to this link:


Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Nautilus - Because You're Worth It

Well, we’ve been waiting for it for a while now and we’ve all had a bit of a sticky-beak when we’ve been driving past but at long last the new restaurant on the beach road in Pantai Kalapa has finally opened.
It’s called ‘Nautilus’ and I can honestly say it was well worth the wait.
Situated about 50 metres east of the Hotel Esplanada, it has great sea views, easy parking and a constant breeze passing through. The music is laid-back blues and jazz, the staff are attentive and discreet and the décor is to die for. It’s a place Dili has needed for a long time now.
Owned and managed by R and B (like the music) ‘Nautilus’ offers a menu that should suit most tastes. On the (opening) night Mrs. FOS and I went there about 40 people were enjoying the food and very reasonably priced drinks. As the evening wore on the numbers increased up to around 70 or so and the place still didn’t seem over-crowded or too noisy.
After a couple of ice cold beers ($2.50 each) we ordered our meal. The starter was a dozen Oyster Kilpatrick to share and I wish we had ordered two dozen. We followed that with sirloin steak for myself and duck for Mrs FOS, both superb, accompanied by a great bottle of Pinot Noir. It’s one of those places where the napkins are cotton, there is no plastic and the furniture is good solid wood and very comfortable. All the while the staff were on hand but unobtrusive. Ashtrays were emptied immediately (yeah, I know, we shouldn’t smoke anyway), table’s were cleared and the booze didn’t come in cans or bottles. I loved it. Oh, and the dunny’s are spotless and have their own special attendants just like in the real world. Mrs FOS told me that it was the type of place where she could walk in as a lone female and not feel out of place, intimidated or threatened. High praise indeed.
At the moment ‘Nautilus’ will be open from 3pm for drinks and then the kitchen opens at 6pm for dinner. I understand from R and B that it will be open for lunch in the New Year. I wish it was sooner. The only problem I have at the moment is that my favourite place in the restaurant seems to be the favourite place for everybody else. (See picture) It’s a great place to chill out, have a great dinner and/or after dinner drinks.
For those of you with a design bent (and I know a few of you out there have a certain bent) you must check out the floor designs. Hand crafted, Timorese inspired and very very original.
What more can I say? I love the place and Dili needs it. Let’s hope it raises the standards for everyone.

The discreet entrance ( I love a discreet entrance)

My favourite place

Happy Eaters


Friday, 7 November 2008

Whale Of A Time

On Wednesday I was lucky enough to be asked to go up in a very light aircraft and take pictures of ‘Mega Fauna’ in East Timor waters. Mega Fauna basically means anything bigger than, and including, turtles.
What a day!
We took off from Dili Airport at 0620 and before we had reached our cruising altitude of 500feet and 80mph (yep, the ‘plane was that small) we had spotted a big whale right off of the Jesus statue. Picture below. We basically flew the coast of East Timor from Dili to Jaco heading east then along the south coast heading west then when we got parallel with Same flew inland to west of Dili and then east again along the coast to Dili. Total flying time about 4 hours. Very hard on the bum and no way to stretch your legs but who cared?
We saw at least 6 species of whales, easily over 4000 dolphins, manta rays in formation, BIG hammerhead sharks cruising on the surface and we just stopped counting the turtles once we got to Com and beyond because there were too many.
We also got pictures of some illegal fishing boats from Indonesia which we have handed on to the appropriate authorities with times, name of vessel, location etc.
I knew we had great marine life here but I never knew it was so prolific. The two scientists I was with told me that it was an absolutely exceptional survey. And when a scientist starts to use long adjectives you know you’ve seen something special!!

Speaking of whales, does the Japanese ambassador really need to have 2 UNPol cars and 2 PNTL motorcycle outriders, with all the bells and whistles going, just to pop down the shops for a packet of durries and a 6 pack of Kirin on a quiet Saturday afternoon on the beach road?
After all, that's my tax money being spent. And I don't like it.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Security Warning!

Today is the birthday of our beloved leader of the F-FDTL Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak.
Please be advised that it is expected many F-FDTL soldiers will be pissed up in the bars of Dili this evening. Please take extra precautions

"Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday TMR,
Happy Birthday to you"

TMR (He's very short you know. Allegedly)

This security warning has been issued by FOS because he is a cynical old b*s***d.


Thursday, 9 October 2008

Traffic News

From those nice people who gave us Doris Day and Desert Storm comes a security warning that is informative, non-alarmist and treats one like a responsible adult:

Increased Security Around Dili
1) The Government Palace is increasing security. Photo ID will be required, and new vehicle entry restrictions are in effect.
2) The police have informed us that they are setting up checkpoints around town. Below is a list of checkpoint locations.
Planned hours of operation are 2000-2200 hours and 0200-0500 hours, including roving patrols as well as static checkpoints. Contacts in the national police inform us that these checkpoints will be active over the next few weeks and applied periodically hereafter.
Checkpoint Locations:
1. Pantai Kelapa intersection (in front of the Indonesian food restaurant)
2. Residence of the American Embassy (Management Officer): At Bidau Santana intersection
3. City Café Restaurant: location at ANZ intersection
4. Government Palace location at old Post office
5. Audian in front of TOP ONE (Residence of the Secretary of State for security)
6. Aitarak Laran intersection (in front of the Pertamina, Micro Finance office)
7. Kolmera intersection (Road to Hotel Timor and Government Palace)

The police are mainly checking for the following items:
Illegal and/or traditional weapons
Proper Vehicles/Motorcycles documents
Special focus on vehicles that use DH* plate numbers/Jakarta plate numbers.
We strongly advise American citizens and their dependents to maintain at all times identity documents identifying them as American citizens or their dependents. We also recommend that you store photocopies of your passport’s information (photo) page and Timor-Leste visa separate from your passport.
We further advise American citizens and their dependents to cooperate with authorities in the event they come across a military or police checkpoint.
Please be aware of your surroundings.
The U.S. Embassy will provide American citizens with further reports.
For emergency contact, you may reach Consular Officer Roberto Quiroz at 723-1328. Embassy Switchboard is 332-4684. To reach an American staff member, please dial extension 2083, 2056, or 2171.

Isn't that nice of them?

* (Bali number plates)


Saturday, 13 September 2008

Cane Toads? Load of Arse.

So, we are being invaded by Australian cane toads are we? Buffo bullshit I call it. No one yet has actually caught one of the said toads and presented it to any experts for inspection so far as I am aware. But what do we have? Some individuals have said we have cane toads here and that they 'stowed away' on INTERFET vehicles in 1999 to get here. So everyone and his ill informed son are jumping on the Buffo bullshit bandwagon. Even Senator Bob Brown in Australia has called for an 'extermination programme' to wipe out the toads that havn't yet been proved to be here. Senator Brown even sent me an email this morning trying to confirm that cane toads are here. I think this was in response to an email I sent him regarding his unsubstantiated comments. Even our beloved President, once again, has jumped on the Buffo bullshit bandwagon. Dear Mr. President, if you don't listen to your media advisors, maybe it's about time you did. And if you DO listen to them, maybe it's about time you sacked them. Or get them, and you, to read this link.

A cane toad (without the hat). Have you seen one of these Mr. President?


ps - if it is proved that there are indeed cand toads here I will donate USD 100.00 to any

local Timorese NGO.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Friday, 22 August 2008

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President
Perhaps you and your 'media advisors' should read this:



Wednesday, 23 July 2008

But Is It Art?

I saw these chaps out and about today. I must say I was a little perturbed.
Until I saw their weapons....


Saturday, 28 June 2008

Fantasy Jobs

In the current spirit of ‘just making things up’ I’ve decided NOT to take the job of Angelina Jollie’s next lover even though I wasn’t offered it. I’ve also decided not to remember that is was me who first mentioned a heap of money in a Darwin bank account and then decided to forget that too. Oh yeah, I’ve also decided not to remember the name of the guy who shot me even though I have mentioned it and met him since.

But don’t quote me on any of the above…

ps - All journalists are untrustworthy and stupid


Thursday, 26 June 2008

Turtle News

So, its 2.30am, I’m fast asleep and gently dribbling on my pillow. Suddenly the ‘phone rings, it’s my mate Bill (or is it Ben) “Mate mate, you’ve gotta get up now. I’ve got a turtle in the back of the car and we need to set it free”. Bugger.
Up I get, find the Maglite and await Ben (or is it Bill?) He pulls up about 5 minutes later, bottle of XXXX Gold in hand and I hear a furious thrashing from the back of his car. He has indeed got a turtle. A Green Turtle. And the bloody thing weighs about 80kg. He had been driving home through Dili when he saw three guys dragging the turtle through the streets. Apparently they had found it laying eggs, on a capital city beach mind you, and had just picked the thing up to take home and eat. Now Bill (or was it Ben?) is not a stupid man, far from it. He knows that to buy live turtles is only to encourage the capture and sale of the animals. He is also a sentimental bugger with some very rough edges. The guys demanded 50dollars for the turtle but my mate and his very tough girlfriend bargained them down to 15dollars. He couldn’t help himself and I don’t blame him. I would have done the same.
We take the turtle out of the car and carry it over the road to the beach, which isn’t an easy job because the turtle is big and heavy and thrashing around like a, well like a very distressed big turtle. We put it on the beach and it races off to the shoreline and dives in. No more turtle and hopefully it has survived the ordeal. And not even a backward glance to say thanks, ungrateful bugger.
When we were carrying the thing to the beach I made sure the head was pointing away from me because a few years ago I had a similar experience with a Hawksbill turtle. Thinking I would try not to spook it I carried it backwards with the head pointing towards me. Big mistake. Just before I got to the shoreline its head popped out and he/she (probably a she) gave me an almighty bite in the guts. Now that was very amusing for the guys in the pub watching, the pom got gut bit! Ha bloody ha. But I ended up with a bruise the size of a dinner plate and I was passing blood for the next 4 days. Not very nice, but the turtle lived. So, if ever you have to rescue a turtle, carry it so that the ungrateful buggers cannot give you a friendly nip.


Friday, 20 June 2008

Shipping News

We've all seen the monstrosity pictured below. Its a clapped out Indonesian sailing boat which has been sitting on Dili's only slipway for more than 2 years now. Boat owners and operators find it very difficult to get their vessels in and out of the water since this pile of rotting junk has been parked there. Wouldn't it be a magnanimous gesture by the well placed and not cash poor owner/s of this disgusting pile of trash to donate it to say, some of the many Timorese carpenters in town so something useful can be done with it? Instead of creating a public inconvenience. Oh, it stinks as well because its also being used as a public convenience.
An Indonesian Junk?

Friday, 13 June 2008

Giant Panda

Welcome back GP
Would you like to meet for a coffee sometime?


Tuesday, 13 May 2008

And Their Point Is?

Driver straps in beer, leaves kid loose

Posted 3 hours 42 minutes ago

Police in Alice Springs say they were appalled to find a driver put a seatbelt around a carton of beer - but left a five-year-old child unrestrained.

Officers stopped the unregistered sedan on the Ross Highway south of Alice Springs on the weekend.

They found the child sitting in the back seat without a seatbelt, but the driver had put a belt around a slab of beer.


Thursday, 8 May 2008

A Lively Read

UNMIT Daily Media Review - 8 May 2008


Hair Raising

I have just received the following message. It is addressed to NGO's, which obviously I am not, but I managed to get a copy anyway. I've left out any identifying details, like names and email addresses for obvious reasons.
The whole thing would be quite funny if it wasn't quite so bloody alarming:

Date: Thu, 8 May 2008 11:52:23 +0700
From: "**** ********”
Subject: Of Concern

Joint NGO Safety Office
Location: Zumalai
Time/Date: 7 May 2008
Report Status: Reported by UN Sources
Information: It was reported that an F-FDTL (Joint Command) delegation met with the community in Zumalai, Cova Lima District. They were reported to have advised the community of the following:

1. Support the Joint Command operations.
2. Everyone should hand in any lethal weapons, including home-made weapons, prior to

10 May.
3. All long-haired men must get a haircut.

The third point is cause for some concern. I have been unable to confirm whether this is an official directive from Joint Command, although I sincerely doubt it.
There is no legal or other basis to support such directives, which are probably being imposed by individuals rather than as an official approach to community relations sanctioned by the JC.
Nevertheless, these directives have been issued before by members of the
F-FDTL, in a number of instances to INGO staff in Bobonaro. In one case, the directive was issued with a threat to cut the person's hair if he did not do it himself.NGOs are encouraged to report this and other abuses of authority so that they can be brought to the attention of the relevant authorities.
NGOs are also cautioned that their staff may be subjected to directions by individual members of the security forces that may impinge on their civil liberties. This may happen at any time, in any location. This office has seen an increase in the reporting of such incidents over the past month in particular.

DisclaimerThe Joint NGO Safety Office (JSO) exists to provide dedicated security service to the NGO community;
As a free service JSO and its donors or partners, accept no liability whatsoever for claims as may result from the provisions or utilizations of these free services;
Whilst every effort is made to verify data, JSO cannot guarantee the accuracy or information provided; NGOs are reminded that they remain responsible for their respective organizations security management.

Comments anyone?


Sunday, 4 May 2008

Interesting Times

This is worth reading.
(with apologies to a good mate in Darwin)


More Odds N Sods

Some of you may have noticed that I have recently started to moderate the comments section of this blog. This is because I have been receiving a number of comments recently from ‘Anonymous’ (you know who you are, you little tinker) that are full of racist, homophobic and frankly fatoldsodist comments. Now whilst I believe in freedom of expression I do think the onus is on the commentator to make sure the comment is coherent, legible, spelled correctly and grammatically precise. So, Anonymous, I promise to publish the first comment you send that fulfils the above criteria, no matter what the content. You fuckwit.

This morning we had our first power cut in months. It lasted about 30 minutes and was of no consequence as we have a generator. I know from friends that we are very very lucky with our electricity as they are having constant cuts in different areas of town. The main reason, I have always suspected, that we are this lucky is because we live on the same street as most of the Embassies in town and nobody wants to upset the donor countries.
Now the other night I was talking to a chap down the pub, as you do, who is over here to help run and maintain the power station in Comoro. Among other things he told me that they have had a directive (no names, no pack drill) that certain areas of Dili should never have cuts. One of these areas contains the house just west of the Jardin IDP camp and Hotel Timor where certain rebels are being contained. You know the one. Its got a big sheet of blue plastic around it, 4 million air-conditioning units, satellite dishes, a pool table and a contingent of heavily armed PNTL and F-FDTL guarding it. Apparently this particular house must not receive any cuts.
Now imagine if you were a law abiding Dili citizen.You pay for your electricity in advance, which you probably will not receive (a breach of contract if ever I saw one) and yet you know that ‘rebels’ in a safe house are never sweaty, have constant light, can put the karaoke machine on whenever they feel like it, the fridge has nice cold drinks in it and that they are safe and sound with their own personal bodyguards to protect them.
If I was that law abiding Dili citizen I would be well fucked off.

Cooking News
I was recently leafing through an old cookery book and came across the following recipe. I thought it might be of interest to my reader.




300g (11 oz) of Incompetent Governance (IG)
150g (5.5 oz) of Unmitigated Nonchalance (UN)
1 very very small tbsp of transparency
A heavy dollop of mixed bleeding hearts
1 large slice (approx 5 weeks) of religious interference
600 petitioners
30 cloves of rebels (crushed)
An overwhelming amount of Pork and Cheese
1000’s of barrels of oil
1 bag of mixed nuts
No rice

Ideally this dish should be prepared using an electric oven but in consideration of the previous article a Timor gas oven should be used.
Place your 1000’s of barrels of oil in a pan and bring to the boil. Add your 300g of IG, 150g of UN and your mixed bleeding hearts. All of these should have been well pickled beforehand. After waiting 4 years add your large slice of religious interference. Let the whole lot simmer for approx. 5 weeks. When the dish begins to smell add your 600 petitioners. After 2 months the petitioners should have wrung out the IG. (A new IG can be voted in later). Once this is accomplished throw in your 30 rebels. These can be crushed after 2 years. Stir in your mixed nuts and your leaks. When the mixture starts to smell like a dead rat take your tbsp of transparency and throw it away. You won’t need it. Stir well, cover-up and cook until everyone forgets the previous 6 years. Season the whole mixture with hypocrisy and cynicism and serve on a large bed of Pork and Cheese.


Tuesday, 29 April 2008

The Dili Weekly

Go get ‘em Jesse, you Rottweiller you.

Also from The Dili Weekly a couple of great headlines:

Flooded river takes pigs, chickens, sandals

Buses, motorbikes to go to schools
(God knows we need better educated buses and motorbikes).


Mea Culpa

In the current climate of forgiveness and “least said, soonest mended” I have decided to offer an amnesty AND a pardon to the poor misguided armed chaps who burgled my house on December 24th. I realise now that the only way forward is to suffer from a selective amnesia and forget all about justice.
So chaps, I hope you spent the money you stole on alcohol, drugs and loose women and didn’t just squander it. I hope the booze you stole didn’t give you all too big a hang over. That you and yours wear the cloth’s you stole with pride, after having used the iron you stole to make sure they look nice. That the tools, flash-lights, binoculars etc were all up to standard and suited your needs. That you got a good price for these items when you sold them in the Comoro market.
Also in this spirit of “a new beginning” I have put all my old locks back in place so that the keys you stole will now gain you unlimited access to my house so you won’t have to drug the dogs to get in.
I also hope that when/if you are arrested (ha!) you refer to the amnesty given to Rogerio Lobato and 80 other convicted criminals and basically say “If it’s alright for them it should be alright for us”.
Maybe we can arrange a “dialogue” or a “workshop” or a “consultation” to resolve any issues we may have. Myself and a few of my mates would love to have a “dialogue” with you so that we can all see the error of our ways.

Talking Of Which
A very nice PNTL officer who is in charge of my burglary case came round the other day with some ID photo’s of guys he suspects may have been involved. He asked me if I recognised any of them and had I seen them hanging around the house on the day in question. After perusing the pictures I had to tell him that I didn’t in fact recognise anyone. This was due to the black-eyes, bleeding noses and general bruising that would have made it hard for their mothers to know them. I gently suggested to the police officer that maybe they should take the ID photo’s before they give the suspects a bashing. He took this on board and said it was a very good idea.
Another triumph for public/police relations.


Stop Press - Traffic News

Dili residents may want to avoid the Comoro Road today around noon as I expect the usual traffic chaos to be even worse. Apparently Mr. Salsinha and some chums will be arriving in Dili around this time. Expect very fast convoys, gun-toting Rambo lookalikes and lots of sirens and flashing lights.
You read it here first folks....


Friday, 25 April 2008

Burying the Lead

Oh yeah, I forgot something.
It's now 1355 Dili time and Salsinha is in Gleno negotiating his surrender with various bodies. The PNTL and F-FDTL are up there too. Why the fuck they don't just stick a gun to his head and arrest him I don't know. You read it here first folks.


It All Makes Sense Now

You know, I think we may have got it all wrong. After my initial disgust, anger and abject disappointment over the Presidential ‘amnesty’ for Rogerio Lobato and 80 other convicted criminals I was too upset to write anything about it because I thought that I might be a bit too vitriolic. Now I’ve had time to calm down and consider the Presidents kind offer I realise we probably all got it wrong in the first place.
Ex Interior Minister Lobato was completely misquoted in the original investigation. He did not in fact say “Kill them all, kill them all”. In keeping with his devout socialist/Fretilin principles he actually said “Kill the mall, kill the mall”. As some of you may remember the LANDMARK supermarket/mall was in the process of being opened at the time and I believe that convicted criminal ex Minister Lobato was actually trying to save East Timor from the evils of capitalist consumerism. Good for him. Convicted due to a simple typographical error. Disgraceful. I hope all of Dili turns out for his return as we did for Ramos Horta last week. Welcome back Rogerio, your country needs you. I also hope Fretilin ignores the fact that he is a convicted criminal and offers him High Office within the party machine. I’m sure they will.

"Kill the mall, kill the mall" - The offending mall

Of course, if you are a Dili truck driver you might not be so happy to see the return of this gun-toting (allegedly) pistol-whipping (supposedly) thug (definitely). I know I wouldn’t.


Monday, 21 April 2008

More Odds 'N Sods

I’ve decided I’m going to swear a bit more on this blog. I think it needs it.

Heard Down The Pub Yesterday
"Mate, can you take your grenade out of the car before we go in the pub?"

Also Down The Pub (To the tune of 'Hello Muddah, Hello Fadah')
Hello Hector
How’s it going?
How they hanging?
What you knowing?

Goodbyeeeeee Tobias. You will be missed. But then I’ve always said that about you.

The Other Side Of The Coin
I know occasionally I might seem to be slightly unsympathetic to various members of the PNTL, F-FDTL, GNR etc. etc. so here is a little story to put things into balance.
The other night down my local watering hole two of the staff, both Timorese, one male and the other female had an absolutely huge blue. Obscene words were shouted, blows were exchanged and many tears were shed. The fight was very very loud and went on for a long time. The female side of the fight wanted to call in the police and her husband so things could have gone quite bad for the male side. The police (five PNTL) rocked up as did the husband. Very tense situation. Two PNTL officers sat down with the fighters and the husband and talked very calmly and at length with the offended parties. After a long and non-acrimonious discussion the PNTL sorted everything very nicely. Nobody was arrested, nobody was hit and the cops remained calm and friendly during the whole thing. So, slap my wrists and wash my mouth out with soap if I say anything bad about any of the security organizations in the future. Well, for the next day or two anyway.

Eight hundred thousand dollars eh? I might apply to be a Major in the F-FDTL if that’s how good the wages are.

If you see this car driving around Dili (check the licence plate), stay well clear because the driver is a fucking menace. And to think he is carrying a loaded weapon as well.

Prince Albert
Apart from some very dodgy genital piercing what has Prince Albert ever done for us eh?


Thursday, 17 April 2008

I'll Be Back!

Well, what a great day it’s been. The return of JRH and the weather isn’t bad either.
Up at the airport at 0700 for the big day. Got there and the place was virtually empty. Handed over some ID and got a piece of plastic that allowed us entry to the airport. Nothing much has changed at the airport really, it was hot, crowded, smelly and very very boring. So I left and went outside to see what was happening. In about 30 minutes the place had changed. There were now at least 5000 people outside, cars and 4WD’s everywhere and a few weapons and very loud whistles as well.
JRH gave a press conference at which he was quite (understandably) emotional. It seemed he didn’t like the SBS documentary last night. Everyone’s a bloody TV critic nowadays. As one colleague said, ‘JRH looked frail but tense, which could be a metaphor for the country really’. You read it here first!
So, airport done, race off to the Pres. Res. for pictures of the Man returning to the scene of the crime. Very very emotional. Lots of people there, marching bands, local costumes, PNTL and GNR being very brave (and about 9 weeks late) and the Man himself walking from the T-junction up to his house. It must have been quite traumatic for him, seeing the site where he was gunned down for the first time and having to listen to the crap music at the same time. A TV mate got a couple of hits from the GNR and the PNTL which JRH witnessed and apologized for. Personally, I know why the GNR guy hit him. The GNR chap was (typically) about 5foot 2inches tall whereas the TV cameraman is around the 9foot mark. A classic case of ‘Napoleon syndrome’ I think. Plus we were very near the ‘Caz Bar’ so the GNR testosterone level must have been quite high.
I’ll leave it there now with a couple of extra comments.

I’ve noticed that the road from Pig Bridge to JRH’s place is now called “Avenue April 17th”. Fair enough. But it took less than 6 days to create “Avenue April 17th” so why the fuck couldn’t it have been done in the previous 6 years? Obviously the labour, money and incentive have been available, so why hasn’t somebody asked the present and past Minister’s in charge of roads what the hell they have been doing since May 20th 2002?
I also think we should leave JRH alone for a while to let him recover, get over the emotional shock of returning to the place where he was gunned down and also let him consolidate his position a bit now he has been re-sworn as Prez.
I reckon we might be looking forward to a couple of ‘interesting’ months on the East Timorese political scene. Let’s hope so.

Running shoes from east and west East Timor wait to greet the President.

A normal sized chap about to get a slap from 3 short-arsed bastards

Looking good Mr. President


(or rather, they didn't miss)

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Bits N Pieces

JRH returns on Thursday from Darwin. I would imagine there will be very large crowds at the airport and on the road to his house to welcome him back. I hope he appreciates the work that has gone on between Pig Bridge and his house. It took me 45minutes on Saturday morning to get from the bridge to the JRH turnoff. Good job nobody needed an ambulance this time!

A couple of things have caught my eye recently:
Government to buy warships – Suara Timor Lorosae
The State Secretary for Defence, Julio Thomas Pinto, said the Government has decided to buy warships for the F-FDTL Navy to control illegal fishing activities in the coastal area of Timor-Leste."The Government through the department of Defence has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a Chinese company, Poly Technology, to start ship construction for F-FDTL," said Mr. Pinto after signing the MOU on Saturday (12/4) in the Government Palace, Dili.Mr. Pinto also said that the construction will be started next month and will finish in the following year."Once the MOU is implemented, 30 F-FDTL members will receive training from Chinese shipping companies in China," added Mr. Pinto. (STL)

Klemm: The 'State of Siege and State of Emergency' are the right ways to solve the problems – Diario Nacional
The American Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Hans Klemm, said that the Government of Timor-Leste has shown a great patience during the implementation of the 'State of Siege' and 'State of Emergency'."I hope that through the 'State of Siege' and 'State of Emergency', Salsinha and his men will surrender themselves peacefully to justice so that their problems will be sorted out as quickly as possible," Ambassador Klemm said.
My understanding of international diplomacy is that if you do not like a country you are stationed in the surest way to get a transfer is to meddle in internal politics.

The Dili Weekly has done it again with a couple of great headlines:

Small, old Indonesian flag in mango tree causes stir.
Despite state of siege district life continues as normal, except for odd kidnapping in Maubisse.

The editorial by Jesse Wright is also spot on, again.


Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Random Stuff

Well, I just got my copy of The Dili Weekly and once again it was well worth the wait.
Headline of the week, page 2, has to be: Catholics Celebrate Easter. Well they would wouldn't they.
The editorials are consistently superb although I think the combination of large cojones and decent brains could be a dangerous thing. I suspect there are some people out there who are already thinking of trying to get the paper closed down. Again, I’d say to anyone living and/or working in Dili, get advertising with The Dili Weekly. The more money they receive, the stronger they will be.
They also have an item called ‘Police blotter’ which is a round-up of the arrests and
incidents of the previous week. This week they had to have a ‘rider’ which stated the
following: “
The Dili Weekly asks that people realize the national police, from whom the
newspaper gets its daily reports, say they have been too busy to meet with our journalists
to give us reports. They say they are totally occupied in the hunt for Salsinha
I was wondering if it might be a good idea for the UN or some other body to assist the
PNTL and the f-FDTL by teaching them about media relations. And maybe throw in a
dedicated pro-bono human rights advisor while they are at it.

Talking of Salsinha, I suspect the guy is waiting until JRH is back in the country before giving himself up. I also suspect the JOC suspect/know this. We’ll see.

Apparently the town of Liquica is going to do it’s bit to promote religious tourism.
People there have come up with the scheme of ‘persecution parties’.
Realistic burning of witches is being mooted to promote an influx of religious tourists.
It will be a little like the Fatima procession only hotter.
Liquica residents are fully behind the idea and see it as an economic boon.
Father Jose Quintas dos Santos Ximenes O’Toole said today (1/4/08) “I believe
Our Lord would look upon this action as a devout way to bring money to the community.
Only we in Liquica would have thought of this idea. We are very proud”.
Loron Bosokteen.


Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Oh What Tangled Webs etc. etc...

The things they say

Timor Post, Dili, Wednesday 16 January 2006.
Dili – Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão threatened that his side would arrest members of the press (media) if when instability emerged in the nation.Because of this he asked the media to undertake its work with more responsibility for the situation.“You have to exercise more responsibility towards the environment of stability or instability. We close our eyes when in the case of small and big things you go and interview Alfredo. Perhaps because of these things instability may emerge in the country, because of you, we will arrest you,” he said to journalists on Tuesday (15/1) at the Ministry for Social Solidarity, Kaikoli, Dili.

TMR appeals to people to report abuses:
F-FDTL Commander Brigadier-General Taur Matan Ruak is encouraging members of the public to report any cases of abuse committed by the Joint Operation.“We are ready to receive any reports from any of the victims if they have been tortured by the soldiers, so that the cases can be investigated and not just publicized through the media,” said TMR on Wednesday (19/3) at Palacio da Cinzas, Dili.

Timor Post journalist beaten.

Julio Pinto has accused foreigners of meddling in national politics: The State Secretary for Defence, Julio Pinto, has said that government has a list of people who have meddled in the country’s internal politics. Mr Pinto said that he is currently trying to find more information on these foreigners. “We already have a list. Now we are trying to find more information on these foreigners who are involved in the political situation in Timor Leste so that they can be submitted for an investigation,” said Mr Pinto. (TP)

UN responsible for February 11: The MP from Kota, Manuel Tilman, has asked the UN to take responsibility for the events of February 11.“The security of the state and the Prime Minister falls under the responsibility of the UN. The UN should be responsible for establishing an International Independent Commission of Inquiry (IICI),” said Mr. Tilman on Tuesday (26/2) in the National Parliament, Dili.

Lasama: Attempts against State greatest crime: In a dialogue with the population of Lete-Foho, Ermera, Acting President Fernando Lasama de Araujo said that the attempts against the State made by the rebel groups of Alfredo Reinado and Gastão Salsinha can be considered as the greatest crime and should be resolved through the court system. Related to the rumours that Alfredo’s death was the result of a foreign-led conspiracy, PR Lasama said that the only people responsible were Timorese. Never falsify and blame others. All the mistakes are ours and it’s time to solve these problems,” said PR. Lasama. (TP)


Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Read All About It!

This report appears in other publications but in various edited versions. This is the full pool report:

Here is Lindsay Murdoch's pool report of East Timor president Jose Ramos Horta's return to Royal Darwin Hospital on 19 March 2008 to thank the doctors and nurses who helped him recover from serious gun shot wounds in the attacks in Dili on February 11 2008.
President walks gingerly into the hospital foyer at 9.15am, 15 minutes earlier than scheduled (He had been driven there from the nearby Darwin Private Hospital).
President is wearing a loose fitting brown cotton shirt and brown trousers. His face is unshaven. He looks thin.
President smiles when he shakes hands with two pool journalists.
President indicates he doesn't require a wheel chair and walks to a lift which takes him to the Intensive Care Unit on the first level, where he arrived in a critical condition on the evening of February 11 and was discharged on March 3. Twenty five doctors and nurses gather around him in the unit's tea room.
President presents the hospital's manager Len Notaras with a photograph of the President meeting The Pope at the Vatican in January, as a gesture of his gratitude to the hospital. "When I was shot the Pope himself prayed for me," the President said. Mr Notaras thanked the President, noting that His Holiness' Office was on the phone calling about the President's condition in his early days at the unit. The President then presented some Timor coffee to the doctors and nurses. "It's the best coffee in the world," the President told them. *"I have to also tell you that Timor coffee already has been found to have strong viagra content so it is very healthy,"* the President joked. Mr Notaras told the President it is wonderful to see that he has done so well. "You are a man who has made a difference and you will continue to make a difference," Mr Notaras said. "You have made a difference to our lives with your courage and capacity to move on," Mr Notaras said.
The President: "I would like to thank you all for your care and patience." The President thanked everybody at the hospital, even the cleaners, mentioning one cleaner, a "humble man" who he thought was from Sudan.
The President joked with a doctor about his long hair, thinking at first he was a rock musician. President: "I thank you all for your kindness. Of course I don't forget the Australian doctors in Dili at the Aspen Medical Centre who looked after me in the critical minutes when I was taken to the centre. If that centre had not been there I don't know what would have happened. I would have gone to the Dili National Hospital where there are doctors of different nationalities...they would have taken care of me but I don't know they have the equipment the Aspen Medical Centre has. I remember every detail from the moment I was shot. I remember everything...the ambulance...a very old battered ambulance. No paramedic. A Portuguese special police unit, GNR...luckily it had a paramedic who jumped in the ambulance and gave me the first assistance. On the way to the heliport (Aspen) I fell off the chair a few times because there were no belts. I remember even though I was bleeding I was holding on tight. And I was telling the driver - go slow. But maybe he was wise because it was only a matter of minutes for me to arrive there (Aspen). And then I arrived here in your hands. I thank all of you." At this point the President fought back tears and put his hands to his face. He appeared unable to speak for 20 seconds. A nurse: "You have done very well." President: "Thank-you."
The President handed out several more gifts before walking unassisted from the hospital. The President spoke to journalists at the door of the hospital. President: "I am very much indebted to Australia and the Timorese people. I have been treated very well...professionally." Asked if he was looking forward to returning home, the President said: "I will be here for a few more weeks because I need additional therapy for a quick recovery." A journalist asked if the President had a message for Timor. President: "My message to my people is please forgo violence and hatred with weapons, machetes, with arson - we only destroy each other and the country. I thank the people here. There are so many thousands of people in Timor - the bishops, the priests, the nuns, the common people who have prayed for me. I thank all of my people. I will be back soon."
The President then spoke to a journalist from TVTL, the Timorese national television, in Tetun. The journalist said later the President appealed to the rebel leader Gastao Salsinha to surrender. It would be in his best interest to do so (this is paraphrasing. I have no direct quotes of what the President said in Tetun). The President walked to a waiting car and was driven away.

*I always knew he was a standup guy


Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Small Earthquake In Chile. Not Many Hurt.

Well, what a week it’s been for us media junkies.
On the same day and at the same time I managed to get copies of both THE Dili Weekly’ and ‘Guide Post Magazine’. The next 17 minutes were pure bliss as I inhaled the contents of both publications.
Headline of the year, anywhere, goes to ‘THE Dili Weekly’ for:
“Liquica OK aside from murders, rapes, witchcraft accusations”.
The article then goes on to describe a normal(ish) month in an East Timorese town. I’ll retype the article here if there is any demand.
Once again there are some (in my view) excellent (and not so excellent) editorials in the ‘paper. For my reader who lives in Dili I cannot recommend the ‘paper highly enough. Anyone out there want to give them a charitable hand on a website? OK, there are some typos and other mistakes but we have to give them a break. They are saying stuff that some of us here would like to say but daren’t. More power to them. Rant over. For the time being.
In the ‘Guide Post Magazine’ feature story I see there were
Ambivalent views over (Mahatma) Gandhi killer”.
I didn’t even know he was dead. That’s what I like about ‘Guide Post’; News when it happens. Also, and this is very low of me, check the competition in the editorial and then make sure you take a close look at the picture of the ‘Top Cop’.

Have you been reading about ‘Hercules’, the notorious one eyed, one armed Timorese gangster from Jakarta? Why ‘Hercules’? Surely he should be called ‘Nelson’?

Talking of complete and utter bullshit, did anyone see the ABC ‘Foreign Correspondent’ piece the other night about ‘gangland’ Dili? Another ABC insight into East Timor, written on the ‘plane over here and filmed to fit the pre-conceived script. Total bollocks. I can assure anyone who saw the film that the Timorese guy most heavily featured in it is sorry that he had anything to do with it. I personally witnessed him metaphorically whipping himself in contrition last night.


Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Raining Cats and Dogs. I Just Stepped in a Poodle.

A friend recently contacted me to let me know that he thought it unfair that I only show a picture of one of my dogs on this blog. So, as a one off, here are some pictures of my other dogs.

The patchwork brown and white dog is Bandit. He is a very morose dog. We think this is due to severe trauma whilst in the womb (you know who you are Gazontapede). He also has a bad front right leg due to him trying to eat it off.
The red dog cooling his balls on the white tiles is Sickboy. He was born with parvo, got over that, then got run over by a Pajero (mine) and broke his hip and then he had distemper. A very sweet dog with a tendency to give you an all-over wash. Doris you know. A 'barky' little dog with a lovely temprement. Unless you are in uniform and/or carrying a gun.

Doris, Sickboy and Bandit

Bandit and Sickboy, brothers.

Bandit with a bad leg, Sicky cooling his 'aggots and Doris looking on.


Food and Drinking

My favourite foods in Dili at the moment:

Carpaccio at Cafe Brazil. Fantastic raw beef.

The fusion rolls at Gion. California comes to Dili.

Any of the salads with rocket (no, not him, I mean arugala) at Motion.

Mrs. Macs pies at Tiger fuels.


Oh, and Motion have the best Gin and Tonics I have tried outside of my house.

The Hunt Is On

Have a look at the post on this blog.

I had a very interesting couple of days last week. On Wednesday a friend from Darwin called me and told me to be on ‘standby’ for a job coming up over the next few days. I was to go up near Gleno on short notice and photograph, hopefully, the surrender of Gastao Salsinha and the rest of his men. At about 8.30pm on Thursday night a couple of PNTL cars pulled up outside my house and I got in one of the cars for quite a hair-raising drive through the night up into the hills. After a few heavily manned and heavily armed check-points we got to a house in Gleno at about midnight. Around the house were about 40 or so PNTL, a whole bunch of 4-wheel drive vehicles and a lot of weapons. Inside the house were the Prosecutor, an experienced negotiator and a bottle of Johnny Walker Black. Oh yeah, and a recently surrendered ‘rebel’. We had a chat, drank the Scotch and all went to bed around 1am’ish.
At 4am it was up and at ‘em. Our large convoy set off into the hills and arrived at our destination around 6am. I’m not allowed to say where it was but it was absolutely stunning. The buildings were traditional Timorese, the views were breath-taking and the people in the tiny village were lovely. Remember, around 40 or so heavily armed men had just roared into their village early in the morning. The people there made coffee for all of us with freshly baked rolls.
Written messages were sent from the Prosecutor up to Salsinha and back again by runner, it was a very slow process. Around about 3pm we were told that the man would not surrender today. The Prosecutor got on his satellite ‘phone, called acting President ‘Lasama’ and told him that Parliament should not wait up as the main guest would not be arriving that day.
I traveled back to Dili with the Swiss negotiator and I must say he was very saddened by the day’s results or lack thereof. I agree with him. I feel now that the f-FDTL will be unleashed to hunt down Salsinha and the rest of his men. I have heard that there are up to 350 f-FDTL in the area and they were all issued with up to 300 rounds each two weeks ago in a ceremony in the stadium. I also noticed today our Timorese navy boat heading west past Dili. I remember in June 2006 this same boat opened fire on Alfredo Reinado and his men at Tibar. For those of you that remember this was the same vessel that Alfredo originally commanded! Oh the irony.

And I didn't get the picture.......

Our intrepid Navy heads west


Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Controversial? Moi? I Wish I Could Be

Is this guy for real?
"The President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Mario Viegas Carrascalão, believes the attacks against PR Ramos-Horta and PM Xanana Gusmão to have been caused by an international political conspiracy.“Maybe the groups doing the attack were backed by some people. There were rumours that there was USD20000 found in Alfredo’s pocket when he died. Some people may have given him this money before he died, or put the money in his pocket after he died. His body may have been dumped in Metiaut after being shot in another place,” said Mr. Carrascalão. Carrascalão also reiterated his desire for Timor-Leste to establish an International Independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate the events shrouded in so much mystery. "
So what do you want exactly Mario? An International Commission of Inquiry to investigate what you believe is an International conspiracy? Or are you, as usual, saying the first thing that comes into your head just to make sure you get some publicity and also manage to spread a little shit in the hope that it sticks?

Curfew and All That.
I have to say I love it. I know that is completely selfish but I just can’t help it. As I’ve said before, I get a good night’s sleep and all the rest of the benefits but I would also be interested to see the burglary and robbery figures for the past few weeks compared to the 3 weeks prior to February 11th. Now I know a curfew is a bit harsh to get the crime figures down but I bet it works. You know what they say: “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. Maybe a benevolent dictator is what’s needed for a few years. Then again, maybe the burglary/robbery figures will be evened out by the number of Timorese (and some Malae) who have been punched in the face for being 'too close to curfew' by our ever vigilant security forces.

Dear National Security Forces.
Instead of sticking M16’s in the faces of terrified taxi drivers whilst screaming and pulling off their tinted car window screens, why don’t you lead by example and take the tints off your own vehicles? And put some fucking number plates on your cars while you’re at it. Just a friendly suggestion in the sacred name of public relations.

A Man Apart
It’s good to see that JRH is up and walking around. Not bad for a man of his age and a couple of high velocity rounds. Maybe it’s about time another former Minister got out of his hospital bed, walked around and considered coming home to his country. I’m sure he would get a very warm welcome.

Words that should be banned in Timor Leste, in ANY language:
Consultation (if it means appeasment)
Reconciliation (see above)
Dialogue (see above above)
Workshop (unless used in the context of light engineering)
Justice (unless you really really mean it).

A Breath Of Fresh Air
For my Dili based reader I can do no more than recommend that you go out each Thursday morning and try to hunt down a copy of a new newspaper, the Dili Weekly. I wish I could put a link to this publication but unfortunately they do not have a web site yet. If there is anyone out there who could offer their services FREE as a website designer/host etc I bet they would jump at the opportunity.
The Dili Weekly is a 24 page newspaper, published in English and Tetum, 12 pages each language. The Tetum version is a translation of some of the English and vice-versa. I suspect that the editorials and the major political stories are written in English and translated into Tetum and the more ‘community based’ and local court pieces are Tetum/English. For myself I can say that it is an absolute pleasure to read some ‘real’ news, some excellent editorials and know that the East Timorese now have access to some real journalism. Below is a scanned version of a recent editorial. I suspect it says what a lot of us living here are thinking but for various reasons cannot say. I also respect the integrity and courage of the publishers and journalists working on the paper. It’s about time. I have scanned in below the most recent editorial (with the writters permission).
Again, for my Dili based reader if you want to know where to get a copy, or better still advertise in the paper, you can call 7365432 for details of distribution or 7313854 for advertising. And no, I am not getting anything for this plug. I just think it’s a worthy cause.
Well,,,,,, I tried to upload it in a fairly big format but the system just wouldn't let me. So, for my overseas reader (that's you, 'worried momma') I'll type the whole thing out for you. Now that's dedication:
Optimism Turns Sour As Salsinha Walks Free. Jesse Wright, Editor.
"Since Alfredo Alves died two weeks ago there has been a steady stream of speculation as to who would be the next in line. As though this country would be lost without some sort of forest rebel leader.
Of course the follow up to this question was, would Gastao Salsinha be able to live up to his predecessor? Would he be able to continue the fight?
Unusually for me I allowed myself a bit of careless optimism and I hypothesized that one one would replace Alves. I suggested Timor would have learned its lesson and would actually hunt Salsinha down and catch him without delay. I assumed Timor would do everything it could to avoid a repeat of the Alves incident.
I stand corrected.
It weeks later and any every journalist who gives enough of a damn to go to Ermera has been able to locate Salsinha and splash his rebel face on TV screens (and newspapers and radios) around the world. Meanwhile those tasked with his capture stand by.
I understand and applaud SRSG Atul Khare's position that dialog (sic) and peaceful surrender is better than a firefight. Who could argue with that? It's the sort of position position (sic) befitting the United Nations.
What I do not understand is the government's ready acquiescence to such advice despite its own promises to the contrary. Both Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao as well as interim President Araujo have said the time for talk is over. At the inauguration of the joint command last week Gusmao made a particularly impassioned speech in which he said he would not tolerate the rebels and that their time is over.
But is it? The weekend came and went with no outward sign of change. Salsinha, meanwhile, was available by phone and in person should one need a sound byte.
This whole situation smacks of history repeating itself. The last time we tried to negotiate with egotistical rebel leaders, President Jose Ramos-Horta ended up hospitalized. Salsinha himself is allegedly responsible for at least three bullet holes in the PM's car. Remember? What must the man do before the country makes a serious effort to stop him?
The way the situation new stands, Salsinha has nothing to win by turning himself in and has everything to win by "hiding" in Ermera. His leverage comes at the price of security; because he is a security risk the government is willing to negotiate with him. Should he walk into a police station and turn over his gun, he'd be just another guy in jail and any negotiation after that would likely be in court. If he looks at his own situation logically then he will realize there is no benefit to surrender at present. He might surrender in a year or two - following some protracted dialog (sic) process - in exchange for a wildly underserved pardon or. But in any case, who really believes dialog (sic) with egotistical rebel leaders results in a safer country? Is it too much to suggest that dialog (sic) should be given only to peaceful petitioners who do not pose a security risk for the state? Apparently it is."
Three cheers for the Dili Weekly....

Conspiracy theory #3200174
Has anyone questioned Timor Telecom yet?


Saturday, 23 February 2008

Friday, 22 February 2008

Bits 'N Pieces

I am not going to name any names in this post. Instead, in the grand tradition of the Chief Prosecutor, I am going to use initials only.

I want to say how very happy I am that JRH is recovering and has managed to say a few words to his family. I have shed some tears for him and I wish him well.

It was reported in some newspapers last weekend that JRH was awake and that his first words were “don’t shoot, don’t shoot”. It was also reported that AP, the former Mrs. JRH, was at his bedside at the time. (I do not believe these reports).

A nice little Dili joke that I found over at Rai Ketak:
The signs up at the Dili Zoo
Before 1975: Please do not feed the animals
Between 1975-1999: Please do not take the animals’ food
Between 1999-2002: Please bring the animals food and UNTAET will give you three dollars and some expensive food
Between 2002-2007: Please do not take the animals’ food and please do not eat the animals.

It has come to my attention that during the past 10 days or so a certain person has been passing himself off as a ‘journalist’ and using fake ID. This fake ID has been used to get into Obrigado barracks, the Airport Tarmac on the morning KR arrived, the Heliport when KR was there and most alarmingly a 'real journalist' with the initials PT who works for ‘The Australian’ used the fake ID to get into the government building when KR and XG were there. I’m not really bothered about the security aspect here. What concerns me is that a journalist from a major Australian newspaper walks around the world with no ID whatsoever.

Mnemonic – Now there’s a funny word. Pity I can never remember it.

Some News To Cheer Us All – A chap I know, we’ll call him D, told me a story in FB’s the other evening. D was driving home from work recently after a very bad day and had just passed the Comoro bridge when he got rocked. D was in his own car so he was a bit pissed off. D jumped out of the car, picked up a nice big rock and hoyed it back. The rock hit the scrote in the back of the head (they were running away) and his two mates had to carry him off. As he said to me “If I told anyone, the wouldn’t believe me”. Well, I believe him. And it gladdened my heart.

TMR – The words ‘eating your’ ‘it cake’ and ‘having’ spring to mind.

The Curfew – I understand that from tomorrow, 23/2/08, the ‘State of Emergency’ will be extended by 30 days. Also the curfew time will change from 2000-0600 to 2200-0600 (that’s 10pm to 6am for normal people).
The curfew hours havn’t really bothered me. In fact I’ve quite liked them. No sound at night except breaking waves; no fear of getting burgled, no rocks on the roof. Curfew! Bring it on! But I’ve always been a selfish bastard.
The curfew is affecting some of my mates in different ways. One guy runs a 24hour place and so is obviously losing money. Another guy runs a car-hire company and the curfew actually helps him because there is less wear-and-tear on the car and less chance of having an accident. There are also all the restaurants and bars which close at 8pm (2000 to the anal) but the staff still have to get home. It’s a lot easier at the check-points if you are a Malae than if you are Timorese.

Has anyone talked to Mossad?

A Nightmare Scenario:
It’s 8.45am. It’s the Comoro road at the traffic lights next to the Heliport and Tiger. There is an f-FDTL convoy of 5 vehicles heading east very quickly on the Comoro road. The vehicles have heavily armed and adrenalin charged f-FDTL troops inside them. Coming quickly from the other direction is a convoy of 6 PNTL vehicles with heavily armed and adrenalin charged PNTL on board. The two lead vehicles of each convoy collide at the traffic lights. One or two f-FDTL or PNTL are killed in the accident. There is an ISF convoy waiting at the lights from the Heliport. Now write your own script.

It’s just a thought to send us all to bed.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Meeja News

First, the good news. I have it from the highest source, (UN press officer) that journalists are exempt from the curfew. Apparently we are ‘essential’ personnel and our movements should not be restricted. So big ‘hoorays’ from the bar owners of Dili.

Now the bad news. Australian journalists have to be the worst dressed news-gatherers I have ever encountered so I’ve decided to help them out with a few ‘conflict zone’ fashion tips. Recent events have understandably changed the life-styles of many people in Dili but this is no reason to stop dressing in an appropriate and tasteful manner.

Camera-operators: Whilst baggy ‘Hot Tuna’ shorts and t-shirts are comfortable and appropriate for running around in the heat and mud chasing APC’s and rebels you may well be called on in the next minute to shoot an interview with a Prime Minister or visiting dignitary. Shorts and t-shirts are too informal for this sort of job. Also the floppy hat only looks good on the GNR.

Correspondents: First of all, synthetics are a big no-no. This is a hot and humid place and unsightly stains on a piece-to-camera are liable to put viewers off their tea. Also denim. Jeans only look good on teenagers. Ditch those faded blue numbers and go for a nice pair of chinos instead. Oh and ladies, jeans + heat + ‘ride-up’ = A very unsavory sight.
I would say the best option for most on-camera correspondents would be to try and use Adrian Brown of Channel 7 as a role model.

Photographers: We all saw the pool snapper who came over with the Rudd entourage yesterday. This is NOT a good look. It’s the ‘I really wish these cameras were guns’ look. A utility belt Batman would have envied, camera jacket festooned with bits and pieces hanging off, wraparound sunnies, cargo pants with pockets bulging and of course everything, absolutely everything, was black. Every time he looked at me I didn’t know whether to smile and say ‘cheese’ or put my hands up and surrender. So, snappers. The ‘Rambo’ look is not on. Not only can it be dangerous, it makes you look like a total dork.

The perfect ensemble from the feet up: Doc Marten shoes, black. Very comfortable, hard wearing and acceptable in formal situations. Dark trousers made of good strong cotton. Plain t-shirt tucked into trousers. Good cotton/linen/silk dress shirt worn unbuttoned and outside the trousers. There are practical reasons for this look. The t-shirt soaks up the sweat when ‘in the field’ and the shirt can be buttoned up and tucked in for those for formal interviews and PTC’s. Accessories: I find the Gerber multi-tool the best of the bunch. The Gerber wins over the Leatherman because of the handy corkscrew. Essential.

So, lets all take a closer look at ourselves and smarten up a bit. God knows you can all afford it. Remember, there is a world outside of Tar-get and army surplus stores.


A nice piece at this link.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

A funny old day. I’ve been working for the press for the past 3 days so most of what I may have to say here would be old news anyway so I think I’ll just tell you a couple of personal stories.
The TV company I am working for at the moment is not exactly the most viewed network in Australia but their news is certainly the best. There are 3 of us. The correspondent, the cameraman and me. Today, the award winning correspondent I am working with told me that at 4.15pm we "have to be at the airport to pick up the flak jackets and helmets’. “No worries” I said, ‘how many are there?” – “Two of each” replied my colleague. You do the math. Moral: Get a binding contract or some good insurance if you live in East Timor.
Went to Alfredo’s step-fathers house in Dili this afternoon. Alfredo’s body is there at the moment and tomorrow, at 10am, he will be buried. He is going to be buried in the grounds of the house and not in Maubisse as previously thought apparently because the security risk would be too great if the funeral cortege had to pass Xanana’s house, which it would. When we got there about 400 people were already present to pay their last respects. The biggest percentage of these 400 were young boys. The whole affair was very low key, sombre and dignified. The boys accounted for themselves impeccably.
I would also like to say that from a personal point of view the f-FDTL and the PNTL have reacted to recent events with the greatest of professionalism and restraint. If you had asked me on Sunday what their reaction to events of the following morning might have been my answer would have been very very negative. Sometimes it is an absolute pleasure to be proved wrong.
Is it really Wednesday? It actually feels like Monday night.
I love the curfew. I am getting a good nights sleep. The dogs are not barking at drunks walking past at all hours, the boys are not across the road imitating guitar players with crap singing voices and I can sleep sound in the knowledge that I won’t get burgled. All we need now is for the curfew to be applied to barking dogs with a shoot on sight clause and I might be able to forgo my afternoon nap. Heaven forbid.
Right, going to bed now. Big day tomorrow. We’ve got the funeral, something I can’t tell you about, a beef stew delivery, a hotel change, preps for Rudd’s visit on Friday, various pressers, a trip to the airport to pick up the flak jackets that customs wouldn’t give us today (even though neither of them is my size), the weekly shop to do (life must go on) and lots of well oiled stories to tell each other.
What I would leave you with though, for the avid Timor watchers, is to make sure you read the Sydney Morning Herald tomorrow for a very interesting story about the events of Monday morning.


Monday, 11 February 2008


Go to THIS LINK for an excellent and breath-taking account of events this morning at Robert F. Kennedy Boulevard.



A bit of an update. So far we have heard that JRH has been shot twice, with at least one round entering his abdomen. Apparently he underwent surgery here in Dili at the ISF hospital at the heliport. He will be/is being flown to Darwin for more treatment.
Re the attack on his house. As speculated earlier, it seems that the attack was carried out during JRH's normal morning walk/run. A friend who lives about 300 metres away reported a fire-fight occuring at about 0650 this morning. From various wires/radio sources it appears that two vehicles drove by and then opened fire. Radio Timor Leste is reporting that Alfredo Reinado was indeed killed in the shootout but rather than being an attacker he was in fact a guest at JRH's house and had been there for upto a week and ran out of the house during the attack to try and stop it and was killed in the crossfire. A contact at Dili hospital confirms two dead were brought to the hospital, neither of whom whas Alfredo. The Deputy PM is saying that three people were killed in the attack so maybe Alfredo was among them and not taken to Dili hospital. We are also hearing about an attack on a convoy containing Prime Minister Gusmao roughly 30 minutes after the attack on JRH.
I have had a bit of a trawl around Dili in the past few hours and here are some observations:
Conspicuous by their absence: UN police cars outside Castaways and Dili Beach Hotel.
Conspicuous by their absence: Extra security at the TV and radio station (if this was a coup attempt these places should both have extra guards).
Conspicuous by their absence: Malae in Dili centre, apart from security forces.
Conspicuous by the non-absence: Many Timorese on the streets, expecially in central Dili but not many people on the street in my area. Maybe the news hasn't filtered down yet.

I think the next 24 hours could be very interesting. We have done the usual and bought in essential supplies: beer/fags/water etc. and the press are on the way....... Once again, not a hotel room to be had in Dili....


Oh My!

Well, here we go again. It appears that Jose Ramos Horta, President of TL has been wounded in an attack on his home this morning. There are also stories going around that Alfredo Reinado, the rebel soldier wanted for, amongst other things attempted murder, was killed in the attack. This rumour is un-confirmed.
The ‘phones are ringing like billyo and SMS messages are ruling the airwaves right now. We heard about the attack at around 7.45am’ish, still then unconfirmed. As staff arrived we sent them home. Now we are getting ready for possible repercussions. If indeed Alfredo has been killed then we wonder how the boys in Dili, some of whom worship Alfredo as a freedom fighter, will react. It looked to us as though word was getting around at about 8.30’ish. Everything went quiet and the streets pretty much cleared.
This is purely speculation but with the timing of the attack and some reports saying that two vehicles drove by the house and opened fire, and it is an open secret in Dili that JRH would go for his morning run/walk around this time, maybe the would-be assassins chose their moment carefully.
Anyway it’s been a while since I last posted anything, but, it looks as if we may be in for some more ‘interesting times’. I really hope not.